Archive for September, 2007


End of America ranked in top ten on Amazon!

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Someday this may be a Trivial Pursuit question: Who was president when a book documenting how, in many ways, the United States is sliding into a fascist state becoming a bestseller on Amazon?

We all know the answer today, as Naomi Wolf’s End of America zoomed to #10 this morning (within striking distance of Alan Greenspan and a few slots up on right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham) on Amazon.com.

The top-ten ranking comes after a stellar performance on The Colbert Report Wednesday night. If you missed it, here is a clip of the show courtesy of Milk and Cookies.

In his show opener, Colbert mentioned Naomi would be on to talk about her book and its premise—that the country was sliding into a fascist state. His reply, “What’s taking it so long?”

Enjoy, and it’s great to see so many patriots out there willing to engage in a debate about how to keep this country from sliding into oblivion. This is not a partisan message, but one that cuts across political parties and ideologies. Democrats have been as asleep at the switch as Republicans, and its time for all of us to remember our role in this democracy of ours.

Naomi has been blogging regularly on Huffington Post and Powell’s recently, so be sure to head over and check them out. There’s more in the works. And, if you miss out on it we’ll be sure to keep you posted right here on the Flaming Grasshopper.

Six Minutes to Surveillance

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

The American Civil Liberties Union is taking a lesson from the infamous Doomsday Clock (you know, the one that predicts global annihilation? Proving it’s not only Christians who can predict the arrival of the Rapture) with its new Surveillance Clock.

Here it is:

The clock is designed to show that we are currently six minutes from midnight, the time when we become a truly complete surveillance society. Although, given the most recent taser incident and watching as dozens of students and Sen. John Kerry idly stood by, it’s easy enough to argue it’s well past midnight, and we’re just hitting the snooze alarm around 7 AM (past midnight).

In any event, for those keeping track, here’s another web widget to keep you reminded of just what kind of regime we’re living under and who is complicit. It’s a nice addition to the Bush Countdown clock, the Cost of the Iraq War ticker, and the Iraq War dead tallies that just keep rising.

And, if tasering rambunctious, inquisitive students isn’t your bailiwick, then read Naomi Wolf’s latest post on Huffington Post and the Powell’s Book Blog for more perspective, citing extensively from some of the arguments she’s articulated in her new book End of America.

Let’s hope Naomi and that other true modern patriot, Stephen Colbert, take on this issue as only these two could when they square off on The Colbert Report tomorrow night.

News from the Green (weekly news and notes)

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Greetings, this regular post is going to be my attempt to compile some of the shorter items that come across the Grasshopper’s desk each week, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Some may incite, and others may excite, but that’s the point, right?

For now, I’m calling this feature “News from the Green,” but am open to other titles if readers come up with some compelling ones.

Go Local?

First, something I thought was interesting from a week or so ago about local food vs. organic food, a regular debate in my own household. I know a good deal of the farmers who grow the food we eat, but not all of them are organic. Still, I’d rather see a farmer using little, to no, chemicals and working toward being organic surviving than the field being plowed under to make room for more McMansions or parking lots (cue Joni Mitchell).

According to the Progressive Grocer, consumers apparently might be torn between buying local and buying organic food, according to the results of a survey conducted by Mambo Sprouts MamboTrack research services. The research firm found that while 36.1 percent of natural product consumers said they would choose local produce over organic items, another 33.3 percent said the opposite, and the rest of the respondents weren’t sure which to choose.

In general, consumers reported a preference for food that was both local and organic. Their motives for buying locally grown food were: it was better for the environment and sustainability, due to the reduced environmental impact of transporting food; the belief that much local produce is fresher and healthier, even if it’s not certified organic; and they mistrusted, or were confused by, organic food labels.

Car Sick

Then, we have this tidbit from a recent court ruling right here in Vermont. In essence, the national car manufacturers took to court a new law in Vermont that regulated tailpipe emissions. Their argument is that only the feds have the right to set fuel economy standards, which was seen as an impact of the law. However, a federal judge ruled that Vermont does have the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Here’s how it was reported by the Environmental News Service:

BURLINGTON, Vermont, September 12, 2007 (ENS) – A federal court in Vermont today sided with the states that have adopted new clean car standards enacted by California in a decision that paves the way for new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. These standards are expected to reduce global warming emissions from cars some 30 percent when fully implemented in 2016.

