Rory Blake's Run for Congress


Check out Rory Blake for Congress.

Galloway's Run for NC House

Gerald Galloway is running as Unafiliated candidate for NC House of Representatives. Check him out!

p.s. They Don't Grow in Your Backyard

TFAs, The Food Industry's "Trojan Horse" on Your Table
By Sherwood Ross t r u t h o u t Perspective

If you're thinking about a useful holiday gift for a teenager, for $6.99 you can give the invaluable Trans Fats: The Hidden Killer in Our Food (Pocket Books), by Judith Shaw, whose no-holds-barred introduction begins, "This is the story of a killer ingredient tucked into most of the food that you, your family, and most other Americans eat ..."
This 175-page paperback is an urgent read for teens because, Shaw writes, "Moving into adolescence with their own disposable dollars, children become the principal consumers of foods with hydrogenated vegetable oils, snacking away at the cellophane packages and fast foods that have become a thirty billion dollar American habit."
"Consuming foods with hydrogenated oils (chips, cookies, crackers, muffins, donuts, candy, fast food) ... has become a national pastime, a cultural institution," Shaw argues, noting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that "fully half of packaged cereals, cold or hot, contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils."
Indeed, USDA says TFAs are found in 40 percent of the food on grocery store shelves today! The good news, though, is that since last January 1st, the FDA ordered TFAs to be listed on food package labels, so at least you've got a sporting chance to avoid them.
What do TFAs do to you? As Jeffrey Aron, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, puts it in his foreward to Shaw's book, they cause people to "develop a state of inflammation that creates a cascade of metabolic horrors with results that can include insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and depression." Indeed, 60,800,000 Americans didn't just develop some form of cardiovascular disease without a little help from the processed food industry - and it's increasingly seen among children.
If those figures don't unsettle you, Shaw points to long-term Harvard medical studies asserting that "the risk of cardiovascular disease correlates to the consumption of TFAs: that the people who eat food with the most partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are those most likely to develop heart disease."
By eliminating partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from the American diet, at least 30,000 deaths from heart disease and an additional 100,000 deaths per year from related vascular disease might be prevented annually, writes Shaw, former long-time educational director of The Family Institute of Berkeley, in California.
That's catching up to deaths from cigarette smoking, which wipes out 440,000 Americans annually. (If Osama bin Laden wanted to do a real number on us, he'd get himself a consulting gig with the cigarette lobby in Washington.)
What foods contain TFAs? They are ubiquitous, as manufacturers stuff them into products to extend shelf life. Shaw warns: "Any package that lists partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (or soybean, canola, coconut, palm or safflower oil) in its ingredients contains TFAs."
TFAs may be doubly camouflaged on some packages as "shortening," "vegetable shortening," or "hardened vegetable oil." Any baked good of packaged food with margarine in it or one that suggests the use of stick margarine to prepare it is, or becomes, full of TFAs, the author writes.
Among the "Worst Offender Foods" Shaw finds are:
Baked goods such as cakes, cookies, breads, donuts, frosting mixes, muffins, pastries, pies and ready-to-bake pizza crusts. If you're thinking of snacking on fast foods, watch out for flour and fried tortillas, French fries, donuts, brownies, and chicken nuggets, as well as breakfast cakes such as cinnamon buns and Danish.
Even "the baby and toddler food sold in boxes and jars may have them," Shaw writes. "Arrowroot Cookies from Gerber and Nabisco's Zwieback Toast and Animal Crackers have them ... They're in a substantial number of the pastries at all 4,126 Starbucks across the nation."
If you want to avoid TFAs, it's a good idea to pass up the frozen food supermarket display with its breaded foods like potato nuggets and fish sticks, burritos, frozen dinners, pizza, pot pies, pot stickers, and quiches.
TFAs are also commonly found in margarine, nondairy creamers, peanut butter, vegetable oil shortenings, frosting mixes, butter-like spreads, dessert toppings, gravy mixes, instant soups, dips for chips, roasted or fried nuts, pretzels, peanut butter crackers and like snacks, and those egg substitutes whose consumption you thought might be healthy for your heart.
"Most stick margarines are full of TFAs, and some of the tubs have them as well. Snacks like Quaker Cereal Bars ... Lunchables, and Oreos have them. Granola bars ... take-out salads, apple pies, and stir-fries" have them. And, get this, "They are in the sugar-free candy made expressly for diabetics," as well as nondairy coffee creamer and Halloween treats! Shaw goes on to write, "Even some name brand ice creams, like Ben & Jerry's, have them." "Orville Redenbacher 'quality' popcorn uses them" as do most other microwave brands.
If you can think of a reason why TFAs should not be banned altogether from the grocery shelves, let me know. For as Dr. Oscar London, author of Kill as Few Patients as Possible, warns on Shaw's cover blurb: "Trans fats are a time bomb ticking in every one of us. For your sake, and that of your children, you must read this book."

Sherwood Ross is an American who writes for newspapers and magazines. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com.

More on Global Wind Energy

Sou. Pines Green Tour, Sat. Oct. 7

The 1st Annual Southern Pines Green Building & Solar Tour
Saturday October 7, 2006, 10am-4pm. FREE!

Thanks to our partners on this inaugural tour - NCSEA (the NC Sustainable Energy Association) - and to the gracious homeowners and Moore County Schools for opening their doors to the public to observe some examples of green building in the Sandhills!


Landing: Understanding and resolving human alienation from land
By Kathleen Dean Moore

I had been away for many days, sitting behind glass walls in one airport waiting room after another, cold and fidgety in a black plastic chair, uneasy under the grim eyes of security guards. With all the other lonely, tired, anxious people, I stood in lines with my identification in my hand. Then we were grinding through clouds thirty-five thousand feet above the earth. The noise was overwhelming and so was the silence of strangers crowded side by side, wincing when their elbows touched. I was startled when the flight attendant announced we would be landing.
"What did she say?" I asked the salesman next to me.
"We'll be landing soon--that's what she said." Seatback in an upright position, tray table locked, I seized on those words. Land is a noun, a solid, a place you come home to. Land is a set of relationships--ecosystems, hydrological cycles, ocean currents, neighborhoods, and nitrogen cycles, and the energy that flows among them. But land is also a verb, an action that people sometimes take: To land is to come into contact again (finally, blessedly) with the actual earth, a place that welcomes you, nourishes you, protects you, lifts you with relief. Suddenly, I wanted to land more than anything else in the world.
We have been away for many centuries, we people of the Western industrialized nations. We have built a culture on the mistaken assumption that human beings are independent of one another and of the places and systems of the earth. And so the mass of us lead lives of quiet separation, cutting ourselves off from the ecological and cultural communities that sustain us. The mass of us live apart from our parents and their memories, from our children and their grown-up hopes, from the sources of our food and energy and water, from our neighbors, from the wind and rain. Behind locked gates and Thermopane windows, in front of computer screens and air conditioning units, we might as well be suspended in the sky, for all the contact we have with the actual earth. The separation hurts: Isolated, uneasy, we crave something we can never buy and grieve for a loss we can't name.
Alienation from the land has allowed us to wage war against the water, the air, the fertile soil. We who depend on the life-sustaining systems of the earth can act in ways that harm them, only if we successfully convince ourselves, against all evidence, that the damage we do to the land is justified, or necessary, or inconsequential. So we buy into a set of illusions about our supposed separation from the land, and convince ourselves that our acts are conveniently disconnected from their consequences. Until we begin to tell the truth about the intimacy of our relation to natural places, I see no reason to hope that the work of reconciliation with the land can begin.
What are the illusions of separation and self-sufficiency that allow us to think of ourselves as sensible people, while we make decisions that sabotage the ecological systems on which our lives depend?

