Cheese Board Collective: 40 Years in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto

Civil Eats

Exploring alternative ways to work in the food industry is a hot topic. Recently in San Francisco a sold out Kitchen Table Talks, a monthly panel showcasing local food folk, featured a discussion about successful edible enterprises that haven’t started the conventional route.

Two of the four panelists hailed from Berkeley. Three Stone Hearth‘s Jessica Prentice, whom I’ve previously profiled on Berkeleyside, talked about her cooperative kitchen model. Cathy Goldsmith represented The Cheese Board Collective. (San Francisco business reps in the mix: Caleb Zigas, who runs the kitchen incubator program La Cocina and Anthony Myint, the restauranteur behind Mission Chinese Food and Commonwealth, both eateries give big chunks of change to charity.)

Beyond the obvious culinary connection each business is unique. What they have in common? A desire to build community—of workers, artisans, and customers—around their real food ventures.

Case in point The Cheese Board Collective, which has served as an anchor institution in what’s known as Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto for more than 40 years…

Complete article here

Will Parrish: People Who Belong To The Land

Violet Parrish Wilder & Vivian Parrish Wilder; The Artesa Site

Anderson Valley Advertiser

According to Violet Parrish Chappell, 82, traditionalist and historian of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, her people’s name – their real name, not the arbitrary handle imposed by the white man’s society in the 1870s – has always been Wina∙má∙bake ya: “People Who Belong To The Land.” To be exact, the land to which the Wina∙má∙bake ya belong spans the coast and hills at the mouth of what is today known as the Gualala River, located just outside the town of Gualala, reaching as far south as the area below the mouth of the Russian River, also extending roughly eight miles inland.

The name reflects the integral relationship of the Kashia to their landbase. It is a relationship that manifests in ritual and religious practices, as well as materially in traditional land stewardship practices developed over the course of exceptionally long land tenure. Unlike the people of European origin who have supplanted them in the area, the Kashia long ago attained an intellectual apprehension that they are part of the natural order, rather than apart from or superior to it.

According to the traditional Kashia worldview, whatever happens to the land also invariably happens to the people.

This perspective is worth bearing in mind, because one of the greatest instances of harm ever wrought on the Kashia’s ancestral land is on the verge

Bill McKibben: The Time Has Come


Let’s do this.

Beginning in mid-August, and stretching for two weeks into the Labor Day weekend, you’re invited to Washington D.C. to participate in sustained direct action against the expansion of the Canadian tarsands. Yes, it’s likely to be hot and humid. And yes, it’s possible that you’ll be arrested. But it’s also possible you’ll make a big difference.

Here’s the deal. A group of big oil companies has proposed one of the worst plans the continent has ever seen: a huge pipeline taking oil from the tarsands of Alberta all the way to Texas. Along the route there’s been powerful opposition from indigenous leaders, and from farmers and ranchers.

But this is a project with global impact. The tarsands of Canada are the second biggest pool of carbon on the planet, after Saudi Arabia’s oil wells. If you could burn all the oil in them, you’d increase the planet’s co2 concentration by 200 parts per million.  If we keep developing them, as the world’s leading climatologist James Hansen said recently, it’s “essentially game over” for the planet’s climate. Which is why a group of indigenous leaders, scientists, and environmentalist on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border this month asked citizens to come to Washington for what may turn into the biggest civil disobedience action in the history of the climate debate.

Day after day we’ll assemble outside the White House in peaceful ranks.

Gene Logsdon: Why Do Humans Congregate In Big Cities?

The Contrary Farmer

One of life’s mysteries for me is why country people have inevitably migrated to the cities in every civilization that I have studied. In the United States, where there has been little of the kind of violent upheavals that send third world countries into instability, the reasons for migration to cities seem especially specious to me. Some say we move because rural life is boring or stifling with puritanical overly-conservative life styles. Actually agrarian society has often been shockingly wide open as I tried to point out in Mother of All Arts. What happened to me just yesterday seems appropriate. I was parked along the edge of a country road jawing with a couple who were harvesting wheat. A very long-haired individual, naked to the waist, came flying by on a motorcycle, tresses trailing in the wind. Trying to be funny, I opined: “Well it must have been a man because it wasn’t wearing a bra.” One of the farmers replied, rolling her eyes: “That’s a dangerous conclusion to reach around here.”

