WeCommune: Tech Support for Community

From Worldchanging

June 18, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Post-ownership living may be closer than we think. We see the evidence all around us, in the form of innovations from community kitchens to emerging mobility solutions. So, if people are recognizing the practical potential in social solutions, why aren’t even more models for collaboration, sharing and product-service systems thriving? According to architect Stephanie Smith, spurring the movement may be a simple matter of providing the tech support.

This week Smith, who heads WeCommune, plans to launch the first software platform designed specifically for, well, communing (if you visit, you may get a splash page while they transition). The platform’s services will allow groups of three or more people to self-organize a “commune” defined by a shared interest or shared zip code, and will provide tools for communicating, organizing and managing projects, and sharing resources.

What is commune-support software?

WeCommune is a networking platform, outfitted with commune-specific project management applications that make it much different from a social networking tool. The software enables common and practical actions – for example, a group of members can organize a buying club, set up a rideshare system, or barter goods and services. And like everything on the web, WeCommune gives users the option to extend their reach: by networking to other communes, groups can make certain assets like bartering and goods-sharing pools more robust.

WeCommune offers the basic platform free to anyone who wants to use it, and even the more complex services are available for a monthly subscription under $2. Smith hopes that by making it affordable she’ll enable communes of all sorts – from those who are already sharing, like condo associations and college dorms, to neighborhoods and interest groups.

“We couldn’t find anything out there like this,” says Smith. “We feel like if we hit a home run, we’re going to be the ultimate community application.”

Read whole post here

Take Action! Help Stop the Planting of 260,000 Genetically Engineered Trees in the U.S.


June 17, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Please help stop this ecological nightmare before it begins. No recall of the GE genes from the environment will be possible. Where they will go, how they will interact with other species and viruses no one knows…

Dangerous Genetically Engineered (GE) Eucalyptus Trees on Fast-Track to Large-Scale Release in the U.S.

ACTION NEEDED BY JULY 6! Tell the USDA NO WAY to ArborGen’s Eucalyptus Frankentrees

In an unprecedented move toward commercial large-scale release of GE forest trees in the United States, GE tree giant ArborGen is petitioning the U.S. government to be allowed to plant an estimated 260,000 flowering GE eucalyptus trees across seven southern U.S. states on 330 acres in so-called “field trials.”

The mass-planting of 260,000 flowering GE eucalyptus trees is a major step toward the unregulated development of large-scale GE eucalyptus plantations in the U.S. ArborGen has already requested permission for the commercial planting of GE cold tolerant eucalyptus clones across the U.S. South. The government is expected to issue their decision on this later this year.

Government approval of GE eucalyptus trees will set a dangerous precedent to allow other experimental GE forest trees, including poplar and pine, that would inevitably and irreversibly contaminate native trees with destructive GE traits, devastating forest ecosystems and wildlife. Once GE trees escape, there is no way to call them back.

The only way to stop genetic contamination of native forests is to ban the commercial release of GE trees before it is too late.

TAKE ACTION! Tell the USDA that GE cold-tolerant eucalyptus plantations pose an unprecedented threat to U.S. forests and wildlife. Tell them to reject ArborGen’s request to plant more than a quarter of a million dangerous alien GE trees on nearly 30 sites across the Southern U.S. Since these field trials are a concrete step toward unregulated commercial growing of dangerous GE eucalyptus, they must be rejected.

For more information about the STOP GE Trees Campaign, click here.

BookTV on the Internet

From BookTV

June 17, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

You no longer need a TV to watch BookTV.

BookTV.org has been redesigned for viewers. Visit their new site and discover the following new features…

  • More user-friendly and intuitive
  • Easier to search for and watch videos through “search” function and video player on the front page
  • Provides users with an option to bookmark and share BookTV.org pages on popular social media websites (click the orange plus sign under the search bar)
  • Streams Book TV programming LIVE

The new BookTV.org has easy-to-navigate sections where you can watch video, view and print the schedule, learn about book festivals, and find news about books and the publishing world. Additionally, in order to accommodate the growing number of online video viewers, the “search” function–which links directly to the Book TV archives–is readily visible at the top of the home page. Stop by and check it out.

