Archive for October, 2009


Montrealers Give Bush the Shoe

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Author Charlotte Dennett (The People v. Bush: One Lawyer’s Campaign To Bring the President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She Encountered Along the Way) saw the Canadian side of anti-Bush sentiment on a recent trip across our northern border.

Like a groundhog, the former president will occasionally, warily, poke his head out of his dark little hole to check the political climate—and, of course, to collect a $100,000 speaking fee. And yes, I’m aware my analogy fell apart right there.

But perhaps Mr. Bush’s fleeting appearances can be more aptly compared to a game of whack-a-mole, seeing as how every time he emerges these days, somebody lobs a shoe at his head.

From Buzzflash:

      They threw shoes – so many shoes that hotel staff had to roll out a laundry bin onto the street to pick them all up, and even then, the bin could barely contain them all. 

      They chanted: “Bush: Assassin! Terroriste! Criminal!” and then, at the appropriate command, hurled more shoes toward the heavily guarded entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where George W. Bush was scheduled to speak.  

      They waved signs: “Don’t Duck!” and “1.3 Million Dead Because of Bush” and “Bread Not Bombs for the Children of Iraq.”  Some of the signs and chants were directed equally at Bush’s father. “You are a murderer too!” 

      And toward the end, they burned George W. Bush in effigy. 

      My friend Robin Lloyd and I were watching most of this noontime spectacle on Ocotber 22nd from inside the hotel, where we managed to gain entry flashing our press passes. Lloyd is a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the publisher of Toward Freedom Magazine (now on-line at towardfreedom.com) which has continued a tradition begun by her father of chronicling Third World resistance to colonialism and now, imperialism. She agreed to accompany me to Montreal to witness what I expected to be a lively example of a growing world wide movement aimed at holding George W. Bush and his top advisors accountable for torture and other high crimes and misdemeanors during his eight- year administration.    If we were lucky, we would also witness our former president deliver his speech about “Eight Momentous Years.” He was addressing a well-heeled crowd invited by the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.  

      While we were waiting for Bush to show up, the hotel staff rolled the shoe-laden laundry bin back indoors, prompting me to pick one off the top of the pile as a souvenir. Minutes later, a security guard approached me and politely advised me that I’d better conceal the shoe in my purse. “I don’t think it would go over well if you were seen with a shoe at this time,” he said.  

      How very civil of him, I mused. Even the white-helmeted Montreal police outside acted with restraint, in marked contrast to the Darth Vader-like robocops who greeted demonstrators outside the recent G-20 meetings in Pittsburgh with tear gas, clubs and sound screams. 

Read the whole article here.

 

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Chelsea Green Named to Indexing Honor Roll

Monday, October 26th, 2009

A lot of things go into making a good book, and Chelsea Green strives for excellence in all of them.

This year, Chelsea Green Publishing has been placed on the American Society for Indexing Honor Roll of Publishers. The award, originated by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the ASI, recognizes publishers who value good indexes and the professionals who write them.

This honor really belongs to our wonderful professional indexers. Congratulations go to them, as well as all the fine folks of the in-house staff at Chelsea Green. Great job.

To quote Production Director Bill Bokermann, “The certificate has a subtle image of an open book as the background—so subtle that our office printer/copier/scanner could not pick it up, but trust me, it’s there.” Here’s the text:

Honor Roll of Publishers

This certificate is awarded by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the American Society of Indexing in recognition and appreciation of publishers who value good indexes and the professional indexers who create them.

Read more about the American Society for Indexing Publisher Honor Roll.

 

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The Raw Milk Revolution: Now Available!

Monday, October 26th, 2009

When health and business journalist David E. Gumpert, author of the newly released Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights decided to look beyond the official FDA statement on raw milk and pasteurization, he encountered farmers and producers of nutritional supplements who told a very different story.

“Raw milk is produced a lot differently than conventional milk. I mean, now you just look at these cows here. They are so clean compared to what you’re going to find with cows standing in a feedlot, standing in manure all day.

