Scott Cratty: Ukiah Farmers Market This Saturday 7/17/10

Ithaca, New York


Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  This Saturday we should set yet a new high water mark for the number of local small farms and ranches at the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market.

We have had several new farms at the market over the last couple of weeks (e.g., Black Dog and Amber Phamily).  Joining them and our usual array of great vendors this weekend for the first time will be Ellery Clark bringing a range of Ukiah-grown produce and Triple Creek from Laytonville, a second blueberry vendor.  Jack and Mimi Booth of Cinnamon Bear Farm will be returning for the first time this season and they expect to have our first Mendocino grown tomatoes … but you will have to be at the market early to get them.

Don’t forget that we have so much going on, most of our ranches and our fresh seafood have moved into a new section in the parking lot at School and Clay.

Speaking of meat, Lovers Lane Farm wanted me to let you all know that they will be having a “pork blowout” for the next 2 weeks at all the farmer’s markets. “In order to make room for a new batch of 100% Berkshire (Kurobuta) hogs, we will offer $5 off all roasts. This includes smoked ham roasts, bone-in picnic roasts, & boneless Boston butt roasts. Also smoked hocks will be buy one get one free. We still have a good supply of smoked jowls, sliced and whole. These make an excellent substitute for bacon, in fact you may not be able to tell the difference.” More about another Lovers’ Lane offer below.

Joanne Horn of Afterglow Naturals will be at the market for the 1st (and possibly only) time this month.

We will again have BEANS, an NCO-sponsored educational project.  This weekend the BEANS crew will be providing a range of activity for kids, including coloring, hula hooping, tin can stilts, nutrition information, recipes and more.  Plus, they will be sharing corn and bean fiesta salad. As usual, the market will feature a story time reading for kids at 10:30am in the park.  Then there is the jump house.

For you adults, we will have UC Master Gardeners to answer all of your questions.  This week they will feature information on weed & pest control. The good folks of the Ukiah Valley Medical Center will provide diabetes testing and information.

Hey, Catfood Commission: 86% of Americans Would Not Reduce Social Security


In a poll just released today, Time provides results that show Americans staunchly opposed to cuts in Social Security, Medicare or healthcare, but in favor of cutting spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. With Alan Simpson and the Catfood Commission so determined to cut Social Security and Medicare, we can now state that they are going directly against over 80% of citizens in this effort.

The question posed was “If Congress and the President had to reduce spending, which of these areas would you reduce spending?”  The areas included were Social Security, Medicare, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, education, unemployment compensation for people out of work and looking for jobs, healthcare, Medicaid (which provides health care for low income families)  and defense spending other than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Here are the results for these questions:

Category Would reduce, % Would not reduce, %
Social Security 12 86
Medicare 16 82
Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq 55 41
Education 17 82
Unemployment compensation for people out of work and looking for jobs 34 63
Healthcare 28 68
Medicaid, which provides health care for low income families 20 77
Defense spending other than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 46 50

The full poll can be read here.

‘The Most Dangerous Man In America’ Coming To Philo 7/18

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers will be shown at the Anderson Valley Grange in Philo, on Sunday evening, July 18th at 6:30 p.m. This special screening is sponsored by Greenwood Vineyards, the Grange, and Solstice Productions. Refreshments available. Tickets are $5.00.

The Most Dangerous Man in America, a 2010 Academy Award nominee, has won best documentary awards throughout the U.S. and has screened in Australia, Berlin, and Warsaw. One of the creators, Judith Ehrlich, will be present at the July 18th Grange event.

Book Review: Last Words


The first instance of capital punishment on record in America was the shooting in colonial Virginia of George Kendall, accused of plotting to betray the British to the Spanish. If he had any parting quips, they were not written down. We have to wait for the execution of two Quakers, Marmaduke Stevenson and William Robinson, fifty years later, on October 27, 1659, for an account of the last words of the condemned. As one would expect, the two men, who were convicted and hung for disobeying banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, reaffirmed their faith in God and reminded the spectators to mind the light that shone within them. Since then, as Last Words of the Executed, an enthralling book by Robert K. Elder, amply documents, there have been over sixteen thousand executions in this country and a vast record of final pronouncements taken from prison records, eyewitness statements, newspaper accounts, period diaries and written statements. Some of these are credibly attributable to the executed while others are of questionable origin or indisputably redacted.

