Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Rosalind Peterson: Fukushima Disaster 2011 — U.S. Receiving steady flow of radiation fallout [Updated]

In !ACTION CENTER! on June 30, 2011 at 9:00 am

From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

[“U.S. is receiving a steady flow of radiation from Fukushima” — Media paying little attention to radiation in food, as if problem only involves Japan -DS]

[Update: Revealed — British government's scheme with Nuke companies to play down Fukushima]

[Rosalind Peterson has put together a comprehensive chronology of Japan disaster events on her website at Agriculture Defense Coalition. -DS]

Rosalind Peterson…

The Japan section is alphabetized and also in chronological order of events. I hope that you will find this information of value to you. There are maps, videos, documents, articles and other information on these two sections:

http://www.agriculturedefensecoalition.org/?q=content/japan-disaster-2011

http://www.agriculturedefensecoalition.org/nuclear-issues

Each day brings additional bad news from Japan which is now rarely reported by the United States News Media. More Rosalind Peterson…

Free Trade? Free for whom? Most likely, women in slavery built your smartphone…

In Around the web on June 30, 2011 at 8:57 am

From THE DAILY BEAST

Modern human slavery isn’t just about sex trafficking—up to 27 million people are forced into labor in the global economy, from tomatoes to electronics to American military contracting in places like Iraq… the demand for cheap goods in a globalized economy sustains slavery today in fields and farms

When Americans think about human trafficking, they tend to think about sexual slavery. The very real stories of girls sold to brothels or tricked into prostitution by gangsters are great fodder for journalists. They attract the kind of celebrity commitment that puts causes on the map…

The issue certainly deserves our attention—indeed, its horrors can scarcely be overstated. But as the State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons report makes clear, sexual bondage is only a part of a much larger and more insidious evil… Huge parts of the global economy, from tomatoes to electronics to American military contracting, are tied up with forced labor… The likelihood that a smartphone was not touched by a slave is pretty low… Full article here
~~

Corporate CEOs have a secret they don’t want you to know about… how much money they are stealing from their workers

In Around the web on June 30, 2011 at 8:42 am

From THOM HARTMANN

The Republican party is a wholly owned subsidiary of wealthy special interests. “These CEOs are not job creators… They’re stealing from the people who are the actual job creators: people like you and me…”
~~

Book Review: Tomatoland — How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit

In Around the web, Books on June 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

From BARRY ESTABROOK
Excerpt NPR

In Vermont, where I live, as in much of the rest of the United States, a gardener can select pretty much any sunny patch of ground, dig a small hole, put in a tomato seedling, and come back two months later and harvest something. Not necessarily a bumper crop of plump, unblemished fruits, but something. When I met Monica Ozores-Hampton, a vegetable specialist with the University of Florida, I asked her what would happen if I applied the same laissez-faire horticultural practices to a tomato plant in Florida. She shot me a sorrowful, slightly condescending look and replied, “Nothing.”

“Nothing?” I asked.

“There would be nothing left of the seedling,” she said. “Not a trace. The soil here doesn’t have any nitrogen, so it wouldn’t have grown at all. The ground holds no moisture, so unless you watered regularly, the plant would certainly die. And, if it somehow survived, insect pests, bacteria, and fungal diseases would destroy it.” How can it be, then, that Florida is the source for one-third of the fresh tomatoes Americans eat? More Tomatoland…

Michael Laybourn: Opt-Out of Smart Meters Now!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on June 29, 2011 at 8:49 am

From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

[PG&E has a 'delay installation phone number' for customers who, for any reason, wish to delay their SmartMeter install. By calling this number customers can put off the installation of their new meter until the CPUC has decided on a non-wireless SmartMeter option. The number is: 1-866-743-0263. ~Dan Hamburg]

“The PG&E and Wellington Energy employees were a no-show this morning at the Wellington Energy Installation Yard, while 26 trucks sat there ready to (illegally) install in Santa Cruz County.  About 40-50 people showed up to demand that PG&E respect local laws and get their “smart” meter program out of the County. “

Some people are demonstrating to stop the smart meters. You are missing the point if you think that smart meters will save energy. Smart meters do not save electricity. They are a reason to cut jobs. To think they are some kind of gentle green good is nonsense.

Smart meters merely track electric usage, More Michael Laybourn…

A Relentless Race to the Bottom

In Around the web on June 29, 2011 at 8:16 am

From SETH GODIN
Dobbs Ferry NY

They’re shutting down Jimmy Wang’s store. Shutting down a successful little business.

Walgreen’s is moving into town, my town, a town with three or four small drugstores and plenty of places to buy stale cookies, thank you very much.

I’ve written about Brother’s market before, an anchor in my little town. The only place to get hand-picked fresh food, pretty much, and the sort of market you could imagine moving to town just to be near. Remember those little markets where they actually care about the produce they sell? In a world filled with bitter cash register jockeys, Brother’s was different. A smiling face, a family member mentioned, a don’t-worry-about-the-pennies sort of interaction.

I’ve probably shopped there a thousand times, and every single time it brought a smile to my face.

The problem is that while Brother’s was in a race to the top, a race to create more and better interactions, Walgreen’s is in a race to the bottom. They exist to extract the last penny from every bit of real estate they can control. That’s the deal they made with their shareholders.

