Engaging ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids’ Will Help Children Understand the Food They Eat


From ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED
Review here

Just about everyone has eaten something that comes from a crop doused with pesticides so toxic that no one is allowed in the field for five days after it is sprayed. Or that must be stored for six months after harvest to allow the pesticides to fade.  What crop is it? Learn that and so much more in the Young Readers Edition of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Dial Books) by Michael Pollan, adapted by Richie Chevat.  Based on Pollan’s adult book of the same title, the new version is simplified and updated, contains informative side notes and visuals and concludes with a new afterward, eating tips, a question and answer section and empowering resources. Though intended for ages 10 and up, Pollan’s detective work, substantive content and eloquent writing will engage readers of all ages interested in food production.

To solve the modern “omnivore’s dilemma” (we can eat anything, but how do we know what to eat?), Pollan investigates four meals representative of four different food chains – the system for growing, making and delivery food. He wants to share with us where our food comes from and what exactly it is we are eating. So, he starts in the farms and fields where our food is grown and personably chronicles its creation and consumption.

First, Pollan documents the “industrial” food chain,

Tea Partiers: Stooges for Oil Billionaires


From THE NEW YORKER

On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small.

The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center’s New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum,

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran


From JIM HOULE
Obama-Watch.com
Redwood Valley

After several years of nuclear weapons-rattling by Israel, threatening Iran with total or at least partial devastation should they move any closer to producing weapons grade or even fuel grade enriched uranium, we may be seeing a pull back by the Netanyahu government. “The Obama Administration, citing evidence of continued troubles inside Iran’s nuclear program, is trying to persuade Israel that it would take roughly a year and perhaps longer – for Iran to complete what one senior official called ‘a dash’ for nuclear weapons. “One year is a very long time”, the official, Gary Samore, reassured us (NYTimes 8/17/10).

Anxious to convince America to join in their proposed attack, Israel had planted stories in the Times of London and elsewhere that they already had two nuclear-armed submarines in the Persian Gulf; that they had flight clearance to attack through Saudi Arabia; and were even setting up a resupply and refueling base someplace in the Arabian desert. And then, our former UN Ambassador John Bolton warned just last week that we had only an eight-day window in which to bomb the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant before Iran was capable of recovering plutonium from the spent fuel rods in the two newly commissioned reactors. To bomb Bushehr any later would risk irradiating thousands of innocent civilians, said Bolton, exhibiting what seemed like a new level of humanitarian concern from this normally rabid war monger.

Book Review: ‘Let’s Take the Long Way Home’


From GAIL CALDWELL
The Washington Post
Review here

You can shelve “Let’s Take the Long Way Home,” Gail Caldwell’s beautifully written book about the best friend she lost to cancer in 2002, next to “The Year of Magical Thinking,” Joan Didion’s searing memoir about losing her husband to heart failure. But that’s assuming it makes it to your shelf: This is a book you’ll want to share with your own “necessary pillars of life,” as Caldwell refers to her nearest and dearest.

What’s the draw in reading about “unspeakable sorrow”? Well, despite Caldwell’s assertion that “the only education in grief that any of us ever gets is a crash course,” sensitive portraits of love and loss stir our nobler, empathic feelings, reminding us of our possibilities — and realities — as human beings.

Actually, Caldwell’s book is more heartwarming than devastating. It’s about the joys of friendship as much as the ravages of “intolerable loss.” She evokes the sort of soul mate most of us yearn for. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic for the Boston Globe, Caldwell writes of meeting Caroline Knapp, a columnist for the Boston Phoenix, in the mid-1990s: “Finding Caroline was like placing a personal ad for an imaginary friend, then having her show up at your door funnier and better than you had conceived.”

They certainly had a lot in common: Both writers were exercise fanatics who were single by choice and temperament and worked at home.

Bruce Patterson: Learning the ropes — Why I quit gambling, part 2


From BRUCE PATTERSON
4mules.com
Anderson Valley

[Why I quit Gambling: part 1 here]
~
When I was a little boy I heard on the radio an Okie ballad I’ll never forget. It was about a no-count hobo who used a dog-eared deck of cards to preach Gospel. A highfalutin sort of numerology, the lyrics were, with Biblical significance attached to 4, 13, 52 and 1 through 10. Add the symbolism of ranks, suits, jacks, queens, kings and, by golly, in a deck of cards you could find Chapter and Verse.

And that goes to show that, if you reach long and hard enough, you can make a finger-painting into a map of the world, a bowl of Cheerios into a star-chart, an array of tossed bleached vertebrae into a crystal ball. The ability to make nonsense of experience, to find chaos in order, impose want and fear on reality and see personal affirmations everywhere—how human is that? Whether the game is checkers or chess, love or war, everything is as deep as you wish to take it. Even though we are suckers for answers, our lives begin, and end, with questions.

