James Houle: Obama Runs for Cover

Redwood Valley

Obama Calls for Consensus in Post-Election Concession Speech: >(Reuters 11/03/10). President Barack Obama, chastened by the loss of at least one House of Congress, gave a sadly pathetic concession speech (11/03/10). “There are going to be areas of policy where we’re going to have to do a better job,” he conceded while asking for a consensus, one that has actually been missing now for two years. “No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here,” and called for both parties to work together. “No person, no party, has a monopoly on wisdom,” he added, ignoring the fact that a perpetual Republican filibuster in the Senate and their unwillingness even to suggest areas of compromise had all but closed down progress on the administration’s programs. Obama rejected the notion that the election results are a rejection of his policies, but of their results (is there some difference here?). “Voters are not satisfied with the outcomes,” he said. People “want jobs to come back faster, they want paychecks to go further”. When asked about how the government will create jobs, with at least the GOP making it clear they would support no more stimulus spending, he said there were areas to cut but not education, research and development, and investments in infrastructure. Then like what, Mr. President? This was no repeat of the “Give-em-hell Harry” who blamed the “Do-Nothing 80th Congress” in 1948 while campaigning for a full term as President. The 80th Congress had blocked his entire program after a Republican sweep in the 1946 mid-term elections and Harry made them pay for it when he upset the odds-on winner Thomas Dewey for the White House.

Blue Dogs Lose, Tea Party Makes Gains: An interview with L’Humanitite, Prof. Stanley Aronowitz (CCNY-10/30/10) explained Obama’s loss as follows: “The public believed the Democrats and Obama were going to solve problems of unemployment and health care. Now they find unemployment increasing and no relief on health care costs or coverage for another 4 years. People traditionally turn to the opposition party when the party in power disappoints.” Although people are being dispossessed of their homes and swindled by Wall Street, “They cannot express clearly their malaise, yet they know they do not have the democratic system they need and both parties seem in on the swindle”.

The Punk Patriot Fixes The USA’s Economy

(some language NSFW)

Rebooting the American Dream – Chapter Two: Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts

Truthout (article with footnotes here)

[Thom Hartmann now available locally on KMEC. Hartmann offers us full sets of actual facts to refute and rebut the repugnant Republicans… -DS]

You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessings. ~ Andrew Jackson

When I was in Denmark in 2008 doing my radio show for a week from the Danish Radio studios and interviewing many of that nation’s leading politicians, economists, energy experts, and newspaper publishers, one of my guests made a comment that dropped the scales from my eyes.

We’d been discussing taxes on the air and the fact that Denmark has an average 52 percent income-tax rate. I asked him why people didn’t revolt at such high taxes, and he smiled and pointed out to me that the average Dane is very well paid, with a minimum wage that equals roughly $18 per hour. Moreover, what Danes get for their taxes (that we don’t) is a free college education and free health care, not to mention four weeks of paid vacation each year and notoriety as the happiest nation on earth, according to a major study done by the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

But it was once we were off the air that he made the comment that I found so enlightening.

“You Americans are such suckers,” he said. “You think that the rules for taxes that apply to rich people also apply to working people, but they don’t. When working peoples’ taxes go up, their pay goes up. When their taxes go down, their pay goes down. It may take a year or two or three to all even out, but it always works this way—look at any country in Europe. And that rule on taxes is the opposite of how it works for rich people!”

My Danish guest was right. So before we get into the larger consequences of tax increases or tax cuts for the nation’s economic health, let’s parse this business about what tax increases or cuts mean for the rich and for the not-so-rich.

Unequal Taxation and the Conservative Spin

If a wealthy person earns so much money that he doesn’t or can’t spend it all each year, when his taxes go down his income after taxes goes up.

