Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Peak Stupid…

In Around the web on May 10, 2012 at 4:36 am

From SHARON ASTYK
Casaubon’s Book

Finally, we’ve discovered the cause of all our problems….

Isn’t it obvious? We gave women the right to vote. As Raw Story reports:

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a tea party activist that’s appeared several times on Fox News, and founder of an organization where Sean Hannity serves as an advisory board member, said in a sermon recently published to YouTube that America’s greatest mistake was allowing women the right to vote, adding that back in “the good old days, men knew that women are crazy and they knew how to deal with them.”

I’m completely on Patterson’s side, in fact, I’m sure he agrees with me that the real problems began when we extended the franchise to anyone other than white male landowners over 21. I can see a new movement to cast off the vote arising for the glory of our nation – women, poor folk, non-white folk joining together to reclaim their lost legacy – marital rape, domestic violence, slavery, illiteracy, being 3/5ths of a human being, lacking legal personhood and disenfranchisement. Me, I’m going to work on the law that says my husband can beat me as long as it is with a stick no thicker than his wrist – bring that one back, baby!

I keep hoping that we have achieved peak stupid, but I fear not so far….this might be close, though.
~~

Book Review: Blue Nights — Joan Didion

In Books on May 9, 2012 at 6:05 am

From JOHN BANVILLE
NYT

Somewhere in his published diaries the playwright Alan Bennett observes that when misfortune befalls a writer the effect of it is in a small but significant measure ameliorated by the fact that the experience, no matter how dire, can be turned into material, into something to write about. Thus Joan Didion, after her husband, John Gregory Dunne, died suddenly of a heart attack on Dec. 30, 2003, made out of her bereavement a remarkable book, “The Year of Magical Thinking,” which became an international success, speaking directly as it must have not only to those who themselves had been recently bereaved, but to hundreds of thousands of readers wishing to know what it feels like to lose a loved one, and how they might themselves prepare for the inevitable losses that life sooner or later will cause us all to suffer.

Now Didion has written a companion piece to that book. “Blue Nights” is an account of the death, in 2005, of her and Dunne’s adopted daughter, Quintana Roo, and more specifically, of Didion’s struggle, as a mother and a writer, to cope with this second assault upon her emotional and, indeed, physical resources. The new book, no less than its predecessor, is honest, unflinching, necessarily solipsistic and, in the way of these things, self-lacerating: Did she do her duty by her daughter, did she nurture her, protect her, care for her, as a mother should? Did she, in a word, love her enough? These are the kinds of questions a survivor — the relict, as the old word has it — will put to herself, cannot avoid putting to herself; questions all the more terrible in that there is no possibility of finding an answer to them. As Didion says, “What is lost is already behind the locked doors.”

Throughout her career, in her novels and especially in her journalism, Didion has been a connoisseur of catastrophe. Early on she forged — ambiguous word — a style for dealing with the world’s dreads and disasters, a style that has been much admired and much imitated. Her tone, measured yet distraught, is that of a witness who has journeyed, consciously if not willingly, to the heart of private and, more momentously, public horror in order to bring us back the bad news. More…

Book Review: Some Assembly Required — Anne Lamott

In Books on May 9, 2012 at 6:00 am

From ALICE EVANS
OregonLive

As an about-to-be first-time grandmother myself, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Anne Lamott’s latest book, knowing I’d be treated to some great laughs delivered with warmth and authenticity by a quirky holy woman who likes to share her wild journey with the rest of us. I was not disappointed.

In her usual reverent but irreverent way, Lamott describes the trials, triumphs and joys of becoming a grandmother. This journal-style memoir includes interviews and emails from new father Sam Lamott, the 20-year-old son she raised alone as a single mother. Many of you may remember that Lamott wrote a rollicking memoir about the first year of Sam’s life, “Operating Instructions,” which became a best-seller in 1993.

Written in much the same tone, “Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son” includes descriptions of grandson Jax that possess a slapstick quality.

But there’s frequently a self-deprecating bite to this humor, a reminder of where Lamott has been: “Jax drinks from his bottle like a wino with a bottle of Night Train. His tongue lolls out when he gets a good hit, and then he starts sucking fiercely again. According to Sam, he’s saying, ‘All I need is one more slug of that, baby. Just to take the edge off.’”