Others move to town because they want to escape what they consider the hard work of farming. That is no longer all that true either and I wonder if it ever was. Millions of factory and construction workers perform harder physical work than most farmers do today or ever did. A friend likes to tell how thrilled he was to get off the farm 70 years ago because he had to work there every day milking cows, no weekends off.

The Life and Death of Richard Brautigan

Rolling Stone (April 1985)

His friends remembered when Richard became famous. It was the year the hippies came to San Francisco. Richard had published one novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur, but it had sold miserably 743 copies and his publisher, Grove Press, had dropped its option on Trout Fishing in America. Donald Allen was the West Coast representative of Grove and the editor of the Evergreen Review, which had introduced the Beat Generation. Allen had a small nonprofit press called the Four Seasons Foundation, and he decided to publish the book himself. Allen sold 29,000 copies of the book before Delacorte bought it. Eventually, 2 million copies were sold.

It was the kind of book that captured the spirit and sound of a generation. Soon there was a commune and an underground newspaper and even a school named after Trout Fishing in America. His short stories and poems appeared regularly in Rolling Stone, often beneath a photograph of him in his broad-brimmed hat. His face became a hippie icon. “For three or four years, he was like George Harrison walking down Haight Street,” remembered Don Carpenter, a novelist and scriptwriter and a longtime friend of Richard’s. His image infuriated what Richard called the East Coast literary mafia.

The old Beats looked at Richard with envy and surprise. The Beats were out of fashion, and Bunthorne was all the rage and he was rich, too, thunderously rich

Japan Health Official does not believe Fukushima Radioactive Beef “will cause problems”

From CNN

A Japanese health official downplayed the dangers Tuesday after cesium contaminated meat from six Fukushima cows was delivered to Japanese markets and probably ingested.

Goshi Hosono, state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food-safety, said he hoped to head off any overreactions.

“If we were to eat the meat everyday, then it would probably be dangerous,” Hosono said at a news conference Tuesday. “But if it is consumed only in small portions, I don’t think it would have any long-lasting effects on the human body.”

The meat, delivered late last month, has made its way to consumers and most likely has been ingested, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Monday evening. This was preceded by another recent discovery of radiation in the meat of 11 cows delivered to Tokyo from the same farm.

The discovery was made when Tokyo’s office of health and welfare investigated six deliveries made at the end of June from a Fukushima farm. So far, radiation has been confirmed from three out of the six cows. In one case, radiation reached 3400 Becquerels, which is about seven times the limit set by the government…

Complete story here

Thanks President Reagan… your economics suck!


See also: REPUBLICANS ran up the debt and now THEY don’t want to pay the bill

The 10 Essential Rules Of Liberty

Information Clearing House

There is nothing worse in this world than an enslaved man who naively believes himself free, except, perhaps, trying to explain to that same man his predicament. You can lay truth after truth before his feet. You can qualify your every position with cold hard irrefutable data. You can plead and scream and raise veritable hell, but before he will ever listen, he must first become aware of his own dire circumstances. As long as he views himself as “safe and secure”, as long as he imagines his chains to be wings, he will see no reason to question the validity of the world around him, and he will certainly never invest himself into changing his own deluded destiny.

Unfortunately, there are many such men crawling and scraping about here in what was once a land graced with a self sufficient and independently minded public majority. The great lie that has been perpetuated in this country over the past several decades is that we can defer our responsibilities of vigilance and place our well being and our futures into the hands of others for the sake of “collective efficiency”, or leisure. We have been conditioned to live in a state of constant indifference, a society which prizes compromise over principle and steadfast resolve.

Keith Olbermann Issues Blistering Warning To Obama Over Potential Cuts To Social Security And Medicare (VIDEO)

Current Countdown

Keith Olbermann tore into President Obama for contemplating a compromise with the Republicans over the debt ceiling that includes cuts in Social Security and major changes to Medicare.

Obama has repeatedly offered to raise the age of Medicare eligibility, and has put Social Security cuts firmly on the table in his attempts to craft a deal with the GOP to raise the debt ceiling.

