Archive for October, 2006
It’s not only got a good beat, it’s got the green Gospel of Dr. Sleeth. He’s spreading the word from pulpit to airwaves. [podcast] The good doctor on “Mornings with Scott and Lorri: Christian Talk, News and More!”
Tomorrow we protest legalized torture. Be there or be the square peg that jackboots force into a circular hole, with no legal recourse.
January 31, 2008, we agitate for political action on global warming. Be there or be up a flash-flooding creek without a paddle.
Cathy Resmer at Seven Days has great taste in books.
Eco-Activist Evangelical Preaches “Creation Care”
BURLINGTON — J. Matthew Sleeth is a rarity in this politically polarized country: He’s a born-again Christian and a committed environmentalist. The Kentucky-based author of Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action embraces an avocation social conservatives typically regard with derision — he’s an avowed “treehugger.”
“The Bible starts with the tree of life,” he explains. “The word tree is mentioned 500 times in the Bible. Christ worked with trees before he started his ministry. He died on a tree. And the last chapter of the Bible ends with the trees in heaven. So call me a treehugger.”
This just in…
SILENCE + TORTURE = COMPLICITY
THURSDAY OCTOBER 5
NO WORK! NO SCHOOL! MARCH WITH US!
“Can’t the United States see that when we allow someone to be tortured by our agents, it is not only the victim and the perpetrator who are corrupted, not only the ‘intelligence’ that is contaminated, but also everyone who looked away and said they did not know, everyone who consented tacitly to that outrage so they could sleep a little safer at night, all the citizens who did not march in the streets by the millions to demand the resignation of whoever suggested, even whispered, that torture is inevitable in our day and age, that we must embrace its darkness?”
Ariel Dorfman, “Are We Really So Fearful?”
YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS NOW CODIFIED TORTURE. The new law does not prohibit the government from using “alternative interrogation techniques” that include sleep deprivation, extreme cold, personal degradation, waterboarding (simulated drowning), “temporary” disablement, and psychological disorientation. The new law grants George Bush the sole authority to decide what torture is. Abu Ghraib and the secret renditions were horrible. But to take the next step and write such practices into law is even worse — qualitatively worse.
Your government has officially shredded constitutional promises of basic and fundamental rights to due process — taking a huge step towards replacing the rule of law with the arbitrary rule of men. The new law will give the president the right to hold people indefinitely without charging them, and without review from the courts, nullifying habeas corpus rights. Congress has now passed legislation that denies defendants the right to see evidence used against them, and allows the use of “evidence” gained through torture. It forbids anyone to invoke the Geneva Conventions in any civil case or habeas corpus proceedings undertaken against the U.S. government, and, according to some experts, it may also forbid this in criminal cases.
Your government – which already holds over 14,000 people overseas without charges — has dramatically expanded the scope of who it can detain to include people anywhere in the world, including within the U.S. People can now be declared an “unlawful enemy combatant” simply for providing what the president decides is “material,” including financial or indirect support for hostilities against the U.S.
Your government is rewriting the law on crimes against humanity to exclude itself, incurring the contempt and hatred of people all over the planet.
Few in Congress made anything but the most token show of opposition, as leading Democrats let Bush set the agenda, staying silent when it mattered, refusing to filibuster, then voting no only when the die was cast.
This unprecedented legalization of torture is part of a package coming from the Bush regime. That package includes an atrocious, nightmarish occupation of Iraq and now the ominous threat of war against Iran. It includes an assault on critical thinking and serious motion toward a theocracy. It includes the criminal response to Hurricane Katrina. It includes a systematic attack on women’s reproductive rights, and the demonization of gay people and denial of their basic human rights. It includes the scapegoating of immigrants and severely repressive new legislation aimed at them.
And it gets worse with every passing week. As the call for The World Can’t Wait–Drive Out the Bush Regime states: “The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come.” With this legalization of torture, who will now deny that? The stakes are clearly enormous.
If Not Now, When? If Not Us, Who?
THIS MUST HALT! This entire package must be repudiated, and the whole direction of this country must be reversed.
There is a way to act against this onslaught, effectively. There is a vitally important step to take now to begin driving out this regime and reversing this nightmare direction:
Join those demonstrating this Thursday, October 5, in over 100 cities across the U.S., raising the demand to DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME.
Think of the message that people taking off work and school and marching this Thursday, would send to the tens of millions within the U.S. who are already deeply distressed and even outraged over the direction that the Bush regime is dragging the country and the world, but who feel paralyzed. And think of the message it would send to the hundreds of millions around the world, who think that Bush acts in our name. Demonstrations like these could galvanize the political atmosphere so that the next day in America, and for days and weeks to come, the conversation and the sharp debate over the water coolers, at the lunch wagons, on the campuses and street corners will revolve around whether and how to stop this disastrous course, and how to remove the regime that is perpetrating it. The mobilization throughout society would reverberate up to the very top, and back down again. The political dynamic of fascist-type onslaught from forces represented by Bush — and passivity from everyone else — would begin to be seriously reversed. A real basis for hope could fight its way into existence, drawing forward others. Come out this Thursday. And do more, now, to help make it happen. Donate. Volunteer. Organize your friends.
