In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on August 10, 2012 at 4:30 am
From ELAINE KALANTARIAN
[Please see Will Parrish article Hack & Squirt: Herbicide Poisoning in Mendo — Parts One & Two — then please sign the petition here... ~EK]
We all have a right to clean air, water and soil. The Mendocino Redwood Company, owned by the billionaire Fisher family — owners and founders of The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta — currently applies TWO TONS of the highly concentrated, broad-spectrum herbicide imazapyr EVERY YEAR here in Mendocino County to kill tanoak, madrone and other hardwood trees that are not as commercially valuable as redwood and Douglas fir.
Tanoak, and other less lucrative hardwoods, are extremely valuable food source trees for wildlife, important succession trees for forest recovery after logging, and a valuable source for carbon-neutral heating: firewood. MRC claims it is not “cost-effective” to manually remove these unwanted trees and must use herbicides. They have determined More…
In Around the web on August 9, 2012 at 7:16 am
From THOM HARTMANN
You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessings. —President Andrew Jackson
It costs money to run a government, and the more you want the government to do, the more it usually costs. One point to consider is how much do we want our government to do? Another is, who should pay for it?
Tax policy is how government funds its services and also one way it fulfills the will of the people who elect it by providing tax incentives or disincentives for particular types of behaviors. Consider how home mortgage interest deductibility has fueled home buying, for example.
As we have seen, starting well before Santa Clara, some companies have worked hard to get out of paying for anything, including taxes. Some even spent years resisting paying taxes on land the government had given them for free; they then worked the issue to a ludicrous extent. The Santa Clara case involved going to the Supreme Court to fight a tax of one-tenth of 1 percent.
You and I could never afford More…
In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on August 9, 2012 at 6:52 am
From GEORGE LAKOFF
The Little Blue Blog
[Update: Tell the House Democrats in ultra-safe districts who have stockpiled more than $63 million to start sending some of that money to progressive Democrats. This is how we win the House. See petition below... -DS]
Obama’s and Romney’s Opposed Visions for a Free America
America is divided about its future. Should it keep and expand the system that brought past opportunity, prosperity and freedom? Or should it dismantle that system?
President Obama recently reminded us that private life, private enterprise, and personal freedom depend on what the public provides.
“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. (…) when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. More…
In Mendo Island Transition on August 9, 2012 at 6:30 am
From SARAH LASKOW
For many years, solar customers paid for their panels in the same way they might pay for a TV: upfront or in installments. But as the solar industry has grown, new opportunities for financing solar projects have emerging. Some draw lessons and inspiration from microfinance and peer-to-peer lending, making small-scale solar available to families and community organizations, like schools and nonprofits, that could not afford the purchase on their own.
Years ago, Dan Rosen tried to get solar panels installed on his high school and couldn’t find the financing. Now, Solar Mosaic, the Oakland-based company he cofounded, allows individual investors to fund just that sort of solar project. Investors can bankroll solar systems in increments of $100, represented as “tiles.” One of the company’s first big projects will power the Asian Resource Center, an Oakland community group. The project has 982 tiles, all of them funded.
The opportunity, as Rosen puts it More…
In Food on August 8, 2012 at 8:38 am
For years, we have been proponents of improved nutrition labeling on food products. There are various loopholes and tricks manufacturers use to embellish the nutritional value of their products. Labeling trans-fats as zero when they aren’t is one example.
Sugar is an interesting nutrient. We are all consuming way too much sugar daily. According to all health organizations, people should drastically reduce the amount of added sugars they consume. But if one turns to the nutrition facts label of products, the only sugar info available is “sugars”, which is a sum of naturally occurring sugars in a product and the added sugars.
The FDA recently asked for comments from the public on the matter. All the food companies that commented on the FDA website sided with NO CHANGES to the existing label. The reasoning: added information would only serve to confuse consumers. Lame.
