Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Janie Sheppard: What happens to Post Office Art?

In Around the web on March 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Ukiah Post Office Mural

From JANIE SHEPPARD
Mendocino County

As everyone now knows, the Ukiah Post Office is home to an authentic New Deal mural.  Noted artist Ben Cunningham painted it specifically for the Ukiah Post Office after consulting with respected members of the community.  The mural reflects the agriculture and timber industry of the Ukiah Valley, as it was in the 1930’s and even now.

A recent trip to the East Coast where I searched out post office murals led me to reflect on the particular style of post office murals and the significance of preserving the murals “in situ” (in their natural place).

The Ukiah post office mural exemplifies New Deal art, funded by the federal government to embellish federal buildings and provide employment for artists during the Great Depression.  We are fortunate to have in our everyday lives authentic New Deal art by an artist who went on to paint pieces that hang in the Smithsonian, adorn Coit Tower in San Francisco, and continue to be sold in fine art galleries.

If we convince the US Postal Service to retain the 1936 historic Ukiah Post Office, the mural will remain in its natural home.

If the Postal Service ignores our request, the Postal Service would sell the Oak Street Post Office and the mural would end up far from home, and, in any case, out of our everyday sight.  Viewers, wherever and whenever, would have to be told of the economy of the Ukiah Valley in the Depression More Post Office Art…

A Primer on Class Struggle

In Around the web on March 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm

From MICHAEL SCHWALB
Common Dreams

When we study Marx in my graduate social theory course, it never fails that at least one student will say (approximately), “Class struggle didn’t escalate in the way Marx expected. In modern capitalist societies class struggle has disappeared. So isn’t it clear that Marx was wrong and his ideas are of little value today?”

I respond by challenging the premise that class struggle has disappeared. On the contrary, I say that class struggle is going on all the time in every major institution of society. One just has to learn how to recognize it.

One needn’t embrace the labor theory of value to understand that employers try to increase profits by keeping wages down and getting as much work as possible out of their employees. As the saying goes, every successful capitalist knows what a Marxist knows; they just apply the knowledge differently.

Workers’ desire for better pay and benefits, safe working conditions, and control over their own time puts them at odds with employers. Class struggle in this sense hasn’t gone away. More Class Struggle…

Seth Godin: On The Tribes We Lead

In Around the web on March 31, 2011 at 8:08 am


Click On Post Title For Full View
~

From DANIEL QUINN
Ishmael.org

The New Renaissance

(Address Delivered to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, March 7, 2002)

Back in 1995, when I was visiting a school in Albuquerque that had used Ishmael as the year’s focus book, I was asked to meet with a very high-level group of health care professionals–the assembled department heads of Presbyterian Health Care Services, which functions as a regional hospital system. I accepted the invitation but wondered what I might have to say that was relevant to their professional concerns. I know nothing about hospitals or health care or the medical profession. I don’t even watch ER.

It was clear when I sat down with them–perhaps twenty men and women–that they’d all been deeply moved by my book. But none of them could quite explain why it was relevant to them in their profession. I think what it really came down to was that, as a result of reading Ishmael, they themselves had changed, simply as human beings, and they were trying to figure out More Tribes…

Wall Street’s days are numbered. Ours need not be.

In Around the web on March 30, 2011 at 8:48 am

From DAVID KORTEN
Yes! Magazine

The End of Empire

In an earlier day, our rulers were kings and emperors. Now they are corporate CEOs and hedge fund managers. Wall Street is Empire’s most recent stage. Its reign will mark the end of the tragic drama of a 5,000 year Era of Empire.

Imperial historians would have us believe that civilization, history, and human progress began with the consolidation of dominator power in the first great empires that emerged some 5,000 years ago. Much is made of their glorious accomplishments and heroic battles.

Rather less is said about the brutalization of the slaves who built the great monuments, the racism, the suppression of women, the conversion of free farmers into serfs or landless laborers, the carnage of the battles, the hopes and lives destroyed by wave after wave of invasion, the pillage and gratuitous devastation of the vanquished, and the lost creative potential.

Nor is there mention that most all the advances that make us truly human came before the Era of Empire—including the domestication of plants and animals, food storage, and the arts of dance, pottery, basket making, textile weaving, leather crafting, metallurgy, architecture, town planning, boat building, highway construction, and oral literature.

As the institutions of Empire took root, humans More End of Empire…

Getting The President To Laugh

In Guest Posts on March 30, 2011 at 8:25 am

From GENE LOGSDON

The kind of readers who visit this website may have noticed that one of our heroes, Wendell Berry, made President Obama laugh right out loud the other day. Wendell recently received a National Humanities Medal in Washington, and when the President leaned forward to drape the award over Wendell’s shoulders, the two exchanged whispers and the President broke out in a huge grin. It is a wonderful picture and appeared in many newspapers. To be able to get the president of the United States to laugh like that in front of the whole world in these awful times… well, that’s a real accomplishment. I am not surprised, however. If you know Wendell, he can make very funny remarks at the most unexpected times. I asked him what he whispered to the president but he’s not talking. Says he can’t remember.

Two other writers who received a National Humanities Medal this year were Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth. Jacques Barzun, the historian, got one too. This is top notch stuff, and I don’t know anyone who deserves the recognition more than Wendell. He is the hardest worker I know, traveling and giving speeches incessantly. He’s written 40 books so far and still manages to do a little farming with the help and support of his equally amazing wife, Tanya, and his son Den and daughter Mary and their families. His message, now and always, is that society is ignoring and abandoning ecological and economic common sense More Gene Logsdon…

Unequal Protection — Chapter Three: Banding Together for the Common Good

In Around the web on March 30, 2011 at 7:00 am

From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

A corporation has no rights except those given it by law. It can exercise no power except that conferred upon it by the people through legislation, and the people should be as free to withhold as to give, public interest and not private advantage being the end in view. ~ William Jennings Bryan, address to the Ohio 1912 Constitutional Convention

In the beginning, there were people.

For thousands of years, it was popular among philosophers, theologians, and social commentators to suggest that the first humans lived as disorganized, disheveled, terrified, cold, hungry, and brutal lone-wolf beasts. But both the anthropological and archeological records prove it a lie.

