In Defense of Hippies


From DANNY GOLDBERG
Dissent

Progressives and mainstream Democratic pundits disagree with each other about many issues at the heart of the Occupy Wall Street protests, but with few exceptions they are joined in their contempt for drum circles, free hugs, and other behavior in Zuccotti Park that smacks of hippie culture.

In a post for the Daily Beast Michelle Goldberg lamented, “Drum circles and clusters of earnest incense-burning meditators ensure that stereotypes about the hippie left remain alive.” At Esquire, Charles Pierce worried that few could “see past all the dreadlocks and hear… over the drum circles.” Michael Smerconish asked on the MSNBC show Hardball if middle Americans “in their Barcalounger” could relate to drum circles. The New Republic’s Alex Klein chimed in, “In the course of my Friday afternoon occupation, I saw two drum circles, four dogs, two saxophones, three babies….Wall Street survived.” And the host of MSNBC’s Up, Chris Hayes (editor at large of the Nation), recently reassured his guests Naomi Klein and Van Jones that although he supported the political agenda of the protest he wasn’t going to “beat the drum” or “give you a free hug,” to knowing laughter.

Unleashing the Future: Advancing Prosperity Through Debt Forgiveness (Part 2)


From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
oftwominds 

This week we present a timely and important series on debt renunciation and forgiveness by longtime contributor Zeus Yiamouyiannis. Today: Part 2: generational, historical, and psychological drivers of debt.

PART 2: Facing forward: Examining generational, historical, and psychological drivers of debt The demand for credit and debt is driven by generational values, historical habits, and psychological desires. These in turn are premised on evolving notions of the good life. If someone thinks material consumption equates with the good life, then chances are that person will get much farther into debt than another person that values non-material staples as supporting the good life— i.e. family, community, and friendship. Where you put your energy and money communicates something strong about the person you are and the way you will interact with the world.

American baby boomers were born into a world of cheap oil, plentiful jobs, and expansionary foreign policy

Sanctuary


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

The breathtaking photo accompanying this blog post shows a grove of young black walnut trees growing above a lustrous carpet of wild hyacinths in late spring. But what the picture does not show makes it even more wildly beautiful. I would bet that very few readers can guess, in environmental or geographic terms, where photographer Dennis Barnes found this lovely scene. I would never have recognized the locale myself, even though seventy years ago I played many a day right there in that exact spot. You are not looking at some lush tropical jungle, or wild sanctuary in a national park, or institutional arboretum, or wildlife preserve, or refuge far from the haunts of humans.  The location is a nondescript patch of Ohio farm country only a few yards away from a world of gullied corn fields. Seventy years ago it was open, park-like woodland used as sheep pasture and had been used that way for about another 70 years. The sheep kept new trees from coming in and limited the growth of wildflowers and brush. When the sheep were withdrawn, sure enough new trees and these wild hyacinths, which as children we had never seen, began to return.

At first there was nothing spectacular about this rejuvenating forest, but then Brad and Berny Billock

Unleashing the Future: Advancing Prosperity Through Debt Forgiveness


From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
oftwominds 

This week we present a timely and important series on debt renunciation and forgiveness by longtime contributor Zeus Yiamouyiannis. Today: Part 1.

Given accelerating conditions and trends in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, debt will be renounced, forgiven or written down, and how that process unfolds is now of paramount importance.

Will private entities who dined so gloriously on their profits now eat their losses? Can the public who has seen its fortunes commandeered mount an effective response? Will there be convincing practical alternatives to a rigged world economy based in debt expansion and servitude? The answer is “yes” to all three, contends this five-part series by longtime contributor Zeus Yiamouyiannis. The series offers practical analyses and blueprints for liberating the world from debt and thus freeing its people to pursue greater, more productive purposes.

Introduction:

Undriving — Get Your Undriver’s License


From PEAK MOMENT TELEVISION

Robyn and I biked with our friend Marita across Seattle to get our Undriver Licenses™ at a Liveable Streets event held at the University of Washington, with lots of groups tabling there, low-cost helmets, and more. We made a beeline for the Undriver Licensing™ station.

We were greeted by Undriving™ founder Julia Field and her team of volunteers. Since we’ll be taping a conversation with Julia, I wanted Robyn to videotape me and others getting our Undriver Licenses™ for that show.