Go to BookTV.org

Why Fiction Matters

From Dave Pollard

Fiction enables us to imagine possibilities. The power of such imagination and realization is transformative. As I’ve said before, if we can’t imagine (what is really going on, that we can’t see directly), we can do anything (including tolerate factory farms, the abuse of spouses and children, atrocities in prisons and foreign wars, etc.) Once we can imagine, through powerful writing, what is really happening, we cannot sit by and let it happen. We are propelled to change our thinking and then our behaviour. And we can also become aware of things we might love, things we might be good at, things that are needed that we care about, and hence discover what we are meant to do in our lives, that, without such stories, we might never have realized.

…a good story is one that draws our attention to something important we hadn’t noticed. Much as the job of the media, according to Bill Maher, is to make what’s important interesting, the job of the story-teller is to draw our attention to things we wouldn’t normally consider or look at — sometimes even things we shudder to think about… Read whole post

A Homegrown Revolution (video)

From Path to Freedom

June 17, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Founded by Jules Dervaes (Dur-VAYS) in 2001, Path to Freedom is a grassroots, family operated, viable urban homesteading project established to promote a simpler and more fulfilling lifestyle and reduce one family’s “footprint” on the earth’s dwindling resources.

Since the mid 1980s, all five members of the Dervaes family have steadily worked at transforming their ordinary city lot in Pasadena, California, into an organic permaculture garden supplying them with food all year round. They also run a successful business, Dervaes GardensRead More, providing salad greens to local restaurants. This helps them fund their purchases of solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and biodiesel processor to further decrease their homestead’s reliance on the earth’s non-renewable resources.

What is unique and makes PathtoFreedom.comRead More different from other sustainable living sites on the Internet? The Dervaes family isn’t just writing about the latest eco-practices or products that should be incorporated into their lives. Instead, they are sharing with you the changes and steps to sustainability they already have implemented in their lifestyle.

Furthermore, you, the readers, can “visit” the family daily at their journal and witness their first-hand accounts of struggles and joys, defeats and successes, as they journey along the path to self-sufficiency to accomplish more.

It is the family’s hope and desire to live by example as they strive to become earth stewards on a journey towards a sustainable world.

“This project evolved from our commitment and conviction to live a simple, self-sufficient and holistic lifestyle,” says Jules Dervaes, founder, “It is an entire life’s journey and we have many more miles to go–the journey is by no means over! We are proving that we can attain our goal if we advance in stages whatever the circumstances. Our hope is that by documenting our personal experiences we can offer encouragement to those who are on the same journey towards a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle whether they are in the city or country.”

Take Action! Petition Supporting Single Payer Health Care

From Independent Senator BERNIE SANDERS

June 16, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Our current private health insurance system is the most costly, wasteful, complicated and bureaucratic in the world. Today, 46 million people have no health insurance. Even more are underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments. Close to 20,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have regular access to a doctor.

The time is now for our nation to address the most profound moral and economic issue we face.

The time is now for our country to join the rest of the industrialized world and provide cost-effective, comprehensive quality health care to every man, woman and child in our country.

The time is now to take on the powerful special interests in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and pass a single-payer national health care program.

* Sign the petition
* Tell Bernie your experience with health care and insurance.


Read also Top 10 Reasons To Support Universal Single Payer Health Care

Quick & Simple Whole Grain Muffin and Hot Bread Recipes from Scratch

From Dave Smith
Adapted from Whole Grain Cookery (o/p 1951)
by Stella Standard

June 16, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Whole Wheat Muffins

1¼ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins
1¼ cups organic buttermilk or kefir
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons organic butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients and stir the raisins through them. Combine with the mixed liquids, stirring as little as possible. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake in a hot oven about 20 minutes.

Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins

2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 organic egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup tepid water
wild or organic blueberries, washed and drained

Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the egg and add the sour cream, syrup, molasses and a little of the water. Combine with the dry ingredients and if the batter seems too thick, add a little more water. Stir as little as possible. Put half enough batter in each greased muffin tin, add a tablespoon of blueberries and then cover with the rest of the batter.

Bake in a hot oven about 20 to 25 minutes. 375°F. for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 325°F.

Buckwheat Muffins

1 cup organic buckwheat flour
½ cup corn meal
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 organic eggs, beaten
1¼ cups organic milk
4 tablespoons melted shortening

Backyard chickens on the rise

From The LA Times

June 16, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Urban poultry farmers get a taste of rural life — and a constant supply of eggs — with their own coops. But not every city will run with the idea.Reporting from Madison, Wis. — Jen Lynch and her family live in the heart of the city but roll out of bed to the sound of clucking chickens.

Their day starts with cleaning coops, scooping out feed and hunting for eggs for morning omelets. Eight families in a three-block radius and an estimated 150 families citywide do the same.