Lamott never seems reticent to admit her own struggles with alcohol and drugs. Sober now for two-and-a-half decades, she still has to work at it, and humor is one of her great tools. But so is faith. A kind of leftist radical born-again Christian, Lamott shares her faith in such a matter-of-fact way that really, I want to kiss her for it. She shows us how she lives in community, how she works at building and keeping the support of her tribal circle of friends, family, priests, advisers and church brethren. She freely expresses her More…

Book Review: Imagine — How Creativity Works — Jonah Lehrer

In Books on May 9, 2012 at 5:47 am

From MICHAEL S. ROTH
Washington Post

Not many writers can make plausible links among musicians Bob Dylan, Yo-Yo Ma and David Byrne, animators at Pixar, neuroscientists at MIT, an amateur bartender in New York, entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and Israeli army reservists. Not many reporters do research about an expert surfer who has Asperger’s, information theorists, industrial psychologists and artists. But Jonah Lehrer is such a writer-reporter, who weaves compelling and surprising connections based on detailed investigation and deep understanding. He says that working memory is an essential tool of the imagination, and his book is an excellent example of how a dynamic storehouse of captivating information feeds creative thinking and writing.

Lehrer begins with the story of a pop-culture breakthrough, the artistic reinvigoration that Dylan experienced when he wrote “Like a Rolling Stone.” Dylan was finishing a grueling tour schedule that had left him increasingly dissatisfied with making music. He decided to leave behind the madness of celebrity culture and the repetitive demands of pop performance. But once he was ensconced in Woodstock, N.Y., once he decided to stop trying to write songs, the great song came: “It’s like a ghost is writing a song,” he said. “It gives you the song and it goes away. You don’t know what it means.” Lehrer adds, “Once the ghost arrived, all Dylan wanted to do was get out of the way.”

Many of the stories that Lehrer recounts in the first few chapters stress the benefits of paying attention to internal mental processes that seem to come from out of the blue. We can learn to pay attention to our daydreams, to the thoughts or fantasies that seem nonsensical. Sometimes this attention must be very light, so that the stream of ideas and emotions flows, as when Ma feels his way into a new piece of music. Sometimes the attention must be very great, as when W.H. Auden (assisted by Benzedrine) focused on getting the words in a poem exactly right. More…

Eight tips for reading with a toddler…

In Around the web on May 8, 2012 at 5:42 am

From DEBORAH J. STEWART
TeachPreschool.org

One of my favorite ways to spend time with my grandson is sitting down to read with him and my grandson truly loves the reading experience…

Reading with my grandson has given me the opportunity to observe and participate in the toddler reading experience. Based upon my own personal observations, I thought I would share with you a few helpful tips I have discovered about reading with a toddler…

Read with a toddler tip #1: Choose quality board books

The books that we currently read with my 12 month old grandson are almost all books that come in the form of a board book.  After reading the book at least one time through, my grandson likes to have me read the book again only this time, he wants to turn the pages himself. Because my grandson is still building the necessary fine motor control to grasp objects, the thicker pages of a board book make it much easier for my grandson to grab a hold of each page..

Read with a toddler tip #2: Get the board book “read-ready”

One thing I do to help my grandson turn the pages of a board book is to get the board book “read-ready.” If the board book is new or barely used, it can be stiff and difficult to keep each page in the open position. To help with this, I open each page of the book and bend it backwards to try and stretch out the binding just a little bit. Bending back the pages help them to stay open rather than quickly snapping back closed every time my grandson lets go of a page… Complete article here.
~~

Kellogg’s Kashi Targeted as Web Food Fighting Escalates…

In Around the web on May 8, 2012 at 5:00 am

From STEPHANIE ARMOUR
Bloomberg

Kellogg’s Kashi natural cereal uses some genetically modified ingredients. That was enough to convince an organic grocer in Portsmouth, Rhode Island to pull the brand from his store’s shelves.

Then, a photo of a sign displayed on one of the empty shelves explaining what had happened quickly went viral, lighting up the Web. Kellogg Co. (K)’s Kashi unit responded last week with a video on Facebook (FB) defending its use of the ingredients. By then, however, the noise level was rising, with some online groups threatening a boycott.