Even our cousins the apes live in organized societies, and evidence of cooperative and social living is as ancient as the oldest hominid remains. For four hundred thousand years or more, even before the origin of Homo sapiens, around the world we primates have made tools, art, and jewelry and organized ourselves into various social forms, ranging from families to clans to tribes. More recently, we’ve also organized ourselves as nations and empires.1

As psychologist Abraham Maslow and others have pointed out, the value system of humans More Thom Hartmann…

James Houle: No Making Peace With Atoms?

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on March 29, 2011 at 8:31 am


From JAMES HOULE
OBAMA-WATCH.COM
Redwood Valley

In May 1955, less than ten years after the United States had cremated 150,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in a raid that ended WWII and led to the eventual death from radiation of a total of 300,000, President Eisenhower introduced the still staggering Japanese nation to “Atoms for Peace”. A delegation of American industrialists, financial gurus and scientists brightly explained how this atom that had decimated their people just ten years ago was actually a wonderful gift. The delegation was disrupted during their presentation at Tokyo’s Hibya Park by protesters more concerned with the continuing plutonium poisoning and other still lethal gifts of nuclear fission. Atoms for Peace seemed a cruel joke in a country where hundreds of thousands still faced a slow death from radiation. The Japanese Diet did not see the humor in this cruel joke: it immediately established the Japan Atomic Energy Commission which eventually approved 55 nuclear power stations spread up and down the coasts in the world’s most earthquake hazardous country. (Will Parrish, Nuclear Chickens)

Approvals were streamlined, inspections waved, and technological short cuts introduced More No Peace With Atoms…

Film Review: The Economics of Happiness

In !ACTION CENTER!, Mendo Island Transition on March 29, 2011 at 8:30 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

[Available for rent at Mulligan Books]

The concept of localisation is one increasingly being discussed as the debt-based, high carbon, energy vulnerable model of economic globalisation increasingly comes apart at the seams.  A recent conference run by Transition Colorado had the subtitle “food relocalisation as economic development”.  I think we might argue for localisation in general, not just in terms of food, being seen now as a key strategy of economic development.  ‘The Economics of Happiness’, as a film that argues that “’going local’ is the way to repair our fractured world – our ecosystems, our societies and our selves” has therefore arrived at the right time, but is it the convincing, accessible and rousing film about localisation that we need in order to raise the issue to the next level of the debate?  Here is the trailer:

More Transition to Happiness…

Joe Bageant: Escape from the Zombie Food Court

In Around the web on March 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

[Joe Bageant has died. 'Redneck' Rebel and Popular Progressive Author, Dies at 64. Progressives have lost one of their most talented writers in Joe Bageant, who assailed the corporate takeover of American democracy and the collapse of the middle class. Here is one of his blog posts...]

Joe Bageant recently spoke at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University at Lexington, and the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, where he was invited to speak on American consciousness and what he dubbed “The American Hologram,” in his book, Deer Hunting With Jesus. Here is a text version of the talks, assembled from his remarks at all three schools.

I just returned from several months in Central America. And the day I returned I had iguana eggs for breakfast, airline pretzels for lunch and a $7 shot of Jack Daniels for dinner at the Houston Airport, where I spent two hours listening to a Christian religious fanatic tell about Obama running a worldwide child porn ring out of the White House. Entering the country shoeless through airport homeland security, holding up my pants because they don’t let old men wear suspenders through security, well, I knew I was back home in the land of the free.

Anyway, here I am with you good people asking myself the first logical question: What the hell is a redneck writer supposed to say to a prestigious school of psychology? More Joe Bageant…

The Future of Manufacturing is Local

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on March 28, 2011 at 6:49 am

From ALLISON ARIEFF
NYT

Think manufacturing, and most likely your brain defaults to abandoned factories, outsourcing and economically devastated regions like the Rust Belt. So strong is our tendency to focus on American manufacturing as something that’s been lost that a chorus has risen up to decry the prevalence of “ruin porn” — those aestheticized versions of the decidedly un-pretty, with a particular focus on the once-triumphant automotive center of the universe, Detroit.

But there are many parts of this country where manufacturing is very much alive, albeit in a different form. The monolithic industry model — steel, oil, lumber, cars — has evolved into something more nimble and diversified. As this country continues to figure out how to crawl out of its economic despair, we could benefit from focusing on the shift.

President Obama, looking for ideas for job creation, came to San Francisco last month to pick the brains of tech-industry giants like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg. He would have done well to include Kate Sofis as well — and not only to right the gender imbalance at the dinner table. Sofis, executive director of SFMade, is helping breathe new life into a forgotten potential economic driver: manufacturing.

More Future Is Local…

Over 4 Million Move Their Accounts From Wall Street Banks in 2010

In Around the web on March 27, 2011 at 8:25 pm

From SARA ACKERMAN
Project Coordinator, Move Your Money

More than 4 million accounts have already moved away from the nation’s largest banks and this trend will only increase according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm in Lake Bluff, IL. Previously, large banks with over $50 billion in assets held 45% of the 130 million consumer checking accounts in 2009. That number has been decreasing dramatically with Bank of America losing 400,000 accounts in 2010 alone.

This trend will only continue, according to Michael Moebs, CEO of Moebs Services, who predicts an additional 7 to 9 million accounts moving by the end of 2011. The trend should plateau in 2012 after the nation’s largest banks see between 13 and 17 million accounts moving to local community banks and credit unions in just three short years. If Moebs’ predictions come to fruition, the largest financial firms will only hold a third of all free checking accounts in the US by the end of 2012, a huge drop from the 45% they held in 2009.

This mass-exodus from the nation’s ‘Too Big To Fail’ firms is by no means accidental. Customers are beginning to wise-up to Wall Street’s abuses and are choosing to vote with their dollars. The Move Your Money project, a campaign that began around a Christmas dinner table by Arianna Huffington and a few friends, encouraged individuals and institutions to divest from the nation’s largest Wall Street banks and move to local financial institutions. One year later, the campaign More Move Your Money…

Barry Vogel Interviews Richard Johnson — Part 2

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on March 27, 2011 at 8:14 pm

From BARRY VOGEL
Radio Curious
Originally broadcast February 19th, 2008
Transcribed by Dave Smith
Parts 1|2|3|4
[Full Interview on MP3 available for download here]

A Revolutionary’s Memorial In His Own Words (cont.)

