Archive for October, 2007


MoveOn.org on the good climate policy bandwagon (mostly)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

A friend of mine, who knows from my own previous email missives that there are important things afoot in Congress regarding pending legislation on global warming, forwarded me this message from MoveOn.org. (more…)

Amongst the Bioneers

Monday, October 29th, 2007

It’s been a week since the Bioneers conference (both at its mother location in San Rafael, CA and the one that Chelsea Green helps to sponsor in Marion, MA), and it’s taken me that long to seriously absorb the amount of information and emotion flowing through the three-day event.

I was lucky enough to be assigned, along with our West Coast sales rep Michael Weaver, to attend the Bioneers conference in California.

There, attendees were treated to a wide array of plenary speakers and workshops. Three Chelsea Green authors took to the stage as plenary speakers—Judy Wicks, John Abrams, and Winona LaDuke.

Wicks is the owner of the White Dog Café in Philadelphia and author of the forthcoming book Good Morning, Beautiful Business (which references a placard that hangs in her closet and which greets her each morning). The café is noted not only for incredible food, but for treating its employees, and suppliers, well. She spoke on Friday.

Following her to the podium was Abrams, author of The Company We Keep and the founder of South Mountain Company, a model employee-owned business on Martha’s Vineyard. Abrams, in a tough spot after Judy’s energizing speech, delivered his keynote on how to think like “cathedral builders” with equal parts humor, storytelling, and personal advice.

On Sunday, LaDuke (who is working on a book for Chelsea Green entitled Seeds the Creator Gave Us) was one of the few speakers who received a standing ovation before she started. She delivered, too. She reminded us all that it is “possible to have a worldview that it not related to empire.” She also noted that the term “Bioneers” made her somewhat uncomfortable given that it sounds an awful lot like “pioneers.” And, well, we all know how it went with the pioneers.

For me, one of the most inspiring speakers was Evon Peter, chairman of Native Movement and former chief of the Neetsaii Gwich’in from Arctic Village in northern Alaska, who put into sharp context our ongoing relationship with the indigenous people we supplanted upon our “discovery” of this land. When he welcomed us as “visitors” he meant it. It was not meant to appease, or to enflame, simply to make us all realize our (as in white folks’) place in the world.

In a day and age when inviting native leaders “to the table” still seems to be more about liberal guilt and some perverse form of appropriation/atonement than truly listening and understanding, Evon’s approach was particularly refreshing.

At the Marion, MA conference CGP authors Naomi Wolf, Diane Wilson, Simran Sethi, Will Allen, and Dean Cycon duly impressed the crowds as plenary speakers, while a handful of other authors—Lynn Margulis, Mark Schapiro, and Sandor Ellix Katz specifically—lit up the workshops.

In California, some of the best-attended workshops were on environmental health, using Web 2.0 tools to share information among activists, the debate over whether nuclear power is “green” (no, not awash in government subsidies but the dearth of carbon emissions), food and agriculture issues, and First People perspecitves.

While the San Rafael conference remains the largest draw, there were 17 satellite conference sites where attendees could tap into the plenary speakers from the mother ship. Check out the Bioneers website and see if there is a conference site near you and start planning for next year.

Presidential candidate introduces law to uphold Constitution

Friday, October 19th, 2007

It’s been a while since I’ve posted—it’s been very busy here at Chelsea Green for your friendly neighborhood grasshoppers. (See previous post on our new TV channel).

Our authors have also been busy, especially Naomi Wolf who penned the New York Times bestseller End of America. Her new video on YouTube has been viewed by thousands, and more and more citizens are asking: What can I do? Well, there is plenty that you can do.

You can watch a YouTube video of a recent talk she gave at the University of Washington, and her latest blog entry at Huffington Post for at least one or two things you can do to take back this country. Republican presidential contender, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has introduced a bill embracing the legislative package being pushed by the American Freedom Agenda, the conservative counterpart to the liberal American Freedom Campaign. You can read Paul’s bill, The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007, from Naomi’s post.

