Grilled Pitas with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese


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.

Gene Logsdon: Praise Be Baling Wire and Binder Twine


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!


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.

The L-Curve


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!


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

Top Censored Stories of 2011


The Machine Stops


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

Dave Smith: Democracy still works locally


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.

Economics as if Survival Mattered


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…

Origin of ‘Hobbit’


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

Seriously, WTF is Cricket?


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
~~

Careful Exegesis and the Au Bleu Ribeye


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.”

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


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

Can I be your friend? [Updated]


~

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]

Todd Walton: He Is Us


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

Home-Scale Energy Now


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

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


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

Home Power Plant Nation


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.

Janie Sheppard: Looking for Elusive New Deal Art



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

Transition and Collapse: Voices from the Margins


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.

Gene Logsdon: Stay Home And Make Some Real Money


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.

Our Participation Fuels Financial Tyranny


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,

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