Farmers Market Ukiah Saturday 11/14/09



The Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market is still going strong and this Saturday promises to be another clear, crisp morning — perfect produce gathering weather.  Please help get the word out that the Ukiah Saturday market is now year-round, 8:30 to noon as always, and is still going strong.  We had 24 vendors last week and expect as many or more this Saturday.

At this Saturday’s market you can expect a couple of new craft vendors including blown glass, locally assembled purses and wooden toys. Add that to our great selection of dolls, linens, body care, candles, glassware, knitted goods, toffee, etc, and your holiday buying can be done in one spot with unique, locally-produced gifts that keep your $ local.

We will also have the usual great range of local produce including the expected (weather permitting) return of Humboldt Bay oysters.  I also expect the return of Flowers By the Sea from Elk.  They promise to bring cabbage, three kinds of onions, four kinds of potatoes, apples, lettuce, arugula, spinach, radishes, Bok Choi, Swiss chard, beautiful broccoli, sugar snap peas, possibly a few late raspberries, and eggs.

See you at the market!

Major Hasan and The Legacy of George W Bush

Via Common Dreams

If Bill Clinton – or, presumably, Al Gore (or even Ralph Nader) – had been President in 2001, the Ft. Hood massacre almost certainly wouldn’t have happened. Because George W. Bush was president, it did. Here’s why it’s Bush’s fault:

One of the first lessons aspiring novelists and screenwriters learn is that the goodness of a hero is defined by a single quality – the evil of his opponent. From Superman’s Lex Luthor to Batman’s Joker to Indiana Jones’ Nazis to Luke Skywalker’s Darth Vader, for a hero to be perceived as larger than life, he must have a larger than life enemy.

If Frodo in “Lord of the Rings,” for example, hadn’t been forced to do battle with the supernatural powers of the Ring and its minions, his story would have merely been a boring travelogue. But with an army of supernaturally brilliant, evil, and powerful opponents, Frodo had the opportunity to display his extraordinary inner courage and resourcefulness, qualities he didn’t even realize he had until they were called forth by the peril of an awesome evil.

This is a lesson that was not lost on Karl Rove and George W. Bush. If they could recast George as the opponent of a power as great as the Ring, then the rather ordinary Dubya could become the extraordinary SuperGeorge, rising from his facileness to prevail over supernatural powers of evil.

Bill Clinton had a similar chance, but passed on it for the good of America and the world.

The Culture of Pretend: How Psychotherapy Keeps Our Communities Sick

From Sally Erickson
Via Energy Bulletin

Early in my experience as a psychotherapy client I received the therapeutic counsel that “Secrets keep you sick.” As scared as I felt when I identified and then disclosed secrets to my therapist, I saw the healing power that came as as a result. I worked hard in therapy. I realized how much material I had kept secret, even from myself. I learned the power and value of deep insight, as I recalled forgotten events, experiences, and emotions. I committed myself to make the most out of my therapy and that counsel about not keeping secrets proved to be of great personal value. I felt real relief at finally knowing myself and then at allowing someone else to know me to the bone.

I saw some smart and helpful therapists along the way. It is not a stretch to say that psychotherapy very likely saved my life. It definitely improved my life and my regard for myself. But, like most people who have been on either or both sides of “the couch,” I didn’t expect complete healing of everything. I accepted on-going self-doubt, neuroses, bouts of insecurity, and inner triggers and over-reactions as part of being human. I’ve kind of accepted, like Jack Nicholson does in one of my favorite movies, that this is “As Good As I Gets.”

Now, after twenty-five years of being a psychotherapist and some thirty-five years since I first entered therapy as a client, I’m questioning some basic assumptions about the institution of psychotherapy. And it is because of that counsel about not keeping secrets, that I have begun this questioning.

Psychotherapy can help people to acknowledge their own history of unmet needs, hurts, and trauma, and the resulting emotions. It also can help us to acknowledge the pain of friends and family who take the risk to share themselves deeply.

Our most important task – Vandana Shiva (video)

Via Transition Culture

The most important pressure people in the South face is the grabbing of their resources to feed a consumer machinery where the rich North doesn’t really benefit from that consumption, but it thinks it’s benefiting.

A Transition Town movement in the North, that reduces the pressure on the South, while maintaining solidarity on issues where the North can’t provide for itself — you can’t grow your coffee, you can’t grow your spices in Europe, you can’t grow your cotton — a Transition Town movement in the North needs to shrink its ecological footprint in areas where it is shrinkable, and it needs to generate more livelihood locally in production and the first candidate for this is fresh vegetables.

Fresh vegetables are the reason Third World people are losing their land. Fresh vegetables do not get exported by small peasants… giant companies take over the land, put green beans and lettuce onto flights, and ship it to the North.

So if you reduce your consumption of long distance flights for vegetables, and increase your local production ecologically, you are reducing the pressure on the South, you are making sure families don’t go hungry in the South.

That’s the kind of solidarity that helps.

Go to video at Transition Culture

See also Sharon Astyk’s Comments

[This is the reason the so-called “Green Revolution” is a disaster for the world. -DS]

Avoiding Factory Farm Foods



Huntington Post Blogs

Livestock Rancher, Lawyer, and Author, Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms

Most people share at least the following traits: they want to be healthy; they like animals; and they value clean air and water. Yet relatively few Americans connect those concerns with their food. As more people start making the link (especially if they’ve seen graphic video footage of industrial animal operations), many decide it’s time to stop eating foods from factory farms. This is a guide for doing just that.

I’ve been a vegetarian for more than twenty years. Unlike the fits and starts described in Jonathan Safran Foer’s autobiographical book Eating Animals, the day I decided to quit eating meat was the last time I ever did. I remember that dinner well. It was my mother’s tuna fish casserole, and actually quite tasty. But while I chose to stop eating meat, I never adopted the view that it was morally wrong, and, consequently, didn’t become one of those vegetarians who spends her spare time plumbing the depths of meat industry literature looking for bits of information to shock my friends and family into giving up meat.

Nine years ago, I had just started working as an environmental lawyer for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. when he approached me about leading a national campaign to reform the livestock and poultry sector. He said that industrialized animal production had become one of the nation’s worst polluters of water and air, and he wanted to aggressively attack the problem.

Spokane Considers Community Bill of Rights

Thousands of people voted to protect nine basic rights, ranging from the right of the environment to exist and flourish to the rights of residents to have a locally based economy and to determine the future of their neighborhoods.

[After two resounding and very satisfying defeats of outside Big Money interests, is this a good next step for Mendocino County? -DS]

From Mari Margil
Yes! Magazine

Of all the candidates, bills, and proposals on ballots around the country [last week], one of the most exciting is a proposition that didn’t pass.

In Spokane, Washington, despite intense opposition from business interests, a coalition of residents succeeded in bringing an innovative “Community Bill of Rights” to the ballot. Proposition 4 would have amended the city’s Home Rule Charter (akin to a local constitution) to recognize nine basic rights, ranging from the right of the environment to exist and flourish to the rights of residents to have a locally based economy and to determine the future of their neighborhoods.

A coalition of the city’s residents drafted the amendments after finding that they didn’t have the legal authority to make decisions about their own neighborhoods; the amendments were debated and fine-tuned in town hall meetings.

Good Calories, Bad Calories

Mendocino County

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. ~ Plato

This is a review of a book that Michael Pollen has described as “A vitally important book, destined to change the way we think about food.” Alternative medicine guru Andrew Weil, M.D., called it “A very important book.” Yet, it is an investigated report of intimidating depth, 609 pages including the index, that sadly I doubt most of you will ever read. I only try below to give you a softer tour of a few of the high points to tempt you. The book is Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, Anchor Books, 2007. Taubes not only describes the expected results of various diets, but at least as importantly I believe, recounts a pertinent allegory of our times, of how easily we can be manipulated to our and the Earth’s detriment.

Nearly thirty years ago, I was experiencing a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms that became more worrisome over time. So began a wandering from physician to physician, specialist to specialist, seeking relief. One night, after ten years or so and a dozen physicians, I was in terrible distress and Marlene somehow or another got me to an emergency facility.

Vegetarian’s Rebuttal to ‘The Carnivore’s Dilemma’

From TreeHugger

Last week’s NY Times featured an op-ed entitled “The Carnivore’s Dilemma“–an ostensibly enlightened response to the chorus of voices promulgating a vegetarian diet as a way to significantly reduce one’s emission of greenhouse gasses (not least amongst these voices is Michael Pollan, author of “Omnivore’s Dilemma”). Unlike “The Omnivore’s Delusion“–a fluff piece by the industrial agriculture lobby that defends the status quo–the author of the Times’ piece, Nicolette Hahn Niman, is no great defender of current industrial agricultural practices; she’s a rancher and advocate of “traditional”, grass-fed livestock production. Hahn Niman’s argument focuses on debunking the notion that vegetarianism is inherently the most beneficial way of eating for the environment.

While Hahn Niman has several valid points, her arguments often fall short of a sale. She frequently compares best-case scenario meat consumption and worst-case scenario vegetarianism. She states, “It could be, in fact, that a conscientious meat eater may have a more environmentally friendly diet than your average vegetarian.” First off, she doesn’t say that this theoretical conscientious carnivore will be more environmentally friendly, she merely uses the more hopeful “could” and “may”. Moreover, she never deigns to compare a conscientious meat eater to a conscientious vegetarian.

The Carnivore’s Dilemma

Bolinas, Calif.
New York Times Op-Ed

Is eating a hamburger the global warming equivalent of driving a Hummer? This week an article in The Times of London carried a headline that blared: “Give Up Meat to Save the Planet.” Former Vice President Al Gore, who has made climate change his signature issue, has even been assailed for omnivorous eating by animal rights activists.

It’s true that food production is an important contributor to climate change. And the claim that meat (especially beef) is closely linked to global warming has received some credible backing, including by the United Nations and University of Chicago. Both institutions have issued reports that have been widely summarized as condemning meat-eating.

But that’s an overly simplistic conclusion to draw from the research. To a rancher like me, who raises cattle, goats and turkeys the traditional way (on grass), the studies show only that the prevailing methods of producing meat — that is, crowding animals together in factory farms, storing their waste in giant lagoons and cutting down forests to grow crops to feed them — cause substantial greenhouse gases. It could be, in fact, that a conscientious meat eater may have a more environmentally friendly diet than your average vegetarian.

Robin Collier: You cannot have it both ways! (Updated)


According to the UDJ 11/8/09: “MCT [Mendocino County Tomorrow, funded by DDR] Director Robin Collier said the organization now plans to partner with Ukiah officials to help fill vacancies in the city’s downtown, and has a particular interest in working with the Friends of the Palace, a group dedicated to restoring the historic Palace Hotel on State Street… ‘It’s my wish to see DDR keep going.'”

Sorry, Robin. Your organization cannot simultaneously work to destroy our downtown, as you did heading up the Yes On A Campaign for DDR, and also “partner with Ukiah officials” and “work with the Friends of the Palace.”

Your organization, and what it stands for, was thoroughly trounced in the recent election. In my opinion, as long as it is sponsored by DDR,  MCT is a pariah. Our downtown does not need any “help” from an organization that continues to support DDR’s ambitions and methods. What part of “No” don’t you understand?

I, for one, as a downtown merchant, want no further dealings with Mendocino County Tomorrow. Please leave us alone.

Update (thanks Sherry Glavich)

[As of November 10th, this is the top letter MCT presents on their website. I ask you… we want “help” from this crew? Ha! Democracy lives! -Dave]

Dear Supporters of the Mendocino Art Center…


As you are probably aware, the Art Center is in crisis.  There are now new board officers and the following board members have resigned:  Brandt Stickel, Don McCullough, Dale Moyer, Cynthia Crocker Scott, and the wonderful Janis Porter.  The new officers of the BOD are:  Tom Becker, President and Treasurer, Richard Miller, 1st Vice President, Don Paglia, 2nd Vice President, and Leona Walden, Secretary, with Robert Burridge and Terry Lyon as members.

Of the six remaining board members, only one, maybe two, have seen the light and are not in support of the new executive director’s many ill-advised decisions.  This is an important juncture, because after the November 19th Board meeting, they won’t have another public meeting until the end of January. Important issues need resolution NOW!

If you are concerned and want to contact the MAC board of directors, here are their email addresses:

The Executive Director, Karen Ely’s email is:

Suggestion:  Consider ccing the board any emails sent to Ely.  Keeps everyone up to speed.

Let’s unify and save MAC.  We can do it!  Mark your calendars:  The next board meeting is November 19th at 2PM.  Hundreds of community members need to attend and voice their concerns.


Lillian Brown Vogel at Mendocino Book Company Today Saturday 11/7 at 3 pm

Mendocino Book Company

Please join us in welcoming Lillian Brown Vogel to the Mendocino Book Co this Saturday, November 7 at 3 p.m. She will be sharing her life story and her secrets or rather explanation for her long life of a 100 years. Refreshments will be served and we would love to have a great crowd to celebrate this remarkable achievement.

Mendocino Book Co
102 S School Street

Too Big to Fail – Too Big to Exist (video)


More than a year has gone by since Congress passed the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. The Federal Reserve has committed trillions of additional dollars in virtually zero-interest loans and other assistance to large financial institutions resulting in the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world. Today, most of the huge financial institutions still standing have become even bigger — so big that the four largest banks in America (JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup) now issue one out of every two mortgages; two out of three credit cards; and hold $4 out of every $10 in bank deposits in the entire country.

If any of these financial institutions were to get into major trouble again, taxpayers would be on the hook for another massive bailout. We cannot let that happen. That is why I introduced legislation that would give the secretary of the Treasury 90 days to identify every single financial institution and insurance company in this country that is too big to fail and to break them up within one year.

If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist! Break ’em up!

Go to video

The Toilets of Mendocino

Anderson Valley

I was going to title this piece Pay To Poop or The Pooplic Option or something else related to the maddening absurdities of the current healthcare debate and the ongoing economic meltdown, but I didn’t want to offend anyone until they started reading. But seriously, folks, the powers-that-be have announced they are closing the only public restroom in the village of Mendocino! And these same enlightened ones just carted away the handicapped-access plastic latrine at Big River Beach. That’s right. The idyllic village and tourist destination of Mendocino may soon have No Public Potties. Why?

According to Sigmund Freud, the short answer is that Americans are insensitive barbarians. Freud made his one and only visit to America in 1909, and his most lasting impression of our great land came not from Niagara Falls, but from the lack of public restrooms. He said, and I paraphrase, “A society that does not provide public bathrooms for its citizens is essentially cruel and maladjusted and barbaric.”

When I first moved to Mendocino four years ago, I was struck by the brusque, dismissive, and sometimes cruel manner in which merchants would respond to my query, “May I use your bathroom?” I was inevitably directed to the state-funded public facility on Main Street, a stinky concrete bunker maintained by the state park people on whose land (our land) the bunker resides. I would sometimes find a homeless fellow bathing in the toilet stall. Sometimes the floors were so slick with piss, the journey across the cement floor wasn’t worth the risk of a fall. But most times the place was relatively clean and usable, and I was relieved and grateful that such a depository was available to the likes of me.

Why aren’t there two or three public restrooms in a village whose economy is tied to the tourist trade? Good question. In my fourteen hundred days as a resident in Mendocino, I have been asked at least three hundred times by visitors in the vicinity of the post office, some doing that telltale jig as they asked, “Is there a bathroom around here I can use?” And I have dutifully sent them to the distant bunker that our public servants tell us they must close because it costs them twenty-five thousand dollars a year to maintain, and the state is bankrupt, so… Really? Twenty-five grand to hose the bunker out every few days? Well, yes, because the hosing must be done by someone in the union, you see, so the numerous offers by the community to maintain the bunker must be declined because, well, hosing out bunkers is, what, highly technical?


The Oceans Are Coming

Club Orlov

Part I: The Global Mistake

In September 2009 the latest global temperature rise projections released by the Hadley Centre, part of the British Meteorological Office indicated an average rise of 4 degrees Celsius (that’s a balmy 7.2°F) by 2055 given a business as usual scenario. Some places will be a bit more stable, but the places that particularly matter – the ice caps, the methane-rich permafrosts in northern Canada and Siberia, and the Amazon rainforest – will be melting, off-gassing, and burning, respectively. The report offers some detail on what that would feel like:

In a 4°C world, climate change, deforestation and fires spreading from degraded land into pristine forest will conspire to destroy over 83 per cent of the Amazon rainforest by 2100… in a 4°C world there will be a mix of extremely wet monsoon seasons and extremely dry ones, making it hard for farmers to plan what to grow. Worse, the fine aerosol particles released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels could put a complete stop to the monsoon rains in central southern China and northern India… the people most vulnerable to a 4°C rise are also least able to escape it. At 4°C, the poor will struggle to survive, let alone escape.

And what of that lodestone, global sea level? This happens to be a very interesting question, because ocean levels are set to rise dramatically. According to UCLA scientists, the last time carbon dioxide levels were as high as they are today was 15 million years ago. At that time, the sea level was between 20 and 36 metres higher (75 to 120 feet), there was no permanent ice cap in the arctic, and very little ice in Antarctica or Greenland. That is where we are headed. The only remaining question is, How long will it take us to get there?The authors of the Hadley Centre report predict a rise of just 1.4 metres by 2100. The IPCC in their 2007 4th Assessment Report predicted something like half a metre by 2100 based on a combination of the fattening of the oceanic envelope caused by thermal expansion and the increased runoff from glaciers and minor ice sheets. None of this sounds particularly catastrophic just yet, but then it turns out that these predictions are not based on anything particularly relevant: the British Antarctic Survey, in 2008, made it clear that the IPCC had not included the source of nearly 100% of the world’s potential ice melt – the major ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland – simply because they had little idea of how the ice caps would behave in a heating world:

More at ClubOrlov

See also Anthropoclastic Climate Change

Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam


There is a line between public relations and propaganda – or there should be. And there is a difference between using your skills, in good faith, to help rescue a battered reputation and using them to twist the truth – to sow confusion and doubt on an issue that is critical to human survival.

And it is infuriating – as a public relations professional – to watch my colleagues use their skills, their training and their considerable intellect to poison the international debate on climate change.

That’s what is happening today, and I think it’s a disgrace. On one hand, you have the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – as well as the science academies of every developed nation in the world – confirming that:

  • climate change is real;
  • it is caused by human activity; and
  • it is threatening the planet in ways we can only begin to imagine.

On the other hand, you have an ongoing public debate – not about how to respond, but about whether we should bother, about whether climate change is even a scientific certainty. While those who stand in denial of climate change have failed in the last 15 years to produce a single, peer-reviewed scientific journal article that challenges the theory and evidence of human-induced climate change, mainstream media was, until very recently, covering the story (in more than half the cases, according to the academic researchers Boykoff and Boykoff) by quoting one scientist talking about the risks and one purported expert saying that climate change was not happening – or might actually be a good thing.

Few PR offences have been so obvious, so successful and so despicable as this attack on the science of climate change. It has been a triumph of disinformation – one of the boldest and most extensive PR campaigns in history, primarily financed by the energy industry and executed by some of the best PR talent in the world. As a public relations practitioner, it is a marvel – and a deep humiliation – and I want to see it stop.

Here’s how it works: Public relations is not a process of telling people what to think; people are too smart for that, and North Americans are way too stubborn. Tell a bunch of North Americans what they are supposed to think and you’re likely to wind up the only person at the party enjoying your can of New Coke.

More at author’s

Climate Change Deniers Are Not Skeptics – They’re Suckers

The Guardian/UK

My fiercest opponents on global warming tend to be in their 60s and 70s. This offers a fascinating, if chilling, insight into human psychology

There is no point in denying it: we’re losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease. It exists in a sphere that cannot be reached by evidence or reasoned argument; any attempt to draw attention to scientific findings is greeted with furious invective. This sphere is expanding with astonishing speed.

A survey last month by the Pew Research Centre suggests that the proportion of Americans who believe there is solid evidence that the world has been warming over the last few decades has fallen from 71% to 57% in just 18 months. Another survey, conducted in January by Rasmussen Reports, suggests that, due to a sharp rise since 2006, US voters who believe global warming has natural causes (44%) outnumber those who believe it is the result of human action (41%).

A study by the website Desmogblog shows that the number of internet pages proposing that man-made global warming is a hoax or a lie more than doubled last year. The Science Museum’s Prove it! exhibition asks online readers to endorse or reject a statement that they’ve seen the evidence and want governments to take action. As of yesterday afternoon, 1,006 people had endorsed it and 6,110 had rejected it. On, books championing climate change denial are currently ranked at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 in the global warming category. Never mind that they’ve been torn to shreds by scientists and reviewers, they are beating the scientific books by miles. What is going on?

It certainly doesn’t reflect the state of the science, which has hardened dramatically over the past two years. If you don’t believe me, open any recent edition of Science or Nature or any peer-reviewed journal specialising in atmospheric or environmental science. Go on, try it. The debate about global warming that’s raging on the internet and in the rightwing press does not reflect any such debate in the scientific journals.

An American scientist I know suggests that these books and websites cater to a new literary market: people with room-temperature IQs. He didn’t say whether he meant fahrenheit or centigrade. But this can’t be the whole story. Plenty of intelligent people have also declared themselves sceptics.

More at Common Dreams via The Guardian

See also The Global Climate Change Lobby

Nowhere Man


He’s a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody…



to be of use
Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

No On A Victory!


Final Results
62% No – 38% Yes


Measure H. Measure A. Millions of dollars turned away.

Dead Dino Rest In Perpetuity.


Handpicked – The Apple Farm in Anderson Valley



From the New York Times

Northern California breeds food pioneers: M. F. K. Fisher, Alice Waters, Alfred Peet, for starters. But to some, a pioneering spirit means finding the next frontier. Take Sally and Don Schmitt and their family. First they put the agricultural backwater of Yountville on the culinary map with their restaurant, the French Laundry. Then they left town and spun around farm-to-table in Philo.

Napa Valley might seem like the stuff of “Falcon Crest,” but it’s really farm country. It was much more so in the early ’70s, when Sally Schmitt’s cafe had the area’s only espresso machine and she cooked meals for the gatherings of Napa’s 13 vintners. The kitchen that was built for her mail-order chutney business was soon used to host theme dinners, with menus inspired by the Time-Life cooking series. After the couple took over a former French steam laundry, the meals evolved into one of the area’s first set-menu restaurants — a financially iffy move in a place where farmers loved their red-sauce Italian restaurants. On its opening night in 1978, the French Laundry served pasta with clam sauce, blanquette de veau, rice, asparagus, salad, cheese and rhubarb mousse for $12.50.

By the mid-’80s, the French Laundry had become a destination restaurant — and Napa a destination. But the family was eager to find the next fringe. They began fantasizing about life in the Anderson Valley, a hard-to-reach area in Mendocino County with its own dialect and an economy that runs partly on the barter system. A real estate agent showed Don and Sally a run-down apple farm in Philo that reminded them of “the old Napa.”

“So they called us and asked us if we wanted to be apple farmers,” recalls Karen, one of the Schmitts’ five children. “We said yes! with no hesitation, knowing nothing about it.” The Philo Apple Farm was born.

More at New York Times

Final Letter, and a Last Desperate Move From DDR To Screw Our County

Final Letter to the Editor UDJ

[Of all the great letters from our community urging our No on A vote, this one from Laurel is outstanding! -DS]


This election about whether we should host a large shopping mall has me thinking about change; the huge changes I’ve seen here in this valley over the last half a century and more. Every so often, a pinnacle decision is made that then sets the tone for the future rollout of dozens and dozens of other changes that then ripple out in the community changing life for generations to come.

And what strikes me as important about the mall vote is that we may have enough hindsight now to know that if we say yes to the mall (even if they don’t build it) life here will be different. We know that instead of simply accepting change with a shrug from the sidelines that we can be actively shaping the very changes that allow for the healthiest, happiest, most bountiful life here. And yes, sometimes that takes patience.

When I do a whirlwind rewind of my life growing up here, I recognize some of the staggering changes I have seen have been great for this small town. However other changes have not always been in alignment with promoting our very best qualities as humans and as a collective community. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

In 1947, my parents bought an 1,800-acre cattle ranch in Potter Valley for $30,000 on Pine Avenue. Only three deeds or so before, the land had been the home of Pomo people for thousands of years. Can we imagine no fences and no pavement anywhere? When I was little, my mother drove us without seat belts to Ukiah on a road that went through where Lake Mendocino is now. There was an outdoor roller skating rink with a huge sound system and on hot summer nights, parents would sit in their cars and watch their kids skate under the stars as they listened to Elvis, The Four Seasons and The Supremes. The Pear Tree Shopping Center was a real field of pears, the drive-in movie was in a field off of Dora Street and I pretty much knew everyone in town. There was an award winning marching band led by Roland Nielson that marched down State Street and a thriving performing arts program at the high school theater directed by Les Johnson who directed fully staged musicals of the times to packed houses.

My parents didn’t have a credit card but then they didn’t buy a lot of stuff. In the fall, we went to McNabs, The Palace Dress Shop or Irene’s, Tots to Teens to buy one new outfit and a coat for school and sometimes we bought a 45 at Hayes Music. Most parents’ quality time with their children in Potter was doing chores, going for walks, swimming in creeks, fishing, shadow tag, 4-H, family meals, square dances at the grange, looking up at the sky full of stars but not shopping.

The Devolution of Basketball

Anderson Valley

John Wooden, the legendary coach of the UCLA basketball team just turned ninety-nine. Wooden coached the UCLA team from 1948 to 1975 and won ten National Championships in a span of 12 years, including 7 in a row from 1967 to 1973, a feat so unimaginable today it seems more myth than fact. As a college player, Wooden was a three-time consensus All-American, the first ever, and spent several years playing in the early professional leagues while simultaneously coaching high school teams. During one 46-game stretch as a pro he made 134 consecutive free throws. During World War II, he enlisted in the Navy and rose to the rank of lieutenant. He never made more than $35,000 a year as the UCLA coach, and never asked for a raise.

Wooden said: “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team,” and “What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.”

In an interview with him on the day before his 99th birthday, he was lucid and wry, and made a fervent wish that “they” wouldn’t do anything special for his birthday. “If I make it to a hundred, well, okay.”

Among Wooden’s many famous protégé’s was Lew Alcindor who became Kareem Abdul Jabbar. We often hear superlatives connected to the superstars of today, but none of them single-handedly changed the game of basketball as Alcindor did. Few remember that when Alcindor began his college career at UCLA, freshmen were not permitted to play on varsity teams. Alcindor’s freshman squad played the UCLA varsity squad, the number one-ranked team in America, and beat them 75-60. Alcindor scored 51 points, many of his baskets dunks.

As a result of this overwhelming display of his dominance, and before Alcindor could join the varsity squad as a sophomore, the NCAA banned the dunk in college basketball, a ban that was lifted three years later when Alcindor graduated and turned pro. That’s right. They imposed a national ban to contain one specific player. But even without the dunk, Alcindor was so dominant (and seven-foot two inches tall) that for the first time in the history of basketball, referees allowed defenders to constantly foul another player (Alcindor) to keep him from scoring.  more

Derrick Jensen Calls Out Richard Dawkins et al.

From CounterPunch

First, if the scientific materialist instrumentalist perspective is right and every other culture is wrong, the universe is a gigantic clockwork – a machine: a very predictable and therefore controllable machine. Power in this case, then, is like meaning in that there is no inherent power in the world (or out of it)—just as no power inheres in a toaster or automobile until you put it to use—and the only power that exists is that which you project onto and over others (or that others project onto and over you). Power exists only in how you use raw materials – the more raw materials you use more effectively than anyone else, the more power to you. And science is a potent tool for that. That’s the point of science.

This means, of course, that might then makes right, or rather, right, too, is like meaning and doesn’t inhere anyway—if nonhumans are not in any real sense beings and are here for us to use (and not here for their own sakes, with lives as meaningful to them as yours is to you or mine is to me) then using (or destroying) them raises no significant moral questions, any more than whether you or I do or don’t use or destroy any other tool—which means right is what you decide it is, or more accurately, it’s irrelevant, right is whatever you want it to be, which means it’s really nothing at all. But this malleable notion of right means that you can fairly easily talk yourself into feeling good about exploiting the shit out of everyone and everything else. If all of this sounds sociopathological, that’s because it is.

Western philosophy and scientific philosophy is sociopathological, it finds logic through the power of command. It makes us all insane. Richard Dawkins wrote, “Science boosts its claim to truth by its spectacular ability to make matter and energy jump through hoops on command, and to predict what will happen and when.” Do you see the fundamental flaw in logic here? I’m guessing that if we lived in a culture that wasn’t sociopathological we would all see through this in a heartbeat. Let’s ask a simple question: How does science boost its claim to truth? Here is Dawkins’s (and the culture’s) answer: by making matter and energy jump through hoops on command, and by predicting what will happen and when. Do you see the problem yet?…

The fact that they, too, must pay this price of suffering and death as a cost of participating in the joyous web of experience and relationship that is the ongoing and eternally creative process of living, somehow seems to them an affront. To which I have a two-word response: grow up…

See complete interview here