Steve Martin: The Great Flydini



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Cooking the Perfect Steak



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Todd Walton: Cliff’s Bowl


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

Cliff Glover recently gave us one of his bowls. Cliff is an excellent potter and a superb cook. Tall, and possessed of a magnificent froth of silver gray hair, Cliff and his partner Marion Miller share a house and ceramic studio a couple miles inland from the hamlet of Albion. Marcia and I met Cliff and Marion for the first time at one of Juliette White’s spontaneous dinners, Juliette being Cliff and Marion’s neighbor for many years. The mugs we drank from that night were Cliff’s mugs; and for my birthday two years ago, Juliette gave me a Cliff Glover teapot, an exquisite two-cupper. Juliette was a big fan of Cliff’s pottery.

The bowl Cliff gave us on Marcia’s birthday in February is now my favorite bowl, and possibly my favorite thing, after my piano and not counting myriad mammals—Marcia, friends, cats; although the trouble with cats…but that’s another story. Cliff made it clear when he gave us the bowl that even though he was giving it to us on Marcia’s birthday, the bowl was for both of us. I asked him to repeat that when I was sure Marcia was listening so there wouldn’t be any confusion…that the bowl was for both of us, or in legal terms: the bowl is our joint property.

My previous favorite bowl, which I still love, (though not as much as I loved her before I met Cliff’s bowl) was given to me by my dear friend Katje Weingarten, an extraordinary poet who lives in Vermont, which is crazy.

Expert Who Predicted Previous California Earthquake Says Another Imminent


Jim Berkland Website

Thanks to The Automatic Earth

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TEPCO Director Weeps After Disclosing Truth About Fukushima Disaster
Thanks to Anna Taylor

The Daily Mail has released a dramatic picture showing the emotional exhaustion of TEPCO managing director Akio Komori who is openly weeping as he leaves a conference to brief journalists on the true situation at Fukushima, following his acknowledgment that the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens. “A senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis. He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: ‘The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans.” This is precisely as Zero Hedge had expected would happen all along, following our recurring allegations of a massive cover up by the Japanese government. And furthermore as we predicted a week ago when we said that continued government lies and subversions

I want you to do your best to put an end to this crazy system that is based on greed and anger and ignorance


From DEMOCRACY NOW

JUAN GONZALEZ: Last night, Democracy Now! reached a prominent Japanese cultural anthropologist and environmentalist, Keibo Oiwa. He is the founder of the Sloth Club, Japan’s leading “Slow Life” environmental group.

KEIBO OIWA: My name is Keibo Oiwa. I’m speaking from Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan. And I’m a professor at the university. And as a professor, I am wondering what I can do from here. And I’m very afraid that already radiation is out flowing, and that would affect especially pregnant women and younger children, small children. So, I’m trying to organize a kind of a network where people in the western Japan who can accept pregnant women and people with children from the eastern part of Japan. And so far, many people already have raised their hand, saying that, you know, they are welcoming people coming from the eastern part of Japan.

And what I want to say at this point to the people outside of Japan is that they should try to stop all the nuclear power, you know, eliminate or stop right now. Especially I’m very concerned about California, you know, like the West Coast of the United States, where there are lots of earthquakes.

Small Actions Amid Chaos


From PEAK OIL HAUSFRAU
What I do in lieu of watching television

[Update: See TRIBES below]

Riots and toppling governments in the Middle East, states taking drastic measures to balance their budgets, oil and food prices rising. The implications of all this turmoil are enough to make me start breathing into a paper sack. I can’t affect what happens in Libya or Wisconsin, but I can take action where I am, not only on my (semi-) urban homestead but also in my neighborhood and city.

Our neighborhood is beginning to organize, starting with small, simple actions like setting up a Facebook page, organizing a LitterBlitz, having regular meetings and newsletters with helpful information (weatherizing programs, useful resources, encouraging community action), and applying for trees for a tree-planting. We also hope to set up a neighborhood patrol. Eventually I hope that these baby steps with will result in greater community cohesion and trust that can be leveraged to build resilience.

