Archive for September, 2008


Preserve Your Veggies Without Freezing: Whole Tomatoes

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

The following recipe was excerpted from Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation by the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivant.

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • A saucepan
  • Glass jars and lids

Make a brine (one-quarter cup salt to one quart of water), and bring it to a boil. Allow to cool. Choose firm tomatoes, preferably (‘Campbell’ variety, for example), wash and dry them carefully, and put them in glass jars. Pour in the cooled brine, up to one and a quarter inches below the rim, and fill in the remaining space with olive oil to cover. Close the jars airtight and store them in a cool place.

These tomatoes will keep for nine to ten months; use them for sauces.

Jean-Yves Cousseau, Millau

Video: Fake Plastic Trees, and Sarah Palin’s Green Cred

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

This video comes to us from ZapRoot, another partner in our effort to paint the internet Green (yes, capital “G”). Jessica Williamson, quick cuts, and groovy graphics helpfully illustrate Alaska senator and V.P. candidate Sarah Palin’s green credentials (spoiler alert: she doesn’t have any).

But before we get to that, Christmas is just around the corner—what better time to start thinking about environmentally-friendly plastic trees?

(Hm? What’s that? Oh, my bad.)

My editor tells me these aren’t actually those kinds of trees. They’re a new kind of artificial CO2 scrubber that filter the CO2 out of the air a thousand times more efficiently than a real tree (alas, they’re not as fun to sit under with your sweetie). If you can get past the outdated T. Boone Pickens reference (my man T. Boone is actually pretty green these days), it’s informative and fun.

Watch to the end for tips on reducing your junk mail.

Green Tip (Video): Jesse on How to Save Money and Reduce Waste When Shipping

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Web Maestro J.S. McDougall—or, as I call him, “the Big Mac” (um, but not to his face)—brings you this Green Tip you can use at the office.

Consider it the first salvo in the soon-to-be-epic (but sustainable) barrage known as GreenTweet TV. In the days ahead, Chelsea Green’s eager staff of bright-eyed up-and-comers will be bringing you a wealth of information in easily-digested bite-sized tidbits of delicious ecological goodness, all leading to the launch of our new internet TV channel.

Watch this space for more information…

Kuttner: Fishing in Troubled Waters

Friday, September 26th, 2008

The following article was contributed to ChelseaGreen.com by Robert Kuttner, author of Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency.

As the events of the past 24 hours have shown, the Republicans lack both the leadership and the unity to bring home any variant on Paulson’s proposed bailout deal. This has been a special fiasco for John McCain, and a richly deserved one.

With the Republicans now in thorough disarray, the question now is whether the Democrats have the wit, the nerve, and the unity to do this right. As the politics stand today, a plan may well have to pass Congress mostly with Democratic votes. If the plan works, the Democrats are heroes. If it fails, they are goats. So it had damned better be done right.

But first, let’s take a moment to savor the Republicans’ self inflicted political wounds. McCain’s ploy to cast himself as an above-party leader in the financial crisis, and incidentally to wriggle out of the Friday presidential debate, backfired. The White House meeting was hastily contrived to help McCain, but all it did was help derail the deal.

Far from demonstrating his claim of putting country above politics, the caper was pure opportunism. Contrary to his high-minded claim to be “suspending his campaign,” he continued to run the negative ads and his surrogates continued to trash Obama. He wouldn’t even say what plan he’d support, and sat largely like a stone at Thursday’s White House meeting while Obama joined the discussion and tried to seek common ground. The meeting was supposed to showcase McCain as a leader, but that role went to Obama.

You can just imagine the thinking over at Team McCain. Hey, let’s send John to Washington to consummate the bailout deal. He’ll can look really presidential, we’ll say we’re putting country above politics, and we can even bump Friday’s debate to October 2, and kill the Palin-Biden debate as well. High fives all around. Ooops.

And imagine these turkeys negotiating with, say, Putin.

Is there a silver lining in this mess? It sure signals severe disarray both in the McCain camp and in the Republican Party. But what about the future of the economy?