April 4 (Bloomberg) — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad talks about finely textured beef called “pink slime” by critics. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness with Margaret Brennan.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Ground-beef sales, including trimmings, fell 11 percent to 37.7 million pounds in March. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

It was just the latest skirmish in an escalating Internet- based uprising. Facebook, Twitter and petition sites like Change.org have birthed a brand of consumer activism that lets people rally supporters under a common cause at breakneck speed. The tactic has caught on in a big way, taking on one company after another, putting practices under a spotlight: bug extracts at Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), livestock antibiotics at Cargill Inc. and the treatment of animals by McDonald’s Corp. (MCD)

“It used to be the most power you had was writing your congressman” and waiting, said Amanda Hitt, director of More…

Why Is Mainstream Media Now Ignoring Occupy Wall Street?

In Around the web on May 8, 2012 at 4:52 am

Protesters march down Broadway toward the financial district in New York, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Hundreds of activists with a variety of causes spread out over New York City on International Workers Day, or May Day, with Occupy Wall Street members leading a charge against financial institutions. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

From THERESA RILEY
BillMoyers.com

Was last week’s OWS May Day action successful? If the goal was regaining mainstream media’s attention after a winter hibernation, the answer is a pretty solid no. As Natasha Lennard, Salon‘s Occupy blogger, noted this morning, the lack of stories about Tuesday’s general strike indicates that “the mainstream media’s interest in Occupy Wall Street has waned. It’s a shame because, as a new report indicates, Occupy has been central to driving media stories about income inequality in America.”

That report, compiled by reporter John Knefel for FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), analyzed mainstream media’s coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests and the issues of income inequality and corporate greed over the past six months. According to the research, the heaviest media coverage occurred in October 2011 — then slowed over the winter and nosedived in February.

Chart tracking 'income inequality' mentions in mainstream media

“As mentions of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ or ‘Occupy movement’ waned More…

Bikes are oil hungry beasts…

In Around the web on May 7, 2012 at 6:02 am

From ANDREW McKAY
Transition Voice

Bicycles came to us with the Age of Oil. Can we keep them once the oil is gone?

I am a keen cyclist. When I lived in Vancouver last year I would cycle the four miles to and from work six days a week during the warmer months. Unfortunately my job here back in New Zealand doesn’t allow for cycling (I spend weeks out at sea on fishing boats) but I still try to get out on my bike as much as possible. Cycling has many advantages over other forms of transport: it’s free exercise, it’s fun, in many cases it’s faster (I could easily beat the bus over my bike commute) and it’s environmentally friendly.

But hang on. Just how environ-mentally friendly is cycling and just how feasible is it in a post-peak world?

It is true that once you buy a bicycle, the day-to-day maintenance is negligible aside from a few subtle tweaks here and there. Fuel costs depend on how and what you decide to eat. But in terms of construction bicycles aren’t quite as green as they first look and it’s certain that at some point in the future modern bicycle production will cease to exist. Steel-alloy frames and rims, rubber tires and tubes, steel wires for brake and gear cables and all the other components are mass produced in factories that consume a huge amount of energy.

Another environmental concern is, where do good bikes go to die?

Rubber tires eventually wear out and are impossible to recycle without huge energy inputs. More than likely they end up in landfills where there is risk of slowly leaching heavy metals and other pollutants into the groundwater. There are no natural organisms that can decompose vulcanized rubber and so it takes centuries for tires to break down due to physical processes. Steel components break down much faster with oxidation but can also leach toxins into the environment.

Environmental concerns aside, where did the modern bicycle come from and where is it heading? More…

The People’s Bishop

In Around the web on May 7, 2012 at 5:37 am

From CHRIS HEDGES
Truthdig

Retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard was arrested in Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in New York City on Tuesday night as he participated in the May 1 Occupy demonstrations. He and 15 other military veterans were taken into custody after they linked arms to hold the plaza against a police attempt to clear it. There were protesters behind them who, perhaps because of confusion, perhaps because of miscommunication or perhaps they were unwilling to risk arrest, melted into the urban landscape. But those in the thin line from Veterans for Peace, of which the bishop is a member, stood their ground. They were handcuffed, herded into a paddy wagon and taken to jail.

It was Packard’s second arrest as part of the Occupy protests. Last Dec. 17 he was arrested when he leapt over a fence in his flowing bishop’s robe to spearhead an attempt to occupy a vacant lot owned by Trinity Church in lower Manhattan. The December action by the Occupy movement was a response to the New York City Police Department’s storming and eradication of the encampment in Zuccotti Park. Packard will appear in court in June to face the trespassing charge that resulted. Now, because of this second arrest, he faces the possibility of three months in jail.

