Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

William Edelen: Vision Quest…

In Around the web on July 8, 2012 at 10:12 am


Toward The Mystery

Due to my current involvement with cataract surgery, my thoughts have been meditating on the broad range of “vision” implications and reflections, both outward and inward.

Interesting that I am writing this for the July 8 issue, and tomorrow on July 9th I have my conference with Dr. Shaaf about my left eye. He completed my right eye and has been waiting for total healing before doing the left eye. I have found Dr. Shaaf to be truly outstanding. My right eye is now being used without any correction glasses and the colors that are now visible to me are brilliant and pure, beauty that has been unknown to me for many years.

This experience has kept me in a reflective mood about the entire range and profound considerations of that beautiful word, “VISION.”

There are so many wonderful and perfect definitions in the dictionary that refer to the mystical, insight, intuition, awareness of the supernatural, and more. More…

For The Time of Necessary Decision…

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

To Bless the Space Between Us

The mind of time is hard to read.
We can never predict what it will bring,
Nor even from all that is already gone
Can we say what form it finally takes;
For time gathers its moments secretly.
Often we only know it’s time to change
When a force has built inside the heart
That leaves us uneasy as we are.

Perhaps the work we do has lost its soul
Or the love where we once belonged
Calls nothing alive in us anymore.

We drift through this gray, increasing nowhere
Until we stand before a threshold we know
We have to cross to come alive once more.

May we have the courage to take the step
Into the unknown that beckons us;
Trust that a richer life awaits us there,
That we will lose nothing
But what has already died;
Feel the deeper knowing in us sure
Of all that is about to be born beyond
The pale frames where we stayed confined,
Not realizing how such vacant endurance
Was bleaching our soul’s desire.

Todd Walton: Apes

In Todd Walton on July 6, 2012 at 5:55 am


“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.” Francis Bacon

Sometimes it helps me to remember we are apes. Before the advent of clothing and tools and weapons and religion and cars and nuclear power and nations and money and vast social and economic inequities, we were naked apes looking for sustenance, shelter, safety, and love. We foraged for food, made nests for sleeping, and hung out in groups large enough to dissuade leopards. We had mates and children, we changed locations when our favorite foods grew scarce, and we socialized with family and friends every day. We did not, I think, have long term goals. We lived wholly in the moment because we didn’t have anything other than the moment to live in. We had nothing to carry, nothing to hide, nothing besides each other.

Okay, so that is a gross oversimplification of ape reality More…

Dave Smith: ‘Neighbors Reading’ Meets Every First Friday Mulligan Books 6pm

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on July 6, 2012 at 5:30 am


Mendo Free Skool

Neighbors Reading at Mulligan Books
208 S State Street, Ukiah

Bring one of your favorite books and we will take turns reading and discussing brief passages from them. Preferred are general topics around Neighbors, Community, Transition and Resilience, but not confined to them. This class is for those who care for our community’s future.

The readings will be videotaped for showing on Mendocino Access Television leading to live remote broadcasts in the future.

First Fridays, 6-7 p.m.

Nature Bats Last

Words To Give By…

I’m fussy about the words I use. Words matter, after all. For example, anarchy is not chaos, though you’d never be able to distinguish the two based on anything presented by the mainstream media. More…

William Edelen: Thomas Jefferson and The 4th of July…

In Around the web on July 3, 2012 at 6:20 am

Toward The Mystery
Thanks to Mark Scaramella, TheAVA

On the 4th of July, 1826, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of her Independence. John Adams, the second President of the United States, died on that day at the age of 90. His last words were: “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” But on that same day, Jefferson too died. There was something mystical about the relationship between Adams and Jefferson. It was these two giants who, with James Madison, set the direction and the philosophy of this great nation.

What are we celebrating on this 4th of July? It is the Declaration of Independence. With only a very few word changes, that magnificent document was written by one man, Thomas Jefferson. When John Kennedy was President he hosted a banquet without precedent. He invited every living American Nobel Prize winner. When the guests were seated Kennedy stood and said he wanted to offer a toast. He said this: “Never has so much talent, so much genius, been assembled in one room — since Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

I have one bust in my study. It is of Jefferson. On the base are these words: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every tyranny over the mind of man.” (He uses the word “God” as a Deist, not as a Christian. A vast difference) He made this scathing statement aimed at the tyranny of the Christian church. More…

Being Radical…

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


Nature Bats Last

You probably recognize this symbol, though you might have forgotten its name: √

When I write the symbol on the whiteboard in a class, and ask what it is, the response is invariable: “The square root.”

I respond, “Yes, its function is to take the root, including the square root or any other root. But what is it called?”

Extended silence ensues, followed by, “The square-root symbol.”

I lead the abundant laughter.

“Really? Nobody took math in junior high?”

Nervous laughter.

“I’ve insulted everybody here within the first minute of our meeting,” I say. “Now that that’s out of the way, we can proceed.”

Long pause before I give away the answer: “It’s called a radical.” Another long pause before I reveal the point of this exercise. “It’s called a radical because it gets at the root. That, by the way, is the definition of radical: of or going to the root or origin.”

