Mendocino Noir – Crimes Large and Small


July 31, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Bruce Anderson, Editor and Publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, has just published Volume Two of the Mendocino Papers, Mendocino Noir, available now at local independent bookstores.

Included stories:

•The Fort Bragg Fires
•Vincent J. Sisco: Willy Loman as arsonist
•Who Burned Fort Bragg and Why
•Killed Without Dying
•The Victim Didn’t Smoke
•Nothing Sadder Than A Young Person Dying For No Reason
•The Biggest Little Crook In Ukiah
•The Hunter As Prey
•Tree Rustling, Fort Bragg Style
•The Great Fort Bragg Witch Hunt
•Naked Woman In The Side Pocket
•The Poison Sandwich
•Dr. Wonderlick and His Lugar
•Monica’s Walk on the Wild Side
•Deputy Gander’s Halloween Party
•No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
•Where Are They, Jimmy?
•One Murder, Four Deaths

The New Feudalism

From Thom Hartmann
Excerpts from Threshold (just published)

July 31, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Emerson told us, in his lecture “Angloam,” that in America “the old contest of feudalism and democracy renews itself here on a new battlefield.” Perhaps seeing our day through a crack between the skeins of time and space, Emerson concluded, “It is wonderful, with how much rancor and premeditation at this moment the fight is prepared.”


Let’s be blunt. The real agenda of the new conservatives is nothing less than the destruction of democracy in the United States of America. And feudalism is one of their weapons.

Their rallying cry is that government is the enemy, and thus must be “drowned in a bathtub.” In that, they’ve mistaken our government for the former Soviet Union, or confused Ayn Rand’s fictional and disintegrating America with the real thing.

The government of the United States is us. It was designed to be a government of, by, and for We the People. It’s not an enemy to be destroyed; it’s a means by which we administer and preserve the commons that we collectively own.

Nonetheless, the new conservatives see our democratic government as the enemy. And if they plan to destroy democracy, they must have something in mind to replace it with…

What conservatives are really arguing for is a return to the three historic embodiments of tyranny

Accused of Hypocrisy – Letter to the Editors

(original letter below)

July 30, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

In a democracy, one should always appreciate opinions that engage the debate, are well articulated and offered with passion, even when in opposition to one’s own. And I do. In the July 30th issue of the UDJ, I am taken to task for being hypocritical for opposing the Masonite Monster Mall while at the same time being “in favor of the City of Ukiah spending redevelopment money to purchase the remaining acres of land out near the airport” for retail development. This, he wrote, had him “rolling on the floor in laughter.” Thereafter he went on at great length, taking up two full columns, describing my positions and how wrong all my letters to the editor are.

However, he misinterpreted a letter that simply pointed out that the argument for the Monster Mall so we could have a Costco was a false argument and took that to mean that I supported having another Big Box store. Not true. He can get up off the floor now.

He failed to include letter(s) of mine that could have saved him all that effort. For example, in response to the UDJ supporting the purchase of that land, I wrote “This seems like nothing but dumb growth based on dumb oil… which is destroying nature and community.”

The Great Game

Redwood Valley

July 30, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

The Editor of Obama-Watch.US, Jim Houle, spent three weeks in June and July traveling across Central Asia along the legendary Silk Road visiting Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China’s Xinjiang Province where the Uighur (wee-gur) people predominate. These Turkic-speaking people have been the “Stopper in the Bottle” between Europe, Russia, China and India for over a thousand years. The Gateway to Elsewhere, it has seldom, at least until now, been desired for its own value but was seen as a portal to the riches of India for the Russians and to the markets of Europe for the Indians and Afghanis. In the 20th century, with the discovery of oil and gas around the Caspian Sea, the collapse of the Soviet Hegemony, the withering away of British majesty, and the United States’ global domination of world energy resources, all has changed – or has it changed at all? Perhaps the “Great Game” by Peter Hopkirk, that amazing story of the 19th century battle over these remote kingdoms stumbles on, with Putin replacing the Czar and Obama taking Queen Victoria’s role.

Obama sees Central Asia as an important element in his program to expand ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’, assure the supply of oil and gas, and the continued sustenance of the Dollar as the world reserve currency. Petroleum (oil and gas) has since 1971 replaced gold as backing for the dollar and our huge military machine has taken on the role of enforcer. Should people decide to pay for their oil barrels with some other moolah, or a ‘market basket’ of currencies, the value of the dollar would drop like a stone. Our indebtedness would soon crowd us off the world stage. We could no longer print oil-soaked dollars

Reading between the lines (with video)

Mendocino County
(video at end of article)

July 30, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

My, my, so many angry and insistent letters to editors, angry and insistent blogs. I say I don’t read or listen to the commercial media stuff anymore because it is all fluff. But, sometimes I can’t seem to stop myself. We stopped for some coffee on the way to an appointment the other day and there was a New York Times, July 22, laying waiting to fill my time. I flip through it; nothing; nothing. Then, I reach the editorial, which glares at me “Climate Loopholes.” I also subscribe to email news notifications from Mother Jones. Shortly after reading the article, that magazine pointed me to Rachel Morris’s “It’s 3 a.m. Do You Know Where Your Climate Bill Is?”.