Today / Tomorrow
Caught up in the moment, we act as if today were somehow disconnected from tomorrow, as if we floated in a holy present, untethered from what has come before us, unaffected by and certainly not responsible for what will happen next.
Surely, I say to myself, no one believes it's possible to sever the connection between past, present, and future. But how else could people who love their children act in ways that diminish or destroy the world in which their children will live? How else could voters allow industry's endless mining of the land and the lakes and the seas, liquidating the earth's assets, extinguishing species forever, holding this great going-out-of-business sale, and forget that it is our children who will be left standing in the empty store?
As we disregard the future, time spirals through us. The presences and absences--what remains and what will never be again--are a result of decisions made by the people who came before us. And our children will live in the world we are creating today, as we bustle about, planting the seeds of cancer and the seeds of hollyhocks, tall and green. Will we cut the last ancient forests and empty the oceans? Will we foul the desert with uranium-tipped missiles and litter the arctic with discarded oil-drilling rigs? Will we drench strawberry fields with Diazinon and lace the spinach with 2,4-D? Will we undermine the power of antibiotics and create new weeds that can never be controlled?
We can look back at our parents' decisions--about pesticides, radioactive waste, PCB's, the grand and fatal dams--and say that perhaps our parents didn't understand the consequences of their acts. When our children look back on our decisions, they won't allow us that excuse.
God knows, it's easy enough to delude ourselves that the damage done to the earth's natural systems has nothing to do with us. Our language invites us to dodge responsibility. "The species went extinct," we say. "The forest was clear-cut." "The river was dammed." "The last fish was caught." "The aquifer was contaminated." Always the passive voice, the sentence where the agent has gone missing. The chronicle of loss is sad and shameful enough, but the grammar is terrifying.
The fact is that species don't go extinct, the way little pigs go to market; today, with some exceptions, human decisions drive species to extinction. Trees don't sever themselves cleanly at the knees and keel over; rather, humans pay other humans to go into the forest, rev up their chainsaws, and cut down the trees: the squealing saw, the crashing branches, the flying debris, the frantic cawing of crows. We--you and I, by our decisions--are causal agents in the harm done to the natural systems of the earth.
These truths aren't easy truths. It's painful, the switch from "What is happening to the world?" to "What am I doing to the world?" But this kind of truth-telling--acknowledging that we are complicit today in the degradation of the world our children will live in tomorrow--opens a door to reconciliation and renewal. If we understand that our decisions create the future, then we can imagine a different set of decisions and, thus, a different future. This shift in thinking creates the possibility of choice--commitment to a set of life-giving values that are the foundation of new communities of renewal.
My university colleague, Frank Lake, returns to his home along the Klamath River each year to join his Karok people for the dance of world renewal. He believes that the land creates the people, as a mother creates her children, and brings the rain and salmon. He also understands that people create the land. They plant willows in the lowlands and renew the meadows with prairie fires. Or people cut forests on steep slopes and rip-rap the streams--this happens, too. For better or worse, people and the land are co-creators of the future. They share the responsibility for determining what the next years will bring.
So the Karok families come together each year in their town, landing in that place from colleges and cities and ranch houses and fishing ports. It's a reconciliation, quite literally, a coming together again, a reunion of people and land. Singing and dancing, they acknowledge the human responsibility to create a world in which their children can thrive.
As soon as I got home from the airport after my long time away, I rode my bike to the Farmers' Market by the river in my town. Like the dance of world renewal in Frank's hometown, this gathering in my home town is a kind of reconciliation, a coming together again of past and future, people and the land.
The second week in June, there were buckets of flowers--yellow lilies, peonies, field daisies--and rows of tomato plants in pots. A father pushed a stroller past an abundance of lettuce, while his baby gnawed a strawberry, dribbling juice into the folds of her chin. As a fiddler played, a little boy danced, embracing a bundle of carrots. People moved slowly past oysters piled high on ice, stopping to talk with friends whose arms overflowed with leaf lettuce and sweet basil and tiny yellow potatoes just dug from the ground. Spinach in great heaps spilled over garlic sprouts under striped awnings, and behind it all, the river flashed between trees shiny with new leaves. The music, the quiet conversations, the smell of green onions and mock-orange--this world as it once was, the world as it can be again--flooded me with a joy that I am still trying to understand.

Near / Far
A second delusion would convince us that the nearby places where we live are ecologically and culturally separable from what is far away--other peoples' neighborhoods or "Nature" out on a mountaintop somewhere. This illusion allows us to believe that it is possible to safeguard one's own backyard without regard for the distant places and, the reverse, that it is possible to safeguard distant beloved places while the close-in neighborhoods collapse around us. On the contrary, the ecosystems that sustain us are linked in beautiful and complex ways to each other, to economic and social systems, and to the land. Living in this interlocking whole, we need to find our own integrity, a moral wholeness that holds us to the same standards of care for the land, no matter where we are.
Whenever I fly toward home, the plane drops below clouds soaking the foothills of the Willamette River valley where I live. I look down on a tufted landscape of clear-cuts and tree plantations. Human commerce has skinned and sectioned the hills, slicing them along political lines, property lines, fence-lines, power-lines. Lines that divide wilderness and corporate land, public land and private property, subdivision and nature reserve, nature and culture run straight and square across the curving hills.
The moral distinctions are every bit as visible on the mountainsides. Far from home, there are odd patches of wilderness ethic, where people feel a strong obligation to do no harm. Then come wide swaths of utilitarian ethic, where the land (the water, the forests, the city street, the night sky, the schoolyard, the railroad station) is treated as a commodity, and people are careless of it, or disdainful, and push it around or use it up willy-nilly. Close to home are square, green homeplaces, where people care for the land as if it were their child, cherishing it and keeping it well.
But in the earth's great systems--the hydrological cycles, the patterns of weather, the spread of disease, the migrations of birds and peoples, genetic drift, continental drift, pesticide drift, drift nets--there is no distinction between far and near. A surveyor can draw a line around a wilderness area or a subdivision, but boundaries do not hold water. When storm winds billow in, every boundary is hidden in fog that dampens stumps and forests without distinction. Carbon dioxide doesn't stay in a parking lot. Plutonium has no respect for a chain-link fence. Diseases born on the far side of the earth walk onto planes and disembark at LaGuardia or Hong Kong. And all the while, oxygen created in lowland marshes drifts toward cities on rising winds, as fresh water filtered in great forests runs downhill to the glass pitchers in the old-folks' home.
Near or far, it's all one interdependent, unfathomable thing. So the moral distinctions fall away, too. What sense does it make to live by different ethics in different places, in a world so intimately connected?
If the land is all one homeplace, then we should treat it as thoughtfully and carefully as we treat our homes. The ecological oneness of near and far requires a moral integrity as well, a vision of the possibility of living in a caring relationship with all land, of walking anywhere on earth with the same gratitude and respect.
This evening, my husband and I will walk down to the river, carrying our supper. As people gradually gather, we will sit at picnic tables by the skate-park, in the shadow of the graffiti-wall where teenagers spray-paint fierce self-portraits. Sharing binoculars, we will watch the big brown bats leave their roosts and fly off over the river to feed. We will talk about the bats, meet some people we haven't known before, be astonished and glad, and then we will walk home through warm air filtered by lichens and the lungs of strangers. We will climb into bed while the moon rises over the town, as it rose over the blowing wilderness, as it will rise over the sea. And we will fall asleep while sea-fog condenses on broad lawns and drips from the eaves of the Super 8 Motel.