In a Special Comment on his Monday show, Olbermann spoke out strongly against any tinkering with Medicare and Social Security. He delivered what he called a “sermon” about what he called America’s “greatest accomplishment”: the social safety net that includes the two programs.

Olbermann then issued a stinging warning to President Obama about what might occur if he agreed to alter Medicare and Social Security:

“I cannot foresee what will happen politically if you craft a compromise to a manufactured political crisis … I cannot forecast if you have made yourself unelectable next year or if there’s just enough greed and self-serving amnesia to reduce such an attack on that safety net to a political blip

Mendocino County: Republic of Cannibis

From The California Report and KQED Public Radio

Feds Threaten Experimental Pot Program in Mendocino

It’s well known that some people who grow pot do so under the cover of state medical-marijuana laws, then sell it on the black market for bigger profits. In response, Mendocino County has started a novel program intended to license and monitor medical marijuana producers. But this attempt to regulate pot producers has put the county at odds with the feds.

New Memo on Medical Marijuana Policy

The Department of Justice issued a new memo to federal prosecutors clarifying its medical marijuana policy. Calling marijuana “a dangerous drug,” the memo threatened enforcement actions against those in the business of cultivating and distributing pot. What does this mean for California?

Fighting Back Against Pot on Public Lands

James Houle: Dial a Nuclear Disaster — Fukushima and America’s Nukes

Redwood Valley

There are over 440 large commercial nuclear power plants operating in the world, mostly in the 30 post-industrialized countries. Many of the largest commercial plants have already exceeded their 40 year design lives but continue to operate, despite serious maintenance problems in many plants, and in the United States, with weakened inspection and regulatory controls. The Chernobyl disaster in 1989 and the Three Mile Island melt-down in 1986 illustrated the danger and astronomical long term costs associated with generating electric power by the seemingly simple task of boiling water when it is done in a highly radioactive nuclear reactor and then spinning this steam through a turbine to generate electric power. No big nuclear  power plants have been built in the post industrialized world since the late 1980s when it became obvious to all capitalists that the economics of nuclear power was very unattractive, the risks far higher than any profit-making electric power company could handle, and the disposal of radioactive waste products seemingly insolvable.

The Safety Myth in Japan:
Since the end of the Cold War, we have drowsed along and most of us are not informed about the threat that aging nuclear power plants pose.

Smart Meters: This is about as Big Brother as it gets

Thanks to Elaine and Ed

[The smart meter issue is where many on the left and right agree. -DS]

The new smart meters are watching you. They sense all kinds of goings on. They see when you turn something on or off. They see how many watts your toothbrush pulls. They send the record of that little event over wireless networks, bouncing through your neighbors’ smart meters all the way to the power company where they keep a record of your power consumption volumes and patterns every minute of every day and store that data on computers that you will never get to see.

That data shows when you are at home, shows when you are sleeping, shows when you are on vacation, when you have visitors, when you use a lamp, a power tool, some extra computers, and if you look like you’re running a business out of your home. It even senses when you bootleg energy off the grid.

Your smart meter shows a vivid profile of your personal living patterns and if you were home on the night of the murder.

This is not electrical metering. This is personal surveillance. This is a search without a warrant every day. This is your personal private life

Classic Maher: This is a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich which every day sees our laws and culture cater to rich people

When Clinton was President the rich paid a little more taxes and the government had money. Then Bush cut all those taxes and now we don’t. I know it’s hard to grasp because it involves subtracting…

Every election roughly half the population votes Democrat and half votes Republican. Now, I understand why the Republicans get one percent of the vote… the richest one percent. That other 49%?… someone will have to explain to me.

The facts about what the Republicans have done to the middle class are beyond reasonable doubt., yet their base refuses to see it.. The moneyed elite of America are dragging a bag filled with your future down the steps and your reaction is “hold on there, that looks heavy, let me give you a hand getting it into your trunk.”

Is it really that radical to suggest slightly trimming the tax break on corporate jets? It seems like a reasonable idea given that, A: people who buy corporate jets are filthy rich, and B:… I DON’T NEED A B!