Transition OKC continues to work toward supporting and expanding our local food capacity – the ability to feed ourselves. We have been facilitating meetings of a group of local food advocates for the past six months to help strengthen the existing network of local farmers and food entrepreneurs. Our TOKC team is also planning to host a Permaculture Design Course in the fall. I have wanted to take a full permaculture course for many years

Will Parrish: On The Roosting of Nuclear Chickens


From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville

Less than a decade after the United States visited a nuclear iki-jigoku (“hell on earth”) upon the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantaneously killing at least 150,000 and delivering countless more Japanese people to the grim reaper of gruesome radiation sickness, three of America’s leading nuclear technology boosters embarked on a promotional tour across Japan. Their purpose was to help swing Japanese public opinion in favor of the country’s infant civilian nuclear power industry, which was poised for a windfall of technological and financial assistance from the United States.

The international liaison was part of then-US President Dwight Eisenhower’ “Atoms for Peace” program, a Cold War diplomatic offensive aimed at providing nuclear technology loans and exports to so-called “developing” nations, so as to render them reliant on western capitalism for development of their energy infrastructures, rather than on the Soviet Union. A 1955 National Security Council directive framed the matter thusly: “[Atoms for Peace will] strengthen American world leadership and disprove the Communists’ propaganda charges that the [US] is concerned solely with the destructive uses of the atom.”

The American promotional contingent in Japan, which arrived in May 1955, was comprised, respectively, of the man perhaps

Nuclear Waste is the Killer Not Being Discussed and It Will Be Around for the Next Quarter Million Years


From THOM HARTMANN

[Repeat after me: THEY. ARE. INSANE. -DS]

You need to know this.  As the death toll soars from last Friday’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami – 50 Japanese nuclear plant workers are putting their lives on the line to prevent another catastrophe in Japan – nuclear meltdown.  All 6 GE Mark I reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are dangerously close to melting down – but that’s not even the worst of it.  Sitting on top of each reactor are pools of nuclear waste that contain larger amounts of harmful radiation than the reactors themselves.

And there are reports that those pools of waste are overheating – catching fire – and spewing that highly toxic radioactive waste into the atmosphere.  It’s like a massive dirty bomb being constantly detonated over the plant. Late last night – the remaining workers at the plant were evacuated due to extreme levels of radiation detected when pressure was relieved from one of the reactors.  Those workers returned shorty after the radiation subsided.

While their heroics should be recognized – it’s starting to look like they’re playing a losing game of whack-a-mole.  As they desperately try to cool one reactor with seawater

Class Warfare, the Final Chapter


From MICHAEL PIRSCH
Truthout
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” -Warren Buffett to The New York Times, November 26, 2006

There is overwhelming evidence that we are entering the final chapter of class warfare in the US. Today, in the “public arena,” it is forbidden to say class warfare, and many citizens do not regard themselves as working class. The assault on language comes compliments of the propaganda apparatus, which includes: public relations, marketing, corporate media and the entertainment industry, universities, think tanks and so on. Its purpose is to distract our attention from serious matters so we can focus on trivial matters – usually involving consuming. Edward Bernays, the founder of the modern propaganda industry, described the process:

Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of … in almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.[1]

Rosalind Peterson: Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants – Radiation Exposure (Repost)


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

Notes on Nuclear Power Plants & Emissions

Why would the west coast USA be in danger from Meltdown of Nuclear Power Plants in Japan?

[Update: Worst Case Scenario Imminent]

[Update: We are insane: Time Lapse Map of Every 2053 Nuclear Explosions since 1945 -DS]

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States (and then would move east on the Jet Stream). Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet stream.

It is possible that early radioactive releases are already airborne and heading toward the United States.

Japan has 55 Nuclear Power Plants with 11 More planned for operation in the near future. A fast-breeder reactor is to be re-opened in the near future (this plant was closed in 1990, due to serious problems).

U.S. EPA Glossary of Radiation Terms & Other Information – March 12, 2011
http://www.epa.gov/radiation/glossary/index.html

U.S. EPA Radiation Protection Website

Unequal Protection, Chapter I: The Deciding Moment?


From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

No laws were passed by Congress granting corporations the same treatment under the Constitution as living, breathing human beings, and none has been passed since then. It was not a concept drawn from older English law. No court decisions, state or federal, held that corporations were or should be considered the same as natural persons instead of artificial persons. The Supreme Court did not rule, in this or any other case, on the issue of corporate personhood.