“It’s our slice of rural life, minus the barns,” said Jen Lynch, 35, as Flicka the chicken pecked at her backyard lawn.

As the recession drags on, city dwellers and suburbanites alike are transforming their backyards into poultry farms. Victory gardens, proponents say, are not enough. Chickens are the next step.

“People are turning to things that remind them of simpler times,” said Ron Kean, a poultry specialist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “If you’re smart, you can save money doing this.”

Growing interest in backyard chickens has fans rallying for change in dozens of cities, although the movement leaves some people squawking.

“I moved to the city for a reason,” said Evan Feinberg, 41, a technology consultant in Madison who said he grew up on a Midwest farm. “I never wanted to see another chicken, unless it’s wrapped in plastic.”

Still, the idea of urban chickens is picking up steam. In Traverse City, Mich., officials are weighing the issue. In Iowa City, Iowa, chicken lovers have collected 600 signatures urging local officials to permit backyard chickens.

Poultry fans in Madison persuaded the city’s common council to reverse a ban on backyard hens about five years ago. The ordinance — similar to regulations in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore — allows up to four chickens per property. The animals are to be raised for eggs, and must be housed in a coop that is far separated from neighboring homes. (Roosters are typically banned in cities because of crowing.)…

Go to full article: Backyard chickens on the rise – Los Angeles Times
Thanks to Linda Gray

Rep. Mike Thompson? Listen up!


June 15, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Dear Ones,

I have been admonished by my daughter to error on the side of politeness via the Internet, however because of the following true story, I am crossing the line.

An analysis I saw months ago suggested the only way the US would confront health care reform (as in having a CHOICE about where to get coverage instead of the insurance cartel) was by taking it to the streets. My step towards the street:

Mike Thompson, our dear elected official & a moderate Demo, said outside a business meeting in Fort Bragg to the 20+ constituents requesting his signing onto HR 676 that “there is not enough public support for Single Payer Health Care. If there were 2,000 of you here, that would be public support.”

NOTE: congressional people have the very best health FOR LIFE insurance in the world.

I called his DC office 202 225-3311 with an identification then:

“I want you to report to Mike Thompson that a very strong message came from a constituent concerning his not signing onto Single Payer Health Care. The exact words I would like you to convey to him are “get your f***ing signature on that bill.”

“Did I say that politely?”

“Yes, anything else?”

“Yes, thank you. I will work to pull his & every other member of congress’s health insurance until the citizens of the US have single payer.”

Another little pebble in the David & Goliath story—

Thank you & Best Regards to you & yours,

Rep. Thompson’s email here

See also Health Care is a Right, not a Privilege

…and Every idea considered except for Single Payer Health Care

Town trippin’


June 15, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

I bought a bicycle a couple of years ago to use around town. I put a couple of saddle paniers on the back to carry my laptop to work and groceries home from the co-op. All set going green.

But I soon learned that I would rather walk. Our town is not that big, and if you live in town like I do, it doesn’t take long to get most anywhere here on foot. The only requirement is slowing down the mindset that time is of the essence and walking is a waste if you can get there a few minutes faster.

I didn’t like wearing a helmet, and I’d had a couple of close calls getting run over on the bike. The difference between the speed of a bike — even riding slowly and cautiously — and walking, was the difference between almost crashing, and simply stopping just in case the other person didn’t see me. And in inclement weather, biking is much more hazardous.

The only problem then became transport… of my laptop, books, food for dinner. So I scouted around for messenger bags, bought one, and it does the trick quite nicely. It is heavy packing the computer, but I figure it helps build strength as the daily walking to work, to the store, and back, keeps me in pretty good shape… especially when I’m also packing a thermos of green smoothie.

The bag is not big enough to carry a weekly grocery shop, but is big enough for a daily trip to the co-op on the way home. Fresher, healthier food, like the Europeans shop. Cool!

Most of the people walking our streets are street people. There are some skateboarders, kids on bikes, and dog walkers. Health walkers around Todd Park, sure. But mostly, walks around here are brief — from car to destination, and back to the car. I’ve been walking to work almost daily now, rain or shine, for almost two years. For me, definitely the way to go.


Free, on-line film. One and a-half hours of earth’s beauty, devastation and hope…
Narrated by Glenn Close. HOME
Thanks to Dave Pollard.

