Gene Logsdon: The Lonely Hickories


From GENE LOGSDON
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Along the one lane country roads in our county, the traveler encounters an occasional roadside tree, all by itself at the edge of the endless fields of corn and soybeans. The casual passerby may see nothing unusual about the trees but those of us who have lived here almost as long as these trees have, think of them as quite remarkable. They stand as monuments commemorating the passing agrarian life we cherish.

These trees are hickories, already bearing when I was born seventy some years ago. To understand why they are precious, visualize this landscape when these trees first sprouted at least a hundred years ago. Much of this land was originally forested, and was still in the process of being cleared. All through the 20th century, more trees vanished every year. By the time I worked in the fields, there were still a few sentinels of the old forest dotting the grain fields and pastures. They were left there mostly for shade. In those days farmers spent a lot of time in the blazing sun, not in tractor cabs, and all of you who have felt the July sun bearing mercilessly down on you know what a pleasure it is to be able to rest a bit in the shade. Worth losing a little bit of corn for. A few trees in the pastures were spared for the same reason— shade for the livestock.

One by one, these silent sentinels from the past were cut down or died. It was not much of a bother to dodge a field tree with two-row equipment,

Mendo Island Transition: Achieving Local Food Resilience


From MAKENNA GOODMAN
GRIST

As weather patterns change and fossil fuel supplies dwindle, communities have to start thinking about food resilience. How can farmers and gardeners grow and preserve food amid rapidly changing weather conditions, and without easy access to cheap industrial fertilizers? In her new book, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, longtime gardener and scientist Carol Deppe digs into just such questions.

I recently talked to Deppe about how her form of resilient gardening compares to “traditional” gardening, the importance of not seeking perfection, and how all of this ties into food security.

Q. What’s the first step toward achieving food resilience?

A. There are three ways to do that. The first is through local buying patterns and trade. A second is through knowing how to store or process food that is available locally, whether we grow it ourselves or not. The third is gardening. In The Resilient Gardener, I talk as much about storing and using food as growing it. I love gardening, but not everyone is in a position to garden every year of their lives. However, the person who has learned to make spectacular applesauce or cider or apple butter or pies can often trade some of the processed products for all the apples needed.

Doug Mosel: Why I’m Voting for Dan Hamburg


From DOUG MOSEL
The Mendocino Grain Project
Anderson Valley

I believe Dan Hamburg is the person we need as the next supervisor in the 5th District.

His qualifications alone make the case: intelligence, extensive experience and deep-rooted knowledge of Mendocino County–its problems and its promise.

But a more fundamental reason to vote for Dan is his grasp of the larger predicament we’re in.  This is no ordinary economic fluctuation.  It is a turning point.  There is no “return to normal”  We are just beginning a ride on the rapids of a radical shift away from business as usual.  Dan understands that the present turmoil is the logical result of how we’ve been doing business and we simply can’t go back to the illusory smooth waters we’ve taken for granted.

It won’t be an easy ride and there is no roadmap, so we will need leaders who can help navigate a new course for the County.  Dan brings the capacity and commitment to engage people at the “grass-shoots” level–the people who are actually doing the work of building a renewed local food economy, developing genuine energy alternatives, taking care of communities on shoestring budgets, teaching the young ones, or maintaining county services even as the budgetary ax falls.

Nearly a year of watching Dan campaign convinces me that he’s the supervisor we need for the 5th District.
~~

How Investing in Corporate Banks Corrodes the Soul


From ANDREW TUPLIN
ADBUSTERS

I’ve never thought of putting money in a bank as a spiritual activity. It seemed the prototypical business transaction with few ethical sides to consider. But I recently read an article by Kevin Arsenault who challenged this view of banking. He said that when we accommodate ourselves to corporate rule and capitulate to a system we know to be morally repugnant, we sacrifice our self-esteem and authentic spirituality. He talked about the constant pressure that wears down our resistance, a pressure to accept and conform to the practice and values of dominant systems, and about how these social compromises can corrode our spirits.

