Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Farm to Family School Bus Turned Farmers Market

In Around the web, Small Business Skills on July 31, 2010 at 11:59 pm


If you see a school bus rolling down the streets of Richmond, Virginia, look closer- that bus might not be transporting school children, but fresh produce from the peripheral rural farming areas around the city. Mark Lilly has transformed a 1987 diesel school bus into a mobile produce market in order to connect local farms with communities to re-establish a personal relationship with locally grown food, and of course to encourage better eating and general well-being. Farm to Family, the bus market and CSA program, changes its offerings throughout the year to reflect what’s growing every season. And the space itself, inside the bus, is smartly planned and built-out as a sturdy framework for toting vegetables around town. Check out their website to see where they’re pulling up next!


Warren Johnson: Letter To Obama

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on July 30, 2010 at 10:37 pm


[Warren's 1978 book, Muddling Toward Frugality, has just been republished with the foreward being a review of the book in 1978 by Edward Abbey. Warren is circulating this letter with hopes of getting through to the President. -DS]

Warren Johnson
74001 Dobie Lane, Covelo, CA 95428
(707) 983-6853

July 20, 2010

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20500-0004

Dear Mr. President,

I tried to get this to you before, but now it is critical for the challenge all of us face in keeping the economy healthy when debt makes it risky to stimulate growth. My background in natural resources adds a second barrier to growth—the stabilization of oil production since 2005 that would drive oil prices up if new jobs were created.

What is needed is a way of creating jobs at less cost and use of oil.  This could be done by encouraging the creation of sustainable ways of life by offering assistance to those who would like to live in the simpler, more cooperative ways that can be supported with renewable energy.  The industrial niche is growing crowded even as it is being consumed with the depletion of the fossil fuels that made the Industrial Revolution possible in the first place.  The opening we have is in the sustainable niche that supported human life prior to the industrial era, and will do so again after the fossil fuels are gone, and with the larger amounts of renewable energy that modern technology can make available on an ongoing basis. more

Dave Pollard: How a Community-Based Co-op Economy Might Work

In Around the web, Small Business Skills on July 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm

How To Save The World

Most people have been brought up to believe that the competitive, grow-or-die, absentee-shareholder-owned, “free”-trade “market” economy is the only one that works, the only alternative to a socialist, government-run economy. This myth is perpetrated in business and other schools, by the media, by accountants and lawyers and bankers and, of course, in the business world. This amoral-capitalist economic model has “succeeded” in the same hostile way our species has “succeeded” — by brutally suppressing, starving for resources, using power to steal from, and, when all else fails, killing off anything deemed a “competitor” or threat to its monopoly on power and resources. It relies on massive subsidies and near-zero interest rates thanks to well-rewarded political cronies, on political graft and corruption worldwide, on oligopoly and restraint of competition, on wage slavery and worker ignorance, on phony money and unrepayable debt, and on advertising, human insecurity, ego and greed to create an artificial demand for its shoddy, overpriced crap. And, on top of all that, it’s utterly unsustainable.

For an alternative, natural economy to work, we either have to wait for this amoral-capitalist economy to collapse (which it will, but probably not for a few decades), or we have to plant the seeds for this alternative economy in the cracks where the current one is already failing most badly — at the community level where the economy is most obviously failing to produce meaningful work, sucking resources, wealth and opportunity out, and dumping mass-produced and imported crap that ends up in the landfill, and pollutants in our air, water, soil and food that make us sick and contribute to climate change…

more here

James Houle: Washington tries to cap the WikiLeaks leak

In James Houle on July 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm


WikiLeaks released on July 25th 76,000 mostly one-page battlefield documents leaked from US Army sources out of a total of 92,000 in their possession. They detail a vast array of material about the Afghan War ranging from “tactical reports about small unit operations to broader strategic analyses of politico-military relations between the US and Pakistan”. /STRATFOR’s George Friedman (07/27/10)/ doubts that this disparate assortment of not-so-sensitive materials below the ‘Top Secret’ category would likely have been collected by any single source. WikiLeaks, an organization operating out of several European cities since July 2007, produced this report entitled: “Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010” and sent it to three news organizations, The New York Times, the Guardian of London, and Der Speigel in Germany. One United States official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation, said government lawyers were exploring whether WikiLeaks and its leader, Mr. Julian Assange could be charged in violation of the Espionage Act, a 1917 law that prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of national security information. They might be charged with a crime if they were to release actual names or identities of Afghans who had worked under cover with the US Army/(NYTimes 07/29/10)/. Pfc. Bradley Manning, now returned from Army incarceration in Kuwait to the Quantico Brig in Virginia, previously released to WikiLeaks a 2007 video showing a US helicopter killing 12 unarmed Iraqis including two Reuters newsmen in Baghdad. WikiLeaks have not identified Pfc. Manning nor anyone else as the source of the current Afghan War Diary covering the period from Jan. 2004 through Dec.2009.

“Nothing new here, nothing we did not know”, we have been reassured by Defense Secretary Bob Gates and White House flak Robert Gibbs: “There is not much here that the public did not know and was not told by the media nor by the Administration”. more

Todd Walton: Social Security

In Guest Posts on July 30, 2010 at 8:16 am


Anderson Valley

“The government of my country snubs honest simplicity, but fondles artistic villainy, and I think I might have developed into a very capable pickpocket if I had remained in the public service a year or two.” ~Mark Twain

Today’s mail brought my annual report from the Lord High Chamberlain of the Exchequer informing me that unless I get hyper busy and super lucky, too, and start making gobs of money so the government can tax those gobs and dump loads of loot into my Social Security account, my later years, so-called, will be mean ones, as in Not Fun. True, the scribes toiling for SS (how Naziesque that acronym) are quick to point out that no reasonable human can hope to survive on SS payments alone, that such payments are merely intended to supplement the vast sums they seem to assume we have tucked away in other income-producing niches impervious to downturns in interest rates, stock markets, housing markets, and all other known markets currently falling like lead weights dropped from leaning towers everywhere.

Indeed, the verbiage attached to the SS notice trumpeting the diminutive stipend awaiting me when I crest sixty-six, puts me in mind of the surreal fiction of Calvino and Ionesco and Pinter, their ironic humor barely softening the horror of being eaten alive by the bureaucratic mouths of our overlords. For instance, here is a badly written but highly revealing passage of SS doggerel. “If you retire early, you may not have enough income to enjoy the years ahead of you. Likewise, if you retire late, you’ll have a larger income, but fewer years to enjoy it. Everyone needs to try to find the right balance, based on his or her own circumstances.” more

Michael Foley: Local Produce Price Comparisons — Farmers Markets This Saturday 7/31/10

In Dave Smith on July 29, 2010 at 10:05 pm


Friends of the Market,

Get set for another booming farmers’ market Saturday morning.  We will likely set yet another record for vendors in attendance.  At the moment I am expecting 36 food vendors, then there are the local crafts. Why not customers as well?

Joining us this weekend for the first time this season will be Elmer’s Orchard with Ukiah area peaches. Barlow Farms from Willits will debut. Red Tail Farm from Potter Valley will be back as will Glowing Lotus farm… tomatoes are starting to happen (but you may still need to be early to get yours) and overall School Street will be one giant salad bowl.  Plus we will have a full range of local meat, seafood, and more for your weekend grill.

Are you one of, apparently many, people who think they cannot afford farm fresh food in these tough economic times?  If so, please read the excellent article by Willits market manager Michael Foley that is pasted below.  Share it with your friends as well.