The emerging House Republican plan for a “private sector solution” (backed by more government insurance and tax benefits) is pathetic. It’s not really private at all, and it won’t solve the problem. But what will solve the problem?

A better plan would have two core elements: First, most of the government money goes to refinance mortgages rather than buy up bad paper. Once the mortgage market stabilizes, some value returns to the bonds backed by mortgages. That way, homeowners are the primary beneficiaries, not the incidental ones. Second, government takes a majority stake in the major failing institutions, takes a good look at their books, and only then pumps in equity capital as necessary. When the crisis passes, government closes the ones that are beyond repair, and sells off the good bits.

Some Democrats are still hoping to salvage some variation of the Paulson. But the Republicans have done them a favor. It’s time to give that approach the decent burial it deserves, and start over.

Since the House Republicans have deserted the field, the Democrats might as well step up to the plate and do it right. If it takes another week or two, that’s fine. This is not about rescuing the stock market day to day. It’s about fashioning a program that will work.

Judy Wicks, the White Dog Café, and Living Local Economies

Friday, September 26th, 2008

“I realized you can’t have one sustainable, locally owned business, there must be a sustainable business system.”
—Judy Wicks

Judy Wicks believes the way to a community’s heart is through its stomach.

She began the nonprofit White Dog Community Enterprises (an outgrowth of her famed White Dog Café) in an effort to create a sustainable, local economy—one that nurtures a real sense of community and fosters social and environmental awareness.

Sure, establishing a local economy benefits the community, reduces your carbon footprint, and gives people greater freedom and self-reliance, but where do you start? “Creating a local food system is the best way,” says Wicks, “because we buy food every day.”

Ten years ago, when Judy Wicks learned the horrors of industrialized pig farming, she took pork off the menu at her famed White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia—until she could find a farmer who raised pigs humanely.

“I realized you can’t have one sustainable, locally owned business, there must be a sustainable business system,” Wicks told a crowd of chefs, farmers, professors and citizens in Raleigh last week.

Wicks has spent the last 25 years helping to build those systems by fighting for her values, figuring out how to keep business local and sustainable, and then simply doing what needed to be done.

She helped build Philadelphia’s local food economy by investing 20 percent of the profits from her restaurant into White Dog Community Enterprises, a nonprofit dedicated to building a local food system and living economy in the Philadelphia region, which connects hundreds of restaurants with local farmers. Wicks’ earnings helped establish a pig farmers assistance program and the Fair Food Farmstand, now open year-round at the Reading Terminal Market downtown. Today the nonprofit is working to develop a distribution system that will deliver local food to area hospitals, among other projects.

In 2001, after identifying other key sectors that make up a living local economy—energy, shelter, clothing, investment, media, arts and culture—she created the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) to strengthen networks of locally owned businesses that embrace the “triple bottom line” concept—that businesses can be profitable while fostering social and environmental awareness.

“I see business as a series of economic exchanges—rewarding interactions with farmers who grow fruit and vegetables, animals that provide milk and meat, bakers who create delicious bread, the Zapatistas who grow my coffee beans, the list goes on,” Wicks said. “Business is about building relationships with people and with nature, the money is just a tool. My business is my way of expressing my love of life.”

She visited the Triangle last week to deliver the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) 2008 Sustainable Agriculture Lecture: “Local Living Economies: Green, Fair and Fun.” She shared her vision for a new business paradigm: one that fosters small, local and sustainable businesses that connect us to the environment and each other, bringing us more security and more joy.

Read the whole article here.

RFK Jr: What’s the difference between Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney? Lipstick.

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote a great quick article in the LA Times yesterday pointing out that Sarah Palin’s ties to Big Oil are every bit as dangerous as Dick Cheney’s.

Now John McCain has chosen as his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a diligent student of Big Oil’s crib sheets. She’s something of a flat-earther who shares the current administration’s contempt for science. Palin has expressed skepticism about evolution (which is like not believing in gravity), putting it on par with “creationism,” which posits that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.