At the time when the article was written (1996), it was probably more difficult to convince someone that the big banks were a morally repugnant entity and that giving them access to your money might be a moral issue, but these days, after the economic collapse in the United States, the view of big banks as practitioners of evil doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

In Matt Taibbi’s 2009 article “The Great American Bubble Machine,” he describes Goldman Sachs, the world’s most powerful investment bank, as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” A world overrun and squeezed by these insidious tentacles is our reality. We now live in what Taibbi calls a “gangster state, running on gangster economics” where the rules of the game are rigged by the big banks.

John Cesano: What’s behind the hype surrounding Natural Process wines?


From JOHN CESANO
John On Wine Blog
Ukiah

[...] What is natural process wine? It begins in the vineyard, whether certified organic, or biodynamic, or uncertified but making the same choices, not for paper but for flavor, and extends into the winery where as little of the winemakers influence as possible is involved. It is letting grape juice become wine with little intervention. Wines made naturally the way they would have been made 1,000 years ago, before the advent of harvesting machinery and the development of enology and viticulture science, before artificial yeasts, before fining with animal products, before gums, before catalogs of chemical additives and processes of manipulation.

From The Natural Process Alliance’s website:

We believe that expressive soil is sacred, responsible farming is a requirement and natural winemaking is the only option. In the creation of wine, there are innumerable natural processes that are elegant in their simplicity and astonishing in their effectiveness.

Janie Sheppard: Another reason I’m voting for Dan Hamburg



From JANIE SHEPPARD
Mendocino County

Something Wendy Roberts said [in her Radio Curious interview here] has been rattling around in my head for a few weeks, and last night I realized why.

Roberts said she was inspired to run for supervisor as she was riding home after a difficult meeting of the Board of Supervisors.  She found herself, she said, sympathizing with the present supervisors and managers in our county.

Didn’t three of the present incumbents do their share to dig us into the hole we’re in?  Why would I vote for anyone who sympathized with them?  I would not.

I will vote for Dan Hamburg because he has a vision of how to use the strengths of our county to lead us out of our old ways. Those ways no longer work, if they ever did.  We need fresh ways of doing the county’s business.  And we need new business.

Vote for Dan Hamburg for 5th District Supervisor.  Vote for the children.  Vote for the future.
~~

Neil Davis: An inconvenient convenience


From NEIL DAVIS
Mendo 2 Mile Challenge

What’s the sweetest experience you can have as a “round town” bicyclist? I’ll entertain submissions, but right up toward the top of any list has to be “passing cars”. When I lived in a more urban setting it was pretty frequent. Rush hour commutes would almost always include a section or two where I could breeze past cars stuck in a line at stop signs or lights. Passing jammed cars may provide the pinnacle of self-righteous, cycling smuggery. “I’m cheap, I’m green, I’m healthy, I’m having fun… and I’m passing you”!

In cycling centers like Amsterdam and Copenhagen people ride bikes primarily because it’s the fastest way to get around town. All the other benefits are just gravy. Here in Nor Cal we don’t have enough traffic for driving to be noticeably inconvenient. And yet, the bike it still competitive on short trips.

Now I say “noticeably” inconvenient because of course it’s incredibly, and euphemistically, “inconvenient”. Using a hundred plus horse power and a thousand pounds of metal and hard plastics to move a single 200 pound person around is of course absurdly expensive and wasteful, not merely inconvenient… More: Neil Davis here
~~

Wikileaks: The Shaming of America (Updated)


From THE INDEPENDENT UK

Robert Fisk delivers a searing dispatch after the WikiLeaks revelations that expose in detail the brutality of the war in Iraq – and the astonishing, disgraceful deceit of the US

As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.

Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general – the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies. Find a man who’d been tortured and you’d be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or “collateral damage”, or a simple phrase: “We have nothing on that.”

Of course, we all knew they always did have something. And yesterday’s ocean of military memos proves it yet again. Al-Jazeera has gone to extraordinary lengths to track down the actual Iraqi families whose men and women are recorded as being wasted at US checkpoints – I’ve identified one because I reported it in 2004, the bullet-smashed car, the two dead journalists, even the name of the local US captain – and it was The Independent on Sunday that first alerted the world to the hordes of undisciplined gunmen being flown to Baghdad to protect diplomats

Chicken Little, Peak Oil and Y2K


From KURT COBB
Resource Insights

At the recent conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA in Washington, D.C., an unknown person hired two people to dress as Chicken Little and walk around outside the conference venue.