Chelsea took the lead, explaining Undriving’s goal — to reduce car use, mine or others. I filled out a short pledge form for action’s I’d take in the next month. She urged me to do something that was doable but a stretch. Since I’ve already been doing many errands by bike instead of car, I had to dig a bit deeper.

OWS: All the Angry People


From GEORGE PACKER
The New Yorker

A man out of work finds community at Occupy Wall Street.

[A good long read... -DS]

…The protesters in Zuccotti Park were angry about things that Kachel recognized from his own life: the injustice of an economic system in which the rich and the powerful sucked the life out of the middle class. He had long felt critical of the big banks, the oil companies, the huge corporations that didn’t pay taxes. Fracking, the hydraulic extraction of natural gas, was a particular concern of Kachel’s. He was also an obsessive follower of Rachel Maddow—he loved her wit, her agreeableness—and Occupy Wall Street was starting to come up on her cable news program.

Kachel had four hundred and fifty dollars from the sale of his copy of Final Cut Pro. For two hundred and fifty, you could travel to New York City on a Greyhound bus. He had never been farther east than Dallas, but New York City was so dense and diverse, and so full of ideas and ways to make money, that if he could learn to exist

Working in a Digital Sweatshop


From CONNOR SIMPSON
Atlantic Wire

Amid discussions in the tech community over the health of young, overworked engineers, Michael Arrington has written a polarizing post on Uncrunched urging Silicon Valley to, “work more, cry less, and quit all the whining.”

Arrington’s post argues that Silicon Valley workers are going soft in their relatively young age. “Suddenly everyone’s complaining about how unfair things are in Silicon Valley,” Arrington writes. “How hard everyone has to work so darn hard, and how some people don’t get venture capital or a nice sale to Facebook or Google even though lots of other people are getting those things.” But the payoff, according to Arrington, is worth it. “If you work at a startup and you think you’re working too hard and sacrificing too much, find a job somewhere else that will cater to your needs,” he argues.

Arrington uses quotes taken from Jamie Zawinski’s 1994 diary entries about working as an engineer on the Netscape web browser to show that people have been working like this in Silicon Valley for over 17 years. It’s the way things are meant to be! What Arrington doesn’t mention is how Zawinski introduces his stories on his own page as a “cautionary tale”

Book Review: Hedy’s Folly


From RICHARD RHODES 
NPR
Cross-Posted at Mendo Books

[Hedy's Folly available now for rent $2/week at Mulligan Books. -DS]

The Life And Breakthrough Inventions Of Hedy Lamarr, The Most Beautiful Woman In The World

Actress Hedy Lamarr invented a form of wireless communication that led to Bluetooth, GPS and more.

At the height of her Hollywood career, actress Hedy Lamarr was known as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” For most of her life, her legacy was her looks.

But in the 1940s — in an attempt to help the war effort — she quietly invented what would become the precursor to many wireless technologies we use today, including Bluetooth, GPS, cellphone networks and more.

An Unlikely Beginning

A new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes

Megabanks Could Lose $185 Billion Due to Bank Transfer Day


From SUSIE MADRAK
Crooks and Liars

Is there anything quite as exhilarating as knowing that, despite their posturing to the contrary, Big Banks took a real hit, thanks to a broad-based populist movement? Maybe we can move onto the cable behemoths next: “A Month Without Cable,” where everyone cancels their cable for a month and uses Netflix instead — I can dream, can’t I?

During “Bank Transfer Day” earlier this month, 40,000 Americans moved their money from the nation’s biggest banks to credit unions, voicing their distaste with the action’s of America’s financial behemoths. About 650,000 Americans joined credit unions in October, which is more people than in all of 2010 combined. According to cg42, a consulting firm that does work for the biggest banks, “the nation’s 10 biggest banks could stand to lose as much as $185 billion in deposits in the next year due to customer defections.” Of the banks, “Bank of America is the most vulnerable and could lose up to 10% of its customers and $42 billion in consumer deposits in the next year.”

Plus, you know, a lot less money to buy politicians!
~~

Wild Mushrooms Can Kill


From FOOD SAFETY NEWS

Wild, edible mushrooms are a delectable treat but California issued a warning earlier this week to people who forage for them.

Mistakes in wild mushroom identification can result in serious illness and even death, cautions Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and State Public Health Officer.

“It is very difficult to distinguish which mushrooms are dangerous and which are safe to eat.  Therefore, we recommend that wild mushrooms not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined to be edible by a mushroom expert,” Chapman said.

