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.

Wendell Berry and the Great Economy


From FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC
Place. Limits. Liberty.

[...] Berry is right to use soil as the example, since peak soil rather than peak oil may turn out to be our greatest problem. We can learn to do without oil, but not without soil. Topsoil is disappearing at an alarming rate, and not being replaced; the law of return is being violated. Further, the soil that remains is being poisoned with toxic chemicals, which then leach into the groundwater. Indeed, some forms of industrial farming use soil only as something to hold the roots and not as a real source of life or nutrients; they would replace it with styrofoam or some other dead substance if they could. This violation of the law of return means that “[t]he industrial economy is based on invasion and pillage of the Great Economy.”

This pillage reduces the Great Economy to “raw materials” which have only a price, not a principle that needs to be conserved. The price is set by the cult of competition, whose main sentimental tenet is

Deflation and You: A Guide to Understanding this Peculiar Economic Model


From THE AUTOMATIC EARTH

I just wanted to share a little bit about deflation. Deflation is when the combined amount of money and credit in an economic system is shrinking, and the velocity of money is stagnant or drops.

Once deflation begins, it is self reinforcing. To see how this works, first think of your own recent spending decisions.

If you are like me, your spending behavior and patterns have probably changed quite a bit since the housing bubble started to bust, and especially since the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its all time high on October 11, 2007 and then started its wild ride down.

Before you begin to think about your spending behavior, though, one thing must be understood: Money is created by people when they take out loans. People offer up an asset or a promise, which the bank takes and files, and then the bank simply increases the number in their account. That is all there is to it. This might be hard to accept at first, but this is simply how it works in this economic model.

The amount of coins and dollar bills in the economy are a very, very small fraction of the total amount of money out there.

Stop the BS! Garbage Privitizing Will Pick Our Pockets For Years To Come


Public Letter from Supes Colfax and Smith

[Pure and simple. If a private company says they can do it cheaper and better than the county, then they are either lying, or we have a failure of county government. -DS]

In summary, we urge the public to insist on a cost benefit analysis of this contract, including the need for a 14 year extension to three hauling contracts. Privatization at any cost is not in the public interest, does not provide consumer protection and will cost residents needlessly for years to come.

On August 17, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will vote to turn five county transfer stations over to a private company. If this contract is approved many county residents will pay more for curbside collection and all residents will see self-haul rates rise at five previously operated county sites. This proposal is harmful, unnecessary and will permanently dismantle a network of transfer stations available to County residents for decades. We feel compelled to alert the public to how their pockets are about to be picked.

We have no philosophical objection to privatization of government work if it can be proven that it saves money

Book Excerpt: The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Kunstler


From JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER
Author, The Long Emergency

The Witch of Hebron
is the sequel to World Made By Hand, a story of the post-oil American future. It is set in and around the town of Union Grove, Washington County, New York. The time is several months after the action in the first book, the week before Halloween.

This excerpt concerns Stephen Bullock, the wealthy landowner whose plantation is home to dozens of people whose lives and livelihoods had gone adrift in the collapse of the American economy.

Mr. Bullock Meets the Enemy

The last thing Stephen Bullock did before bedtime, in his capacity as town magistrate, was to sign a warrant directing Doctor Jeremy Copeland to exhume and examine the body of Shawn Watling and report his findings, costs of which, labor included, were to be billed to the town of Union Grove, repayable in up to four dollars silver coin. He gave the folded and sealed document to his chore-man, Roger Lippy, for delivery in person the following morning…

more here
~~

Hey Media! Social Security IS NOT an ‘ENTITLEMENT’ program! Stop calling it one!


From around the web

An entitlement is defined by Websters as:

  1. the state or condition of being entitled, a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
  2. a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also, funds supporting or distributed by such a program
  3. belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

But, does this definition apply to social security? For your whole work life you are required to pay in 6.2% of your gross income into social security. Your employer is required to match that amount. So 12.2% of your gross income is put away for your retirement (kind of).

Getting your own money back does not seem like an entitlement program to me by Websters definition. Also, aside from federal employees we are all required to pay into the system, making the “specified group” quite large indeed.

Lately there isn’t a month that goes by without hearing something bad about Social Security. We’ve all heard the bad news… “It’s going bankrupt”…It’s going to bankrupt the country”…”It should be privatized” …and the worst of all…It’s an entitlement program”. Well, it’s high time to set the record straight on one count anyway!

Todd Walton: Getting Well


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Anderson Valley

“Programming our intelligence with illusion and fantasy of there’s something wrong with us and enough isn’t enough and too much isn’t too much then turning us loose on ourselves and the world.” John Trudell

My folks are no longer alive, but the shame I feel for doing what I love still surfaces now and then to remind me of how terribly jealous my father was of his own children and how angry my mother was about having her creative ambitions so painfully thwarted. The famous quote by Carl Jung, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on children than the unlived life of the parent,” elucidates a big part of my mother’s influence on me, while Jennifer James sums up my father with, “Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value.”

My parents were relentlessly verbally abusive of me, and on a few terrible occasions my alcoholic father resorted to physical violence that severely injured me. When I was eleven years old, he nearly killed me. I blocked all memory of this most vicious assault until my fortieth year when a vivid movie of the attack emerged from the archives of my memory. Watching that old footage sent me racing into therapy

Wabi-Sabi


From LEONARD KOREN
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers (1994)

What are the lessons of the universe?

Truth comes from the observation of nature. The Japanese have tried to control nature where they could, as best they could, within the limits of available technology. But there was little they could do about the weather — hot and humid summers, cold and dry winters, and rain on the average of one out of every three days throughout the year, except during the rainy season in early summer when everything is engulfed in a fine wet mist for six to eight weeks. And there was little they could do about the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, fires, and tidal waves that periodically and unpredictably visited their land. The Japanese didn’t particularly trust nature, but they learned from it. Three of the most obvious lessons gleaned from millennia of contact with nature (and leavened with Taosit thought) were incorporated into the wisdom of wabi-sabi.

1. All things are impermanent. The inclination toward nothingness is unrelenting and universal. Even things that have all the earmarks of substance — things that are hard, inert, solid — present nothing more than the illusion of permanence. We may wear blinders, use ruses to forget, ignore, or pretend otherwise — but all comes to nothing in the end.

The rich are different from you and me…


…they are more selfish.
(also see chart at the end of article)

From THE ECONOMIST
Thanks to Ron Epstein

Life at the bottom is nasty, brutish and short. For this reason, heartless folk might assume that people in the lower social classes will be more self-interested and less inclined to consider the welfare of others than upper-class individuals, who can afford a certain noblesse oblige. A recent study, however, challenges this idea. Experiments by Paul Piff and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, reported this week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggest precisely the opposite. It is the poor, not the rich, who are inclined to charity.

In their first experiment, Dr Piff and his team recruited 115 people. To start with, these volunteers were asked to engage in a series of bogus activities, in order to create a misleading impression of the purpose of the research. Eventually, each was told he had been paired with an anonymous partner seated in a different room. Participants were given ten credits and advised that their task was to decide how many of these credits they wanted to keep for themselves and how many (if any) they wished to transfer to their partner. They were also told that the credits they had

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