Why this enormous interest in the final thoughts of men and women who were often guilty of committing horrific crimes?… more here

Robert K. Elder’s Last Words of the Executed, with a foreword by the late Studs Terkel, has just been published by the University of Chicago Press.

Thom Hartmann: The Food Bubble – How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It


Thom Hartmann talked to author Frederick Kaufman about his cover story in this month’s edition of Harper’s Magazine The food bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it.

It’s subscription only but you can read more about Kaufman and his work at his blog

Thom shared a little of the article during his interview with Kaufman.

Hartmann: “The history of food took an ominous turn in 1991, at a time when no one was paying much attention. That was the year Goldman Sachs decided our daily bread might make an excellent investment.”

And then towards the end of the story, just a couple of sentences here. “Bankers had taken control of the world’s food, money chased money and a billion people went hungry.” Remember the food riots of a couple of years ago around the world?

“The world wide price of food had risen by 80% between 2005 and 2008 and unlike other food catastrophes in the last half century or so,

A Killer Chart

The Automatic Earth

Over the weekend, I wrote about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and how they form the core of the biggest fraud and crime ever perpetrated upon the American people. And even though that was already the umptieth time I have addressed this particular topic, I want to return to it again.

After all, we’re not talking about Jesse James or Billy the Kid or Charles Ponzi or Kenny-Boy Enron or any of that petty kiddy wannabe criminal stuff, this is the number one way Americans have ever been fleeced right across the entire nation. Maybe that status is best recognized by the fact that people to this day keep on begging for more of the same. Either that or another little fact: the government is at the center of the scheme.

In the July 11 post at TAE, there was an article by Michael David White, a Chicago area real estate broker who a few years ago started calling on his clients to NOT buy a home. I’ve featured many of White’s articles since; I like that kind of attitude. In last week’s piece by White Pending Homes Sales Crash in a Record Fall to a Record Low as Tax Break Expires, though, something was missing. There was a line that said “see the graph below”, but there was no graph. Since I had a hunch which graph he meant. I sent him a mail.

Jobless ‘Recovery’ Requires Us to Rebuild America


The good news is that America’s economy continues to grow. The bad news is that most people’s personal economies continue to shrivel.

The June report on jobs glows with the happy news that America’s unemployment rate has fallen to 9.5 percent – the best we’ve had in a year! “We are headed in the right direction,” trumpeted President Obama.

Great … if true. However, the ballyhooed jobs statistic is a mirage. It looks good only because 650,000 more Americans became so frustrated with their fruitless search for work last month that they quit looking. In StatWorld, such “discouraged” seekers are – abracadabra! – no longer considered unemployed, even though they are. There are now 1.2 million Americans in this statistical purgatory.

That’s not the only shadow on June’s economic glow. Those lucky enough to have jobs, for example, saw America’s average workweek shrink. It’s now down to only 34 hours – which means less income for “full time” working families.

There also was another drop in the average hourly wage. Fewer hours, lower wages. That’s not what most people would call an economy “headed in the right direction.” more here

Recipe ideas for your overflowing CSA box

Poor Man’s Feast


Set aside the greens if they’re tender and in good condition. Braise the radishes, chop up the greens and add them at the last minute. Serve hot, or cold, with rice, or on crusty whole grain toast.

Pickle them (see below), slice them, and put them on a Banh Mi (vegetarian or not).

If they’re French breakfast radishes, dip them in softened sweet butter, sprinkle with a drop of sea salt, and serve them as an amuse. Or a small snack while you’re reading the paper.

Roast them like new potatoes.

Slice them very thinly on a mandoline and serve them on the blackest black bread you can find, spread with some sweet butter and a pinch of salt.


Pickle them and eat them like, well, pickles.

Fermented Food Fans: Meet The Folks From Cultured

Civil Eats

[Available locally at the Co-op. -DS]

Sour foods really appealed to Alex Hozven as she battled brutal pregnancy-induced nausea with her first son.

Nothing unusual there, right? Millions of women crave pickles to combat morning (or all-day) sickness. But Hozven’s obsession with fermented foods didn’t end once her baby was born.

Instead, she set out to master making naturally fermented foods (no vinegar, water, or heat) like sauerkraut, kim chee, and kombucha with a locavore sensibility and seasonal twist –  and built a thriving business that now supports a family of four.