The market is open every Saturday 8:30 to Noon in Alex Thomas Plaza at School and Clay Streets.


Isn’t Farmers Market more expensive than the supermarket?  Well, no.
by Michael Foley

Surveys have shown that most customers at farmers markets think the produce is more expensive when in fact it isn’t.  That seems to be true for Willits as well.


Wendy Roberts Contracting With Outside Company To Bug You In The 5th District With Phone ‘Polls’

In Around Mendo Island on July 29, 2010 at 9:04 am


[With Wendy Roberts, what you see here, is what you'll get here: dumb growth,  privatized services, mall-think, and gated condos as far as the eye can see. Instead, vote for Transition and Localizing. Vote for Dan! -DS]

Wendy Roberts is contracting with the Charlton Co., an Oregon based info gathering  and political strategizing organization who work with the following corporations:

American Automobile Manufacturers Assn.

American Crop Protection Association

American Paper Institute

American Petroleum Institute


Association of California Tort Reform

AT & T

Bank of America

Bechtel, Inc.

Bell Atlantic

Boeing Company

Building Industry Association of the Delta

Business Roundtable

California Assoc. of Hospitals and Health Systems

California Bankers Association

California Cattlemen’s Association

California Forest Products Commission more

Staci Mitchell: Taking financial reform into our own hands

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on July 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm

YES! Magazine

Wall Street has prospered following the financial crisis—while on Main Street, economic suffering continues

With the passage of the financial reform bill, giant banks see a golden opportunity to finally put the financial crisis, along with their culpability for wrecking our economy, in the rearview mirror.

“We are very pleased to have this certainty and closure,” declared Steve Bartlett when the House-Senate conference committee had finished negotiating. Bartlett is the president of the Financial Services Roundtable, a powerful big bank lobbying group that would like nothing more than to make this legislation the one and only policy response to the banking system’s catastrophic failure.

It’s up to all of us to make sure that it is not.

The economic crisis is not over, and the rot and malfunctioning at the heart of our banking system remains. Indeed, since the collapse, giant banks have only grown bigger and more powerful, and less responsive to the needs of the real economy. While the financial reform bill includes several worthwhile measures, it will not set the industry right or entail a fundamental alteration of its scale and structure.

It leaves us, at best, only modestly less vulnerable to another meltdown. And it fails utterly to confront a deeper problem: even in the best of times, our banking system does not serve us very well. more

The Story of Cosmetics

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on July 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm






EWG tested the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborn babies and found nearly 300 chemicals, including BPA, fire retardants, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides that were banned more than 30 years ago.

Speak up for change. Our kids deserve it.

Bills to overhaul federal toxic chemicals policies are now moving through Congress. They would require that all chemicals be proven safe for children before they can be sold. Lawmakers in Washington need to know that you want strong reforms for our broken toxics law.

Please sign this petition to demand that Congress take action to make chemicals in consumer products kid-safe.


Keeping Local Meat Local

In Around the web on July 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

Bill and Jim Eklund receive cattle near their farm in Stamford, N.Y.
The next day, the cows will be led into the Modular Harvest System (behind Bill) to be processed.

From NYT

[It's time for Mendocino County to bring itself current with this obvious solution to local meat. If California law has to be adjusted to deal with this, get it adjusted. The big-time slaughterhouse solution being foisted on our community by economic development groups under the guise of "job creation" is nothing but industrialized farming to supply distant markets in the Bay Area and Sacramento... and that's a load of uncomposted bull pucky. Humane slaughter on the farm can keep our local meat locally-controlled for local markets. Keep it small and on the farm, or forget it. -DS]

The only indication that I was outside a slaughterhouse was the blood dripping from a pipe jutting out of a pristine white trailer. I’d driven right past the Lego-like set-up — a refrigerated semi-trailer with a half-trailer and a delivery truck stuck onto it — parked behind Eklund’s old farm-machinery shop in Stamford, N.Y. With a former Hollywood trailer situated nearby, I took it for a movie set. But I was looking at the first mobile slaughterhouse for large animals in the Northeast.

It was hard to believe that these four innocuous-looking components may well be the answer to the prayers of livestock farmers.

Organic, grass-fed meat is much in demand in Manhattan restaurants, but little of it is local. It’s not that Hudson Valley farmers aren’t raising it. Who wouldn’t want the extra 25 cents per pound that a 900-pound organically raised cow can bring? But when it comes time to kill (or “harvest”) their animals, farmers have only four slaughter facilities available in the area to go to.


Proposed 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines — A Recipe for Chronic Disease

In Around the web on July 27, 2010 at 10:08 pm


Weston A. Price Foundation Proposes a Return to Four Basic Groups of Nutrient-Dense Foods

The proposed 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines are a recipe for infertility, learning problems in children and increased chronic disease in all age groups according to Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

“The proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking. The current obesity epidemic emerged as vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates replaced these healthy, nutrient-dense traditional fats. Animal fats supply many essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources,” explains Fallon Morell.

“The revised Guidelines recommend even more stringent reductions in animal fats and cholesterol than previous versions,” says Fallon Morell, “and are tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. While the ship of state sinks under the weight of a crippling health care burden, the Committee members are giving us more of the same disastrous advice.  These are unscientific and grossly deficient dietary recommendations.”

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a non-profit nutrition education foundation with no ties to the government or food processing industries.  more

Richard Heinberg: We Need a New Myth

In Around the web on July 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm


[Extracted from an interview in Acres USA, March 2007 - DS]

Over the past 200 years the human population has grown from under one billion to now over 6.5 billion. That’s an extraordinary rate of increase—completely unprecedented in all of previous history. There are various ways of explaining how and why that has happened, but certainly it could not have happened without cheap fossil fuels with which to grow more food and to transport that food from where it’s abundant to where it’s scarce. I think it’s fair to say that there are somewhere between 2 and 4 billion people alive today who probably would not exist if it weren’t for fossil fuels. That’s a little worrisome to think about when one realizes that oil production globally is set to peak any year now, and global natural gas production will not be far behind. If we’re going to avoid to die-off of much of humanity through starvation and disease, we’re going to have to find ways of feeding people without fossil fuels or with a lot less fossil fuel use—and that really means redesigning out entire food system. It means growing more food locally, for local consumption, it means using smaller farm machinery and less of it, it means more people being involved in the process of producing food, and it means growing food with fewer chemicals and fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Fortunately, over the past few decades we have developed information, knowledge, experience and techniques that are capable of growing food intensively, organically and ecologically. Those techniques, those methods desperately need to be expanded and replicated and made the basis for our national and global food system.

The whole chemicals industry arose starting with coal, but natural gas is now the basis for the modern pharmaceutical and agri-chemical industry, and that’s a very worrisome situation here in North America more

Book Review: A More Feminine Food System — Farmer Jane

In Books on July 27, 2010 at 10:24 am


[...] Enter Temra Costa’s new book, Farmer Jane. A compilation of profiles of farmers and food activists, the book groups the women it profiles by what they do — though most likely do several, if not all, of these things — into six chapters (Building new Farm-to-Eater Relationships, Advocates for Social Change, Promoting Local and Seasonal Food, Networks for Sustainable Food, Urban Farm Women and The Next Generation of Sustainable Farmers), each with a “recipe for action,”…

With all due respect to the “farm moms” featured in Monsanto’s Mom of the Year contest, Farmer Jane paints a more dynamic picture of women farmers, many of whom don’t adhere to the “typical” farm stereotype, who instead focus on their creative approaches to food production and marketing, as well as the politics that influence their work (otherwise known as our meals)…

A few of the dynamic women farmers profiled in Farmer Jane:

  • Nancy Vail, who entered into a creative partnership to fund Pie Ranch, and, inspired by the shape of her land, used it to her advantage, luring youths out to her farm with the promise of pie.
  • Erika Allen, who incorporated her knowledge of art, knowing that in order to sell urban farming to a town like Chicago, it had better be aesthetically pleasing, of Growing Power Chicago.
  • Deborah Koons Garcia — the filmmaker who knew to use media as a tool for education, with whom Costa now runs a radio show called Queens of Green.
  • Denise O’Brien — the farmer/activist perhaps best known for her (close) run for Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa, profiled here for founding Women, Food and Agriculture Network… More here.