Packard’s moral and intellectual courage stands in stark contrast with the timidity of nearly all clergy and congregants in all of our major religious institutions. Religious leaders, in churches, synagogues and mosques, at best voice pious and empty platitudes about justice or carry out nominal acts of charity aimed at those bearing the weight of resistance in the streets. And Packard’s arrests serve as a reminder of the price that we—especially those who claim to be informed by the message of the Christian Gospel—must be willing to pay to defy the destruction visited on us all by the corporate state. He is one of the few clergy members who dare to bear a genuine Christian witness in an age that cries out in anguish for moral guidance. More…

Last Message to the Ecotopians: Survival is a Team Sport…

In Around the web on May 7, 2012 at 5:28 am

[This document was found on the computer of Ecotopia author Ernest Callenbach (1929-2012) after his death.]

To all brothers and sisters who hold the dream in their hearts of a future world in which humans and all other beings live in harmony and mutual support — a world of sustainability, stability, and confidence. A world something like the one I described, so long ago, in Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging.

As I survey my life, which is coming near its end, I want to set down a few thoughts that might be useful to those coming after. It will soon be time for me to give back to Gaia the nutrients that I have used during a long, busy, and happy life. I am not bitter or resentful at the approaching end; I have been one of the extraordinarily lucky ones. So it behooves me here to gather together some thoughts and attitudes that may prove useful in the dark times we are facing: a century or more of exceedingly difficult times.

How will those who survive manage it? What can we teach our friends, our children, our communities? Although we may not be capable of changing history, how can we equip ourselves to survive it?

I contemplate these questions in the full consciousness of my own mortality. Being offered an actual number of likely months to live, even though the estimate is uncertain, mightily focuses the mind. On personal things, of course, on loved ones and even loved things, but also on the Big Picture.

But let us begin with last things first, for a change. The analysis will come later, for those who wish it.

Hope. Children exude hope, even under the most terrible conditions, and that must inspire us as our conditions get worse. Hopeful patients recover better. Hopeful test candidates score better. Hopeful builders construct better buildings. Hopeful parents produce secure and resilient children. In groups, an atmosphere of hope is essential to shared successful effort: “Yes, we can!” is not an empty slogan, but a mantra for people who intend More…

Will Parrish: Big Wine’s Hired Gun…

In Will Parrish on May 4, 2012 at 5:50 am

From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

Artesa of Sonoma, a subsidiary of Spanish wine giant Codorniu, has a public image crisis on its hands, and on a scale few wine companies have ever encountered. Last year, the company received a spate of national media coverage concerning its plan to carry out the largest forest-to-vineyard conversion project in California history, on a 324-acre parcel named “Fairfax” just outside of Annapolis, on the northern Sonoma Coast.

The coverage included stories from the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, North Bay Bohemian, and of course several here in the AVA. Most of the stories focused dually on Artesa’s project and that of Premier Pacific Vineyard, which has proposed to clear roughly 1,800 acres of redwoods for wine-grapes on the ridgetops and bluffs of its nearby 20,000 acre “Preservation Ranch” property. Rarely has any North Coast wine industry entity received so much negative attention, this being an industry that carefully identifies itself with the trope of enlightened small farmers in bucolic settings living in harmony with the land.

Yet, i’s easy to see why the “Fairfax” project has raised international alarm. The project would involve clear-cutting mostly second-growth redwood forest across roughly 154 acres of the total 173 acre project site. After chainsawing the trees, the Artesa crews would cleave the redwood and Doug-fir stumps and roots More…

Todd Walton: Sources of Wonder

In Todd Walton on May 4, 2012 at 4:57 am

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks
Mendocino

“Our soul is cast into a body, where it finds number, time, dimension. Thereupon it reasons, and calls this nature necessity, and can believe nothing else.” Blaise Pascal

Marcia and I watched the movie Source Code last night and I loved it. I very rarely watch American movies and almost never watch films containing more than a suggestion of violence, and this movie was made by Americans and is full of violence; yet I did not feel I was watching a violent movie, nor did the film seem remotely American. I will not spoil the show by telling you the plot, but I will say that for me Source Code beautifully and skillfully explicates the Buddhist notion of karma and how through our actions and intentions we create our future.