The increasingly infamous Waxman-Markey climate change bill was approved by the House and is on its way to the much tougher Senate. Half of the electricity used in this country is generated by extremely dirty coal-fired generators. Thanks to coal-state representatives, the bill imposes no standards on existing generators and, more amazingly, removes these plants from EPA Clean Air Act oversight.

A second problem with this bill involves carbon dioxide cap and trade. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, as you may have noticed, have recently been reporting immense profits. These profits didn’t come from loans, but by selling insurance in the form of hedge funds,

365 Books Worth Reading: #1 Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

From Sharon Astyk
Casaubon’s Book

July 30, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

I’ve got a lot of books I’d love to review at length, but somehow there’s always something more urgent to do.  So I’ve decided that I’m going to try and post regular (I doubt it will be every day…no, I’m sure it won’t be every day) short book reviews of a paragraph or so until I’ve done 365 of them.  I know it’ll probably take me a lot longer than a year, but at least it is a way to get conversations going about my favorite books without having to take a month to write about them.

I’m not promising that every single one will be on a relevant topic to the main themes of this blog – in fact, again, I promise they won’t be.  Everyone needs good escapist or imaginative literature sometimes, or simply to learn everything they can about something interesting, even if it has no direct application.  Besides, it is very rare that I find I read something truly great and never use it again – it always shows up somewhere in my thinking.

Ok, the honor of being the very first book worth reading goes to Saul Alinsky’s superb book Rules for Radicals→ – I picked it up at my school library when I was 14,

Local Currency in Lewes, England

From Transition Towns
Lewes, East Sussex, UK

July 29, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

The Lewes Pound is a creative yet practical way for local people to make money work for Lewes. The Lewes Pound is essentially a voucher or token that can be traded locally as a complementary currency and used alongside pounds Sterling.

Money spent locally circulates within, and benefits the local economy. Money spent in national chains doesn’t. The Lewes Pound encourages demand for local goods and services. In turn this builds resilience to the rising costs of energy, transport and food.

The Lewes Pounds is driven by three main considerations:

* Economic: According to the New Economics Foundation, money spent locally stays within the community and is re-used many times, multiplying wealth and building resilience in the local economy.
* Environmental: Supporting local businesses and goods reduces the need for transport and minimises our carbon footprint.
* Social: By spending money in local outlets we can strengthen the relationships between local shopkeepers and the community. It also supports people finding new ways to make a living initiatives

The Lewes Pound also benefits shoppers by creates stronger and more local shops, increasing a sense of pride in our community, decreasing CO2 emissions and increasing economic resilience.

From farms to Northern California hospitals: Healthier food for healthier patients

Chef Deane Bussiere shows off the yellow squash that he and staff are growing in the quarter acre garden at the hospital on Thursday, July 16, 2009. Dominican Hospital, in Santa Cruz, is using organic, sustainably sourced foods and has a garden where it grows organic vegetables and herbs. Chef Deane Bussiere, oversees the kitchen and garden.

From San Jose Mercury News

July 29, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Nothing spells patient satisfaction like free-range roast chicken after triple bypass surgery.

Throw some organic potatoes mashed with hormone-free milk and locally grown arugula salad onto the tray and hospital food may soon escape the culinary sneers it usually shares with TV dinners and airline meals.

Such bedside menus may not be far off for Northern California hospitals that are harnessing their buying power to demand changes in how food is grown and distributed. They’re part of a growing alliance of doctors and food advocates who say organic, fresh food is healthier, and local, sustainable food practices reduce pollution and contamination, which will ultimately lead to fewer health problems.

“What people eat is one of the most important determinants of their health,” said Dr. Preston Maring, an obstetrician at Kaiser Permanente who started the movement to put farmers markets outside the hospitals.

Keep reading at San Jose Mercury News

A Blog is a Little First Amendment Machine

From Jay Rosen
The Huffington Post

July 28, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

When in the eighteenth century the press first appeared on the political stage the people on the other end of it were known as the public. Public opinion and the political press arose together. But in the age of the mass media the public got transformed into an audience.

This happened because the mass media were one way, one-to-many, and “read only.” When journalism emerged as a profession it reflected these properties of its underlying platform. But now we have the Web, which is two-way (rather than one) many-to-many (rather than one-to-many) and “read-write” rather than “read only.”

As it moves toward the Web, journalism will have to adjust to these conditions, but a professionalized press is having trouble with the shift because it still thinks of the people on the other end as an audience–an image very deeply ingrained in professional practice.

I’m going to tell you some stories that I think illustrate the disruptive effects that blogging has had, and the democratic potential it represents. But let me say at the outset that, though a blogger myself, I am not a triumphalist about blogging. I do not think that the age of fully democratic media is suddenly upon us because we have this new form. There is a long way to go if we are to make good on its potential.

Now to my five stories, which are I offer more as parables, even though they are, of course, true to the facts.

Keep reading

The End of the Beginning of the Collapse

From DailyKos
by mwmwm

July 28, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

The present is not what the past was; the near future is by no means what the recent present was. We have reached a tremendously complex, tremendously traumatic point in human history… I think there’s plenty of evidence that that entire community is based on a failed model: a failed economic model, a failed environmental model, a failed energy model, a failed sustainable-lifestyle model.