The Man Behind WikiLeaks (video)

In Around the web on July 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Click Post Title For Full Screen

Hungry for Meatless? Horny as All-Get-Out? Need a Drinky-Poo?

In Around the web on July 26, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Rock Island, IL

The high summer day slides languorously toward evening as the cicadas grind out their metallic song. Your gastric longings peak at a level that can almost be described as libidinous.

Your teeth and taste buds crave something substantial, like flesh, yet lighter, like farfel bathed sparingly in cream sauce. They want something savory and assertive, something that will hang on the tongue but not in the belly.

Your conscience, which always sits down to dine with you whether you know it or not, requires something seasonal and local, and your damned imagination interrupts with talk of color and texture. “Show me a palate,” it says. “Give me something soft yet crunchy, warm yet cold.”

In this season of oxymorons, let not your hearts be trouble; neither let them be confused. The most prefectest and yet simplest meal awaits you. It’s more simpler than good grammar.

So for the moment disregard what an English wag once said about his neighbors to the east (“nice place, France; pity about the French”) and pull a nice big French baguette out of the freezer—one of those prepared numbers that needs only to be baked for a short period of time. The ones I get need about eight minutes at 375.

(You can make your own, it is true. But remember that the day is already slipping into evening.)

Set the baguette down on a counter top cleared of all clutter. Remember: the mise en place is part of the experience.


The Financial and Political Big Picture

In Around the web on July 26, 2010 at 7:58 am

The Automatic Earth

As The Automatic Earth has grown and continued to catalogue the on-going financial crisis, it has been getting increasingly difficult for readers to find our view of the big picture in one place. Since it has been exactly one year since we issued our first primer guide, and several new primers have been added in the meantime, it seems an opportune moment to offer an updated distillation of our worldview.

The Resurgence of Risk, which appeared at The Oil Drum Canada in August 2007 provides the background to how we came to be in our present predicament. It is by far the longest of the primers, and its purpose is to explain in some depth the nature of our credit bubble, the role of ‘financial innovation’, the distinction between currency inflation and credit hyper-expansion and the mechanism by which value disappears as a bubble deflates.

For further explanation of the ponzi nature of bubbles, the spectrum of ponzi dynamics underlying many economic phenomena and the implications of this for where we are headed, see From the Top of the Great Pyramid.

This ties in with an earlier piece from The Oil Drum Canada, Entropy and Empire , detailing the progression of hegemonic power from empire to empire, as each rises, over-reaches, falls and passes the mantle on to its successor.

The political picture is further developed in Economics and the Nature of Political Crisis, with a more specific look at Europe in The Imperial Eurozone (With all That Implies).

When bubbles reach their maximum extent, they invariably deflate. Our explanation as to why this is inevitable can be found in Inflation Deflated, followed by, The Unbearable Mightiness of Deflation, a rebuttal to inflationist Gary North. An Interview with Stoneleigh provides a more recent and more comprehensive piece on deflation and its consequences.


America, There Is a Better Way: It’s Called Social Democracy

In Around the web on July 26, 2010 at 7:57 am


What anemic America can learn from Europe’s export-happy engine and largest social democracy

Nearly two years after the financial crisis brought the U.S. economy to its knees, more than 20 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed and Congress can barely extend jobless benefits. Republicans propose the same old nostrums–tax cuts–while President Barack Obama burnishes his deficit hawk credentials. Nearly everyone in power appears content to return to the status quo, circa 2007, with a few tweaks in place.

Even worse, alternatives to U.S.-style capitalism — and its attendant inequality, poverty and instability — are harder than ever to glimpse, as the sovereign debt crisis across the Atlantic distracts U.S media and politicians, once again, from the impressive achievements of European social democracies. That’s a shame, because if we can’t imagine a better world, our political and economic status quo appears inevitable and uncontestable, much to the benefit of those in power.

Thankfully, we have Thomas Geoghegan’s new book Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life (The New Press, 2010) to remind us that things like tax cuts for the wealthy, a healthcare system controlled by corporations and privatized retirement schemes are not inevitable.

The book’s central mission–to detail a more humane form of capitalism — couldn’t be more relevant to overworked Americans quietly thinking to themselves, there has to be a better way. Indeed, there is: Contrary to apocalyptic U.S. news articles, European-style social democracy is not about to go extinct. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that Europe is not an undifferentiated mass of debt, socialist profligacy and unemployment.

Complete article here.

Wendell Berry: What Else?

In Around the web on July 24, 2010 at 8:48 am


For more than 100 years the coal-producing counties of eastern Kentucky have been dependent on the coal industry, which has dominated them politically and, submitting only to the limits of technology, has come near to ruining them. The legacy of the coal economy in the Kentucky mountains will be immense and lasting damage to the land and to the people. Much of the damage to the land and the streams, and to water quality downstream, will be irreparable within historical time. The lastingness of the damage to the people will, to a considerable extent, be determined by the people.

The future of the people will, in turn, be determined by the kind of economy that may come to supplement and finally to replace the economy of coal. Contrary to my own prejudice and sense of caution, I am going to yield here, briefly, to the temptation to talk about the future.

In talking about the future, wishes have a certain standing. My wish for eastern Kentucky, as for the rest of the state, is that the economies of the future might originate in the local use of local intelligence. The coal economy, by contrast, has been an imposed economy, coming in from the outside and also coming down from the high perches of wealth and power. It is the product of an abstracting industrial and mercenary intelligence, alien both to the nature of the land and to the minds and lives of the people. But as we humans seem always to have known, though we have often needed to be reminded, freedom is founded upon the land and upon the free use of local intelligence in husbanding the land. Disfranchisement approaches the absolute when powerful outsiders do your thinking for you. This can happen only when local intelligence is degraded and disvalued and when, as a consequence, political responsibility is sold out. more

What is Lump Charcoal and Why Use It?

In Around the web, Small Business Skills on July 24, 2010 at 7:46 am


[Years ago, when I learned Alice Waters over at Chez Panisse in Berkeley used Lazzari Mesquite Charcoal in her restaurant grilling, I converted from briquettes and have used only Mesquite since. The co-op now carries lump charcoal and so does the Farm Supply. I get large bags of Lazzari Mesquite from Harvest Market in Fort Bragg when we are over on the coast. Lamb sausage hot dogs, and lamb burgers, from Owens Family Farm in Hopland, over mesquite... oh, yeah! I'm headed to the Farmers Market right now. And: Is lump charcoal a local business opportunity? (see photos below) -DS]

What is charcoal?

