Archive for June, 2006
The personal is political — I remember that as a feminist mantra in college. And there’s truth to it. But if you want enduring truth of the human condition it is this: the political will always become personal. Latest sample: gate crashers Kos and Armstrong. Some say they’re up on a pedestal. Others say they should be up on a stake, the better to be burned at. Firedoglake says funny stuff in proper blog-referencing-blog fashion.
July 18-19 the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas will host the fifth international conference on Peak Oil. The gathering will showcase top oil depletion experts, including Chelsea Green author Dennis Meadows (Limits to Growth).
“ASPO-5 is the culmination of a year-long collaboration,” says Ugo Bardi, professor of chemistry at the University of Florence and lead organizer of the conference, set in the Mediterranean seaside park of San Rossore, three miles from Pisa. “We’re bringing together an incredible group of experts and scientists along with growing numbers of individuals and government officials who are concerned about energy depletion.”
Featuring a veritable who’s who of the peak oil movement, the conference is expected to make news with fresh assessments of the world’s oil reserves and production capacity, new insights into the likely impacts of peak oil (as well as gas and coal), and creative strategies for negotiating the ride down the far side of Hubbert’s curve.
Feeling a little under the weather? Throat feel a little raw? Maybe running a slight fever?
Think that it might help to go to the doctor and have a strep culture taken?
If you were Creekstone Farm in Kansas, and you wanted to test your cattle for the “Mad Cow” prion–just to be absolutely certain that the animals are clean and safe to eat–you would be told to shut up and sit down by the USDA (United States Department of Avoiding-reality-at-all-costs).
Ah, I feel better. Don’t you?
Lappé’s title says ‘capitalism that works for all,’ but it’s clear that what she means is ‘market economics that works for all.’ (That’s why I inserted “(sic)” into her title. Her title is much more interesting, but considering her first couple paragraphs, a little strange since obviously incorrect. Anyway, I’m nitpicking. The story she’s reporting on is good and deserves to be spread around.
Capitalism [sic] That Works For All
By Frances Moore Lappé, AlterNet
Posted on June 23, 2006, Printed on June 23, 2006
A market economy and capitalism are synonymous — or at least joined at the hip. That’s what most Americans grow up assuming. But it is not necessarily so. Capitalism — control by those supplying the capital in order to return wealth to shareholders — is only one way to drive a market.
Granted, it is hard to imagine another possibility for how an economy could work in the abstract. It helps to have a real-life example.
And now I do.
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PS: May I interest you in some Ethical Markets?
PPS: See also, Wikipedia on Mondragon.
The fox has paid the farmer to leave the henhouse unlocked. That’s how this system works.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MERCURY STORM BREWING IN GULF OF MEXICO
LAVACA BAY, TX, June 22, 2006 –/WORLD-WIRE/– Calhoun County fishermen, environmental activists, and concerned Calhoun County residents say state and federal agencies were in collusion with Alcoa over the mercury cleanup in Lavaca Bay. They say the recent December 2004 settlement between U.S., Texas, and Alcoa over the Lavaca Bay Mercury Superfund not only failed in its attempt to address the health impacts of mercury on the mostly poor minority fishing communities, but it also under-estimated the amount of mercury released to the environment and therefore the cleanup.
Sediments in Lavaca Bay were contaminated with mercury from past operations at Alcoa’s Point Comfort, Texas facility. From l967 until l979 Alcoa operated a chlor-alkali processing unit at the plant and discharged wastewater containing mercury into Lavaca Bay.
Federal EPA documents state that Alcoa discharged an average of 67 pounds per day into Lavaca Bay from l967 until 1970. Internal and confidential Alcoa documents and transcripts uncovered from a 1994 court case in Washington between Alcoa and their insurers estimated l,223,755 pounds of mercury was released between l967 to l979 and that on a 5 day normal working period in the chlor-alkali unit, 1500 pounds of mercury was lost and flow charts showed mercury going to the bay.
Diane Wilson, founder of Calhoun County Resource Watch who coordinated the meeting in Port Lavaca, said, “We need an explanation for the hundreds of thousands of pounds difference between what was reported in documents recovered in a court vault in Washington and what federal EPA superfund documents say was dumped. Was there collusion? Then, too, explain to me a memo that showed Alcoa and a Texas A & M scientist considering a study to show the mercury levels in crabs from Lavaca Bay by ‘blending’ them with clean crabs from another bay.”
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I hate to use posessive terms w/r/t people… kind of makes my back itch. But then I’m always trying to come up with snappy sounding blog post titles in a hurry, and the first thing to mind is usually all I have time for.
PS: Speaking of rejecting misisons, have you been supporting your local Israeli resisters lately?
June 18, 2006
Some Farmers Trade Tractors for Animals
New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 11:26 p.m. ET
HOPKINTON, R.I. (AP) — Metal clinks against rocks in the soil as four of Jim Cherenzia’s horses pull his harrow through seven acres of hay.
Cherenzia rides behind in a small cart, rolling gently over the grass as the blades of the harrow, a piece of cultivating equipment that cuts and smooths the soil. The air fills with the sounds of the creaking harrow, harness bells and occasional soft snorts as the procession moves steadily through the field.
”There’s nothing more enjoyable than plowing hay with a horse,” Cherenzia said.
He is among a small but dedicated group of farmers who use animals rather than machines to do work around the farm. While they embrace modern conveniences in other parts of their lives, they say shunning tractors helps the environent and saves money on gas.
Cherenzia uses Percherons — large, sturdy war horses originally bred in France — to plow and spread manure. Over the years, he has used them to log, bale hay and plant corn, and in warm weather, he hitches them to carriages for weddings and other events.
”Tractor’s probably a whole lot more sensible,” said Cherenzia, who owned one briefly in the 1970s. ”But I’m trying to make some nice horses too. And it’s enjoyable.”
An increasing number of farmers are abandoning conventional ways for organic dairy farming nationwide. Nowhere is the change more apparent - and growing more rapidly - than in Vermont, where organic dairy farmers account for nearly 10% of the state’s 1,200 dairy farms, according to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. By next year, that is expected to double, reported The Boston Globe.
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