Humans / Nature
Finally, we must face the most disastrous self-deception, the idea that human beings are separate from and superior to the rest of the natural world, and the equally disastrous corollary: We can destroy our habitats without destroying ourselves.
As we begin to understand instead that humans are seamlessly connected, are kin, to the natural world, then we may begin to act in caring ways toward the earth and its inhabitants. This is a matter both of pragmatic self-interest, sustaining the systems that sustain us, and of moral obligation, honoring and caring for our relations.
Jack Forbes, a Powhatan-Ren'pe scholar and a poet, pointed out how much humans are of the natural world. "You can cut off my hands," he told my students, "and I will still live. You can cut off my ears, and I will still live. Gouge out my eyes, and I will live. Cut off my legs, my hair, my nose, and I will still live. But if you cut off my air, I will die. If you take away the water, I will die. So why do I think that my hands and my eyes are more a part of me than the water and the air?"
How complicated and layered and open-ended is this relation of humans to all of natural creation, this kinship, this beautiful, bewildering family.
This kinship has moral consequences. "All ethics," wrote conservationist Aldo Leopold, "rests on a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts," a community that includes "soils, water, plants, animals, or collectively, the land." People value connections to the natural places that create and sustain us: The sudden awareness of kinship to the earth fills us with joy. This is what I felt when I flew home from so far away, landed, and made my way to the Farmers' Market, the piled carrots grown from the same soil as my neighbors and children.
Moral obligations grow from relationships. If we are of the land and if we care about and depend on our connections to it, then we ought to act in ways that nurture, enhance, and celebrate healthy webs of connection with the land and all the members of the biotic community.
Landing is what we need to do in this time and place--the sudden slowing, the jolt of reconnection, the relief of coming again into a meaningful connection with the solid earth. But that's not to say that landing is an easy thing. Landing makes me edgy as hell; I know it's the second most dangerous part of any flight, next to taking off. But it's not the fear of crash-landing that shakes me, but the fear of what I will find when I come home.
For years and years, I flew to Ohio for reunions with my family. Landing was a festive time, when all the relatives milled around the gate, and the hugs blocked the exit until a laughing guard shooed us away. But each year, fewer and fewer people met my flights. My mother became too sick to travel to the airport. Finally only my father came to meet me at the airport, pushing down the concourse in a wheelchair. And then not even he came. I climbed into a taxi that delivered me to a lonely, diminished father and a house filled with pain.
And so it is sometimes, with coming back to the land. Each year less and less remains of what we love in the land. In the town I grew up in, a parking lot for a sausage restaurant destroyed the meadow where we wove necklaces with Queen Anne's lace. The swampy place where the two rivers meet is a soccer field. An apartment complex squats where frogs used to sing. I could go on and on: What limit is there to the human ability to transmogrify the dewy, bird-graced, dapple-lighted places into hot pavement? Coming back to the land can be a time of sorrow and regret.
We know what it means to land--the final approach, the drop, the bump, the shuddering surge before the noisy slowing. After the longest time, the doors open and the air of home rushes in, carrying a sudden sense of safety and the prospect of joining again the people and places we love. We can taste on the wind the life that we are capable of living, learn again the happiness that comes from caring for people and caring for places, and accept the challenge of reconciliation, bringing together again what has been apart for a very long time.

Published in the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of Oregon Humanities.
© 2006 Oregon Council for the Humanities

Are We?

Washington Post, Sunday, September 24, 2006

Are We Really So Fearful? By Ariel Dorfman DURHAM, N.C.

It still haunts me, the first time -- it was in Chile, in October of 1973 -- that I met someone who had been tortured. To save my life, I had sought refuge in the Argentine Embassy some weeks after the coup that had toppled the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. And then, suddenly, one afternoon, there he was. A large-boned man, gaunt and yet strangely flabby, with eyes like a child, eyes that could not stop blinking and a body that could not stop shivering.

That is what stays with me -- that he was cold under the balmy afternoon sun of Santiago de Chile, trembling as though he would never be warm again, as though the electric current was still coursing through him. Still possessed, somehow still inhabited by his captors, still imprisoned in that cell in the National Stadium, his hands disobeying the orders from his brain to quell the shuddering, his body unable to forget what had been done to it just as, nearly 33 years later, I, too, cannot banish that devastated life from my memory.

It was his image, in fact, that swirled up from the past as I pondered the current political debate in the United States about the practicality of torture. Something in me must have needed to resurrect that victim, force my fellow citizens to spend a few minutes with the eternal iciness that had settled into that man's heart and flesh, and demand that they take a good hard look at him before anyone dare maintain that, to save lives, it might be necessary to inflict unbearable pain on a fellow human being.

Perhaps the optimist in me hoped that this damaged Argentine man could, all these decades later, help shatter the perverse innocence of contemporary Americans, just as he had burst the bubble of ignorance protecting the young Chilean I used to be, someone who back then had encountered torture mainly through books and movies and newspaper reports.That is not, however, the only lesson that today's ruthless world can learn from that distant man condemned to shiver forever.

All those years ago, that torture victim kept moving his lips, trying to articulate an explanation, muttering the same words over and over. "It was a mistake," he repeated incessantly, and in the next few days I pieced together his sad and foolish tale. He was an Argentine revolutionary who had fled his homeland and, as soon as he had crossed the mountains into Chile, had begun to boast about what he would do to the military there if it staged a coup, about his expertise with arms of every sort, about his colossal stash of weapons. Bluster and braggadocio -- and every word of it false.