In general, wood charcoal is a substance obtained by partial burning or destructive distillation of wood. It is largely pure carbon. Wood charcoal is prepared by heating wood in the absence of oxygen. In this process volatile compounds in the wood (e.g., water, hydrogen, methane and tars) pass off as vapors into the air, and the carbon is converted into charcoal. (Tar is a generic name for big, smoky, sticky molecules that form liquids when they’re cool. The tars, in particular, can contain carcinogenic compounds, like benzo-A-pyrene.) With the volatile component driven off, you are left with wood charcoal that is about 20 to 25-percent of the original volume of the wood. It’s chiefly carbon, with traces of volatile chemicals and ash. When it burns, it won’t produce as much smoke as burning wood, and it will burn long, hot and steady. Charcoal, being almost pure carbon, yields a larger amount of heat in proportion to its volume than is obtained from a corresponding quantity of wood.

What forms does charcoal come in?

As far as cooking is concerned, there are two main forms, lump charcoal and briquettes. Lump charcoal is charcoal which has not been formed into briquettes. Briquettes are the pillow shaped little pieces of compressed ground charcoal.

Which is better, lump or briquettes? more

Tony Miksak: Heard At The Bookshop

In Around Mendo Island on July 24, 2010 at 7:24 am

Words on Books KZYX
Thanks to Tom Davenport

I’ve been out of the bookselling biz for some time now. That old familiar monkey on my back bothers someone else with his bad breath, scratchy claws and constant demands for attention.

This week it all came back – the adventure, the heartbreak, the humor of working in an independent bookstore. It seems that bookseller Cynthia Christensen of Book Stop in Hood River, Oregon, recently came down with pneumonia and laryngitis, and her husband stepped in for a couple of weeks in her place.

He kept notes:

“Do you have this used?” (Customer holds up a book just released in paperback that day.) “It was just released today.” “But you’re a used bookstore.” “Sorry, they haven’t figured out how to print them used.”

“Do you have a restroom? My son needs to poop.”

“I’m just browsing.”

“I’m just killing time.”

“Can my kids stay here while I’m eating next door?”

“There’s a hair on this sofa.”

“Can I make you a deal on this book?”

“Have you seen my wife?”

“Do you have maps?” (Looks at map, copies directions, incorrectly folds map, leaves it on the sofa.)

“Where am I?” more

Culture of Narcissism

In Guest Posts on July 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Anderson Valley

“Every age develops its own peculiar forms of pathology, which express in exaggerated form its underlying character structure.” ~Christopher Lasch

A few weeks before my second novel was to be published in 1980, I got a call from my editor at Simon & Schuster saying that Sales had decided my title wasn’t strong enough and they needed a more seductive replacement. Mackie was the title of my novel and the name of its central character, a charismatic narcissist on the verge of a nervous breakdown. As it happened, I was in the midst of reading Christopher Lasch’s remarkable book The Culture of Narcissism, and therein found the expression “forgotten impulses”, which Sales adored. Thus my novel was published as Forgotten Impulses and garnered the following from The New York Times. “Piercingly real eroticism told in an ear-perfect rendering.” Oh, for such a review today.

For those not familiar with The Culture of Narcissism, I will briefly synopsize this seminal work. Seminal is an appropriate adjective, for The Culture of Narcissism spawned dozens of other works in response to it. Lasch, a historian with a special interest in the history of psychotherapy, theorized that the social developments of the 20th century, particularly World War II and its aftermath, suburbanization, consumerism, the movie industry, and the conquest of our psyches by television, created a perfect storm of conditioning from which emerged a society of narcissists: individuals with no reliable inner sense of self, and thus prone to fixations on celebrities and extreme vulnerability to manipulation by mass media. more

Banning Lawn Chemicals

In Around the web on July 22, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Author, Living Downstream

DDT is now so universally used that in most minds  the product takes on the harmless aspect of the familiar. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Harmless aspect of the familiar was the phrase that leapt into my mind when I watched a scantily clad woman—the day was hot and sunny—lie down in a green sward of grass in front of the Women’s Center on the campus of DePauw University in Indiana. Next to her waved a small yellow flag that warned passers-by to keep off the grass as it had just been sprayed with pesticides.

I guess the word irony might also have applied. On the other side of the flag, a card table was piled high with copies of my book, Living Downstream, which, among other topics, discusses the dangers of lawn chemicals. The books were for sale. I was positioned up on the porch, encouraged by my faculty host to chat with students, drink punch, and sign books as part of an informal reception before my all-campus Earth Day lecture.

Yes, I intervened. The reclining woman seemed bewildered by my concern for her, pointing out that the yellow flags are so ubiquitous that no one notices them. She reluctantly promised to shower and launder her clothes before attending the evening’s lecture.

No flags wave from the lawns in many parts of Canada. Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island—and many cities across the rest of the nation—have expressly outlawed the cosmetic use of pesticides. Within these provinces and municipalities, the use of synthetic pesticides to improve the appearance of lawns and, in some places, gardens is now illegal…

more here

The Digger Dogs of Last Chance Hollow

In Guest Posts on July 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Anderson Valley

All us humans need something to distinguish ourselves from the dirt. Don’t matter what it is: a human will take pride in anything. If one fellah takes pride in having traveled the world round, the next will take just as much in never having laid eyes on anything beyond what he can see from his porch. If one fellah is generally acknowledged to hold clear title to the strongest, hardworkingest and sweetest-tempered mule in the whole valley, another will claim to have the laziest, stupidest and most ornery. A fellah with the fastest horse won’t take kindly to a stranger with a reputation for gambling that rides into town aboard a sleek and feisty colt. The township’s undisputed checkers champ will generally hold a low opinion of the fellah who’s even more highly regarded as being the best damned horseshoe-chucker, or the most crack with a long barrel or deck of cards.

It’s a well known scientific fact that you can take a ragamuffin hillbilly and have him win a giant lottery jackpot and, at least until the novelty wears off, he’s gonna be as happy as a hog rooting around in hog heaven. But make it so that no-good brother-in-law of his wins a jackpot the same size or bigger, and he’s going to feel like his own good fortune has been cheapened. If he’s the sort of fellah whose pride is easily wounded and hardly mended, the other winning himself a jackpot will take all the fun out of him winning his.

Damnest thing, human pride. As far back as there’s been head-scratchers, they’ve been scratching their heads over that one. more

On Shirley Sherrod: The heroism of responding to the low-life, racist, right-wing smear campaigns

In Around the web on July 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm


[...] But — just as happened with Octavia Nasr and so many before her, including the now-destroyed ACORN — the blinding, lying, depressingly common right-wing hysteria churned out by Brietbart/Fox meant that no nuances were permitted, no reason could breathe, and few people had the courage to defend Sherrod or even demand that she be allowed to speak before being thrown to the trash heap.

And that’s where the truly significant and rare courage of Sherrod becomes so consequential.  Unlike so many who are caught in similar right-wing/media smear storms and (understandably) back down, Sherrod refused to meekly slink away.  She conspicuously refused to apologize for things that merited no apology.  Rather than legitimize the accusations with defensive self-justifications, she put the blame squarely where it belonged:  on Brietbart, on the NAACP for condemning her without all the facts, and on the Obama administration for demanding her “resignation.”  And as a result of her refusal to allow these false smears to go unchallenged and the low-life smear artists to be rewarded, the true facts have emerged.  The actual culprits in this episode — basically everyone except her and the white couple who came forward to defend her — are clearly identified and exposed, with their credibility in tatters.  And it’s hard to imagine the administration’s not reversing itself and offering to re-hire her, thus being forced to reverse a serious injustice.