Good News from Rosalind Peterson

Redwood Valley
Caifornia Sky Watch

June 13, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Please let everyone know that the delegation from Connecticut and California (Rosalind & Meredith Smith), spent this past week lobbying the U.S. Congress to defeat the U.S. Navy plan to harm marine mammals, other aquatic life and animals, along with negative impacts on human health, air and water.

We all arrived in Washington, D.C. armed with petitions from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and also from other states in the United States.  We hand delivered petitions to California Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon.  In addition, Meredith Smith is staying in Washington, D.C., this coming week  to lobby against the Navy.

Meredith arranged to meet at 4:00 P.M. with California Congressman Mike Thompson on Thursday, June 11th, to discuss what plans could be worked out to have Congressman Thompson work with us on congressional hearings into the Navy program.  Meredith presented Congressman Thompson with a second binder containing all the petitions that we have gathered since we gave Thompson’s aide, Heidi Dickerson, the first binder containing all of the original signatures gathered prior to the time that KTVU filmed the event in Fort Bragg, CA last month.

Meredith was also going to let Congressman Thompson know about the binder presented to Heidi Dickerson last month since he did not seem to know that the public had presented his office with this binder full of petitions from all over California.

Today and during her stay in Washington, DC next week Meredith will be meeting with additional members of Congress and will be hand delivering our petitions to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Her efforts on behalf of the citizens of Mendocino County are to be highly commended.  When she returns she will be reporting on the success of her efforts in Washington, D.C.

While the delegation was in Washington, D.C. this week we brought color brochures, packets, and information about the Navy Warfare expansion to every member of the U.S. Senate.  In addition, we visited the offices of over 300 U.S. Congressmen with regard to this issue.  There were many that did not know about this Navy plan and

A message to the nearly converted

For The Oil Drum

June 12, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[The film ‘In Transition’ is available for viewing on-line for the next 72 hours. See end of article below. -DS]

I was recently asked to give a talk at “The Generation Green Tent” during the Summer Arts and Music Festival at the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area. Here’s the text and supporting images for that talk.

Thanks for coming to my presentation. I am going to say some challenging things today. I don’t know if you are going to be validated or view me as a heretic. In any case, if you are taking notes I am going to have eight main points to cover. Here it goes!

My wife is a physician and has a Masters in Public Health, and so I am going to start with an analogy inspired by her profession that I believe all of us can follow. A very telling study was done on the health of Native Americans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. The Mexican population was quite fit, while the U.S. population had high rates of obesity and associated diseases, such as diabetes. I am going to make some judgments about the society that produced this discrepancy, and perhaps we can primarily assign the blame for the illnesses of these people on their sick environment. However, I don’t want to absolve individuals of all responsibility for their predicament because that is a disempowering thing to do.

Overcoming the obesity crisis of humanity requires paying off our ecological debt. This means accepting certain job losses and developing job gains in other areas. See full article for discussion.

What I am going to argue is that you are all capable, powerful individuals and that you are responsible for making great changes…

Point 1. This is the first point of my talk. I want everybody to view the grim environmental statistics as multiple “organ failures” approaching for human civilization…

Why Time Banking?

Mendo TIme Bank

June 11, 2009 Ukian, Mendocino County, North California

When times get tough, our most important asset is a resilient and supportive community. More secure than money in the bank, and more long-lasting than storing food and water; creating a more self sufficient community is the smartest investment we can make now. Mendo Time Bank started with those goals in mind.

Time Banking was started in the 1980’s by Edgar Cahn in Washington DC as a way to compensate for the cutback of social services.  It has become an international phenomenon, and there are hundreds of Time Banks all over the US and the world. In general they are started to help the local community meet unmet needs with untapped resources.

Whether based in inner city schools, jails, cities or rural communities, the effect is the same: they strengthen the community by creating an incentive and market for people to help each other. Each hour helping somebody in the network earns the giver one Time Dollar that they can then spend on any other service offered by members.

A Time Bank is both a system of quantifying community credit, and a network of people that are ready to support each other. Time Banking is a mutual credit system, as members can earn credit anywhere in their community and spend the credit on anything else.  At any given time, half of the members will have a positive Time Dollar account balance, and half will have a negative account balance with a total net balance of zero. Instead of a third party charging interest on the credit, we extend credit to each other without interest.

As the national economy contracts, the supply of money coming in to the local economy decreases, and people spend less money at local businesses. This causes further contraction and job losses. However, because we live in a place with abundant natural resources and local talent, it doesn’t make sense to be dependent on a relatively scarce currency beyond our control.