This is a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich which every day sees our laws and culture cater to rich people… tax breaks, industry-written laws, bail-outs, deregulation… all of it goes to making the lives of the rich a little bit cushier.

REPUBLICANS ran up the debt and now THEY don’t want to pay the bill


What our nation is faced with today is a mountain of debt run up mostly by 3 Republican Presidents – Ronald Reagan – and the two Bushes. And now today – that very same Republican Party is saying “no way” to Democrats who just want to pay off that pile of Republican debt. Think about it this way – the Republicans ran up a huge credit card bill, and now they’re refusing to pay for it. They took the good times – the stimulation to the economy from all that spending and the political benefits from all those wars – and now they don’t want to pay for it. If you or I did that with our credit card – and did it intentionally – we’d be in jail.

Here is why we are in debt. Before Reagan took office – our national debt was just under one trillion dollars and our top tax rate was 74%. But Reagan promised the nation good times – so he gave all his rich buddies tax cuts – and then put $2 trillion on the nation’s credit card. Reagan borrowed and spent – in just 8 years – more money than every president of the United States from George Washington to Jimmy Carter – COMBINED. And now the Republicans don’t want to pay the bill for Reagan’s debt.

Rev Billy: Hysterical Revolution



At our gathering fighting tar sands in Salt Lake City with Tim DeChristopher – he stressed that a new generation of protest must have ingenuity. He cites the great protests that have moved freedom in the past, but calls for a new inventiveness. That got me thinking.

For decades we have had no progressive consensus on a strategy for structural change in this country. Not since the heyday of the Gender Rights movement and ACT UP – now on our minds and in our hearts with the passage of the Gay Marriage law finally in New York.

New and ultimately successful strategies often appear to be outlandish at first. And in each of the great social movements of the 20th century – labor, civil rights, women and gender rights -there was a moment where strategy was adopted that was entirely unique; a moment where those activists knew they were not the same as the famous movements full of their heroes from before. There began creative pranks, mass actions, rhetorical and visual and musical shifts – which were scary, unprecedented and history-making. We’re at such a point now with our Earth Movement. Either we stop emulating the now-cliched approaches of our ancestor activists or we perish and the Earth accelerates into a deadly spiral.

Facebook now helping governments spy on and arrest peaceful activists


News reports confirm that governments are now being aided by Facebook to spy on activists who plan peaceful protests. One report reveals that over 300 activists were tracked, detained and in some case deported after organizing events on the popular social networking site.

While talking to Russia Today about recent revolutions in the Middle East and the role of social media, Assange explained that Facebook is “the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations, their communications with each other, and their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. Intelligence.”

In the interesting interview, Assange added that it’s not just Facebook, but Google and Yahoo as well as all other major U.S. organizations have developed built-in interfaces for U.S. Intelligence. It helps get around the costly and time-consuming serving of subpoenas.

Not that Facebook is run by U.S. Intelligence agencies, but instead of handing out records “one by one,” it saves Facebook time and money to have “automated the process” for spying. Assange believes that all Facebook users should understand

Todd Walton: Lives Unlived


“Every art has its secrets, and the secrets of distilling are being lost the way the old songs were lost. When I was a boy there wasn’t a man in the barony but had a hundred songs in his head, but with people running here, there and everywhere, the songs were lost…” Frank O’Connor

I am reading The Collected Stories of Frank O’Connor for the third time in twelve years. Enough time has passed since my last reading of his remarkable stories so I have forgotten sufficient details and plot twists and endings to make the stories new to me again; and in some ways they are better than new because I know them now as I know favorite pieces of music or beloved paintings, and in this further experience of them I discover more and more of the genius they contain.