Gene Logsdon: Despite Gloom, Things Are Looking Up For Garden Farming

In Around the web on July 21, 2010 at 8:33 am


There were several times so far this year when I almost wished I lived in a high rise luxury apartment in New York far removed from the paltry world of cutworms and purslane.  First the crows ate up my whole first planting of open-pollinated field corn and when I replanted, too deep for the crows to peck out, several oceans of water fell on the cornfield and hardly a fourth of the kernels came up.

However, the sweet corn in the garden grew just fine. The raccoons and deer thought so too and somehow outwitted the electric fence. The score of the first planting: coons 65 ears; deer 18, squirrels 11, Carol and Gene, 8. And the eight were still immature because if we had waited one more night, they’d have been gone too. Still we had second, third, fourth and fifth plantings coming on and were getting the electric fence more fine-tuned for the job. So?  A storm flattened planting No. 3. Why it bypassed most of planting No. 2 next to No. 3, I do not know. Meanwhile, the biweekly deluges also kept our onions from growing much beyond the size of ping pong balls and peas produced only about half. To top off all other calamities, the wheat crop in this part of the eastern cornbelt became infected with a  fungal disease with the appetizing name of vomitoxin and lots of it can’t be used for human food and probably not animals either.

To raise food means to understand that Americans constantly totter on the brink of starvation and don’t know it. Society worries instead about where LeBron James is going to  play basketball.  We need a LeBron James of garden farming to put peoples’ heads back on straight…

more here

As Demand Grows for Locally Raised Meat, Farmers Turning to Mobile Slaughterhouses

In Around the web on July 21, 2010 at 8:28 am


When Kathryn Thomas wanted to turn her sheep into lamb chops, the federal government required her to haul them across Puget Sound on a ferry and then drive three hours to reach a suitable slaughterhouse.

Not anymore. These days, the slaughterhouse — and the feds — come to her.

A 53-foot tractor-trailer rattles up to her farm on Lopez Island, the rear doors open and the sheep are led inside, where the butcher and federal meat inspector are waiting. When the job is done, the team heads out to the next farm.

The slaughtermobile — a stainless steel industrial facility on wheels — is catching on across the country, filling a desperate need in a burgeoning movement to bring people closer to their food. It is also perhaps one of the most visible symbols of a subtle transformation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, long criticized for promoting big agribusiness.

Under the Obama administration and the 2008 farm bill passed by Congress, the USDA is shifting attention to small and mid-size farms, encouraging organic and sustainable agriculture, and investing in projects to bring locally grown meat and produce to consumers.

“There is unbelievable consumer interest in local agriculture that we haven’t seen in decades,” said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. She is overseeing the agency’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program, designed to revive the processing, marketing and distribution networks that once made small farming viable but disintegrated in the last 30 years as U.S. agriculture went through a dramatic consolidation. more

Janie Sheppard: Murals in the Mission

In Around the web on July 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Mendocino County

Inspired by the Ukiah controversy over murals, Laura Fogg and I decided to do some community mural viewing.  Laura wanted to investigate the murals in San Francisco’s Mission District and I was game to go along.

We started early, 7 a.m., stopping at the Flying Goat Coffee House in Healdsburg for scones and coffee, and arriving in the Mission around 10 a.m.  We parked easily near 17th and South Van Ness, very close to our first stop:  Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP), near the intersection of Mission and 17th Streets.  Facebook says about CAMP:  that it chose social inclusiveness and aesthetic variety as its themes.  The result is more than 100 murals on and around Clarion Alley by Latino, Caucasian, African-American, Native American, Asian, Indian, Queer and disabled artists of all ages and all levels of experience.  Here are a couple of the murals.

Balmy Alley, between Treat Avenue and Harrison Street, offered more treats, including a scary robot taking over the Mission District.  A resident explained that when the economy offered high incomes to many energetic young people, they chose to move to the Mission, threatening its local culture.  The resulting robot mural depicts the crushing power of monster. more

Gardening for the Next Generation

In Around the web on July 20, 2010 at 7:36 am

Civil Eats

Gardening is hot, and I don’t mean just sweaty work in July while you hoe the purslane and harvest beans, squash, and zucchini.  Working the land is a trendy topic from web-rooted FarmVille to the White House to the written word.

Part of the reason for the new interest in the simple but yet so intensely complex act of growing food is that we have a clear problem and myriad solutions. The problem: obesity rates increased in 28 states in the past year. As recently reported in “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010,” obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges our country has faced. With 1 in 3 US children age 2-19 overweight or obese, we need to end this trend and fortunately, many organizations, initiatives, and resources aim to solve child obesity in a generation.

Part of the solution starts with students and a seed. The benefits of gardening are far beyond the average 270 calories burned while digging in the dirt. The Royal Horticulture Society reported in new research that “as well as helping children lead happier, healthier lives today, gardening helped them acquire the essential skills they need to fulfill their potential in a rapidly-changing world and make a positive contribution to society as a whole.”

Our society craves a connection to a sense of place, to where our food comes from, to the community that used to surround a meal. We are so far removed from agriculture that over 20 million people daily use a mouse instead of a hoe to harvest on FarmVille. While living in DC during snowpocalypse 2010, I achieved level 30 in FarmVille in a few short weeks—albeit extremely frustrated at the ridiculousness of never actually ‘harvesting’ the farm animals and collecting chocolate milk from a brown cow. more

Rep. Alan Grayson: The Republicans are trying to revive an America of desperate straits and cheap labor

In Around the web on July 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm

From digby

[Unemployment Insurance] “The Republicans are thinking, why don’t they just sell some of their stock? If they’re in really dire straits maybe they can take some of their art collection and send it to the auctioneer. And if they’re in deep deep trouble maybe the unemployed can sell one of their yachts. That’s what the Republicans are thinking right now. But that’s not the life of ordinary people…”

“I will say to the Republicans who have blocked this bill for months, to those who have kept food out of the mouths of children, I will say to them now, may God have mercy on your souls”

Dan Hamburg: Pandora’s Box in the Gulf — Does Hope Remain?

In Around the web on July 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm



1.  Why was BP allowed to drill in this location?  Both the MMS and BP geologists cautioned against drilling in the location of the Deepwater Horizon due to evidence of a highly volatile methane bubble beneath the seabed.  They warned that if this bubble was disturbed and exploded, it could cause a 200 foot tsunami that would virtually wipe out six Gulf states!  In spite of all this, MMS waived environmental impact studies for the rig and well.

2. Why aren’t all oil companies exploiting the land and seas of the United States, required to drill relief wells and to have equipment at the ready to deal with accidents?

3.  Why aren’t the perpetrators of this disaster being charged for negligence, manslaughter, or worse?  Whistleblowers pointed out before the explosion that the last several hundred feet of the well borehole lacked protective cement casing, a dangerous situation that increased the chances for an explosive event to occur.  Just five hours before the rig went up in flames, an expert who’d worked with the US Army extinguishing oil fires in Iraq was flown to the rig for consultation.  He informed BP that if they continued to pump saltwater into the hole it would blow.  He then demanded immediate evacuation for himself and his men.  The Transocean Corporation, whose blowout preventer failed to operate on April 20, advised BP to stop drilling after receiving negative pressure test results.  Despite these warnings BP did nothing, allowing eleven men to die, and inflicting incalculable damage on the lives of Gulf coast residents, the environment and economy that will take decades, if not centuries to recover. more

Michael Laybourn: Our Real Teachers — At Grace Hudson Now

In Around Mendo Island on July 18, 2010 at 7:40 pm


Hot Tip:
Go down to the Grace Hudson Museum and see Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider, a California Indian Feast exhibition. This exhibit is a gem. Not only to see and taste what the the California Natives ate in past times and still do to some extent, but to sense the needed equilibrium necessary to live on this planet.