I was thinking about Source Code this morning while walking on Big River Beach, amazed by how vivid everything looked and felt to me, as if the movie had somehow altered my perceptions. And then I realized I was in a state of wonder, that my personal cares and woes were no longer holding sway as they so often do these days, and I was inseparable from the wind and the roaring of the waves and the ravens gliding through the air and the sand underfoot. I was only there, it seemed, because all these other things were enlivening me, and in their absence I would disappear.

When I got home from the beach, I sat down at the piano and played with such ease and fluidity I was in heaven, and I knew the movie was working in me More…

If we had a better story could we tell the truth?…

In Around the web on May 4, 2012 at 4:45 am

Violet green swallow playing with a feather; photo by Chris Maynard

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

Recently, to my surprise, it’s become more acceptable to tell the grim truth about our civilization. Still not acceptable, mind you, but every once in a while when I do, I’ll notice someone nodding at me, giving me a sad smile, a quiet signal of comprehension and appreciation.

Tree swallows in aerial acrobatics; photo by Richard Seaman

There are three (very large) groups to whom one cannot usefully or comfortably (or sometimes even safely) tell these truths:

  1. The incredulous: Those who either know so little or haven’t had the opportunity to think about what they know, that they find the idea of collapse preposterous, unimaginable, and/or unthinkable.
  2. The hopeful: Those who believe that collapse is not inevitable or can be significantly mitigated, or believe that even if it is inevitable and can’t be significantly mitigated, we should try anyway.
  3. The deniers: More…

Resisting Financial Feudalism…

In Around the web on May 3, 2012 at 6:42 am

From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
oftwominds

It’s comforting to think “I can’t do anything to resist the Central State and its financial Plutocracy,” but it’s not true. There are many of acts of resistance you can pursue in your daily life; here are 12 perfectly legal ones.

That we are powerless is one of the key social control myths constantly promoted by the Status Quo. What better way to keep the serfs passive than to reinforce a belief in their powerlessness against the expansive Central State and its financial feudalism?

But we are not powerless. Our complicity gives the aristocracy its power. Remove our complicity and the aristocracy falls.

The pathway of dissent is to resist financial feudalism and its enforcer, the expansive Central State. Here are twelve paths of resistance any adult can legally pursue in the course of their daily lives:

1. Support the decentralized, non-market economy. The core ideology of consumerism and financialization is that non-market assets and experiences have no status or financial value. This includes social capital, meals with friends, projects done cooperatively with friends, home gardens and thousands of other decentralized activities that cannot be financialized into centralized market transactions. Identity and social status More…

The illustrated history of you being screwed by people like Mitt Romney…

In Around the web on May 3, 2012 at 6:10 am

From DAVID WALDMAN FOLLOW
Daily Kos

Source: TPMDC

Quick and dirty, folks. Basically, the upper line represents the value of your work. The lower line represents what you got paid for it. The empty space in between—the difference between what your work was worth and how much you got for it—represents the money the executives skimmed off the top and kept for themselves.

How did they do it? In part, by so destroying the notion of job security that workers increasingly felt lucky just to be able to live paycheck to paycheck.

But let me switch gears for a second here. Imagine if this chart showed the gross income of the wealthiest 1 percent in the top line, but their income after taxes on the lower line.

“What’s our incentive to keep working hard?” we’d be hearing. “We’re gonna go Galt!”

But that’s not what it is. It’s a chart about working people getting screwed. And as you know, if workers start talking about withholding labor, they’re “thugs.” God forbid mid- and low-level corporate administrative workers say such a thing. That’s actually flat out illegal.

No, seriously. It’s illegal. How do you think we got that rule? One guess. More…

On Being a Worthy Heir of the Agrarian Contrarians…

In Around the web on May 3, 2012 at 6:00 am

From JASON PETERS
Front Porch Republic

There arrived in yesterday’s mail an attractive book, new from Chelsea Green, titled A Sanctuary of Trees. A hand-written note from the director of communications, addressed to me, said “Gene asked me to send you a copy of his latest book.”

“Gene” is Gene Logsdon, a name well-known, I expect, to many denizens of the Front Porch. Gene belongs to that fraternity of older agrarian contrarians that includes, among others, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, David Kline, and the late Maury Telleen.

