Dave Smith: Cesar Chavez and Me…


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah
Excerpted from To Be Of Use
The Seven Seeds of Meaningful Work (2005)

“When we are really honest with ourselves,” Cesar Chavez once said, “we must admit our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines the kind of men we are. … Our cause goes on in hundreds of distant places. It multiplies among thousands and then millions of caring people who heed through a multitude of simple deeds the commandment set out in the book of the Prophet Micah, in the Old Testament: ‘What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.’”

While my [Fundalmentalist preacher] dad was building a church, Cesar Chavez was building a union. My dad believed that by winning others to his belief system, he was building himself a mansion in heaven on a street paved with gold. Cesar was living and organizing for a better life for farmworkers in a San Jose barrio called Sal Si Puedes, which means “Escape If You Can.”

What I loved most about the farmworkers’ movement when Cesar asked me to join in 1968 was our complete and utter absorption in the cause. The work consumed our everyday lives 24/7, and it had real meaning. I had gone from work that was, for me

Will Parrish: ‘Full Court Press’ Or War On Immigrants?



Ramiro Hernandez Farias

From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

From behind the glass partition in Yuba County Jail’s basement visiting room, Ramiro Hernandez Farias speaks matter-of-factly about the incredible ordeal to which he has been subjected by both Mexican drug cartel paramilitaries and the Mendocino County branch of the US drug war.

Farias, 28, has never been charged with a crime. Yet, for more than six months, he has been confined within a prison cage in the small, economically depressed town of Marysville, on the northern end of California’s Central Valley. He finally departs on February 14th, only to attend a hearing in San Francisco where an immigration judge will determine if he is allowed to remain in the United States – or whether he must return to his native Mexico. If he’s sent back, he will likely be tortured and killed by one of the country’s most violent drug cartels, La Familia Michoacán.

While reciting the events that have led to his harrowing predicament, Farias’ otherwise calm and measured voice becomes tinged with sadness, perhaps also some resignation, as he discusses the fate of his wife, Flor, and their six-year-old son, Eric.

“I think all the time about my family,” he says through an interpreter.

Tomatoes hurt…


From THE PERENNIAL PLATE

The Other Side of the Tomato

On our way towards Immokalee, Florida to visit with Immigrant Farm laborers, we decided to stop into a Chipotle. We pride ourselves on not eating fast food, and have only stopped at 1-2 along the way (always either Subway or Chipotle, and always vegetarian). But there is something about Chipotle that makes me feel like I’m not eating at a fast food joint. Their decor of metallic, aztec-ish mosaics on the walls; smell of cilantro rice; and clean metal tables is familiar and comforting so far from home. Their motto is “Food with Integrity” (it’s right there when you pull up the website), and they pride themselves on working with small farmers (when they can) and providing good, local, farm-supporting food. And it tastes good. So, we pulled off of interstate 41 without any guilt and stopped in for a quick bite.

I got what I usually get: veggie bowl with lots of rice, topped with a little bit of black beans, cheese, lettuce and their mild salsa chocked full of red tomatoes

Todd Walton: Balance — a short story



Photo by Marcia Stone

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks
Mendocino

I was the only child of elderly parents. They both died the year before I evolved out of puberty, and I was left in the care of a diminutive maiden aunt. She had absolutely no short term memory and even less money. My bedroom was my haven, my black and white television my constant companion. I was an uninspired student, a mediocre athlete, and I think it fair to say that I had no real friends, no one to confide in, no one to discuss my fears and fantasies with.

I cannot remember when I first became aware of the feeling I am about to describe. I know that I felt it when my parents were still alive, and before I could read, which means I may have been as young as four. I suppose it is even possible that I was born feeling this way, but my memory only stretches back to my late twos, when our big dark tabby cat killed a huge rat, and I saw him eating the rodent, staining the kitchen linoleum with bright blood.

And yet, even now, after all these years of living by and for this belief, I hesitate to reveal my secret. I fear it may sound trite and stupid to you. I fear you will think it little more than a poor excuse for a life poorly lived, a delusional, idiotic notion. But I must risk your contempt. It is my duty.

All my life I have been convinced that something spectacularly good

Dave Smith: Best Damn Pizza in the Universe Bar None… (Update)



Oh no! This is NOT one of Greg’s pizzas!

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

When I make pizza at home, I always, always, pile way too much and way too many different ingredients on. I guess because it seems to be the American way of living large or something. Or maybe it’s because of all the choices available at Round Table and you fall into a pattern of having tons on top.