Self-taught Hozven and her husband, Kevin Farley, run Cultured Pickle Shop, a small store in West Berkeley dedicated to preserving pickling traditions from around the globe, though the two profess to a particular fondness for Japanese methods…

more here

Gene Logsdon: Pancakes From Perennial Wheatgrass Grain


I hope I don’t sound too self-important when I announce an historic moment in our kitchen. Carol just made pancakes with flour from a new and startling source. Wes Jackson, the celebrated plant geneticist, author, farmer (and years ago a fairly good football player), has been experimenting for decades now with the bold idea that perennial grains can be developed to take the place of annual grains, thus revolutionizing agriculture by making it unnecessary for so many millions of acres to be cultivated annually. I raise my forkful of wheatgrass pancake and I salute you, Mr. Jackson.

This flour has the trademarked name, Kernza ™ and comes from selected strains of wild intermediate wheatgrass grain, which Jackson and his staff at the Land Institute near Salina, Kansas are crossing with annual wheat varieties to breed a commercially practical perennial grain. The flour makes a light dough and the pancakes taste just a tad sweeter than ordinary wheat flour. It is Jackson’s hope that within ten years, he and his staff can develop Kernza ™ for use in commercially manufactured foods. It is exceptionally high in some nutrients known to be important to human health and deficient in many modern diets: Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, lutein, and betaine. It is particularly high in folate, important for preventing stroke, cancer, heart disease and infertility… More here.

Wendell Berry


A Modern Populist Movement


The lengths to which pundits, analysts, and establishment political leaders have always gone to avoid using dreaded populism in their political strategies for Democrats has always been remarkable to me. From Republicans since Richard Nixon, appeals to a moralist and angry middle class are all politically brilliant, but Democrats, so it is said, should avoid it as a political tactic because it doesn’t work. When Lee Atwater observes that “the swing vote in every Presidential election is populist in nature,” he is a genius. When Democrats start sounding like populists, we are told it just doesn’t work.

From the DLC to the New Democrats to the folks at Third Way to columnists like David Broder and David Brooks to authors and analysts like Matt Bai, the advice is to be careful about seeming too angry and too anti-business. Some argue that a democratic, progressive populism has never worked in American politics, that it was at its highest point under William Jennings Bryan and he was still a loser. Some will deign to admit that FDR showed a populist streak, but then say that no one else with a similar message has won a Presidential election. The more thoughtful of these analysts, such as Bai, point to demographic and economic changes as the reason. Bai believes that “the only potent grass-roots movement to emerge from this moment of dissatisfaction with America’s economic elite exists not in support of the president or his party, but far to the right instead, in the form of the so-called Tea Party rebellions that are injecting new energy into the Republican cause.” He goes on to argue:

Ukiah Husband, Wife Unaware They Are A Comedy Team


With their hilarious put-downs of each other and classic back-and-forth bickering in front of neighbors, local married couple David and Sheila Holt are quietly becoming one of Ukiah’s favorite comedy teams, sources reported Monday.

Though David and Sheila remain unaware of their comedy duo status, friends and family members maintain that the couple’s uproarious act, including their famous “It’s all your fault—this whole stupid mess is your goddamn fault” routine, is more than enough reason to check them out.

“They’re like the perfect odd couple,” said neighbor Michael Pecore, a self-described fan, who has watched the Holts perform countless times from his living room window. “Whether they’re arguing over home mortgage payments, or delivering one of their trademark ‘Jesus Christ, what more do you want from me?’ zingers, David and Sheila never disappoint. I can listen to them all night long from across the street and not get tired of it.”

According to neighborhood sources, David and Sheila are best known for their rapid-fire exchanges, impeccable timing, and ability to play off each other’s insecurities for hours on end. Witnesses claim the duo also excels at a wide variety of comedic styles, from observational musings on why the godforsaken lights are always on in the house, to more slapstick fare, such as the time Sheila threw David’s new rotary saw into the pool.

The Con of All Cons

From CHARLES HUGH SMITH via The Automatic Earth

The con of the decade (Part I) involves the transfer of private debt to the public (the marks), who then pays interest forever to the con artists.

