Zinn Education Project


From ZINN EDUCATION PROJECT

The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States and other materials for teaching a people’s history in middle and high school classrooms across the country. The Zinn Education Project is coordinated by two non-profit organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.

Its goal is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. The empowering potential of studying U.S. history is often lost in a textbook-driven trivial pursuit of names and dates. Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States emphasizes the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history. Students learn that history is made not by a few heroic individuals, but instead by people’s choices and actions, thereby also learning that their own choices and actions matter.

We believe that through taking a more engaging and more honest look at the past, we can help equip students with the analytical tools to make sense of – and improve – the world today. For a more complete description, read the PDF A People’s History, A People’s Pedagogy.

In 2008, with support from an anonymous donor, the Zinn Education Project distributed 4,000 free packets for teaching people’s history to educators across the country. In a follow-up survey, the recipients requested more resources, which led to the creation of this upgraded website to provide teaching materials online. Read the full report (in PDF) on the distribution of the 4,000 packets here.
~~

Why Do They Want To Do Us Harm?



Displaced Afghan children from Helmand province stand outside their mud
shelters during a brief snowfall on the outskirts of Kabul on January 28.

From IN THESE TIMES

Helen Thomas asked the question. The White House stonewalled. Here are the answers.

On January 8, President Barack Obama held a press conference at which he said: “It is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations … to do their bidding. … And that’s why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death … while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress … That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.”

Obama then turned the floor over to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and terrorism expert John Brennan, former chairman of the National Counterterrorism Center, who spoke and took questions from the assembled reporters, including Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old grand dame of the White House press corps. The following exchange ensued:

Helen Thomas: What is really lacking always for us, is, you don’t give the motivation of why they want to do us harm.

Janet Napolitano: The screening at Schiphol Airport was done by Dutch authorities, and they did the screening that was described to you earlier this afternoon. The hand luggage was screened, the passport was checked, he went through a magnetometer, but it was done by Dutch authorities.

HT: And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out of ‘why’?

More at IN THESE TIMES
~~

You Are What You Eat Eats


From DAVID KIRBY
The Huffington Post

The Nutritional Superiority of Pasture Raised Animals

You are what you eat – and the same goes for the animals whose meat, milk and eggs you put in your mouth. We should not only be concerned about what we eat, but what our food eats as well.

Generally speaking, our food animals are not eating what they were naturally meant to eat. As more animals are raised by the thousands and packed into concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), their natural diets of roots and grasses, grubs and bugs has been replaced by a standard factory farm fare of grains, soybeans, King Corn and a sundry array of advanced pharmaceutical products.

But sound science has emerged to demonstrate that eating meat, milk and eggs from grass-fed and pastured animals will provide your body with more health-enhancing, disease fighting materials than industrial-grade CAFO-raised protein.

A new scientific review, a compendium of grass-fed beef benefits just published in Nutrition Journal, concludes that, “Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-only diets can significantly alter the fatty acid composition and improve the overall antioxidant content of beef.”

This altered fatty acid composition replaces more of the “bad fats” of grain-fed beef with the “good fats” found in grass-fed protein.

In fact, more and more research is showing that cattle, pigs and poultry raised on their natural pasture and grass-based diets yield meat that is lower in total fat and calories, and food that is higher in good fats like Omega 3′s, more concentrated with antioxidants such as vitamins E, C and beta-carotene, and with increased levels of other disease-fighting substances.

More at HuffPo
~~

A Plastic Bag Sees The World


From TREEHUGGER.ORG

This short film by American director Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo) traces the epic, existential journey of a plastic bag (voiced by Werner Herzog) searching for its lost maker, the woman who took it home from the store and eventually discarded it. Along the way, it encounters strange creatures, experiences love in the sky, grieves the loss of its beloved maker, and tries to grasp its purpose in the world.

When we’re all gone, plastic bags will live on. These petroleum totes don’t really degrade — it takes between 500 and a thousand years for one of these suckers to break down. But they degrade the environment. Like so much else, we throw them away as easily as we make them. But of course they don’t actually _go_ away: they just become inadvertent parts of our urban landscapes. Also they strangle tortoises, choke birds, and poison water in ways that can deform our hormones and lead to cancer.