“The point is this: history is full of examples where people who had right on their side fought against tremendous odds and were victorious. And it also full of examples of people passively hoping to wait it out, only to get swallowed up by a horror beyond what they ever imagined. WHICH ONE WE GET IS UP TO US.” — From the call “The World Can’t Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime!”
Join in mass protests in over 150 cities & towns
Find locations & times for your area at worldcantwait.org or 866-973-4463
DEMONSTRATE IN NEW YORK CITY:
12 noon—Dag Hammerskjöld Plaza, March to Union Square/Rally 4pm
Chelsea Green senior editor Ben Watson works from his home in New Hampshire and periodically stops by the White River Junction office for editorial meetings and to bring us some tasty treats. Ben knows where to find the best berries, apples, wild mushrooms and so much more. Being the slow foodie that he is, Ben has some apple wisdom to share before you take your yearly trip to the orchard.
Confessions of an Apple Snob
By Ben Watson, Chelsea Green Senior Editor
October 1, 2006
Every autumn, in addition to my editorial work, I assume my alter ego and become a kind of “apple evangelist,” someone who travels around the country speaking to people about the incredible diversity of apples and, better yet, letting them see and taste some of the wonderful old and uncommon varieties that are still being grown by small-scale local orchards.
By some accounts there are around 7,500 named varieties of apples in the world; yet as recently as a few years ago, only eight varieties comprised 80 percent of the US crop: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathan, McIntosh, Rome, Stayman, and York. Today we have a new wave of market apples: Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Pink Lady, and others. In some ways this represents a big improvement; we find fewer and fewer beautiful but mealy and thoroughly inedible Red Delicious in the supermarket produce aisle these days.
However, in other respects the apple is still a bellwether, a symbol of much that is wrong with our current globalized food system. Even though apples can be grown in all but the most subtropical parts of North America, we are importing “out-of-season” fruit from New Zealand and Chile. Yet because there are all kinds of apples – some that ripen in July or August, others that stay on the tree and don’t ripen until November – our season for fresh apples is really much longer than those few weeks in the fall when most people pack up the kids and go picking in the orchard. Apples are not like strawberries or sweet corn, a fleeting and seasonal indulgence. Some local varieties of apples (like the Roxbury Russet, which was discovered in the 1640s and is the oldest surviving American apple variety) can be stored successfully all winter long, and are still good to use in March or April of the following year. Many apples, like Esopus Spitzenburg, actually taste richer and more mellow and reach their height of flavor after a couple months in cold storage. In other words, local apple season doesn’t have to end at Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or even at Christmas.
Small commercial orchards are part of the historic landscape in much of the US, yet today they are threatened by rampant land development caused by rising property values; by falling prices for apples due to global competition (China has recently surpassed the US as the world’s largest apple-growing nation) ; and, quite frankly, by consumer ignorance and apathy. Not so many years ago, most people knew what different apples were good for. Do you want the perfect apple for baking a pie? There are lots of choices, but almost none of the bland supermarket varieties are good candidates. Instead, go to the orchard and buy Gravensteins, Wealthys, or Northern Spys. Are you making a tarte tatin or strudel? Try Belle de Boskoop, a Dutch variety that holds its shape and turns a translucent golden yellow when cooked; or Calville Blanc d’Hiver, an odd-looking lobed green apple with a red cheek that contains more vitamin C by weight than an orange. What about baked apples for dessert? Try using one of the old-fashioned low-acid apples like Pound Sweet or Sheepnose.
Older folks generally can remember their favorite varieties and what they were good for; yet if we don’t support our local orchardists, our children may never see these splendid apples outside of private orchards and historical museums. Such apples often have a wonderful and distinctive flavor or aroma: once you’ve bitten into a Pitmaston Pineapple or Chenango Strawberry, it’s easy to see how they got their names.
With the growing emphasis on eating more locally, small to medium-sized orchards could, and should, become an important component in our local “foodsheds.” We may not all be able to raise apple trees at home, but we can all definitely become apple connoisseurs, and help to carry on one of America’s proudest agricultural traditions.
For more on growing apples organically on a small scale, see Michael Phillips’ excellent book, The Apple Grower, published by Chelsea Green. For more on old varieties of apples, go to Slow Food USA’s website, www.slowfoodusa.org, and turn to the Ark and Presidia page. And for more information on a terrific regional celebration of apples and cider (hard and sweet) in the Northeast, come to the 12th Annual Cider Day in western Massachusetts , November 4-5, 2006 (www.ciderday.org).