“Milk is really our first processed food, which is pretty important to keep in mind, because when you heat milk, even for a short time, you kill not only pathogens, but you kill off certain enzymes and certain, what we now know to be beneficial bacteria. So you are changing the composition of the milk.

“We also know, after many years of consuming highly processed foods, is that we have skyrocketing rates of obesity, we have skyrocketing rates of asthma, serious problems with diabetes. It’s a, almost what a lot of people refer to now as “a dead liquid.” It’s . . . the only resemblance to milk is that it’s white.”

Individual Action or Total Revolution? The New Climate Change Debate

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Two arguments are making the rounds in the debate over how to reverse climate change. Deniers don’t enter into it. This argument is about scale: How far should we go, as citizens, as individuals, to reverse the trend toward irrevocable and catastrophic climate change?

On the Bill McKibben side, a growing international movement is taking shape. People are taking action by organizing events and rallies, bringing the issue to prominence and (hopefully) convincing the goverments of the world it’s time to act.

On the Derrick Jensen side, nothing less than total revolution can save us. Dismantling the corporate power structure. Revolting against fossil fuels’ stranglehold on the world’s energy. A De-industrial Revolution.

First, an excerpt from a piece by Bill McKibben:

From Mt. Everest to the Maldives, people worldwide are turning an arcane number into a movement for a stable climate. Bill McKibben asks: Will you join them?

Let’s say you occasionally despair for the future of the planet. In that case, the place you need to be this week is the website for 350.org.

Every few minutes, something new arrives at our headquarters, where young people hunched over laptops do their best to keep up with the pace. News that activists in Afghanistan—Afghanistan—have organized a rally for our big day of action on October 24. They’ll assemble on a hillside 20 kilometers from Kabul to write a huge message in the sand: “Let Us Live: 350.”

Or news that there’s all of a sudden a 350 website in Farsi to help organize the rallies taking shape across Iran. Or maybe a short story exactly 350 words long from the great writer Barry Lopez. Or the news flash that the World Council of Churches has endorsed the 350 target, and is urging its 650 million members to ring their bells 350 times on October 24. Or…

But wait—what’s 350? It’s the most important number in the world, though no one knew it even 20 months ago. When Arctic ice melted so dramatically in the summer of 2007, scientists realized that global warming was no longer a future threat but a very present crisis. Within months our leading climatologists—especially the NASA team led by James Hansen—were giving us a stark new reality check. Above 350 parts per million carbon dioxide, they wrote, the atmosphere would begin to heat too much for us to have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.”

And from Chris Hedges of Truthdig:

We can join Bill McKibben on Oct. 24 in nationwide protests over rising carbon emissions. We can cut our consumption of fossil fuels. We can use less water. We can banish plastic bags. We can install compact fluorescent light bulbs. We can compost in our backyard. But unless we dismantle the corporate state, all those actions will be just as ineffective as the Ghost Dance shirts donned by native American warriors to protect themselves from the bullets of white soldiers at Wounded Knee.

“If we all wait for the great, glorious revolution there won’t be anything left,” author and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I interviewed him in a phone call to his home in California. “If all we do is reform work, this culture will grind away. This work is necessary, but not sufficient. We need to use whatever means are necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet. We need to target and take down the industrial infrastructure that is systematically dismembering the planet. Industrial civilization is functionally incompatible with life on the planet, and is murdering the planet. We need to do whatever is necessary to stop this.”

The oil and natural gas industry, the coal industry, arms and weapons manufacturers, industrial farms, deforestation industries, the automotive industry and chemical plants will not willingly accept their own extinction. They are indifferent to the looming human catastrophe. We will not significantly reduce carbon emissions by drying our laundry in the backyard and naively trusting the power elite. The corporations will continue to cannibalize the planet for the sake of money. They must be halted by organized and militant forms of resistance. The crisis of global heating is a social problem. It requires a social response.