I’ve laid out the Con of the Decade (Part I) in outline form:

1. Enable trillions of dollars in mortgages guaranteed to default by packaging unlimited quantities of them into mortgage-backed securities (MBS), creating umlimited demand for fraudulently originated loans.

2. Sell these MBS as “safe” to credulous investors, institutions, town councils in Norway, etc., i.e. “the bezzle” on a global scale.

3. Make huge “side bets” against these doomed mortgages so when they default then the short-side bets generate billions in profits.

4. Leverage each $1 of actual capital into $100 of high-risk bets.

5. Hide the utterly fraudulent bets offshore

Mendocino County: Stop Local Privatizing Scams

To the Editors

Heads up!
Reference: Food and Water Watch, Gartner Group

Corporate privateers are milking our current economic turmoil for all its worth. They are approaching cash-starved states, counties, cities, and towns with offers of money in exchange for their public services.

Criminal justice services (including the operation and management of prisons and jails), police protection and health care services to mentally disabled citizens are services now being massively provided throughout the country by private vendors. The lure of lucrative contracts and high profits continue to attract private industry to go after water, waste-water treatment, garbage and recycling systems, education, fire control, road maintenance, parks, transportation, etc.

We have frightened our elected officials of even contemplating tax increases because of anti-democratic propaganda that “government is the problem” and private enterprise is more efficient.

It’s all a despicable, greed-driven lie.

Bruce Patterson: Why I quit gambling, part 1

Anderson Valley

An Irishman out the depression era slums of Chicago, my dad was a very hard man. “Hard but fair,” as they said in those days. Born with a steel jaw, an open mind, the gift of gab, a hankering for fun and a powerful sense of propriety, my dad was cool the way Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were cool. Having been straightened out by his military service during WW2 (he pulled six years), my dad made his living negotiating deals, making pitches, teaching others how, accounting and socializing. Since real business was done up close and personal, face-to-face and on a handshake, his biggest deals were usually made over a fine meal and stiff drinks.

A professional “social drinker,” for over 20 years my dad drank upwards of a 5th of bourbon a day and yet only twice did I see him sloppy drunk. Only rarely did I ever hear him thick-tongued. He never raised his voice, either. Like a rattlesnake, he gave fair warning before striking, and he’d rather bust your nose than raise his voice. Then when he retired and decided to quit drinking except for an occasional nip, that’s what he did and on a dime. The same as when he quit smoking. After going through three or four little plastic boxes of Tic Tac candy, nibbling on them like a chipmunk and feeling silly, he gave up the Tic Tacs, too, and never looked back.

If my mind is a rangy dog let out the car on a country road

Privatizing Public Services Imperils Us All

The usual culprits…

Urban Habitat

Over the past few decades, governments at all levels in the United States have been in a perpetual state of deficit. Taxes are way down from their post–World War II levels, and except for a brief period during the tech boom, there is rarely enough money for even basic social services

“It’s been a strategy since the 1970s to ‘starve the beast,’ as Grover Norquist calls it,” says Robert Haaland, an organizer with Service Employees International Union Local 1021.

At the same time, politicians terrified of raising taxes, have been looking for a magic bullet to fix the deficit problem. It goes by many names—privatization, public-private partnerships, competitive outsourcing, creative financing solutions—but the basic idea is to allow the power of competition in an unregulated market to provide the public with the best services at the lowest cost. “To do or to buy is the question that all governments face,” says Ken Jacobs, director of the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center.

We have been buying.
Since 2000, outsourcing of federal dollars has increased 100 percent, to $422 billion in taxpayer funds, according to a September 2007 study

Losing our minds to the web


Author Carr believes that we are trapped, because the internet is programmed to “scatter our attention” in such a way that aggravates the pernicious influences of some types of information-processing. He concedes it is “possible to think deeply while surfing the net,” only to add this is “not the type of thinking the technology rewards.” The net “turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social and intellectual nourishment.” Carr concludes that “with the exception of alphabets and number systems, the net may be the single most powerful mind-altering technology that has ever come into general use.” This leads to an even bleaker vision: “We are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest.” -Ron Epstein

An influential new American book claims that the internet is damaging teenagers’ brains and our ability to think. But the web’s real dangers lurk elsewhere

[…] Enter Nicholas Carr, a technology writer and Silicon Valley’s favourite contrarian, whose book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains (Norton) has just come out in the US

Todd Walton: Ergo Ego

Under The Table
Anderson Valley

One of my favorite stories about my ego takes place on my fortieth birthday, October 17, 1989. I am riding my bicycle down L Street in Sacramento on my way to a meeting, consumed by thoughts of how absurdly fast the years seem to be passing and how I’d better sell a book or a screenplay pronto or my wife will leave me and I’ll end up living in the bushes by the American River. Suddenly, just ahead of me, dozens of people pour out of a big office building onto the sidewalk, and the first thing that pops into my head is, “How did they know it’s my birthday?”