Having a community credit system based on time avoids the problem of scarcity, because value is created by members as it is needed. It is 100% independent of our national monetary system, making it the most useful for people who are currently undercompensated financially. Furthermore, it is not subject to the shocks and fluctuations of a national currency. One hour always equals one Time Dollar,

Forest Gardening for Mendocino?

Video Below

From Schumacher College, UK

June 11, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Regenerating landscapes, rediscovering abundance

SCHUMACHER COLLEGE near Totnes in South Devon has been a pioneering college of holistic education for over twenty years. Students leave the college nourished by the high quality of the educational experience, which includes helping to prepare and cook the food for staff and participants.

Over the past two years Schumacher has further deepened this aspect of the learning process by actively engaging with the land and rediscovering true abundance in its woodland ecosystems.

Inspired and informed by its neighbours at the Agroforestry Research Trust, Schumacher College has been regenerating its grounds using a dynamic “layering” design known as forest gardening. Tree crops, shrub crops and perennial herbaceous plants grown in harmony with each other produce an abundance of seasonal foodstuffs whilst contributing to the health and integrity of the land.

Designed with diversity in mind, these “foodscapes” seek to embody the natural principles of a healthy temperate woodland: this is the pattern of least effort and maximum diversity. Growing food in tune with this woodland tendency requires less effort, less machinery, and less fossil fuel — and the result is an almost unbelievable abundance.

Schumacher staff and participants have now planted over 100 fruit and nut trees to form the canopy layer of the woodland gardens. Peaches and apricots are grown as espaliers against sunny south-facing walls. Apple, pear and plum trees dot the landscape as do less common crops such as Cornelian cherries, hardy kiwifruits and Ugni berries. Sweet chestnut, walnut, hazel and bladdernut

The coming great cook-out? Part 3 of 4

Mendocino County

June 11, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

A Green Bubble?

But how can I explain, how can I explain to you?
You will understand less after I have explained it.
All that I can hope to make you understand
Is only events; not what has happened.
And people to whom nothing has ever happened
Cannot understand the unimportance of events.

~T.S. Eliot, “The Family Reunion”

Search for certainty as much as we can, and we’ll invariably fail. That’s the story told by the so-called new science of emergence that is infiltrating all the old sciences and taunting classical beliefs that humans and their sciences and technologies can overcome. Below is a five act tragedy or comedy – it’s difficult to say which, though I’m reminded of Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges – centered on our dilemma.

Global warming news
Record cold has been experienced in the past few weeks across the Southern Hemisphere, in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Our own spring has become cool. The sun is acting strangely and may be throwing a kink in the immediate prospects of rapid global warming. George W. Will and friends have been arguing for years that the climate is not warming, it is cooling. They are surely savoring the news, recognizing confirmation, and preparing to twist it. Here is my, more likely I believe, contrary twist.

The sun goes through roughly an 11-year cycle of activity, from stormy to quiet and back again. Solar activity often occurs near sunspots, dark regions on the sun caused by concentrated magnetic fields. It is much warmer during solar maximum, when sunspot cycle and solar activity is high, versus solar minimum, when the sun is quiet and there are usually no sunspots.

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday, June 13


June 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Ukiah Farmers’ Market,

Greetings!  It will be an action packed farmers’ market this Saturday, following an action packed week.  This message is coming a day early because Holly & I are holding the grand opening of our new store, the Westside Renaissance Market (1003 W Clay St) today (Wednesday 6/10) with a ribbon cutting at noon and tastings/celebration from 7-9 pm.  We will be in preparation mode all day.  More on that below.

As for the farmers’ market this Saturday, in addition to a great array of fresh local foods and a good time, you can look forward to music by Two Notes Samba, a jazz duo featuring Craig Schlatter on piano and Will Siegel on Guitar/Vocals, an oyster cooking demonstration by Jini Reynolds, children’s activities from First 5 and the Ukiah Library staff, the return of knife sharpening services at the market and a raffle drawing for a new bike to support the Mendocino Environmental Center.

For those of you who will be picking up plant starts for your own gardening endeavors, we will also have a table of  UC Davis Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions and give advice. The Master Gardeners are also offering a class, “Harvesting Your Garden,” which is the last in a series of three classes on vegetable gardening.  It will cover harvesting and food safety, methods of preserving, some recipes, seed saving, more on pest and diseases and water conservation.  The class is Saturday, June 20th, 2009, from 8:30 AM – 12:00 noon at Nokomis School, 495 Washington Ave, in Ukiah.  There is a $5 fee for this class to cover operating expenses. You must preregister to attend, which can be done on-line by sending an email to jtwilli@ucdavis.edu with your name, address, ph# and email address.