The real reason that manufactures don’t want us to know the sugar breakdown is that we would be shocked as to how much is added to almost all products. Take Chocolate milk, with 3 teaspoons of naturally occurring sugar PLUS 3 added teaspoons of sugar. Per cup. More…
In Food on August 8, 2012 at 7:58 am
From DANIELLE CHARLES-DAVIES
The Weston A. Price Foundation
Of all the flavors to grace our palate, there is perhaps none as fascinating as that of bitterness. It is a flavor that is universally despised—used linguistically to characterize pain, harshness and things that are extremely difficult to bear.1 Yet, it is also a flavor used in cultures the world over to strengthen digestion, cleanse the body and build vitality—in short, considered an ingredient essential to good health.2,3 In fact, so many of the plants humans have traditionally used to tonify and heal the body are bitter tasting that we still today often rate the strength and usefulness of our medicine by how terribly bitter it tastes.
It is unfortunate, then, that our modern diet seems to be completely lacking in the wild bitter tasting plants our ancestors considered so fundamental to their health.4 Many of the diseases riddling our modern culture—from indigestion and gastric reflux to metabolic disorders ranging from elevated cholesterol to type 2 diabetes—seem to all point back to the deficiency of bitterness in our diets, and the lack of the protection and tone it imparts to our digestion and metabolic functions.5 More…
In Around the web on August 7, 2012 at 8:42 am
From MICHAEL THOMAS
Nature Bats Last
Those of us who pay attention to the news are assaulted daily by a barrage of information: international conflicts, sport tournaments, religion, gun rights, marriage rights, terrorism, and a plethora of other topics. What topics are truly important? Are not the most relevant topics those which most directly relate to humanity’s continued survival on this planet? If so, what could possibly endanger our survival: are we not the dominant species? Yes, but we, like all other organisms, depend on our environment for our survival: we must eat, drink, breathe, and reproduce. Increased environmental instability leads to an increased rate of permanent mutations, which in turn leads to a genetic instability in the species and either death/extinction or successful mutation.
The most commonly mentioned environmental theme is global warming, which is overly polarized and, due to the complex interactions within the environment, is hard to speak of in concrete terms: it will thus not be further included in this text.
An important, but rarely mentioned More…
In Small Business Skills on August 7, 2012 at 7:00 am
From ELIZABETH WARREN
I meant what I said.
I stood before a group of voters in Massachusetts last year and talked about what it would take to move forward as a nation. I laid out how we all needed to invest in our country, to build a strong foundation for our families today and make sure the next kid with the great idea has the chance to succeed.
But too often that kid can’t succeed because the system is rigged against him.
Small-business owners bust their tails every day. They’re the first ones in and the last to leave, six and often seven days a week. That’s how my Aunt Alice ran her small restaurant, where I worked as a kid. My brother and my daughter both started small businesses. And I’ve visited and talked with small-business owners across Massachusetts. From the insurance agency in Brockton to the coffee shop in Greenfield and the manufacturing plant in Lawrence – all started and run by people with good ideas and a determination to succeed. More…
In Around the web on August 7, 2012 at 6:31 am
From GEORGE MONBIOT
The Great Impostors
“The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying ‘this is mine’, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, ‘Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody’”(1).
Jean Jacques Rousseau would recognise this moment. Now it is not the land his impostors are enclosing, but the rest of the natural world. In many countries, especially the United Kingdom, nature is being valued and commodified so that it can be exchanged for cash.
The effort began in earnest under the last government. At a cost of £100,000(2), it commissioned a research company to produce a total annual price for England’s ecosystems. More…
In Around the web on August 6, 2012 at 4:15 am
From DAVID ATKINS
[Big boss man
Can you hear me when I call
Big boss man
Can you hear me when I call
Oh, you ain't so big
You just tall, that's all... ~Jimmy Reed]
I’m increasingly convinced that talking about luck is the key to destroying the right-wing rhetorical enterprise. Digby touched on this significantly several days ago, but I think it’s important to reiterate the point. Regular readers may recall my review of Chris Hayes’ extraordinary book Twilight of the Elites back in June:
Through Hayes’ lens, liberalism for much of the last half century has been about opening the meritocracy up to all segments of the population without discrimination based on intrinsic ephemera such as race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. This has meant a full embrace of the same pseudo-meritocratic impulse that has led to the renaissance of Objectivism on the right and the dominance of neoliberalism on the left. More…
In Mendo Island Transition on August 6, 2012 at 4:00 am
From VICKI LIPSKI
[Available from Mulligan Books. -DS]
Peter Bane’s handbook, while not quite encyclopedic, is nothing if not authoritative. I can honestly say, without fear of exaggeration, that I hold my head a little higher as I stride about my miniscule fiefdom, now that I’ve read The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country.