Richard: The more we environmentalists fail to hold [our local representatives] responsible for their votes, then we have failed to get electoral power. Now, as fully-realized spiritually-liberated beings, a lot of us think that going for political power is evil or selfish or bad. All we have to do is get rid of that idea and instead replace it with the idea that political power would be good if it were in our hands, and what we need to do is get some and exercise it… and what we need to do is select environmentalists. That would be a good half-way step I would like to see accomplished in my lifetime… to elect at least three, if not five, supervisors to the Board of Supervisors.

Barry: When you say “fully-realized spiritually-liberated beings” who did you have in mind?

R: (laughing) I was being facetious. Some of us think that we are fully-realized spiritually-liberated beings but we are not, as you know. I’m thinking of the left, the environmental community, the pot-smoking, back-to-the-land folks.

B: In your estimation, what percentage of the electorate does that community make up in this county?

More Richard Johnson…

How the ‘Peaceful Atom’ Became a Serial Killer

In Around the web on March 26, 2011 at 9:45 am

Nuclear Power Loses its Alibi

From CHIP WARD
CommonDreams

When nuclear reactors blow, the first thing that melts down is the truth.  Just as in the Chernobyl catastrophe almost 25 years ago when Soviet authorities denied the extent of radiation and downplayed the dire situation that was spiraling out of control, Japanese authorities spent the first week of the Fukushima crisis issuing conflicting and confusing reports.  We were told that radiation levels were up, then down, then up, but nobody aside from those Japanese bureaucrats could verify the levels and few trusted their accuracy.  The situation is under control, they told us, but workers are being evacuated.  There is no danger of contamination, but stay inside and seal your doors.

The First Atomic Snow Job

The bureaucratization of horror into bland and reassuring pronouncements was to be expected, especially from an industry where misinformation is the rule.  Although you might suppose that the nuclear industry’s outstanding characteristic would be its expertise, since it’s loaded with junior Einsteins who grasp the math and physics required to master the most awesomely sophisticated technology humans have ever created, think again.  Based on the record, it’s most outstanding characteristic is a fundamental dishonesty. More Nuclear Serial Killer…

Colbert: The time to review the safety of nuclear power plants is not immediately after Japan’s environmental catastrophe

In Around the web on March 26, 2011 at 8:20 am


The Word: Over-Reactor
~~

Surely we can do better than nuclear socialism

In Around the web on March 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

From BRENT BLACKWELDER
Transition Voice

They were in the news a half century ago when they were called “too cheap to meter.”  Now “absolutely safe” nuclear reactors are once again in the news.  As the horrifying scene in Japan unfolds this month, many politicians and media pundits are acting as if the only electricity choice for the U.S. is nuclear reactors or coal power plants.  This is a false choice.

Only clean, distributed power is sustainable

A sustainable economy requires a sustainable energy supply, one that is not subject to the vulnerabilities of big central energy systems.  A steady state economy would run on a decentralized set of renewable energy sources that is clean and resilient.  It would be an economy powered by the sun, the wind, the natural heat content of the Earth, and other renewable sources. Advanced designs for where we live and how we travel would be a key part of this energy transformation. For example, buildings would be designed to generate power rather than requiring external energy supplies for cooling and heating.  And let’s not forget about conservation – we need to set up the economy such that it uses less energy in the first place.

The energy system that would run a steady state economy does not have the severe security problems More Nuclear Socialism…

Todd Walton: Kyoto Amore

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on March 25, 2011 at 7:26 am

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTable.com
Mendocino

“But a whole school of lady koto players

Best kimono and Japanese hairdo

Perform on tatami platform underneath falling blossoms”

Philip Whalen

I’ll never forget the night in 1989 when we danced at Melarkey’s on Broadway in Sacramento, dancing for joy because in a free and fair election, for the first and only time in history, the majority voted to shut down an active nuclear power plant. And only a handful of people know that Ben Davis started the whole thing, and I, in the beginning, helped him keep the ball rolling.

Ben, an eccentric, stubborn, self-educated advocate for the public good, first tried to shut down the Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Facility by single-handedly taking SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) to court for not having an adequate emergency evacuation plan in the event of a catastrophe such as the multiple catastrophes ongoing in Japan today. The courts wouldn’t oblige Ben for the usual putrid reasons (putrid as in corrupt), though Ben had more than ample proof that SMUD, for all intents and purposes, had no evacuation plan at all.

Failing to overcome the entrenched putrescence More Todd Walton…

Bruce Patterson: Animal Rescue

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on March 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

From BRUCE ‘PAT’ PATTERSON
4 Mules Blog
Anderson Valley

About a month before my second book came out, I received a form email from my publisher’s Manager of Marketing and Publicity. At the ripe old age of 29, I was informed, worn down by the workaday grind and determined to follow her heart, she was quitting her job so she could devote herself to doing volunteer work with Animal Rescue. So I emailed her back: “How bout me? Ain’t I an animal?”

Although I never received a response, I like to think she got a chuckle of out my wisecrack, at least until she realized I had a point. I mean, imagine if we people loved each other the way we love our little house doggies and pussy cats. Since we’re taking leaps of imagination here— for this we’d need Divine Intervention—what if we loved each other as much as we love the money in our pockets? Since about 90% of human misery is caused by greedy humans, imagine how sweet and easy our lives would be if ever we got out from under their thumbs.

I’ve been an outdoors person, both as vocation and avocation, my whole life, and I’ve spent more time around house pets, wildlife and livestock than most any busload of the kind of animal rights activists you see on TV. Yet, while my attitude toward animals ain’t nearly as romantic as theirs, we’re on the same page ethically. If “soul” is what makes humans more than the sum total More Bruce Patterson…

Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts, confusion growing

In Around the web on March 25, 2011 at 7:11 am

From LATIMES
Thanks to Rosalind Peterson

(See also: Japanese nuclear safety officials said Friday that they suspect that the reactor core at one unit of the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant may have breached, raising the possibility of more severe contamination to the environment.)