This morning, I started my day with a coffee cup and DailyKos, intrigued by the internicene conflict between the estimable bonddad (who has informed me countless times), and bobswern (who has also informed me countless times), each of whom posted diaries disagreeing with each other (Bonddad, bobswern) about whether we are seeing “the bottom” of the recession, and whether a gloomy or merely less-gloomy future awaits us).

Their analysis was fascinating; less fascinating was the implicit and explicit sniping between adherents (and authors) to the different philosophies and assumptions of the others.

But in both analyses, there was something seriously lacking.

Both presume that “the economy” is something human-created, and independent of world-scale limits. Both presume that the realities of the current mess (and implicitly, the likelihoods of the next five years) have a relationship to the past’s realities, either by their use of graphs, or their use of employment rates.

Apocalypse Then: Earth Abides – Book Review

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
Reviewed by Marian Powell

July 27, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

As for man, there is little reason to think that he can in the long run escape the fate of other creatures.

The quote above sounds like it was written today. Yet, it’s not from a doomsday article in a current magazine. That quote is from a novel published in 1949.

Can a novel over a half a century old speak to current concerns? The answer is yes. Earth Abides is probably more relevant now than when it was written. In 1949, a story about a new disease that wipes out the human race would have been one more science fiction story. Now, with AIDS progressing around the world and a dozen other newly discovered diseases such as Ebola lurking, ready to erupt, the idea is no longer just science fiction but a current concern. Another comment from the opening chapter is that just because something has never happened does not mean it cannot happen. In other words, just because the human race has never been wiped out by a plague, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen tomorrow.

This may sound like the novel is a polemic or a tract. It is not. It is a good, solid end-of-the-world yarn.

Ish, a young graduate student, spends several weeks in the mountains of California, doing research for his thesis. He has deliberately cut all communication with the outside world, not even listening to the radio. He wants to focus on his work and he is a man who enjoys being alone.

The scene when he drives out of the mountains to return to San Francisco is still creepily effective. Nothing is wrong except no other car is moving on the highway and the radio picks up nothing but static.

Evil Syndicated

From James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Long Emergency

July 27, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

By now, everyone in that fraction of the world that pays attention to something other than American Idol and their platter of TGI Friday’s loaded potato skins knows that Goldman Sachs has been caught at another racket in the stock market: front-running trades. What a clever gambit, done with the help of the markets themselves – the Nasdaq in particular – in which information on trades is held back a fraction of a second from public view, while the data is shoveled to the computers of privileged subscribers who can execute zillions of programmed micro-trades before the rest of the herd makes a move. This allows them to vacuum up hundreds of millions of dollars by doing absolutely nothing of value. The old-fashioned method used by brokers was called “churning,” in which stocks were bought and sold incessantly (by phone) from the portfolios of inattentive clients merely to generate commissions. In any sensible society – i.e. a society with an instinct for self-preservation – it would be against the law and the people doing it would be sent to prison.

I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve got to think that the actions at the Nasdaq end – shoveling the data to the privileged subscribers a fraction of a second early – is patently illegal in the first place, since the whole purpose of an exchange is to create a fair trading space. Where both parties are concerned, it should amount to a plain vanilla criminal conspiracy to commit stock trading fraud. Maybe the larger question is: since when did we become a society lacking the instinct for self-preservation – that is, a society bent on suicide? Or maybe the question is better put to Goldman Sachs’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Since this racket was made public, there has been chatter all over the Web about how angry the American public is about Wall Street in general, and increasingly about Goldman Sachs in particular. Keep reading

Contrails and Man-Made Clouds Change Climate, Harming Agriculture

Redwood Valley

July 27, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

It is sometimes difficult to separate out fact from fiction and beliefs. It is even more difficult when United States citizens live under a government which classifies as “secret” more and more information with each passing day. In addition, many government agencies, scientists, and researchers decide that certain information should not be given to the public because they know that the public would say “NO,” to many of their experiments or actions.

Thus, unraveling exactly why jet contrails began to abnormally persist and turn into white haze and man-made clouds, since the late 1980s, has been difficult…requiring hours of research into government documents, university studies, and following every lead to find answers to these questions. What we do know and can prove has broad implications for human health, agriculture crop production, the health of the earth’s pollinators, lack of photosynthesis (direct sunlight needed for all trees and plants to grow and produce crops), and climate change. The following is a brief history of persistent jet contrails and man-made clouds:

1 – Jet engine produced contrails now may persist and turn into white haze and man-made clouds. This change began to be noticed across the United States, in the late 1980s, when reports began to be published regarding the unusual persistence of contrails, captured in pictures and videos that began to reflect their presence. Increasingly, as time passed, more and more reports and questions regarding the number and type of jets leaving persistent jet contrails surfaced. (5)

2 – Thousands of pictures and videos were placed on the Internet and in local newspapers, with questions about the different types

The Best Place One Could Be on Earth – Alice Walker

Alice Walker with her power plant, collard greens (from her website)

Anderson Valley
The Electronic Intifada
via Common Dreams

July 27, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Last March, poet, novelist and feminist Alice Walker joined a delegation organized by Code Pink, to travel to the Gaza Strip just weeks after the 22-day Israeli bombardment and invasion. Walker, globally acclaimed for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Color Purple, had also traveled to Rwanda, Eastern Congo and other places where she witnessed cruel and barbaric behavior that left her speechless. In an essay on her blog entitled “Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters “the horror” in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel,” Walker recounts the stories of the people she met, and offers a lyrical analysis that ties their oppression and struggles to what she and her community experienced growing up in the violence and fear of the segregated American South. The excerpt below begins with her arrival in Gaza after a long overland journey through Egypt.

