Mendocino County

There are two ways to live your life:

One is as though nothing is a miracle;

The other is as if everything is.

I believe in the latter.

— Albert Einstein

Wondrous tales about the Australian Aborigines’ Dreamtime are often related. While I can provide no names or dates, I’ve been assured the following true. A certain anthropologist specialized in Aborigine culture. Some time ago, he went on a long walkabout with an Aborigine guide. Several years later, he heard unbelievable stories about an Aborigine tracker. When the anthropologist later met the man, he asked whether the tracker could follow the walkabout track he had earlier followed. The tracker said that he could and in fact did with great exactness. The amazed anthropologist asked how this was possible. It was easy, the tracker explained, he had simply walked beside the two men as they made their original traverse.

Australian Zoltan Torey “replaced the entire roof guttering of [his] multi-gabled home single-handed”. What alarmed his neighbors was that he did so in the middle of a dark night and he was and is blind. As he describes in his “Out of Darkness”, in 1951 when he was 21, he loosening the plug in a vat of acid at the chemical factory where he worked. In a moment, a flood of acid engulfed his face and he saw his last sparkle of light. Rather than lose memory of his sight, he determined to maintain a vivid imagination of the world about and constantly reinforce it with his remaining senses. Since, he understood that the imagination can run away with itself, Torey took pains to check the accuracy of his images by every means available. “I learned,” he writes, “to hold the image in a tentative way, conferring credibility and status on it only when some information would tip the balance in its favor.” Torey’s successes extended far beyond what sight would have provided. He became able “to imagine, to visualize, for example, the inside of a differential gearbox in action as if from inside its casing.”

The Big Banks want you back. Yeah, see you later Alligator…

From The New Rules Project

Those who wonder whether public anger at big banks and the Move Your Money sentiment sweeping the country is substantial enough to impact these giants need only look at the banks’ own marketing over the last few weeks to see the proof.

In a spate of new advertisements and PR maneuvers, the nation’s largest banks are working hard to win us back. They are, in effect, standing on our doorstep, flowers in hand, trying to convince us they’ve changed.

They’re using words like “local” and “community,” because they know quite well that there’s a rival for our affections. A recent Zogby poll found that nearly one in ten Americans had moved at least some of their business to small banks or credit unions.

One jilted lover, Citibank, has launched a blog devoted to showcasing the “new Citi.” The site, which Citibank is promoting through newspaper and magazine ads, features a video statement by CEO Vikram Pandit, who offers a few vaguely apologetic statements before detailing how Citi is a changed bank.

We’ve given up boozing and gambling, Citibank seems to be saying as Pandit assures us that the new Citi has embraced “a culture of responsible finance.”

In his opening post, Pandit describes this as a “new chapter” and invites us to participate in a conversation. “We promise we’re listening,” he writes.

So far, many of the user comments, which are moderated, appear to come from Citibank investors, but a few disgruntled customers have managed to get through. “What Cit has done to ‘help’ me in the last year: interest rate increase to 29 percent!” writes Peter. “I have never been late with a payment… [You have] a total lack of caring toward your customer base.”

Switching to Grass-Fed Beef


[Just another way to keep us healthier and the cattle we eat healthier. Note that the proposed Mendocino feed lot/slaughter would be fattening cattle before slaughter as well as far as I know. -RP]

What’s the nutritional difference between beef from animals raised on grass compared with animals fattened in feedlots?

New research from California State University in Chico breaks it down, reviewing three decades of research comparing the nutritional profiles of grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

Over all, grass-fed beef comes out ahead, according to the report in the latest Nutrition Journal. Beef from grass-fed animals has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health. Grass-fed beef also has lower levels of dietary cholesterol and offers more vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants. The study found that meat from animals raised entirely on grass also had about twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, isomers, which may have cancer fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes and other health problems.

While the analysis is favorable to grass-fed beef, it’s not clear whether the nutritional differences in the two types of meat have any meaningful impact on human health. For instance, the levels of healthful omega-3s are still far lower than those found in fatty fish like salmon. And as the study authors note, consumers of grain-fed beef can increase their levels of healthful CLAs by eating slightly fattier cuts.

Grass-fed beef has a distinctly different and “grassy” flavor compared with feed-lot beef and also costs more. A recent comparison in The Village Voice cooked up one-pound grass-fed and grain-fed steaks. The grass-fed meat tasted better, according to the article, but at $26 a pound, also cost about three times more.

More at NYT
See also Boosting Health With Local Food at NYT→

…and Grass-Fed Basics at EatWild→

Again: Slaughter On The Farm With Mobile Units!