Frank O’Connor, who died in 1966, was Irish, and most of his stories are set in Cork and Dublin in the 1940’s and 1950’s. O’Connor was hailed by W.B. Yeats as the Chekhov of Irish literature, yet very few of my well-read friends have heard of him, and I, a voracious story reader since childhood, discovered him relatively late in my incessant search for great stories. I should note that many of my well-read friends are aghast at my reading habits which now largely involve reading and re-reading a relatively few dead writers of short stories, with barely

Book Review: Kim, Rudyard Kipling

A review

There is a fine antidote to all manner of morbidness in the brilliant pages of Kim. Mr. Kipling’s last work is, to my mind, his best, and not easily comparable with the work of any other man; for it is of its own kind and of a novel kind, and fairly amazes one by the proof it affords of the author’s magnificent versatility. “Not much of a story” may perhaps be the verdict of the ruthless boy reader who revels in the Jungle Book and Captain Courageous, and derives an unholy gratification from Stalky & Co. Kim is, in fact and upon the surface, but an insignificant fragment of human history; a bit out of the biography of a little vagabond of Irish parentage, orphaned when a baby, and left to shift for himself in infinite India. But the subtlety of the East and the “faculty” of the West are blended in this terroe filius, this tricksy foundling of earth’s oldest earth. His adventures are many and enthralling. He joins himself, as scout and general provider,—incidentally, also, as chela or disciple—to a saintly old lama from Thibet, “bound to the Wheel of Things,” and roaming India in search of the Stream of Immortality. The pious people of the country are permitted to “acquire merit” by feeding and lodging these two, between whom there grows up

Transition: Resilient to what?

Transition Culture

I was reading through the Executive Summary of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2011 this afternoon (as you do) and the chart on page 3 caught my eye. In it, the authors set out all the risks they see in the world on a matrix which positions the various risks by their perceived impact on the global economy and by the perceived likelihood of their happening. What you might expect to be at the top, given recent media reports, would be the threat of terrorism or perhaps some hideous computer virus that knocks out nuclear power station.  But no.  There at the top, leading the pack, are climate change, ‘extreme energy price volatility’ and fiscal crises.

In my research over the past couple of years on the subject of resilience, I often ended up at the question of ‘resilient to what?’  In a paper for the think tank DEMOS called ‘Resilient Nation’, Charlie Edwards listed the things he felt we should be preparing resilience to. They were climate change, floods, extreme weather events, pandemics, energy shortages, nuclear attacks, terrorism and a few others.  The UK government Cabinet Office runs ‘Regional Resilience Teams’ who are charged with creating plans for each region. Yet the main focus of this will most likely be on terrorism and pandemics.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…

Thanks to Bruce McCloskey

The government’s promises, for pensions and healthcare and everything else, cannot be kept. We as a nation will eventually have to have a truthful conversation about that reality…

The fact that the Federal government cannot possibly fund the entitlement/ benefit programs that have been promised to the citizenry is well-known, but remarkably unwelcome.

I have addressed this difficult reality dozens of times, as have hundreds of other commentators, for example:
To Fix Social Security, First Ask Why It Is Deep in the Red (January 18, 2011)
Is the Recovery “Self-Sustaining”? Here’s a Test (March 22, 2011)
If You Want Solutions, First Pin Down Where the Money Is Going (May 23, 2011)

Bruce Krasting recently penned a wonderful evocation of the bitter “I, Me, Mine” rage this reality triggers in Americans: I go to a 4th of July party (Zero Hedge).

The typical reaction is either denial, mixed with wishful thinking–if only we taxed the rich and cut out war spending, everything could easily be funded indefinitely–or rage against anything and everyone that threatens the individual’s own share of the swag.

I wish to be treated as an object — The Fountainhead of Ayn Rand Foolishness

Transition Voice

If you’re one of the 16 or so people who has seen the recent release of Atlas Shrugged: Part I, you’ll be heartened to know there’s another Ayn Rand film adaptation to enjoy while you’re waiting for the next Atlas installment (but don’t hold your breath). That film is The Fountainhead, released in 1949.

Russian-born Ayn Rand (1905-1982), a staunch anti-Communist, promulgated a philosophy of extreme individualism called Objectivism. It holds that man is an end in himself, and it rejects altruism in any form.

I wish to be treated as an object

The title of her 1964 book, The Virtue of Selfishness, sums up the philosophy succinctly. Objectivism promotes the capitalist system, especially property rights, and reviles “distribution of wealth” carried out – or stolen, in Rand’s view –in the form of taxes. Above all, Objectivism exalts the primacy of the gifted individual, the doers and “wealth builders,” unfairly shackled by the less productive

Reinventing the Informal Economy


[…] economic historians have long documented that formal economic models suggest people should be starving to death – even when they aren’t. The question “how do people in collapsed societies or societies in great crisis live, when the formal economy cannot support them” is answered by the informal economy. It is literally life and death.