Coming “home” to Gaza

Rolling into Gaza I had a feeling of homecoming. There is a flavor to the ghetto. To the Bantustan. To the “rez.” To the “colored section.” In some ways it is surprisingly comforting. Because consciousness is comforting. Everyone you see has an awareness of struggle, of resistance, just as you do. The man driving the donkey cart. The woman selling vegetables. The young person arranging rugs on the sidewalk or flowers in a vase. When I lived in segregated Eatonton, Georgia I used to breathe normally only in my own neighborhood, only in the black section of town… Keep reading at The Electronic Intifada

Ukiah Monster Mall – A Mega Financial Fiasco


Letter to the Editor
Ukiah Daily Journal

July 26, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Developers Diversified Realty didn’t show much savvy when it failed to change the Masonite site’s zoning before it closed escrow. Seasoned commercial developers would have done that; DDR did not.

Now it is stuck for the purchase price and thrashing around to fix things.

Its timing was not the best either.

“The commercial real estate bomb is ticking,” said Rep. Carolyn Mahoney (D-N.Y.), who chairs Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, in opening remarks to her panel on July 5.

Testimony to the panel was that today’s roughly $6.7-trillion commercial real estate market is crippled with about $3.5 trillion of debt. Money to pay the debt is evaporating as mall vacancy rates rise to 10 percent, the highest since 1992.

DDR’s vacancy rate this May was about 9.5 percent. (That’s why it has applied for a federal bailout.)

With many commercial properties worth one-half their peak 2006 value, banks have turned off the tap for commercial real estate refinancing.

The crisis is far from over.

Commercial real estate is “decaying and getting worse,” said Victor Canalog, a director of research for Reis, Inc., the nation’s leading commercial real estate analysis firm. Canalog said he did not “foresee a recovery in the retail sector until late 2012 at the earliest.”

“Given the depth and magnitude of the recession,” he added, “you can argue that we are facing a storm of epic proportions and we’re only at the beginning.”

Those are the mega-problems now dogging DDR’s Mendocino mega-fiasco.

The mall simply cannot and will not happen as promised.

If Proposition A passes, expect a vacant lot at the Masonite site for many years to come.

And the last thing we need is an abandoned project in our county seat and largest city.

New, Much Better Alternatives to Dinosaur Monster Malls – Bright Green Retail


July 22, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Right now, many of us in the developed world shop by driving to large chain stores — this is especially true in North America, but has become common elsewhere too.

The problem is, this way of shopping adds an enormous ecological burden to all the goods we buy: not only do we burn gas getting to the store and back, but the building and operation of that store and its parking lot have a huge impact; the supply chain that keeps huge stores stocked with masses of various kinds of goods adds more impacts; while the packaging and sales presentation of the goods we buy tops it all off with more energy and materials waste. From the lighting to the loading docks, the freezer cases to the shopping carts, conventional retail is unsustainable.

Retail today has other costs as well. Big chain stores are not generally known for their excellent labor practices, meaning that part of the savings we get by shopping in them comes from the mistreatment of the people who serve us while we’re there. The kinds of volumes that it takes to stock big box chain stores means that these stores will only buy things in huge orders, often from the lowest-cost big provider, which often means supporting sweat shop work conditions, factory farmed food or toxic knock-off products. Furthermore, because the backstories of the objects they sell is often so atrocious, big chain stores are often at the forefront of fighting transparency and labeling laws…

Not all chains are as bad as this, of course, [b]ut there are real limits to how much the model of big box, auto-dependent chain stores can be improved…

[Instead… Webfronts; Flexible Spaces; Micro-commerce; Backstories and Display Transparency; Delivery; Drop Shops and Reverse Supply Chains]… Keep reading at Worldchanging

Why Are We Wasting Time?

Mendocino County

July 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

I’ve nearly given up reading news and commentary of any kind. I hardly ever visit the usual widely read Internet commentary blogs or magazines of any stripe. There are only three notable exceptions: Ukiah Blog, the Ukiah Daily Journal letters to the editor, and the Anderson Valley Advertiser for Bruce Anderson’s commentaries and to get a laugh about the latest Supervisor foibles.

Surely, then, I’m not informed? I very much disagree. If you could see the stack of books surrounding us everywhere, you would see what nonsense that is.

Two of the latest books that have come my way are “Self Organization in Biological Systems,” edited by Camazine et al and published by Princeton, and “Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change,” edited by Berkes et al and published by Cambridge. Each includes reports of detailed studies and assume sophisticated understanding of ecology and other areas. They have much to say regarding our situation, but I’d bet no one in a policy making context will ever read them.