I saw the opening exhibit Sunday and rediscovered some the fundamental truths about the balances of life we all need to keep in mind. The show is called a feast and it is — a feast for the mind as well as the mouth. Here are some quotes from the (cook)book that is sold with the show. The book is put together by Margaret Dubin and Sara-Larus Tolley. Buy it — It is well worth it. Learn something.

From the Foreword by Kathleen Rose Smith (Bodega Miwok and Dry Creek Pomo):

Before Euro-American domination, more than 1000 nations (including bands and tribes) thrived in the place called California… Such long-term rootedness was possible due to the knowledge, respect, and restraint with which Native Californians approached plants and animals that sustained them. Strict rules governed their interactions with the environment: they gathered plants only at certain times; they burned, pruned, and dug in prescribed ways and at carefully calculated times, and they gave something back for whatever they took. The “untrammeled wilderness” the Europeans thought they discovered was in fact a carefully managed ecosystem…

My mother told me this when I was young. I didn’t understand what she meant then, but I do now. She said we had many relatives and we all had to live together; so we’d better learn how to get along with each other. She said it wasn’t too hard to do. It was just like taking care of your younger brother or sister. You got to know them, find out what they like and what made them cry, so you’d know what to do. If you took good care of them you didn’t have to work as hard. Sounds like it’s not true, but it is. When that baby gets to be a man or woman they’re going to help you out.


Book Reviews: Going ‘off the grid’ — what it means and what it takes and why

In Books on July 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm


Eight books about moving away from the city and living without power, running water, cars and in some cases, companionship.

It’s all Thoreau’s fault. In the whirring, churning American imagination, that vast and lovely virtual world — fed by books and stories — with territory one can still “light out” for, Thoreau is the guy who showed it was possible to get off the merry-go-round, the constant forward movement, and still walk into town from time to time. Plant yourself within spitting distance of civilization, refuse to participate in the orgy of commercialism, refuse to pay taxes if you don’t agree with how they’re spent. You don’t need everything they tell you that you need. You can do more for yourself than they tell you that you can. The message was political, spiritual, practical and environmental. It contained a fine amount of humor, a pinch of self-doubt and a smidgeon of hypocrisy. Today we would call Thoreau’s move to the banks of Walden Pond going off the grid.

Although books about carving out your own piece of the pie have been written ever since the Transcendentalists took issue with the direction that American democracy was taking, never before have I seen the current deluge of books on how to escape the American Dream. I grew up in New York City in an apartment full of them — my mother spent her short life trying to get out of Dodge and into the hills, though the schools she attended surely did not teach survival skills. I’ve chosen seven new tomes that represent various approaches, or should I say escape routes, but there are at least a dozen more. Why? Why now?

Nick Rosen sees going off the grid as a political choice. In “Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America,” he writes that corporate greed, massive layoffs, healthcare wars, ecological disasters have caused many true believers to question the American Dream. “Most of the people I met on my tour of America,” writes the British Rosen, “are losing faith in the grid, both in its literal and metaphorical sense. They don’t feel a sufficient advantage to being inside the fabric of society.” The grid was created…  more here
See also Why Thoreau Is Still Relevant

The Dirty F@#*ing Hippies Were Right!

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on July 17, 2010 at 9:09 am

Thanks to Bruce McCloskey

Click On Post Title For Viewing

[This gives me both deep sorrow, and a great, sustainable joy! Living here among the last outposts in Ecotopia, we should always celebrate our fun-loving creativity, foresight, and wisdom, and never, never, never let down the good fight. -DS]

It’s hard to believe but there is still a lot of hippie hating going on. It can even be found here at daily kos from time to time. How ignorant or brainwashed does one have to be to rail against those who tried to save us from the fate that bedevils us now? If we’d heeded their cries for sanity and change we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. Not saying it would be utopia but it wouldn’t be the hell on earth the establishment conservatives have created for us.

Imagine no possesions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people Sharing all the world.

John Lennon – Imagine

The hippies were powerful proponents of universal brotherhood, peace, love, tolerance, understanding and ecological stewardship. They tried to change our culture and point out that it was superficial, mean, hateful, wasteful, rapacious, violent, greedy, selfish and unsustainable.

And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of old and evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Hunter S. Thompson

If the hippies and their message had prevailed we wouldn’t be pouring trillions of dollars into stupid and immoral wars of choice. We’d have (arguably) switched to alternative forms of energy, adjusted our lifestyles, reined in the greedheads, more

A Conservative Groks Obama

In Around the web on July 17, 2010 at 9:07 am

From Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post

In the political marketplace, there’s now a run on Obama shares. The left is disappointed with the president. Independents are abandoning him in droves. And the right is already dancing on his political grave, salivating about November when, his own press secretary admitted Sunday, Democrats might lose the House.

I have a warning for Republicans: Don’t underestimate Barack Obama.

Consider what he has already achieved. Obamacare alone makes his presidency historic. It has irrevocably changed one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care and, as acknowledged by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus but few others, begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history.

Second, there is major financial reform, which passed Congress on Thursday. Economists argue whether it will prevent meltdowns and bailouts as promised. But there is no argument that it will give the government unprecedented power in the financial marketplace. Its 2,300 pages will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only, as many assume, the big banks but just about everyone, including, as noted in one summary (the Wall Street Journal), “storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, home buyers and credit bureaus.”

Third is the near $1 trillion stimulus, the largest spending bill in U.S. history. And that’s not even counting nationalizing the student loan program, regulating carbon emissions by Environmental Protection Agency fiat, and still-fitful attempts to pass cap-and-trade through Congress.

But Obama’s most far-reaching accomplishment is his structural alteration of the U.S. budget. The stimulus, the vast expansion of domestic spending, the creation of ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see are not easily reversed.


Conservatism is an Ideology of Death

In Around the web on July 16, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Common Dreams

The issue is death – death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf.

Many, perhaps a majority, of the Gulf residents affected are conservatives, strong right-wing Republicans, following extremist Governors Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour. What those conservatives are not saying, and may be incapable of seeing, is that conservatism itself is largely responsible for what happened, and that conservatism is a continuing disaster for conservatives who live along the Gulf.

Conservatism is an ideology of death. It was conservative laissez-faire free market ideology – that maximizing profit comes first – that led to:

* the corrupt relationship between the oil companies and the Interior Department staff that was supposedly regulating them
* minimizing cost by not drilling relief wells
* the principle that oil companies could be responsible their own risk assessments on drilling
* maximizing profit by outsourcing risk assessment that told them what they wanted to hear: zero risk!
* maximizing profit by minimizing cost of materials
* maximizing profit by failing to pay cleanup crews and businesses for their losses
* focusing only on profit by failing to test the cleanup methods to be used if something went wrong
* minimizing cost by sacrificing the health of cleanup crews, refusing to allow them to use respirator masks to protect against toxic fumes.

It is conservative profit-above-all market fundamentalism that has led other oil companies to mount a massive PR campaign to isolate BP as an anomalous “bad actor” and to argue more

Todd Walton: The Double

In Guest Posts on July 16, 2010 at 7:36 am

Under The Table
Anderson Valley

I still find it hard to fathom that there are men walking the earth who resemble me so exactly that even their close friends can’t tell us apart. But ever since I was a teenager, and until quite recently (I’m approaching sixty), I have had several remarkable experiences of being taken for someone I am not. These were not incidents of mistaken identity at a distance. No, these were encounters with people—complete strangers—who saw me up close, studied me, spoke to me, and swore that I was the person they thought I was—a person they knew intimately. And when I told them I was Todd, and not Mike or Paul or Huey or Jason, they thought I was either joking or lying. Furthermore, they told me I possessed this other person’s voice and physical mannerisms to such an uncanny degree, that if I was not the person they believed me to be, I must be his identical twin—or his ghost.