I do not believe that the formal economy will disappear – but we are facing falling incomes, increasing insecurity and instability, and more and more of our formal economy incomes being used to serve enormous, and unsustainable debts. We already know that safety nets are being undermined and debt levels rising rapidly – this is a long term problem, whether there are green shoots or not. And most of us are vastly overreliant on the formal economy.

Which means that we must rebuild the commons, and the informal economy – and that means reallocating time and resources and labor away from the formal economy. The law of conservation here requires that just as we have rapidly taken our commons and informal economy labor and placed it in the service of economic growth, we must equally rapidly begin shifting our resources to the informal economy – we need to spend more time volunteering, we need to return to domestic labor that saves us money, like gardening, mending,

Radio Curious: Barry Vogel interviews Dr. Helen Caldicott on Nuclear Disasters


Dr. Helen Caldicott describes how the nuclear disasters that began in Japan on March 11, 2011, with the massive 9.0 point earthquake and resulting tsunami, present catastrophes the likes of which human kind has never seen before.  We discuss what happened, the medical and health consequences around the world, why public information has not been forthcoming, and what can be done to protect ourselves.  In response to the question, what can be done to prevent similar disasters in the future, Dr. Caldicott’s suggested action is somewhat reminiscent of the 1960s civil right’s movement in the United States.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1938, Dr. Caldicott received her medical degree from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 1961, she was a co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and has devoted the last 35 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and what she believes are necessary changes in human behavior.

Our conversation, recorded by phone from her home in southeast Australia on June 26, 2011, begins with her explanation of what occurred at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plants in Japan after the March, 2011 earthquake.

The books Helen Caldicott recommends are “On The Beach,” by Nevil Shute, and her book, “Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.”

Listen here

Transition: Hard work + Vision = Kilowatts


Naresh Giangrande reports…

Nothing sets me off more than people who portray Transition town folk as a bunch of happy clappy, ‘we just vision it and it will happen’ eco activists. Last night’s EGM of TRESOC was a delightful, difficult, heart warming, and frustrating exploration of unknown territory; raw Transition in Action. It was a good example of what happens when a project moves from the great idea phase into real decision involving, in this case, significant sums of money, within a community. Suddenly emotions run high, and fragile relationships can become frayed. Although last night I think we emerged intact, more or less. It is what happens when a community expresses it’s will grounded in a positive vision- amazing things can happen.

The workload for the directors is going through the roof as four projects are taking shape;

The 4.5 MW wind farm development is moving forward, data collection is being done to enable an autumn 2011 planning application to be made.

  • An Anaerobic Digestion scheme now has a technology partner, Monsal Ltd who are taking an equity stake in the project, with South Hams District Council and the Dartington Trust also on board.
  • There is a request from TQ9 developments for TRESOC to supply a bio mass boiler for the new development at Baltic wharf.

Gene Logsdon: Basketball Patches and Plastic Jug Blossoms

The Contrary Farmer

People who pass on the road sometime slow down considerably when they see our patch of basketballs and our plastic jugs in bloom. Our gardens are beginning to look like a modern exhibit of recycled trash art. But we have gone berserk only in the sense that wild animals are driving us there. We spend as much time now protecting our food supply from predators like deer and raccoons as we do planting and weeding.

The basketballs are holding up black plastic netting above the strawberries to keep the infernal deer from eating all the plants and the infernal birds from eating the fruit. If we laid the netting directly on the plants, it would depress plant growth too much and the robins would be able to get to the berries through the netting. Spaulding may not have realized it but basketballs are perfect for this job. The netting is barely visible from a distance so there seems to be no reason for the basketballs to be there. Friends like to make jokes, like what’s our yield of basketballs per acre this year.