The landlord who owns this land lives in another state. He doesn’t care. More Seth Godin…

Gene Logsdon: Backyard Clotheslines and Washboard Secrets

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on June 28, 2011 at 8:08 am

The Logsdon Farm Clothesline

From GENE LOGSDON (1985)
The Contrary Farmer
Garden Farm Skills

Most people would not want to be without their clothes dryer, but there’s something lost for every gain. What you lose with a dryer, besides the money and the energy it costs to run it, is that heavenly fresh smell of clothes and sheets dried out in the fresh air and sunshine. For both economical and aesthetic reasons, folks with yards like to hang the wash out during the warmer months, even if it is more work.

For a clothesline, use nylon rope, not wire. The wire will rust and the clothes will get stained from it. The easiest way to erect a line is to tie the rope from tree to tree, if possible. Otherwise you have to set poles in the ground — and very solidly, since the weight of a line full of wet sheets is considerable.

Steel or wood posts are fine. If wood, use a kind that resists rot. Put the posts 3 feet in the ground and pour cement around them to a thickness of 3 to 4 inches. By notching a crossarm solidly in the top of each wood post, you can run two parallel lines. If using threaded pipe for a post, a T-union and extensions of pipe at the top will provide a sturdy crossarm. More Gene Logsdon…

End The Wars!

In Around the web on June 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

From INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq
1,455,590

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America’s War On Iraq:
4,781
www.icasualties.org/oif/

Number Of  International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan:
2,554

Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan
Total Cost of Wars Since 2001
$1,212,951,498,889

http://www.costofwar.com/
~~

Truth Going, Going, Gone… With the Papers

In Around the web on June 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

From CHRIS HEDGES
Truthdig

[...] Newsrooms today are anemic and forlorn wastelands. I was recently in the newsroom at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and patches of the floor, also the size of a city block, were open space or given over to rows of empty desks. These institutions are going the way of the massive rotary presses that lurked like undersea monsters in the bowels of newspaper buildings, roaring to life at night. The heavily oiled behemoths, the ones that spat out sheets of newsprint at lightning speed, once empowered and enriched newspaper publishers who for a few lucrative decades held a monopoly on connecting sellers with buyers. Now that that monopoly is gone, now that the sellers no long need newsprint to reach buyers, the fortunes of newspapers are declining as fast as the page counts of daily news sheets.

The great newspapers sustained legendary reporters such as I.F. Stone, Murray Kempton and Homer Bigart who wrote stories that brought down embezzlers, cheats, crooks and liars, who covered wars and conflicts, who told us about famines in Africa and the peculiarities of the French or what it was like to be poor and forgotten in our urban slums or Appalachia. These presses churned out raw lists of data, from sports scores to stock prices. Newspapers took us into parts of the city or the world we would never otherwise More Chris Hedges…

Suspended Agitation

In Around the web on June 27, 2011 at 7:59 am

From JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER

[...] I just hope Michele Bachmann and her probable running mate, Jesus, don’t steal the next election. They’ll rip out the Obamas’ vegetable garden and put a Nascar track there so that all of Ms. Bachmann’s 27 children can have jobs selling miniature bibles in the parking lot. (“Prayed over by qualified preachers twenty-four hours a day!”)

By the by, many observers were amused by last week’s cute trick of releasing sixty million barrels of oil from the world’s strategic reserves at the rate of two million-a-day in an effort to pretend that the world doesn’t have a basic oil production problem. It is, of course, at the bottom of the world’s financial disarray, because if you can’t increase energy inputs that feed an industrial economy you don’t get growth and then the whole idea of compound interest falls apart because it is predicated on a perpetual increase in wealth. Hence, debt collapses in on itself. The world is caught up in an epochal contraction now, and it manifests in situations like the Greek emergency. But soon it will be a universal emergency.

The lesson, if I may be tendentious for moment, is that the human race is welcome at any time to begin living differently, at a smaller scale, much more locally, with fewer automatic machines doing all the work for us, and more time spent on useful and necessary activities than on television fantasies. Got a problem with oil? Don’t imagine that you’re going to run WalMart – or, for that matter, Goldman Sachs – on wheat-straw distillates. Something is in the air this week and it is making a lot of people very nervous. If you loaded up the old investment portfolio with shale gas stocks, I feel especially sorry for you.

Original article here
~~

Senator Bernie Sanders: Dear Mr. President, Do not yield…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on June 27, 2011 at 7:07 am

From BERNIE SANDERS

[PLEASE TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW! Co-sign the letter and then send the link to your personal email list. Let's overwhelm Obama with the people's demands. Thank you! -DS]

Dear Mr. President,

This is a pivotal moment in the history of our country. Decisions are being made about the national budget that will impact the lives of virtually every American for decades to come. As we address the issue of deficit reduction we must not ignore the painful economic reality of today – which is that the wealthiest people in our country and the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well while the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing.  In fact, the United States today has, by far, the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth.

Everyone understands that over the long-term we have got to reduce the deficit – a deficit that was caused mainly by Wall Street greed, tax breaks for the rich, two wars, and a prescription drug program written by the drug and insurance companies. It is absolutely imperative, however, that as we go forward with deficit reduction we completely reject the Republican approach that demands savage cuts in desperately-needed programs for working families, the elderly, the sick, our children and the poor, while not asking the wealthiest among us to contribute one penny.