Millionaires to Obama: Tax us


Dozens of America’s wealthiest taxpayers — including hedge fund legend Michael Steinhardt, super trial lawyer Guy Saperstein, and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s fame — have appealed to President Obama not to renew the Bush tax cuts for anyone earning more than $1 million a year. Calling themselves “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength,” the 40-plus signers today launched a website and a campaign that they hope will draw support from others who agree that fiscal responsibility should begin with those who can best afford it — as their letter to Obama explains:

We are writing to urge you to stand firm against those who would put politics ahead of their country.

For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled.

We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.

We have done very well over the last several years. Now, during our nation’s moment of need, we are eager to do our fair share. We don’t need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers. The country needs to meet its financial obligations in a just and responsible way.

Letting tax cuts for incomes over $1,000,000 expire, is an important step in that direction.

The Patriotic Millionaires campaign, pulled together quickly by the Agenda Project in New York City, just happens to appear on the same day as a new study from the Center for Responsive Politics revealing that half of the members of the House and the Senate are millionaires. That contrasts sharply with the general population, of whom fewer than 1 percent can claim millionaire status.

Not surprisingly, some of the super-rich declined to join the Patriotic Millionaires

Senator Bernie Sanders: The Billionaires’ Orgy of Greed [Updated]


[Update: Millionaires to Obama: Tax us!]


The billionaires are on the warpath. They want more, more, more.

In 2007, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income – more than the bottom 50 percent. Not enough! The percentage of income going to the top 1 percent nearly tripled since the mid-1970s. Not enough! Eighty percent of all new income earned from 1980 to 2005 has gone to the top 1 percent. Not enough! The top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Not enough! The Wall Street executives with their obscene compensation packages now earn more than they did before we bailed them out. Not enough! With the middle class collapsing and the rich getting much richer, the United States now has, by far, the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on earth. Not enough!

The very rich want more, more and more and they are prepared to dismantle the existing political and social order to get it. During the last campaign, as a result of the (Republican) Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, billionaires were able to pour hundreds of millions of dollars of secret money into the campaign – helping to elect dozens of members of Congress. Now, having made their investment, they want their congressional employees to produce. Republicans in Congress, needless to say, are all on board. The key question is whether a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate go along to get along, or whether they draw a clear line at protecting the interests of the middle class and vulnerable populations of our country while tackling our economic and budgetary problems in earnest.

In the next month, despite all their loud rhetoric about the “deficit crisis,” the Republicans want to add $700 billion to the national debt over the next 10 years by extending Bush’s tax breaks for the top 2 percent. Families who earn $1 million a year or more would receive, on average, a tax break of $100,000 a year. The Republicans also want to eliminate or significantly reduce the estate tax, which has existed since 1916. Its elimination would add, over 10 years, about $1 trillion to our national debt and all of the benefits would go to the top 0.3 percent.

Kurt Vonnegut: Get a load of this…


[Oh, how we miss this guy… -DS]

“Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” A lot of people think Jesus said that, because it is so much the sort of thing Jesus liked to say. But it was actually said by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, five hundred years before there was that greatest and most humane of human beings, named Jesus Christ.

The Chinese also gave us, via Marco Polo, pasta and the formula for gunpowder. The Chinese were so dumb they only used gunpowder for fireworks. And everybody was so dumb back then that nobody in either hemisphere even knew that there was another one.

We’ve sure come a long way since then. Sometimes I wish we hadn’t. I hate H-bombs and the Jerry Springer Show

But back to people like Confucius and Jesus and my son the doctor, Mark, each of whom have said in their own way how we could behave more humanely and maybe make the world a less painful place. One of my favorite humans is Eugene Debs, from Terre Haute in my native state of Indiana.

Get a load of this. Eugene Debs, who died back in 1926, when I was not yet four, ran five times as the Socialist party candidate for president, winning 900,000 votes, almost 6 percent of the popular vote, in 1912, if you can imagine such a ballot. He had this to say while campaigning:

“As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.

“As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it.

“As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

Doesn’t anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools, or health insurance for all?