The balls in the strawberry patch won’t hold air anymore. We have a fairly large supply of them because our grandsons are bent on sending me and their grandmother to an early grave playing basketball in the barn all the time. The stupid balls keep bouncing up against the roofing nails projecting through the roof… More at The Contrary Farmer here

Mendo Islanders: Cease and Desist says California Dept. of Food and Agriculture to Green Uprising Farm in Willits [Updated]


[Update below from Michael Foley…]

Dear friends, family, newspaper editors, and those who seek wholesome food in their local community:

On Thursday June 30th during the weekly farmer’s market in Willits, California, my husband Michael Foley was served a notice of violation from Jim Dentoni of the Calif. Dept. of Food and Agriculture.  The notice said: “You are hereby ordered to cease and desist the sale of, and giving away, of any and all raw or pasteurized dairy products from any unlicensed dairy and/or processing milk plant.”

My husband and I run a small family farm called Green Uprising at Blackberry Bend where we reside with our children and grandchildren.  In addition to providing the community with fresh fruit and vegetables grown without artificial pesticides and fertilizers, we board, feed, and milk ten adult goats for shareholders who have purchased ownership interest in the herd.

According to the Calif Dept. of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) this is a threat to the public health.  Our children, our grandchildren, friends, family, neighbors and shareholders all drink raw milk directly from the teats of goats boarded at our farm (my goodness!)

Cry out! The Social Security benefit cut on the table in the debt limit talks


Here’s some deficit reduction talk to make your eyes glaze over.

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Lawmakers are considering changing how the Consumer Price Index is calculated, a move that could save perhaps $220 billion and represent significant progress in the ongoing federal debt ceiling and deficit reduction talks.According to congressional aides familiar with the discussions, the proposal would shift how the Consumer Price Index is calculated to reflect how people tend to change spending patterns when prices increase. For example, consumers tend to drive less when gas prices increase dramatically.

While that might “save” the government perhaps $220 billion, it could cost the nation’s seniors dearly. This is a shift to what’s called a chained CPI. The National Women’s Law Center explains what that means [pdf] for the people most reliant on cost of living increases.

Social Security benefits are adjusted annually to account for inflation—when the cost of living increases, benefits automatically increase so that their purchasing power does not erode over time. Shifting to the chained CPI would mean a cut in Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries, compared to the benefits

Greenpeace: Fukushima… this is just unbelievable… hotspots up to 500-700 times what is normal [Updated]

RT – Energy News

Jan Beranek, part of Greenpeace team investigating Fukushima fallout:

Hotspots, where children play, up to 500-700 times what is normal.

This is just unbelievable, at those levels of exposure this is certainly risking the health and lives of people.

Soviets decided to evacuate everyone that was living in areas where radiation was 3-4 times lower than what is found in Fukushima City.

Japan groups alarmed by radioactive soil

The citizens’ groups — the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation and five other non-governmental organisations — have called for the evacuation of pregnant women and children from the town…. “Soil contamination is spreading in the city,” Yamauchi said in a statement.

“Children are playing with the soil, meaning they are playing with high levels of radioactive substances. Evacuation must be conducted as soon as possible.”…

Patriots? Fundamentalist Religion Will Destroy the World


The deluded religious belief that any people or nation or church is a “chosen” people is the root of almost all our troubles.

The earth bursts with life. Far right exclusionary religion bursts with death. If there is a creator of life He/She/It must hate fundamentalist religion.

The countries in the world that are the most fundamentalist and religious, and/or those whose identity is most religion-based, are the world’s greatest troublemakers. Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the USA, Vatican City and the state of Israel come to mind.

If the rest of the human race could find a time machine to roll back the clock and make a world where these countries/city states had never existed we’d live in a better world.

Just take one example of religion’s baleful influence: President Woodrow Wilson’s messianic religion-inspired intervention in World War One. “My life would not be worth living” Wilson wrote, “if it were not for the driving power of religion, for faith, pure and simple.” (Letter to Nancy Toy, 1915.)

Wilson’s religious views were the driving force in his political career, informing his quest for world peace. And like all fanatics he decided to achieve this “peace” through war. The devout Woodrow Wilson upset fellow Presbyterians

Reverend Billy’s Freakstorm


Rev. preaches on whittling those 700 causes in your inbox every morning down to just one: saving life itself.