Mr. President, please listen to the overwhelming majority of the American people who believe that deficit reduction must be about shared sacrifice. More Bernie and co-sign letter…

Imperialism 101

In Around the web on June 26, 2011 at 7:07 pm

From MICHAEL PARENTI

[...] Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world’s people… Original article here
~~

Here’s the function that the book – the physical paper book – does for you that nothing else will

In Books on June 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

From THE INDEPENDENT UK
Thanks to Ron Epstein

Read a book with your laptop thrumming. It can feel like trying to read in the middle of a party where everyone is shouting

In the 20th century, all the nightmare-novels of the future imagined that books would be burnt. In the 21st century, our dystopias imagine a world where books are forgotten. To pluck just one, Gary Steynghart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story describes a world where everybody is obsessed with their electronic Apparat – an even more omnivorous i-Phone with a flickering stream of shopping and reality shows and porn – and have somehow come to believe that the few remaining unread paper books let off a rank smell. The book on the book, it suggests, is closing.

I have been thinking about this because I recently moved flat, which for me meant boxing and heaving several Everests of books, accumulated obsessively since I was a kid. Ask me to throw away a book, and I begin shaking like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice and insist that I just couldn’t bear to part company with it, no matter how unlikely it is I will ever read (say) a 1,000-page biography of little-known Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar. As I stacked More Books…

What happened to media coverage of Fukushima?

In Around the web on June 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

From ANNE LANDMAN
PR Watch
Thanks to Meca Wawona

While the U.S. media has been occupied with Anthony Weiner, the Republican presidential candidates and Bristol Palin’s memoir, coverage of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster has practially fallen off the map. Poor mainstream media coverage of Japan’s now months-long struggle to gain control over the Fukushima disaster has deprived Americans of crucial information about the risks of nuclear power following natural disasters. After a few weeks of covering the early aftermath of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, the U.S. media moved on, leaving behind the crisis at Fukushima which continues to unfold. U.S. politicians, like Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, have made disappointing and misleading statements about the relative safety of nuclear power and have vowed to stick by our nuclear program, while other countries, like Germany and Italy, have taken serious steps to address the obvious risks of nuclear power — risks that the Fukushima disaster made painfully evident, at least to the rest of the world.

Problems Multiply

News outlets in other countries have been paying attention to Fukushima, though, and a relative few in this country have as well. A June 16, 2011 More No Nukes…

Hey! Lookee here: If Congress does nothing, the deficit will simply disappear in 6 years

In Around the web on June 25, 2011 at 7:56 am

From TPM

[NO MORE CUTS!! -DS]

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office released its updated long-term budget forecast, which looked surprisingly like the previous version of its long-term budget forecast.

It showed, as one might expect, that if the Bush tax-cuts remain in effect and Medicare and Medicaid spending isn’t constrained in some way, the country will topple into a genuine fiscal crisis — not the fake one the Congress is pretending the country’s in right now.

Republicans, of course, seized on that particular projection, and claimed (a bit ridiculously) that it proved the government must adopt their precise policy views: major spending cuts, particularly to entitlement programs.

While all this — from the findings to the politicization of them — is perfectly expected, the forecast also presents another opportunity to remind people that the medium-term budget outlook is perfectly fine if Congress adheres to the law as it’s currently written. That means no repealing the health care law, for one, but more significantly More TPM…

Will Parrish: The Mendonoma Coast’s Second Spanish Invasion

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on June 24, 2011 at 8:25 am

Courtesy Friends of the Gualala River

From WILL PARRISH
TheAVA.com
Laytonville

Spanish wine corporation Grupo Codorníu is accustomed to doing things in a big way.  It is reputed to own a greater expanse of vineyard acreage than any wine company in Spain, which in turn has more land under grapevine cultivation than any nation in the world. It is perhaps the world’s largest distributor of the Spanish sparkling wine Cava, producing more than 100 million bottles of it annually at a wine factory in Barcelona, which are distributed en masse to over 100 countries spanning the globe.

Codorníu’s portfolio also features what may well be the world’s largest vineyard, a 4,000-acre span of tendril and vine that acts as source of grapes for one among the many wineries in its portfolio, Raimat – “recognized,” according to the company’s web site, “as Spain’s preeminent wine estate.”  At 6.25 square miles, this monolithic grape plantation covers a surface area equivalent to nearly one and a half Ukiahs.

With such grandiosity in mind, it is not at all surprising that in one of the various Wine Country regions where Codorníu is invested, it is proposing to carry out the largest conversion of designated forestland to vineyards More Will Parrish…

Todd Walton: Her Children

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on June 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

Photo by Ginger Malisos

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTable.com
Mendocino

“My mother is a poem 
I’ll never be able to write, 
though everything I write 
is a poem to my mother.
” Sharon Doubiago

I’m about to pull out of the Presbyterian parking lot and make a right turn, when I see a woman on the sidewalk across the street dragging a heavy suitcase. She has a baby girl on her back in a makeshift backpack, and this baby has a smile on her face as big as the world. The woman lets go of the suitcase and backtracks about twenty feet to where she’s left a bulging duffel bag and a blue plastic laundry basket piled high with clothes and toys and whatnot. She takes hold of the duffel bag and starts dragging it to where she left the suitcase, and as she drags the duffel she calls to two tiny children waiting for her some twenty feet further along the sidewalk beyond the suitcase.