Both campaigns have the same overall endgame, which is to roll back some of laws that undermine our constitutional protections to speech, liberty, and fair and equal treatment in the courts (among many other items).

Not a day goes at Chelsea Green when some patriotic citizens e-mails, calls, or pens a letter to praise Naomi’s courage to write this important book, and our courage for printing it. I’m sure all of us are on some “list” as a result of it.

Take this one recent exchange:

Chelsea Green: Hello, Chelsea Green Publishing.

Caller: HELLO?! I’m from way down in Fayetteville, Texas. I just read a book you published called End of America, and I have to tell you it is the most disturbing book I’ve ever read. I mean…it ruined my life.

CG: ….silence….

Caller: HELLO?!

CG: ….I’m sorry to hear that.

Caller: Yeah, well. I suspected that there were problems in this country but this book confirms my worst fears.

However, despite this caller’s fear—and he is a 70-year-old military retiree who saw Naomi’s Colbert Report appearance sent to him by his daughter— he is willing to take action. He’s not alone, that’s why supporting Ron Paul’s bill is a good start, as is supporting the work of the AFA and the AFC. Call your US Representative to support Paul’s bill in the House.

We can’t allow ourselves to lose faith in the power we can wield as citizens upon Congress, political candidates, and our own communities. Our leaders have lost faith in us, our democracy, and the constitution. But, power flows from us to them, not the other way around and it’s time to remind them of that important tenet.

Chelsea Green launches “TV” channel

Friday, October 19th, 2007

There have been some very exciting developments here at Chelsea Green in the past few months. We have some great new g’hoppers on board and they are helping to light the path forward for us.

A new website is in development, and we just launched Chelsea Green TV, a page on our website where you can come and watch our authors—on TV shows, on a book tour, or in a one-on-one interview. This was a way to consolidate our multimedia (video) onto this one page, and have also posted it to YouTube, and will be working on getting up feeds to BlipTV in the future. Coming next will be audio and video podcasting, so you’ll always be up-to-date with the doings of Chelsea Green authors.

Featured this week is Naomi Wolf, author of “The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot,” and a video of her talk at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus. The talk was recorded on October 11, 2007.

You can also catch Naomi’s appearance on The Colbert Report, as well as a great profiles of Jeff Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, Lisa Harrow, author of What Can I Do?, John Abrams, author of The Company We Keep, and Linda Faillace, author of Mad Sheep, which we just released in paperback.

Keep coming back to check out more videos, many of which are being developed by Ed Dooley of Mad River Media, and others that our authors provide to us from their travels across this great country.

Clinton joins the pack — vows to uphold the Constitution

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Just when you think the leader of the pack will be the only one not following millions of citizens in protecting and upholding the rights enshrined in our Constitution …. she signs on.

We posted recently that Hillary Clinton was the only Democrat to join all the Republicans in NOT signing a pledge being circulated by the American Freedom Campaign, co-founded by Naomi Wolf, author of the current New York Times bestseller End of America (and published by Chelsea Green – that’s us!).

Today, Clinton responded in the positive, stating that the country’s strength emanates from the Constitution. She also reiterated the reasons for voting against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and why she opposes torture. And, she did say that Presidents have the right to pursue terrorists, but that existing laws in place should not be avoided as they ensure due process and civil liberties.
“It is great that all of the Democratic presidential candidates have conveyed their strong feelings about defending and protecting our Constitution,” said Wolf. “But we are only half-way to our goal. We will not be satisfied until we receive a solid commitment from each and every one of the presidential candidates. We hope that this will not be difficult. It will be a tragedy if we discover that defending the Constitution has become a partisan issue.”

The mission of the American Freedom Campaign is to preserve the vision of the nation’s Founders – that no President shall be above the law. As part of this mission, it seeks to make the issue of defending the Constitution a prominent part of the 2008 presidential campaign. Later this fall, with a grassroots army to call on, the campaign intends to turn up the heat on candidates who have not made their commitment to defending the Constitution clear.