Here in Ukiah we have several good choices when we’re hankerin’ for something cheezy and greezy. There are home town favorite Marino’s and the ever-present Round Table. There are the (ugh) cheapo national chains. Schat’s offers tempting varieties sitting there amongst the croissants and sticky buns. And only recently the new owners of the Brewpub installed a pizza oven, hired away one of the Round Table managers, and offer pretty good selections which I assume are all organic.

And then there are Greg’s pizzas at Mama’s downtown (formerly Local Flavor, and before that the Garden Bakery). Greg Shimshak says he learned pizza-making “from mama” and then honed his skills while learning and working at Alice Water’s legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley. While there, he worked with our beloved Jacquie Lee who eventually migrated to Ukiah and opened the Garden Bakery, then retired and rented the building to Greg and Heidi. And that is why we have great, great pizzas available here in Ukiah.

Adbusters Media Empowerment Kit For Teachers Helps Break Earth-Killing Consumer Trance…


From ADBUSTERS

[Parents/Grandparents: Please don’t make your kid’s teachers buy this for their classrooms. Go in with other parents in your school and share this around… -DS]

Teachers – Adbusters’ Media Literacy Kit ($125) will inspire your high school students break out of the media consumer trance! Each kit includes:

  • a lesson binder with photocopy-friendly removable sleeves
  • a DVD chock full of images and video clips
  • For a limited time: Get a FREE 1-year subscription to Adbusters magazine with purchase of the Media Empowerment Kit.

Designed as a flexible teachers’ aid, the kit features 43 lesson ideas, including personal challenges, group activities, discussion starters and eye-opening readings. Lessons are divided into three areas:

I. Explore Your Mental Environment

  • NEW IDEA: What is the Mental Environment?
  • BRAINSTORM: Explore Your Mental Environment
  • NEW IDEA: Pollution of the Mental Environment

Silent Spring Dawns…


From JENNIFER BROWDY de HERNANDEZ
New. Clear. Vision.

Hot, Dry, and Merciless — Can We Keep the Flame of Hope Alive?

Usually I try to stay positive and keep the flame of hope burning brightly, a beacon for myself and for others.

But today this stark, in-your-face, first-day-of-spring evidence of the coming train wreck of climate change has guttered my hope.

Time is running short for us, just as it is for the bears and the birds and the native peoples of the forest.

We are coming inexorably into Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Last week, turning the corner into the astronomical Spring, we went abruptly from warm winter to hot summer.  And I mean hot: it was 84 degrees Farenheit in western Massachusetts, brightly sunny, with puffy white cumulus clouds against a brilliant blue sky, unobstructed by any leaves.  No shade.

This day reminded me of a wax model: beautiful but blank.  The façade of beauty, with the crucial vital spark missing.

When I went for a walk up the mountain early that morning, the woods were eerily silent.

Radiation at Fukushima Plant Far Worse and Growing… Now So High It Will Kill Robots


From COMMON DREAMS
Thanks to Meca Wawona

Radiation levels inside Fukushima’s reactor 2 have reached fatally high levels, and levels of water are far lower than previously thought, experts say today.

A radiation monitor indicates 131.00 microsieverts per hour near the No.4 and No.3 buildings at the tsunami-crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture February 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama/Pool)The current radiation levels are so high that even robots cannot enter. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) says that new robots and equipment will need to be developed to deal with the lethal levels of radiation.

TEPCO spokesperson Junichi Matsumoto told the Associated Press, “We have to develop equipment that can tolerate high radiation” when locating and removing melted fuel during the decommissioning.

At ten times the lethal dose, the radiation levels are at their highest point yet.

At the current level of 73 sieverts, the data gathering robots can only stand two to three hours of exposure. But, Tsuyoshi Misawa, a reactor physics and engineering professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute, told The Japan Times

Gene Logsdon: Watching Hens Eat


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

I’ve learned more about the economies of small scale food production from watching chickens than from any library or university.  The hens reveal a world almost foreign to our human experience. Ever since farming became a capitalistic enterprise, husbandry has been organized around the idea of making money, not making food.  When the farmer is freed from the yoke of money-making, wonderful alternatives become possible in food production. More people can do it, for one thing. It doesn’t take a quarter million bucks to get started.  If more people do it, eventually the gardeners will become the farmers and the economics of food production will be turned upside down.

It amazes me how, as a farm boy, I learned to raise chickens the money way and thought that was the only way. We lived on a farm that was close to nature, but we were already evolving factory farming. The factory way meant that farmers had to raise lots more chickens in one place than nature ever intended, and the more they raised, the more they had to raise to try to squeeze out a profit. The chickens were penned up, which meant that they had to be provided all their food and water. They developed various diseases in unnatural captivity, started pecking bloody holes in each other, got lice,