For proof, just take a look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the Texas-sized gyre featured in the film where plastic goes to die.

Except as Bahrani’s movie poignantly points out, it doesn’t really die. That’s the thing. And if we can’t let a poor plastic bag die – especially one that sounds like Werner Herzog – can we at least learn how to grant it a new life, how to reincarnate a plastic bag into other stuff we can use — and not just a pair of boots or a hobo dress.
~~

Tea Party Members: Are You Serious? If So, Sign The Pledge!


Thanks to THOM HARTMANN

I do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights

I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Naziism, and socialism at public town halls. Also, I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life.

I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

  • Social Security
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
  • US Postal Service
  • Roads and Highways
  • Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
  • The US Railway System
  • Public Subways and Metro Systems
  • Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
  • Rest Areas on Highways

Celebrating (Mourning) a Culture of Lies


From ROBERT FREEMAN
CommonDreams.org

[Today], March 29th, marks the thirty-seventh anniversary of America’s withdrawal from Vietnam. You won’t hear it celebrated in any mainstream media, though it should be. Or more precisely, it should be mourned. Vietnam is the first war America ever lost.

It should be remembered so that we might learn the lessons of that loss. They are many, they are profound, and they could inform so many of our policy decisions today: that withdrawal from immoral wars doesn’t mean the end of civilization as we know it; that even America’s seemingly limitless resources are, in fact, limited; that masses of engaged, moral individuals can constrain the reckless, destructive folly of renegade elites.

Perhaps the most important lesson of Vietnam is that policies based on lies will ultimately fail, for in an open society it is the consent of the governed that is required to sustain major policy initiatives. A government can either earn that consent, or it must forfeit the essence of its democracy. If lying becomes its essential modus operandi, a nation ceases to be a democracy. Rather, it becomes a criminal conspiracy of self-interested insiders donning the trappings of democracy in order to gull the credulous.

If Vietnam was anything, it was a fetid cesspool of a policy of lies. The intelligence agencies lied about the threat to our country from a nation of pre-industrial age rice farmers who just wanted to be left alone. The Pentagon was steeped in lies, from field level body counts to the success of strategic bombing to the basic question of whether the war could even be won. The State Department lied about the prolonged, illegal bombings of Laos and Cambodia.

Marilyn Friedman – Garden Project in Ukiah


From GARDENS PROJECT MENDOCINO COUNTY

The Orchard Apartments Garden is located at the Orchard Manor and Village Apartments, a low-income family residency managed by the Rural Communities Housing and Development Corp. (RCHDC), a non-profit that provides affordable housing to low and moderate income persons.  The garden is a collaboration of The Gardens Project and RCHDC residents and provides access to fresh fruits and vegetables for the low-income residents.

The garden was developed in the Spring of 2009 and consists of 22 garden plots that serve the families residing at Orchard and Manor Village Apartments.  Residents can have their own individual plots, as well as assist with the overall development and maintenance of the garden. The Orchard Manor Apartments has 63 family units and the neighboring Orchard Village Apartments has 48 units.

In addition to the numerous businesses and volunteers that helped develop this garden, special thanks go to The Gardens Project Sponsors -  The Ukiah Natural Foods Coop and The Community Foundation of Mendocino County for their financial support, as well as the California Conservation Corps for their tremendous contribution of skilled workers!
~~

Chicken Feed


From JIM HOULE
Redwood Valley

I am very annoyed at the Health Care fraud that our President is now touting as if it amounts to Reform. When you turn the hen house over to the fox, and let him change all the locks to serve his needs and set the rental rates, how can you expect he will protect the hens from his continuing voraciousness? Yes, the fox did agree he would not eat any hen before its time, and allowed that those chickens that had run loose in the past without a hen house they could call their own, were now safely ensconced in the fox’s new hen houses. He even agreed with the President that the formerly wild on-their-own hens could now pay the fox suitable rents for the privilege of a ‘safe’ hen house. If the wild chickens can not afford the rent because they have no job, the President agreed to chip in and subsidize.