“Wait for us at the corner,” she says, her voice clear and musical; and I am struck by how calm she sounds, how sure she is that the three-year-old girl and the four-year-old boy will obey her, which they do. More Todd Walton…

Private Prisons Spend Millions Lobbying For More Prisoners and Longer Sentences

In Around the web on June 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

From ANDREA NILL SANCHEZ
ThinkProgress.org

The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) has released a report chronicling the political strategies of private prison companies “working to make money through harsh policies and longer sentences.” The report’s authors note that while the total number of people in prison increased less than 16 percent, the number of people held in private federal and state facilities increased by 120 and 33 percent, correspondingly. Government spending on corrections has soared since 1997 by 72 percent, up to $74 billion in 2007. And the private prison industry has raked in tremendous profits. Last year the two largest private prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group — made over $2.9 billion in revenue.

JPI claims the private industry hasn’t merely responded to the nation’s incarceration woes, it has actively sought to create the market conditions (ie. more prisoners) necessary to expand its business.

According to JPI, the private prison industry uses three strategies to influence public policy: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and networking. The three main companies have contributed $835,514 to federal candidates and over $6 million to state politicians. More Privatizing Travesty…

Social Security in trouble? Billionaire BS…

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on June 23, 2011 at 7:46 am

From BERNIE SANDERS: “What the Koch brothers want to do is destroy Social Security because Social Security is a federal government program that has been enormously successful. The Koch brothers are funding think tanks and other organizations which are spreading an enormous amount of disinformation about Social Security.”
~~

Medicare going bankrupt? More Billionaire BS…

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on June 23, 2011 at 7:45 am

From JARED BERSTEIN

When you criticize the Republican’s plan for Medicare privatization, their kneejerk comeback is to claim that Medicare is going bankrupt. They’ve got to break it to fix it.

It’s a misleading non sequitur that should not go unchallenged. More Medicare…

U.S. has a debt problem? Even More Billionaire BS…

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on June 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

From DEMOCRACY NOW

Sally Kohn: “Don’t believe the hype about U.S. Debt… U.S. Debt is a good idea!”

JUAN GONZALEZ: Vice President Joe Biden met with congressional negotiators last Thursday to discuss ways to curb the federal deficit and permit new borrowing More US Debt…

They will not control us…

In Around the web on June 23, 2011 at 6:55 am


~~

Grilled Pitas with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

In Organic Food & Recipes on June 22, 2011 at 8:30 am

From TheDailyGreen

The onions can be cooked up to 3 days in advance — just bring them to room temperature before spooning over the goat cheese.

SERVINGS
8

COOK TIME
35

TOTAL TIME
50

INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 jumbo onions (1 pound each), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Four 6-inch pitas, sliced horizontally in half
6 to 7 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

PREPARATION
1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions, sugar, and salt, and cook 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes longer or until onions are golden brown, stirring frequently.

2. In cup, stir remaining 2 tablespoons oil with tarragon and thyme. Brush cut sides of pitas with herb mixture; spread with goat cheese, then top with caramelized onions.

More Grilled Veggies…

Gene Logsdon: Praise Be Baling Wire and Binder Twine

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 am

From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

I know farmers who can fix almost anything except the economy with baling wire and a pair of pliers. The geniuses who came up with wire-tie knotters for hay balers didn’t know that they were saving agriculture because of all the secondary uses for the wire after it is removed from the bales. Baling wire is just the right gauge to bend easily and still strong enough to hold stuff together until you can at least get back to your repair shop. I used a length of the stuff to replace a chain that raised and lowered the tines of my ancient side delivery rake. It lasted five years before it rusted enough to break. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve used baling wire to keep mufflers from dragging on the ground when their holding straps rusted off.

Just this week, the metal cover over my elderly rotary mower rusted through so badly that I had to do something to keep from getting killed if a rock or something flew up from the blade and hit me on the tractor seat. As usual, I had to figure out something that did not cost much money. A board fitted nicely over the gaping hole, but how could I hold it in place? Aha. Baling wire. I drilled holes at appropriate places in the board and threaded baling wire through them and around the iron braces of the mower cover. I have a notion that repair will last as long as I do…

More here…
~~

Nurses Say: Make Wall Street Pay!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on June 22, 2011 at 6:10 am

From NATIONAL NURSES UNITED

Main Street Contract for America

Join Nurses to Protest Wall Street June 22

Nurses from across the U.S. will stand up to Wall Street on Wednesday, June 22 to demand the high rollers in the finance capital of the world pay to rebuild the economy of a nation they have done so much to destroy. —National Nurses Movement, 06/16/11 More »

What’s behind the attacks on working people?

The modest pensions and health benefits we have earned, the pay that supports our families, the improved conditions for our patients did not deplete public treasuries or jeopardize the survival of our employers. The banks and other financial giants did — and were rewarded with bailouts and bonuses while our communities pay the price. Over the past 30 years, while wages have fallen or stagnated and insurance premiums and other basic costs skyrocketed, wealth has been shifted from working families to Wall Street. It’s not shared sacrifice when only working people make concessions.

  • Corporate taxes are at historical lows. Yet $1.6 trillion, corporate profits for the third quarter of 2010 were the highest on record.
  • Hospitals nationally recorded $34 billion in profits in 2009, the second highest ever.
  • 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years from 1998 to 2005.
  • The average CEO who was paid $27 for every dollar earned by an employee 25 years ago now gets a ratio of about $275 to $1. More Nurses…

The L-Curve

In Around the web on June 21, 2011 at 7:57 am

From L-Curve.org

What are the implications of this picture?