I don’t write these things to put you down in any way. My purpose is to buttress my feelings that almost everything that is dumped onto us by the media, Internet blogs, corporation marketing, and especially governments of all levels is superficial tripe. If we have a feeling for history, such as Howard Zinn documented so well

The Great Tax Con Job – Thom Hartmann

From Thom Hartmann

July 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Republicans are using the T-word – taxes – to attack the Obama healthcare program. It’s a strategy based in a lie.

A very small niche of America’s uber-wealthy have pulled off what may well be the biggest con job in the history of our republic, and they did it in a startlingly brief 30 or so years. True, they spent over three billion dollars to make it happen, but the reward to them was in the hundreds of billions – and will continue to be.

As my friend and colleague Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks pointed out in a Daily Kos blog recently, billionaire Rupert Murdoch loses $50 million a year on the NY Post, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife loses $2 to $3 million a year on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, billionaire Philip Anschutz loses around $5 million a year on The Weekly Standard, and billionaire Sun Myung Moon has lost $2 to $3 billion on The Washington Times.

Why are these guys willing to lose so much money funding “conservative” media? Why do they bulk-buy every right-wing book that comes out to throw it to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list and then give away the copies to “subscribers” to their websites and publications? Why do they fund to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year money-hole “think tanks” like Heritage and Cato?

The answer is pretty straightforward. They do it because it buys them respectability, and gets their con job out there. Even though William Kristol’s publication is a money-losing joke (with only 85,000 subscribers!), his association with the Standard was enough to get him on TV talk shows whenever he wants, and a column with The New York Times. The Washington Times catapulted Tony Blankley to stardom.

Rural Matters

Redwood Valley

July 23, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

From the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship: Regional Technology Strategies and its partner in the Alliance for Creative Advantage, Mt. Auburn Associates, has recently completed a series of reports in Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming and North Carolina that show how creativity and creative enterprises help rural regions develop their economies more effectively.

By the creative economy, RTS strays from the pop-economic notion of the “creative class” that too often sees metropolitan areas, with their high concentration of people with advanced degrees, as the only places where creativity is taking place.  Applying the creative economy to a class of workers rather than to an actual set of industries misses a crucial component of economic development. Rather, we define “creativity” to a select group of businesses that produce and distribute goods and services and for which the aesthetic, intellectual and emotional engagement of the consumer adds value to products in the marketplace. This can range to traditional arts and crafts made by residents to high-end manufactured products that depend on design for their appeal.  In particular, we see the creative economy being made up of:
•    Individual artists who are the talent and source of creativity
•    Non-profit cultural institutions and commercial businesses that take the original ideas of these artists

and produce creative goods and services
•    The businesses and institutions that bring the creative products to the marketplace
•    The institutions and commercial businesses that depend on creative talent to survive and prosper
•    The support system that nurtures and sustains the creative economy

Ukiah Farmer’s Market Saturday 7/25/09

Sitka, Alaska


July 23, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,


We should have another market not to be missed this Saturday. Don Willis will be playing.

At about 10 you will want to meet Jini and Charlie will start a shopping expedition through the market to gather ingredients for their salad dressing cooking demonstration at about 10:30. It is the perfect way to kick-off National Salad Week.

Other happenings this Saturday include a 10:30 reading for children by Ukiah Children’s Librarian Ina Gordon, a nutrition information booth by the Ukiah Unified School District, a table benefiting our local quilt guild, a table
with information about water conservation and a table at which you can get advice from our local UC Davis Master Gardeners.

I also expect at least one new vendor.

In other news, please consider attending the Fifth Annual Pure Mendocino Organic Celebration. It is the Premier Organic Food & Wine Adventure in the Known World, and it happens right here. There are two events to enjoy:

A Seminal Moment?

From David Kurtz
TPM Blog

Just to mention something that is obvious, but hopefully not overlooked, i.e., if this country cannot pass a bill which insures that every citizen has access to medical care, which every developed country has managed to do (and got done many many years ago), there is something very fundamentally and structurally wrong with this country.

Such an event, in my mind, would confirm that we live with a completely corrupt and dysfunctional form of government. Forty nine states, each with bicameral legislative bodies, some of which have distinguished themselves recently with unabashed levels of incompetency and cluelessness. Then, graft a federal government over that, which is also bicameral, the non-representative portion of it being filled with officials who are certifiable morons and/or who are bought and sold like whores by wealthy contributors.

Talk about a Waterloo.

This is a defining moment in our history. Do we fulfill our supposed status as a “shining city on a hill” or continue our long slow decline into a second rate oligarchy?

I am not one prone to hyperbole.

I believe this to the depths of my soul.
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

What about The Transition Initiative?

From Orion Magazine

July 22, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Changing the scale of change

A while ago, I heard an American scientist address an audience in Oxford, England, about his work on the climate crisis. He was precise, unemotional, rigorous, and impersonal: all strengths of a scientist.

The next day, talking informally to a small group, he pulled out of his wallet a much-loved photo of his thirteen-year-old son. He spoke as carefully as he had before, but this time his voice was sad, worried, and fatherly. His son, he said, had become so frightened about climate change that he was debilitated, depressed, and disturbed. Some might have suggested therapy, Prozac, or baseball for the child. But in this group one voice said gently, “What about the Transition Initiative?”