Gene Logsdon: the Contrary Farmer. His many books include The Contrary Farmer, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, Homesteading: How to Find New Independence on the Land, The Mother of All Arts: Agrarianism and the Creative Impulse (reviewed here by yours truly), You Can Go Home Again, and three works of fiction: The Lords of Folly, The Last of the Husbandmen, and Pope Mary and the Church of Almighty Good Food, which I hear great things about but haven’t read yet.

I had just enough time between mind-numbing meetings yesterday afternoon to leaf through A Sanctuary of Trees. The early pages have a good bit to say about Logsdon’s early mis-education: a preparatory school for boys who were seminary-bound More…

Gina Covina: Is anything gained by starting vegetables early?

In Gina Covina, Guest Posts on May 2, 2012 at 7:14 am


Apples and pears are blooming – here’s Pink Pearl apple

From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

Is anything gained by starting vegetables early? Lucinda set up an experiment to answer this question some forty years ago. She planted seeds of various vegetables at one-week intervals, and charted their performance and yields over the entire season. Results across the board: no advantage in starting early.

“So does that mean you’ve never since tried to get a jump on the season?” I ask her.

“Well, no,” she admits.

I too find premature planting irresistible in spite of all past experience. Last year our sweet peppers, started in early April and transplanted to the hoop house in early May, just sat there dumbfounded in the cold, unable to grow at all. Finally we replaced most of them in early June with younger more vigorous starts that had never known the chill of April. Did we start the peppers later this year? Yes, but only by a week. And I’m moving them to the hoop house tomorrow, when night temperatures rise into the 40s for at least a few days.

We’ve planted out forty tomatoes (half the total), and Lin direct-seeded half the Dark Star zucchini a few days ago. Its sprouts emerged yesterday – that’s a month earlier than I’ve ever planted squash here. We’ll see how Dark Star lives up to its reputation as cold-tolerant.

More…

Rosalind Peterson: Call To Action — Navy Warfare Testing Threatens Marine Mammals and Habitats

In Around the web on May 2, 2012 at 6:30 am

From ROSALIND PETERSON
Agriculture Defense Coalition 5/1/12
Redwood Valley

U.S. NAVY’S TWELVE 5-YEAR WARFARE TESTING PROGRAMS & THE INCREASING & ONGOING THREAT TO THE GULF OF MEXICO, ATLANTIC & PACIFIC OCEANS

HELP SAVE OUR MARINE MAMMALS & THEIR OCEAN HABITAT TODAY!

A CALL TO TAKE ACTION

USA TODAY revealed bad news for our oceans when they published a news story titled:  “Navy Plans Could Affect More Marine Mammals” on August 5, 2010 [1].  According to USA Today news article, backed up by federal documents from the U.S. Navy and NOAA:   “…The Navy plans to increase ocean warfare exercises, conduct more sonar tests and expand coastal training…activities that could injure hundreds of thousands of marine mammals or disturb their habitats…”

What do your Elected Officials Know

In a letter to NOAA, dated June 19, 2009, several U.S. Senators, including U.S. Senator Feinstein and U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman, stated:  “…In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of its exercises or expand the areas in which they may occur, and virtually every coastal state will be affected. Some exercises may occur in the nation’s most biologically sensitive marine habitats, including National Marine Sanctuaries and breeding habitat for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. In all, the Navy anticipates more than 2.3 million takes (significant disruptions in marine mammal foraging, breeding, and other essential behaviors) per year, or 11.7 million takes over the course of a five-year permit…” [2]

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA Definition of “Take”:  “Defined under the MMPA (Marine Mammal Protection Act), as “harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect.”  Defined under the ESA (Endangered Species Act) as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct…”[3] More…

Gene Logsdon: Writing “A Sanctuary of Trees”

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on May 2, 2012 at 6:03 am

From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Writing books is a precarious business. I’ve been foolish enough to do it now about 28 times and I never know what is going to happen. I expected to get scolded for my novels (too irreverent about religion) and for titling a non-fiction book “Holy Shit.” But oddly enough, most readers seemed amused, as I had hoped, rather than irritated in these cases.  Much to my surprise church ministers who responded were especially positive in reaction to my criticisms of institutional religion. Obviously there is a great upheaval bubbling up right below the surface of traditional religious sects of all kinds. A professor of theology and stalwart defender of Christianity at one of our leading universities, after reading my irreverent novel, “Pope Mary and the Church of Almighty Good Food,” which he says he enjoyed, now calls me, not altogether jokingly, “one of the good atheists.”  In return I call him “one of the good Christians.”  We get along wonderfully. This is precisely the kind of relationship that I think is becoming more the norm.  You must remember how bad things used to be. When I was a Catholic kid seventy years ago, we were told it was a sin to go to a Protestant church service. Although there is still much conflict between various religious groups, and between religion and non-religion, more and more I see a joining of hands to get to the real work of keeping our civilization plodding along.