Chapter 1: The Deciding Moment?

The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act.

Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose; the corporation is the handiwork of man and created to carry out a money-making policy.

There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men; a corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in a future life.

Lucy Neely: Mendocino County Food Policy



From LUCY NEELY
The Gardens Project

On March 1st, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to recognize and support the establishment of a Mendocino County Food Policy Council, which intends “to collaborate with institutions, businesses, and the public at large to create a sustainable local food system that reduces hunger, increases health and expands economic vitality.”

Linda Helland is a Public Health employee who has been organizing with the Food Policy Council since its beginning. Linda is generous of spirit and energy. She chats earnestly with the mail man and rides a bicycle even when the sky is spitting. I asked to interview her for this article, and as she came out to meet me in the foyer of Public Health and escort me back into the bowels of the building, she seemed more tired and stressed than usual. Upon my inquiry, she spoke of layoffs and low morale, program cuts and parsimony. So we made some tea and sat down to talk about the Food Policy Council (FPC).

FPCs are springing up around the country. The first formed 25 years ago in Knoxville, Tennesse, and now there are more than 100 FPCs nationwide, primarily on the city and county level. Increasing numbers of funders are requiring that communities have an FPC to be eligible for grant funding.

The Mendocino County FPC emerged from the Local Food Summit of May 2010. Organizers of the Summit,

James Houle: Shut Down California Nukes NOW! (Updated)


The nuclear plant near San Clemente, run by Southern California Edison

From JAMES HOULE
Redwood Valley

It takes a disaster to wake us up to the vulnerability of life on this precarious planet. California has very large nuclear power plants at two locations: San Onofre (between LA and San Diego) and Diablo Canyon (near San Luis Obispo) which contain a total of four nuclear reactors.  They have operated for 30 years and will be obsolete in another 10. They have many similarities to the three units in Japan that have already gone into meltdown, and have released massive amounts of radioactivity to the atmosphere:

First, our nukes are located near active earthquake faults long overdue for a major shift in the earth’s crust.

[Update: I was taken on a tour of the cliffs below the San Onofre Nuclear power plant by a geologist in 1980. He showed us that the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is sitting directly on a right face vertical earthquake fault line. ~Ed Oberweiser, Mendocino Listserv]

Second, they are located right on the shoreline and subject to the same dangers as in Japan, where tsunamis knocked out their emergency cooling water pumps, after their primary cooling systems were knocked off line by the earthquake itself.

Third, they are near major population centers.

What a nation of morons we are



From JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER

There was Japan, standing quietly offstage all these years, minding its own business, more or less – though unwinding financially and socially at some very deep level for two decades, debt rising around everybody’s ankles like a silent, insidious tsunami, population dying back, young people demoralized by the “salary-man” culture with its meager consolation of nightly drinking sprees ending in micro-hotels with rooms like funerary vaults – Japan, who had been horrifically chastened after its mad military-industrial outburst of the last century, who shook all that off to become the world’s most dependably, civilized nation.

And now, the sorrows of Job.

The world was very busy watching the ME/NA countries go batshit in history’s center ring, but the spectacle of wreckage in Japan, unfolds now like the slow-motion blossoming of some gigantic evil chrysanthemum and you get the ominous idea that this is only the start of a story that will grind on and on as more bodies are discovered and the nuclear fiasco burns deeper and Japan’s finances enter a death spiral. How could you watch those videos of the sickening wall of black water that slammed through Sendai without wondering how many doomed people it carried unseen beneath the rafts of cars, and the sideways ships, and the eerily floating houses?

I tried to follow the story on American cable TV Sunday night but with the exception of stolid, dogged CNN, all the other news channels were playing one sordid and titanically stupid program after another:

Lewis Black on Nuclear Holocaust



[A reminder of past and present BS. NSFW. ~DS]
~

Counterpunch: Don’t Worry, It’s Just a Little Radiation

First the Quake, Then the Lies

From KARL GROSSMAN

And with the major malfunction at the Fukushima nuclear power plant comes the lies…

That’s the way it’s always been when it comes to nuclear technology: deception has always been a central element in the push for it.

As desperate efforts were made Friday to keep coolant flowing—to prevent a nuclear meltdown—“radioactive vapor” was being released from the plant, reported the Associated Press. It quoted Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano as saying the amount of radioactivity was “very small.”