The stones Bane leaves unturned are few and far between. Once you’ve digested the author’s ruminations on mapping, patterns, and garden elements, perennials, water, soil, plants, crops, seeds, and animal husbandry, not to mention his lists of plants and the jobs to which they are best suited, there’s little chance you’ll walk away dissatisfied.
In Around the web on August 5, 2012 at 11:45 am
From OLIVER BURKEMAN
Last month, in San Jose, Calif., 21 people were treated for burns after walking barefoot over hot coals as part of an event called Unleash the Power Within, starring the motivational speaker Tony Robbins. If you’re anything like me, a cynical retort might suggest itself: What, exactly, did they expect would happen? In fact, there’s a simple secret to “firewalking”: coal is a poor conductor of heat to surrounding surfaces, including human flesh, so with quick, light steps, you’ll usually be fine.
But Mr. Robbins and his acolytes have little time for physics. To them, it’s all a matter of mind-set: cultivate the belief that success is guaranteed, and anything is possible. One singed but undeterred participant told The San Jose Mercury News: “I wasn’t at my peak state.” What if all this positivity is part of the problem? What if we’re trying too hard to think positive and might do better to reconsider our relationship to “negative” emotions and situations?
In William Edelen on August 5, 2012 at 8:07 am
From WILLIAM EDELEN
Toward the Mystery
“The true mystic has insight into depths of truth that are unplumbed by the discursive intellect.” -William James
There is a system of thought that has been coming to me lately from many sources. It is known as Theosophy. Those holding this world view believe that truth about God and the world is revealed primarily through mystical insight, and that every religious tradition has this kernel of truth within it. Whether Christian, Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist or the American Indian, the mystical experience is the same. It was the experience of Lao Tzu, the old master of Taoism, Buddha, the Roman Catholic Meister Eckhart, and the Protestant Boehme. The words of Jesus “to have seen me is to have seen God,” and again, “I and the father are one” is pure mysticism.
Many letters, emails, have asked me to say more about Mysticism.
Here are some general observations for this is the “spine” that holds Theosophy together.
Mysticism is the recovery More…
In Todd Walton on August 3, 2012 at 7:10 am
Mixed media, Shall We Dance, by Todd
From TODD WALTON
A friend recently wrote to me about his philosophical discussions with a Jehovah’s Witness, and his letter brought back boatloads of memories of my friend Woody, an African American Jehovah’s Witness, an elder in his church, who visited me every month for the eleven years I lived in Berkeley.
The first time Woody came up my stairs and knocked on the front door, I intended to say to him what I had been saying to Jehovah’s Witnesses since I was a boy. “No thank you. Please don’t come again.” That was the little speech my mother taught me to say to Jehovah’s Witnesses when they came to our house, and those were the words I dutifully repeated to every Jehovah’s Witness who called on me until I was forty-five and opened the door to Woody and the young man accompanying him.
In Books on August 3, 2012 at 6:44 am
From WENDELL BERRY
Home Economics (1982)
[This evening, August 3rd, will be our second First Friday of Neighbors Reading at Mulligan Books downtown Ukiah, 6-7pm. We share favorite passages from favorite books around topics of community, transition, resilience, or anything else, as part of the second semester of Mendo Free Skool. We video the readings for Community TV and invite your participation. I will be reading from one of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry... passages from an essay The Family Farm, from his book Home Economics. What follows is the opening essay from that book... -DS]
I want to try to complete the thought about “randomness” that I was working on when we talked the other day.
The Hans Jenny paragraph that started me off is the last one on page twenty-one of The Soil Resource:
In Books on August 2, 2012 at 7:14 am
I have to admit that, when the Kindle first came out, I was one of those snooty assholes who did everything I could to antagonize the people I knew who owned them. (Me? Antagonize people? Surely not.) “I like books,” I sniffed, looking solidly down my nose. “I don’t want to read on a device. I want the feel of paper, blah blah blah.”
In my defense, the people I antagonized started scuffles just as often. “My Kindle is environmentally friendly. Look at those loads of paper you’re wasting! You’re helping deplete the ozone! And it’s so handy. I can take an entire library with me anywhere, blah blah blah.”