So I wrote “A Sanctuary of Trees” and even in such an uncontroversial book (I thought), I am getting scolded more than from previous books. My underlying intention in everything I write is to try to show, in what I hope to be a humorously wry way, the direct connections between agriculture and urban culture as human activity plays itself out in history. In the first part of “A Sanctuary of Trees,” I conjoined silviculture with my early years in a Catholic seminary studying for the priesthood. What I learned from the forests surrounding the several seminary locations I attended influenced me more than what I was hearing in the classroom. What I learned in both places led me eventually to choose the forest and leave the seminary.

Now I am being taken to task for rejecting my “call from God.” I am surprised since I thought this was a minor part of the book. But that’s okay because it is another indication to me of how closely culture and agriculture can be linked More…

Vote Today and Every Day…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on May 1, 2012 at 5:21 am

From THE OCCUPIED WALL STREET JOURNAL

Today, May 1, thousands will take to the streets in a celebration of solidarity with workers, immigrants, students, retirees and unemployed people across the world. Occupied Media has journalists on the ground live-tweeting to occupiedmedia.us. The site will be updated by the minute with information on events as they unfold. If you’re not in the streets, check the site frequently for live coverage and frequent updates.

Live Coverage: A Day Without the 99% here and here

To be clear, no one associated with Occupy Wall Street advocates or calls for violence and condemns any criminal activities beyond General Assembly approved direct action civil disobedience techniques. Violent activities will be denounced as the work of Agent Provocateurs…

A deep democratic moment, something most of us have never seen and scarcely imagined, turned a small park near Wall Street into the center of a global storm. Everybody knows the deck is stacked. But it turns out not everybody is willing to put up with it.

Without asking permission, hundreds converged on the financial district to stop the machine. People convened open assemblies to think out loud together. Kitchens were built and volunteers served hundreds of thousands of meals. Books were borrowed and lent at The People’s Library with no need for a card. Nobody did it for money. Occupy Wall Street changed not just what we think is realistic, but what is actually possible.

Then the 1% hit back. “If you want to get arrested, we’ll accommodate you,” is how Mayor Bloomberg announced that the very act of challenging Wall Street would be treated as a crime. “Nobody can hear you when everybody’s yelling and screaming and pushing and shoving.” Funny stuff.

In school, we were taught that we are free to speak and free to assemble. Now we’re told we have “First Amendment Rights Areas” located inside steel barricades. Over the last eight months, nearly 7,000 have been arrested and occupations in dozens of cities have been systematically evicted.

Rosa Luxemburg said, “those who do not move cannot feel their chains.” We moved and we felt them. There’s an old saying: water beats rock. Put another way: you can’t evict an idea whose time has come.

It was never about a park. It’s about power.

Moving your money into credit unions takes power away from banks. Planting a garden in the city takes power from agribusiness. Mutual aid takes power from a culture of greed. Democracy is not simply speaking truth to power. It’s something we do, that we can’t ask for. Something like a rebellion.

The idea is simple and yet it seems far off, like a dream. But this is not a dream. And it’s not far off.


~~

Chomsky: May Day

In Around the web on May 1, 2012 at 5:15 am

From NOAM CHOMSKY
Zuccotti Park Press

People seem to know about May Day everywhere except where it began, here in the United States of America. That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning. For example, Ronald Reagan designated what he called “Law Day” — a day of jingoist fanaticism, like an extra twist of the knife in the labor movement. Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution.

If you’re a serious revolutionary, then you are not looking for an autocratic revolution, but a popular one which will move towards freedom and democracy. That can take place only if a mass of the population is implementing it, carrying it out, and solving problems. They’re not going to undertake that commitment, understandably, unless they have discovered for themselves that there are limits to reform.

A sensible revolutionary will try to push reform to the limits, for two good reasons. First, because the reforms can be valuable in themselves. People should have an eight-hour day rather than a twelve-hour day. And in general, we should want to act in accord with decent ethical values.