If the Transition Initiative were a person, you’d say he or she was charismatic, wise, practical, positive, resourceful, and very, very popular. Starting with the town of Totnes in Devon, England, in September 2006, the movement has spread like wildfire across the U.K. (delightfully wriggling its way into The Archers, Britain’s longest-running and most popular radio soap opera), and on to the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The core purpose of the Transition Initiative is to address, at the community level, the twin issues of climate change and peak oil—the declining availability of “ancient sunlight,” as fossil fuels have been called. The initiative is set up to enable towns or neighborhoods to plan for, and move toward, a post-oil and low-carbon future: what Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Initiative, has termed “the great transition of our time, away from fossil fuels.” Part of the genius of the movement rests in its acute and kind psychology…

Keep reading at Orion Magazine

See also Ukiah’s Transition Timeline

The Aim is Joy

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

July 22, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

I’ve taken lovely vacations over the years, but the latest one, at an exclusive hideaway we were lucky enough to know about, had to be the best ever.

My idea of a good vacation is one that combines natural wonders with good food (the greatest natural wonder of all), hopefully convenient to exhibitions or programs of art or history not yet widely publicized, and so removed from the possibility of crowds and traffic jams. Places that offer such a rare combination are few and far between, and simply discovering this magical retreat was a keen pleasure.

I don’t know where to begin in telling you the delights of this vacation. We awoke on Saturday morning to a pervasive silence, broken only by the song of a wood thrush outside our window. We dined on an upper deck, where a flaming orange and black Baltimore oriole scolded us from a huge oak tree whose limbs reached out almost to our table.

At one point, the blue flash of an indigo bunting streaked across the orange flame of oriole, and I jumped in delight. That so startled the lovely lady vacationing with me that she lost the strawberry she was spooning from her saucer, and the fruit bounced into the cream pitcher. Giggle, giggle. The strawberries came directly from the establishment’s own garden. Yeasty homemade bread also originated in the kitchen, and the eggs were fresh from a nearby barn—we could actually hear the hens cackling. The thick strips of drug- and hormone-free, hickory-smoked bacon came from hogs raised in that barn, too.

We decided to go bird-watching that morning, encouraged by the variety of birds we saw just from the breakfast table. We did not see the bobolinks rumored to have returned to the fields behind the hideaway, but I did spot a stocky lestes (Lestes dryas), a species of damselfly, resting in the meadow grass. Though lestes is not exactly an uncommon species in these parts, I had never seen this striking insect before.

Wait just a minute! (Answer to UDJ Letter to the Editor)


July 21, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California


Wait just a minute!

I don’t mind being called “ignorant” or being accused of trying to scare people “just like Bush and Cheney” or that I “want to be Amish” (Letter to Editor: What’s wrong with Capitalism? UDJ 7/20/09 – see below). But when someone who lives in Lower Lake comes over here and calls Downtown Ukiah “an armpit” — that’s just going too far!

It’s especially offensive during these hot, hundred plus temperatures when everyone is doing their best to stay cool. After all, we in Mendoland don’t have the ability, like Lake County folks, to take those crisp, clean dips in Clear Lake algae water to stay freshened up and re-fragranced!

But it was only when I read on and found “please people (sic), quit whining about marijuana” that I realized the writer had mistaken the aroma of our number one crop, now maturing on the landscape and in boarded-up houses, for our personal lack of good hygiene.

Can’t we import some Monsanto scientists to genetically modify our main crop with some aromatherapy oils? It could save our personal reputations, not to mention our tourist industry… tourists must think we’re just a bunch of yokels and hippies up here who don’t bathe!

Who knew?

What’s wrong with capitalism?

MONDAY, JULY 20, 2009
Ukiah Daily Journal
To the Editor:

Dave Smith and all the people who think big box stores are so bad because they send local money overseas are ignorant. Let me explain the cycle of selling widgets.

Take Action! Healthcare Reform Now!

Ukiah Valley

July 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

How can we get real healthcare reform NOW?

Not next year, not in five years when the economy may have recovered, but now.  We want single payer healthcare by the end of August.

For a succinct discussion of the health care policy debate, go to Wikipedia here.

We are stuck with two reluctant reformers:  Dianne Feinstein, Senator, and Mike Thompson, Representative.  So far as I know Barbara Boxer is not a problem.

Thompson gets campaign money from the “health sector”, to the tune of $254,625 in 2008.  He does, however, profess to be in favor of the public option (second best after single payer).

Our job is to turn him to single payer.  Here’s his contact information:

E-Mail Mike Thompson

231 Cannon Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3311
Fax: (202) 225-4335

430 North Franklin Street
PO Box 2208
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Phone: (707) 962-0933
Fax: (707) 962-0934

Feinstein’s website tells us nothing about her position on health care.  Let’s force her to play her cards. What does the Senator think?  I asked:

Dear Senator Feinstein:

As your constituent, I would like to see your position on health care reform posted on your website.

Take Action! Training Tonight July 21 to stop the Monster Mall

Mendocino Environmental Center

July 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

We all want to help the environment, but it can be hard to make the time and work out the best things to do. The Mendocino Environmental Center (MEC) is a hub for local environmental advocacy, working on issues that affect Ukiah Valley residents and beyond.