How did Japanese workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant jury-rig fire hoses to cool damaged reactors? Is contaminated water from waste pools overflowing into the Pacific Ocean? Exactly who is the national incident commander?

The answers to these and many other questions are unclear to U.S. nuclear scientists and policy experts, who say the quality and quantity of information coming out of Japan has left gaping holes in their understanding of the disaster nearly two weeks after it began.

At the same time, they say, the depth of the crisis has clearly been growing, judging by releases of radioactivity that by some measures have reached half the level of those released in the Chernobyl accident of 1986, according to new analysis by European and American scientists.

The lack of information has led to growing frustration with Tokyo Electric Power Co., known as Tepco, and the Japanese government, which has parceled out information More Crisis Confusion…

The Worst That Could Happen

In Around the web on March 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

[Has Humanity reached its "level of incompetence?" The Peter Principle is stated in chapter 1 of the book with the same title: "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence". -DS]

In mainstream news reports everywhere, you can feel the urge not to tumble into the irradiated zone of the nuclear imagination.  And so one of the strangest aspects of the massive coverage of the Fukushima catastrophe — wrapped as it is inside an earthquake/tsunami double-disaster — has been the lack of reporting on or exploration of what the worst human and environmental consequences might be.  It’s as if those who report on and assess reality for us had been shoved to the edge of some cliff and none of them could bear to look down or try to describe what might be below.

Missing in the Japan Catastrophe — Thinking the Unthinkable
From TOM ENGELHARDT
TomDispatch.com

Seldom more than thrice annually did any layman or stranger travel the old road that passed the abbey, in spite of the oasis which permitted that abbey’s existence and which would have made the monastery a natural inn for wayfarers if the road were not a road from nowhere, leading nowhere, in terms of the modes of travel in those times.  Perhaps, in earlier ages, the road had been a portion of the shortest route from the Great Salt Lake to Old El Paso; south of the abbey it intersected a similar strip More Worst…

Wendell Berry and the New Urbanism: Agrarian Remedies, Urban Prospects

In Around the web on March 24, 2011 at 8:20 am

From MARK T. MITCHELL
Front Porch Republic

…we would do well to turn our attention to the revitalization of our cities and towns. If we hope to create a context within which human lives can be lived with dignity and joy, then we must turn our attention to preserving local culture, local customs, local beauty, local economies, families, and memories.

The decline of community is a theme taken up by many today both on the right and the left. The solitary bowler, a memorable image from Robert Putman’s book Bowling Alone, represents the loss that many feel and confirms the intuition that, despite the many advantages the modern world provides, something has indeed been lost. But what exactly is a community? Does any group of individuals living in close proximity to each other constitute a community? Does a healthy community exist more easily in an urban, suburban, or rural environment? Although he does not argue that a good life is only possible on the farm, Wendell Berry writes out of the agrarian tradition, and his vision of community is articulated in a rural context centered around a small town. Berry’s work is useful in developing a sense of the various ingredients necessary for a viable community. However, it is necessary to ask if and how this vision of community, if indeed it is compelling, can be translated into urban and sub-urban contexts. Ultimately, More Agrarian Remedies…

Barry Vogel Interviews Richard Johnson — Part 1

In Dave Smith on March 24, 2011 at 7:53 am

From BARRY VOGEL
Radio Curious
Transcribed by Dave Smith
Parts 1|2|3|4
[Full Interview on MP3 available for download here]

A Revolutionary’s Memorial In His Own Words

Welcome to Radio Curious. I’m Barry Vogel.

Few people in Mendocino County who are not elected officials have created as much enmity and as many disruptive relationships as has Richard W. Johnson, Jr., who since 1984 has been the owner, editor, and publisher of four local newspapers under the banner of Mendocino Country.

Richard Johnson died March 16, 2011, at age 66.

This interview, intended as a tribute to his life, was originally broadcast February 19th, 2008, and he claims, among many other things, to be the original organizer of California’s Certified Organic Farmers; the recipient of The Walking Stick Award from the Mendocino Environmental Center in 1992 for promoting ocean sanctuary off the Mendocino Coast; and was the original proponent of Measure G on the 2000 ballot.

When I invited Richard Johnson to visit Radio Curious, he said he would like to discuss the amazing but little understood and seldom appreciated Richard Johnson… his life and times.

We touched on those and a few other topics in this conversation, recorded in the studios of Radio Curious, More Richard Johnson…

Gene Logsdon: Oaken Resilience

In Guest Posts on March 23, 2011 at 8:43 am


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

The one thing that I’ve learned living in the woods is that trees can take care of themselves. All we puny humans need to do to help them is to stop the bulldozers from removing them in favor of more asphalt and corn. But since my inclination is to worry too much about almost everything, learning that trees know what they are doing has not been easy.

I like oak trees, especially white oaks. They may not be the very best wood for any particular purpose, but they rank up close to the top in just about everything wood is good for. One big old beauty stands right outside our bedroom window. We run the clothesline on pulleys over to it from the deck, the way the Amish run a clothesline from a porch to the side of a barn. Easy to reel the day’s laundry out for drying and back in again. I also take great pleasure in sitting on the deck for unseemly long periods of time staring up into its branches.

Taking special notice of this tree every day, I have become aware of just how many dangers the oaken world faces while it goes about its business.  I am beginning to understand the resilience of nature. The trees will outlast us even if they don’t know More Gene Logsdon…

Unequal Protection — Chapter 2: The Corporate Conquest of America

In Around the web on March 23, 2011 at 8:40 am

From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

The legal rights of the…defendant, Loan Company, although it be a corporation, soulless and speechless, rise as high in the scales of law and justice as those of the most obscure and poverty-stricken subject of the state. ~ Excerpt from the judge’s ruling in Brannan v. Schartzer, 25 Ohio Dec. 491 (1915)

While corporations can live forever, exist in several different places at the same time, change their identities at will, and even chop off parts of themselves or sprout new parts, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to its reporter, had said that they are “persons” under the Constitution, with constitutional rights and protections as accorded to human beings. Once given this key, corporations began to assert the powers that came with their newfound rights.