When you get out of bed each morning, with the roosters crowing, wouldn’t you like to say. “As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

How about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

The High Cost of Low Price

In These Times

First, it was the new $200 printer — within hours of being extracted from its bubble-wrap womb, the contraption started making an awful wheezing sound.

Then it was the $10 stopwatch we bought to time my wife’s labor contractions — the moment it was torn out of its blister package, its digital screen flamed out.

Then it was our 3-year-old $500 television — the fuzzy lines started during late-night “Seinfeld” reruns and haven’t stopped.

And finally, it was the $25 lamp for my e-book reader — the light looked so useful … until it started emitting a hideous blue tint.

Welcome to my most recent teeth-clenching weekend spent in return lines at discount electronics stores — a weekend no doubt typical in what journalist Ellen Ruppel Shell calls the current age of “Cheap.” In her new book by that name, she argues that our economy has been reorganized around goods that sacrifice craftsmanship on the altar of low price.

Weekends like mine prove her point — and they represent a relatively new economic phenomenon. Whereas Great Depression America valued well-made utilitarian products and understood the inherent danger of bargain culture, Great Recession America prioritizes discounts at the expense of everything else.

This shift from heirloom sensibilities to today’s throwaway mindset has brought us a full-fledged ethos of Cheap — one that offers both a self-reinforcing logic and an illusory promise of social status. We can see this most clearly in the ubiquitous realm of electronics.

At the level of logic — i.e., the level of Best Buy showroom decisions — Cheap seems to make financial sense. The printer may quickly die, but why worry if printer prices keep dropping? New televisions may last only half as long as they once did, but what’s the big deal if those televisions now cost a third of what they used to? And why spend more on higher-priced electronics that pledge reliability when Cheap is now so pervasive you feel like your extra cash would end up buying a brand logo rather than a genuinely better product?

Then again, many purchases aren’t made with such calculated logic. We know this because in tough times, logic would warrant a focus on low-priced necessities. Instead, The Wall Street Journal reports that Americans are now “spending more on electronics like iPads and flat-screen televisions

Money Fights Hard and Money Fights Dirty


Bill Moyers speech at Boston University on October 29, 2010, as a part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series.

I was honored when you asked me to join in celebrating Howard Zinn’s life and legacy. I was also surprised. I am a journalist, not a historian. The difference between a journalist and an historian is that the historian knows the difference. George Bernard Shaw once complained that journalists are seemingly unable to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization. In fact, some epic history can start out as a minor incident. A young man named Paris ran off with a beautiful woman who was married to someone else, and the civilization of Troy began to unwind. A middle-aged black seamstress, riding in a Montgomery bus, had tired feet, and an ugly social order began to collapse. A night guard at an office complex in Washington D.C. found masking tape on a doorjamb, and the presidency of Richard Nixon began to unwind. What journalist, writing on deadline, could have imagined the walloping kick that Rosa Park’s tired feet would give to Jim Crow? What pundit could have fantasized that a third-rate burglary on a dark night could change the course of politics? The historian’s work is to help us disentangle the wreck of the Schwinn from cataclysm. Howard famously helped us see how big change can start with small acts.

We honor his memory. We honor him, for Howard championed grassroots social change and famously chronicled its story as played out over the course of our nation’s history. More, those stirring sagas have inspired and continue to inspire countless people to go out and make a difference. The last time we met, I told him that the stories in A People’s History of the United States remind me of the fellow who turned the corner just as a big fight broke out down the block. Rushing up to an onlooker he shouted, “Is this a private fight, or can anyone get in it?” For Howard, democracy was one big public fight and everyone should plunge into it. That’s the only way, he said, for everyday folks to get justice – by fighting for it.