And it “would not affect the environment or human health,” added AP.

Really.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, the U.S. nuclear industry trade group, presented a page on its website devoted to the post-earthquake situation involving nuclear plants in Japan which opened with pronouncement: “The Japanese prime minister and the industry’s safety agency say all plants in the country are safe and that there has been no radiation release from any reactors. Utilities there are managing

Radiation Map Updated Every 3 Minutes


Thanks to Carolyn Drewes, Ukiah

Welcome to RadiationNetwork.com, home of the National Radiation Map, depicting environmental radiation levels across the USA, updated in real time every 3 minutes.  This is the first web site where the average citizen (or anyone in the world) can see what radiation levels are anywhere in the USA at any time.
~

Expert: Japan’s radiation could spread to U.S.

As Japan races to avert multiple nuclear meltdowns, one expert warned Sunday that radiation could spread to the U.S.

Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Japan’s nuclear crisis is unprecedented.

“One reactor has had half the core exposed already,” he explained. “This is the one they’re flooding with sea water in a desperate effort to prevent it from a complete meltdown. They lost control of a second reactor next to it, a partial meltdown, and there is actually a third reactor at a related site 20-kilometers away they have also lost control over. We have never had a situation like this before.”

“The worst case scenario is that the fuel rods fuse together, the temperatures get so hot that they melt together in a radioactive molten mass that bursts through the containment mechanisms and is exposed to the outside. So they spew radioactivity in the ground, into the air, into the water. Some of the radioactivity could carry in the atmosphere to the West Coast of the United States.”

Watching It Come Toward You



From Andrew Sullivan

If you haven’t seen this video of the tsunami approaching from the street-level, you haven’t quite yet absorbed the terrifying power of this death machine. When the buildings start moving off their foundations and sail through the city streets, it is hard not to gasp. I wish I could be more eloquent, but sometimes words fail.
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Rosalind Peterson: Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants – Radiation Exposure (Updated)


Video Footage Here

From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

[See also And Goodnight, American Nuclear Power by Keith Olbermann below. -DS]

[Update: Core may be partially melting…]

Notes on Nuclear Power Plants & Emissions

Why would the west coast USA be in danger from Meltdown of Nuclear Power Plants in Japan?

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States (and then would move east on the Jet Stream).  Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet stream.

It is possible that early radioactive releases are already airborne and heading toward the United States.

Roy Falk: Tsunami – Caspar Beach


From ROY FALK

Here’s a 5 minute dramatic video I shot with my iPhone 4 at 10 AM yesterday.  Watch the whole 5 minutes to see how quickly the water withdraws [starting at about 2 minutes in].

~

See also Tsunami Wave Surge Up Mad River, Humboldt County, CA. 3/11/11 here.

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Thom Hartmann: Unequal Protection — The Battle to Save Democracy (Introduction)


From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart.
— Anne Frank, from her diary, July 15, 1944

On September 2, 2009, the transnational pharmaceutical giant Pfizer pled guilty to multiple criminal felonies. It had been marketing drugs in a way that may well have led to the deaths of people and that definitely led physicians to prescribe and patients to use pharmaceuticals in ways they were not intended.

Because Pfizer is a corporation—a legal abstraction, really—it couldn’t go to jail like fraudster Bernie Madoff or killer John Dillinger; instead it paid a $1.2 billion “criminal” fine to the U.S. government—the biggest in history—as well as an additional $1 billion in civil penalties. The total settlement was more than $2.3 billion—another record. None of its executives, decision-makers, stockholders/owners, or employees saw even five minutes of the inside of a police station or jail cell.

Todd Walton: Myth & History



From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

“As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.” Book of Proverbs 25:3

“Have you seen The King’s Speech?” asked a friend.

“Marcia has and loved it,” I replied. “I’m waiting for it to come out on Netflix.”

My wife Marcia and I are on the two-movies-a-month plan, and we often don’t find the time to watch even that many.

“Of course,” continued my friend, “they’ve taken great liberties with the historical facts. I read one article that said the movie isn’t even close to the truth and another that said it has some truth in it, but not much.”