But how could he convince those men who were beating him, hooking his penis to electric wires, waterboarding him? How could he prove to them that he had been lying, prancing in front of his Chilean comrades, just trying to impress the ladies with his fraudulent insurgent persona?Of course, he couldn't. He confessed to anything and everything they wanted to drag from his hoarse, howling throat; he invented accomplices and addresses and culprits; and then, when it became apparent that all this was imaginary, he was subjected to further ordeals.

There was no escape.

That is the hideous predicament of the torture victim. It was always the same story, what I discovered in the ensuing years, as I became an unwilling expert on all manner of torments and degradations, my life and my writing overflowing with grief from every continent. Each of those mutilated spines and fractured lives -- Chinese, Guatemalan, Egyptian, Indonesian, Iranian, Uzbek, need I go on? -- all of them, men and women alike, surrendered the same story of essential asymmetry, where one man has all the power in the world and the other has nothing but pain, where one man can decree death at the flick of a wrist and the other can only pray that the wrist will be flicked soon.

It is a story that our species has listened to with mounting revulsion, a horror that has led almost every nation to sign treaties over the past decades declaring these abominations as crimes against humanity, transgressions interdicted all across the earth. That is the wisdom, national and international, that has taken us thousands of years of tribulation and shame to achieve. That is the wisdom we are being asked to throw away when we formulate the question -- Does torture work? -- when we allow ourselves to ask whether we can afford to outlaw torture if we want to defeat terrorism.

I will leave others to claim that torture, in fact, does not work, that confessions obtained under duress -- such as that extracted from the heaving body of that poor Argentine braggart in some Santiago cesspool in 1973 -- are useless. Or to contend that the United States had better not do that to anyone in our custody lest someday another nation or entity or group decides to treat our prisoners the same way.

I find these arguments -- and there are many more -- to be irrefutable. But I cannot bring myself to use them, for fear of honoring the debate by participating in it.

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?

Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this? Are we so fearful, so in love with our own security and steeped in our own pain, that we are really willing to let people be tortured in the name of America? Have we so lost our bearings that we do not realize that each of us could be that hapless Argentine who sat under the Santiago sun, so possessed by the evil done to him that he could not stop shivering?

Ariel Dorfman, a Chilean American writer and professor at Duke University, has dealt with toture in works such as "Death and the Maiden", Konfidenz and Exorcising Terror.

Check It Out

An interesting blog!

Our Children, Yes, a Village

"To My Child " quoted in Charles L Wallis, ed. The Treasure Chest (l965)

You are the trip I did not take;
You are the pearls I cannot buy;
You are my blue Italian lake;
You are my piece of foreign sky.

I used to have a chair that needed to be reupholstered; however, family expenditures kept taking precedence, and the chair became a symbol for my family needing to be taken care of before I needed a pretty chair.

I finally gave the chair to a charity and I have never missed it.

[from blog reader Sonia in Utah]

More on Chomsky


Interview with Noam Chomsky

Whose Fascism is It?


[This is a long article but VERY important in our understanding of what has happened to our U.S. republic.]

More on Your Environment

Coal Will Be Top Enemy in Fighting Global Warming

Cheap coal will be the main enemy in a fight against global warming inthe 21st century because high oil prices are likely to encourage a shift to coal before wind or solar power, a top economist said on Thursday.

The Ascent of Wind Power
Wind power may still have an image as something of a plaything of environmentalists more concerned with clean energy than with saving money. But it is quickly emerging as a serious alternative not just in affluent areas of the world but in fast-growing countries like India and China that are avidly seeking new energy sources.

Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Greenhouse Gas Law
In a move backers hope will change the US approach to the problem of global warming, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law Wednesday aimed at reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

Kissinger, Too

Bush 'concealing Iraq violence'

Washington Post writer Bob Woodward says, in a new book, that the true extent of the Iraq war is being hidden.

Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/americas/5393964.stm

Hillary, Too

US Senate approves Mex. US border fence
The US Senate approves the building of a fence along the Mexican border designed to keep out illegal migrants.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/americas/5394222.stm


Dangers for Kids--GM Foods


Food industry bows to profit over health



Permablitz the suburbs! Yes, you live in one. Yes, we can grow food. Yes, we can have a community that supports us.
(By the way, my Asian persimmon tree is loaded with about 120 seedless, bright orange 'simmons. Organic, no pests, no fertilizer other than mulch, no spray. Yes!)

Wider Links with White House

New US lobbyist ties 'revealed'

Disgraced US lobbyist Jack Abramoff had wider links with the White House than it has admitted, an inquiry finds.

Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/americas/5391142.stm

Urban Farming

Urban Farming: City Pickers

It was once a forgotten wasteland in east London - now it's a thriving organic farm. Growing Communities, a social enterprise group in London, owns three of the first Soil Association-certified organic growing plots in the city that have revitalized under-privileged communities.

[Who knows community gardening regs in Sou. Pines, Aberdeen, etc.? It's time to grow local

Whose America?

US Senate backs terror trial bill

The US Senate endorses President Bush's plans to interrogate and prosecute foreign terror suspects. [of 500 at Gitmo, 10 have been charged]

Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/americas/5390848.stm

Progressing Slowly

Without cars, rural Cuba takes a leisurely pace.



The President We Get. . .

more at: http://vriendenisvw.blogspot.com/2005/09/el-doctorow-essay.html

". . . The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective war-making, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchical economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves. "

E. L. Doctorow

Nearly $2 Billion a Week

Cost of Iraq War Nearly $2 Billion a Week


A new Congressional analysis shows the Iraq war is now costing taxpayers almost $2 billion a week - nearly twice as much as in the first year of the conflict three years ago and 20 percent more than last year - as the Pentagon spends more on establishing regional bases to support the extended deployment and scrambles to fix or replace equipment damaged in combat.

Also check out Brave New Films' movie, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers www.iraqforsale.org

3 Republican Senators Betray Constitution

Republicans Give In To Bush, Betray America

Senators John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham were presented with an opportunity to uphold the fundamental human right known as habeas corpus, or flinch and write a law that would retroactively make sure that George W. Bush could not be prosecuted for violations of habeas corpus in our overseas concentration camps and prisons. It was a contest between protecting the President and protecting the Constitution.
The Republican senators flinched, and in last week's so-called "compromise" chose Bush over the Constitution. In doing so, they turned their backs on a rule of law that stretches back over nearly eight centuries to an epic moment in 1215 on a meadow by the River Thames in the United Kingdom.
The modern institution of civil and human rights, and particularly the writ of habeas corpus, began in June of 1215 when King John was forced by a group of feudal lords to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede.
Two of the most critical parts of the Magna Carta were articles 38 and 39, which established the foundation for what is now known as "habeas corpus" laws (literally, "produce the body" from the Latin - meaning, broadly, "let this person go free or else give him a trial - you may not hold him forever with charging him with a crime"). The concept of habeas corpus in the Magna Carta led directly to the Fourth through Eighth Amendments of our Constitution, and hundreds of other federal and state due process provisions.
Articles 38 and 39 of the Magna Carta said:
"38 In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.
"39 No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."
This was radical stuff, and over the next four hundred years average people increasingly wanted for themselves these same protections from the abuse of governmental power that the feudal lords had gotten at Runnymede. But from 1215 to 1628, outside of the privileges enjoyed by the feudal lords, the average person could be arrested and imprisoned at the whim of the king with no recourse to the courts.
Then, in 1627, King Charles I overstepped, and the people snapped. Charles I threw into jail five knights in a tax disagreement, and the knights sued the King, asserting their habeas corpus right to be free or on bail unless convicted of a crime.
King Charles I, in response, invoked his right to simply imprison anybody he wanted (other than the rich feudal lords), anytime he wanted, as he said, "per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis."
This is essentially the same argument that George W. Bush makes today for why he has the right to detain people without charges for as much as their entire lives solely on his own say-so: because he's in charge
And it's an argument now supported on the record by these Republicans who have chosen to betray America's founding principles in exchange for peace with the White House.
more at: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/1025

Iran: Politics and the Next Crisis



[This from blog reader and permaculturist Jill in New Hampshire]

A populace that has no control over its food supply is hard put to describe itself as 'free.'
Karl Hammer


Bush Admin. Blocks Hurricane Report


from the journal, Nature

Yes, We Should . . .

VIDEO Keith Olbermann: A Textbook Definition of Cowardice


Keith Olbermann: "Our tone should be crazed. The nation's freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as al Qaida; the nation's marketplace of ideas is being poisoned by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would've quit. BillClinton did what almost none of us have done in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration."

More on Tainted Spinach


Brave Woman!

Seen on Al Jazeera television. The woman is Wafa Sultan, an Arab-American psychologist from Los Angeles.
I suggest watching it ASAP because I don't know how long the link will be active.
http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=nu ll <http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=nu%20ll>

You might want to view this while she is still alive.

Pardons Himself?

Elizabeth Holtzman
Bush Seeks Retroactive Immunity for Violating War Crimes Act


Elizabeth Holtzman writes: "Thirty-two years ago, President Gerald Ford created a political firestorm by pardoning former president Richard Nixon of all crimes he may have committed in Watergate - and lost his election as a result. Now, PresidentBush, to avoid a similar public outcry, is quietly trying to pardon himself of any crimes connected with the torture and mistreatment of US detainees."

Southern Pines Solar Tour

Saturday Oct 7, Southern Pines area

Working demos of innovative school and solar hot water systems.
A national tour sponsoered in NC by NC Sustainable Energy Association:


The 2006 NC Green Building and Solar Tour has reached new heights this year, including twelve tours that have been coordinated and the Statewide Tour Book.

more details soon. . .

What? No Fries?

Doughnuts in danger? NYC may ban trans fats
Health officials unveil proposal to bar substance in restaurants

Kim Walker / AP file
New York City health officials have proposed a ban on artificial trans fats that can be found in foods like doughnuts and french fries.

NEW YORK - Three years after the city banned smoking in restaurants, health officials are talking about prohibiting something they say is almost as bad: artificial trans fatty acids.
The city health department unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would bar cooks at any of the city’s 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain the artery-clogging substance, commonly listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated oil.

more at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15020846/


Dangerously Close

Global Warming Nears "Dangerous" Level

Global temperatures are dangerously close to the highest ever estimated to have occurred in the past million years, scientists reported Monday. In a study that analyzed temperatures around the globe, researchers found that Earth has been warming rapidly, nearly 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit (0.2 degrees Celsius) in the last 30 years.

Time To Get Real

Climate change: time to get real
Tom Burke 26 - 9 - 2006

The science is clear, the technology is available. To meet the challenge of "the most serious threat to humanity since the invention of nuclear weapons," climate-change campaigners now need to win the political argument, says Tom Burke of E3G.

Gore at NYU, Rousing Speech!

Gore's NY speech on global warming is on the net:


Global No Car Day


From Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

Only collective awakening can help us solve the difficult problems in our world like war and global warming. In an upcoming talk which I have been invited to give at UNESCO (United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organization) on October 7th, I will propose that UNESCO organize a Global No Car Day-- a day when people refrain from using their cars, except in emergencies.
It may take six months or more to prepare for such a day. UNESCO can promote this day around the world and use it as a means to educate and inspire collective awakening concerning the present environmental dangers facing all of us on planet Earth. I will suggest that UNESCO itself, from the director to ambassadors and other members, try to live in such a way that the message becomes a true message; not just a call for action, but action itself.
In our daily lives we should each try to drive a car that doesn't pollute the environment, or ride a bicycle more often, or use public transportation. Every one of us can do something to protect and care for our planet. We should live in such a way that makes a future possible.

Thich Nhat Hanh September 16, 2006 Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, CA

Please click below to sign the petition and show your support, and invite your friends to sign as well. We are trying to collect 10,000 signatures by the time Thich Nhat Hanh gives a talk at UNESCO on October 7th--that's less than two weeks away.


If you can, please also send a personal letter directly to the Director-General of UNESCO, the Honorable Koichiro Matsuura at:bpi@unesco.org Thank you so much for your support! Please contact us at deerparkmonastery@gmail.com if you have ideas for or would like to help us develop and promote a Global No Car Day.

Gas Prices

Consumers See "String-Pulling," Believe '06 Election Affecting Gas Prices

Almost half of all Americans believe the November elections have more influence than do market forces. For them, the plunge at the pump is about politics, not economics.

Tell Friends and Family

Every light bulb you change to an ENERGY STAR will:

  • Use 1/3 of the energy of a standard incandescent light
  • Last up to 10 times longer
  • Save an average of $30 or more in energy costs over its lifetime
  • Prevent 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime
  • Help preserve our energy resources


October Surprise?

Gary Hart: The October Surprise

Gary Hart: "It should come as no surprise if the Bush administration undertakes a preemptive war against Iran sometime before the November election.
Were these more normal times, this would be a stunning possibility, quickly dismissed by thoughtful people as dangerous, unprovoked, and out of keeping with our national character.
But we do not live in normal times."


Factory Farms and E. Coli

Factory Farms & E. coli
This ran in The New York Times on September 21, 2006.
Leafy Green Sewage

Farmers and food safety officials still have much to figure out about the recent spate of E. coli infections linked to raw spinach. So far, no particular stomachache has been traced to any particular farm irrigated by any particular river.There is also no evidence so far that Natural Selection Foods, the huge shipper implicated in the outbreak that packages salad greens under more than two dozen brands, including Earthbound Farm, O Organic and the Farmer's Market, failed to use proper handling methods.Indeed, this epidemic, which has infected more than 100 people and resulted in at least one death, probably has little do with the folks who grow and package your greens.

The detective trail ultimately leads back to a seemingly unrelated food industry - beef and dairy cattle.First, some basic facts about this usually harmless bacterium: E. coli is abundant in the digestive systems of healthy cattle and humans, and if your potato salad happened to be carrying the average E. coli, the acid in your gut is usually enough to kill it.But the villain in this outbreak, E. coli O157:H7, is far scarier, at least for humans.

Your stomach juices are not strong enough to kill this acid-loving bacterium, which is why it's more likely than other members of the E. coli family to produce abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever and, in rare cases, fatal kidney failure.Where does this particularly virulent strain come from? It's not found in the intestinal tracts of cattle raised on their natural diet of grass, hay and other fibrous forage. No, O157 thrives in a new - that is, recent in the history of animal diets - biological niche: the unnaturally acidic stomachs of beef and dairy cattle fed on grain, the typical ration on most industrial farms. It's the infected manure from these grain-fed cattle that contaminates the groundwater and spreads the bacteria to produce, like spinach, growing on neighboring farms.

In 2003, The Journal of Dairy Science noted that up to 80 percent of dairy cattle carry O157. (Fortunately, food safety measures prevent contaminated fecal matter from getting into most of our food most of the time.) Happily, the journal also provided a remedy based on a simple experiment. When cows were switched from a grain diet to hay for only five days, O157 declined 1,000-fold.This is good news. In a week, we could choke O157 from its favorite home - even if beef cattle were switched to a forage diet just seven days before slaughter, it would greatly reduce cross-contamination by manure of, say, hamburger in meat-packing plants. Such a measure might have prevented the E. coli outbreak that plagued the Jack in the Box fast food chain in 1993.

Unfortunately, it would take more than a week to reduce the contamination of ground water, flood water and rivers - all irrigation sources on spinach farms - by the E-coli-infected manure from cattle farms.The United States Department of Agriculture does recognize the threat from these huge lagoons of waste, and so pays 75 percent of the cost for a confinement cattle farmer to make manure pits watertight, either by lining them with concrete or building them above ground.

But taxpayers are financing a policy that only treats the symptom, not the disease, and at great expense. There remains only one long-term remedy, and it's still the simplest one: stop feeding grain to cattle.California's spinach industry is now the financial victim of an outbreak it probably did not cause, and meanwhile, thousands of acres of other produce are still downstream from these lakes of E. coli-ridden cattle manure.

So give the spinach growers a break, and direct your attention to the people in our agricultural community who just might be able to solve this deadly problem: the beef and dairy farmers.

Nina Planck is the author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why.


2m Flex-fuel Cars in Brazil

Brazil's alcohol cars hit 2m mark

The proportion of alcohol-driven cars in Brazil is increasingBrazil's new generation of cars and trucks adapted to run on alcohol has just hit the two-million mark, motor industry figures show.
"Flex-fuel" vehicles, which run on any combination of ethanol and petrol, now make up 77% of the Brazilian market.

Brazil has pioneered the use of ethanol derived from sugar-cane as motor fuel. Ethanol-driven cars have been on sale there for 25 years, but they have been enjoying a revival since flex-fuel models first appeared in March 2003.

Just 48,200 flex-fuel cars were sold in Brazil in 2003, but the total had reached 1.2 million by the end of last year and had since topped two million, the Brazilian motor manufacturers' association Anfavea said.

Brazil began its Pro-Alcohol programme more than 20 years ago to promote the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel for cars. At the time, Brazil had a military government, which wanted to reduce the country's dependence on imported Middle Eastern petroleum after the 1970s oil shocks.

The idea fell out of favour in the 1990s after sugar prices rose and the price of oil fell, while Brazil's state oil company Petrobras discovered new offshore oilfields which reduced the need for imports. But in 2003, a new generation of cars capable of running on alcohol entered production, thanks to a combination of new technology and tax breaks.

"Flex-fuel" cars attract a purchase tax of 14%, while buyers of their exclusively petrol-powered counterparts are charged 16%.

from www.bbc.org


700 Mile Fence

Border 'Berlin Wall' will harm endangered species!
Call your Senators now!

The Senate is about to vote on a bill that would build a ‘Berlin wall’ on the US-Mexico border creating an enormous wildlife barrier, spanning 700 miles of the international boundary and nearly the entirety of Arizona's southern boundary.
This would be an environmental disaster, utterly preventing wildlife migrations between the two countries, blocking Jaguar, Sonoran Pronghorn, and Mexican Gray Wolf recovery and fragmenting the habitats of myriad border species.
This bill MANDATES construction of double-layered fencing no later than May 30, 2008 and trumps efforts like wildlife-friendly vehicle barriers along public-lands boundaries that have been effective in mitigating cross-border traffic.

more at http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/berlin_wall

Chavez/Chomsky Buzz

If you're keeping up with the news about Noam Chomsky's book sales soaring due to Hugo Chavez' remarks at the UN, be advised that Sutton has loaner copies of Chomsky's newest CD, Going Too Far. E me: suttonmaureen@hotmail.com if you want to borrow a copy.

Ethical Realism

Ethical Realism

A Vision for America's Role in the World Written by Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman
Pantheon Hardcover September 26, 2006 978-0-375-42445-8 (0-375-42445-8) 224 pages $22.00/$30.00 (Canada)


America today faces a world more complicated than ever before, but both political parties have failed to envision a foreign policy that addresses our greatest threats. As a result, the United States risks lurching from crisis to crisis. In Ethical Realism, Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman, two distinguished policy experts from different political camps, have joined forces to write an impassioned manifesto that illuminates a new way forward.

Rather than blindly asserting a mixture of American power and the transformative effects of democracy, Lieven and Hulsman call for a foreign policy that recognizes America’s real strengths and weaknesses, and those of other nations. They explain how the United States can successfully combine genuine morality with tough and practical common sense.To achieve these goals, Lieven and Hulsman emphasize the core principles of the American tradition of ethical realism, as set out by Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Morgenthau, and George Kennan: prudence, patriotism, responsibility, humility, and a deep understanding of other nations. They show how this spirit informed the strategies of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower in the early years of the Cold War and how these presidents were able to contain Soviet expansionism while rejecting the pressure for disastrous preventive wars a threat that has returned since 9/11.

Drawing on this philosophy and these historical lessons, Lieven and Hulsman provide a set of concrete proposals for tackling the problems we face today, including the terrorist threat, Iran, Russia, the Middle East, and China. Their arguments are intended to establish American global power on a more limited but much firmer basis, with greater international support. Both morally stirring and deeply practical, this book shows us how to strengthen our national security, pursue our national interests, and restore American leadership in the world.

“A profoundly necessary alternative to the arrogance of preemptive warfare. In an age of ideological polarization, an international policy of ethical realism put forward by authors with roots in both progressive idealism and conservative realism has been desperately needed. Ethical realism is characterized by prudence, humility, understanding, responsibility, and genuine patriotism and is deeply rooted in the best of America's history.” —Senator Gary Hart

“One does not need to agree with all recommendations included in Ethical Realism to fully share the authors' appeal for honestly and pragmatically defining U.S. foreign policy priorities. The book makes a powerful case that the United States needs a foreign policy based on hard facts and what we can achieve with our available resources, in order not to retreat from a U.S. world role, but on the contrary ‘to live up to its glorious national promise.’” —General Brent Scowcroft, Former National Security Advisor

“A superb and courageous analysis of U.S. foreign policy challenges and options. The authors' call for a ‘revolutionary shift in U.S. structures and priorities’ is much on target for the U.S. to be able to exercise effective global leadership. The study demonstrates why messianic pretensions shared by some on the right and the left alike are neither realistic nor ethical and only endanger America without promoting true national interests.”—Dimitri K. Simes, President of The Nixon Center and Publisher of The National Interest

“Lieven and Hulsman are old-fashioned enough to let the facts tell the story. Their carefully written account of the failures of American foreign policy led them to a seemingly inevitable conclusion—that American foreign policy must be primarily based on morality as well as prudence and wisdom. We cannot, as they write, do what is ‘morally foul.’ It is a lesson that is, of course, wasted on today's leadership, but must be taken into account by the men and women whose future mission will be to guide us out of the current mess. This book will be a great starting point.” —Seymour Hersh

Chavez' Speech at the UN

from www.democracynow.org

JUAN GONZALEZ: At the United Nations on Wednesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez slammed U.S. foreign policy and described President Bush as the devil.

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday, the devil came here. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Chavez was standing at the lectern where President Bush had delivered his speech the day before. The Venezuelan president went on to criticize U.S. foreign policies and renewed his calls for major reforms at the United Nations to reduce U.S. influence on the other permanent members of the Security Council. At the beginning of his speech, Chavez held up a copy of the book Hegemony or Survival by MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, and he addressed the packed chamber.

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: As Chomsky says here clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its hegemonic system of domination, and we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated. The world tyrant’s statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy, from the need they have to control everything -- they say they want to impose a democratic model, but that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and I would say a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons. What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it, or others who are at the root of democracy. What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?
The President of the United States yesterday said to us right here in this room, and I’m quoting, “Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror, and martyrdom.” Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother, he looks at your color, and he says, ‘Oh, there’s an extremist.’ Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him. The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over, and people are standing up. I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare, because the rest of us are standing up, all those of us who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations. Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.
The President then -- and this he said himself -- he said, “I have come to speak directly to the populations in the Middle East to tell them that my country wants peace.” That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, “What does this country want? Does it want peace?” They will say, “Yes.” But the government doesn’t want peace. The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war. It wants peace, but what’s happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last hundred years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela. New threats against Venezuela, against Iran.
He spoke to the people of Lebanon: “Many of you,” he said, “have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire.” How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut? With millimetric precision? This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire. This is a imperialist fire, fascist, assassin, genocidal. The empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon, that is what happened. And now we hear we're suffering, because we see the homes destroyed.
The President of the United States came to talk to the peoples. To the peoples of the world. He came to say -- I brought some documents with me, because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he addressed all these peoples directly. And you can wonder, just as the President of the United States addresses those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if they were given the floor? What would they have to say? And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the South, the oppressed people, think. They would say, “Yankee imperialist, go home!” I think that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.

AMY GOODMAN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addressing the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday. His address was greeted with warm applause by many diplomats in the chamber. No senior members of the U.S. delegation were in attendance. A White House spokesperson later said Chavez's performance did not merit comment. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the address was, quote, “not becoming of a head of state.” Chavez went on to call for drastic reform of the United Nations specifically at the Security Council. Venezuela has been pressing to get a seat on the 15-member council when a vote is held in October. The move is strongly opposed by the United States, which is backing Guatemala.

Rethink the Diet Drink


[By the way, 'they' say that President Bush drinks LOTS of diet drinks. . .]

Think Global, Vote Local

Poll: 77% Say Congress Doesn't Deserve Re-Election


With barely seven weeks until midterm elections, Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of the Republican-controlled Congress, with substantial majorities saying they disapprove of the job it is doing and that its members do not deserve re-election, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The disdain for Congress is as intense as it has been since 1994, when Republicans captured 52 seats to end 40 years of Democratic control of the House and retook the Senate as well.

How and Where

Solid waste reporting data for the Sandhills, 2004-05
Moore County -- 12%


Chilly Day Soup from Elaine

Lentil Soup

Nothing better than a warm kitchen on a chilly day.

1 quart chicken stock1 quart water
2 cups red lentils – rinsed
1-2 T olive oil2 strips of Kombu (sea vegetable)
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
5 carrots
4 stalks celery
1/2 pound potatoes
1 rutabaga
2 zucchini
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 teaspoons salt
Pinch of each of the following: cumin, bay leaf, dried or fresh parsley, oregano, thyme

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil and allow to cook for 45-60 minutes.
Chop together onions garlic cloves, carrots, celery, potatoes, rutabaga and zucchini. Add vegetables to the pot.
Add 1 can diced tomatoes.
Add salt, cumin, bay leaf, parsley, oregano and thyme.
Serve piping hot with warmed (homemade!) bread.

California Sues Automakers

California Sues Carmakers Over Global Warming


California on Wednesday sued six of the world's largest auto makers, including General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp., over global warming - charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in damages.


To Suspend Shearon-Harris License

NC WARN, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and the Union of Concerned Scientists filed a legal action against the NRC today, demanding the agency suspend the Harris license until the plant corrects multiple fire safety violations, or levy the maximum fine of $130,000 per violation for each day the plant operates.

The watchdogs said Progress Energy plans to apply next month for a 20-year extension to Harris’ operating license, which currently runs until 2026, without correcting its fire violations.

The groups told NRC and Progress that they will resist that plan to the fullest extent “via all available legal and civic avenues.”

N.C. Waste Awareness & Reduction Network
P.O. Box 61051
Durham, NC 27715-1051
919-286-3985 fax

www.ncwarn.org for background information

Test Weapons on You-Know-Who


Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month 2006: September 15-October 15


In 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim a week in September as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a monthlong celebration (Sept. 15-Oct. 15).

During this month, America celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Grass Roots Festival at Shakori Hills

Time to Think Fall

We’re just weeks away from the Fall 2006 Shakori Hills Grass Roots Festival of music and dance, and the schedule is posted!


Just $65 gets you four days of good music, good folks, tent camping and family fun. You already know it’s going to be great — why wait? Check it out!

What is More Political?

Good news for domestic and small business energy generation

"Today, our nation faces threats very different from those we countered during the Cold War. We worry today that terrorists might try to inflict great damage on America's energy infrastructure by attacking a single vulnerable part of the oil distribution or electricity distribution network.

"So, taking a page from the early pioneers of ARPANET, we should develop a distributed electricity and liquid fuels distribution network that is less dependent on large coal-fired generating plants and vulnerable oil ports and refineries.

"Small windmills and photovoltaic solar cells distributed widely throughout the electricity grid would sharply reduce CO2 emissions and at the same time increase our energy security. Likewise, widely dispersed ethanol and biodiesel production facilities would shift our transportation fuel stocks to renewable forms of energy while making us less dependent on and vulnerable to disruptions in the supply of expensive crude oil from the Persian Gulf, Venezuela and Nigeria, all of which are extremely unreliable sources upon which to base our future economic vitality.