Oh yes, I almost forgot – the price of chicken feed will rise any time the fox decides since he now has a total monopoly on feed supply. The President will not stand in the way of his making extra bucks in this way. The fox conceded that he would allow skinny and sickly hens to remain in the hen house (pre-existing skinnyness) rather than being thrown to the circling wolves outdoors but he didn’t guarantee that he would feed these skinny ones very much.

We have now set up a totally socialized system to protect the capitalist fox from any risks, we even expanded his market reach, and we call it free economic capitalism. We cannot even consider giving all the chickens free rent and feed, paid for out of the tax we extract from the periodic sale of chicken flesh (sometimes called low wage employment), of course. My God that would be socialism!!
~~

Team Earth: Another Load Of Corporate Bullshit From Conservation International


From THE UNSUITABLOG

Environmental groups used to be funded largely by their members and wealthy individual supporters. They had only one goal: to prevent environmental destruction. Their funds were small, but they played a crucial role in saving vast tracts of wilderness and in pushing into law strict rules forbidding air and water pollution. But Jay Hair–president of the National Wildlife Federation from 1981 to 1995–was dissatisfied. He identified a huge new source of revenue: the worst polluters.

Hair found that the big oil and gas companies were happy to give money to conservation groups. Yes, they were destroying many of the world’s pristine places. Yes, by the late 1980s it had become clear that they were dramatically destabilizing the climate–the very basis of life itself. But for Hair, that didn’t make them the enemy; he said they sincerely wanted to right their wrongs and pay to preserve the environment. He began to suck millions from them, and in return his organization and others, like The Nature Conservancy (TNC), gave them awards for “environmental stewardship.”

Companies like Shell and British Petroleum (BP) were delighted. They saw it as valuable “reputation insurance”: every time they were criticized for their massive emissions of warming gases, or for being involved in the killing of dissidents who wanted oil funds to go to the local population, or an oil spill that had caused irreparable damage, they wheeled out their shiny green awards, purchased with “charitable” donations, to ward off the prospect of government regulation. At first, this behavior scandalized the environmental community. Hair was vehemently condemned as a sellout and a charlatan. But slowly, the other groups saw themselves shrink while the corporate-fattened groups swelled–so they, too, started to take the checks.

Christine MacDonald, an idealistic young environmentalist, discovered how deeply this cash had transformed these institutions when she started to work for Conservation International in 2006. She told me, “About a week or two after I started, I went to the big planning meeting of all the organization’s media teams, and they started talking about this supposedly great new project they were running with BP. But I had read in the newspaper the day before that the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] had condemned BP for running the most polluting plant in the whole country…. But nobody in that meeting, or anywhere else in the organization, wanted to talk about it. It was a taboo. You weren’t supposed to ask if BP was really green. They were ‘helping’ us, and that was it.”

Looking at the summary above, one is tempted to abandon the idea that NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) have any part to play in the removal of destructive actions upon the natural world. I think that’s a fair assumption. None of the NGOs come out of this well,

Pathological Greed & Electric


From TODD WALTON
Anderson Valley
UnderTheTableBooks.com

Repeat after me. Pacific Gas and Electric is not a public utility. They would like us to think they are a public utility, but they are not. PG&E is a huge amoral corporation owned by an even larger amoral multinational corporation with one goal transcendent of all others: to make obscene profits through the maintenance of energy monopolies.

A year or so ago I reported in these pages that one of those little slips of paper accompanying my PG&E bill, those slips 99.9% of us don’t read, informed us that PG&E would be raising our rates to pay for their new smart meters to improve PG&E’s efficiency and raise their profits and increase their control over our use of energy. I pointed out that the smart meters would pay for themselves within a few years, but we would continue to pay higher rates because of them for all eternity. Alas, my article did not incite a consumer revolt.

Now in last month’s bill, another of those little slips of paper informed us that PG&E is going to raise our rates to pay for the development of a wind power project. We will pay today so they can build wind generators that they, not we, will own forever, and we will pay again tomorrow when the energy from those wind generators we paid for (but don’t own) comes online. Good for PG&E, but not very good us.