As I ride by the crowd of people, I wave to them and many wave back to me. I smile, and they smile back at me, and I feel marvelous. And so it continues, block after block, the people pouring out of buildings to greet me as I ride by. How wonderful! I can almost hear them singing Happy Birthday, when, in truth, a great earthquake is shaking northern California and collapsing bridges and roadways in San Francisco and Oakland, while my ego is deftly converting the catastrophe into a celebration of me.

Lighting the way to a new economy

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

Congratulations to Michelle Long for putting together a fantastic new BALLE leadership team with a clear plan to carry forward our mission to catalyze, strengthen and connect networks of locally owned independent businesses dedicated to building strong Local Living Economies. Our Conference theme, and my focus this morning, is on the BALLE vision that our mission serves. Listen carefully. This is serious. We seek:

Within a generation, a global system of human-scale, interconnected Local Living Economies that function in harmony with local ecosystems, meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic societies, and foster joyful community life.

You may notice that this is a bit different from the greed-driven, money-centered, unjust, unsustainable, undemocratic, and predatory Wall Street ruled economic system we now have, which is why I’m so proud

Lucy Neely: My most beloved billboard has been defaced


My most beloved billboard lies between Hopland and Ukiah, just South of the Nelson Vineyards, on the East side of 101. Looking out over the highway and a field of grapes, my beloved billboard was a true gem. Unbridled capitalism at it’s finest. My beloved is a McDonalds french fries advertisement.

Generally, billboards disgust me. Advertising gnaws at my soul – trying to convince us that we are not perfect just the way we are and that we need something we don’t. One evening at Al’s Redwood Room in Willits, a man who looked an awful lot like David Bowie summed it up well: “if it can’t sell by word of mouth, it ain’t worth squat.” And billboards offend me most – marring and disrupting landscapes, so behemoth and obnoxious. They distract! I would like to look at trees if zooming about in an automobile, but over and over I find my eyes drawn to billboard after billboard…

This billboard, though. This billboard was different. I could not bring myself to despise this billboard. It was a platonic ideal, the billboard all other billboards aspire to be. It seeped into the viewer’s brain like a subliminal message and washed over them like a tidal wave of sugar water,

Vandana Shiva on Geoengineering: ‘You can’t cheat nature… the sun is not the problem… building resiliance is the human response’

Video Here

AMY GOODMAN: Our guests are Gwynne Dyer, he’s author of Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats and Vandana Shiva joins us, an Indian environmentalist, scientist, philosopher, global justice activist and eco-feminist. A longtime critic of genetically modified crops and the system of corporate driven agriculture and neoliberal globalization that’s privatized natural resources and impoverished farming and indigenous communities across the global south. Well we’re talking about geoengineering. You just came from giving a speech last night at St. John the Divine. What are your thoughts on geoengineering, Vandana Shiva?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, three thoughts. The first is, it is the idea of being able to engineer our lives on this very fragile and complex and interrelated and interconnected planet that’s created the mess we are in. It’s an engineering paradigm that created the fossil fuel age that gave us climate change. And Einstein warned us and said you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them.

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune


Show me a prison, show me a jail
Show me a pris’ner whose face has grown pale

And I’ll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me an alley, show me a train
Show me a hobo who sleeps out in the rain

And I’ll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me the whiskey stains on the floor
Show me a drunk as he stumbles out the door

And I’ll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me a country where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of buildings so tall

And I’ll show you a young land
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I
You or I

Mendocino County’s Growing Hunger Problem: Life Boats & Safety Nets

Anderson Valley Advertiser

Over and over her words stumbled out from pursed lips, “I’m not supposed to be here. This is not the life I had planned it to be!”