The lawsuit was brought by U.S. automakers and dealers, who claimed Vermont regulations setting limits on these emissions are burdensome and cause undue economic harm to the industry while not addressing global warming.

William K. Sessions III, Chief U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Vermont, rejected all of the manufacturers’ and dealers’ challenges to the state greenhouse gas emissions standards, ruling that auto manufacturers can meet the new standards adopted by California and 14 other states.

The ruling is likely to be appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which has generally been welcome to states’ rights in stepping in where the feds have lagged behind. But, you just never know. Years from now, we may point to this ruling as a key item when the documentary WHO KILLED THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION CAR? is airing in theaters.

To read the court’s decision click here.

Saving Green by Building Green

Finally, Wall Street might finally be catching on to this whole “green” thing, especially in the home mortgage market (which has had more than its share of problems). An article in The Wall Street Journal reports that banks and other major institutions are catching on that going green can save some green, and they are willing to give discounts to help people make those choices.

Environmentally conscious homeowners can trick out their homes with a bevy of “green” products, including carpets, windows — even dog beds. Now, they can pay for those homes with green mortgages. Lenders are the latest group to jump on the environmental-marketing bandwagon by pitching mortgage products that offer homebuyers bigger loans or discounts if they are making energy-efficient improvements — or if their new home meets certain efficiency standards. Last month, Citigroup Inc.’s mortgage division launched a program that offers $1,000 off closing costs with its energy-efficient mortgage through the end of the year. Also last month, Bank of America Corp. launched an Energy Credit mortgage, which offers a $1,000 credit toward closing fees for mortgages on new homes that meet efficiency requirements set by the government’s Energy Star program. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s mortgage division recently began offering Expanded Energy Conservation Mortgages in some markets that give borrowers more credit, as well as $500 off closing costs, if they find a builder who will use a specific type of spray-foam insulation.

As with any true reform taken on by the old guard financiers, the devil will be in the details—especially sustainable practices they won’t fund. Still, it may be a step in the right direction.

That’s it for this week’s roundup. Feel free to send us along some of your tips. And, we’ll be back next week with more tidbits, and more news in between.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

What a Dame: Remembering Anita Roddick

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

The sad news of Anita Roddick’s death sent a global ripple through human rights activists, social entrepreneurs, and anyone else who tread the path blazed by Dame Anita. Called a true pioneer in her home country of England, she was nothing short of a whirlwind of inspiration to many who were touched by her business ethics, her activism, and her courage.

Chelsea Green was honored to distribute a number of her titles, including Business as Unusual, A Revolution in Kindness, and Troubled Water (with Brooke Shelby Briggs). The co-author of this latter title penned a moving tribute to Dame Anita on MotherJones.com. To get an inside look at the person behind the action, this obit has it all.

Hazel Henderson, author of Ethical Markets, has also penned a marvelous tribute to Anita’s lasting legacy, which you can read below the fold.

Those of us who had the pleasure of meeting Anita in person know that you’re never the same when you walk away from a conversation. She had the ability to inspire and focus people in ways that many entrepreneurial activists fail to do. This has empowered many to follow in her footsteps and now will be the time for them to step up and keep on fighting in her name.

In her memory, take action.
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Just what is an environmentalist?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

If I ever preached to the choir, this luncheon was it. The sixty people in the room were professed environmentalists, all of them on the advisory council of an earth center at a college that advertises itself, rightfully, as strongly committed to environmental responsibility. Seated to my right was a friendly but road-weary woman who had arrived minutes before from Chicago. She had rented a car at the airport and driven straight here.

“When will you return home?” I asked.

“I’ll go back this afternoon,” she said.

My white cloth napkin lay folded in my lap. Two silver forks waited to the left of my plate. In minutes I would rise to speak at a meal for which and only for which one woman had flown from Illinois to North Carolina. In fact, I was speaking about the climate crisis. Could anything I said be worth those 750 pounds of carbon dioxide blasted into the atmosphere? Fifty-nine other people had journeyed here by various conveyances. Surely I was in part responsible.

That afternoon, on a panel at the same college, I was asked to discuss “walking the talk.” As invariably happens in the company in which I often find myself, someone referred to the audience as “the choir” and to us panelists as “ministers”—“What can we do to quit just preaching to the choir?”

That’s the opening sequence in a new essay by Janisse Ray (Pinhook) in the September/October issue of Orion entitled “Altar Call for True Believers: Are we being change, or are we just talking about change?”

Read more below the fold, or click on the Orion link above and go right to their site.

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