The trouble with Chicken Little is that he neither had a practical plan to address the problem of the falling sky nor the sense to discern the intentions of Foxy Loxy who ultimately devoured Chicken Little and his friends before they could reach the king to tell him that the sky is falling. As such, Chicken Little gives us poor guidance about the effect that the efforts of those involved in the peak oil movement will likely have. A better analogy would be the so-called Y2K problem.

Y2K refers to the problem of two-digit year notation previously used in computers, notation which could only accommodate years up to 1999. Many experts believed that computer failures related to this problem had the potential to be highly disruptive of global society if not corrected before the year 2000. As a result of this concern, firms and governments spent large sums to update or replace outdated software and hardware.

Critics of extensive Y2K preparations said that the problem was overblown and that any necessary corrections could me made after January 1, 2000 on an as-needed basis. Those who supported extensive Y2K preparation cited the almost completely smooth rollover to January 1, 2000 as a vindication for their strategy. Oddly, their opponents cited the same smooth rollover as proof that such preparation,

Whistling past our democracy’s graveyard


From FRANK RICH
NYT

[No, all politics is NOT local. But local politics is all we really have left. Fed up? Please vote anyway! Also, see political joke from Deb Bauman at the end... -DS]

What happened to change we can believe in?

President Obama, the Rodney Dangerfield of 2010, gets no respect for averting another Great Depression, for saving 3.3 million jobs with stimulus spending, or for salvaging GM and Chrysler from the junkyard. And none of these good deeds, no matter how substantial, will go unpunished if the projected Democratic bloodbath materializes on Election Day. Some are even going unremembered. For Obama, the ultimate indignity is the Times/CBS News poll in September showing that only 8 percent of Americans know that he gave 95 percent of American taxpayers a tax cut.

The reasons for his failure to reap credit for any economic accomplishments are a catechism by now: the dark cloud cast by undiminished unemployment, the relentless disinformation campaign of his political opponents, and the White House’s surprising ineptitude at selling its own achievements. But the most relentless drag on a chief executive who promised change we can believe in is even more ominous. It’s the country’s fatalistic sense that the stacked economic order that gave us the Great Recession remains not just in place but more entrenched and powerful than ever.

Repost: Rebroadcast of Barry Vogel’s Classic Interviews with Wendy Roberts and Dan Hamburg Today Sunday 10/24/10 2pm KZYX


From BARRY VOGEL
Radio Curious
Ukiah

[Rebroadcast (audio here | KZYX here): Local attorney and host Barry Vogel asks them both the same questions, independently of one another so you can compare their answers. A fifteen minute interview with each candidate makes the differences between them exceedingly clear. Well worth the time.

Something could be said for members of a community listening together to this revealing classic of local politics at the same time during this rainy, stormy Sunday. A reader writes: "To sing along, see transcript" (below)... All together now, 1, 2, 3, 4... -DS]
~

Welcome to Radio Curious, I’m attorney Barry Vogel.

In anticipation of the election for 5th District Supervisor, we have two interviews: first with Wendy Roberts, and second, with Dan Hamburg… both candidates for 5th District Supervisor. I interviewed them both in the studios of Radio Curious in the last week of September 2010.

I asked them both the same questions in the same order, outside the presence of the other, so that you may compare their answers.

B: Wendy Roberts, welcome to Radio Curious.

W: Thank you.

B: I heard you give a talk at a picnic in Redwood Valley, and you referred to extremist ideologies, which you said have led to our decline. And I was curious what you meant by extremist ideologies.

Why I Got Fired From Teaching American History


From THADDEUS RUSSELL
Huffington Post
Thanks to Todd Walton

Five years ago, I had every reason to believe that my job as a history professor at Barnard College was secure. I had been teaching there for four years, I had published my dissertation with a major publisher, and because I had tripled the sizes of the introductory U.S. history course and the American Studies program, colleagues told me they “would be shocked” if I were not promoted to a tenure-track position.

But that was before my colleagues knew what I was teaching.

I had always been a misfit in academia, partly because of my background, partly because of my personality, and increasingly over the years because of my ideas — ideas that are now a book called “A Renegade History of the United States.”

I was raised by pot-smoking, nudist, socialist revolutionaries as an egghead white boy in black neighborhoods in Berkeley and Oakland. I nearly flunked eighth grade and finished high school with a C average. Then I went to the anarchist, ultra-hippy Antioch College in Ohio, which accepted all their applicants, didn’t give grades, and didn’t have a history department.

So even though I managed to pull myself out of that background and into and through Columbia for a PhD, then onto a job at an elite college, I was highly uncomfortable moving from the world of weed to the world of tweed. I hated being “Professor.” I cursed in class. I talked about sex. I used politically incorrect terms. My students said they had never heard the things I was teaching them in class. They called me “Bad Thad.”

I showed them that during the American Revolution drunkards, laggards, prostitutes, and pirates pioneered

Todd Walton: Gay


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.” Raymond Chandler

Before the advent of the interweb, I frequented libraries and secondhand bookstores in search of good short stories, my appetite for cuentos pequeños insatiable. I am not keen on most contemporary short stories that find their way into mass media print, so I mainly feed on authors dead and obscure.

When I was living in Berkeley in the 1990’s, I came upon a library cache of short story anthologies published annually in the 1920’s and 1930’s, hardbound volumes featuring now mostly forgotten literary darlings of America and England. Many of the stories were well written, in stark contrast to their equivalents today, though few of the stories were great. And in every volume there was a story by Gertrude Stein, though the word story does not do justice to her conglomerations of words, for her conglomerations do not tell tales so much as they weave verbal webs that may mean something to someone, but mean very little to me.

However, whilst devouring these relatively ancient anthologies, I came upon a particular Gertrude Stein story that excited me tremendously, for I felt I had discovered the origin of the current meaning of the word gay. The story is entitled Miss Furr & Miss Skeene and featured the use of gay in the following manner.

“…she liked to stay in one place and be gay there. They were together then and traveled to another place and stayed there and were gay there. They were quite regularly gay there, Helen Furr and Georgine Skeene, they were regularly gay there where they were gay.

Standing Tall Against The Corporate-Fueled Money Onslaught


From MIKE LUX
Progressive Strategies

Okay, I’m very biased because I have been working with my friends at MoveOn for a while on their The Other 98% campaign to fight corporate corruption in our political system, but I couldn’t be prouder of these ads that MoveOn members themselves are making and starring in. Check out Sam Stein’s piece on the ad campaign. The amount of work it took to separately shoot each of these 28 ads with people from those districts and states was incredible, and they capture the spirit of the moment perfectly: regular citizens at the grassroots have to stand up to these incredibly wealthy special interests- the big Wall Street banks, big oil, the big insurance companies, and probably some foreign corporations as well- who are trying to buy this election for their friends in the Republican Party.

Democrats are up against formidable odds this cycle- secretive corporate slush funds busting every record known by far for spending on campaigns, self-funded candidates pouring huge sums of money into their own campaigns (Meg Whitman holds the record at $140 million so far, but many others are already deep into the 7 or 8 figures), an economy so deeply damaged by the profligacy of the Bush years that it will probably take a decade to recover)- but grassroots activists from the progressive movement are fighting back. The MoveOn campaign from day one has involved hundreds of thousands activists and contributors and local demonstrators at various events. The labor movement effort has been phenomenal- check out this memo from their political director Karen Ackerman. Immigration activists have mounted a major

Take Action! Save The Ukiah Municipal Swimming Pool!


From PINKIE KUSHNER
Ukiah

A Facility for the Whole Community

The Ukiah Swimming Pool provides the only public access to supervised aquatic activities for the 45,000 residents of the greater Ukiah area.

The pool facility also provides the only American Red Cross certified swim lesson program.