And this month there were two more slips of paper accompanying my bill. One slip said PG&E is raising our rates “to recover costs associated with performing seismic studies at Diablo Canyon Power Plant.” DCPP is their (not our) nuclear power plant built on a major earthquake fault, a plant, by the way, that has never and will never pay for itself, and that our grandchildren will somehow have to decommission (at a cost of many billions of dollars) if the murderous thing doesn’t melt down first. The second slip said PG&E is raising our rates on top of the aforementioned raises to “recover costs associated with renewal of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant operating licenses.” As in, they’re going to pour even more of our money down their nuclear power toilet.

Terrible, right? We should create local community-owned power companies and develop solar and wind power that we, the people…hold on. PG&E has just spent several million of our dollars putting Proposition 16 on the June 8 ballot, a measure that would require a two-thirds majority of local voters to approve the creation of community-based power companies, as opposed to a simple majority. And PG&E plans to spend thirty to forty million dollars more of our money to make sure Proposition 16 passes.

Update on Prop 16: Worst Ballot Measure Ever


From  MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

[SFGate blog: "...Prop 16 isn't just another battle in PG&E's war on clean energy; it's also an example of everything that's wrong with the balloting system in California: Company buys its way to the ballot with a measure that would specifically diminish voters' already limited influence over the company. That it will take a constitutional amendment to do so is just the putrid icing on the cake" -DS]

Update on Prop 16, PG&E’s irresponsible ballot initiative that wants to create a California constitutional amendment that would force local governments that want to establish local electrical service to win the approval of two-thirds of their voters first, rather than just giving consumers a choice. They just hate that nasty competition… 25-40 million dollars worth of hate.

Here are some updates on PG&E and its reckless CEO Peter Darbee…

John Geesman:
“March 8 was when PG&E filed its Preliminary Proxy Statement, detailing Darbee’s $10.5 million pay package for 2009 — some 8% more than Goldman Sachs paid its CEO.

March 11 marked the San Diego Chamber of Commerce Energy and Water Committee’s vote on Proposition 16:  22 to 0 to oppose, with 4 abstentions.

March 17 was the California Public Utilities Commission informational hearing on Proposition 16, which somehow Darbee deemed too unimportant to attend.  Odd behavior for the CEO of a regulated business which is dependent upon its regulator for its entire cash flow and which, for the first time in the CPUC’s 99-year history, is attempting to unilaterally write its own business advantage into the State Constitution.

Darbee has packed the four-member Compensation Committee with two of his telephone company cronies from his days at PacBell, including the Committee Chair.  Even with the two other members, the Committee is completely devoid of any professional experience in the regulated electricity or natural gas business.

While each of the newspapers that has taken up Proposition 16 has attempted to outdo its competitors in heaping scorn on the manipulative debasement PG&E has brought to the initiative process, the San Jose Mercury News is the first to specifically call out Darbee as the mastermind behind this brazen assault on his own electricity customers….

Why We Progressives Keep Losing


From JOHN ATCHESON
CommonDreams.org

Hurling Hail Mary’s — When is a victory more like a defeat?

[This is a good analysis of our "Progressive's Problem." I've added some of the comments that followed this post on Common Dreams. I'm sure the discussion there will be interesting... -DS]

At the risk of being churlish, passing this health care bill was the palest of victories.

Yes, it’s better than nothing, but as the President himself has pointed out, it’s largely made up of proposals the Republicans advocated a little more than a decade ago.

So, while this is certainly a political victory, it is far from a triumph of progressive ideals. Indeed, this Legislation is a sign of how far the political center has drifted to the right in the last three decades.

How did we let this happen?

Well, imagine playing a basketball game in which your team had to stay in the opponent’s end of the court on both offense and defense. Your opponent would be shooting layups and slam dunks, while the best you could hope for in terms of scoring would be one of those Hail Mary hurls from half court.

Think you’d win? Of course not.