I was a junior in high school—1966—when I was first mistaken so completely for someone else. I was coming out of Discount Records in Menlo Park, California, when an immaculate two-door 1956 Chevrolet, black top, gray bottom, pulled up beside me, and the driver rolled down his window to say, “Hey, Mike. Listen to this. Something doesn’t sound right.” Then he gunned his engine. “See what I mean? Carburetor?”

“I don’t know who you are,” I said, shrugging politely. “And I don’t know anything about cars.”

“Mike?” he said, incredulously. “You’re not Mike?”

“I’m sorry. No.”

“Wow. You look just like him. Clothes and everything. And you sound like him, too.”

My outfit—blue jeans and T-shirt and high-top tennis shoes—was not particularly original in that era, more

Scott Cratty: Ukiah Farmers Market This Saturday 7/17/10

In Dave Smith on July 15, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Ithaca, New York


Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  This Saturday we should set yet a new high water mark for the number of local small farms and ranches at the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market.

We have had several new farms at the market over the last couple of weeks (e.g., Black Dog and Amber Phamily).  Joining them and our usual array of great vendors this weekend for the first time will be Ellery Clark bringing a range of Ukiah-grown produce and Triple Creek from Laytonville, a second blueberry vendor.  Jack and Mimi Booth of Cinnamon Bear Farm will be returning for the first time this season and they expect to have our first Mendocino grown tomatoes … but you will have to be at the market early to get them.

Don’t forget that we have so much going on, most of our ranches and our fresh seafood have moved into a new section in the parking lot at School and Clay.

Speaking of meat, Lovers Lane Farm wanted me to let you all know that they will be having a “pork blowout” for the next 2 weeks at all the farmer’s markets. “In order to make room for a new batch of 100% Berkshire (Kurobuta) hogs, we will offer $5 off all roasts. This includes smoked ham roasts, bone-in picnic roasts, & boneless Boston butt roasts. Also smoked hocks will be buy one get one free. We still have a good supply of smoked jowls, sliced and whole. These make an excellent substitute for bacon, in fact you may not be able to tell the difference.” More about another Lovers’ Lane offer below.

Joanne Horn of Afterglow Naturals will be at the market for the 1st (and possibly only) time this month.

We will again have BEANS, an NCO-sponsored educational project.  This weekend the BEANS crew will be providing a range of activity for kids, including coloring, hula hooping, tin can stilts, nutrition information, recipes and more.  Plus, they will be sharing corn and bean fiesta salad. As usual, the market will feature a story time reading for kids at 10:30am in the park.  Then there is the jump house.

For you adults, we will have UC Master Gardeners to answer all of your questions.  This week they will feature information on weed & pest control. The good folks of the Ukiah Valley Medical Center will provide diabetes testing and information. more

Hey, Catfood Commission: 86% of Americans Would Not Reduce Social Security

In Around the web, Social Security on July 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm


In a poll just released today, Time provides results that show Americans staunchly opposed to cuts in Social Security, Medicare or healthcare, but in favor of cutting spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. With Alan Simpson and the Catfood Commission so determined to cut Social Security and Medicare, we can now state that they are going directly against over 80% of citizens in this effort.

The question posed was “If Congress and the President had to reduce spending, which of these areas would you reduce spending?”  The areas included were Social Security, Medicare, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, education, unemployment compensation for people out of work and looking for jobs, healthcare, Medicaid (which provides health care for low income families)  and defense spending other than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Here are the results for these questions:

Category Would reduce, % Would not reduce, %
Social Security 12 86
Medicare 16 82
Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq 55 41
Education 17 82
Unemployment compensation for people out of work and looking for jobs 34 63
Healthcare 28 68
Medicaid, which provides health care for low income families 20 77
Defense spending other than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 46 50

The full poll can be read here. more

‘The Most Dangerous Man In America’ Coming To Philo 7/18

In Around Mendo Island on July 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers will be shown at the Anderson Valley Grange in Philo, on Sunday evening, July 18th at 6:30 p.m. This special screening is sponsored by Greenwood Vineyards, the Grange, and Solstice Productions. Refreshments available. Tickets are $5.00.

The Most Dangerous Man in America, a 2010 Academy Award nominee, has won best documentary awards throughout the U.S. and has screened in Australia, Berlin, and Warsaw. One of the creators, Judith Ehrlich, will be present at the July 18th Grange event.

Book Review: Last Words

In Books on July 15, 2010 at 8:22 am


The first instance of capital punishment on record in America was the shooting in colonial Virginia of George Kendall, accused of plotting to betray the British to the Spanish. If he had any parting quips, they were not written down. We have to wait for the execution of two Quakers, Marmaduke Stevenson and William Robinson, fifty years later, on October 27, 1659, for an account of the last words of the condemned. As one would expect, the two men, who were convicted and hung for disobeying banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, reaffirmed their faith in God and reminded the spectators to mind the light that shone within them. Since then, as Last Words of the Executed, an enthralling book by Robert K. Elder, amply documents, there have been over sixteen thousand executions in this country and a vast record of final pronouncements taken from prison records, eyewitness statements, newspaper accounts, period diaries and written statements. Some of these are credibly attributable to the executed while others are of questionable origin or indisputably redacted.

Why this enormous interest in the final thoughts of men and women who were often guilty of committing horrific crimes?… more here

Robert K. Elder’s Last Words of the Executed, with a foreword by the late Studs Terkel, has just been published by the University of Chicago Press.

Thom Hartmann: The Food Bubble – How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on July 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm


Thom Hartmann talked to author Frederick Kaufman about his cover story in this month’s edition of Harper’s Magazine The food bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it.

It’s subscription only but you can read more about Kaufman and his work at his blog

Thom shared a little of the article during his interview with Kaufman.

Hartmann: “The history of food took an ominous turn in 1991, at a time when no one was paying much attention. That was the year Goldman Sachs decided our daily bread might make an excellent investment.”

And then towards the end of the story, just a couple of sentences here. “Bankers had taken control of the world’s food, money chased money and a billion people went hungry.” Remember the food riots of a couple of years ago around the world?

“The world wide price of food had risen by 80% between 2005 and 2008 and unlike other food catastrophes in the last half century or so, more

A Killer Chart

In Around the web on July 14, 2010 at 11:36 am

The Automatic Earth

Over the weekend, I wrote about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and how they form the core of the biggest fraud and crime ever perpetrated upon the American people. And even though that was already the umptieth time I have addressed this particular topic, I want to return to it again.

After all, we’re not talking about Jesse James or Billy the Kid or Charles Ponzi or Kenny-Boy Enron or any of that petty kiddy wannabe criminal stuff, this is the number one way Americans have ever been fleeced right across the entire nation. Maybe that status is best recognized by the fact that people to this day keep on begging for more of the same. Either that or another little fact: the government is at the center of the scheme.