Ukiah is a place blessed with stunning surroundings and varied habitats, and the MEC strives to protect this environment and work with the community to minimise our global footprint. I encourage all members of the community to join us and let us know what issues are important to you. Together we can take effect.

One of the most prominent issues currently being tackled by the MEC and other community groups is the possible re-zoning of the Masonite site which will be voted on in November. The MEC’s main concern regarding the rezoning and plan for the site is the lack of an ‘Environmental Impact Report’. It is imperative that an independent report be carried out before planning decisions are made. The methods which have taken this issue onto the ballot avoid the requirement to carry out such an EIR but we believe that the community has the right to know what environmental impacts any development may have before it is agreed. We therefore encourage voters to vote against the re-zoning in November.

MEC is encouraging all those who are against the re-zoning of the site, or who would like to learn more, to join us at a training event led by Richard Shoemaker from SOLE (Save Our Local Economy). The event will be held at the MEC, 105 West Standley Street, downtown Ukiah on Tuesday, July 21 from 6-7pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

Those wishing to attend should e-mail to reserve a place. The event is free but donations to the MEC are gratefully appreciated.

Why I will never buy a Kindle

From tristero
Via Hullabaloo

July 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

This is why I will never, ever buy a Kindle:

On Friday, it was “1984” and another Orwell book, “Animal Farm,” that were dropped down the memory hole — by

In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.

Unacceptable, and on so many levels, I don’t know where to start.

Actually, I do. I’m buying, as I have for a long time now, only from a local bookstore, and I’m buying only real books…


I own a Sony ebook reader. I use it to read freely available content online. Only occasionally (when going on a vacation etc) do I actually purchase any reading content from sony. On those rare occasions I feel ripped off because I have no physical ownership of an actual book. I can buy the same book in a store and then re-sell it, lend it to anyone etc. etc. The finances behind buying ebooks is just all off. I’m also the person that owns an Ipod and love it…but I still buy my music via an actual CD that I can download on my computer and own…ie: can re-sell, lend etc.

Until ebook readers all work on the same format….offer ownership in the form of re-sell value etc. I think there will always be those hardcore book owners like myself. Come see my shelves….its far far more exciting than me handing you an electronic device and saying “you really should see my library!” What a downer that truly is….

…those are great points. I agree with you – as Sony Reader owner, myself. I use it when I’m traveling, especially on free e-books that can be downloaded because of expired copyrights or other freebies given away on the web.

I will never, never give up my books and will keep adding to them until the day I die, I suspect. E-books are kinda cool but they are not really books and they never will be.

Ukiah’s Transition Timeline

The Book Dealer – Larry McMurtry’s Grand Obsession

Ukiah Valley
Originally appeared in…
The Redwood Coast Review (pdf)

July 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Larry McMurtry is one of the most prolific and successful modern American writers. Primarily a novelist—The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dove and twenty-seven others—he has also written eight books of essays, a biography, numerous books reviews and, by his count, 70 screenplays (most notably, with Diana Ossana, the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning Brokeback Mountain). But to hear him tell it, in Books: A Memoir, all this scribbling has been merely a sideline to his primary pursuit—the buying and selling of books.

From his early days as a graduate student at Rice University and as a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford—in the famous class with Ken Kesey, Wendell Berry, Peter Beagle and others—McMurtry was in the habit of “book scouting,” prowling local used book shops for bargains he could sell elsewhere at a profit. Malcolm Cowley, a visiting professor at Stanford in the fall of 1960, writes about this in his memoir, The Flower and the Leaf:

“It was a pretty brilliant class that year, including as it did some professional writers

How Masonite Monster Mall’s Developer DDR Treats Small Town Folks Like Us

From Daily News of Newburyport

July 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Town sued on denial of Monster Mall Plans

SEABROOK — An Ohio-based shopping center giant is suing the town over the Planning Board’s denial of its proposal to build a 500,000-square-foot retail outlet in town.

The shopping center, which planned to have a Target store as its anchor, would have been the largest in Greater Newburyport, and more than twice as large as Newburyport’s Port Plaza. It would have been located just to the northeast of the busy intersection of Routes 1 and 107.

The town was served notice of the lawsuit yesterday. The more than 60-page brief and its attachments were filed with Rockingham County Superior Court on June 17, according to the stamp on the document, within the 30-day appeal window of the Planning Board’s May 19 denial.

In the brief, Developers Diversified Realty attorney Malcolm McNeill Jr. wrote: “The Planning Board in denying (DDR’s) request for site review approval for its retail shopping center was unlawful and unreasonable and the product of bad faith by the Planning Board, and was arbitrary, capricious and confiscatory.”

Where I lived, and what I lived for – Henry David Thoreau

From Henry David Thoreau

July 16, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

Keep reading at The Thoreau Reader

The Agrarian Standard – Wendell Berry

From Wendell Berry
Orion Magazine

July 16, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

The Unsettling of America was published twenty-five years ago; it is still in print and is still being read. As its author, I am tempted to be glad of this, and yet, if I believe what I said in that book, and I still do, then I should be anything but glad. The book would have had a far happier fate if it could have been disproved or made obsolete years ago.