The facility provides affordable activities for all ages including aquatic fitness classes, open swim, lap swim and swimming lessons.

The pool facility employs more than 25 lifeguards and swim instructors and provides those individuals with valuable aquatic training and work experience.

Renovation is needed immediately.

Construction Plans & Funding

The City of Ukiah Community Services Department has secured a grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation in the amount of $500,000.

A requirement of the grant is that the community will contribute a minimum of $215,000 donations.

Opting Out of Airport Naked Body Scans


From MIKE ADAMS
NaturalNews
Thanks to Herb Ruhs

I encountered my first airport naked body scanner while flying out of California today, and of course I decided to “opt out” of the scan. You do this by telling the blue-shirted TSA agents that you simply wish to opt out of the body scanner. Here’s what happened after that:

A TSA agent told me to step to the side and stay put. He then proceeded to shout out loudly enough for all the other travelers and TSA agents to hear, “OPT OUT! OPT OUT!” This is no doubt designed to attract attention (or perhaps humiliation) to those who choose to opt out of the naked body scanner. I saw no purpose for this verbal alert because the same TSA agent who was yelling this ultimately was the one who patted me down anyway.

For the pat down, first I was required to walk through the regular metal detector. From there, I was asked if I wanted to be patted down in a private room, or if I didn’t mind just being patted down in full view of everyone else. Not being a shy person in the first place, I told the agent I didn’t need a private room.

He then explained to me that he was going to pat down my entire body, including my crotch and my buttocks, but that he would use the back of his hands to pat down the crotch and buttocks areas. This is probably designed to make the pat-down seem less “personal” and more detached. That way, air passengers can’t complain of being felt up by TSA agents who might get carried away with the pat-down procedure. He asked if it hurt for me to be touched anywhere, and I told him no, at which point he proceeded with the pat down.

Mendo as Microcosm of Radical Right-Wing Plots


From THINK PROGRESS
Thanks to Gail Jonas

Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met with Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck to Plot 2010 Elections

[The Local Radical Right-Wing have never been more exposed than in the current Supervisor's 5th District race between Dan Hamburg and Wendy Roberts here, here, and here. Is it part of a vast right-wing conspiracy funded by money perverts? Of course it is. Is it class war? Of course it is. And it could not be more blatant. All the prevaricating, hired professional diversions, amateur cluelessness, hilarious drug-baiting, petty silliness, and Rovian dirty-tricks-of-the-trade are in practice by very, very small-minded people, supporters of Wendy Roberts, as they did with the Monster Mall, GMO Fight, and the Timber Wars. -DS]

[Koch Brothers are right here in our county, owning as they do, the GP mill site in Fort Bragg. -JS]

In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups. Recently, fronts funded by Charles and his brother David have received scrutiny because they have played a pivotal role in the organizing of the anti-Obama Tea Parties and the promotion of virulent far right lawmakers

Michael Laybourn: 10 Fun Things to do to Improve Our Local Economy


From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

1. Use only local banks. Local banks and credit unions usually have lower overheads, lower default rates and lower fees on checking. Now we can add that these institutions also appear to be much less likely to engage in predatory lending and global securitization, and therefore are much less prone to the spectacular collapses we’ve seen. Finance, of course, is closely tied with two of the largest expenditures rural residents make – shelter and transportation. To put it another way, boycott those big banks that got bailed out with your tax money, but still don’t help small business with loans or help with refinancing mortgages. That’s the fun part.

2. Use only local credit cards. Savings Bank and Redwood Credit Union have cards, still Visa and Mastercards. Mendo-Lake does not. It would be nice for these local banks to administer their own local cards and generate more jobs, but they don’t. Maybe in the future.

3. Use local services as much as possible. Two-thirds o f the budget in every U.S. household involves some kind of service, whether health care, education, yard work, auto repair, or accounting. Most services are inherently local and can be competitively delivered by professionals working out of their homes. We need to identify these gaps, encourage existing service providers to expand into these areas and target entrepreneurship efforts on creating these kinds of professionals.

4. Have local fun.

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