In fact, she didn’t seem at all like the ‘type’. Attrac­tive, tall and lean with auburn hair in clean kept braids. Shoes, belt and purse correctly accessorized.

No she was not one’s vision of a ‘typical’ person in need of a meal, standing in the Ukiah Community Food Bank line. Yet upon closer view one could see the lines of a depressed, confused soul in her forward slumping shoulders and dark circled eyes. .

More and more are showing up now” says Dayle Reed, the Manager of the Ukiah Community Center and Food Bank (‘We never turn anyone away’). “Before we would see singles” she continued, “but now we are see­ing whole families coming in for client assistance.” (She refers to her customers as ‘clients’ as not to demean in anyway the person in need of food assistance.)

Henry Miller: Revolutionaries of the Heart

Nothing But The Marvelous

Always we are led back to the heart. It is there that everything is determined. A community must be organized around the heart, otherwise, no matter how rational the theory, how stout the principle, it will fall apart. This is the true theatre of operation: the heart. What happens outside in the world, as they say, is only the echo of the passion play which goes on in the soul of every individual.

Saviors of the World
For me the only true revolutionaries are the inspirers and activators, figures like Jesus, Lao-Tse, Gautama the Buddha, Akhenaton, Ramakrishna, Krishnamurti. The yardstick I employ is life: how men stand in relation to life. Not whether they succeeded in overthrowing a government, a social order, a religious form, a moral code, a system of education, an economic tyranny. Rather, how did they affect life itself. For, what distinguishes the men I have in mind is that they did not impose their authority on man; on the contrary, they sought to destroy authority. Their aim and purpose was to open up life, to make man hungry for life, to exalt life

Move the Money, Starve the Empire

Foreign Policy In Focus

June 26 may have been the last day of the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit, but it might very well be the emergence of a more powerful antiwar movement in this country.

The U.S. Social Forum is a meeting place for progressive social justice organizations to discuss issues, strategies, and ideas for building a social movement in this country. The sessions on the antiwar and anti-militarism track made several linkages: between the domestic economic crisis and the bloated military budget, the expansion of U.S. bases and the displacement of farmers and indigenous peoples from their land and livelihoods, and the rise of militarism and violence against women.

We can’t address the economic crisis blighting neighborhoods throughout the United States without moving money away from war. That’s the only part of the national budget not being cut. Organizers at the USSF united two disparate sectors. One is comprised of grassroots base-building organizations with multicultural constituencies working to secure jobs, education, and services.

Community-Supported Energy (CSE)


[…] There is, however, one major potential problem with all of these renewable energy strategies that is often overlooked by their supporters. While they offer a lot of promise, without strong community support and local ownership, these strategies can simply end up substituting one form of corporate domination for another. This is not much of an improvement, and is at least one reason why some communities oppose large-project proposals. In many cases, community members feel that the project is being imposed upon them by outsiders, and that the local disadvantages outweigh the potential advantages. This may not necessarily be true, but it demonstrates why a direct connection between these projects and the local community is so important. This connection provides the key ingredient that transforms what would otherwise be just another large corporate energy initiative into an engine for local economic development and energy security that directly benefits its owners—the members of the community—rather than a group of absentee investors.

Kamo no Chomei: An Account of My Hut

From Humanistic Texts
Buddhist Monk Kamo no Chomei
Japan (1153-1216)

I inherited the estate of my great-grandmother on the father’s side, and there I lived for a while. But then I left home and came down in the world, and as there were very many reasons why I wished to live unnoticed, I could not remain where I was, so I built a cottage just suited to my wants. It was only a tenth of the size of my former home and contained only a living-room for myself, for I could not build a proper house. It had rough plastered walls and no gate, and the pillars were of bamboo, so it was really nothing more than a cart shed. And as it was not far from the river bed there was some peril from floods as well as anxiety about thieves.

I went on living in this unsympathetic world amid many difficulties for thirty years, and the various rebuffs that I met left me with a poor opinion of this fleeting life. So when I arrived at the age of fifty I abandoned the world and retired. Since I had no wife or child

The Book vs. The Kindle


[…] “Thank you” SFGate readers for voting Green Apple Books as the Best Bookstore in the Bay Area, as announced last week in the Best of the BayList Awards.

Topping this list becomes much sweeter when we realized that over 70,000 votes were tabulated in the Best Bookstore category alone, and that bookstores from all over the Bay were nominated!