Read the whole article here.

 

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Drying Herbs and Flowers

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

The following is an excerpt 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 Vivante. It has been adapted for the Web.

A few guidelines:

  • Pick plants in the morning, when it is dry and sunny and they are at their peak, depending on the plant and the part that you are using.
  • Wash plants only when necessary (roots, for example).
  • Always dry plants in the shade (outdoors) or in a dark place (indoors).
  • Drying is complete when plants are dry and brittle.
  • Store dried plants in glass jars, paper, or cardboard boxes, away from light. Plants can also be hung in a dry, well-ventilated place.
  • Label the containers you use to hold plants.
  • With every new harvest, discard plants left over from the previous year.

 
Farigoulade (Thyme Medley)

  • 1 heaping teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon savory
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 heaping teaspoon thyme
  • A coffee mill

Pick these plants just as they are starting to flower, and allow them to dry in the dark. Remove any very woody parts, and grind the herbs to a fine powder using a coffee mill.

Serve this medley with grilled mutton. We place a spoonful in one corner of our plates and dip pieces of meat into it. It’s a gourmet’s delight!

Anne-Marie Arrouye, Aix-en-Provence

 
Herbs in Bags

  • Herbs with long stems (rosemary, basil, tarragon, sage, mint, etc.)
  • Paper bags

This method works well for long-stemmed herbs, such as rosemary, basil, tarragon, sage, and mint. Place the heads of the herbs (separated by type) all the way inside a paper bag; gather the stems together, and tie them up along with the open end of the bag. Make holes in the bag for ventilation, and hang it in a not too cool, not too warm, well-ventilated, and preferably dark place. (Herbs lose their flavor when exposed to light.)

Ghislaine Fayolle, Larajasse

 
Herbs in Open-Air Bouquets

  • Herbs (parsley, sage, thyme, bay leaves, tarragon, mint, marjoram)
  • Glass jars
  • This is a particularly effective technique for parsley, sage, thyme, bay leaves, tarragon, mint, and marjoram. Make little bouquets of herbs (separated by type), and hang them in a dry, well-ventilated place, preferably in the dark. When the herbs are dry, the leaves can be separated from the stems, and stored in airtight glass jars.

    M. Buisson, Riorges

     
    Herbs on Trays

    • Herbs
    • Small cloth-lined crates, or trays made with screening or muslin

    Place a shallow layer of plants in small crates, lined at the bottom with cloth, or on trays made with screening or muslin. Small crates, or trays with “feet,” can be stacked. Put the crates or trays in a dark, dry, well-ventilated place (such as the attic).

    Jeannette Roy, Vergigny

     
    Linden Flowers

    • Linden flowers
    • 2 clean dishtowels
    • Tin cans or glass jars

    Follow the same procedure as for rose petals (below). This way, each room will have a different scent.

    You can also make a mild, soothing tea from dried linden flowers, which are highly prized in France for this purpose. The American basswood tree, widespread throughout the eastern United States, is in the linden family and produces suitable flowers.

     
    Rose Petals

    • Rose petals
    • 2 clean dishtowels
    • Tin cans or glass jars

    To dry rose petals properly, they must be spread out in thin layers and protected from light and dust. So, on a clean dishtowel, which I’ve placed on the top of a cabinet, I spread the freshly gathered rose petals, and cover them with another dishtowel. While drying, they give the room an exquisite scent! After several weeks, I store them in tin cans or glass jars labeled with the plant’s name and the harvest year.

    Lise Marie Ratier, La Ferrière

     
    Summer Scents

    • Mixed herbs (thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, wild thyme, savory, etc.)
    • 3 cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    • Small piece of dried chili (optional)
    • A salad bowl
    • A glass jar

    Gather a bouquet of mixed herbs. Set them out to dry right away in a dark, dry place. Remove the leaves from herbs with hard stems (thyme and rosemary, for example). Combine two tablespoons of each herb with three cloves, onehalf teaspoon of grated nutmeg, and a small piece of dried chili (if you like it), all together in a salad bowl. Blend small quantities of this mixture by hand, so as to obtain a coarse powder that should be stored in a glass jar.

    These herbs marvelously season winter vegetables, omelets, cheeses, and the like.

    M.-T. Petit, Pont-de-Cé

WATCH: Howard Dean on the State of the Public Option on Rachel Maddow

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

If you’re following the health care debate closely—that is, if you haven’t overdosed on health care reform coverage and resolved to ignore it until it’s all over—then you know we’re getting into some pretty wonkish territory. Public option triggers, state-run exchanges, opt-ins, opt-outs, negotiated rates, medicare + 5—it’s enough to make you ask, is health care reform fatigue a pre-existing condition? Can I rescind my conservative congressman?

Leading the charge for the public option is former Vermont governor, former chair of the DNC, and medical doctor Howard Dean. What’s his take on the public option shenanigans taking place on the Hill? Dean plunked down his two cents on last night’s Rachel Maddow Show.

Watch Now

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Two Athletes, Two Drugs, and a Double Standard

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

When a world-class super-athlete is caught taking a hit off a bong, he’s vilified, demonized, painted as a villain, and his finances are threatened (oh, Kellogg’s). Another world-class athlete, the face of a cancer charity, decides to hawk a brand of beer—even though alcohol has been linked to certain cancers—society shrugs, or gives him the thumbs up, or most likely doesn’t even give it a second thought. Something is wrong here.

From truthdig:

For better or worse, our American Idiocracy has come to rely on athletes as national pedagogues. Michael Jordan educated the country about commitment and just doing it. A.C. Green lectured us about sexual caution. Serena Williams and John McEnroe taught us what sportsmanship is—and is not. And Charles Barkley outlined how society should define role models.

So when a single week like this one sees both the Justice Department back states’ medical marijuana laws and a Gallup poll show record-level support for pot legalization, we can look to two superjocks—Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps—for the key lesson about our absurd drug policy.

This Tale of Two Supermen began in February when Phelps, the gold-medal swimmer, was plastered all over national newspapers in a photo that showed him hitting a marijuana bong. Though he was smoking in private, the image ignited a public firestorm. USA Swimming suspended Phelps, Kellogg pulled its endorsement deal and The Associated Press sensationalized the incident as a national issue about whether heroes should “be perfect or flawed.”

The alleged imperfection was Phelps’ decision to quietly consume a substance that “poses a much less serious public health problem than is currently posed by alcohol,” as a redacted World Health Organization report admits. That’s a finding confirmed by almost every objective science-based analysis, including a landmark University of California study in 2006 showing “no association at all” between marijuana use and cancer.

Alcohol, by contrast, causes roughly 1 in 30 of the world’s cancer cases, according to the International Journal of Cancer. And a new report by the Cancer Epidemiology journal shows that even beer, seemingly the least potent drink, may increase the odds of developing tumors.

Read the whole article here.

 

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Conservative Columnist Kathleen Parker Applauds Shift on Marijuana Policy

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

When you think about it, it makes sense. Conservatives purport to want the federal government to have less influence over state governments, and they support greater autonomy for states. It was George W. Bush’s war on medical marijuana that was the real head-scratcher; if he wanted the federal government to stop interfering in people’s lives, why did he greatly expand the reach and power of the Executive branch? Weird, right?

Some Conservatives in the William F. Buckley mold are coming out in favor of repealing marijuana prohibition. On this issue, liberals and conservatives appear to be united. What does this mean for the future of marijuana policy? Only time will tell, but I have to say, things look pretty rosy for the pro-marijuana reform crowd.

From the Washington Post:

In an act of merciful sanity, the Obama administration has made good on its promise to stop interfering with states that allow the medical use of marijuana.

Clink-clink, hear-hear, salud, cheers, et cetera, et cetera.