If that is not enough, you might want to dip into the Chronicle’s gardening series starting here.

As for the opening, if you live in or near the Westside of Ukiah, it will be a great opportunity to check out your new community market.  Stroll on down. From 7-9 pm we will have tastings of the great to-go items that Ukiah Brewing is doing for our deli case, wines by McFadden and Simaine,

Urgent Call For More Hair


June 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Back in the sixties, many of us protested the Vietnam war and various cultural suffocations by growing our hair. The Beatles (“mop-heads” was one early, affectionate term for them) may have started the trend, and sprouting long hair we did—men from our heads, cheeks and chins, women from their armpits and legs—and it was as potent a statement of protest and disgust as the middle finger salute.

But those days are long gone, replaced in the last few years by the soul-shriveling trend to conservatism, demonstrated by shaved heads and hairless chests. I am told that baldness has now even reached our nether regions, encouraged by the popularity of the porn industry. I recently observed a healthy young fellow sun-bathing on the beach in Los Angeles like a pink Chihuahua, completely hairless, apparently shaved and waxed from head to toe.

The authoritarian, buttoned-down, flag-waving war-mongers, chicken-hawks, and ditto-heads, have us just where they want us. Their co-conspirators are the corporate razor, shaver, and shaving foam pushers, who need only to trumpet their next blade addition to have us scurrying to the stores for the brand-new 10-blade model that will do you up in one fell swoop. And not one of their religious fellow travelers sports even a well-trimmed mustache.

We’re devoid of dignity like the sad, engineered, featherless chicken that made the news awhile back. We’ve been gutted, neck-tied, trussed-up, pre-scalded, and readied for the cook pot.

Smaller West Coast towns and cities get aggressive on energy efficiency

By Roger Valdez

June 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Ambitious programs to build sustainable communities.

I have written about energy efficiency programs in Cascadia’s three largest cities and how each of these communities is working to combine federal, state and local dollars to incentivize energy efficiencies.

What about some of the region’s smaller cities? Small cities have as much to gain – and to lose – as the big urban centers.

When I was last in Oregon I was surprised to hear that Lincoln City was endeavoring to become carbon neutral. One of the last times I was in Lincoln City was to see George Jones at the Chinook Winds Casino. It seemed the last place in the world that would be making carbon neutrality a goal. But Lincoln city has a lot at stake.

At just 11 feet above sea level, Lincoln City is well within the danger zone for rising sea levels caused by global warming. So, they’re getting proactive. The City will combine a mix of energy savings along with purchase of renewable energy and carbon credits to achieve neutrality. There is some ongoing debate about whether these methods truly lead to neutrality. But it’s hard to argue with Lincoln City’s dedication to efficiencies and sustainability — and even the Casino has taken measures to shed 900 tons of emissions annually. Because of this focus, Lincoln City became an EPA Green Power Community in 2007.

And speaking of Green Power Communities, Bellingham, Washington, was not only selected for the program but became the Washington’s first green power community. The EPA’s program focuses on voluntary community-wide efforts to create energy efficiencies and reduce the environmental impacts of energy consumption including greenhouse gas emissions.

This fall, Bellingham will initiate the Energy Efficiency Community Challenge aimed at substantially reducing Bellingham and Whatcom County’s consumption of electricity through an incentive program designed to motivate retrofits of existing residential and commercial buildings.

Small Business Ideas For Smaller Times


June 9, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

From Small Is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher:

As Gandhi said, the poor of the world cannot be helped by mass production, only by production by the masses.

The system of mass production, based on sophisticated, highly capital-intensive, high energy-input dependent, and human labour-saving technology, presupposes that you are already rich, for a great deal of capital investment is needed to establish one single workplace. The system of production by the masses mobilizes the priceless resources which are possessed by all human beings, their clever brains and skillful hands, and supports them with first-class tools.

The technology of mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging, self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources, and stultifying for the human person. The technology of production by the masses, making use of the best of modern knowledge and experience, is conducive to decentralization, compatible with the laws of ecology, gentle in its use of scarce resources, and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines.

I have named it intermediate technology to signify that it is vastly superior to the primitive technology of bygone ages but at the same time much simpler, cheaper, and freer than the super-technology of the rich. One can also call it self-help technology, or democratic or people’s technology—a technology to which everybody can gain admittance and which is not reserved to those already rich and powerful.

