Neil Davis: On your bike, you’re not a pedestrian.

Ukiah Valley Trail Group
Mendo 2 Mile Challenge

Can’t we all just get along? Well sure, in theory…. it just hasn’t happened yet. Put two people in a shared space, and you’re likely to see some level of conflict. Add more people, divide into unequal subgroups, add a dash of power differential, and bingo – you have cars bikes and pedestrians driving one another crazy.

Felix Salmon recently wrote an interesting piece entitled “A unified theory of New York Biking” in which he describes his frustration with bicyclists’ not following the rules of the road (he is, by the way, a cyclist). Here is a summation of his perspective that he calls a “bicycle manifesto”:

“Bikes can and should behave much more like cars than pedestrians. They should ride on the road, not the sidewalk. They should stop at lights, and pedestrians should be able to trust them to do so. They should use lights at night. And — of course, duh — they should ride in the right direction on one-way streets. None of this is a question of being polite; it’s the law. But in stark contrast to motorists, nearly all of whom follow nearly all the rules,

Scott Cratty: Ukiah Farmers Market & Car Show This Saturday 9/18/10


Friends of the Farmers Market,

Your local farmers need you more than ever this Saturday at the Ukiah Farmers’ Market.

It is once again time for the Fabulous Flashback Car Show — a fine, long-standing Ukiah event, for which the farmers’ market relocates one block onto Clay Street (between School and Oak). Unfortunately, over the last few years Car Show weekend has resulted in a very low turn out for the farmers’ market. That is sad because, much as they might like to just take the week off and as earnestly as they might request,

Chris Hedges: Do Not Pity the Democrats


There are no longer any major institutions in American society, including the press, the educational system, the financial sector, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent, design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power of the corporate state. These institutions, often mouthing liberal values, abet and perpetuate mounting inequality. They operate increasingly in secrecy. They ignore suffering or sacrifice human lives for profit. They control and manipulate all levers of power and mass communication. They have muzzled the voices and concerns of citizens. They use entertainment, celebrity gossip and emotionally laden public-relations lies to seduce us into believing in a Disneyworld fantasy of democracy.

The menace we face does not come from the insane wing of the Republican Party…

Article here

Barry Vogel Sues Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, the County of Mendocino, and Cities of Willits and Ukiah for Civil Rights Violations

Press Release
September 16, 2010

Contact Barry Vogel, Esq.
707 462 6541

A claim alleging multiple violations civil rights protected by the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution was filed against the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, the County of Mendocino and the Cities of Willits and Ukiah on September 16, 201

Krissa Arnold-Klein, a 21-year-old Willits, California woman claims her right to be free from unreasonable searches was violated when she was violently thrown to the floor of her bedroom in her Willits home on March 18, 2010 by Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force Agent Peter Hoyle.  The surprise and violence caused Klein great stress from which she continues to suffer, in addition to the infliction of harm to her wrist where she had previous surgeries.

Hoyle was in the process of executing a search warrant at her home, which according to his report attached to the claim; he and Agent Raymond Hendry were at the wrong residence. Hoyle is assigned to the Task Force by the Ukiah Police Department and Deputy Sheriff Hendry is assigned to the Task Force by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

The claim, prepared by Klein’s attorneys Barry Vogel and Brina Latkin, states that the search warrant Hendry and Hoyle

My Best Organic Blue Cheese Potato Salad


Some conventional potato farmers say they won’t eat the potatoes they grow for market because of the toxic sprays they use. So only leave the skins on potatoes you eat if they are grown organically. After experimenting some over the summer, this is my best yet potato salad. Love them organic carbs.

1. Boil organic red potatoes with skin on. Remove from heat and place potatoes in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle organic golden balsamic vinegar over potatoes, stir, sprinkle, stir.
3. Let cool in a bowl, or if in a hurry, put in the freezer or refrigerator for a bit.
4. Steam some organic cobs of corn. Slice off the corn kernals; chop or dice the potatoes and any of the following ingredients needing it. Add to the potatoes, corn, crumbled organic blue cheese, crumbled free-range bacon, hard-boiled organic eggs, organic red onions, organic italian parsley, salt, pepper,  then toss. Stir in organic mayo.
5. Taste, adjust ingredients, serve, and get stuffed.

“High-Fructose Corn Syrup”? Never Heard of It.


If you can’t beat ‘em…confuse them. That seems to be the new motto of our good friends at the Corn Refiners Association, the lobbying group and manufacturing association that represents makers of high-fructose corn syrup. The AP is reporting that the group has petitioned the FDA for permission to identify high-fructose corn syrup on food packaging as–wait for it–”corn sugar.”