In the July 11 post at TAE, there was an article by Michael David White, a Chicago area real estate broker who a few years ago started calling on his clients to NOT buy a home. I’ve featured many of White’s articles since; I like that kind of attitude. In last week’s piece by White Pending Homes Sales Crash in a Record Fall to a Record Low as Tax Break Expires, though, something was missing. There was a line that said “see the graph below”, but there was no graph. Since I had a hunch which graph he meant. I sent him a mail. more

Jobless ‘Recovery’ Requires Us to Rebuild America

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on July 14, 2010 at 7:20 am


The good news is that America’s economy continues to grow. The bad news is that most people’s personal economies continue to shrivel.

The June report on jobs glows with the happy news that America’s unemployment rate has fallen to 9.5 percent – the best we’ve had in a year! “We are headed in the right direction,” trumpeted President Obama.

Great … if true. However, the ballyhooed jobs statistic is a mirage. It looks good only because 650,000 more Americans became so frustrated with their fruitless search for work last month that they quit looking. In StatWorld, such “discouraged” seekers are – abracadabra! – no longer considered unemployed, even though they are. There are now 1.2 million Americans in this statistical purgatory.

That’s not the only shadow on June’s economic glow. Those lucky enough to have jobs, for example, saw America’s average workweek shrink. It’s now down to only 34 hours – which means less income for “full time” working families.

There also was another drop in the average hourly wage. Fewer hours, lower wages. That’s not what most people would call an economy “headed in the right direction.” more here

Recipe ideas for your overflowing CSA box

In Around the web on July 13, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Poor Man’s Feast


Set aside the greens if they’re tender and in good condition. Braise the radishes, chop up the greens and add them at the last minute. Serve hot, or cold, with rice, or on crusty whole grain toast.

Pickle them (see below), slice them, and put them on a Banh Mi (vegetarian or not).

If they’re French breakfast radishes, dip them in softened sweet butter, sprinkle with a drop of sea salt, and serve them as an amuse. Or a small snack while you’re reading the paper.

Roast them like new potatoes.

Slice them very thinly on a mandoline and serve them on the blackest black bread you can find, spread with some sweet butter and a pinch of salt.


Pickle them and eat them like, well, pickles. more

Fermented Food Fans: Meet The Folks From Cultured

In Around the web on July 13, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Civil Eats

[Available locally at the Co-op. -DS]

Sour foods really appealed to Alex Hozven as she battled brutal pregnancy-induced nausea with her first son.

Nothing unusual there, right? Millions of women crave pickles to combat morning (or all-day) sickness. But Hozven’s obsession with fermented foods didn’t end once her baby was born.

Instead, she set out to master making naturally fermented foods (no vinegar, water, or heat) like sauerkraut, kim chee, and kombucha with a locavore sensibility and seasonal twist –  and built a thriving business that now supports a family of four.

Self-taught Hozven and her husband, Kevin Farley, run Cultured Pickle Shop, a small store in West Berkeley dedicated to preserving pickling traditions from around the globe, though the two profess to a particular fondness for Japanese methods…

more here

Gene Logsdon: Pancakes From Perennial Wheatgrass Grain

In Around the web on July 13, 2010 at 9:28 am


I hope I don’t sound too self-important when I announce an historic moment in our kitchen. Carol just made pancakes with flour from a new and startling source. Wes Jackson, the celebrated plant geneticist, author, farmer (and years ago a fairly good football player), has been experimenting for decades now with the bold idea that perennial grains can be developed to take the place of annual grains, thus revolutionizing agriculture by making it unnecessary for so many millions of acres to be cultivated annually. I raise my forkful of wheatgrass pancake and I salute you, Mr. Jackson.

This flour has the trademarked name, Kernza ™ and comes from selected strains of wild intermediate wheatgrass grain, which Jackson and his staff at the Land Institute near Salina, Kansas are crossing with annual wheat varieties to breed a commercially practical perennial grain. The flour makes a light dough and the pancakes taste just a tad sweeter than ordinary wheat flour. It is Jackson’s hope that within ten years, he and his staff can develop Kernza ™ for use in commercially manufactured foods. It is exceptionally high in some nutrients known to be important to human health and deficient in many modern diets: Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, lutein, and betaine. It is particularly high in folate, important for preventing stroke, cancer, heart disease and infertility… More here.

Wendell Berry

In Around the web on July 13, 2010 at 7:26 am


A Modern Populist Movement

In Around the web on July 12, 2010 at 11:29 pm


The lengths to which pundits, analysts, and establishment political leaders have always gone to avoid using dreaded populism in their political strategies for Democrats has always been remarkable to me. From Republicans since Richard Nixon, appeals to a moralist and angry middle class are all politically brilliant, but Democrats, so it is said, should avoid it as a political tactic because it doesn’t work. When Lee Atwater observes that “the swing vote in every Presidential election is populist in nature,” he is a genius. When Democrats start sounding like populists, we are told it just doesn’t work.

From the DLC to the New Democrats to the folks at Third Way to columnists like David Broder and David Brooks to authors and analysts like Matt Bai, the advice is to be careful about seeming too angry and too anti-business. Some argue that a democratic, progressive populism has never worked in American politics, that it was at its highest point under William Jennings Bryan and he was still a loser. Some will deign to admit that FDR showed a populist streak, but then say that no one else with a similar message has won a Presidential election. The more thoughtful of these analysts, such as Bai, point to demographic and economic changes as the reason. Bai believes that “the only potent grass-roots movement to emerge from this moment of dissatisfaction with America’s economic elite exists not in support of the president or his party, but far to the right instead, in the form of the so-called Tea Party rebellions that are injecting new energy into the Republican cause.” He goes on to argue:


Ukiah Husband, Wife Unaware They Are A Comedy Team

In Around Mendo Island on July 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm


With their hilarious put-downs of each other and classic back-and-forth bickering in front of neighbors, local married couple David and Sheila Holt are quietly becoming one of Ukiah’s favorite comedy teams, sources reported Monday.

Though David and Sheila remain unaware of their comedy duo status, friends and family members maintain that the couple’s uproarious act, including their famous “It’s all your fault—this whole stupid mess is your goddamn fault” routine, is more than enough reason to check them out.

“They’re like the perfect odd couple,” said neighbor Michael Pecore, a self-described fan, who has watched the Holts perform countless times from his living room window. “Whether they’re arguing over home mortgage payments, or delivering one of their trademark ‘Jesus Christ, what more do you want from me?’ zingers, David and Sheila never disappoint. I can listen to them all night long from across the street and not get tired of it.”

According to neighborhood sources, David and Sheila are best known for their rapid-fire exchanges, impeccable timing, and ability to play off each other’s insecurities for hours on end. Witnesses claim the duo also excels at a wide variety of comedic styles, from observational musings on why the godforsaken lights are always on in the house, to more slapstick fare, such as the time Sheila threw David’s new rotary saw into the pool. more

The Con of All Cons

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on July 11, 2010 at 9:44 pm

From CHARLES HUGH SMITH via The Automatic Earth

The con of the decade (Part I) involves the transfer of private debt to the public (the marks), who then pays interest forever to the con artists.

I’ve laid out the Con of the Decade (Part I) in outline form:

1. Enable trillions of dollars in mortgages guaranteed to default by packaging unlimited quantities of them into mortgage-backed securities (MBS), creating umlimited demand for fraudulently originated loans.

2. Sell these MBS as “safe” to credulous investors, institutions, town councils in Norway, etc., i.e. “the bezzle” on a global scale.

3. Make huge “side bets” against these doomed mortgages so when they default then the short-side bets generate billions in profits.

4. Leverage each $1 of actual capital into $100 of high-risk bets.

5. Hide the utterly fraudulent bets offshore more


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