Excerpted from The Transition Handbook – From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, by Rob Hopkins

We need to be building the capability to produce locally those things that we can produce locally. It is, of course, easy to attack this idea by pointing out that some things, such as computers and frying pans can’t be made at a local level.

However, there are a lot of things we could produce locally: a wide range of seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, timber, mushrooms, dyes, many medicines,

Why This Crisis May Be Our Best Chance to Build a New Economy

by David Korten

Yes Magazine

June 8, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Whether it was divine providence or just good luck, we should give thanks that financial collapse hit us before the worst of global warming and peak oil. As challenging as the economic meltdown may be, it buys time to build a new economy that serves life rather than money. It lays bare the fact that the existing financial system has brought our way of life and the natural systems on which we depend to the brink of collapse. This wake-up call is inspiring unprecedented numbers of people to take action to bring forth the culture and institutions of a new economy that can serve us and sustain our living planet for generations into the future.

The world of financial stability, environmental sustainability, economic justice, and peace that most psychologically healthy people want is possible if we replace a defective operating system that values only money, seeks to monetize every relationship, and pits each person in a competition with every other for dominance.

From Economic Power to Basket Case

Not long ago, the news was filled with stories of how Wall Street’s money masters had discovered the secrets of creating limitless wealth through exotic financial maneuvers that eliminated both risk and the burden of producing anything of real value. In an audacious social engineering experiment, corporate interests drove a public policy shift that made finance the leading sector of the U.S. economy and the concentration of private wealth the leading economic priority.

Corporate interests drove a policy agenda that rolled back taxes on high incomes, gave tax preference to income from financial speculation over income from productive work, cut back social safety nets, drove down wages, privatized public assets, outsourced jobs and manufacturing capacity, and allowed public infrastructure to deteriorate. They envisioned a world in which the United States would dominate the global economy by specializing in the creation of money and the marketing and consumption of goods produced by others.

President Obama: Take Back The Power To Create Money From The Private Banking Industry

by Ellen Brown
The Web of Debt Blog

June 9, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The Constitution states, “Congress shall have the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof.” This power has been abdicated to private bankers. Today, 99.99% of our money is created by private banks when they make loans. This includes the Federal Reserve, a private banking corporation, which orders Federal Reserve Notes to be printed, and then lends them to the U.S. government. Only coins are actually created by the government itself. Coins compose only about 1-10,000th of the M3 money supply, and Federal Reserve Notes compose about 3% of it. All of the rest is created by banks as loans, something they do by simply writing numbers into accounts.

Congress could take back the power to create the national money supply by:
(a) Nationalizing the Federal Reserve.

(b) Reviving the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a government-owned lending facility used by Roosevelt to fund the New Deal. Rather than merely recycling borrowed money as Roosevelt did, however, the RFC could actually create credit on its books, in the same way that banks do it today, by fanning its capital base into many times that sum in loans. Assuming $300 billion is left of the TARP money approved by Congress last fall, this money could be deposited into the RFC and leveraged into $3 trillion in loans. That’s based on a 10% reserve requirement. If the money were counted as capital, at an 8% capital requirement it could be leveraged into 12.5 times the original sum. That would be enough to fund not only President Obama’s stimulus package but many other programs that are desperately short of funding now.

See also Money As Debt – How It Works (video)

Obama Plays Cairo

Redwood Valley

In this Eighteenth Edition, we review the Obama speech in Cairo, the Palestinian impasse, and how he balances his message of friendship with Moslems world wide alongside his armed attacks in Afghanistan and support for the Pakistan’s army’s assault upon the Taliban in the Swat Valley.

The man’s performances are captivating to us all. We are proud of a President so knowledgeable of Moslem history and accomplishments, who can speak comfortably of common aspirations, while skipping deftly past lethal Drone attacks on wedding parties in small mountain villages, and yet who somehow keeps our hopes alive while moving us towards more war and ever greater hypocrisy.

The Cairo speech was directed not to any one country but addressed the entire Islamic Nation, most of whom are intensely wary of American motives and of our capacity for change, while incredibly fond of our way of life. Stratfor suggests 6/03/09 that: “the Moslem masses are in for a disappointment . . . but this will not pose much of a problem for Obama. The fond feelings of the Moslem world might be nice to claim but ultimately he does not need their support. In the end, it will be the American people, not the rest of the world, who will issue the final referendum on his performance as President.”