You hear him shout it all the time – EARTHALUJAH! Rev. explains what he means…

Dreams (2011)

…perhaps you can begin to ask yourself how you would interpret events in your own life if you perceived your life as significant, if you perceived the events in your life as being rich with potential meaning, perceived the universe as immeasurably complex and filled with other intelligences who talk to each other and sometimes to you, who say things not meant for you to hear, and who say things meant for you to hear. How would your own life be, and how would you live this life, if you fully internalized and realized the implications of participating in a vibrant, living, meaningful universe?

Democracy Is Coming


It’s coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It’s coming from the feel
that this ain’t exactly real,
or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don’t pretend to understand at all.
It’s coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin’
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate

We must tell the truth about the domination that is at the heart of the American Dream so that we may face the brokenness of our world

The Smirking Chimp

[…] I believe that to be fully alive today is to live with anguish, not for one’s own condition in the world but for the condition of a broken world. My anguish flows not from the realization that it is getting harder for people to live the American Dream, but from the recognition that the American Dream has made it harder to hold together the living world.

So, our task is to tell the truth about the domination that is at the heart of the American Dream so that we may face the brokenness of our world. Only then can we embrace the anguish of the American Dream and confront honestly our moment in history…

whatever the specific articulation of the American Dream, it is built on domination. This is the obvious truth on the surface, the reality that most dreamers want to leave out, perhaps because it leads to a painful question: How deeply woven into the fabric of U.S. society is the domination/subordination dynamic on which this country’s wealth and freedom are based?

First, the American part: The United States

Todd Walton: Thus Spake Angelina


“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.”  Montaigne

I used to hate it when I predicted something long in advance of when it happened, and then no one remembered I predicted it or believed me when I insisted I predicted the thing. And I used to really hate it when I invented something but didn’t bother to patent it because I didn’t have the money or the time or the personality, and then someone else found out about the thing I invented and they patented it and became filthy rich from my invention. But now I don’t mind when people don’t believe I predicted important things before they happened. Nor do I mind when people get rich and famous from my inventions. And here’s why.

The writings of my hero Buckminster Fuller convinced me it was a colossal waste of time to worry about people stealing our ideas or not believing us because ultimately the universe (transcendent of human pettiness and ignorance) responds appropriately and exquisitely to our thoughts and actions regardless of whether we own the patents on the lucrative inventions or whether people believe us.

Will Parrish: Trees Don’t Read The Press Democrat


During the three-day period June 11-13, a story published on the Associated Press wire concerning a pair of massive redwood forest-to-vineyard conversions in the northwestern corner of Sonoma County, just outside the small town of Annapolis, was featured by newspapers, internet periodicals, and business trade publications throughout the United States.  It was a rare instance of at least one aspect of the wine industry’s ecological impact receiving national attention, if only fleetingly.

The main conflict in the story, written by long-time AP reporter Jason Dearen, was captured by one of headlines that accompanied it in several publications, “Redwoods or Red Wine?”  While many of the North Coast’s leading politicians and entrepreneurs would prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the fact, it strikes most people in this country as strange that hundreds of acres of redwood trees are on the verge of being cut to make way for wine grapes. That’s particularly so given that this a region of the country where vineyards already dominate the landscape, and where there is such a glut of grapes that farmers are still having trouble unloading last year’s crop at a decent price.

The two “conversions” the piece focused on, which we have

Farmer’s Market Price Comparisons


Friends of the Farmers Market,

Greetings.  The season is starting to pick up pace.  Pedro Ortiz promises to have the season’s first tomatoes at the Ukiah Saturday Market … but only about 20 lb total, so they will likely only last a few minutes. Cinnamon Bear farm hopes to have the first Mendo County tomatoes in another week.  It has been a long wait for the amazing treat that is the fresh, local tomatoes. The article at this link (provided by Ron Epstein) provides a compelling reminder about why it is worth foregoing those bland mid-winter box store tomatoes altogether and waiting for the locals.

One of the things we have lots of at market these days are turnips.  Turns out, it seems that lots of you aren’t too sure what to do with a turnip. So, to the rescue, Jini Reynolds!  Jini will meet up with you at 10am, shop with you for some turnips and then show you how to use them in salads, dressings and more.  After the session you should be forever ready for turnip season.

Will Siegel will