  • First Amendment. Claiming the First Amendment right of all “persons” to free speech, corporate lawsuits against the government successfully struck down laws that prevented corporations from lobbying or giving money to politicians and political candidates.1
  • Fourth Amendment. Earlier laws had said that a corporation had to open all its records and facilities to our governments as a condition More Thom Hartmann…

Book Review: ‘The Windup Girl’

In Books on March 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

From AMANDA KOVATTANA
Thanks to Energy Bulletin

Fabulous feast of apocalypse storytelling set in Thailand. Peak oil, climate change, genetically modified seeds gone bad, new plant diseases, new plagues. Add to that, interesting mutant technology that produces giant elephant hybrids for factory work and the highly erotic android of the title. Plus assortment of low tech energy sources filling the gap where fossil fuel power once lubricated commerce.

I have to hand it to Mr. Bacigalupi for his skillful use of Thai culture. He preserved my favorite parts of my home country, except of course the sex trade. But then it has become obligatory to feature the sex trade in books set in Bangkok, so I’m not holding it against him. (Where you have farangs [Westerners] in Bangkok you must have the sex trade. It is as much a reflection on white men as it is a global fascination with this infamy of Thailand.) In fact he is a moralist about it, using the degrading forces of the industry to drive the plot.

He also juggled the complexity of Thai politics, our obsession with ghosts and the famous Thai smile to good effect, plus I greatly appreciated his native-like respect for the Thai royal family by allowing royal smarts to play a crucial part in the survival game. Combined with the subplots of the various characters each vying to further their agenda, I felt this to be an entirely accurate description of how the world of trade More Windup Girl…

Thom Hartmann: No such thing as a safe level of radiation

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on March 22, 2011 at 7:30 am


~
Nuclear Meltdowns 101

Cluborlov

I am no nuclear expert, and that is probably a good thing. I did do a lot of reading about Chernobyl back when it happened. And now I am, as I was then, and as I am sure many of you are, getting really fed up with incomplete, inaccurate, misleading and generally unsatisfactory explanations that are being offered for what is going on at Fukushima. Either information is not available, or it is a flood of largely irrelevant technical minutia designed to thrill nuclear nerds but bound to bamboozle rather than inform the general reader. And so, for the sake of all the other people who aren’t nuclear experts and have no ambition of ever becoming one, here’s what I have been able to piece together.

What do they mean when they say “hydrogen explosions”? The hydrogen gas is being vented from inside the reactors and from spent fuel pools that are directly above them. Since it is very hot, it explodes as soon as it mixes with the outside air. It is formed from the rapid oxidation of the zirconium pipes that hold in the pellets of nuclear fuel. At Fukushima, some of the fuel pellets are made with uranium, while others are made with plutonium from reprocessed nuclear weapons. Zirconium is a metal which, like aluminum, instantly forms a thin, protective layer of oxide on contact More Meltdowns 101

Cut The Unions, Hire The Girlfriends

In Around the web on March 21, 2011 at 5:55 am


From KEITH OLBERMANN
FOK News

The ham-handed self-serving greediness playing out in the background of Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to make Wisconsin into the central battle zone in the Koch Brothers’ attempt to end collective bargaining in this country, roared to the forefront Sunday night when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the supposedly financially imperiled state had enough money to hire State Senator Randy Hopper’s mistress.

Valerie Cass, a former Republican legislative staffer, was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. She is being paid $20.35 per hour. The job is considered a temporary post.

A lot of things in Wisconsin – especially those pertaining to one of Governor Walker’s State Senate henchmen – appear to be temporary:

His estranged wife, Alysia, issued a statement to WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) accusing Hopper, 45, of beginning an affair with Cass, 26, last year. He filed for divorce in August.

Oh but this gets better and better. How did Ms. Cass wind up being hired by the state with no money, away from a Madison firm called “Persuasion Partners.” More Backscratching…

Review and Refute: ‘The Vegetarian Myth’

In Around the web, Books on March 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm


From GINNY MESSINA
TheVeganRD

[Thanks to Ron Epstein: Response to book by author interviewed here]

Lierre Keith suffers from numerous chronic health problems. Unable to secure a diagnosis for most of them, she decided that the vegan diet she had followed for twenty years was to blame. But she wasn’t content to add a few animal products back to her diet. Instead, she set out to prove that healthy diets require copious amounts of animal foods and that small-scale animal farming is the answer to sustainability. To prove it, she has cobbled together information from websites (yes, she actually cites Wikipedia!) and a few popular pseudoscientific books.

It’s next to impossible to review this book; it is so packed with misinformation and confusion that refuting the claims could be another book itself. This is a long post, and it doesn’t begin to address all of the problems in The Vegetarian Myth.

I read the section on nutrition first. Since it’s my area of expertise, I figured it would give me some idea of the quality of her research and analysis. But quality isn’t at issue here because there is no research or analysis. Keith doesn’t bother with primary sources; she depends almost exclusively More Vegetarian Myth…

George Carlin Knew Why They Call it ‘The American Dream’

In Around the web on March 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm


From BILL BERRY
The Capital Times (Wisconsin)
Via Energy Bulletin

Ah, the week of St. Patty’s Day, and maybe the luck of the Irish will lead us to the pot o’ gold coins.

But don’t count on it. Not in Wisconsin, not in these times. Nonetheless, in honor of this hopeful holiday, when a saint evicted the snakes from the green island, we can go to that great American philosopher of Irish descent. Surely he can put the events of recent weeks in context.

We speak here of George Carlin, who left the earth too soon in 2008, but saw the future quite clearly, which may have hastened his departure. Thanks to the Internet, he will be forever with us, or at least until Big Brother yanks him away for being too subversive.

For now, you can find Carlin’s 2005 skit (NSFW), “The American Dream,” quite easily. I can’t, however, recommend it in this column, because it is indelicately laced with some of the “seven dirty words” that got him arrested at, appropriately, Milwaukee’s Summerfest in 1972. So promise you won’t go and find it, and if you do, I didn’t send you there. My parish priest would frown upon that.