Yet that’s precisely what Democrats and progressives have been doing for going on 30 years now. We’ve allowed conservatives to set the terms of the debate and shape the national dialogue.

For three decades, pundits and progressives have been struggling to explain why popular and much needed programs like health care, financial reform, and climate and clean energy bills keep getting scuttled, or compromised into inanity.

Let’s start with the health care legislation. As late as June of 2009, more than 70% of Americans still favored including a public option, and 66% favored Medicare for all. Yet after progressive compromises and an extensive “debate” over the summer, we were reduced to pursuing anemic health insurance reform. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that we got beat at “messaging”, and it was this defeat that led to us celebrating passage of an essentially Republican proposal.

But we didn’t simply get beat; we refused to show up.

Or take financial reform. Here again, progressives are losing the debate on what is a popular idea – fix the system that brought on the Great Recession and that continues to take our collective money and shuffle it up to the top 1% of the economy. What’s not to like? Yet even a watered down version of financial reform – one that doesn’t fix “too-big-to-fail” or restore Glass-Steagall protections — is floundering in the Senate, and the House passed a tepid version that can only be called reform lite.

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 3/27/10


From SCOTT CRATTY
Ukiah

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

We are definitely firing up early this year.  In addition to having the out Humboldt Bay oyster connection back early (a surprise last week), I now expect more farms back early this Saturday, one attending Ukiah for the first time.  Black Dog Farm from Willits will make its debut, Salt Hollow Farm from Redwood Valley will bring lettuce, radishes and various greens and Ukiah’s own Spiral Garden Botanicals will be there with herbal and vegetable starts.
.
Don Willis will be back with his ever lively, on target and lovely accordion playing.

Holly passed along this article about the young farmers movement and Project Greenhorn.  Paula with Mendocino Organics, who you see handing out CSA baskets each week at the market, has been very much involved in the Greenhorn project and the related movie.  If the article inspires some questions, she might be willing to answer.

And now, for those of you who do not get the UDJ, here is this week’s Market Message:

Mollusks Invade Ukiah (Farmers’ Market)

It seems that many of you were too busy getting your gardens going to make it to the farmers’ market last weekend.  Vegetable sales were slow.  Many a robust and healthful chard, heroic and lion-hearted though it might have been, failed in its mission to find your dinner plate.

They will not give up.  Now that sunny days are back in vogue, ever more valiant young greens are packing away stores of vibrant, healthy energy and reaching for the heavens every week.  Some of this new crew will be at the market tomorrow, looking for you.  Cannot you hear them calling your name?

If you did miss the market last week, you missed the (surprise) early return of Aqua-Rodeo and their fresh oysters, straight from Humboldt Bay to our little market in Ukiah.  Try getting those out of your garden! Or, anyplace else.  We also had the largest selection of fish that I have seen in many a month.  Given the calm waters this week, I anticipate that both will return tomorrow.

I am glad to report that many of you who missed the farmers’ market seemed to be up to some good. The Gardens Project website reports that their Spring Garden Blitz, last weekend’s push to get a number of community gardens into shape all at one, was a success.  Over 88 volunteers showed up and put in 299 hours improving 10 gardens across the county.  You can read about some of the specific improvements on their blog.

The Looming Water Disaster That Could Destroy California, and Enrich Its Billionaire Farmers


From ALTERNET
Thanks to Janie Sheppard and Michael Foley

[More Privatizing B.S. exposed. -DS]

There’s a disaster waiting to happen in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and a handful of wealthy farmers seem to like it that way.

“That, in your own backyard there, is the scariest place after New Orleans.” — Geologist Nicholas Pinder’s description of the precarious situation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta after the hurricane Katrina disaster.

Imagine the devastating flooding of Hurricane Katrina multiplied by epic sandstorms, drought and economic collapse of the Dust Bowl. Now picture it happening an hour east of Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley and spreading all the way down to the Mexican border. It’s not as far-fetched as you think. A routine 6.7-magnitude earthquake would be enough to set it off, liquefying the decrepit levee system that walls off California’s main source of drinking water from the Pacific Ocean and triggering a deadly flood that would submerge roads, destroy homes, wipe out thousands of acres of farmland, kill countless numbers and possibly cut over 20 million Californians off from their water supply for a year or more.