I am not an economist, but then again, most likely you aren’t either.  On the other hand, the economy affects you and me, so we need to come to grips with these issues to participate intelligently in the political process.  There needs to be a genuine national dialog on these issues at all levels.

If we divided the income of the US into thirds, we find that the top ten percent of the population gets a third, the next thirty percent gets another third, and the bottom sixty percent get the last third. If we divide the wealth of the US into thirds, we find that the top one percent own a third, the next nine percent own another third, and the bottom ninety percent claim the rest. (Actually, these percentages, true a decade ago, are now out of date. The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation’s wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.)

Mendocino County: Declare Local Sovereignty!

In Around Mendo Island on June 21, 2011 at 7:45 am

From MENDOPENDENCE.COM

The Mendopendence Conference is an exciting forum for individuals and organizations to come together and highlight some of the most exciting initiatives underway in our community, and to take specific action on new efforts that will create a sustainable and healthy local living economy.

What better time to discuss local sovereignty than Independence Day weekend?

The program focuses on four main topics: Food, Energy, New Economy and Media. There will be more than 10 panels & workshops featuring local and national speakers.

Together, we will draft  and sign a “Declaration of Local Sovereignty,” with principles to guide the future of decision-making in Mendocino County.

Come create with us!

July 1-4th, 2011 in Mendocino, California Mendocino Recreation Center

Presented by DreamLabs and the Mendocino Coast Environmental Center in partnership with Mendocino Coast Recreation & Park District.

Conference Schedule

Friday night 4:30p Registration/Check-in 5:45 Carpool meet-up at Fort Bragg City Hall parking lot More Conference…

Top Censored Stories of 2011

In Around the web on June 21, 2011 at 7:32 am

The Machine Stops

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web, Books on June 20, 2011 at 7:50 am

october2011.org/
~

Published: 1909

The Machine Stops is a short science fiction story. It describes a world in which almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual lives in isolation in a ‘cell’, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Most humans welcome this development, as they are skeptical and fearful of first-hand experience. People forget that humans created the Machine, and treat it as a mystical entity whose needs supersede their own. Those who do not accept the deity of the Machine are viewed as ‘unmechanical’ and are threatened with “Homelessness”. Eventually, the Machine apocalyptically collapses, and the civilization of the Machine comes to an end. –Wikipedia

I

THE AIR-SHIP

Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment More Machine Stops…

Dave Smith: Democracy still works locally

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on June 20, 2011 at 7:37 am

To the Editors:

Democracy still works locally. Thanks to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for responding to citizens by, hopefully, pounding the final nail in the Monster Mall coffin, and preserving our farm land.

Despite the silliness of some who tried to confuse the issue by misinterpreting the overwhelming vote against the mall, the faithful souls of smart growth and environmental sanity have once again prevailed. Thank you all.

Dave Smith
Ukiah
~

Breaking the Chains Campaign

Breaking the Chains Campaign is focusing consumers’ attention on how each purchasing decision can lead to a safer, greener, and more equitable society. Millions of green minded consumers around the world have broken the chains of corporate control in their own lives, by supporting organic, Fair Made, and locally produced products and businesses.

It is time for these individuals to come together as a single voice to break the influence of big chains, corporate agribusiness, and sweatshop driven economies the world over. More Democracy Works…

Economics as if Survival Mattered

In Around the web, Books on June 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

From JOHN MICHAEL GREER
Excerpts from The Wealth of Nature, 2011

The end of the Information Age

Very few people realize just how extravagant a supply of resources goes to maintain the information economy. The energy cost to run a home computer is modest enough that it’s rarely noticed, for example, that each one of the big server farms that keep today’s social websites up and running use as much electricity as a midsized city. Multiply that by the tens of thousands of server farms that keep today’s online economy going, and the hundreds of other energy-intensive activities that go into maintaining the Internet and manufacturing the equipment it uses, and it may start to become clear how much energy goes into putting pretty pictures and text onto your computer screen…

The gigawatts used by server farms are not the only unnoticed energy that goes into the Internet, though; putting those gigawatts to work requires an electrical grid spanning most of a continent, backed up by the immense inputs of coal and natural gas that put electricity into the wires, and a network of supply chains that stretches from coal mines to power plants to the oil wells that provide diesel fuel for trains and excavation machines…

More Economic Survival…

Origin of ‘Hobbit’

In Around the web on June 18, 2011 at 7:53 am

Online Etymology Dictionary

…1937, coined in the fantasy tales of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973).

Hobbit  is an invention. In the Westron the word used, when the people was referred to at all, was banakil  ‘halfling.’ But … the folk of the Shire and of Bree used the word kuduk  …. It seems likely that kuduk  was a worn-down form of kûd-dûkan  [='hole-dweller']. The latter I have translated … by holbytla  ['hole-builder']; and hobbit  provides a word that might well be a worn-down form of holbytla , if the name had occurred in our ancient language.” [Tolkien, "Return of the King," 1955, p.416]

“On a blank leaf I scrawled: ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.’ I did not and do not know why.” [Tolkien, letter to W.H. Auden, dated 1955]

The word also turns up in a very long list of folkloric supernatural creatures in the writings of Michael Aislabie Denham (d.1859), printed in volume 2 of “The Denham Tracts” [ed. James Hardy, London: Folklore Society, 1895], a compilation of Denham’s scattered publications. Denham was an early folklorist who concentrated on Northumberland, Durham, Westmoreland, Cumberland, the Isle of Man, and Scotland.