The announcement from Attorney General Eric Holder surely comes as a relief to the many who rely on cannabis to ease suffering from various ailments. This new, relaxed approach doesn’t let drug traffickers off the hook. It merely means that 14 states that now provide for some medical marijuana uses no longer need fear federal raids on dispensaries and users operating under state law.

It’s a good move, long overdue. But is it enough? Not quite.

The debate over whether Americans ought to have the right to be stupid — or to make other people seem more interesting — continues apace after 40 years of the (failed) “war on drugs.”

Arguments for and against decriminalization of some or all drugs are familiar by now. Distilled to the basics, the drug war has empowered criminals while criminalizing otherwise law-abiding citizens and wasted billions that could have been better spent on education and rehabilitation.

By ever-greater numbers, Americans support decriminalizing at least marijuana, which millions admit to having used, including a couple of presidents and a Supreme Court justice. A recent Gallup poll found that 44 percent of Americans favor legalization for any purpose, not just medical, up from 31 percent in 2000.

Read the whole article here.

Photo: CNN.com.

 

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The Awe and Wonder of Sy Montgomery’s Worlds

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Writer, traveler, and adventurer Sy Montgomery‘s books are such a pleasure to read because her rich, immersive descriptions make you feel like you’re right there with her, whether it’s deep in the rainforests of borneo or the mangrove swamps of Bangladesh. The delight she brings to her subjects is infectious.

In this article, Truthout reviewer Leslie Thatcher goes exploring the lush, astounding worlds of Sy Montgomery.

    It is not uncommon for those of us who love books to discover that even the finest actor and the best screenplay do not convey the subtleties of character and character development a good author reveals. Consequently, the impressions that Sigourney Weaver’s wonderful performance as Dian Fossey in “Gorillas in the Mist” or that even Jane Goodall being herself in National Geographic’s documentary “Return to Gombe” were but pale representations of the complex women so brilliantly portrayed in Sy Montgomery’s “Walking with the Great Apes” were not surprising. But that the actual Rwandan and Tanzanian forests should be so much less alive on film than they are in Sy Montgomery’s book was a revelation I believe any reader of the excerpt above may begin to appreciate.

    Green Press Initiative publisher Chelsea Green has done a great service reissuing Ms. Montgomery’s four science and adventure books: “Walking with the Great Apes,” “The Spell of the Tiger,” “Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest,” and “Search For the Golden Moon Bear,” each embellished with new material from the author or from her friends: author and anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and biologist Gary Galbreath. The new editions also feature a fresh selection of photographs from the original expeditions.

    ”Science and Adventure” captures the ostensible subjects of these four books, each of which involve journeys to what most of us would consider remote and dangerous locations on missions of scientific research and discovery. But they might equally well be classified with works of “religion,” “anthropology,” or “philosophy,” so deeply does that primary religious impulse – wonder – run through these four and all of Ms. Montgomery’s books, so profound is her respect for all the living beings she encounters: the scientists, photographers and guides she works with, the government officials and indigenous people she comes to know in her travels, members of her community at home, the creatures she studies, the creatures she lives among – both domesticated and wild – and life forms in all their imbricated complexity and wild individuality.

Read the whole article here.

 
Photo: Rodney Brindamour / National Geographic Stock

 

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WATCH: Need Another Reason to Support the Public Option? Heather Graham.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Since the very beginning of the health care debate, Governor Howard Dean has been out there, effectively championing the public option as the only way to keep the insurance companies honest, keep costs down, and give Americans a choice. Time and time again, he has made the point firmly, forcefully, and convincingly. Now we are on the cusp of real reform.

Yes, Howard Dean has been a leader—a remarkably informed, effective proponent of the public option.

But he’s not Heather Graham.

From The Huffington Post:

In a new frontier of the public option debate, progressives are getting a hand from movie star Heather Graham to pitch the much-discussed health care reform provision.

Read the whole article here.

 

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