I use this anecdote to introduce myself to the class. I’m a radical, I point out. And, whereas this culture has convinced most people that a radical is a bad thing, similarly to anarchy, it’s actually not a bad thing, and it’s different than most people believe. More…

Herb Ruhs: Comments on recent Ukiah Blog posts…

In Around Mendo Island on July 3, 2012 at 5:40 am


Peak Denial

From the time that “scientific” (in quotes because science abhors lying) propaganda came on to the scene, ushered in by the book Propaganda by Edward L. Bernays, the entire species has progressively inundated by well crafted lies, denials and fantasies. This has resulted in mass mental illness. Our systems seem to tolerate some level of deceit, but when trusted sources disappear, when the burden of lies incorporated into peoples world view, reaches a threshold then individuals, then whole societies, sink into a condition of cognitive dissonance that leads to serious mental illness. Truth is important.

In R. D. Lanig’s book The Politics of the Family (can’t find my copy to check for sure, it may be in another of his books) he describes a Polynesian custom for dealing with mental illness. Their approach is to bring the whole extended family down to the beach and have them share their secrets and admit their lies. If the ill person remains symptomatic then someone is holding out and nobody gets to go home. Honesty cures. Dishonesty sickens. The whole world is now mentally ill with no beach to go to to sort it out.

Mental houses of cards, whether they are those of delusional individuals More…

Unequal Protection — Chapter 14: Unequal Protection From Risk

In Around the web on July 3, 2012 at 5:36 am


When corporations gained the protections that had been written for persons in the United States, a substantial shift began in who bears what risk, resulting in an imbalance that now affects virtually all parts of the world. Most companies handle risk responsibly, but many corporations are legally allowed to avoid responsibility in ways that would never be permitted for an individual.

Risk is a matter of who suffers when something goes wrong. Corporations and their shareholders may risk loss of income or even loss of their investment, but that pales in comparison with the risks that humans share as a result of a corporate activity—such as degradation of the environment, higher rates of cancer and other diseases, job-related disfigurement or death, community and family breakdown after a factory is closed and jobs are shipped overseas, and even a life with no income or health insurance if we choose not to affiliate with a corporation.

Large companies rarely risk anything nearly that serious. They rarely undergo corporate death (charter revocation) or disfigurement. The burden of risk is unequal, and one source of this inequality is the changes in laws and regulations that happened after companies gained access to the law-making process when they were declared to share the same rights as persons. More…

Peak Denial…

In Around the web on July 2, 2012 at 5:21 am

Ostrich & oil donkey

Post Carbon Institute

There is nothing but “Sad News for Peak Oil Disciples” these days, according to the Financial Post.

The latest example: Leonardo Maugeri, a fellow in the Geopolitics of Energy Project at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs—and a long-time critic of Peak Oil analysis—has just published a new report, “Oil: The Next Revolution,” in which he forecasts a sharp increase in world oil production capacity and the risk of an oil price collapse. His report has triggered a spate of press articles with titles like “No Peak Oil In Sight”, “Potential U.S. Oil Boom shakes Up Energy Politics,” and “Peak Oil Is Simply Not a Threat Anymore.”

These follow on the heels of a string of other articles touting increasing production of oil from “tight” shale deposits in the US—pieces with titles like “Has Peak Oil Peaked?” and “Is ‘Peak Oil’ Idea Dead?” And those in turn ride the slipstream of Daniel Yergin’s widely feted book The Quest, which provided last year’s fodder for an anti-Peak Oil media frenzy.

The recent deluge of cornucopian triumphalism has provoked a few thoughtful responses, including, “Has Peak Oil Idea . . . Peaked?” and “Is Peak Oil Dead?”, both of which carefully sift the evidence and conclude that world oil production is better understood when viewed More…

The Great Food Crisis Emerges…

In Around the web on July 2, 2012 at 4:55 am


Ecological Buddism
Thanks to John Lovejoy

No norm to return to:
It’s real, and it’s not going away anytime soon

As last year, 2011, began, the price of wheat set an all-time high in the United Kingdom. Food riots spread across Algeria. Russia imported grain to sustain its cattle herds. India wrestled with an 18% annual food inflation rate. China looked abroad for potentially massive quantities of wheat and corn. The Mexican government bought corn futures to avoid unmanageable tortilla price rises. The U.N. Food and Agricultural organization announced that its food price index had hit an all-time high.

Weather has always caused spikes in commodities prices, but now trends on both sides of the food supply/demand equation are driving up prices. On the demand side, the culprits are population growth, rising affluence, and the use of grain to fuel cars. On the supply side: soil erosion, aquifer depletion, the loss of cropland to non-farm uses, diversion of irrigation water to cities, the plateauing of crop yields in agriculturally advanced countries, and — due to climate change — crop-withering heat waves and melting mountain glaciers and ice sheets. These climate-related trends are destined to take a far greater toll in the future.


Republicans so dazed and confused now they can’t think straight…

In Around the web on July 2, 2012 at 4:27 am

From digby

One unexpected upside of the health care decision is the fact that the Republicans are so shocked and unbalanced that they can’t think straight:

[T]he GOP leader in the U.S. Senate gave a surprising answer on “Fox News Sunday” when asked how Republicans would provide health care coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans.

“That is not the issue,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said. “The question is how to go step by step to improve the American health care system. It is already the finest health care system in the world.”

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace interrupted, “You don’t think 30 million uninsured is an issue?”

“We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a western European system,” McConnell said. “That’s exactly what is at the heart of Obamacare. They want to … have the federal government take over all American health care. The federal government can’t handle Medicare or Medicaid.”

I’m sure McConnell isn’t quite this stupid so he must be playing to Murrican throwbacks who think that Western Europe is some hellscape More…


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