I have in my desk at home a copy of the commencement address Howard gave

Todd Walton: Critical Delusion

Under The Table

“The fraudulent practices that got people into homes they couldn’t afford are at the heart of our problem.” Robert Scheer

There is no doubt I am happier and more productive and healthier and much more hopeful when I lose touch with the world outside the local watershed; and I am especially happier when I don’t read articles by Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges and Jim Kunstler and other brave and intelligent left-of-the-now-non-existent-center pundits. When I do read articles by these folks, or essays by relatively moderate commentators like Paul Krugman, I feel depressed and hopeless and mentally bludgeoned because these well-meaning folks keep saying the same things over and over again, week after week, month after month.

So to climb out of my slough of despond, I abstain for days on end from news of the outside world, and the bloom returns to my cheeks, and my writing picks up steam, and new melodies present themselves, and I improve as a husband and friend and neighbor, and I start to think life is pretty okay; and then someone sends me an incisively gruesome article or someone emails me a link to a frightening treatise, and I am once more sucked into reading commentaries elucidating how and why things in the great big world are, indeed, going from bad to worse, and I feel bludgeoned again, and while I’m being bludgeoned I try to make sense of the avalanche of facts about the legions of crooks who own and run the world, though the ultimate sense to be made is the same sense I’ve been making since they ran Jimmy Carter out of office in 1980

Llangattock is Making the Transition, Why Can’t We?

The Telegraph UK
Thanks to Linda Sanders

“If you forget to put limits on people and assume that they are capable of fantastic things, then the impossible becomes possible,” said Michael Butterfield, who spearheads the Green Streets.

Llangattock is a small village scattered along a fold in the Brecon Beacon mountains – the softly wooded slopes, high hay meadows and streams making the area one of the loveliest parts of Britain.

The 1,300 inhabitants in the 420 homes have, however, more than the view to be proud of. They are on track to making Llangattock Britain’s first ”carbon-negative community” by 2015. This is no new eco town, but an established settlement alongside the River Usk with a mixture of traditional hill farms and 20th-century bungalows. Yet with energy-saving and energy-creating measures, the community has shown what can be achieved when everyone pulls together.

The woodland group manages and coppices 20 acres of mostly ash and alder for the village’s wood-burning stoves; the residential group coordinates distribution of home energy-saving devices from insulation to solar panels. In just one year, 55 homes will have solar panels installed on their roofs.

The 74-member bio-diesel group collects chip fat from restaurants and has converted more than 11,000 litres of fuel, saving 29 tons of carbon dioxide; 60 families tend a field of new allotments and have resurrected the village fête; and the hydro group is forging ahead with six small-scale hydroelectric schemes on the streams around the village.

Larger projects, such as a woodchip district heating scheme and an anaerobic digester, fed with grass and slurry waste from local farms, that will earn the village an income, are also under way.

But how has a small village with a disparate and fairly elderly population pulled off such an achievement?

Almost exactly a year ago, the village won the Welsh heat of British Gas’s Green Streets competition, run to find the ”greenest” communities in Britain. The win provided £137,400 of grants from British Gas, and other grants and earnings have made a total income for the village of £575,000.

Building Community: An Economic Approach


David Korten with David Brancaccio

David Korten: What economic transformation has to do with building stronger, happier communities.

In Fixing the Future, a one-hour PBS special airing November 18th (check local listings), David Brancaccio visits communities across America using innovative approaches to create jobs and build prosperity in our new economy.

He interviewed YES! Magazine board chair David Korten for a big picture perspective about what it will take to build an economy that works for all. Transcript below.

Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.

David Brancaccio (DB): So our mission here is to fix the future; just give me a sense of how we can get started on this question.

David Korten (DK): Well you know, David, it starts with a very basic question. Do people exist to serve the economy, or should the economy exist to serve people? Now it turns out that we’ve created a whole society with culture and institutions around the idea that people exist to serve the economy. And millions of people are waking up to the reality that that’s a misplaced priority.

DB: Our knee-jerk reaction is to go down to Wall Street to ask questions about how we fix the economy. That’s the usual way of doing things. In fact I think there are entire cable TV channels devoted to asking those people what the solution is. You’re asking us to go not toward Wall Street but where? Just to Main Street, America?