I’ll clean things up here a bit, so you get the gist of the genius. It must be said that Carlin actually agreed with Gov. Scott Walker on education. As Carlin said, “Education sucks.” But their views diverge from that point. To wit: More George Carlin…

The Vegetarian Myth

In Around the web on March 19, 2011 at 7:25 am


~~

Steve Martin: The Great Flydini

In Around the web on March 19, 2011 at 7:10 am


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Cooking the Perfect Steak

In Around the web on March 19, 2011 at 7:00 am


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Todd Walton: Cliff’s Bowl

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on March 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

Cliff Glover recently gave us one of his bowls. Cliff is an excellent potter and a superb cook. Tall, and possessed of a magnificent froth of silver gray hair, Cliff and his partner Marion Miller share a house and ceramic studio a couple miles inland from the hamlet of Albion. Marcia and I met Cliff and Marion for the first time at one of Juliette White’s spontaneous dinners, Juliette being Cliff and Marion’s neighbor for many years. The mugs we drank from that night were Cliff’s mugs; and for my birthday two years ago, Juliette gave me a Cliff Glover teapot, an exquisite two-cupper. Juliette was a big fan of Cliff’s pottery.

The bowl Cliff gave us on Marcia’s birthday in February is now my favorite bowl, and possibly my favorite thing, after my piano and not counting myriad mammals—Marcia, friends, cats; although the trouble with cats…but that’s another story. Cliff made it clear when he gave us the bowl that even though he was giving it to us on Marcia’s birthday, the bowl was for both of us. I asked him to repeat that when I was sure Marcia was listening so there wouldn’t be any confusion…that the bowl was for both of us, or in legal terms: the bowl is our joint property.

My previous favorite bowl, which I still love, (though not as much as I loved her before I met Cliff’s bowl) was given to me by my dear friend Katje Weingarten, an extraordinary poet who lives in Vermont, which is crazy. More Todd Walton…

Expert Who Predicted Previous California Earthquake Says Another Imminent

In Around Mendo Island, Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on March 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

Jim Berkland Website

Thanks to The Automatic Earth

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TEPCO Director Weeps After Disclosing Truth About Fukushima Disaster
Thanks to Anna Taylor

The Daily Mail has released a dramatic picture showing the emotional exhaustion of TEPCO managing director Akio Komori who is openly weeping as he leaves a conference to brief journalists on the true situation at Fukushima, following his acknowledgment that the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens. “A senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis. He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: ‘The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans.” This is precisely as Zero Hedge had expected would happen all along, following our recurring allegations of a massive cover up by the Japanese government. And furthermore as we predicted a week ago when we said that continued government lies and subversions More Government Liars…

I want you to do your best to put an end to this crazy system that is based on greed and anger and ignorance

In Around the web on March 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm

From DEMOCRACY NOW

JUAN GONZALEZ: Last night, Democracy Now! reached a prominent Japanese cultural anthropologist and environmentalist, Keibo Oiwa. He is the founder of the Sloth Club, Japan’s leading “Slow Life” environmental group.

KEIBO OIWA: My name is Keibo Oiwa. I’m speaking from Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan. And I’m a professor at the university. And as a professor, I am wondering what I can do from here. And I’m very afraid that already radiation is out flowing, and that would affect especially pregnant women and younger children, small children. So, I’m trying to organize a kind of a network where people in the western Japan who can accept pregnant women and people with children from the eastern part of Japan. And so far, many people already have raised their hand, saying that, you know, they are welcoming people coming from the eastern part of Japan.

And what I want to say at this point to the people outside of Japan is that they should try to stop all the nuclear power, you know, eliminate or stop right now. Especially I’m very concerned about California, you know, like the West Coast of the United States, where there are lots of earthquakes. End This Crazy System…

Small Actions Amid Chaos

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on March 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

From PEAK OIL HAUSFRAU
What I do in lieu of watching television

[Update: See TRIBES below]

Riots and toppling governments in the Middle East, states taking drastic measures to balance their budgets, oil and food prices rising. The implications of all this turmoil are enough to make me start breathing into a paper sack. I can’t affect what happens in Libya or Wisconsin, but I can take action where I am, not only on my (semi-) urban homestead but also in my neighborhood and city.

Our neighborhood is beginning to organize, starting with small, simple actions like setting up a Facebook page, organizing a LitterBlitz, having regular meetings and newsletters with helpful information (weatherizing programs, useful resources, encouraging community action), and applying for trees for a tree-planting. We also hope to set up a neighborhood patrol. Eventually I hope that these baby steps with will result in greater community cohesion and trust that can be leveraged to build resilience.

Transition OKC continues to work toward supporting and expanding our local food capacity – the ability to feed ourselves. We have been facilitating meetings of a group of local food advocates for the past six months to help strengthen the existing network of local farmers and food entrepreneurs. Our TOKC team is also planning to host a Permaculture Design Course in the fall. I have wanted to take a full permaculture course for many years More Small Actions…

Will Parrish: On The Roosting of Nuclear Chickens

In Guest Posts, Will Parrish on March 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville

Less than a decade after the United States visited a nuclear iki-jigoku (“hell on earth”) upon the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantaneously killing at least 150,000 and delivering countless more Japanese people to the grim reaper of gruesome radiation sickness, three of America’s leading nuclear technology boosters embarked on a promotional tour across Japan. Their purpose was to help swing Japanese public opinion in favor of the country’s infant civilian nuclear power industry, which was poised for a windfall of technological and financial assistance from the United States.

The international liaison was part of then-US President Dwight Eisenhower’ “Atoms for Peace” program, a Cold War diplomatic offensive aimed at providing nuclear technology loans and exports to so-called “developing” nations, so as to render them reliant on western capitalism for development of their energy infrastructures, rather than on the Soviet Union. A 1955 National Security Council directive framed the matter thusly: “[Atoms for Peace will] strengthen American world leadership and disprove the Communists’ propaganda charges that the [US] is concerned solely with the destructive uses of the atom.”

The American promotional contingent in Japan, which arrived in May 1955, was comprised, respectively, of the man perhaps More Will Parrish…

Nuclear Waste is the Killer Not Being Discussed and It Will Be Around for the Next Quarter Million Years

In Around the web on March 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm

From THOM HARTMANN

[Repeat after me: THEY. ARE. INSANE. -DS]

You need to know this.  As the death toll soars from last Friday’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami – 50 Japanese nuclear plant workers are putting their lives on the line to prevent another catastrophe in Japan – nuclear meltdown.  All 6 GE Mark I reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are dangerously close to melting down – but that’s not even the worst of it.  Sitting on top of each reactor are pools of nuclear waste that contain larger amounts of harmful radiation than the reactors themselves.