Clinton holdout on upholding the Constitution

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Naomi Wolf is not only a best-selling author with a current book (End of America) on the New York Times bestseller list at #14. She is also a co-founder of the American Freedom Campaign, a grassroots effort to ensure that presidential candidates pledge to uphold the constitution and protect our liberties from further erosion.

According to a release by the campaign earlier this week, six Democratic presidential candidates have signed on, or submitted signed letters that conform to the campaign’s goals. Former Senator John Edwards and Senator Joe Biden sent signed letters outlining their positions, while Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM), Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and former Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) signed the “American Freedom Pledge.” No Republican candidate has yet to respond, although Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) earlier this year did sign a similar pledge circulated by the American Freedom Agenda, an organization formed by conservative leaders, including former Reagan official Bruce Fein and former congressman Bob Barr.

Today, the campaign announced that Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, has agreed to sign the pledge. The only holdout now among Democrats is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

“We are very pleased that Senator Obama has joined so many of his colleagues in signing the American Freedom Pledge,” said Wolf. “But we will not be satisfied until we receive a solid commitment from each and every one of the presidential candidates. This is not just another request from an interest group; this is a test of whether our next president will be true to the vision of our Founders. Any candidate who does not express strong support for defending the Constitution does not deserve to be president.”

The American Freedom Campaign and the American Freedom Campaign Action Fund were founded by MoveOn.org co-founder Wes Boyd, scientist and social entrepreneur William Haseltine, Fenton Communications CEO David Fenton, and Wolf.
The American Freedom Campaign (AFC) Action Fund is encouraging all candidates to sign this pledge, the text of which is as follows:

“We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people’s phones and emails without a court order, and above all we do not give any President unchecked power.

“I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from attack by any President.”

With something so simple, we can only ask, “What’s the holdup Hil?”

End of America Lands on New York Times Bestseller List

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Best-selling author Naomi Wolf makes the case on how to save American democracy in The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, and patriots throughout the country have responded. As of today, End of America ranks #14 on The New York Times paperback, non-fiction bestseller list; #22 on the national Booksense bestseller list; and #13 on the Northern California Bookseller Association list.

“The response from ordinary Americans to the core message of this book is inspiring,” said Wolf. “These patriots, like me, see our nation turning into something that in the near future could be quite other than the open society in which we grew up and learned to love liberty. Our Founders would be proud of this grassroots activism, and we need to make sure that candidates running for office hear this call for liberty.”

Through authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century’s worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile. End of America cuts across political parties and ideologies and speaks directly to those among us who are concerned about the ever-tightening noose being placed around our liberties.For weeks, Wolf has been taking her message directly to the American people as part of a large national campaign to reach out to ordinary Americans. She has blogged regularly for Huffington Post, Powell’s Books, and Firedoglake.com, and has made television appearances on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, and on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

The End of America adds to Chelsea Green Publishing’s growing reputation as a cutting-edge political publisher, and is the second book for this small, independent publisher to become a national bestseller. The previous bestseller was George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (2004).

“As with Don’t Think of an Elephant!, which became a runaway national bestseller, we proved that a small, independent publisher—not part of the corporate conglomerate media—can make a difference in the world and spur citizen action and broad-based awareness on important topics that the mainstream publishers either choose to ignore or suppress,” said Margo Baldwin, Chelsea Green’s publisher. “This is a very important book for us, and the country, and one we hope can repair our fractured and damaged democracy.”

Wolf is a founder of the nascent American Freedom Campaign, a grassroots effort to ensure that presidential candidates pledge to uphold the constitution and protect our liberties from further erosion.

According to another release by the campaign today, six Democratic presidential candidates have signed on, or submitted signed letters that conform to the campaign’s goals. Former Senator John Edwards and Senator Joe Biden sent signed letters outlining their positions, while Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM), Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and former Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) signed the “American Freedom Pledge.” No Republican candidate has yet to respond, although Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) earlier this year did sign a similar pledge circulated by the American Freedom Agenda, an organization formed by conservative leaders, including former Reagan official Bruce Fein and former congressman Bob Barr.


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