Not to mention how wonderful the other bookstores in the Top 5 are; indeed, these are some of my favorites, and each one would have been a well-deserving winner. So congratulations also to Moe’s (#2), Book Passage (#3), Builders Booksource (#4) and Dark Carnival (#5)

O.K. – maybe it is redundant at this point, but a big THANK YOU from all of us at Green Apple – we love this stuff!
See also Kill Your Kindle.

Interview with British Mystery Author Robert Goddard (Video)

Robert Goddard (Wikipedia)

The latest on GM foods

Food Politics

USDA has just released the most recent statistics on use of genetically modified crops in the U.S.

This, of course, does not include sugar beets, which are also in the over 90% range.

How to interpret this? If you eat any processed foods containing corn, soybeans, or beet sugar, you should assume that they have a high probability of containing genetically modified ingredients.

You don’t like this? Choose organics!

You think GM foods should be labeled? Write your congressional representatives!

Todd Walton: The Gravity of Should

Under The Table
Anderson Valley

I dropped out of college thirty-eight years ago at the age of nineteen. 1969. My fear of being drafted and sent to Vietnam was erased overnight by a blessed medical deferment for rheumatoid arthritis. My parents were crushed by my decision to leave school. My father was a doctor, my mother a lawyer. They had expected me to follow in one or the other of their footsteps, or at the very least become a college professor.

I began my career as a writer in the first grade. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up—and people of my parents’ generation were always asking children that question—I would answer, “A writer and a baseball player.” When my spinal condition forced me to abandon baseball in high school and I took up acting, my answer became, “A playwright actor.”

When I dropped out of college and announced my intention to pursue a literary career, my parents reacted as if I’d lost my mind. My mother quickly came to the conclusion I had chosen the wrong college and that my cure lay in starting anew at another university. My father diagnosed my condition as depression to be treated with psychotherapy and anti-depressants. And I soon realized that if I was ever going to find my own way in life, I’d better get out of Dodge.

So I loaded my backpack and hit the road.


1971. September. Dusk. Rain about to fall. I was hiking along the road that traced the border between Vermont and New Hampshire—my destination Canada. I chose this road because I liked what it did on the map, sewing, as it were, the two states together.

I hadn’t spoken to my parents in almost a year. I was planning to call them a few weeks hence from a tavern in Montreal on my twenty-first birthday—drinking my first beer as an official American adult.

The Value of Cash and Local Community Equivalents

The Automatic Earth

Since we at The Automatic Earth generally tell people to hold cash or cash equivalents, it makes sense to expand on that a little, and to point out some of the location-specific risks of doing so. We tell people to hold cash because that is what they will need access to in order to make debt payments and to purchase the essentials of life in a society with little or no remaining credit. The value of cash domestically – in terms of goods and services in your own local area – is what matters most.

Domestic currency value relative to other currencies internationally will be very much a secondary concern for most people, as the ability to exchange one currency for another is not likely to last far into the coming era of capital controls. Currency risk is likely to become very large, and almost everyone will be better off holding whatever passes for cash wherever they happen to be.

As the price of goods and services fall, thanks to the destruction of purchasing power brought about by collapsing money supply, what cash you still have will go a lot further in terms of, say, milk and bread. Capital preserved as liquidity will go a long way. However, there are no no-risk scenarios. Apart from the obvious risks of fire, flood and theft, other risks to holding cash will grow over time. Liquidity can be as hard to hold on to as it sounds.

One particular risk is the reissuing of currency. Russia did this during the economic collapse of the Soviet Union, and made it so difficult for ordinary people to convert old currency into new that much of the middle class lost their life-savings. In Russia trust in relation to banks was not particularly high, hence there was a lot of money under the beds of the nation that the powers-that-be were attempting to flush out. That is not the case in present day industrialized countries, where people generally believe that banks are safe and deposits are publicly guaranteed in any case.

On top of that, few people have savings, having become dependent on access to cheap credit for their rainy-day funds.