And there are reports that those pools of waste are overheating – catching fire – and spewing that highly toxic radioactive waste into the atmosphere.  It’s like a massive dirty bomb being constantly detonated over the plant. Late last night – the remaining workers at the plant were evacuated due to extreme levels of radiation detected when pressure was relieved from one of the reactors.  Those workers returned shorty after the radiation subsided.

While their heroics should be recognized – it’s starting to look like they’re playing a losing game of whack-a-mole.  As they desperately try to cool one reactor with seawater More Thom Hartmann…

Class Warfare, the Final Chapter

In Around the web on March 16, 2011 at 9:25 am

From MICHAEL PIRSCH
Truthout
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” -Warren Buffett to The New York Times, November 26, 2006

There is overwhelming evidence that we are entering the final chapter of class warfare in the US. Today, in the “public arena,” it is forbidden to say class warfare, and many citizens do not regard themselves as working class. The assault on language comes compliments of the propaganda apparatus, which includes: public relations, marketing, corporate media and the entertainment industry, universities, think tanks and so on. Its purpose is to distract our attention from serious matters so we can focus on trivial matters – usually involving consuming. Edward Bernays, the founder of the modern propaganda industry, described the process:

Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of … in almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.[1] More Class Warfare…

Rosalind Peterson: Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants – Radiation Exposure (Repost)

In Around the web on March 15, 2011 at 7:26 am

From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

Notes on Nuclear Power Plants & Emissions

Why would the west coast USA be in danger from Meltdown of Nuclear Power Plants in Japan?

[Update: Worst Case Scenario Imminent]

[Update: We are insane: Time Lapse Map of Every 2053 Nuclear Explosions since 1945 -DS]

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States (and then would move east on the Jet Stream). Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet stream.

It is possible that early radioactive releases are already airborne and heading toward the United States.

Japan has 55 Nuclear Power Plants with 11 More planned for operation in the near future. A fast-breeder reactor is to be re-opened in the near future (this plant was closed in 1990, due to serious problems).

U.S. EPA Glossary of Radiation Terms & Other Information – March 12, 2011
http://www.epa.gov/radiation/glossary/index.html

U.S. EPA Radiation Protection Website More Nuclear…

Unequal Protection, Chapter I: The Deciding Moment?

In Around the web on March 15, 2011 at 7:01 am

From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

No laws were passed by Congress granting corporations the same treatment under the Constitution as living, breathing human beings, and none has been passed since then. It was not a concept drawn from older English law. No court decisions, state or federal, held that corporations were or should be considered the same as natural persons instead of artificial persons. The Supreme Court did not rule, in this or any other case, on the issue of corporate personhood.

Chapter 1: The Deciding Moment?

The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act.

Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose; the corporation is the handiwork of man and created to carry out a money-making policy.

There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men; a corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in a future life. More Thom Hartmann…

Lucy Neely: Mendocino County Food Policy

In Around Mendo Island on March 15, 2011 at 7:00 am


From LUCY NEELY
The Gardens Project

On March 1st, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to recognize and support the establishment of a Mendocino County Food Policy Council, which intends “to collaborate with institutions, businesses, and the public at large to create a sustainable local food system that reduces hunger, increases health and expands economic vitality.”

Linda Helland is a Public Health employee who has been organizing with the Food Policy Council since its beginning. Linda is generous of spirit and energy. She chats earnestly with the mail man and rides a bicycle even when the sky is spitting. I asked to interview her for this article, and as she came out to meet me in the foyer of Public Health and escort me back into the bowels of the building, she seemed more tired and stressed than usual. Upon my inquiry, she spoke of layoffs and low morale, program cuts and parsimony. So we made some tea and sat down to talk about the Food Policy Council (FPC).

FPCs are springing up around the country. The first formed 25 years ago in Knoxville, Tennesse, and now there are more than 100 FPCs nationwide, primarily on the city and county level. Increasing numbers of funders are requiring that communities have an FPC to be eligible for grant funding.

The Mendocino County FPC emerged from the Local Food Summit of May 2010. Organizers of the Summit, More Lucy Neely…

James Houle: Shut Down California Nukes NOW! (Updated)

In !ACTION CENTER!, James Houle on March 14, 2011 at 8:20 am

The nuclear plant near San Clemente, run by Southern California Edison

From JAMES HOULE
Redwood Valley

It takes a disaster to wake us up to the vulnerability of life on this precarious planet. California has very large nuclear power plants at two locations: San Onofre (between LA and San Diego) and Diablo Canyon (near San Luis Obispo) which contain a total of four nuclear reactors.  They have operated for 30 years and will be obsolete in another 10. They have many similarities to the three units in Japan that have already gone into meltdown, and have released massive amounts of radioactivity to the atmosphere:

First, our nukes are located near active earthquake faults long overdue for a major shift in the earth’s crust.

[Update: I was taken on a tour of the cliffs below the San Onofre Nuclear power plant by a geologist in 1980. He showed us that the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is sitting directly on a right face vertical earthquake fault line. ~Ed Oberweiser, Mendocino Listserv]

Second, they are located right on the shoreline and subject to the same dangers as in Japan, where tsunamis knocked out their emergency cooling water pumps, after their primary cooling systems were knocked off line by the earthquake itself.

Third, they are near major population centers.

More Shut Down Nukes…

What a nation of morons we are

In Around the web on March 14, 2011 at 8:00 am


From JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER

There was Japan, standing quietly offstage all these years, minding its own business, more or less – though unwinding financially and socially at some very deep level for two decades, debt rising around everybody’s ankles like a silent, insidious tsunami, population dying back, young people demoralized by the “salary-man” culture with its meager consolation of nightly drinking sprees ending in micro-hotels with rooms like funerary vaults – Japan, who had been horrifically chastened after its mad military-industrial outburst of the last century, who shook all that off to become the world’s most dependably, civilized nation.

And now, the sorrows of Job.