After all, HFCS sales are at a 20-year low. More and more, science is indicating that the body metabolizes HFCS differently from table sugar in a way that increases the risk of diabetes, liver disease, and obesity. (Yes, we consume too many sweeteners of all kinds, but as I wrote in this recent post, there is evidence that this industrially extracted combination of fructose and glucose has more health consequences than the ones that humans have been consuming for far longer.) As the Corn Refiners president observed sadly, HFCS of late “has been highly disparaged and highly misunderstood.”

Grace Hudson Museum: California Indian Foods — Past, Present, and Future, Sunday 9/19/10 2-4 pm


Ever wondered what it would be like if you knew where every bite on your plate came from, because you had gathered, ground, fished, or dug it up yourself? California Indians did just that for millennia, and they continue to use native foods to this day, in spite of obstacles posed by development, climate change, and sudden oak death.

Naturalist, ethnographer and food expert Beverly Ortiz, Ph.D. will present a free lecture and slide show on the history, joys, and challenges of modern California Indian food preparation this Sunday, September 19, from 2-4 p.m. at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah. This event is offered in conjunction with an ongoing exhibit at the Museum entitled “Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast,” on display through November 4, 2010.

Book Review: Neo-Feudalism and the Invisible Fist

From Front Porch Republic

“The sleekest revolutions,” notes Barry Lynn, “are won not at the barricades but in the dictionary.” To control the terms of a debate is to control the outcome. This is certainly true of the term “free market,” a term which has come to mean almost its opposite, and hence a system which is manifestly unfree. The claim that our markets are not free is a serious one, and should only be made on serious evidence, just the kind of evidence that Barry Lynn provides in Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction.

The surest sign that a market is free is that it is competitive; there should be a rich variety of products provided by a vast number of firms, a situation which affords entrepreneurs many opportunities to enter the market and workers many places to sell their labor. And when we waltz into our local Wal Mart, that is what we seem to see. Alas, it is an illusion of competition rather than the reality. For example, if you want eyeglasses, you can go to Pearl Vision, or Lenscrafters, Sears Optical, JC Penney, Target, Macy’s, Sunglass Hut, or buy frames from 25 different manufacturers. Surely choice and competition prevail in this market. But no. All of these are one company, the Italian conglomerate Luxottica. And as with glasses, so also with so many other products. Most of our beer—even some that try to pass themselves off as “craft” beer—is provided by just two companies, ImBev of Belgium or the South African Brewing Company. Proctor & Gamble provides 75% of razors, 60% of detergent, 50% of feminine pads, etc. Even what few companies remain in each market often engage in collusion rather than competition. Wal Mart, for example, appoints one company as a “category manager” to allocate shelf space for all the “competing” companies.

The Future is Rated “B”

From Dmitry Orlov

Author: Reinventing Collapse

My voluminous fan mail has made me aware of a curious fact: many of my readers seem persuaded that the future is either Mad Max or Waterworld. As far as they are concerned, there just aren’t any other options. What’s more, some people have even tried to venture a guess as to which of the two it shall be by watching what I do. I live on a boat, and that is apparently an indication that the future must be Waterworld-like. But I have also been seen rattling around town on a rusty old motorcycle, and that is taken as an indication of a more Mad Max-like future.

It saddens me that so few people bring up the film Blade Runner, and it is even more sad that George Lucas’s THX 1138 or Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville are almost never mentioned, because these particular films have in many ways proven to be predictive of the present rather than just the future. Take THX 1138 for example: it is about some people who live in a sealed-off climate-controlled environment, are on a compulsory regimen of psychoactive drugs, are assigned their mates by a computer program, and watch pornography that is piped into their living rooms in order to relax after work. When they refuse to take their meds, they are abused by robot-like police armed with electric cattle-prods. When one of them escapes into the wilderness, it turns out that the police lack the budget to hunt him down. That may have seemed a bit exotic and futuristic back in 1971 when Lucas filmed it, but now describes the people who live down the street. Alphaville, on the other hand, is vaguely reminiscent of some of my more interesting business trips.

TIME Announces New Version Of Magazine Aimed At Adults

The ONION Video Here
God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule

NEW YORK—Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.

“Look, I don’t know, maybe I haven’t made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again… Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don’t. And to be honest, I’m really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to…

“I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you’d get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important,” said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. “I guess I figured I’d left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get? It’s not God’s will, all right? News flash: ‘God’s will’ equals ‘Don’t murder people.'”

“I don’t care what faith you are, everybody’s been making this same mistake since the dawn of time,” God said. “The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews, don’t even get me started on the hardline, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians? You people believe in a Messiah who says, ‘Turn the other cheek,’ but you’ve been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades…” The ONION story here.

Why learn permaculture? For the children and ourselves


Permaculture is one of the only ways home for humanity. If one believes in modernism, industrial agriculture and better living through chemistry read no further. However, if you feel something is not right about the way we live, read on.

I have come to realize that it is because we have been taught from birth to be dependent on the system or civilization that we have lost our connection to our home—the land, nature and its cultivars. Simply, because we have no connection to the land we have no reason to take care of it or limit our numbers. The skills and relationships with even the most common plants is not given to us as children.

Teach your children well

Permaculture is a modern translation of first people’s or native knowledge and wisdom. It is a step towards indigenizing the white man. We have to learn permaculture as adults because we were not taught about our home as children. The key may be for us as adults to learn permaculture design skills and then pass this knowledge and established perennial homesteads and communities on to our children.

Every child should be able to identify at least 100 plants and name their uses, how to grow them, where they are found and how to process them. Children should learn these skills through action, touch, feel, smell, taste and story.

My children know probably a dozen berries by the shape of the plant at a distance. They know which plant to go to at different times of the year. If I don’t keep a watchful eye though, they can eat much of the fruit before the U-pick customers can get it. Its all good;

Dan Hamburg: Supervisor Campaign Update

Mendocino County


We hope all of you had an excellent summer. Here at Campaign Central, we are moving into high gear. We hope you will find time to work and play with us, because we are playing to win!

Our website calendar is up at Please check it often for event updates and locations where I will be speaking. I always appreciate seeing friendly faces at debates and community events. And if you have an event in your community you think I would be interested in attending, please let us know here!

Here’s a brief update.

We will have a booth at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show, the weekend of September 17th. We will be giving out samples of grain grown right here in the 5th District. And we have plans to participate in the parade! We are looking for volunteers to help staff our booth. Please contact Laura Hamburg here if you can help!

Friday, September 24th is our kickoff “Fun Raiser” event at Crown Hall in Mendocino. Come groove to the music of Rogerwood with special guests Steven Bates and David Hayes. Chris Skyhawk and Sherry Glaser are our Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, and a delicious gourmet dinner catered by Garnish Daly will be available at 6:00 PM with music to follow.

Will Parrish: Mendo’s Biggest Wine Country Corporations


“We have chosen as our first topic of discussion the reality of the business — cash. Everything we do eventually finds its way back to this common denominator. That is, cash in and cash out. … At Duckhorn Vineyards, we earn approximately 24% cash profit. … Our bank, Bank of America, is more willing to support our growth because of our relatively high cash profit levels, our confirmed reinvestment of earnings and our shareholder support.” newsletter to shareholders, Duckhorn Vineyards, 1998 (now owned by CB Richard Ellis, the world’s largest real estate conglomerate)

“The Problem Now: What To Do With All That Cash,” a 1995 Business Week headline intoned.  It could well have been describing the impetus for the California North Coast’s premium wine-grape bubble.  Throughout the 1990s and up to the present, the battalions of bankers, lawyers, and business magnates who presided over the boom-time economy in the San Francisco Bay Area (and elsewhere) have plunged a huge portion of their surplus wealth into upscale wine culture – pricey tasting room tours, $50,000 collections of high-end vintages in home cellars, and $230 bottles of, for instance, ’93 Opus One.

Many of these regional economic elites went a step further by purchasing their own North Coast wine-grape plantations, those monocrop slices of the “bucolic” wine country lifestyle running from the Russian River Valley to Napa Valley to the Anderson Valley.

Silicon Valley tycoons landscaped their vacation homes with

Big Box Colonizers Face Thousands of Closings


The Significance of Consumer Deleveraging

[We have been expecting a letter from DDR to the voters of Mendocino County thanking us for voting down the Masonite Monster Mall and therefore saving them millions of dollars in wasted development costs. Maybe Wendy Roberts and other local proponents of Dinosaur Dumb Growth can write one for them… -DS]

Consumers have only begun to cut back on their severe debt burdens, and the process will take a number of years.  Household debt relative to GDP soared from a range of 43% to 49% in the 20-year period between 1965 and 1985 to a peak of 97.3% in 2009.  As of March 31st (the latest data point) this dropped only slightly to 92.7%.  To provide some more perspective, Ned Davis Research estimates the mean to be 54.2% over the past 58 years. The percentage climbed gradually to 65% in 1998, and then really accelerated to its recent peak.

To be conservative, let’s assume that the household debt/GDP ratio falls back only to the 65% level of 1998

Neil Davis: Road Rage

Ukiah Valley Trail Group

Are there any documented cases of bicycle or pedestrian road rage? I’ve not heard of them. Apparently there’s something about cars that triggers the phenomenon.

When I was in college I took a research methods class and came across a series of studies investigating the “frustration – aggression hypothesis”. As a bicyclist, it tickled my funny bone when I read of researchers negotiating their cars to the front of the line at a red light – when the light turned green they would just sit there and count the seconds until people started to honk. “Wow” I thought, “this sounds like enough fun to make it my career.” I proposed a study that would compare how frustrated we could make drivers by making them wait for bikes, baby strollers, etc. and perhaps compare those responses with something that the drivers would consider a reasonable delay. There were two problems; 1) I couldn’t think of any delay a driver would consider reasonable, and 2) my professor refused out of hand to consider what he apparently considered an insanely dangerous research study. “Fine,” I concluded, “I’ll switch majors”. My career as a research psychologist was over before it started, how frustrating.

The frustration- aggression hypothesis -which like most psychological theories is not accepted by everyone who cares, and no one who doesn’t – is that aggression is a by product of frustration. So if that’s the case, our road raging drivers must have somehow, somewhere – become frustrated.

I started thinking about this when I read some comment about the importance of “play’ in our adult lives. I realized that there is a playful element to riding a bike, even when you’re riding for transportation. Something about gliding along under your own power,

Michael Moore: I am opposed to the building of the “mosque” two blocks from Ground Zero. I want it built on Ground Zero.


If That ‘Mosque’ ISN’T Built, This Is No Longer America

I am opposed to the building of the “mosque” two blocks from Ground Zero.

I want it built on Ground Zero.

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.

There’s been so much that’s been said about this manufactured controversy, I really don’t want to waste any time on this day of remembrance talking about it. But I hate bigotry and I hate liars, and so in case you missed any of the truth that’s been lost in this, let me point out a few facts:

1. I love the Burlington Coat Factory. I’ve gotten some great winter coats there at a very reasonable price. Muslims have been holding their daily prayers there since 2009. No one ever complained about that. This is not going to be a “mosque,” it’s going to be a community center. It will have the same prayer room in it that’s already there.

The New-Old Fascist History

Thanks to Herb

In 2006 I published U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn’t Tell You. The book’s introduction informs the reader that it is not a textbook but rather a supplement written to expand and illumine material included in institutionally approved college history textbooks. I was motivated to offer the supplement because as a professor of history, I was appalled at the amount of history omitted in mainstream U.S. history college textbooks not only due to the desire of publishers to produce less costly books but as a result of a massive dumbing down of American culture in recent years. Or as one former history student of mine put it: “I used to be bored when I would watch the news with my dad because it was actually news, but today when I watch the news, it’s fun because it’s about things that really interest me like celebrity gossip, hip hop music, and funny commercials.”

I’m not Howard Zinn, even though my book has sometimes been referred to as “Zinn on steroids.” Dear Howard left us just before the Texas history textbook controversy erupted, and I have no doubt that he’s spinning in his grave in response to it.

If you want to conquer a people–any people, one of the first strategies for doing so is to eliminate or distort their history. While the neo-fascist revisionist “historians” would disagree, the fact is that nineteenth-century public education in the United States devised a specific agenda for removing Native American culture from Native children in this country who were forced (often kidnapped and then forced) to attend non-Native schools. Likewise, it was not until the 1960s that African American culture was taught in white schools in America because from the white perspective, the only history worth knowing was white history.

Geezer Watch: Jerry Lee Still Shakin’


Please indulge me. This man’s music, along with Chuck Berry and Elvis, shook many of us out of our high school stupors into a whole new world of freedom and fun-lovin’ craziness. In performance he would often kick the piano bench clear across the stage, and pound the keyboard with the heel of his boot. Many days at lunchtime I would walk a block to Bill’s Breeze-In from Miami Senior High School, order a burger and fries, drop a nickle in the jukebox, and play Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. “Hey, Bill, turn it up!”…

See also Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway

Janie Sheppard: Update on Coyote Dam Meeting 9/9/10

Mendocino County

Last night representatives from the local water agencies met to hear a presentation by the Corps of Engineers on its plans for the Coyote Dam at Lake Mendocino.  The public was invited.  Bill and I attended, as did Fifth District Candidate for Supervisor, Dan Hamburg.

Below I report the gist of the meeting.

Local water agencies want to increase the capacity of Lake Mendocino to provide a more dependable source of water, presumably for irrigation.  This year, the Corps has raised the level of the lake to the point where some land-based recreation has disappeared, or is unusable.

A significant portion of the lake is now occupied by sediment, thereby decreasing its capacity to hold water.  Dredging, however, is not a viable option for reasons of expense, stirring up the mercury buried in the sediment, and huge logistical problems in removing the sediment.

Safety issues must be addressed first.   The spillway is undersized, there is some seepage, and the ever-present seismic issue isn’t going away.

Raising the dam remains the most obvious solution, but only after identifying and solving the safety issues.  But, studies addressing safety and the feasibility of raising the dam remain low-priority in terms of allocating the very limited Corps budget.

A proposed “solution” to the money and priority issues is to demonstrate unified local and downstream support for completing the studies and raising the dam. 

Todd Walton: Poor People

Under The Table

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

On my way out to water the garden, the living room radio tuned to our local public radio station, I hope I didn’t hear what I think I just heard, especially since I recently renewed our membership to that radio station. But when I come in from the garden, Marcia confirms that some nincompoop guest on said station did, indeed, say, “You shouldn’t give money to the homeless people in Fort Bragg because they’ll just use it to buy drugs.”

If I had a hundred dollars for every person I’ve heard say that about homeless people, I’d be rich. And if I had a hundred dollars for every person I’ve convinced to think otherwise, I could buy each and every homeless person in Fort Bragg a delicious organic apple. I choose to call the guest of that listener-sponsored radio show a nincompoop because the word describes him precisely. A nincompoop is a simpleton, a shallow thinker, someone who speaks without knowledge. And this nincompoop’s statement is not only false, but also cruel, and his cruel lie makes me so angry I absolutely must refute him.

Henceforth I will address you directly, my dear nincompoop. Here are some ironclad facts for you to consider.

1. Many poor and homeless people are not drug addicts.

2. Many people with homes are drug addicts.

3. The only difference between homeless people and people with homes is that homeless people do not have homes, and people with homes have homes.

Joe Wildman: At Least Pray for a Hamburg Victory even if you won’t endorse

Potter Valley

I hear too much from voters in the 5th district who are unhappy about the choice for County Supervisor – Dan Hamburg or Wendy Roberts. But it would be foolish for anyone to sit this one out – or, worse – to vote for Ms. Roberts just because there’s something about Dan that’s hard to get over.

Whatever else Wendy Roberts may be, she is first and foremost a guided missile aimed straight at the most basic environmental protections that make Mendocino County a great place to live. She proudly represents herself as an enemy of planning rules that restrain developers’ ambitions. The most right-wing forces in Mendocino County have rallied enthusiastically to her cause and are showering her with campaign cash. That is not because there’s just something about Dan that’s hard for them to get over.

Real estate development interests dominate among Ms. Roberts’ donors, including Paul & Barbara Clark ($500), Kelley Property Associates ($500), and the California Real Estate PAC out of Sacramento ($500), which says it gives money to candidates to “help promote the cause of housing and private property rights.”

Other donors for Wendy Roberts include the chairman emeritus of Mendocino County’s right-wing, John Mayfield ($500). The current and former presidents of the Farm Bureau have given a total of $1,500. Timber-industry supplier Bailey’s of Laytonville gave $1,000. A front for big construction companies, “North Coast Citizens for a Better Economy,” gave $500. Jared Carter, the former lawyer for Pacific Lumber and many developers, hosted a fund-raiser for Ms. Roberts.

Of course these Republican interests support Ms. Roberts. They are not confused about who she is or what she will do on the Board of Supervisors. You shouldn’t be confused either.

Scott Cratty: Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 9/11/10


Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  Yet again, we should have a strong, peak season market, produce does not get better or fresher.  A bit about this Saturday’s market below …. but first:

Mark your calendars for this Friday evening’s Ukiah chili cook-off. The event, a benefit for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Ukiah, is from 6-10pm in Alex Thomas Plaza. If you have not been before this is the year to check it out … otherwise you will miss your chance to try the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market entry. It is being prepared by market favorites the Owen Family Farm and features their all-natural, Hopland pastured lamb.  This should be a great lamb and black bean chili that also features an array of local farm inputs such as Cinnamon Bear Farm peppers, Covelo Organics tomatoes, Creekside Farm garlic, Olivino olive oil, and Redtail Farms onions.  Take your friends with you and help promote the market by voting for the best chili.  When you try the chili you can get a coupon good for 10% off at the Owen Family Farm booth on Saturday September 11.

Back to the Saturday market.  Although Aqua-Rodeo oysters will have the week off, we will still have an amazingly robust meat section.   In addition to the Owen Family, I expect Heahl Creek Ranches lamb, Bar-Bell Cattle beef, Magruder Ranch pork and beef, Fish Peddler fish, John Ford Ranch beef, Inland Organics pork and Mendocino Organics chicken.

Maggie Norton: Yoga for every body — Yoga’s familiar and unexpected benefits

Yoga Mendocino

Free Yoga Day This Saturday (See below)

Yoga is not about perfect poses, a perfect body, or some notion of an ideal life. However a regular yoga practice not only helps us to feel physically stronger, more flexible and more in touch with our bodies but also has more subtle, and perhaps often unexpected, benefits. Yoga makes a difference to how we feel mentally and physically, which is why an estimated 15.8 million people practice yoga in the USA today. According to at least one recent study (in 2008), 4.1  percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 9.4  million American non-practitioners, say they will definitely begin yoga within the next year.

Yoga practice can improve your physical strength, flexibility, and balance, ease stiffness, and relieve pain, as well as improve the quality of daily life in other ways.  Yoga practitioners often discover, to their delight, that what they do on their yoga mat spills over into the rest of their week. Yoga increases our mental focus and concentration, our self esteem, and sense of well-being and inner calm. These often unforeseen improvements in mood and attitude can lead to better relationships with work colleagues, friends and family…as well as with oneself. We also find that we are better able to cope with life’s many challenges.

When unions mattered, prosperity was shared

From E. J. Dionne, Jr.
Washington Post

Watching the great civil rights march on television in August 1963, I couldn’t help but notice that hundreds of people carried signs with a strange legend at the top: “UAW Says.” UAW was saying “Segregation Disunites the United States,” and many other things insisting on equality.

This “UAW” was a very odd word to my 11-year-old self, and I asked my dad who or what “U-awe,” as I pronounced it, was. The letters, he explained, stood for United Auto Workers.

It was some years later when I learned about the heroic battles of the UAW, not only on behalf of those who worked in the great car plants but also for social and racial justice across our society. Walter Reuther, the gallant and resolutely practical egalitarian who led the union for many years, was one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s close allies.

Remembering that moment is bittersweet on a Labor Day when so many Americans are unemployed, wages are stagnant or dropping, and the labor movement itself is in stark decline.

Only 12.3 percent of American wage and salary workers belong to unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, down from a peak of about one-third of the work force in 1955. A movement historically associated with the brawny workers in auto, steel, rubber, construction, rail and the ports now represents more employees in the public sector (7.9 million) than in the private sector (7.4 million). Even worse than the falling membership numbers is the extent to which the ethos animating organized labor is increasingly foreign to American culture. The union movement has always been attached to a set of values — solidarity being the most important,

Janie Sheppard: Take Action! Water agencies to discuss possible dam raising tonight, 6pm, Thursday 9/9/10

Mendocino County

Tonight there will be a meeting to discuss raising the Coyote Dam.  As you have likely noticed, the raised water level has already led to some recreational facilities being under water.  As of Tuesday evening these recreational facilities remained under water. Raising the dam will put more recreation facilities under water and so far there is no consideration being given to the users of these facilties.  The planners need to hear from us, the land-based users.

A major constraint in relocating land-based recreation is the present boundaries.  There simply is not enough room for more water and all the recreation that we have there now, should the dam be raised and the boundaries not extended.

If recreational users (mountain bike riders, hikers, campers, horse people, picnickers, wild flower enthusiasts, and other land-based recreation’ers) are to have a voice and have their concerns addressed, now is the time.

Please come to the meeting tonight:  6 pm, Ukiah Valley Conference Center, 200 S. School Street, Ukiah.

I know this is short notice, but it’s all the notice I had as well.  See the UDJ story below.

Water agencies to discuss possible dam raising

American Income Inequality is the Cause of our Crisis

Thanks to Gail Jonas

[Local context: Supporters of Wendy Roberts, seeing this chart, will nod, raise their wine glasses, and chuckle “What’s the problem?” -DS]

Plutarch, writing almost 2,000 years ago, told us that “an imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”

The chart shows the course of income imbalance over the last 93 years in the U.S. If it showed the course of net worth imbalance, it would be much more dramatic. If it showed data for the top tenth of one percent– not just the top ten percent– it would be extraordinarily dramatic.

Inter alia, the chart shows that both the Great Depression of the ’30s and the present crisis were immediately preceded by great buildups in inequality. When ordinary people lack the wealth to buy things– houses for example–the system crashes.

There’s also a lot of data that show that economic equality conduces, quite literally, to the health of society. The correlation between equality and most measures of well-being is stronger than the correlation between wealth and well-being. See Richard G. Wilkinson & Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level (2009). For a good review of that book, see David Runciman in the London Review of Books, Oct. 22, 2009 here.

Still, the rich consistently try to destroy egalitarianism, because for their segment, inequality is fine. It means increasingly desperate people

Jim Houle: Iraqi Freedom is Over

Redwood Valley

“Operation Iraqi Freedom is over” President Obama announced from behind his desk on Tuesday night, August 31st. A strange choice of words to announce our “victory” in defeating Sada-am Hussein and Al Qaeda. “The future we are trying to build for our nation may seem beyond our reach”, he inserted at the start, as if unsure whether his speech was about Iraq finally being relieved of our help or about Obama’s heavy burdens here at home. “Our troops are the steel in our ship of state . . . they give us confidence that our course is true”. This also seemed most strange, for it would seem more fitting that support for our constitution or our unity as a nation would be the source of our resolve. It sounds like some tin pot dictator bragging that military ‘might makes me right’. He then called ex-President Bush a patriot: “no one can doubt his support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security”. Is this the same Bush who loved his country so much that he lied to get support for a war he claimed would remove weapons of mass destruction before Sadaam could give them to Al Qaeda? “There were patriots who supported the war and patriots who opposed it” Obama explained: So are we all, all honorable men.

“A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency and terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart”. But if the talk of WMDs was a lie, then how did we disarm them? We have been busy ever since trying to rebuild and re-arm their conventional army. Also, the word insurgency suggests something unconnected to the US mission – yet in this case the insurgency was the effort of Iraqi patriots of many stripes to drive the foreign occupiers from their land. All very puzzling.

Rosalind Peterson: New report out on Geoengineering

Redwood Valley

U.S. Congressional Research Service
Geoengineering Governance and Technology
CRS Report Released on:  August 16, 2010
Prepared for Members of the U.S. Congress

Please see this website for more information:

See Sections:

Note Health Effects from Lack of Sunlight + Increasing Cloud Cover

The funding for Geoengineering projects is expected from the U.S. House Bill 2454 Passed in 2009 and the companion Climate/Energy Bill that may pass in 2010 or early January 2011, before this current session of congress ends.  Draft copy available on Senator Kerry’s Website. See Section:

Please note that there have been three U.S. House of Representatives Hearings on Geoengineering.  The first was on November 5, 2009, the second and third hearings were in February and March 2010. A U.S. House Science & Technology Committee Geoengineering Final Report is due out in September 2010.

It should be noted that the hearings did not include scientists from fields (like marine biology, EPA, U.S.D.A., Forest Service, etc.,) or anyone who would question or oppose these issues-some concerns were raised. 

Gene Logsdon: The Egg Hunter


As a child one of my responsibilities was hunting eggs that the hens sometimes laid in various barns and sheds all over the farmstead rather than in the nest boxes in their coop. That was fun— like hunting Easter eggs every day. Sometimes a hen would set on a secret nest of eggs that I failed to find and in a little while, out into the barnyard might come a bunch of chicks.

I am still an egg hunter and it is still fun. The idea of having to hunt for one’s breakfast sounds strange in these days, even primitive. It would be interesting to know how many others still do it. (Any idea?) Although most of the wildness has been bred out of the domestic hen (except bantam breeds), she will, if given the opportunity, occasionally start laying eggs in what she thinks are hidden places in barns or sheds outside the chicken coop. One hen starts a nest, but often others will use it too. It is up to the flock caretaker to match wits with them and find the eggs before they get too old or a raccoon or opossum gets them.

Over the years, our hens have used the same “secret” places over and over again, but switch from one to the other when someone or something keeps removing eggs from the nest that they are currently favoring. The two feed boxes in the cow stalls often become nest boxes now that we have no cows. Another favorite spot is the horse manger now that we have no horses. Still a third is in a narrow space between the sheep hay feeder and the barn wall. Occasionally a really independent old biddy will take a notion to make a nest up in the hay mow. This year’s favorite hideout is a pile of hay I put in the machine shed “temporarily” when rain was threatening…

Story here.

Charles Martin: Response to Jim Houle on the Harris Quarry Asphalt Plant

Mendocino County

[Charles Martin is a retired biodynamic/organic farmer from Comptche, now living in the Golden Rule Mobile Village, and one of the most interesting characters in Mendo Island… land of many, many interesting characters. See my interview here. -DS]

Comments on James Houle’s article here and the concerns raised by Ron Epstein over air pollution from the PROPOSED Harris Quarry Asphalt Plant.

Ron Epstein is not raising fears over our asphalt road surfaces; as J. Houle’s article’s “Headline” implies; he is concerned about the polluting effects of a 300 ton/hour continuous mix asphalt plant operating at 350 degree F which is a legitimate concern.

While Ron innocently referred to the original DEIR, little has changed in the “Revised Project Description” of 2010 with regard to Air Quality, in relation to the Asphalt Plant; the removal of the Cement Plant from the project does remove the effects of that operational function.

The same concerns of pollution from the Asphalt Plant contamination remain.

Let me state, I am a mechanical engineer who among other tasks was responsible for Environmental, Safety, & Health for 14 manufacturing plants located throughout the US.

Neil Davis: Hiking ‘The U’


Hiking to “The U” on the western hills of Ukiah has been a rite of passage for generations. I’ve heard teachers brought entire classes up the steep “trails” (in actuality, they are firebreaks) and I dragged my mountain bike up there shortly after moving here. Back in the day, no one seemed to mind if we went up there. That is no longer true. “The U” is on private property, and the owners do not want us trespassing.

Recently I’ve received numerous emails asking, “How do I get to ‘the U’? I can’t find the trail”. I’m not always so fast on the uptake, so it took me a little while to realize why so many people were asking. I believe it is because we at the Ukiah Valley Trail Group (UVTG) recently completed the new “City View” trail off of Low Gap Park and at about the same time, the fire break that ascends to the venerable “U” was re-graded making it more visible from the valley floor. Apparently people are mistaking the firebreak for the new City View Trail.  So to be clear, let it be known first, the big cut on the hill that leads to “The U” is not City View trail; second, there is no trail to “The U”, and third, you cannot legally go to “The U” without prior permission from the land owner.

I apologize if I sound a little strident, but as trail advocates and users, it is very important that we respect private property rights. We have some great public trails that are close to our homes here in the Ukiah valley, we just don’t have enough of them. We have some places where we can potentially build new trails on public property, and the UVTG is working to do just that.

Janie Sheppard: Mendocino County Essence Exhibit

Mendocino County

Last Saturday evening was the opening of a new exhibit featuring 4 Mendo artists: Ukiah’s own Laura Fogg, and three Willits artists, photographer Steve Eberhard, painter Garry Colson, and ceramicist Bonnie Belt.

Art appreciators poured in to see the latest works by these four remarkable artists. Fogg’s newest quilt is a study in human movement, as depicted in this detail.

Eberhard’s photo portraits of Willits residents are remarkable. My fave is the rodeo rider’s expression as he is dismounted from the bull.

Bonnie Belt’s latest ceramics have an organic topographic appeal.

Gary Colson’s landscapes are studies in soft focus and color.

To see more pictures from the exhibit and the artists click on this link.

The exhibit of these quintessentially Mendo artists runs through September 26th. Hours for the Willits Center for the Arts, 71 East Commercial Street, are Thursday and Friday 4 – 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday noon to 3 p.m. Phone number is 707-459-1726 and the website is here.

Game On

The Daily Dish

Yesterday’s speech by the president, if you missed it, was a barn-stormer. Yes, it’s the same old, same old pattern: he allows the opposition not just to vent and criticize (as they should) but to control the discourse for months, to drown out every other sound, to vent and crow and vilify and intimidate the cable news weenies into quivering puppies in need of crate-training. And then he comes back with a speech like that one.

I can’t for the life of me see how the Democrats retain the House under these economic conditions, but that cannot and does not mean that what Obama has done in his first year and a half is a failure. On the contrary. On almost all the substantive stuff, he has in my view done the right and responsible and sane thing within the almost impossible constraints he was presented with. And given the legacy he inherited, what he has done is simply not enough to perform an economic or political or cultural miracle. That’s the brutal truth and we have to face it. And if Americans thought they were voting for a savior, rather than a pragmatic president, they were deluding themselves.

When the economy imploded in the fall of 2008, there was simply precious little room for fiscal maneuver after the largely Republican-led spending and borrowing spree of the previous decade. The stimulus prevented the world falling into an economic abyss – just – but it was never going to get us out of the ditch we’re in. Don Peck’s brilliant cover-story is worth re-reading again on that score. And it was good to hear the president state this yesterday:

Why Teachers Drink


He’s black, he’s President, and he’s smarter than you. Get over it.


Top 10 Racist Limbaugh Quotes

We never anticipated the popularity of this article, nor the controversy that it would cause.  But all we can say is, “Thank you, Rush, for being you.” Before we get into the Top 10 Racist Limbaugh Quotes of All-Time, here are some of Limbaugh’s most recent racist statements.


Limbaugh Says Steinbrenner Was A “Cracker Who Made African-Americans Millionaires”

Limbaugh: Obama & Oprah Are Only Successful Because They’re Black

AUDIO: Limbaugh Calls Gov. Paterson A “Massa”

Limbaugh Calls Obama “Uppity”

Limbaugh Says Kennedy “Had Negroes Serve Him Booze”

Limbaugh: Black Frame Of Mind Is Terrible, Tiger’s Women Not Helping


Labor Day: Put America Back to Work

Thanks to Gail Jonas

The Democrats are running scared and triaging their Congressional majorities for salvageable seats, according to the Sunday New York Times lead story. The President may be confined to quarters, but they are going to impress Michele Obama, last seen by photo yesterday with two really nice heads of fennel fresh from the White House garden, into campaign work.

Let’s hope that the Democrats don’t send her out to talk about victory gardens. Combined with her husband’s “be patient” counsel after the bad unemployment news last week, I’d almost feel obliged to start building a Hooverville by the Washington Monument, or at least toss around a medicine ball by the White House in remembrance of one of America’s greatest humanitarians and technocrats who saved Europe from starving after the First World War, but couldn’t bring himself to save his own people from the ravages of the Great Depression.

The present occupant of the White House is no Hoover, I guess, though I do reserve the right to second-guess myself another time.  After all, the President has avoided telling us that prosperity is just around the corner, which nobody believed in 1932 and no one believes now. Yet his approach to our grave economic situation seems almost as passive and bloodless as was Hoover’s.