Einstein wrote that “a sense of mystery is the source of both science and religion.” The mystery begins at birth and ends in old age, this sense of awe and uneasiness, discovery and exile, being a part and apart, everything and nothing and never finished until, alas, we are: poof.

When I returned from combat I felt like I’d been gutted and that whatever was left of me I’d have to get to re-know.

Why the Harris Quarry Asphalt Plant is a bad idea



Coming Soon to Ukiah: A return engagement of “Breathe If You Dare”
(We’ve seen this movie before…)

From RON EPSTEIN
Ukiah

The Harris Quarry Asphalt Batch Plant proposal is once again before the Planning Commission, and a new EIR is in the works. The project was a bad idea the first time around, and it is still a bad idea.

I am surprised that the past and recent discussions about Harris Quarry Asphalt Batch Plant proposal have not seriously considered the significant cancer risks involved. Asphalt fumes include known carcinogens. The asphalt plant proposed by Northern Aggregates, which would be located off Black Bart Drive, would seriously pollute the greater Ukiah area, which is downwind, with those carcinogens. Men in this country have a one in two chance of getting cancer during their lifetimes. Women have a one in three chance. About 80% of cancers are environmentally caused. In assessing the danger of the carcinogens from the proposed asphalt plant, we need to remember that the effect of carcinogens on our bodies is cumulative. Even small doses of carcinogens accumulate in our cells and can combine with other carcinogens to create a risk which is greater than the sum of the individual risks. I believe that both our supervisors and the members of the planning commission are all concerned about the health of people in the county. For that reason, they need to be very careful not to approve projects that will cause more cancer deaths in our community.

New in town


From NEIL DAVIS
Ukiah

I moved into town six weeks ago. My commute to work went from 10 miles to one and I’ve barely driven my car since. Work, groceries, friends…. Everything is less than two miles away and walking or biking is easy. What an incredible blessing.

At eight miles an hour, a very easy pace on a bike, it takes me about 8 minutes to travel the one mile to work. So I might save three minutes by driving my car, but there’s no “joy factor” to the car drive.

On the bike everything seems more to scale. I see friends, smell stuff (not always flowery – but I get to smell), hear the mockingbirds go through their cadenzas and feel the cool breeze in the morning and the dry heat of the sun on the way home. I’ve discovered new (to me) back streets and hidden glimpses of our community that go unnoticed in my car.

My life has slowed, if only for those few minutes of riding my bike to and fro.

On my way to work I’ve had friends drive along beside me to chat or tell me about an upcoming event. I’ve wanted to say (but just hoped they might notice) “wouldn’t this be easier  – and more pleasant – if you were on a bike too?” Can you imagine someone trying to chat with you as you both drove your cars down the road? Too scary.

Cars are dangerous. It’s so obvious and common we don’t notice it much. Pedestrians and bicyclists are hurt on the roads out of proportion to their numbers. Overall, it’s still safe, we just get hurt more than we should –

Todd Walton: Psychic Leeches


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Anderson Valley

“The truth is not ashamed of appearing contrived.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

The other night I caught the last twenty minutes of a spiritual talk show. My initial positive reaction to the guest speaker morphed into disaffection when I realized he was one of those guru types who believes he knows everything and nobody else has a clue. He also had zero detectable sense of humor, which always makes me wary, even when someone is talking about the collapse of the global ecosystem, which is what he was talking about, among other things. Then he said something about alien abductions and aliens invading earth disguised as humans in order to take over the planet and wipe out all the Homo sapiens because we’re destroying the earth and these beings from other planets want Earth intact because she’s such a rare and groovy planet in the vastness of space.

Alien takeovers are not my cup of tea, so I turned off the radio. I wanted to dismiss the guy as a wacko, but instead recalled a passage from Carlos Castaneda’s posthumously published book The Active Side of Infinity, which I recommend as a novel if you can’t buy it as a memoir, and who knows, maybe it is the truth. No matter. The passage I recalled was of Don Juan giving Castaneda a glimpse of a huge slug-like alien that had, indeed, invaded the earth and feeds on stress-induced human emotions, notably fear and sorrow and rage and anxiety.

And that reminded me

Don Sanderson: Notice to Democrats


From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

I get a stream of fundraising mailers and requests for support from Democrats. In each return envelope, I’m enclosing the following and only that…

To those Democratic Party organizations seeking my support:
I’m a registered Democrat, mostly it seems because I’m surely not a Republican. However, in the last election, I voted for Ralph Nader. Obama had already demonstrated the way his presidency would behave by selecting a corporate hack for vice president, a Zionist for chief of staff, and an advocate of American power for secretary of state. I’m fed up. I don’t expect to ever, ever, vote for a Democrat again, nor certainly a Republican, until the following steps are taken:

• Give EPA and NOAA strict “clean air act” and other environmental clubs over those industries generating greenhouse gasses. Don’t waste time with cap and trade, which is another way to say bait and switch. Global warming is real and the latest climate statistics are horrendous. There is no time to waste.