DK: Wall Street is basically dedicated to eliminating jobs or outsourcing jobs in order to increase financial profits of the biggest corporations and to increase the financial assets of the world’s already richest people. Now what we need is a money system that actually is doing what you just said, is connecting real resources with real needs, creating real community wealth at the community level. But that requires a financial system that is rooted in the community and accountable to community interest and that operates by life values rather than financial values.

DB: So if you’re trying to figure out what values an economy or a financial system is displaying, you have a theory about where to look to see where the center of power of the economy is rooted.

Herb Ruhs: Beware the hospital


As a physician I can hardly avoid facing the facts about health care, but I can understand why people would want to.  I get a lot of nervous laughter from folks when I assert that health care itself has become the third leading cause of death in the US behind cancer and heart disease.  But this assertion is chillingly true (http://www.health-care-reform.net/causedeath.htm). Better I guess that people characterize me as a mere crackpot than feel the terror that is lurking behind their illusions.

People are also surprised to hear that it is the health care system itself that is causing shortened US life spans and bad infant survival rates.  In fact it is a credit to our highly effective propaganda system that so many refuse to believe that personal choices, “life style choices” as the propaganda sources like to put it, have essentially nothing to do with our nations plummeting health statistics. Few I speak to are prepared to go even further and identify the ROOT source of our discontents as our insanely increasing economic inequality, as has been shown in the recent book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger By Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett. What can I say? This is the desired result of our massively funded thought control system euphemistically call our mass media. Never have so many been so confused about what is going on.  We are witnessing (though by design most are unaware of it) a triumph of epic proportions in the long march of social engeering.

Consequently I was pleased to come across this report on the Medicare facet of the disaster that is American health care, “AHRQ: Rate of Adverse Events in Medicare Cases ‘Disturbing'” (http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/content/HEP-259160/AHRQ-Rate-of-Adverse-Events-in-Medicare-Cases-Disturbing#%23). The report has details of what sorts of things actually go wrong in hospitals and why. Folks who look through this with open eyes will come to the conclusion that our hospitals have become down right dangerous places to be sick in. Open minds will realize that it is not just Medicare that is spreading death and mayhem. It is the entire system from our decrepit public health system and the corrupt Federal agencies administering it, to the doctors office down the street. It is all bad for very logical reasons that are all political in nature. We are administering ourselves to death.

Only in a nearly perfectly propagandized society could such things go on without rage in the streets.  The propagandist must be so proud of themselves.

List of Citizen Journalism Websites


Citizen journalism has been described as individuals “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.”

In their report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis write that “the intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.”

Citizen Journalism is slowly being looked upon as a form of rightful democratic ways of giving honest news, articles, etc, directly by citizens of the world from anywhere.

Kent Bye’s “Echo Chamber Project” is attempting a new type of citizen journalism: an “open source, investigative documentary about the how the television news media became an uncritical echo chamber to the Executive Branch leading up to the war in Iraq.” By “open source,” Bye means that he is sharing both the transcripts and footage from his documentary with anyone who wants to use it or remix it with other footage as they see fit. He is also trying to “develop more sophisticated techniques for citizen journalism,” including new software tools that will enable other collaborative efforts. A preliminary video of the Echo Chamber Project is available on OurMedia.org, a non-profit initiative that provides free storage space and bandwidth to anyone with videos, audio files, text files, or software that they’d like to share with the world.

NowPublic lets anyone publish their own work, collectively decide what appears on the homepage and upload photographs, video or sound recordings that relate to news stories. The site is just under 1 year old but with several thousand contributors is already a rival to conventional media in terms of reporting capacity.

World Wide List here

California (partial)


Ritual Humiliation Scanners


Raising taxes on the fat cats will save us. It has before.


[Sorry, Ralph, this is the only way “the Super-Rich will save us. ” -DS]

The Myth

Do tax cuts stimulate the economy?

Yes. Tax cuts allow people to keep more of their own money therefore they have more to invest and spend into the economy and more money to start business and create jobs therefore also helping to stimulate the economy.

I think when people take a look back at this moment in our economic history, they’ll recognize tax cuts work. They have made a difference. ~George W. Bush

The Realities

The brute facts are these:

Large income tax cuts are followed by a bubble and then a crash.

High income taxes correlate with economic growth.

Income tax increases are followed by economic growth.

Moderate income tax cuts are followed by a flat economy.

All this is especially true as applied to the top tax rates, the amount paid on income that exceeds the highest bracket.

The Three Great Tax Cuts: Boom, Bubble, Crash

During World War One the top marginal tax rate went up to 73%. Not the highest ever, but pretty high.

In 1922, a series of rate cuts began. Down to 56%, 46%, and finally, in 1925, it went down to 25%.

The stock market took off. There was a boom. But the boom was a bubble.

It was followed by the Great Crash of 1929.

There were bank failures and the Great Depression.

From Franklin Roosevelt’s second term all the way through to Jimmy Carter, – from 1936 until 1982 – the top rate was in the 70-92% range.

Then along came Reagan in 1981. In 1982 he cut that down to 50%.

The economy went into “the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

Lindsay Maurer: Bring Your Own Bag Raffle

President of the Ukiah High School Environmental Club

The Ukiah High School Environmental Club is rewarding YOU for using reusable bags!  Participate in the BYOBag raffle — bring your own bag when you shop downtown Ukiah, and WIN PRIZES!

From November 15th through December 10th, use your own reusable bag when you shop at the following participating businesses, and receive a raffle ticket to the BYOBag Raffle, for a chance to win beautiful prizes from local businesses. (You will also receive a raffle ticket for choosing to use no bag at all.)

Find us on Facebook-Ukiah BYOBag Raffle– and spread the word

Participating Businesses:
Cinnabar Ceramics
La Tre
Three Sisters
Boutique 120
Mendocino Bounty
Shoefly and Sox
Mendocino Barkery
Dig! Music
Village Books
It’s Time
Ruby Slippers
Renaissance Market
Grace’s On Main
Pacific Outfitters
Tierra- Art, Garden, Wine
Little Brown Bear

Win Prizes From:
Cinnabar Ceramics
Heidi’s Yarn Haven
Three Sisters
Mendocino Bounty
Boutique 120
Bikram Yoga
La Tre
Shoefly & Sox
Mulligan Books
Dig! Music
Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant
Tashe A. Kurland Integrated Massage Therapy
Oco Time
Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op
Esencia Aromatherapy
The Coffee Critic
Hoyman/Browe Studio
Renaissance Market
Pacific Outfitters
Frey Vineyards
Tierra- Art, Garden, Wine
T.E. Cakes
Powerhouse Multimedia & Marketing Solutions

The BYOBag Raffle Drawing will be held at The Brewery on Tuesday, December 14th from 7:00 to 11:00 (need not be present to win).  Join us for aerial silks and other live entertainment, and beautiful prizes!

Q&A with Michele Simon — activist, attorney, badass

From The Ethicurean

It’s always fun to talk with someone who has such a sense of purpose that she doesn’t feel the need to make nice. Michele Simon is one of those people. Let me be clear: Simon, a public health attorney for the Marin Institute, and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back is a lovely individual — friendly, thoughtful, and soft-spoken. But she’s also totally unafraid to speak her mind, consistently skewering Coca-Cola, Kraft, and other companies she feels contribute to the poor health of our children, and our nation.

Recently Simon chatted with me about school food, social justice, and why we all need to get more involved with the politics of food.

Let’s start with school food. What do you think about all of the momentum around school food reform?

It’s great that so many people are focused on school food, because schools are such an obvious place that needs reform. But the problems in schools are just a microcosm of a bigger issue. I think sometimes that gets lost. We have wonderful dedicated groups of advocates pushing for school food reform, and I can point to a number of great efforts that are happening around the country. And we need to remember that school food is a part of a larger broken food system that needs to change.