Wild mushroom poisoning continues to cause disease, hospitalization and death among California residents.  According to the California Poison Control System (CPCS), 1,748 cases of mushroom ingestion were reported statewide in 2009-2010. Among those cases:

- Two people died.

- Ten people suffered a major health outcome, such as liver failure leading to coma and/or a liver transplant, or kidney failure requiring dialysis.


- 964 were children under six years of age. These incidents usually involved the child’s eating a small amount of a mushroom growing in yards or neighborhood parks.

- 948 individuals were treated at a health care facility. 
• 19 were admitted to an intensive care unit.

The most serious illnesses and deaths have been linked primarily

Deleveraging


From THE AUTOMATIC EARTH

I’m under the impression that it’s not all that difficult to see what goes on and why in the financial world these days. Everyone simply keeps talking about what Germany should do, and about eurobonds etc., but a relatively concise overview of a few numbers should be adequate to point out that none of that “solution” talk is based on too much realism.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible that Germany would succumb to the growing pressure to “act”, just that even it it did, not one underlying issue would be solved. Instead, it would mean that the Germans would take the huge risk of taking on enormous losses incurred by other countries and their banks.

Germans may have enjoyed their spot in the safe haven limelight a bit too much to see the mote in their own eyes, but that should not mean they must keep on doing so. All’s not well in Berlin either.

Let’s do a list of where several countries stand at this point (I made a list of 10-year sovereign bond yields at 8.00 AM EST):

  • Greece: Will be broke in 3 weeks unless it receives the €8 billion next bailout tranche. It will get this only if the main opposition party signs a letter declaring its support for the EU/CB/IMF troika’s austerity measures and budget cuts, supported by new technocrat PM Papademos. Opposition leader Samaras has so far refused to sign. 
    10-year bond yields 29.87%.
  • Portugal: Downgraded by Fitch to junk status. 2012 GDP expected to fall 3%. Portugal expected to need the same level of bailout as Greece, though a 50% debt writedown has been ruled out by the Greece deal.
    10-year bond yields 12.32%.
  • Ireland: Nominal gross national

Will Parrish: The Logic Of Occupy Mendo


From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville
The AVA

By casting 99% of the US population as collective victim of a miniscule minority’s monumental greed, the American branch of the Occupy Movement has provided a brilliant framework for bringing together a broad coalition to take on the worst manifestations of what, for the past 35 years or so, has been an almost entirely one-sided class war waged by the ruling elite. Students, their grandparents, heretofore apolitical people, the employed and unemployed, veterans, the housed and the homeless, and people of all ages and colors have partaken in the Occupy Movement (all, of course, to varying degrees).

This framing has profound limitations, however, which are evident in places like Mendocino County, where the vast majority of those who identify themselves as being on the “left” seem to have little interest in delving deeper into the local class structure. As a result, the political interests of a large segment of the so-called 99% — needless to say, the bottom 50% or so — are almost entirely marginalized. It’s difficult to graft the Occupy framework onto each and every place.

Speaking only for myself, I’ve lived in inland Mendo for over three years, and I’ve almost never heard of or participated in a public discussion about structural inequality. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Occupy Movement so far is that it has changed the focus of political conversation, opening up the national discourse so that frank conversations about class in America are actually possible. A a cursory look at the state of Mendo’s housing, employment, healthcare, education, and politics — in other words, its economic and social structure — is an important point of departure.

Why Occupy has taken off (and a response from Transition)


Transition Towns UK

From LUANE TODD
Energy Bulletin

Why do you think Occupy has been more effective at mobilizing participation and discussion than peak oil or Transition? Their ‘message’ is not so dissimilar but it has connected.

The Occupy movement, unlike the peak oil/climate/Transition movement (?) is a bottom-up not a top-down approach. That appeals to the younger people and many of the older ones as well. What they are doing is not coming in the form of ‘delivered wisdom’ from the ‘experts in the field’ with their laundry list of what we ‘must’ do.

From what I can tell there is a lot of debate/discussion going on all the time about what to do and how to do it. It seems that the ‘leaderless’ or open classroom idea where everyone is a teacher and a learner is a very powerful concept that actually makes our younger people enthusiastic players. For the first time in ages (or forever for some of them) they feel they have the right to speak AND be heard with respect. It is ok to question other points of view, everyone is encouraged to do so.