James Howard Kunstler: My Tea Party


I don’t want to associate it with the other tea parties that have already formed because I am allergic to much of the idiot ideology they express – especially the bent for merging Christian fundamentalism with governance… One of the few things I agree on with the existing tea parties is that the Republicans and Democrats have made themselves hopeless hostages of political money and bargained away their legitimacy…

My tea party would systematically dismantle Too-Big-To-Fail banks into smaller units subject to real reforms that would prevent any further “socialization” of losses by financial buccaneers. In effect, my party would re-enact the Glass-Steagall laws – and get rid of the 3000-page bundle of prevaricating crap in the current “Fin-Reg” law, which has been constructed with all the guile and mendacity of a collateralized debt obligation. My party would seek the return of banking to its function as a utility, while letting investment freebooters gamble with their own funds without any government back-up. (You’ll see the investment houses get small fast that way.)

My tea party would get the government out of the housing business. The main effect of 70 years of federal intervention for the sake of “affordable” housing has been to drive the price of housing up far beyond the ability of normal people to afford a place to live. And the current policies devised during the bubble crackup crisis have only served to prevent the price of houses from returning to a level where people might be willing to buy them. Of course, the whole process has also encouraged local governments to jack up property taxes to a level that can only be described as intolerable (in the 1776 sense of the word).

My party would undertake a rebuilding of the US passenger railroad system – not a flashy new “high speed” system, which we cannot afford, but the system that is lying out there rusting in the rain waiting to be fixed. This is imperative because we are on the verge of very disruptive problems with our oil supply which are going to put our beloved Happy Motoring matrix out-of-business. We also face the end of mass commercial aviation (even if flying remains an option for the wealthy).

An Urban Home for Bees, Birds and Butterflies


Seattle resident Sarah Bergmann is working diligently on behalf of native bees, birds, and butterflies to create pockets of pollinator-friendly habitat throughout our urban environment. Sarah’s recently launched project, the Pollinator Pathway, will be transforming city-owned planting strips into pollinator-friendly gardens with the hopes of igniting meaningful dialogue about the declining population of pollinators in our region.

These recent declines in population are particularly alarming given that approximately one-third of the human food supply depends on insect pollinations. Research has identified a number of contributing factors to this problem including pesticide misuse, urban/suburban development, and habitat loss. It is at once apparent that the relative size of pollinators belies how integral they are to a balanced eco-system.

The goal of the Pollinator Pathway project is to counteract some of these harmful developments by re-appropriating underutilized spaces for pollinator habitat. Effectively, resource intensive, grassy planting strips will be replaced with pollinator-friendly, pesticide free gardens, lush with native plants and trees. The result will be the creation of a series of nectar corridors for pollinators migrating through our urban landscape.

The project has garnered a broad base of community support with funding coming from Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Funds, technical assistance being provided by the City’s Department of Transportation, and helping hands being offered by Nova Alternative High School students. The first demonstration garden will be planted along Columbia Street between 12th & 29th Aves, utilizing a template designed by Seattle landscape architect Sara Lawrence. This initial pathway will serve as an educational resource about pollinators and spark interest in the prospective role of urban spaces in larger ecosystems…

More here.

No Funny Money: Local Currency Sustains Local Economies

Thanks to Dan Hamburg

American currency has been made of everything from copper to cotton. But it never felt more like ordinary, everyday paper than one day in 1991, when Catherine Martinez, a samosa salesman at the Ithaca, N.Y., farmer’s market, began accepting a form of community currency called “hours.”

Their creator, community organizer Paul Glover, had received a grant to study the Ithaca economy and concluded that, since there wasn’t enough money to fix the system, Ithaca should print its own money. His premise was simple: the local economy was failing. People were making money locally and spending it in malls and corporate chain stores. But if you put a town’s name on it and backed it with people instead of banks, you could ensure the money would never leave, just re-circulate, only comforting the wallets of those lucky enough to share the Ithaca area code.

The plan worked and Ithaca’s unemployment rate has remained a full two percentage points better than the national average for the last 20 years. Since his move to Philadelphia five years ago, Glover has become something of a sage for Pennsylvania communities in need of an economic boost, giving lectures on the local economy and explaining the magic of local currency. Now, the concept that started as a crayon sketch while coloring with his girlfriend’s nieces, has three PA communities looking to cash in, putting a new face on old money.

“The basic ingredient for a local currency is that a dollar system is not distributing the money effectively in the community,” says Glover. “What are dollars backed by? They have been backed by gold, silver, rusting industry and a $12 trillion national debt that will never be repaid. In local communities, we regard dollars as funny money… More here.