“The only way to speak the truth is to speak lovingly.” Henry David Thoreau

Historical facts. Hmm. When I was attending UC Santa Cruz in the late 1960’s (and I really did do that) Norman O. Brown came to teach at our newborn college. His course Myth & History was open to undergrads, so I signed up to hear what the famous man had to say. Who was Norman O. Brown? Having taken his Myth & History class, and having spent a few hours blabbing with Norman about this and that,

Progressive Points: Sen. Bernie Sanders proposes 5.4% surtax on millionaires


From METEOR BLADES
Daily Kos

[Let’s get behind this with emails, letters and phone calls. ~DS]

As he promised earlier this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders put some teeth into the “shared sacrifice” argument Thursday by introducing the Emergency Deficit Reduction Act. It would impose a 5.4 percent surcharge on Americans whose annual incomes exceed a milliion dollars. That, he says, would raise in the neighborhood of $50 billion. The bill would also get rid of tax breaks for oil and gas companies to the tune of $3.5 billion. This comes close to the $61 billion that House Republicans (and some Democrats) have decided to chop from programs in education, environmental regulation, heating subsidies for the poor, Planned Parenthood, nutrition, the Peace Corps and others. Says Sanders:

The American people get it. They understand you can’t move toward deficit reduction just by cutting programs that working families, the middle class, low-income people desperately need in order to survive in the midst of this terrible recession. They understand that serious, responsible deficit reduction requires shared sacrifice.

We can thank the Right Wing Greed-Heads for putting the ‘Movement’ back into the Progressive Movement


From MIKE LUX
Progressive Strategies

The great battles of this turbulent era will keep going on for years to come. The ideologues who want no check whatsoever on the power of big business have declared war on the middle class, and want no one to get in their way. Governors like Scott Walker and John Kasich will brook no compromise in trying to destroy unions. Right-wing politicians who have long wanted to do away with Social Security and Medicare and pretty much all safety nets for the poor are getting more and more brazen: Speaker Boehner made clear last week his plans to go after Social Security and Medicare sooner rather than later. And it is not just economics: the extremists are coming after not just a woman’s right to choose, but even birth control itself with their attempts to shut down family planning funding.

The good news is that, as I wrote in the Washington Post this weekend, these attacks on the things we hold dear are putting the “movement” back in the labor movement (and the women’s movement, and the progressive movement). We are going to march and demonstrate, we are going to recall Wisconsin legislators and, once a year has passed, the Governor. We will win a citizen’s veto ballot initiative fight in Ohio.

The future is organic, love it or lump it



From DR. E. ANN CLARK
Energy Bulletin

Post-oil realities will advantage small-scale, organic, locally-sourced, seasonal, and minimally processed food, just as cheap oil selected for bigness, resource-based production, globalization, and processing/packaging/refrigeration.

INTRODUCTION
Organic will be the conventional agriculture of the future, not because of wishful thinking or because it is the right thing to do, or because of some universal truth revealed from on high.

You don’t need to be a utopian to see the agricultural landscape of the future dominated by organic practitioners – whether in the city or in the country – if you stop to ask yourself …why are we not organic now?

How did we get to where we are now, and not just in farming but in the entire agri-food system?

How did we evolve an agri-food system so centered on specialization, consolidation, and globalization? What drove us to an agri-food system that reportedly consumes 19% of the national energy budget – but only 7 of the 19% are used on the farm, with the remaining 12% incurred by post-farmgate transport, processing,

The Suicide of the Republican Party



From KEITH OLBERMANN
FOK News Channel

Still having never learned to be calm, retract their claws, and sit around and act rationally in a situation that calls for panic, Wisconsin’s Republicans and their Corporate Puppeteers tonight guaranteed themselves an unprecedented and disastrous recall next January.

More over, they also guaranteed themselves that any cloak of stealth under which they have operated in their attacks on teachers, firefighters, policemen, unions, and the settled law of collective bargaining, has been stripped away. If you pass a supposedly urgent “budget repair” bill with key budget components cut from it, you forfeit the fiction that you are doing anything remedial, anything essential, anything except a naked power grab on behalf of corporations who will get the money stolen from organized labor – civic or private.

And further, when you accomplish all this by parliamentary trick – after your national party has spent two years and more decrying Congressional reconciliation – when you deny the minority the right to participate in the outcome whether by compromise or protest, you cut through the cacophony of political-speak in this country and you transmit your sneering indifference towards democracy to ordinary citizens who do not normally pay attention.