She used to insist that human activities have nothing to do with climate change. “I’m not one … who would attribute it to being man-made,” she said in August. After she joined the GOP ticket, she magically reversed herself, to a point. “Man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming,” she told Charles Gibson two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Alaska is melting before our eyes; entire villages erode as sea ice vanishes, glaciers are disappearing at a frightening clip, and “dancing forests” caused by disappearing permafrost astonish residents and tourists. Palin had to keep her head buried particularly deep in an oil well to ever have denied that humans are causing climate change. But, as Upton Sinclair pointed out, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Palin’s enthusiastic embrace of Big Oil’s agenda (if not always Big Oil itself) has been the platform of her hasty rise in Alaskan politics. In that sense she is as much a product of the oil industry as the current president and his vice president. Palin, whose husband is a production operator for BP on Alaska’s North Slope, has sued the federal government over its listing of the polar bear as an endangered species threatened by global warming, and she has fought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaska’s coast to oil drilling.

When oil profits are at stake, her fantasy world appears to have no boundaries. About American’s deadly oil dependence, she mused recently, “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem.”

I guess the only difference between Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney is … lipstick.

Read the full article here.

New Matthew Stein Podcast on Chelsea Green Radio

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Matthew Stein, author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, talked to the fine folks at Taverncast (“The World’s 215th Greatest Podcast…with Beer!”) on Sunday. Stein tackled a variety of topics: the fragility of our food distribution networks, the reality of Peak Oil, what to do in the event of an earthquake, how to make a home-made water filter, and more.The entire interview is available at Chelsea Green Radio.Listen now.

The Battle Plan II: Sarah “Evita” Palin

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

In her latest article for the Huffington Post, Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot and Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries, asks a terrifying question: what if Sarah Palin is just “an affable, weak figurehead”—chosen to be her party’s easily-manipulated “Rovian Candidate,” to coin a phrase—a Trojan Horse smuggling in the exact same failed policies of Bush/Cheney?

Wolf has noticed some unnerving hints that suggest Palin may have been set up to be some kind of Evita figure—a puppet for a cabal of thugs, strategically placed one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the Chief Executive’s desk. If that doesn’t scare you, read on:

Please understand what you are looking at when you look at Sarah “Evita” Palin. You are looking at the designated muse of the coming American police state….

[T]hey will hold elections — but they will make sure that the election will be corrupted and that the next affable, weak figurehead is entirely in their control. Remember, Russia has Presidents; Russia holds elections. Dictators and gangs of thugs all over the world hold elections. It means nothing. When a cabal has seized power you can have elections and even presidents, but you [can't] have freedom.

I realized early on with horror what I was seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal, but this time without restraints. I heard her echo Bush 2000 soundbites (“the heart of America is on display”) and realized Bush’s speechwriters were writing her — not McCain’s — speeches. I heard her tell George Bush’s lies — not McCain’s — to the American people, linking 9/11 to Iraq. I heard her make fun of Barack Obama for wanting to prevent the torture of prisoners — this is Rove-Cheney’s enthusiastic S and M, not McCain’s, who, though he shamefully colluded in the 2006 Military Tribunals Act, is also a former prisoner of war and wrote an eloquent Newsweek piece in 2005 opposing torture. I saw that she was even styled by the same skillful stylist (neutral lipstick, matte makeup, dark colors) who turned Katharine Harris from a mall rat into a stateswoman and who styles all the women in the Bush orbit –but who does not bother to style Cindy McCain.

Then I saw and heard more. Palin is embracing lawlessness in defying Alaskan Legislature subpoenas –this is what Rove-Cheney, and not McCain, believe in doing. She uses mafia tactics against critics, like the police commissioner who was railroaded for opposing handguns in Alaskan battered women’s shelters — Rove’s style, not McCain’s. I realized what I was seeing.

Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is “dialed in” to the McCain campaign. Rove’s protégé Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain’s vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.