It is 139 days since January 19th, when Israel stopped the wanton killing of Gazans, so as not to “rain upon the start of Obama’s Reign” the following day. John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), told a Code Pink delegation to Gaza last month that “billions in aid had been promised in the wake of Israel’s massacre, but so far nothing had arrived”. Code Pink reporters added: “Make no mistake about it: the blockade, directly enforced by Israel and Egypt but conspired in by their superpower patron in Washington, is a continuing act of war against an entire civilian population of 1.5 million, a form of collective punishment and a crime against humanity.” Roane Carey, The Nation 6/02/09.

Building materials that would allow Gazans to rebuild are forbidden, not one bag of cement, not one 2 by 4. Netanyahu

Stop Big Pharma and Insurance From Killing the Public Option in Health Care Bill

Mendocino County

June 7, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[After reading Robert Reich’s blog, I just sent this to my congressional respresentative Mike Thompson -JS]

Dear Congressman Thompson:

I am writing to urge you to support a real public option in the emerging health care bill. Big Pharma is trying very hard to make any public option meaningless as I learned from Robert Reich in his blog→.

My first choice would be single payer health care, but that appears to be off the table. To have any meaningful reform there must be a public option. As a member of Congress you are already a beneficiary. Every American should have the same opportunity.

I urge you to press as hard as you possibly can for a public option without conditions or triggers — one that gives the public insurer bargaining leverage over drug companies, and pushes insurers to do what they’ve promised to do.

Your constituent,

Janie Sheppard

In the “Frontline” documentary “What It’s Like To Be Sick Around the World,” the award-winning correspondent shows why the health care system in the United States lags far behind other major democracies. To watch the PBS program, click here→.

Take Action! Navy To Sacrifice 2.3 Million Marine Mammals Per Year For 5 Years Of War Games Off Our Mendocino Coast

Redwood Valley

June 5, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

SAVE OUR FISHING & WHALE WATCHING INDUSTRIES, our marine habitat, and protect the public from highly toxic chemicals.

A wide variety of marine mammals (whales, dolphins, porpoises, manatees, seals, walrus, and otters) have already died due to Navy Warfare Testing of Weapons currently underway in the Hawaiian Islands, the Mariana Islands, the Pacific Ocean off the coastline of Oregon, Washington, Southern California, the Gulf of Mexico, and other areas where testing is now conducted in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The Navy now proposes to expand its NWT Range Complex warfare testing range to encompass more land areas of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and the Pacific Ocean.

Many chemicals, like depleted uranium, used in this program are toxic to humans, marine mammals, all wildlife, and birds.

The Navy has violated NEPA laws by not informing the majority of the citizens of the United States about this program.

The Navy admits that there are severe declines in some marine mammal populations, and they will “take”, harm, maim or kill approximately 2.3 million marine mammals per year over five years.

The Navy will disrupt the fishing and whaling tourist industry near some of their weapons test areas in the Pacific Ocean even though there are sensitive marine areas in the Pacific Ocean which need to be preserved and protected.

Airborne sky obscurants like toxic fog oils, red phosphorus, white phosphorus, Aluminum Coated Fiberglass & Flares,

Monster Mall Attacks Critical Water Report

Developers attack report critical of Ukiah project


Published: Friday, June 5, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.

A developer’s campaign to persuade Mendocino County voters to directly approve a 74-acre shopping-based development has shown its legal muscle.

An attorney for the campaign is demanding that Mendocino County officials disown a study that indicates the project could impact Ukiah Valley water and sewer customers.

The study is “an illegal expenditure of public resources in violation of the California Constitution,” states the letter from San Rafael attorney Marguerite Mary Leoni to the Mendocino County counsel and the Local Agency Formation Commission. The report was created by LAFCO executive director Frank McMichael.

Leoni represents the initiative campaign, which is funded by Developers Diversified Realty, one of the country’s largest mall developers.

She said the report also fails to meet the legal requirement that such government reports be objective. “It is replete with speculation and fear-mongering,” Leoni said.

Her letter demands that LAFCO officials declare they did not request, authorize or approve the report, that it is not based on a factual investigation, that it is not a LAFCO report and that McMichael lacks the credentials to support an authoritative opinion on water issues as they pertain to the development plan.

As the director of LAFCO, McMichael is charged with ensuring there is adequate water and other public services for developments prior to annexation to special districts that supply water and sewer.

Complete article here