Progressive Points: An Open Letter To My Conservative Family And Friends



From DOUG REED
Solidarity Wisconsin
Thanks to Joe Wildman

Dear Friends and Family Who Lean Politically To The Right,

First and foremost, I love you. The bonds of family and friendship are stronger than the wedge that any politician can drive between us. In these divisive times, I think it’s important that we keep telling each other that.

The Declaration Of Independence begins with these words: “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another… a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

You may have noticed that my Facebook page has gone all-Wisconsin-politics-all-the-time. If you haven’t already hidden me from your news feed, I feel that a decent respect for the opinions of my friends and family requires that I should declare the causes why I am throwing myself into the fight against this bill.

My politics are proudly liberal, but I strive to keep them from being knee-jerk Democratic party talking points. I have thrown my impassioned opposition

Bruce Patterson: Mendocino Stories


From BRUCE ‘PAT’ PATTERSON
Anderson Valley

A while back in the nearby woods a large gaggle of wild turkeys started raising a ruckus to the high heavens. A veritable convention of agitated gobblers, it was, them being in their tribal mood. By and by a bunch of the turkeys came running out the tree line, hopped the pasture fence and started circling in the grass, not so noisy now that they’d switched over to dancing. One Tom turkey froze, puffed himself up like a balloon, shuddered to make himself a teensy bit bigger by getting his chest feathers to stand on end, then fanned his tail feathers, curled his neck and broke into a skittering little soft-shoe, his movements dainty. “Lookee here,” he was saying, “ain’t I something?”

Self-expression is everywhere in nature, everything from the rocks on up tells a story, and each story is inextricably woven into all. We are the creatures of our earthly surroundings, and Delta Blues rose out of the rhythms of stoop labor and sweltering sun; Jazz mimics the sounds of the city, Bluegrass the songbirds, creeks and breezes. If a writer writes about the desert, his or her prose will be spare; writing about the jungle, florid, the sea, in ebbs and flows reflecting the lack of solid ground underfoot. The creator is made manifest in creation and self-expression, whether animal or human, is meaningful to the extent it is social. Art for art’s sake? How about

How to Feed the World’s Hungry: Ditch Corporate-Controlled Agriculture


From ALTERNET
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

A new report from the UN advises ditching corporate-controlled and chemically intensive farming in favor of agroecology

There are a billion hungry people in the world and that number could rise as food insecurity increases along with population growth, economic fallout and environmental crises. But a roadmap to defeating hunger exists, if we can follow the course — and that course involves ditching corporate-controlled, chemical-intensive farming.

“To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available. And today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production in regions where the hungry live,” says Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Agroecology is more or less what many Americans would simply call “organic agriculture,” although important nuances separate the two terms.

Used successfully by peasant farmers worldwide, agroecology applies ecology to agriculture in order to optimize long-term food production, requiring few purchased inputs

Progressive Points: Tax Breaks vs. Budget Cuts


From DONNA COOPER
American Progress

House leaders are unfortunately restricting their proposed budget cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 to nonsecurity discretionary spending in an attempt to tame a $1.3 trillion deficit. This approach is especially shortsighted since the Federal Treasury loses twice as much revenue due to tax breaks than Congress appropriates on all nonsecurity discretionary spending.

The chart below compares the 10 safety-net programs slated for deep cuts with the cost of the tax breaks that should also be considered for reduction or elimination to bring the budget into balance. The column on the left is a list of safety-net programs that have already been targets of the House leadership’s budget ax. The column on the right is the cost to specified tax breaks.

Most Americans would be surprised to learn that tax breaks are not on the table during any budget negotiations. In fact, Congress has the Congressional Budget Office prepare an official spending estimate for the cost of all programs or their expansions. Meanwhile, Congress enacts and continues tax breaks without any requirement that the cost of tax breaks be calculated and shared with members before a vote.

That’s why, over the last 16 years, the cost to the Treasury of the mortgage interest tax deduction, for example, doubled from $48 billion in 1995 to nearly $100 billion this year and no one made a peep about getting control of this loss in revenue. The stunning growth in this tax break is unchecked and unquestioned.