Several years passed, and I remained firmly in the treebook camp. Until I bought a Kindle. Stars help me, I love my Kindle. I love it so much. I even prefer to read on my Kindle; still, I do enjoy reading paper books, too. I got a really lovely copy of a book from Two Dollar Radio that’s deckle-edged and fairly swoon-worthy…
See complete article here…
In Books on August 2, 2012 at 6:50 am
From MARIA POPOVA
“Our whole theory of education is based on the absurd notion that we must learn to swim on land before tackling the water. It applies to the pursuit of the arts as well as to the pursuit of knowledge.”
Henry Miller was a notoriously disciplined writer. It comes as no surprise, then — given the relationship between reading and writing, and the importance of learning the parallel skills of both — that he was also a voracious reader, unafraid to acknowledge the borrowing and repurposing of ideas. In The Books in My Life (public library; public domain), originally published in 1952, he offers a singular lens on his approach to reading, using that as a vehicle for a larger meditation on our culture’s relationship not just with books, but with knowledge itself.
Miller’s insights touch on modern concerns More…
In Books on August 2, 2012 at 6:34 am
From A. J. JACOBS
My friend, the writer Andy Borowitz, sent me an e-mail that said: “I had the strangest experience today. I went into Barnes & Noble and saw a book that you didn’t blurb.”
I have a reputation.
I’ve blurbed so many books that they fill a bookcase in my apartment. The exact number? Hard to say, but certainly in the triple digits. I’ve given a workout to adverbs like “tremendously” and “incredibly,” and adjectives like “brilliant” and “fascinating.” I have blurbed memoirs, novels, comic books, children’s books and a half-dozen book proposals. I accidentally used the exact same blurb on two different books.
My blurbing problem got so bad that the New York Times book critic Dwight Garner tweeted, “Half the crap galleys More…
In Around the web on August 1, 2012 at 6:18 am
From CHELSEA GREEN PUBLISHERS
Sandor Katz: The Acres U.S.A. Interview
The latest book from fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz — The Art of Fermentation — has been a huge hit with fermentos and foodies alike, which is evidenced by it reaching The New York Times bestseller list for two weeks in a row.
The two interviews on NPR’s “Fresh Air” program have certainly helped fuel interest in Sandor and the new book, which is about the most comprehensive guide to fermentation that you’ll find in print today.
If you’re a subscriber to Acres U.S.A.: The Voice of Eco-Agriculture (and you should be), you’re in for a real treat in their August issue, which will hit mailboxes, and subsequently newsstands, soon. Our friends at Acres U.S.A. are printing one of the most comprehensive, and therefore fascinating, interviews with Sandor since his new book has hit bookstores.
In Mendo Island Transition on August 1, 2012 at 5:58 am
From RHEA KENNEDY
Thanks to Doug Mosel
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) households know the cries.
“So many sweet potatoes!”
But “Oh, man — more whole wheat flour!”? Not so much. Yet that may be coming.
On the East Coast, Virginia’s Moutoux Orchards is growing and milling wheat and barley to nestle beside produce, dairy, eggs, and meat in its Full Diet CSA. To the west, Windborne Farm of northern California offers a grain CSA featuring not just wheat and barley, but also rare grains like teff and millet raised using a pair of draft horses.
All over the country, small grain farmers like these may soon place the last piece in the local-foods puzzle.
There is no question that fruits and vegetables have been the backbone of the locavore movement. The number of farmers markets in the U.S. More…
In Gene Logsdon Blog on August 1, 2012 at 5:35 am
From GENE LOGSDON
The interesting and entertaining reactions to my recent post about destructive wildlife in the garden encouraged me to ponder the situation more closely. Pondering things closely always leads me to weird ideas. I am thinking about the possible return of the walled gardens of Victorian times. How do you know they didn’t become popular in the first place to keep out wild animals including humans? And tame animals too for that matter because, in those days, livestock were allowed to wander about as freely as we allow deer to do today.
As long as most people are not involved in food production or avid gardening, I think it will be a long time before we are going to get the kind of social solidarity needed to enact measures to control runaway wildlife populations. It is easy enough to convince the gentle folk among us to get rid of mice and rats in the house but oh my, not those precious deer and raccoons in the garden. If there were deer that developed a taste for car tires, you can bet that society would rise up in wrath and settle that problem in a hurry. More…