California’s politicians have known about this looming catastrophe for decades. They also have had the power to neutralize the threat. But no one has done anything to prevent it.

Just like the oligarchs who used the shock of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction to tear down public housing, privatize public schools and pillage the city’s poorest, California’s most powerful business interests have positioned themselves to profit from this disaster. A handful of billionaire farmers and real estate developers are in line to pull off the most brazen water heist in American history, seizing control over much of Northern California’s water supplies and do what they have always wanted: turn water, a shared public resource, into a private asset that can be traded on the open market.

At the center of this epic water grab is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a Yosemite-sized patchwork of waterways and farmland an hour east of Oakland that sits atop California’s single largest water source. Formed by the confluence of state’s two largest rivers as they flow out to the San Francisco Bay, more than half of all rainfall and snowmelt drains through the Delta, supplying two-thirds of California with water and irrigating most of the state’s farmland… More at Alternet
~~

An Absence of Class


From BOB HERBERT
NYT

Some of the images from the run-up to Sunday’s landmark health care vote in the House of Representatives should be seared into the nation’s consciousness. We are so far, in so many ways, from being a class act.

A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”

Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, “I’ll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot.”

In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.

At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.

It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.

For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.

This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.

The Story of Bottled Water


[More privatizing B.S. exposed. -DS]

See also The Story of Stuff and The Story of Cap & Trade here
~~

Are we prepared for whatever’s coming?


From ADBUSTERS

Just as in 1939 we had to give up on a massive scale the comfortable lifestyle of peacetime, so soon we may feel rich with only a quarter of what we consume now. If we do it right and with enthusiasm, it will not seem a depressing phase of denial but instead, as in 1940, a chance to redeem ourselves. For the young, life will be full of opportunities to serve, to create, and they will have a purpose for living.

- James Lovelock from The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning

If people know anything about the British scientist James Lovelock, it is his theory of a living Earth, known as Gaia. Lovelock began formulating this revolutionary vision in the late 1960s while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It was there, not far from the ground zero of West Coast counterculture, that he began to wonder: Might the Earth possess a sophisticated planetary intelligence, one that regulates the countless interactions of plants, animals, minerals, gases and the sun’s heat (all of the ingredients and products of ever-evolving life) in such a way as to maintain a climate homeostasis amenable to a lush, living planet? In short, does Mother Earth like life, and does she do her best to make us comfortable?

Once regarded as a quasi-mystical expression of longing more than a science-based insight, Lovelock’s theory has overcome the skepticism of his peers. Over the course of four decades of research and experiment, Gaia has officially graduated from a hypothesis to a theory. It is now widely accepted that the biosphere’s elements are no passive collection of independent actors responding to conditions but together form a living web that actively creates and maintains those conditions, including temperature. Lovelock has been compared to Copernicus and Darwin for fathering and nurturing the Gaia paradigm.

More at Adbusters
~~

Don’t Screw With The O-Man


From ANDREW SULLIVAN

Clinton, McCain, Now The GOP…

And yet no-one seems to get it:

I watched Obama’s rise from Hyde Park over the last 15 yrs. Two things stand out: his political rivals almost always, and fatally, underestimate the guy’s abilities. I sense there’s some racism there, and his opponents always try to smear him as a “radical black guy” but Obama has always positioned himself above racial street fighting. The fact is, Obama is not just smart, he’s brilliant.

Second, the guy constantly fights a war of attrition, staying the course, keeping his cool, but applying constant steady pressure to the abutments of the opposition, and over time almost all of them crumble.

I don’t think conservatives have yet figured this out about a guy, who now, is their biggest danger to future political relevance. He’s grinding them, slowly, into dust.

It’s why I supported him. Because he was change; and because he actually thought change was needed for substantive reasons; and because he had proven his capacity not just to argue for change, but to persist in it, zigging and zagging, waiting and holding back, but still persisting…

[Some call it Rope-A-Dope... -DS]
~~

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