For comparison I submit that one reason the local food projects are getting a lot of popular support and interest is that to some extent they are site-specific in a way and they lend themselves to customization in another location.

On the other hand, as has already been noted a few times here at Energy Bulletin, there is a hint of elite-ism and follow the manual in the order presented (there will be a test at the end) about the Transition approach

Bringing it down to earth


From JOHN MICHAEL GREER
The Archdruid Report

…No amount of protesting is going to refill the once vast and now mostly depleted reserves of cheap oil and other resources that gave America its age of extravagance, nor is protest going to do anything to stop the decline of America as a world power or the rise of competing powers. Blaming the results of both these processes on the manifold abuses of Wall Street is not going to help the situation noticeably—though seeing bankers and stockbrokers doing perp walks through the streets of Manhattan might do a little to restore public faith in the rule of law, which has taken quite a beating in recent years. Most Americans, ignoring these realities, still insist they are entitled to a standard of living that neither their country’s faltering position in the world, nor the hard facts of physics and geology, will enable them to have for much longer, or get back if they’ve already lost it. Until that sense of entitlement gives way to a more realistic set of expectations, nothing is going to solve the problem Americans think they have—that of finding a way to hang onto hopelessly unsustainable lifestyles—and nothing is going to be done to deal with the predicament Americans actually face—that of dealing with the end of abundance in a way that doesn’t finish shredding the already frayed fabric of our society.

Any attempt to walk the talk that we’ve been discussing here, in other words, has to begin with the individual, and has to start with the acceptance of a very significantly lowered standard of living. To return to an acronym I’ve proposed here already, any response to the future that doesn’t involve using LESSLess Energy, Stuff, and Stimulation—simply isn’t a serious response to the downside of the industrial age. The toolkit of the Seventies—organic gardening and appropriate tech movements… is among many other things a very effective way of responding to the need

Alice’s Restaurant Massacree



~~

Homemade Pie Crust Recipe


From COOKING UP A STORY

The baking season is upon us. In this video, Catherine Schon, of Sassafras Catering, demonstrates how to make a tasty homemade pie crust. Now for some of you this will be old hat, but for many who are rediscovering the baker within, this will be very useful to watch. Actually, even as a seasoned home-baker, you might pick up some tips – I did! Ms. Schon was kind enough to also share her Home Made Pie Crust Recipe.

Traditionally folks will make pumpkin pie for their Thanksgiving meal. Or, you might want to consider apple pie or pecan pie – both primary ingredients are in season. Whichever type you decide, try making it yourself. For me that’s part of the fun of making a Thanksgiving meal…find some good music, roll up your sleeves, create, and share!

And before you start making dough, here’s a good tip I learned from the TwoJunes post, Pie, It’s A Way of Life; double or triple the pie dough recipe, divide accordingly, wrap in wax paper, and freeze until needed.

Happy baking, and Happy Thanksgiving!
~~

Occupy Thanksgiving: Radicalize Your Relatives


From MICKEY Z.
FairShareCommonHeritage.com

“Pass the gravy.”

“How ’bout them Packers?”

“I wonder how much of this food is genetically modified.”

Hmm…which line doesn’t belong? The table talk at many holiday gatherings often fluctuates between strained and superficial at best—as most folks try to keep the family peace. This reality can leave the radicals in quite a quandary: maintain proper etiquette or exploit a golden opportunity to spark a crucial conversation?

Then, as you sit there agonizing over the right way to broach a touchy topic, the person next to you suddenly blurts out something that makes your blood boil. Do you react or do you “mind your manners”?

When Aunt Betty sez: “If the planet is heating up, why is it so cold today?”

What you want to say: “Listen, you old bat, if you stopped tuning in to right wing radio long enough, you might realize how ignorant you sound.”

Another approach: “The term global warming can be confusing. If we perceived it as climate change instead, it’d make more sense because shifting weather patterns often result in unusually cold weather in certain areas.”

Link for Aunt Betty: Changing the climate…of denial

How Bad Is Pepper Spray?


From KATE SHEPPARD
Mother Jones

This horrifying video of UC Davis police indiscriminately pepper-spraying peaceful student protesters has gone viral. Two officers have been placed on leave. But for anyone who’s never been pepper sprayed, it’s hard to imagine exactly what it feels like. Over at Scientific American, Deborah Blum makes a valiant attempt to explain.