“What a happiness this must have been More Hobbit…

Seriously, WTF is Cricket?

In Around the web on June 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

From GILES TURNBULL
The Morning News

Question: Seriously what the fuck is cricket? Please ask one of your British correspondents to lay it out.—G.S.

Answer: In order to have a decent game of cricket, you must first ensure that it isn’t raining.

For a game invented in that global capital of rain, that dominion of drizzle, England, this fact alone should give you a sign that cricket is something special.

The English have thousands of words for precipitation, but only one way of calling off a game of cricket because of wet weather: “Rain stopped play.”

Cricket, like photographic film, or Tara Reid, is light-sensitive. A game can be called off simply because it’s getting a tad gloomy. This, from a cold, rainy, overcast, gloomy nation like England seems incongruous. But cricket was invented for a reason. And that reason was sandwiches…

More at The Morning News
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Careful Exegesis and the Au Bleu Ribeye

In Around the web on June 18, 2011 at 7:20 am

From JASON PETERS
Front Porch Republic

I have it on good authority—my own—plus that of a few others who know more about these things than I do, including one fellow who “attended the best culinary school in the country” (a claim I take on good faith, not knowing the name of a single culinary school, good or bad), not to mention that stern preceptor, experience (is this sentence going somewhere?)—I have it on good authority, as I say, that there is scarcely a credible reason to order a steak when you dine out.

The reason is that hardly anyone can prepare a steak as well as you can at home, and I’m not talking about doing anything particularly fancy like aging the beef or rubbing it with some mythical magical rub or any of that cowflubdubbery. I’m talking about nothing more than beef to advantage dressed.

So, as Kipling said, hear and listen and attend, O best beloved.

Choose a ribeye. Do not be impressed by the name “New York strip” or “sirloin tip” or anything else that rhymes with “hip.” More Ribeye…

Will Parrish: Paul Hobbs & Ken Wilson — Wine Country’s Clearcutting Crooks

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on June 17, 2011 at 7:21 am

Hobbs’ Vineyards

 From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville
TheAVA.com

Paul Hobbs, internationally renowned winemaker with headquarters in Sebastopol, is described in his web site biography as a “trailblazer” and “prospector.” Those are fitting designations, if not always in the ways his publicist intends. Formerly the winemaker at two of the most prestigious wineries in the country, Opus One and Simi, Hobbs currently “crafts” — to use the term of trade — numerous acclaimed vintages under his own self-titled label, also working as a consultant on 30-35 other wines at a given time, in as many as six countries spanning three continents. By advertising Hobbs’ association with their brand, those who hire him automatically see a boost in sales.

Kenneth C. Wilson, real estate capitalist and winemaker with headquarters in Healdsburg, is not the first person wine industry observers would typically associate with Hobbs. Whereas Hobbs is widely regarded for his winemaking artistry, as a veritable winemaker’s winemaker, Wilson More Will Parrish…

Can I be your friend? [Updated]

In Around the web on June 17, 2011 at 7:10 am

~

Update: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange releases video blog of his house


~
Facebook’s Eroding Privacy Policy: A Timeline

[Recently an acquaintance told me they had signed an anti-corporate petition circulated on Facebook, and the following day they were fired by their two corporate accounts... their main sources of income. Having also learned more about Facebook privacy policies, I have now removed all my "friends" from my Facebook account except for my immediate family. Does not solidarity demand action where such injustice and blatant privacy-invasion occurs, especially as corporate policy?...~DS]

More Corporate Connivery…

Todd Walton: He Is Us

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on June 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

Photo by Marcia Sloane

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

“When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without the proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.” David Hume

I may be wrong. I thought I’d begin with that disclaimer to defuse the notion I think I’m right. What troubles me most about zealots is that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is not only deemed wrong, but bad. Oh, get to the point, Todd. Well, but this is a big part of the point, this trouble I have with people who think they have the one and only true answer, true faith, true way to grow strawberries. There’s no way to have a meaningful discussion with them.

When I had my oh-no-we’re destroying-the-earth-we’d-better-change-our-ways epiphany in 1965 at the tender age of fifteen, even most of my fellow Sierra Club members thought I was either crazy or a dangerous radical. Forty-six years later, my assertion that radically reducing our individual resource consumption can help save the earth is scoffed at and ridiculed by a growing cadre More Todd Walton…

Home-Scale Energy Now

In !ACTION CENTER!, Mendo Island Transition on June 16, 2011 at 8:18 am

From JOHN MICHAEL GREER
The Archdruid Report

The logic applied in last week’s post to photovoltaic solar power can be applied more generally to a fairly wide range of technologies that can, under the right circumstances, provide a modest supply of electricity to power those things for which electricity is really the most sensible power source. I want to talk about a couple of those in tthe weeks to come, partly for the sake of completeness, partly because the options I have in mind offer some distinct advantages, and partly because touching on a series of examples will make it easier to grasp certain common themes that aren’t often addressed on those rare occasions when discussions of the future of technology manage to make it out of the realm of popular mythology in the first place.

I don’t mean that last comment as a joke, by the way. If mythology can be defined as the set of stories that people in a given society use to make sense of the universe and themselves, contemporary beliefs about the future of technology in the cultural mainstream of the industrial world fill that role, doubled, tripled, and in spades. Those of my readers who have More Home-Scale Energy…

Bounty Hunters: A review of two new local-foods cookbooks

In Around the web, Books on June 16, 2011 at 7:33 am

From JENNIFER M.
The Ethicurean

As the local food movement expands and the numbers of small farms, CSA programs, and farmers markets increase, so grows the crop of cookbooks aimed at helping people make the best use of that seasonal bounty. Following in the path of Deborah Madison’s excellent overview of America’s farmers markets, Local Flavors, two new cookbooks share the joys of regional harvests throughout the year.

The first, Cooking Close to Home: A Year of Seasonal Recipes, bases its recipes in the old and new traditions of New England agriculture. This collaboration between dietitian Diane Imrie and chef Richard Jarmusz combines a healthy approach to eating with simple preparations that enhance the fresh flavors of local fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats. While many recipes take old favorites and spruce them up for More Cookbooks…

Home Power Plant Nation

In Mendo Island Transition on June 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

From CHRIS BOLGIANO
Bay Journal News Service
Via Transition Voice

The old dream of going off-grid has changed into today’s reality of using the grid as your own battery

It’s a gorgeous day full of singing birds and sunlight. Beautiful, streaming sunlight. Soon the photovoltaic system that added some aggression to my passive solar house in the mountains of western Virginia will be one year old, the time of reckoning.

Getting off the grid has always been nirvana for 1970s back-to-the-landers like me. With net-metering – a 21st century update of the dream – I am still connected, selling excess electricity in summer when the sun is high, and buying electricity at night and in winter. The grid has become my battery, although my home system includes batteries for three sunless days of essential services if the grid is knocked out: water pump, stove, freezer, and playing old movies through the storm.

In rural Appalachia, self-sufficiency is the traditional way of doing things.

More Home Power…

Janie Sheppard: Looking for Elusive New Deal Art

In Around Mendo Island on June 15, 2011 at 8:44 am


From JANIE SHEPPARD
Mendocino County

Determined to see another example of mural art by Ben Cunningham, the artist who painted the mural in the Ukiah Post Office, I trekked to Coit Tower in San Francisco. There, my Internet research assured me, was another example of Ben’s art, a mural entitled “Outdoor Life.” No mention of the fact on the Internet that the nine by twenty-two foot mural is off limits to the public.

To see a photo of the mural I bought an expensive but beautiful book, Coit Tower San Francisco: Its History and Art, by Masha Zakheim, photos by Don Beatty. Searching the Internet for a good picture of Ben’s mural More Janie Sheppard…

Transition and Collapse: Voices from the Margins

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on June 15, 2011 at 8:33 am

From TRANSITION BOOK GROUP
Via Energy Bulletin

It was at my suggestion that our Transition Book Group read The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age, by John Michael Greer. Known online for his blog the Archdruid Report (he is a high priest of the Druid Order) Greer belongs to a small group of thinkers that I would call “collapse-theorists” (others might say “doomers”), who dare to describe the future of energy descent, the massive crises of the economy, climate and peak oil. All of the material we read in the book group is difficult. Jokes are made about who we are sending our therapy bills to each month as we gather. Something about Greer proved extra-challenging, and although we all liked the book as much or more than anything else we have read, it brought up the unique grief of contemplating a grim future.

Though gentler, and more rational than many writers of his genre, Greer has a knack for formulating the truth in ways that are hard to dispute. Transition….

Gene Logsdon: Stay Home And Make Some Real Money

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on June 15, 2011 at 6:30 am

Walt Curlee Art

From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Far be it from me to criticize the American way and it wouldn’t change if I did. But it seems to me that another way of looking at life needs to be presented occasionally. Those of us who choose to live the home-centered garden and farming way have some built in advantages when it comes to profits and losses.

If time is money, I’ve lost thousands of dollars waiting for traffic lights to change or traffic jams to clear up or planes to get back on schedule. The fuel and blood pressure burned up in the process could cost me a whole lot more than four dollar gas. On trips, if you don’t pack some food, a meal on the road is going to average out at about eight dollars a head. If you stay at a motel, deduct another bunch of bucks. But the bedbugs are free. All this is what you get for the thrill of staring at the scenic sides of huge semi-trucks as you roar down the highway always three feet and three seconds away from death. More Gene Logdson…

Our Participation Fuels Financial Tyranny

In Around Mendo Island on June 14, 2011 at 7:14 am

From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
OfTwoMinds
Mendocino County

Our debt and transactional consumerism fuels the tyranny which oppresses us.

The basic dynamic is profound: the political and financial tyranny of Wall Street and the “too big to fail” banks is fueled by our own participation. “Reformers” both within the Central State and outside its halls of delirium-inducing power, keep hoping that some tweaking of policy or regulations will relax the grip of Wall Street and the big banks on the nation’s throat.

They are willfully blind to the obvious: that with enough money, any rule can be bent or evaded. Just look at the thousands of pages of tax codes which are supposed to impose “fair and equal” taxation on the citizenry. Yet the Power Elites pay less than half (around 18%) of what self-employed entrepreneurs pay (a basic rate of over 40%–15% self-employment tax and 25% Federal tax). For example, Hedge funders pay a mere 15% on their $100 million earnings because they bought a law in Congress which declares their earnings, More Tyranny…

What is a Transition Enterprise?

In Mendo Island Transition on June 14, 2011 at 7:07 am

From TRANSITION CULTURE

Fiona Ward of Transition Network’s REconomy project has written the following to try and answer the question “what would a social enterprise founded on Transition principles be like?  This posted is intended to stimulate discussion, so do comment below.  Over to Fiona…

Why do we need this definition?

This document defines what is meant by a Transition Enterprise (TE). This definition is useful to the Transition Network because it helps us clarify:

  1. The kind of trading enterprises we would most like to see, as they best support the wider aims of Transition, and
  2. Where we should first direct our limited resources (e.g. via the REconomy project).

Other types of commercial enterprises can also help meet the aims of Transition. In fact, we need a wide range of business models in each local economy to provide the diversity that helps build resilience, including More Transition…

A Brief History of Attacks on Social Security

In Around the web, Social Security on June 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

social-security-200From TED MARMOR
New Deal 2.0

As Obama’s Fiscal Commission prepares for its June 30 hearing, New Deal 2.0 invited leading thinkers to participate in our Social Security’s Fiscal Fitness series, which examines the soundness of the program, its relationship to the federal deficit, and the vital role it plays in America’s economic future.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform set up by President Obama claims both that reducing the projected federal deficit should be a major national objective and that Social Security should be considered as one potential source of relief either through reducing benefits or enhancing revenues or some of both. That much is simply a fact.

But this commentary is about ideology. It is to remind readers that the same attacks on Social Security have been going on — in different guises — for at least four decades. The stagflation of the 1970s, precipitated by the oil crisis of 1973-74, provided long-term, ideological critics of social insurance an opportunity More New Deal…

Rosalind Peterson: Take Action! Social Security Alert!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Social Security on June 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm

From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

There are currently seventeen [8], bills pending in either the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate that are related to changes in Social Security [1-2].  This staggering number of Social Security bills, now being considered in various committees, where amendments will be added or the bills changed, shows how determined many elected officials are in either privatizing or killing two of the most beneficial programs to protect the public ever created (with the exception of the U.S. EPA and our Clear Air and Water Act Laws).

President Obama and members of the U.S. House and Senate have placed Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block in ongoing debt ceiling negotiations.  In these secret negotiations, far away from public enlightenment or debate, deals are being cooked-up to undermine, cut or privatize these important and highly beneficial programs.

The income cap, for example, in Social Security should be increased so that the rich pay their fair tax share of these costs.  Instead more payroll tax holidays are planned allowing the rich to escalate their riches by paying less in taxes. More Rosalind Peterson…

Is the Dramatic Increase in West Coast Baby Deaths a Result of Fukushima Fallout?

In Around the web on June 12, 2011 at 8:30 pm

A 35% Spike in Infant Mortality in Northwest Cities Since Meltdown

From JANETTE D. SHERMAN, MD
and JOSEPH MANGANO
Counterpunch

U.S. babies are dying at an increased rate… The recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that eight cities in the northwest U.S. (Boise ID, Seattle WA, Portland OR, plus the northern California cities of Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley) reported the following data on deaths among those younger than one year of age:

4 weeks ending March 19, 2011 - 37 deaths (avg. 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011  - 125 deaths (avg.12.50 per week)

This amounts to an increase of 35% (the total for the entire U.S. rose about 2.3%), and is statistically significant. Of further significance is that those dates include the four weeks before and the ten weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In 2001 the infant mortality was 6.834 per 1000 More Infant Deaths…

The Real Cost of Private Insurance vs. Medicare

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on June 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm

From digby

And Medicare takes care of the very sickest people in our country.

Krugman:

If Medicare costs had risen as fast as private insurance premiums, it would cost around 40 percent more than it does. If private insurers had done as well as Medicare at controlling costs, insurance would be a lot cheaper.

It’s a mystery why anyone claims that shifting more people into private insurance is a good idea. Actually, no, it isn’t a mystery; it’s an outrage.

Imagine if people over 50 had been allowed to buy into Medicare as was proposed during the Health Care debate. They would have been paying into the system as they already are and also paying for their current insurance. And they would have been getting their care from the less costly system at a time when they are starting to have health problems.

In fact, imagine if everyone were in the less costly system.
~~

The Mood at Culture Jammer HQ

In Around the web on June 11, 2011 at 7:27 am

From AdBusters

Alright, you 90 thousand jammers, anarchists, politicos, rabble rousers and do gooders on the other side of this screen, here’s the mood at Culture Jammers HQ right now:

The global situation is deteriorating faster and faster … instabilities, disruptions and singularities are emerging not just in our ecological and financial systems, but now, as the depression epidemic spreads worldwide, in our psychological systems as well. We are racing towards nightfall, a second great dark age.

Apocalyptic foreboding hangs over us, yet on the personal/activist front we feel guardedly optimistic watching the insurrectionaries in Spain, Greece and throughout the Arab world. Intellectually we feel alive like never before. Radical change and potent new ways of strategic thinking are cropping up everywhere. One of the most exciting tracts we’ve come across in awhile is Saul Newman’s The Politics of Postanarchism. Some of it is a bit academic, but he’s got a few killer ideas that just may offer a new paradigm for action. In one inspiring passage he writes:

“The liberal idea More AdBusters…

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