• Give EPA and NOAA strict environmental control over oil drilling, coal mining, and the excessive use of agricultural fertilizers. Put a stop this irremediable wasting of the irreplaceable Earth.

UC study links pesticide exposure to ADHD


From Los Angeles Times
Story here

[Is this a problem in Mendocino County? Do we have any data? Is anyone investigating? We need to protect our children. ~Ron Epstein, Ukiah]

A new study from UC Berkeley of children in the Salinas Valley adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that exposure to organophosphate pesticides is a prime cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The study, reported Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, examines the effects of both prenatal and childhood exposure to the pesticides, which are widely used in the United States to control insects on food crops.

UC Berkeley epidemiologist Brenda Eskenazi and her colleagues have been studying more than 300 Mexican American children living in the heavily agricultural Salinas Valley.

Because they live in a farming community, the children are more likely than others to be exposed

Focaccia: Easier than expected, tastier than you knew


From FRANCIS LAMB
Salon.com
Story here

Light-textured, shiny with olive oil, and creamy-flavored, this complex bread only seems complicated to make

OK, so it’s not true that I’ve never baked before. Despite my fears, I’ve tried at various points to exorcise myself of my dough timidity, and once even scaled the Great Focaccia Mountain and turned out a few decent rounds. They had all the things you’d want in focaccia — a tender, light crumb, a thin pliant crust that crisped with a nudge in the toaster, and a rich flavor of olive oil. It was great, exciting and … totally lost to me after I made it, because I only did it once and tried to sneak away while I was batting 1.000.

But in baking school, kneading my way through literally dozens of loaves of bread, I felt myself growing more comfortable with doughs of all sorts, increasing in difficulty from the 1-2-and-done loaves of Irish brown soda bread to the tough-but-fair mass of bagels to incredibly sticky, challenging gloops that wanted to glue themselves to my hands, my workbench, my neighbor’s hair. Midway through Day 3, by the time we got to the school’s quick, straightforward recipe for focaccia, it felt like a vacation. It turns out that my Great Focaccia Mountain is actually more like a quaint little hill, but who says things need to be hard to be great?…

Story here
~~

Dave Smith: Congestion? What congestion?


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

To the Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal

Referring to your front page article (UDJ 8/19) “Businessmen suggest Brush St. for courthouse”, I smell a rat. Quote: “Two Ukiah businessmen are suggesting a location for the new Mendocino County Courthouse they say would significantly reduce downtown congestion…” Well, one man’s “congestion” is another man’s vital traffic where his business was positioned years ago to take advantage of “location, location, location” as the Real Estate brokers continuously crow.

Our core downtown is a vital part of this community, and much of its survival as a downtown depends on the courthouse. Moving it a couple of blocks away would help maintain our downtown businesses. Moving it to property on Brush Street will help kill the downtown.

Congestion? Take a trip to the Bay Area. That’s congestion! Other than some mild backups in the morning and late afternoon when businesses are opening and closing, there is no congestion to speak of. The noon lunch rush is what we small downtown businesses live on. That’s called livelihood, not congestion.

No, it’s obvious this is about a property owner’s self-interest against the community’s interest in having a vital downtown, and downtown business owners’ self-interests, not about congestion.

And, oh yeah, these two guys, Mayfield and Selzer, pushed the Masonite Mall by talking about how much new business would be brought to downtown Ukiah. Phony balony!

Keep the courthouse near downtown, and brush-off any suggestions that Brush Street might be a better choice.
~~

Sheilah Rogers: Rural Matters




Westside Renaissance Market, Ukiah

From SHEILAH ROGERS
Redwood Valley

The Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit has been introduced in the House (H.R.5990) and as an amendment to the U.S. Senate Small Business Jobs Bill and will build on the Rural Entrepreneur Assistance Program in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Microenterprise is always a critical source of employment in most rural areas, but it is especially critical during a recession. During our last recession, between 2000 and 2003, employment grew in microenterprises while growing slowly or falling for larger employers. Nationwide employment grew in microenterprise 9.17% while falling 1.8% in larger firms.

Microbusinesses, particularly under-capitalized rural ventures, have always faced significant barriers securing financing from traditional banks and the increasing competition for limited credit is hitting microentrepreneurs particularly hard. As conventional bank lenders pull back on their small businesses lending entrepreneurs are forced to look for alternative sources of financing.

The Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit (RMIC) is designed to generate investment in both startup and expanding rural microbusinesses by providing a federal tax incentive, in the form of a 35 percent tax credit, to entrepreneurs who invest in their businesses. Beginning farmers and ranchers are also eligible.