Using a scale of intensity developed 100 years ago by Wilbur Scoville, Blum notes that commercial-grade pepper spray is 1,000 times “hotter” than a jalapeño pepper. Most sprays are between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units—and the higher-end figure is the type police use. Here’s the chart:

As Blum notes, getting sprayed in the face isn’t at all like putting too much hot sauce on your burrito:

The reason pepper-spray ends up on the Scoville chart is that – you probably guessed this – it’s literally derived from pepper chemistry, the compounds that make habaneros so much more formidable than the comparatively wimpy bells. Those compounds are called capsaicins and – in fact – pepper spray is more formally called Oleoresin Capsicum or OC Spray.

Mulligan Books Launches Two New Blogs



here



here



From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

Have a look…

Thanks!


Richard Heinberg: What We Stand For


From RICHARD HEINBERG
Post Carbon Institute 

Every activist engaged in combating human-caused climate change or specific elements of the current energy economy knows that the work is primarily oppositional. It could hardly be otherwise; for citizens who care about ecological integrity, a sustainable economy, and the health of nature and people, there is plenty to oppose—biomass logging in Massachusetts, mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia, natural gas drilling in Wyoming, poorly sited solar developments in California, river-killing dams in Chile and Brazil, and new nuclear and coal plants around the globe.

These and many other fights against destructive energy projects are crucial, but they can be draining and tend to focus the conversation in negative terms. Sometimes it’s useful to reframe the discourse about ecological limits and economic restructuring in positive terms, that is, about what we’re for. The following list is not comprehensive, but beauty and biodiversity are fundamentals that the energy economy must not diminish. And energy literacy, conservation, relocalization of economic systems, and family planning are necessary tools to achieve our vision of a day when resilient human communities are imbedded in healthy ecosystems, and all members of the land community have space enough to flourish.

Energy Literacy
Energy is arguably the most decisive factor in both ecosystems and human economies. It is the fulcrum of history, the enabler of all that we do. Yet few people have more than the sketchiest understanding of how energy makes the world go ’round.

Basic energy literacy

Imagining the Post-Industrial Economy


From SHARON ASTYK

Here is the single biggest question to consider about the economic, energy and environmental unwinding we are facing – what will the economy look as we go? I get more questions about this than about anything else – what should people do for work, what should they do with savings, how should they begin to prepare themselves for a lower energy world. What I find, however, is that among both the prepared and the unprepared, there’s a whole lot of people kidding themselves. There are those who imagine that there is no economy outside the world of the stock market and formal jobs – that a crash in those things is the end of the world, which means to them either that it can’t happen or they should buy a bunker and some ammo. Others have imagined themselves “free’ of all economic structures larger than the neighborhood, cheerfully providing most of their needs or bartering and never again touching cash. Both ideas fall into the realm of fantasy.

Let us remind ourselves that the informal economy is, in fact, the larger part of the world’s total economy. When you add in the domestic and household economy of the world’s households, the subsistence economy, the barter economy, the volunteer economy, the “under the table” economy, the criminal economy and a few other smaller players, you get something that adds up to 3/4 of the world’s total economic activity. The formal economy – the territory of professional and paid work, of tax statements and GDP – is only 1/4 of the world’s total economic activity.

The end of OWS or the beginning of something bigger?


From DAVID WHITFORD
Fortune

One of the original organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement is ready to declare victory. 

Kalle Lasn, the white-haired evangelist of Occupy Wall Street, was on the phone from Vancouver, pressing me in his thick Eastern European accent. “So how do you feel there at Fortune?” he asked before I could begin my interview. “Are you scared? You feel that some sort of a heave is happening underneath your feet?”

It was late October, six weeks into a movement that Lasn and his crew of “culture jammers” at Adbustersmagazine take credit for launching. “Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?”Adbusters posted on its website in July. “On Sept 17, flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street.” Now Tahrir may have been a stretch. Even Lasn, who was born in German-occupied Estonia in 1942 and spent part of his childhood in a refugee camp, doesn’t think that America is quite ready for Tunisia-style “hard regime change.” Otherwise, good call.

But what’s next, now that winter is on its way and mayors in New York and Oakland, two of the movement’s epicenters, have sent riot squads to shut down the camps in their cities? Lasn told me during the same interview that perhaps the occupation as we know it was coming to an end. “Some heroic people will hang in there and sleep in the snow and inspire us all with their guts,” he predicted, “but by and large I think this movement

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