The world was very busy watching the ME/NA countries go batshit in history’s center ring, but the spectacle of wreckage in Japan, unfolds now like the slow-motion blossoming of some gigantic evil chrysanthemum and you get the ominous idea that this is only the start of a story that will grind on and on as more bodies are discovered and the nuclear fiasco burns deeper and Japan’s finances enter a death spiral. How could you watch those videos of the sickening wall of black water that slammed through Sendai without wondering how many doomed people it carried unseen beneath the rafts of cars, and the sideways ships, and the eerily floating houses?

I tried to follow the story on American cable TV Sunday night but with the exception of stolid, dogged CNN, all the other news channels were playing one sordid and titanically stupid program after another: More Couch Potatoes…

Lewis Black on Nuclear Holocaust

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on March 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm


[A reminder of past and present BS. NSFW. ~DS]
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Counterpunch: Don’t Worry, It’s Just a Little Radiation

First the Quake, Then the Lies

From KARL GROSSMAN

And with the major malfunction at the Fukushima nuclear power plant comes the lies…

That’s the way it’s always been when it comes to nuclear technology: deception has always been a central element in the push for it.

As desperate efforts were made Friday to keep coolant flowing—to prevent a nuclear meltdown—“radioactive vapor” was being released from the plant, reported the Associated Press. It quoted Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano as saying the amount of radioactivity was “very small.”

And it “would not affect the environment or human health,” added AP.

Really.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, the U.S. nuclear industry trade group, presented a page on its website devoted to the post-earthquake situation involving nuclear plants in Japan which opened with pronouncement: “The Japanese prime minister and the industry’s safety agency say all plants in the country are safe and that there has been no radiation release from any reactors. Utilities there are managing More Radiation…

Radiation Map Updated Every 3 Minutes

In Around the web on March 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Thanks to Carolyn Drewes, Ukiah

Welcome to RadiationNetwork.com, home of the National Radiation Map, depicting environmental radiation levels across the USA, updated in real time every 3 minutes.  This is the first web site where the average citizen (or anyone in the world) can see what radiation levels are anywhere in the USA at any time.
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Expert: Japan’s radiation could spread to U.S.

As Japan races to avert multiple nuclear meltdowns, one expert warned Sunday that radiation could spread to the U.S.

Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Japan’s nuclear crisis is unprecedented.

“One reactor has had half the core exposed already,” he explained. “This is the one they’re flooding with sea water in a desperate effort to prevent it from a complete meltdown. They lost control of a second reactor next to it, a partial meltdown, and there is actually a third reactor at a related site 20-kilometers away they have also lost control over. We have never had a situation like this before.”

“The worst case scenario is that the fuel rods fuse together, the temperatures get so hot that they melt together in a radioactive molten mass that bursts through the containment mechanisms and is exposed to the outside. So they spew radioactivity in the ground, into the air, into the water. Some of the radioactivity could carry in the atmosphere to the West Coast of the United States.” More Radiation…

Watching It Come Toward You

In Around the web on March 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm


From Andrew Sullivan

If you haven’t seen this video of the tsunami approaching from the street-level, you haven’t quite yet absorbed the terrifying power of this death machine. When the buildings start moving off their foundations and sail through the city streets, it is hard not to gasp. I wish I could be more eloquent, but sometimes words fail.
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Rosalind Peterson: Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants – Radiation Exposure (Updated)

In Around the web on March 12, 2011 at 8:01 am

Video Footage Here

From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

[See also And Goodnight, American Nuclear Power by Keith Olbermann below. -DS]

[Update: Core may be partially melting...]

Notes on Nuclear Power Plants & Emissions

Why would the west coast USA be in danger from Meltdown of Nuclear Power Plants in Japan?

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States (and then would move east on the Jet Stream).  Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet stream.

It is possible that early radioactive releases are already airborne and heading toward the United States.

More Nuclear…

Roy Falk: Tsunami – Caspar Beach

In Around Mendo Island on March 12, 2011 at 7:42 am

From ROY FALK

Here’s a 5 minute dramatic video I shot with my iPhone 4 at 10 AM yesterday.  Watch the whole 5 minutes to see how quickly the water withdraws [starting at about 2 minutes in].

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See also Tsunami Wave Surge Up Mad River, Humboldt County, CA. 3/11/11 here.

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Thom Hartmann: Unequal Protection — The Battle to Save Democracy (Introduction)

In Around the web on March 11, 2011 at 10:10 am

From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart.
— Anne Frank, from her diary, July 15, 1944

On September 2, 2009, the transnational pharmaceutical giant Pfizer pled guilty to multiple criminal felonies. It had been marketing drugs in a way that may well have led to the deaths of people and that definitely led physicians to prescribe and patients to use pharmaceuticals in ways they were not intended.

Because Pfizer is a corporation—a legal abstraction, really—it couldn’t go to jail like fraudster Bernie Madoff or killer John Dillinger; instead it paid a $1.2 billion “criminal” fine to the U.S. government—the biggest in history—as well as an additional $1 billion in civil penalties. The total settlement was more than $2.3 billion—another record. None of its executives, decision-makers, stockholders/owners, or employees saw even five minutes of the inside of a police station or jail cell.

More Unequal Protection…

Todd Walton: Myth & History

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on March 11, 2011 at 7:07 am


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

“As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.” Book of Proverbs 25:3

“Have you seen The King’s Speech?” asked a friend.

“Marcia has and loved it,” I replied. “I’m waiting for it to come out on Netflix.”

My wife Marcia and I are on the two-movies-a-month plan, and we often don’t find the time to watch even that many.

“Of course,” continued my friend, “they’ve taken great liberties with the historical facts. I read one article that said the movie isn’t even close to the truth and another that said it has some truth in it, but not much.”

“The only way to speak the truth is to speak lovingly.” Henry David Thoreau

Historical facts. Hmm. When I was attending UC Santa Cruz in the late 1960’s (and I really did do that) Norman O. Brown came to teach at our newborn college. His course Myth & History was open to undergrads, so I signed up to hear what the famous man had to say. Who was Norman O. Brown? Having taken his Myth & History class, and having spent a few hours blabbing with Norman about this and that, More Todd Walton…

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