Secondly, on strategic grounds, you have to show that there are limits to reform. Perhaps sometimes the system will accommodate to needed reforms. If so, well and good. But if it won’t, then new questions arise. Perhaps that is a moment when resistance is necessary, steps to overcome the barriers to justified changes. Perhaps the time has come to resort to coercive measures in defense of rights and justice, a form of self-defense. Unless the general population recognizes such measures to be a form of self-defense, they’re not going to take part in them, at least they shouldn’t.

If you get to a point where the existing institutions will not bend to the popular will, you have to eliminate the institutions.

May Day started here, but then became an international day in support of American workers who were being subjected to brutal violence and judicial punishment.

Today, the struggle continues to celebrate May Day not as a “law day” as defined by political leaders, but as a day whose meaning is decided by the people, a day rooted in organizing and working for a better future for the whole of society.
~

Beyond the free market

To shape a fairer economy, we must reclaim the language of freedom.

From SALON

The 2012 presidential campaign is shaping up into a clash of economic visions. In response to the escalating GOP criticisms of his fiscal policies, Barack Obama has recently dialed up his own rhetoric, defending programs from financial reform to the auto bailout and the stimulus, and castigating conservatives for their “you’re-on-your-own” economics. In this conservative vision, markets are seen as the best guarantors of freedom, and the most effective means of organizing society.  State interference is deemed corrupt, ineffective and a threat to personal freedom. This framework has driven successive conservative attacks on financial reform, workers’ rights and efforts to expand the social safety net. More…

Why are we striking?…

In Around the web on May 1, 2012 at 5:00 am


…or to put it another way – what’s wrong with the world?

From ADBUSTERS

Of course, most of us know what’s wrong with the world. We know about the poverty, war, violence and disease. We’re conscious of the injustice, but not fully conscious of it, because frankly, we have enough to worry about in our own lives. As such, we’ve come to accept these injustices as simple facts of life – prepackaged side effects of the human condition, as natural and intertwined with our existence as water to a stream, beyond our capacity to effect in any significant way. This collective sense of powerlessness and default apathy is why we’re striking.

Our growing sense of isolation and disconnection, whether from ourselves, from those next door to us, or from those producing our food and products halfway across the globe, is why we’re striking. Our forced support of perpetual war waged for and by the 1% – whether explicitly with speech, or implicitly with inaction and tax dollars – without ever paying mind to the true causes and motives behind it, is why we’re striking. Our failure uptil now to connect the dots and realize that the benefits of a cheap iPod, lovely as it may be, would be far outweighed by the benefits of a truly just world free of exploitation, is why we’re striking.

The fact that most of us are too busy being exploited to realize we’re being exploited – too busy greasing the cogs of our economic system to notice how the fruits of our labor never fail to float up and out of our reach – is why we’re striking, as is the fact that most aren’t able to do anything about this exploitation even when we do notice it. While some of us are lucky enough to have jobs and careers that give real meaning to our lives, allowing us to take full advantage of our talents and fulfill our destiny, most of us have jobs devoid of meaning and dignity, yet full of the feeling that we are fulfilling someone else’s destiny. Our recognition that the ruling class’s seat at the top of the pyramid is prepared and propped up by the working class is why we’re striking. Our knowledge that it’s actually the CEO who is the most dependent among us, and that the ones truly indispensable to our society are not bankers, lobbyists and politicians, but workers, teachers and engineers, is why we’re striking.

Indeed, the fact that we have an economic system which functions in the same manner as a virus is why we’re striking. Just as a virus’s only reason for existence is to expand, without regard or awareness of the effect of its expansion on its host body, our economic system pursues its infinite expansion without regard or awareness of its effect on human welfare or the environment. Though the earth is finite, it is sustainable, so we reject, in the words of Michael Nagler, “the inherent contradiction of an economy based on indefinitely increasing wants – instead of on human needs that the planet has ample resources to fulfill.”

We’re striking because we also reject the notion that selfishness must be the driving force in our world. We believe, contrary to propaganda, that most people in our world are not selfish, and would rather work together than constantly compete against each other. We believe that the only people who really care about things like power, corporate monopolies and global dominance only make up, say, 1% of the population, making it seem only logical that we should have an economic system which reflects the values of the 99% More..

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