Thank God Global Warming is a Hoax


From MARK MORFORD
SFGate

I mean, right? You know? Because gosh Jesus in angry apocalyptic heaven, wouldn’t it be just terrible if it were all true?

Wouldn’t it be horrible if all this stunning, insanely mounting, irrefutable evidence — death, floods, fires, heat waves, the worst this and the most violent that in 1,000 years — were some sort of surefire, cumulative sign that we have, if not directly caused, then wildly accelerated and amplified the imminent implosion of this planet?

But we didn’t! And we haven’t! And we aren’t! I mean, whew.

I am delighted to remember that hardcore science has lied, misguided, misnomered and whatever else weird science does to confuse the world about the real impact humanity has had on global ecosystems. All those thousands of highly trained scientists educated at the finest universities, learning the most difficult and fraught information of our age, all in universal agreement that humankind’s actions directly affect climate change, and they are all totally full of it because they are clearly in cahoots with Nazi Liberal Jesus, the solar panel manufacturers and the hippies who want me to compost my KFC Double Down wrapper.

Gene Logsdon: Throwing Away Billions of Dollars In Pet Manure


From GENE LOGSDON
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Not until I was well into writing my new book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind, which is about  how to manage manure for soil enrichment, did I realize that cats, dogs and horses are a very significant source of valuable fertilizer that we are mostly throwing away. Or, as our friends’ cat, Django, indicates in the photo above, flushing it down the toilet. Until I got to know Django, my attention was focused on farm animal manure and human manure.  I was really surprised to find out how much feces, urine, and litter that pets were adding to our overflowing waste stream, let alone realize that cats were learning how to use the flush toilet.

Instead of wringing hands over the problems of livestock manure, the non-farm sector of society might first want to take a closer look at its own problem: manure from pet cats, dogs, and recreational horses— animals that have little or nothing to do with putting food on anyone’s table. According to recent statistics, there are 73 million pet cats in the United States in addition to an equal number of feral cats roaming the alleys and fields (and killing millions of songbirds)…

Full story here.
~~

Michael Laybourn: Scientific Establishment Finally Recognizing Organic Farming


From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

Good news for the day. The mainstream’s science experts have once again proved those ‘organic people’ correct.

Take note Mendocino County farmers: many of you are ahead of the game and are doing the right thing. Some are beginning to do the right thing. Organic. Sustainable.

Seed monopolies, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not good for the earth and not good farming. Industrialized agriculture is the wrong way.

The influential National Research Council’s new report criticizes industrial agriculture’s style of farming, essentially saying farming must get more sustainable. Julia Kornegay, chair of the committee that wrote the report, and professor and head of the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. Noted, “If farmers are going to meet future demands, the U.S. agriculture system has to evolve to become sustainable and think broadly — past the bottom line of producing the most possible.”

The following article by Andrew Gunther on Huffpost show why this is a major step towards good farming:

Book Review: Timely sustainable guidance from Japan’s Edo period


From SFGate
Thanks to Grant Studacker

Some 200 years ago, a community in Japan faced many of the same problems that confront us today – shortages of energy, water, materials and food along with overpopulation. And the thoughtful solutions devised by the 30 million people who lived in what is now the city of Tokyo during the late Edo period (1603-1868) provide practical inspiration for what might be achieved today…

Sustainability lessons

Micro-economies result in better service: Patronize local suppliers, cut out long-distance transport and build relationships within the local economy.

Build homes that are inspirational: Surround yourself with things that remind you of who you are.

Show restraint: Don’t have a house that’s bigger than necessary. Azby Brown recommends reading “The Not so Big House” by Sarah Susanka (Taunton Press; 2001).

Think sustainable: Use natural cooling, renewable and recycled materials, gray-water systems, handcrafted home accessories.

Eat Troll-Caught North Pacific Albacore Tuna


From CULINATE

This fish is good for you, plentiful, and delicious

[...] With qualities to win over the health-conscious, the food-loving gourmet types, and the environmentalists, albacore should be more widely eaten. Here’s my list of reasons to put albacore on the menu.

1. Troll-caught albacore are good for your conscience. The Monterey Bay Aquarium rates troll-caught albacore from the U.S. and Canada as a “best choice” for consumers. (Incidentally, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch pocket guide for consumers is now available for iPhones and other smart phones.)

2. Troll-caught albacore are good for your health. In May of this year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium ranked troll-caught albacore from the U.S. and British Columbia as among “the best of the best” on its Super Green List, which evaluates seafood choices according to their omega-3 content and lack of environmental contaminants, including mercury and PCBs. With mercury, the size of the fish matters. Troll-caught albacore is younger and therefore smaller — less than 30 pounds per fish — with resulting lower concentrations of mercury.

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