[As we have been advocating for several years, mobile units are the best alternative for local meat. We do not want a regional slaughterhouse that processes hundreds of animals a day to supply distant markets. That is a no-go. Rather, keep it small, decentralized, on the farms, and local. Compost the waste on the farms. Here is some history, and here is the answer for our local ranchers. Follow the links. Also, see Scott Cratty’s comments below. -DS]

As supporters of sustainable food production, many of us know that finding an alternative to the industrial meat supply chain is difficult but by no means impossible.  For the typical sustainable meat buyer, when one thinks of local meat, he most likely pictures a ranch, and then a steak or pork chop.  Unless he is willing to do the work of slaughtering and processing the animal himself, his access to a local abattoir is as difficult to find as local beer without the brewery. This is the marketplace reality that many small-scale ranchers face today.

As the daughter of a former butcher, I recently asked myself how we got ourselves to large-scale meat processing and what our alternatives are. Giant feedlots that truck thousands of cattle to large-scale processing facilities have not always been the favored manner of putting steaks on plates in the U.S. Rapid consolidation in the U.S. meatpacking industry, starting in the late 1970s, greatly impacted the way meat began to be produced, packaged, sold and consumed in the U.S. Earlier, in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, there were many independently owned and operated meatpacking plants that catered to local customers within a few hundred miles of their facilities.

My parents operated one such plant just outside of Eugene, OR from 1980-86. They slaughtered about 100 head of sheep and cattle per week (primarily animals raised on our ranch) and sold the meat to restaurants and hotels in Oregon and Washington. 

The World of Community Supported Agriculture

Keynote for Urgenci Kobe Conference 2010, “Community Supported Foods and Farming”
February 22, 2010

All the way around the world in countries as diverse as the United States, Japan, France, China or Mali, people who farm and people who eat are forming communities around locally grown food. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Teikei, AMAP, Reciproco, ASC – the names may be different but the essence is the same. Active citizens are making a commitment to local farms to share the risks and the bounty of ecological farming. Elizabeth Henderson at NOFA NY 2010A century of “development” has broken the connection between people and the land where their food is grown and in many countries, north and south, a few decades of free trade have driven family-scale farms to the point of desperation. A long series of food scandals – illnesses from food-borne pathogens, milk and other products contaminated with GMOs and chemical pollutants – have led to a crisis of confidence in imported foods from industrial-scale farms. CSA offers a return to wholeness, health and economic viability.

Human history abounds in examples of specific groups of non-farmers being connected with specific farms—the medieval manor, the Soviet system of linking a farm with a factory, or the steady attachment of particular customers to the stand of a particular farm at a farmers’ market. In Cuba today, all institutions are obliged to be self-sufficient in food, so companies and schools have farms or garden plots. But none of these is like the form of organization we refer to as CSA.

The modern CSA originated in Japan. In 1971, Teruo Ichiraku (1906–1994), a philosopher and a leader of agricultural cooperatives, alerted consumers to the dangers of the chemicals used in agriculture and set off the movement for an organic agriculture. Three years later, concerned housewives joined with farmers to form the first Teikei projects. That same year, Yoshinori Kaneko realized that his family farm, besides providing for the subsistence of his own family, could also supply other people… More at Chelsea Green

Round 2


[A teachable moment. -DS]

To the editor:

Having read and studied Mark Albrecht’s and John Hendricks’ “Issues preference test,” in Sunday’s Journal, I’m inclined to give myself a grade of “Conservative, Republican.” But I have a few questions for clarification, just to make sure I’m understanding all the vocab on the test. Here goes!


This is the one I had to work on first. I’ll admit it took me a minute or two. Everybody knows that being “pro-life” is a code-word for being against abortion, but sometimes women die in childbirth when abortions would have saved their lives. So sometimes pro-life means pro-the-opposite. Probably that explains why pro-life folks tend to support the idea that an unnecessary war can be good for the country — provided, of course, that it involves the death of a sufficient number of other people’s children. And, too, usually it’s the people who are pro-life who see no need for health care reform, because they know that if people without health insurance get sick or injured, there’s the comfort that death is always going to be right there ready for them. I put myself down as pro-life.

Rule of Law:

I’m certainly in favor of this one, because people who support the rule of law give thanks on bended knee once a month, as I do, for all the red-blooded American guys and gals out there who love to torture.

Rule-of-law folks like things to be official, and so that’s why they’re so totally behind the big new push to get beating up gay people adopted as an official Olympic sport.

Rule-of-law folks believe that terrorists should not be tried in open court because our criminal justice system is just too namby-pamby weak to handle this type of open-and-shut murder case. They also believe that when the founding fathers wrote in the Constitution that people accused of crimes had the right to a fair trial, they can’t have meant to include everybody.

Ban The Billboards! Go Phil!!!

From The Ukiah Daily Pablum

City Council urges Supes to ban billboards in the Ukiah valley area

The Ukiah City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to call on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to ban new billboards along the Highway 101 corridor that runs through the county and past the city.

Councilman Phil Baldwin called the number of billboards along the portion of the highway that borders the city “embarrassing,” and brought the issue to the council for discussion.

He said there are 27 billboards along Highway 101 between Hopland and Highway 20, compared to fewer than 10 along the 101 in Sonoma County, and only 10 along Interstate 5 through all of Oregon.

Baldwin noted that Ukiah banned billboards 40 years ago, and has only one inside city limits, but travelers passing through the Ukiah Valley on Highway 101 see “several dozen” CBS and Stott billboards.

“And while these huge placards aren’t in the city, out-of-towners and locals associate this shameless blight with Ukiah,” Baldwin wrote in his letter to his fellow councilmembers.

The city wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors in 2000 asking the body to “become more rigorous in its efforts to protect the Highway 101 corridor,” but did not ask for an outright ban on new billboards, according to Baldwin.

Baldwin said the state and courts made it very difficult for local jurisdictions to get rid of existing billboards, but haven’t limited local government’s authority to ban new billboards.


Congratulations to the Ukiah City Council for urging the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to Ban Billboards in the Ukiah Valley Area. In addition, Mendocino County should ban unsightly billboards throughout our county as many are unsightly, rusting, illegal with new width and height increases, and even advertise for making purchases outside of the County.


Common Dreams

Living in these United States, there comes a point at which you throw your hands up in exasperation and despair and ask a fundamental question or two: how much excess profit does corporate America really need? How much bigger do executive salaries and bonuses have to be, how many houses or jets or artworks can be crammed into a life?

After all, as billionaire movie director Steven Spielberg is reported to have said, when all is said and done, “How much better can lunch get?”

But since greed is not self-governing, hardly anyone raking in the dough ever stops to say, “That’s it. Enough’s enough! How do we prevent it from sweeping up everything in its path, including us?”

Look at the health care industry saying to hell with consumers and then hiking premiums — by as much as 39% in the case of Anthem Blue Cross in California. According to congressional investigators, over a two-year period Anthem’s parent company WellPoint spent more than $27 million dollars for executive retreats at luxury resorts. And in 2008, WellPoint paid 39 of its executives more than a million dollars each. Profit before patients.

This week, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the health insurance industry’s lobby, announced they’d be spending more than a million dollars on new television ads justifying their costs.

Speaking at their annual policy meeting in Washington — and without a trace of irony — AHIP’s president and CEO Karen Ignagni declared, “The current debate about rising premiums has demonstrated that, in fact, we have a health care cost crisis in this country. Unfortunately, the path that has been followed is one of vilification rather than problem solving.”

Beg pardon? You’re lamenting a health care cost crisis and raising your premiums? Isn’t that like the guy complaining there’s an obesity epidemic in America while ordering a double Big Mac with extra fries?

An Oscar for America’s Hubris

Thanks to Sean Re

What a shame that the one movie about the Iraq war that has a chance of being viewed by a large worldwide audience should be so disappointing. According to press reports, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally found a movie about the Iraq war they liked because it is “apolitical.” Actually, “The Hurt Locker” is just the opposite; it’s an endorsement of the politically chauvinistic view that the world is a stage upon which Americans get to deal with their demons no matter the consequence for others.

It is imperial hubris turned into an art form in which the Iraqi people appear as numbed bystanders when they are not deranged extras. It is a perverse tribute to the film’s accuracy in portraying the insanity of the U.S. invasion—while ignoring its root causes—that the Iraqis are at no point treated as though they are important.

They never have been, at least in the American view. No Iraqi had anything to do with attacking us on 9/11, and while we are happy to have an excuse to grab their oil and deploy our bloated military arsenal, the people of Iraq are never more than an afterthought. Whatever motivates Iraqi characters in the movie to throw stones or blow themselves up is unimportant, for they are nothing more than props for a uniquely American-centered show. It is we who matter and they who are graced by our presence no matter how screwed up we may be.

Indeed, the only recognition of the humanity of the people being conquered comes in a brief glimpse of a young boy, a porn video seller, the one Iraqi whose existence touches the concern of the film’s reckless soldier hero…

More at TruthDig

Eco-Grain? 100% Natural? Saving The Earth? Better Than Organic? Phony Balony!


I was reading National Geographic this morning and noticed an ad the featured something called Eco Grain. “What in tarnation is Eco Grain?” the headline said.

Well, according to the ad, it is grown on special farms in Idaho “thanks to a more sustainable farming approach.”

Sounds good to me, I thought, I might get some of this Earthgrain bread. But, wait, maybe I should check this out a little more carefully.

What an ad, tailored for those eco libs that read National Geographic: “The Eco Grain Movement is starting small, but with your help won’t stay that way. ..You’re probably going the store anyway, so why not do a good deed while you’re at it? By simply buying our…. “ “So do the earth a favor…”

I decided to look up this eco grain phrase and found this, by Barry Shlachter:

Sara Lee’s EarthGrains brand has launched an “environmentally friendly” line of bread with a marketing blitz that describes itself as a “plot to save the earth, one field at a time.”

Who Broke America’s Job Machine?

Thanks to Thom Hartmann Program

Why creeping consolidation is crushing American livelihoods.

[As mentioned in the video discussion – see below – the original Tea Party was NOT an anti-tax rebellion; it was an anti-monopoly rebellion. To create jobs, we  must first down-scale, de-centralize,  de-monopolize and de-privatize, because that is where all our jobs have been killed. Jimmy Carter broke up AT&T. Obama needs to enforce the law that Ronald Reagan and those after him stopped enforcing, and breakup these monsters that gobble up more and more companies and common wealth as they fire workers and deprive small business entrepreneurs of capital and markets. Start with the hideous Big Box slave emporiums and Food  monopolists so locals have some breathing room to innovate. -DS]

If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.

Many people blame the great real estate bubble of recent years. The idea here is that once a bubble pops it can destroy more real-world business activity—and jobs—than it creates as it expands. There is some truth to this. But it doesn’t explain why, even when the real estate bubble was at its most inflated, so few jobs were created compared to the tech-stock bubble of the late ’90s.

Pasta and Beans


Have you tried this Italian staple?

Whether pasta e fagioli — literally, pasta and beans — is an Italian soup with pasta in it or a pasta sauced with beans is a matter of proportion and preference. I like it as a soup thick with beans and pasta.
Featured recipes

* Pasta e Fagioli alla Fiorentina
* Pasta e Fagioli alla Veneta
* Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)

The notion of two starches combining to become an Italian staple at first seems difficult to fathom. But try pasta e fagioli. This dish of modest ingredients is capable of providing great pleasure and satisfaction.

Creamy beans give way to pasta’s toothsome give. Seasonings of aromatic rosemary, tangy tomato, garlic, and sometimes pancetta or prosciutto infuse the mellow beans. As they cook, the beans exude a silky broth that absorbs garnishes of green olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

When I want to make soup into a one-dish dinner, I turn to pasta e fagioli. Its ingredients are easy to find or make substitutions for. Its bean-and-grain combo provides a vegetarian protein. Making it can be as easy as simmering cannellini beans with garlic, tomato, and rosemary, and then cooking a short, hollow pasta such as tubetti or macaroni in the beans.

When I want vegetables, too, I serve bowlfuls with a small pile of garlicky sautéed greens on top. Kale, dandelions, or broccoli rabe are good choices. I have also added cubes of the last of the winter squash to the simmering beans, with rich results.

The only deal-breaker to making a decent pasta e fagioli is that you have to begin with dried beans. There is no way around this…

More at Culinate

Why Eating Meat-Shaped Vegetarian Food Is Like Having Sex with a Blow-up Doll


We’re living in a time when you can eat fake meat that tastes so real you’d swear an animal had to die for it.

It’s not meat, but it looks like meat.

It’s not meat, but it tastes like meat.

It’s not meat, but it feels like meat.

It’s not meat, but the more it looks and tastes and feels like meat, the more eating it is like having sex with rubber blow-up dolls: Both are the simulacra of primal adventures for which we are born and built. For very different reasons, in each case we choose the version without flesh and blood.

One skill that sets apart our species from all others is counterfeiture: We excel at fashioning imitations, simulations, analogues. Whatever we don’t or can’t — or tell ourselves that we don’t or can’t — possess, we make a fake to replicate. We are so good at this as to have changed the very meaning of reality. So just as sex with blow-up dolls — and, to be all-inclusive, latex rods — is sex, and sounds and feels and looks (just squint) like sex, fake meat is real. It’s real fake meat.

When we quit eating animals, why keep eating what looks/tastes/feels like animals? What is it that we still yearn for from meat, about meat, in fake meat? Lifetimes of barbecues and baseball games and beach parties and holidays have programmed our nostrils to flare at the sweet-salt smell of seared fat before our consciences kick into gear and holler No. When bacon curls, our salivary glands perk up unbidden, just like being publicly aroused in middle school. When we choose fakes, what battles rage inside our bodies and our heads?

More at AlterNet

Locavores – Eating Local

Organic To Be

You hear a lot about eating locally these days. It’s one of the three pillars of eating correctly: 1) eat organic; 2) eat local; 3) eat in season. And all three pillars are important. But let’s take a closer look at “eat locally.” Let’s see what that really means, and why that’s such a good idea. And why, in the final analysis, it may be the most important pillar of them all.

Some aspects are obvious. When we eat locally produced food—grown within our local “foodshed,” as the current argot has it—we shorten the supply line from farm to table. Less gasoline or diesel fuel is used to transport the food from where it’s grown to where it’s bought and consumed. That means less air pollutants from fossil fuels and less carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere on behalf of moving the food to market. So, eating locally produced organic food lessens the amount of greenhouse gases used to produce and transport that food.

Eating locally means supporting local farmers. This means keeping local family farmers on their land. Wendell Berry has written eloquently about the social benefits of strong, local farm economies. They translate into strong local communities. And they are the soil from which real democracy grows. Instead of being cogs in a massive production machine, family farmers are their own bosses. They are people who can voice their honest opinions without fear of losing their jobs. They can tell the truth, and the truth is contagious. It also sets us free.

Family farmers are also locally-focused, practical ecologists and environmentalists. Their environmentalism is not based on ideology, but on an intimate knowledge of the land under their care. They know where the pheasants and the quail lay their eggs, and can protect those spots…

More at our companion blog

The Fate of Books After the Age of Print

Thanks to Sean Re

Is the printed book on its way to extinction? Will the e-book win the day? Will writers be able to make a living? Will publishers? Will booksellers? Will there be any readers? Is there life after the Age of Print? The new order is fast upon us, the ground shifts beneath our feet, and as the old sage put it, all that is solid melts into air. What will the future bring?

The only thing we can know for certain, of course, is the past—and even the past is notoriously elusive and discloses its truths in fragments whose meanings provide fodder for endless speculation and debate. The present is a vexing blur, its many parts moving too swiftly to be described with consensual accuracy. As for its significance, or what it portends, only the future can render a credible verdict. The future is, famously, an undiscovered—and unknowable—country.

That has not stopped the avatars of the New Information Age. For these ubiquitous boosters, the future is radiant. For them, the means of communication provided by digital devices and ever-enhanced software will democratize publishing, empower those authors whose writings have been marginalized by or, worse, shut out of mainstream publishing, and unleash a new era of book commerce. E-books, they insist, will save an industry whose traditional methods of publishing have been challenged by the new technological forces now sweeping the globe. Robert Darnton, one of our more sober and learned historians of reading and the book, believes that the implications for the ecology of writing and reading, for publishing and bookselling—indeed, for literacy itself—are profound.

More at TruthDig

Book Report: Silent Seas


The world’s seafood crisis

When Taras Grescoe began the journey behind Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, he was looking to do more than write a thought-provoking, timely report; he wanted to change his own behavior. In the introduction, the former food writer recounts that before doing the research for the book, he had “heard all the talk about sustainable seafood, but was still not sure how to walk the walk.” And so walk Grescoe did. And fly, and boat, around the globe on a nine-month adventure through the modern seafood industry.

The resulting book is structured a bit like a vacation, skipping from one iconic seafood-based meal to the next, beginning with monkfish in New York and stopping for everything from bouillabaisse to shark-fin soup. But from its opening pages, Bottomfeeder makes it clear that even the most enjoyable meals come at a price. Grescoe manages to use each dish as a cultural and environmental lens through which the changing nature of today’s oceans comes into crisp, if terrifying, focus…

Grescoe has a genuine affection for the fishermen, chefs, street peddlers, and fish farmers he meets along the way…

More at Culinate

A Meat Processor With Nothing To Hide

Heavy Table
Thanks to Ron Epstein

[…] Lorentz Meats has been doing things a little bit differently from the mainstream ever since the Lorentz family started the business in Cannon Falls in 1967. During decades when the industry’s focus was on building ever-bigger plants to handle the mass production of inexpensive meat, Lorentz stayed small, partnering with local farmers who might only bring one animal a month to slaughter. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the Lorentz brothers, who had taken over the family business from their parents a few years before, built a bigger, more modern plant. With the new building, they were able to meet requirements for USDA approval, which in addition to their organic certification made them an attractive partner for farms in the booming market for natural and organic meat. Now they process about 10,000 animals a year with a staff of 60 employees.

But as they’ve grown – and they’re still tiny relative to the Cargills and Smithfields of the world – they’ve stayed unique. The existence of the viewing deck on which Mike and I stand is ample evidence of that. The Lorentz brothers built it so that their customers could verify with their own eyes how Lorentz goes about its business. What’s more, they make it available to anyone who wants to drive out to Cannon Falls and see for themselves what the slaughter and processing of meat entails. In an industry whose main marketing strategy is to stay out of the public eye, this sort of transparency is unheard of. It won kudos from none other than Michael Pollan, who gave Lorentz an honorable mention for what he calls their “glass abattoir” in the foodie bible The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Partly as a result of this exposure, Lorentz gets hundreds of visits a year from people curious about just how their food makes it to their table.[…]

More at Heavy Table

Worldwide Popularity Grows for Homeopathy Alternative Medicine


Numerous surveys over the past 150 plus years have confirmed that people who seek homeopathic treatment tend to be considerably more educated than those who don’t (1). What is not as well known is the fact that homeopathic medicine is the leading “alternative” treatment used by physicians in Europe…and growing numbers of the citizenry.

And despite homeopathy’s impressive popularity in Europe, it is actually even more popular in India where over 100 million people depend solely on this form of medical care (2). Further, according to an A.C. Neilsen survey in India, 62 percent of current homeopathy users have never tried conventional medicines and 82 percent of homeopathy users would not switch to conventional treatments (3).

Skeptics of homeopathy insist that homeopathic medicines do not work, but have difficulty explaining how so many people use and rely upon this system of medicine to treat themselves for so many acute and chronic diseases; and a very large number of these people do not have to use anything else. A previous article that I wrote at this site presented a strong case for the scientific and historical evidence for homeopathy. Further, other articles here have provided additional scientific evidence for the use of homeopathic medicines in respiratory allergies and in pediatrics. Although a small and vocal group of skeptics of homeopathy continue to deny its viability, homeopathy’s growing popularity throughout the world amongst physicians, other health professionals, and educated populations continue to prove that skeptics are really simply medical fundamentalists.

Looks Like The New Agrarian Age Has Arrived

The Contrary Farmer

I define “new agrarian age” as a society in which rural and urban lifestyles become indistinguishable. Roof top vegetable gardens in downtown Manhattan for instance. A more typical example is a landscape where urban agriculture and rural manufacturing exist side by side in harmony.  I saw a photo recently of horses plowing a large garden plot with the Cleveland, Ohio, city skyline in the background. Some years ago I visited Paws Inc., where Jim Davis, the creator of the comic strip “Garfield” has his business headquartered. The location in rural Indiana (where Davis grew up), is so far out in the country that there was no suitable sewage system to handle the waste from his three big office buildings and fairly large number of workers. He had engineers design and build a greenhouse where plants, fish, and other aquatic animals flourished by feeding on the nutrients in the wastewater while purifying it before its return to natural waterways. Aquaculture and urban culture surely joined hands in that greenhouse. Silviculture too because Davis was also raising tree seedlings in the greenhouse to reforest wornout farm land in the area.

Last week I attended the annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), spending the day signing and selling books and gabbing with people. Those of us who remember the early days of OEFFA were stunned and jubilant at the overflow crowd. more→So many people wanted to come to the conference in fact, that about 200 had to be turned away because of space limitations, Carol Goland, OEFFA’s executive director told me regretfully. I looked around the main exhibit hall (a high school gymnasium) crammed with booths where all sorts of organic and natural farm supplies were being sold.

Drawing a Line, Making a Stand

Orion Magazine

ANOTHER 120 SPECIES went extinct today; they were my kin. I am not going to sit back and wait for every last piece of this living world to be dismembered. I’m going to fight like hell for those kin who remain—and I want everyone who cares to join me. Many are. But many are not. Some of those who are not are those who, for whatever reason, really don’t care. I worry about them. But I worry more about those who do care but have chosen not to fight. A fairly large subset of those who care but have chosen not to fight assert that lifestyle choice is the only possible response to the murder of the planet. They all carry the same essential message—and often use precisely the same words: Resistance isn’t possible. Resistance never works.

Meanwhile, another 120 species went extinct today. They were my kin.

There are understandable personal reasons for wanting to believe in the invincibility of an oppressive system. If you can convince yourself the system is invincible, there’s no reason to undertake the often arduous, sometimes dangerous, always necessary work of organizing, preparing to dismantle, and then actually dismantling this (or any) oppressive system. If you can convince yourself the system is invincible, you can, with fully salved conscience, make yourself and your own as comfortable as you can within the confines of the oppressive system while allowing this oppressive system to continue.

Stop The Garbage Grab Now!


Every time they privatize a piece of our common wealth, we lose a piece of our democracy.

They privatized and grabbed the voting machines, and stole a national election. They privatized and grabbed our prisons, and now lobby for longer sentences. They privatized and grabbed our wars, and now they decide who gets killed. They privatized and grabbed our sick care, and now they only insure the healthy. They privatized and grabbed the oceans, and we’re running out of fish. They privatized and grabbed our manufacturing, and now we have no jobs.

They are privatizing and grabbing our water systems, and tripling the rates. They want our schools. They want our social security. They want our internet. They want our air. They want all of the universe and space.

Locally, they privatized and grabbed our forests, and now we are out of trees and jobs. And now they are coming for our garbage. Does greed have boundaries? No it does not. We citizens and our representatives have to set the boundaries and stop them at the fence line.

The shortcomings of privatization are well documented. It replaces living-wage employment with lower-paying jobs that offer few or no benefits and no union representation. Privatization rarely results in significant savings to taxpayers. More often, costs go up because the privateers are forced to choose between quality services and higher profits, leaving us citizens with the worst of all worlds… poorer services and higher costs.

The Disease Mongering Fraud


The Disease Mongering Engine, which I invented a couple of years ago and posted on NaturalNews, was initially created as a joke to demonstrate the ridiculousness of the fictitious diseases that are constantly created by the psychiatric industry. This hilarious online disease generator (…) allows you to instantly create your own fictitious diseases and disorders such as:

• Repetitive Dysmorphic Nose Picking Disorder With Itching (RDNPDWI)
• Oppositional Disorganized Speaking Disorder With Indigestion (ODSDWI)
• Chronic Bipolar Anticipation Dysfunction With Smelly Feet (CBADWSF)

… and so on.

Here’s the bizarre part: All of a sudden, the new psychiatric diagnostic manual (DSM-V) appears to have adopted as medical fact many of the disorders that were created by the Disease Mongering Engine!

This new manual, for example, now says that spending a lot of time thinking about sex is a disorder. (That immediately paints every teenage boy as “diseased.”)

Another new disease is “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” (ODD), which includes anyone who disagrees with authority. All those who are skeptical about the safety of vaccines, for example, are about to be diagnosed with ODD.

Now, people who are antisocial aren’t merely antisocial. They’re suffering from “Antisocial Personality Disorder” and require pharmacological treatment.

Dancing In The Dark On Low Gap Road

Redwood Valley

An Open Letter To “The Supes”:

The Board of Supervisors (affectionately known as THE SUPES) called a special session on Monday Feb 22nd with only 24 hours notice put surreptitiously on the internet on a sleepy Sunday morning. The topic was whether they wanted a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to run the county, as they have, quite unsuccessfully, these past 6 years, or whether it was time to go back to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) arrangement that had been the ‘modus operandi’ for many decades. They also needed to decide how to fill the costly shoes of CEO Tom Mitchell, who had summarily resigned a week earlier following a performance review by The Supes and who immediately turned off his cell phone and left town on a fast horse. While the public has shown interest in the CEO/CAO question and a citizens ad hoc committee was being organized, The Supes were in a big rush to get a new CEO in place to hack viciously at the overrun budget and relieve them of this burden.

Almost no one knew of the Special Session and only a few loyal business interests attended. They received essentially no public comment beyond support from the Farm Bureau, the Employers’ Council, the Builders’ Exchange, and a member of the Ukiah City Council. At the insistence of David Colfax they went through the motions of a debate although they all seemed to know how the deck had been stacked.

A Very Simple Proposal

The Jaundiced Eye

The Groundswell following Dave Smith’s generous “Draft Scaramella for Supervisor” suggestion has been, ahem, less than underwhelming. Not one letter of support has been received for publication. And I think four, maybe five, people have indicated various degrees of lukewarm support to me personally. None of those five mentioned anything about my basic “platform” that the County needs better management systems before it can move forward on anything else.

After first finding my management and defense industry experience to be a major negative, Mr. Brandon Wolfe-Hunnicutt, one of the few people to even respond on Dave Smith’s interesting Ukiah Blog website, trying to at least be fair minded about my background, replied:

Mr. Scaramella,

Despite my instinctive reaction to Mr. Smith’s presentation of your credentials in the defense industry, I have nonetheless been looking through some of your pieces in Counterpunch and agree with much of what you have to say, and can recognize that like C. Johnson, and Chuck Spinney, among others, you obviously learned some important things from working inside the “national security” complex. I’m sure that you know where quite a few bodies are buried.

The problem of managerial efficiency may, as you suggest, be the biggest issue facing the county today. I won’t pretend to have your managerial expertise, or your intricate knowledge of the budget process. But as a student of history and politics, I’ll say that I think there’s more to government than mere technical efficiency…

More at

Judi Bari: Looking For Truth, Finding Myths


The latest effort to canonize Judi Bari is unfolding on Facebook, the social network that reaches millions of possible new converts on the web.

“In Memory of Judi Bari” has only 251 “friends” at this point, but who’s counting among die-hard supporters of the environmental activist.

The site is the creation of Steve Ongerth, a Bay Area writer who says he’s in the final stages of preparing a Bari book for publication.

“I have decided on the following title: Judi Bari and Earth First! – IWW Local # 1. The Struggle to United Labor and Environmentalism in the Redwood Empire.”

Whew! That ought to grab the last standing book readers by their throats.

To be fair Ongerth declares that the real purpose of the Facebook site is to mark the 20th anniversary of the unsolved Bari car bombing in May, 1990 just as a Redwood Summer of logging protests were unfolding.

On that point, I agree the anniversary is worthy of note.

But rather than a date to glorify or demonize Bari further, perhaps it could become an occasion for the truth to finally come out.

Who bombed Judi Bari?

It’s mind numbing to think someone has been living with the secret for two decades while moving among us. Who would have imagined that 20 years after a pipe bomb ripped through Bari’s Subaru on an Oakland side street we still don’t know what really happened.

More at TheAVA

Crop Mobsters in North Carolina Donate Farm Labor

From NYT

[…]The Crop Mob, a monthly word-of-mouth (and -Web) event in which landless farmers and the agricurious descend on a farm for an afternoon, has taken its traveling work party to 15 small, sustainable farms. Together, volunteers have contributed more than 2,000 person-hours, doing tasks like mulching, building greenhouses and pulling rocks out of fields.

“The more tedious the work we have, the better,” Jones said, smiling. “Because part of Crop Mob is about community and camaraderie, you find there’s nothing like picking rocks out of fields to bring people together.”… The Mob was formed during a meeting about issues facing young farmers, during which an intern declared that better relationships are built working side by side than by sitting around a table. So one day, 19 people went to Piedmont Biofarm and harvested, sorted and boxed 1,600 pounds of sweet potatoes in two and a half hours. A year later, the Crop Mob e-mail list has nearly 400 subscribers, and the farm fests now draw 40 to 50 volunteers…

One of the biggest issues facing sustainable agriculture is that it’s “way, way, way more labor-intensive than industrial agriculture,” Jones said. “It’s not sustainable physically, and it’s not sustainable for people personally: they’re working all the time and don’t have an opportunity to have a social life. So I think Crop Mob brings that celebration to the work, so that you get that sense of community that people are looking for, and you get a lot of work done. And we have a lot of fun.”[…]

More at NYT

Throwing Off the Shackles of Debt: 12 Tactics

(A joint essay by Guy R. McPherson, Keith Farnish, Dave Pollard, and Sharon Astyk.)

Indebtedness is a form of servitude, sometimes involuntary, and, in extreme cases, can become a form of endless and harrowing imprisonment. Consider, for example, the current usurious rates of interest (compared to what savers earn on their savings in the same banks that charge that interest). Some religions consider the charging of interest as immoral, even criminal. According to all four gospels in the Christian bible, even the normally passive, peaceful prophet of Christianity got so worked up about usury in a temple he started acting like John Ferguson on the sidelines of a hockey game.

Purchases by consumers (this awful word is used here only because that’s what we citizens have become – involuntarily) drive the world’s industrial economy. And purchases by consumers depend on the confidence of those consumers, so that consumer confidence underlies commercial success. If a potential consumer has no confidence in her ability to purchase an item, then she won’t. If enough potential consumers lose confidence in their ability to purchase and pay for any particular item, the sales of that item will plummet, causing the manufacturer and sellers of that item to fail.

Considering the current economy, which will no doubt crash again within the next year or two, we can help create a situation that will both change behaviour for the better and prevent people from getting into financial trouble…

Keep reading at Dave Pollard’s Blog