Janie Sheppard: Ben Cunningham’s Coit Tower Mural Revealed


From JANIE SHEPPARD
Mendocino County

Making a special trip to San Francisco was worth it to see muralist Ben Cunningham’s 9’ by 23’ fresco, “Outdoor Life.” Cunningham is the artist who painted the mural in the Ukiah Post Office, which is currently under a death sentence, thanks to ill-conceived, purported cost-saving measures by the Postal Service.  Public art is endangered nationwide; to save it we first have to know it is there. Hidden treasures must be revealed.

Ben Cunningham’s mural in Coit Tower is a revelation; most of the time it remains unseen; thus the special trip. The picture above is only part of the mural.  Because the mural is in a very tight space and goes around a door, I could capture it only in segments.

So, from left to right, here are the segments:

Up To Us


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

To the Editors (AVA, UDJ):

Up To Us

Floods, drought, natural fires, hurricanes, violent storms, massive species extinction, infrastructure collapse, terrorist attacks, food riots, starvation, economic disaster, peak oil, climate change, water shortages, food shortages, soil depletion, wars, rumors of wars, entitlement slashing, and political ineptitude seem now to be reaching critical mass. Will technology save us? How about ideology? Don’t want to think about it?

Here on Mendo Island, it’s much easier to just go to the beach, or drift off in a purple haze of giggly weed. Surely someone is going to figure all this out and save us. Someone? Anyone? Where are you?

Nope, up to us… up to you… and up to our local communities. We will get through this with local mutual aid or we will not get through this at all.

The world economy and corrupt politicos are bringing us down. Local economies and community-level solutions can bring us forward to a simpler, saner, sustainable living.

Here are some ideas and inspiration to google: shareable, resilience circles and transition towns.
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The system was not built to handle a takeover of the system by an unreasoning cult


From DAVID ATKINS
digby

Jonestown D.C.

It is easy to get caught up in every rivulet of the default crisis as we approach the inevitable cascade of market panics followed by shock doctrine cuts to social services. It is easy to find fault with the Administration for its many flaws in handling the situation, and with Congressional Democrats as well.

But it’s also important to remember the big picture. The big picture is that America is being held hostage by a conservative movement that behaves much more as a bizarre religious cult, than a legitimate political entity. It is perhaps the most dangerous cult to have ever held sway over a major nation-state in modern times.

It is a cult founded on a number of dogmatic beliefs that have no basis in reality. These are people who believe that the inflection point of the Laffer Curve is somewhere in the low single digits, and that cutting taxes to insanely low levels will magically lead to revenue increases. These are people who believe that government itself is basically unnecessary but for a private property protection scheme, and that the unfettered market will provide all that society needs, and will dole out the appropriate price for all goods, wages and services with zero inflation through the magic of the market. These are people who believe it is impossible for humans to affect the climate, and that it is better for humans to attempt to magically adapt somehow

Share or Die


From NEAL GORENFLO
Shareable

Share or Die is the first collection of writing from Generation Y about post-college work and life in the 21st Century.

America stands at a precipice; limitless consumption, reckless economics, and disregard for the environment have put the country on a collision course with disaster. It’s up to a younger generation to rebuild according to new forms of organization, and Share or Die is a collection of messages from the front lines. From new growth in urban Detroit to backyard gardens, young people are finding ways to produce and share resources differently.

Editor’s Preface:

About six months ago, a weather-beaten, middle-age man asked me for money on the platform of the Mountain View Caltrain station.

I gave him three dollars. He thanked me, and asked what I did for work. I introduced myself, learned his name (Jeff) and we shook hands. I pulled out a card from my computer bag, and handed it to him as I told him that I publish an online magazine about sharing.

Jeff lit up, “Oh I get that, when you’re homeless, it’s share or die.”

That got my attention and I asked him to explain. Jeff said that a year earlier, his girlfriend drank herself to death alone in a motel room.

Book Review: The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg


From FRANK KAMINSKI
Mud City Press
via Energy Bulletin

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality By Richard Heinberg

While “experts” assure us that the economy is slowly emerging from recession, a growing camp of well-informed dissenters thinks not. The scant evidence of recovery, insists this group, is not an anomaly but the sign of a profound sea change. The End of Growth, one book unequivocally calls it, next to a cover image of a burst balloon and a pin. The book’s author, Richard Heinberg, makes his case by far the most eloquently and comprehensively—and though it may be a decidedly unwelcome one for those now struggling, that doesn’t detract from its validity.

The limits-to-growth debate began in 1972 with the MIT report of the same name. That seminal study concluded that without preventive action, sometime early this century the global economy would collide catastrophically with hard ecological limits. No one acted, and now the economy is, in Heinberg’s judgment, trapped in a rut from which there’s no escape. Heinberg is a leading authority on one critical natural limit precluding further growth, that of oil supply—on which his The Party’s Over is a standard reference. In this new book, he argues that industrial economies are on the eve of a great contraction… Full book review here
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Miss USA 2011: Should Evolution and Math Be Taught In Schools?




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Mendo Island Action Center: Vote Yes on Libraries — Measure A


From VOTE YES ON LIBRARIES

The countywide “Vote Yes on Libraries” campaign committee announced the start of its active organizing to make sure our county libraries have proper funding. It requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass the initiative, called “Measure A” on the fall ballot, so “Vote Yes on Libraries” groups are forming in every community within the county.

The money raised by the initiative cannot be used for any other purpose because state law, and the ordinance itself, says the monies raised “shall be used exclusively for preserving existing libraries, reversing the deterioration in services…upgrading facilities, services and collections…”  When approved, Measure A will keep all branches open five days per week and restore and expand the children’s reading programs.

“Libraries contribute to the health and vitality of our community. This is an investment in the future. The one-eighth cent increase in the sales tax will be 13 cents for every hundred dollars spent on taxable items which will cost the average household less than $2 per month,” said Valerie Frey of Fort Bragg, the president of the Yes on Libraries Steering Committee.

The library system is in jeopardy. Measure A will provide the money ($1.3 million annually) to solve its problems. Soon whole branches may have to be closed. Already library hours

The Internet is my religion


From JIM GILLIAM
PersonalDemocracy.com

Via Shareable

In this talk at the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum, startup founder and grassroots activist Jim Gilliam speaks about his born-again Christian upbringing, and his crisis of faith after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the death of his mother. Through this crucible he emerged with a refound faith—in what people are capable of accomplishing when they work together and raise one another up. In this moving video, Gilliam speaks about the network of activists and supporters he built online, and the redemptive power of community and human decency.


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Mendo Food Sovereignty?


Thanks to Janie Rezner

Sedgwick, Maine has done what no other town in the United States has done. Earlier this year the town unanimously passed an ordinance giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.”

This is WITHOUT government regulation.

This includes raw milk, locally slaughtered meats, and just about anything else you can imagine. It means that farmer and patron agree to enter into private agreements with one another, and settle any disputes that arise personally and civilly.

It is the way things used to be done before Americans sacrificed their freedoms to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Food sovereignty ordinances are what must be in place to enable an explosion of local food production. This is only the beginning!

Learn about the international principles developed by Via Campesina in this entry from Wikipedia

Via Campesina’s seven principles of food sovereignty include:

  1. Food: A Basic Human Right. Everyone must have access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in sufficient quantity and quality to sustain a healthy life with full human dignity. Each nation should declare