It remains true because the conditions it describes and opposes, the abuses of farmland and farming people, have persisted and become worse over the last twenty-five years. In 2002 we have less than half the number of farmers in the United States that we had in 1977. Our farm communities are far worse off now than they were then. Our soil erosion rates continue to be unsustainably high. We continue to pollute our soils and streams with agricultural poisons. We continue to lose farmland to urban development of the most wasteful sort. The large agribusiness corporations that were mainly national in 1977 are now global, and are replacing the world’s agricultural diversity, which was useful primarily to farmers and local consumers, with bioengineered and patented monocultures that are merely profitable to corporations. The purpose of this now global economy, as Vandana Shiva has rightly said, is to replace “food democracy” with a worldwide “food dictatorship.”

To be an agrarian writer in such a time is an odd experience. One keeps writing essays and speeches that one would prefer not to write, that one wishes would prove unnecessary, that one hopes nobody will have any need for in twenty-five years.

Keep reading at Orion

Death of the Category Killers

By Stacy Mitchell
New Rules Project

July 15, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Borders Books is on “death watch,” according to one industry observer. Virgin shut down its last U.S. record store this month. Office Depot and Staples are struggling. Circuit City is gone. Best Buy has launched a desperate ad campaign.

The specialty chains that grew so aggressively in the 1990s and early 2000s — the so-called “category killers” that bankrupted thousands of independent businesses — are now themselves rapidly losing ground to a handful of giant mass merchandisers, namely Wal-Mart, Amazon, Target, and Costco.

While the decline of independent businesses has leveled off and many are finding ways to survive and even thrive by building local business alliances and emphasizing their community roots, the rest of the retail sector is undergoing dramatic consolidation as a small number of massive companies become ever more dominant. This is an ominous trend for manufacturers and consumers, and it exposes serious flaws in U.S. antitrust policy.

Books as Loss Leaders

“For much of 2008, the industry focused its attention on the viability of the struggling Borders, but Barnes & Noble faces many of the very same issues,” wrote Peter Olson, the former CEO of Random House, earlier this year in Publishers Weekly. Olson predicts that the two chains will continue to lose ground, struggle to finance their inventories, and be forced to close outlets.

Big-box mass merchandisers, like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, have taken over 30 percent of the book market. These chains are now selling as many books as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

‘Localwashing’ Corporations Move to Co-opt Consumers Desire to Buy ‘Local’ & Sustainable Products & Services

By Stacy Mitchell
New Rules Project

With Americans’ new focus on buying products made close to home, corporations are moving quickly to co-opt the term “local.” But if everything is local, is anything local?

[This is why we use the terms “locally-owned” and “independent”, and why we need a local currency that circulates only in locally-owned, independent businesses. -DS]

July 15, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

HSBC calls itself “the world’s local bank,” which belies the intent of the “local” movement, a campaign to urge consumers to buy locally produced goods and support independent businesses in their hometowns.

HSBC, one of the biggest banks on the planet, has taken to calling itself “the world’s local bank.” Winn-Dixie, a 500-outlet supermarket chain, recently launched a new ad campaign under the tagline, “Local flavor since 1956.” The International Council of Shopping Centers, a global consortium of mall owners and developers, is pouring millions of dollars into television ads urging people to “Shop Local” — at their nearest mall. Even Walmart is getting in on the act, hanging bright green banners over its produce aisles that simply say “Local.”

This new variation on corporate greenwashing — localwashing — is, like the buy-local movement itself, most advanced in the context of food. Hellmann’s, the mayonnaise brand owned by the processed-food giant Unilever, is test-driving a new “Eat Real, Eat Local” initiative in Canada. The ad campaign seems aimed partly at enhancing the brand by simply associating Hellmann’s with local food.

Ukiah Farmer’s Market Saturday 7/18/09 – Food Bank Drive


July 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Farmers’ Market, Greetings!

This weekend is the Saturday Farmers’ Market week to adopt the Ukiah Food Bank. Community group Yes, We Can! is pitching in to help get the word out and will be collecting donations under the pavilion along Clay St.  Please consider buying a bit extra to donate or bringing along a can of veggies that you can live without.  Tough times are made a bit easier when we share the load. Please pitch in and come find out about Yes, We Can!  Spread the word.

New hot food vendor Harbor Lights from Lake Co didn’t quite make it last week, but they are planning to join us this weekend with Native American fry bread (with various toppings), fruit cups, clam chowder and fried cinnamon roll surprise.

Anyone in the area growing excess greens?  The Westside Renaissance Market is looking for a local supplier of lettuce and/or salad mix. Now, for your reading pleasure, the Lazy Gardener Blog

Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change – Derrick Jensen


July 15, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

[We often hear about change starting from within.  We change ourselves and it manifests outward in ripples that begin change for the world.  But the reality is that no matter how virtuous we are as individuals, or think we are, effective change needs to be systemic.  Ecologist Derrick Jensen is circulating an essay making that point – we need to go after corporate power to create real change.  And it’s dangerous, but necessary. -AE]

[Todd Walton and Annie exchange comments about this article in the Comments section below. Your thoughts? -DS]

Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption