Spoon Guitar: A beautiful thing to behold




Mendo Farmers Markets Opening Day This Saturday, May 1st 2010

Fairport, New York


Farmers’ Market Fans,

This Saturday is Opening Day for the new farmers’ market season.  The Saturday market will start opening at 8:30.  (The Ukiah Tuesday market will also open this week and runs from 3-6pm.)

At the Ukiah Saturday Market we will celebrate with free Jumperz for the kids (Jumperz will hopefully be a regular attraction at the market this season, but it is only free this Saturday).  The Fish Peddler reports that they will have some local fresh sablefish, snapper, pertale sole, halibut and some frozen salmon.  But, get there early as they have been selling out. They hope to start bringing fresh salmon from Oregon as early as the second week of May … but that is hopeful.  I just hear from the Potter Valley Garden Club that they will be joining us with their annual benefit sale day. Add that to Spiral Gardens, Lovin’ Blooms and Blue Sky Nursery, all starter plant specialists, and should have a huge selection of starts for you – in addition to all of the usual produce and other treats.  With the new season we will have a heap of new activity including UC Master Gardner instruction on the 3rd Saturday of the month.  2nd Saturdays will feature presentations with Q&A by Kermit Carter of Flowers by the Sea, starting with how to grow tomatoes in and around Ukiah.

Tomorrow’s Ukiah Daily Journal will include my final Market Message column. It is pasted below in case you want to preview it…

One Last Market Message

Deal with it


To The Editors:

It is unfortunate at a time when we are all struggling to find solutions to our common problems, that we get the kind of haranguing rants by John Hendricks (Utopia it ain’t, etc. UDJ), who has apparently taken it upon himself to be the local voice of conservatism, decrying the so-called evils of “socialism”. Such divisive screeds are a disservice to our community, our democracy, and true conservatism. Rather, we need calm, reasonable, and firm voices such as, on a national level, Thom Hartmann, Wendell Berry, and John Ikerd.

We have always had a mixed economy of both capitalism and socialism, as has the European industrial nations. America and England, especially beginning with Reagan and Thatcher, has leaned to the capitalist side… Europe to the socialist side. Finding the right mix for the right times has always been the democratic struggle among industrialized nations. And socialism has always been, and will always be, a part of that mix. Deal with it.

Unfortunately, American-style economics has been converted by neo-conservative ideology into a highly-destructive form of capitalism: oligarchic monopoly corporatism. We’ve swung way too far to the right, and it is now our job as democratic citizens and political representatives to repair the damage and get us back to a more fair economy.

As for me, I hope we swing way too far to the socialist side and recover our humanity, our social safety net, and a conserving way of life in the process. We may never reach our personal utopias, but for sure, the future will reward survival of the cooperative.
See also Sanctimonious Deficit Hawks Target Social Safety Net

The Betrayal of Capitalism

Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO – USA

“The idea that the markets are always right was mad.” This was the reaction of French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to the meltdown in global financial markets. He blamed the current financial crisis on a betrayal of the “spirit of capitalism.” He argued that capitalist economies should never have been allowed to function without strict government oversight and regulation. He was right. It remains to be seen whether capitalism can survive the betrayal.

During its early stages of development, economics was called political economy. Classical economists such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, and Karl Marx were clearly as concerned as much about philosophy and politics as what we today call economics. They had clear ideas concerning whether economic choices were good or bad for nations and right or wrong for humanity, though obviously not always agreeing.

Over time, however, academic economists sought to distance themselves from the social and ethical consequences of growing industrialization by retreating to scientific empiricism. They began relying on the observable and quantifiable choices of consumers and producers. They accepted the preferences revealed by those choices as inherently right and good, or at least left such matters to the philosophers, sociologists, and political scientists. Philosophy and politics had no place in the new economics, other than dealing with “market failures,” which they thought to be few. The “spirit of capitalism” had been betrayed long before the financial meltdown of 2008.

Economic systems have acquired their names – capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism… – from their sources of dominant economic power or authority. Under socialism, workers – those who make up the vast majority of society – are the dominant source of economic power. Communism focuses the socialist power of workers on their local communities.

Mendo Slaughterhouse: The Community Comments

From Ukiah Daily Journal

[Reader comments on UDJ slaughterhouse article — no longer available — gathered into paragraphs for readability. A very few repetitious ones eliminated. The photo above is from a photo documentary of how sheep are humanely led to slaughter and processed down on the farm, in Romania, as has been done for thousands of years all over the world. Small-scale, on-the-farm, meat processing with mobile units, outside our population centers will be encouraged. The horror, filth, and unhealthiness of centralized slaughter in our Ukiah Valley will be resisted. Let’s hear it for the NIMBYs! -DS]

[Wendell Berry: There’s  a lot of scorn now toward people who say, “Not in my backyard,” but the not-in-my-backyard sentiment is one of the most valuable that we have. If enough people said, “Not in my backyard,” these bad innovations wouldn’t be in anybody’s backyard. It’s your own backyard you’re required to protect because in doing so you’re defending everybody’s backyard. It is altogether healthy and salutary.]

Traveler didn’t read the story. to quote: “Concerns about a dirty, smelly, offensive operation are addressed in the concepts used in New Zealand where plants are “clean enough to provide tours to the public.”
Study writers need to demonstrate — not just claim!– that a small meat plant does not have to be a smelly nuisance. How about posting some video from New Zealand? How about talking to neighbors of Redwood Meat Co. on Myrtle St. in Eureka? In this thread, http://humboldt-herald.blogspot.com/2007/06/h… neighbors say they don’t notice odors.
Our Mendocino County grass-fed beef is delicious, and our cattle lead lives outdoors eating grass like cattle should. Let’s work together to find a location that works, to get our good beef to urban customers who want it, and who can pay for it, and to give good jobs to those who need it here.

Swedish True Crime Author: Henning Mankell

From THE GUARDIAN (2003)

[If you’ve read the Stieg Larsson books, and are casting around for a similar author, this is the guy. -DS]

Henning Mankell was raised by his father, a judge, in a flat above a courtroom, and has had an interest in legal systems since childhood. He worked as a merchant seaman and a stagehand before turning to fiction. Now, as the author of an acclaimed series of detective novels, he divides his time between his native Sweden and Mozambique, where he runs a theatre.

Twelve years ago, when Henning Mankell published the first of his Inspector Wallander novels, he could not have imagined how successful they would be. In his native Sweden the series was to triumph spectacularly and he has sold more than 20 million books worldwide; Wallander outsells Harry Potter in Germany and is top of the book charts in Brazil. Ruth Rendell, who is half Swedish, has read all nine in the original. She admires their edgy, convincing police work and social concerns. “There’s a belief that crime fiction should be about little old ladies solving murders in country villages,” she says. “But Mankell is modern, and he makes you reflect on society.” Questions of responsibility and morality – of justice and democracy – are explicitly raised, which is unusual in detective fiction. “I work in an old tradition that goes back to the ancient Greeks,” Mankell says. “You hold a mirror to crime to see what’s happening in society. I could never write a crime story just for the sake of it, because I always want to talk about certain things in society.” He says the best crime story he has ever read is Macbeth – “a terrible allegory about the corrupting tendency of power that could equally be about President Nixon”.

Herman Daly: Money and the Steady State Economy

The Daly News

That which seems to be wealth may in verity be only the gilded index of far-reaching ruin. ~ John Ruskin

The larger system is the biosphere. The economy is geared for growth… whereas the parent system doesn’t grow. It remains the same size. So as the economy grows… it encroaches upon the biosphere, and this is the fundamental cost. ~Herman Daly

Historically money has evolved through three phases: (1) commodity money (e.g. gold); (2) token money (certificates tied to gold); and (3) fiat money (certificates not tied to gold).

1. Gold has a real cost of mining and value as a commodity in addition to its exchange value as money. Gold’s money value and commodity value tend to equality. If gold as commodity is worth more than gold as money then coins are melted into bullion and sold as commodity until the commodity price falls to equality with the monetary value again. The money supply is thus determined by geology and mining technology, not by government policy or the lending and borrowing by private banks. This keeps irresponsible politicians’ and bankers’ hands off the money supply, but at the cost of a lot of real resources and environmental destruction necessary to mine gold, and of tying the money supply not to economic conditions, but to extraneous facts of geology and mining technology. Historically the gold standard also had the advantage of providing an international money. Trade deficits were settled by paying gold; surpluses by receiving gold. But since gold was also national money, the money supply in the deficit country went down, and in the surplus country went up. Consequently the price level and employment declined in the deficit country (stimulating exports and discouraging imports) and rose in the surplus country (discouraging exports and stimulating imports), tending to restore balanced trade. Trade imbalances were self-correcting, and if we remember that gold, the balancing item, was itself a commodity, we might even say imbalances were nonexistent.

Jimmy Stewart is dead: Break up the banks

The Automatic Earth

It promises to be an interesting week, the one we’re entering. 44 House Democrats have signed a petition for criminal investigations against Goldman Sachs. Goldman’s executives (including Fabrice Tourre?!) will be heard on Tuesday by Carl Levin and his Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Levin released tons of internal Goldman emails over the weekend, which at the very least appear to contradict former statements by the firm that it did not profit from the housing and financial collapse.

It’s not hard to predict that Blankfein c.s. will be insulted, furious and indignant. These are people for whom $10 million is NOT a lot of money. And however you think about that, it is still a sharp contrast with the millions of American citizens who’ve come to rely on foodstamps and emergency extended unemployment checks, to a large extent because of the financial crisis. For them, $10 million is an enormous amount of money, so large they can’t even fathom it.

I think the undoing of Goldman will be that its execs, just like those at Morgan Stanley, or GE, or GM, have failed to understand that their own personal wealth can only last as long as the “lower classes” have at least a decent life. A chance to feed their kids and send them to a proper school, to get proper medical treatment for their families if and when required, and, when they age, to draw sufficient retirement funds not to suffer from hunger and cold.

The Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons of the planet have no idea who these people are, or what they think, what they’re going through, many hundreds waiting in line for an entire day for a handful of low-paid jobs. See, if you make $20,000 a year, and many wish they’d make that much, you have to worth for 500 years to get to that $10 million. Lloyd Blankfein made over $400 million in the past decade.

Take Action! Sign Up Now For Local Farm CSA Weekly Veggie Baskets

Live Power Community Farm

I have been caring for and milking cows for over 30 years now. In addition to pigs and chickens, they are my favorite animal, I adore them. Routine, rhythm, and consistency are very important to cows. They want to eat and get milked at the same time each day and they have their spot in the barn where they stand when they are eating. If another cow should take that spot by mistake, they will get very worried. The maximum milk production comes from regularity for them. Change is hard for them, they will adapt, but it takes a little bit of time. So for humans, we have to learn to adapt to change. Being a Taurus myself, to even think about changing our sorting system was incredibly challenging and a bit scary!

So I want to thank you all for considering this change to our delivery system after 17 years! And thank you for all the wonderful responses, suggestions, and offers of help! I believe we have come up with a plan for the moment that should take care of everyone’s needs and interests. And if it does not, we will adjust where we need to so that it will take care of everyone.

I plan to arrive at Martin and Debra’s home at 1101 West Clay St at 5 pm on Tuesdays with one of our apprentices to help with the sorting. I will stay until 6:30 or 7 till all is done.

There will be a list of the vegetables and amounts posted on the tables as well as a list of all members to check in.

You will have various options:

  1. You can arrive anytime from 5 pm to 6 pm to sort your own basket