What would you say that change looks like?

Right now, our entire food system is based on profit and growth. That’s what our government policies support. But our policies could, instead, support a system that’s based on values and democracy, so good food is priced in a way that everyone can afford it. It’s a question of policy; better policy can help ensure that truly healthy and sustainable food is available to everyone.

And you think policy change is feasible at this time in history?

It’s a good question. There’s some very disturbing discourse now about how everything government does is bad. And, that anything government might do to “control” your behavior is bad, so if government makes food policy changes, those must be bad, too. But this argument assumes that government is not already involved in your food choices. It completely ignores the reality that government is already involved with everything you eat. Every single meal, every bite you take is already shaped by policy; it’s just that the policy is in corporate interests, instead of the public interest. Government shouldn’t be obstructing Americans’ ability to eat well; it should be supporting it.

I wrote something recently about how despite all the attention, the problem of obesity continues to grow.  A friend then asked me, flat out, “Why should I even care? If I’m taking care of myself, if I’m eating apples and not Cheetos, why should I even care about someone who makes the reverse choice?” What would be your answer to this person?

One answer could be the health care argument – that we’re all going to pay in the form of higher health care costs. But I don’t leave it at that because I come to this work with an altruistic perspective. I believe we have a moral obligation to make the world better for everyone. As human beings, we’ve always needed to support one another,

9 things I learned by shadowing a home-energy inspector


[…] It helps to learn firsthand. The most interesting part of the four-hour visit was the blower-door test. Paul used a large fan with an airtight skirt to blow air out the front door, depressurizing the house and accelerating small air leaks so they’re easier to find. Cold air coming up from the basement doorway felt like a minor squall. Even tiny leaks passing through light-switch plates were perceptible. Langdon followed Paul around and felt each leak for himself — which make it easier to understand the problem.

Thermal imaging cameras are nifty. They make it visual and perceptible where heat escapes — both through air leaks through solid surfaces. Langdon will get a series of photos that Paul shot.

Attics should get insulation first, then walls and basements. Because heat rises. Windows are so expensive they’re rarely worth replacing for heating-bill savings alone…

Utilities are driving the retrofit industry right now… Utilities aren’t paying for reviews and retrofits because they’re tree huggers. They’re doing it because cutting demand is cheaper than building new power plants. All together now: Efficiency is the cheapest form of energy

Full article here

Is this the coolest website on the internet?


[In the tradition of the Whole Earth Catalog… -DS]

True Films


Food, Inc. is a very smart, very visual explanation of the industrial nature of our food system. Some of the characters and arguments are repeated from Michael Pollan’s bestseller, The Ominvore’s Dilemma (which I have reviewed previously), and Pollan plays a large role in this film. Like the book, this film makes a very memorable case for the downsides of agribusiness, although, unlike the book, it is light on solutions. Nonetheless, the film is eye-opening, head-shaking, and disturbing in a good way. If you eat in America, you really should see this film to get a sense of what you are eating. It’s one of a handful of true films than change people’s behavior.

— KK


Rebooting the American Dream – Chapter One: Bring My Job Home!


Also See: Rebooting the American Dream: Introduction

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [the entrepreneur] intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.
—Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776

The White House called me.

About a year after President Barack Obama took office, on the first anniversary of his major economic recovery legislation, his administration was struggling to get the word out that the legislation was, in fact, quite a success story. I found myself invited to the White House as part of a small group of well-known authors and bloggers to meet with a top administration economist as part of this promotion effort.

It was an odd problem they were facing, given that this president was masterful during the 2008 election campaign in communicating his ideas and his vision to the American public. So what happened? Why didn’t America know that the $787 billion legislation represented one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in American history, that it had demonstrably created or preserved between 1.5 million and 3 million jobs, and that it had, in all probability, prevented the severe recession Obama inherited from George W. Bush from turning into a second Republican Great Depression, at least in the short term?


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