What’s the plan? It is this. McCain doesn’t matter. Reputable dermatologists are discussing the fact that in simply actuarial terms, John McCain has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer. It is the elephant in the room, but we must discuss the health of the candidates: doctors put survival rates for someone his age at two to four years. I believe the Rove-Cheney cabal is using Sarah Palin as a stalking horse, an Evita figure, to put a popular, populist face on the coming police state and be the talk show hostess for the end of elections as we know them. If McCain-Palin get in, this will be the last true American election. She will be working for Halliburton, KBR, Rove and Cheney into the foreseeable future — for a decade perhaps — a puppet “president” for the same people who have plundered our treasure, are now holding the US economy hostage and who murdered four thousand brave young men and women in a way of choice and lies.

Read the whole article here.

Wilson and Veterans: Arrest Bush and Cheney for War Crimes! (Video)

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

“We’re always told to ‘write your Congressman,’ and we have. Only this time we brought a letter they couldn’t miss.”

On the morning of Tuesday, September 23, environmentalist and Army veteran Diane Wilson (author of An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas and Holy Roller: Growing Up in the Church of Knock Down, Drag Out; or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus) climbed the 9-foot retaining fence around the National Archives Building in Washington along with several other members of Veterans for Peace and occupied a 35-foot-high ledge to raise a giant banner reading “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!”

Tarak Kauff, a spokesman for the group, said: “We’re here because, A, we would like to see the Constitution restored, and B, and maybe more importantly, we want to see justice and accountability in this country…if we don’t have justice and accountability, we have nothing.”

Washington — Five military veterans, all members of Veterans For Peace, are breaking camp from their perch on the National Archives building this morning, taking with them their 22x8-ft. banner demanding “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!” that has overlooked their 24-hour action on a narrow ledge 35 feet above Constitution Ave.

Tarak Kauff, 67, former Army Airborne, who provided ground support throughout, said in a phone interview, “We’re always told to ‘write your Congressman,’ and we have. Only this time we brought a letter they couldn’t miss. We’ve made our point writ large that Bush and Cheney are war criminals and must be arrested and prosecuted. Impeach them if we can, but we’re not holding our breath for Congress to act. The kingpins of this criminal administration will be brought to justice, along with many of their lieutenants.”

Elliott Adams, VFP president, by phone from his spot on the ledge overlooking the entrance to the Archives Building, said “This turned out excellent. We’re very happy with the response we’ve gotten to arrest Bush and Cheney for war crimes. We considered staying longer this time but we are not prepared for longer than this…although we may be back again, soon.”

VFP members participating in the Archives action are: Elliott Adams: 61, NY, VFP President and former Army paratrooper in Viet Nam; Ellen Barfield: 52, MD, former U.S. Army Sgt., full-time peace and justice advocate; Kim Carlyle: 61, NC, mountain homesteader, former Army Spec 5; Diane Wilson: 59, TX, shrimp boat captain, former Army medic; Doug Zachary: 58, TX, VFP staff, former USMC LCpl discharged as a conscientious objector; and Tarak Kauff (ground support) 67, NY, painting contractor, former U.S. Army Airborne.

Robert Kuttner on Thom Hartmann: Now on Chelsea Green Radio

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Robert Kuttner, author of Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency, talked with Thom Hartmann on his show yesterday. They discussed transformative presidents and the citizens’ movements that propelled them to greatness.

Hartmann called Kuttner’s latest book “absolutely extraordinary” and congratulated him “for handing Sean Hannity his ass the other day.”

Kuttner offered his thoughts on John McCain and the Republicans:

McCain is coming apart. It’s just not credible that he’s a born-again William Jennings Bryant…. I think the politics of the bailout are really interesting. There’s such a backlash against it at the grassroots level that the Republicans are outdoing the Democrats to try to be born again regulators, and you’ve got McCain talking about “greed on Wall Street,” and “fire the head of the SEC”—to which Obama had a great comeback: “on November 4, you can fire the whole lot of them.”

The interview aired this morning; the entire ten-minute segment is available now at Chelsea Green Radio.

Listen now.


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