"It would also make us less vulnerable to the impact of a category 5 hurricane hitting coastal refineries or to a terrorist attack on ports or key parts of our current energy infrastructure."

More at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/091906J.shtml

What is More Local?

In the event that her Readers see this blog straying too far from local happenings, this blogger cannot think of any issues more local than global warming and how we will feed ourselves.

And, Dear Reader, your news and research is always welcome. Send to: suttonmaureen@hotmail.com Thanks!

p.s. By the way, each current Green Sand has archived material, so the Reader needn't keep older postings.

What is More Immediate?

Al Gore Global Warming Is the Immediate Crisis

Al Gore says, "Many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several 'tipping points' that could - within as little as 10 years - make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet's habitability for human civilization."

Gore proposes ending the payroll tax: "For the last fourteen years, I have advocated the elimination of all payroll taxes - including those for social security and unemployment compensation - and the replacement of that revenue in the form of pollution taxes - principally on CO2."


In From the Cold

The truth behind Gore's extraordinary documentary about the perils of global warming is that he might have become President had he campaigned in office.

Geoffrey Lean traces the conversion of one man, his country and a reluctant world
Published: 17 September 2006

Suddenly global warming has come in from the cold. A potent combination of startling natural events, growing public pressure, and pioneering political commitments has brought it storming up the agenda.

Even many of the previously sceptical are now convinced. For example, who would have thought the leader of the Conservative Party would become Britain's most potent champion of radical action to combat climate change, or that he would share platforms with the leader of Friends of the Earth?

And who would have imagined Arnold Schwarzenegger - famous as for his devotion to the Humvee, the greatest of the gas guzzlers - would defy his party, as Governor of California, to drive through the world's most ambitious programme for cutting the pollution that causes global warming?

And as we report, even the "Toxic Texan" himself - President George W Bush, who set out to kill the Kyoto Protocol and all international attempts to tackle the problem - is laying the ground for a U-turn.

These dramatic changes of heart are not happening among scientists. There has long been more unanimity in the scientific community about the reality of global warming than over any other environmental issue I have known; a recent survey of 928 scientific papers found not a single one that dissented.
Full article at http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article1604091.ece

Center for Biological Diversity

Comeback Kid #1: Record year for Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
2006 was another banner year for the endangered Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle. A reintroduction program by the National Park Service steadily increased the number of Texas nests from 0 in 1993 to 101 in 2006. Intensive management of the Mexican population (heavily funded and organized under the U.S. Endangered Species Act) increased nesting from a low of 740 nests in 1985 to about 11,000 in 2006. Some scientists believe the sea turtle may qualify for downlisting to "threatened" status by 2012.

WildWeb: website targets Paris Hilton wildlife abuse
Calling her an "alleged singer and celebutante," www.TellParisNo.com takes Paris Hilton to task for "inflicting her lifestyle on a succession of exotic pets as a publicity ploy." Hilton has violated state and international wildlife laws by carting the kinkajou and other wild animals from party to party. Also known as "honey bears," kinkajous hail from the rainforests of Central and South America.

NASA: Arctic sea ice melting faster
NASA reports that arctic sea ice is melting much more rapidly than previously known. Perennial arctic sea ice, which usually survives the summer, shrank 14 percent from 2004 to 2005; it may shrink to a new record low this year.

NASA: Polar Bears threatened with extinction
A new report by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration concludes global warming has lowered the weight of polar bears and changed their migration patterns. The warmer ocean waters are leading to earlier breakup of the sea ice that Polar Bears use to hunt seals, causing earlier dispersal from hunting grounds and weight loss.

Global warming brings enviros and Christians together
The Associated Press reports that "shared concerns over global warming and protecting the Earth are bringing together the two groups in ways that could make the Republican Party more eco-friendly and lead some evangelicals to vote Democratic."

Administration stalls protection of 279 species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an updated "candidate" list on 9-12-06, identifying 279 species that qualify for Endangered Species Act protection but are not being protected due to what they call a lack of funds. Political opposition is a more fundamental reason. The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups are suing the Bush Administration to speed the listing of all candidates nationwide. Species denied protection via the new list include the New England Cottontail Rabbit, Red Knot, and 103 Hawaiian species.

USFWS proposes 95% cut in Marbled Murrelet protections
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposal on 9-12-06 to slash the Marbled Murrelet's existing critical habitat designation from 3.9 million acres to 221,692. The agency has delayed plans to remove the imperiled bird from the threatened species list due to opposition by scientists and its own consultants.

Judge strikes Bush refusal to protect Colorado River Cutthroat Trout
Concluding that the Bush Administration selectively sought information from groups and agencies opposed to adding the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout to the endangered species list, a judge struck down a 2004 decision denying protection on 9-7-06. Historically found in portions of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and extreme northern New Mexico and Arizona, the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout has been reduced to less than five percent of its historic range due to livestock grazing, logging, mining, water diversions, and the introduction of nonnative trout. The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups.

Center for Biological Diversity PO Box 710 Tucson, AZ 85702 520-623-5252 center@biologicaldiversity.org

Not 40, Not 30, Not 20. . .

Only a Decade Left to Act in Time


Leading US climate researcher says the world has a mere 10-year window of opportunity to take decisive action on global warming and to avert catastrophe.


You're In My Food Shed

There is no doubt that the percentage of regionally grown and processed food consumed locally can be significantly increased, cost competitively. It can work. The question then, is do we want to do it?

Is it worth the effort? According to Census Bureau Data for 2003-2004, the average household in the South spends $5,142 for groceries each year. The population for the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill MSA is 1.2 million people. That’s 467,000 households, at the Census Bureau’s calculated average of 2.57 people per household.

So Triangle residents spend $2.4 billion on groceries every year. Meeting just 15% of that demand from regional sources translates into $360 million in sales for local producers/suppliers.

This total actually grows significantly when food sales in all the rural communities from which the food comes is also factored in. For example, meeting 15% of just Moore County’s grocery purchases translates into $24.6 million in annual sales.

Why do it? There are many positive benefits, for people in both the rural and urban communities, from significantly increasing the percentage of food consumed in Triangle that is grown and/or processed in the surrounding North Carolina Foodshed, including:

Economic Development – Farmers who are struggling with post-tobacco agriculture will have a stable, long-term market for a wide variety of produce, meat and dairy. Moreover, under a “local” food system, the farmers’ percentage of each consumer food dollar will greatly exceed the paltry 19% that farmers currently receive. Many additional jobs will be created in rural and urban communities for processing the local food commodities into value added products. In the cities, not only are there numerous employment opportunities in distribution, sales and delivery of food, many of these jobs are suitable for marginalized populations (low income, students, etc.).
Food Security - In designing a regional food system, particularly alternative distribution mechanisms, it is easy to address the needs of those who do not have access to sufficient healthy food, either for lack of money or absence of grocery stores in their low income neighborhoods. From a national perspective, post-9/11 surveys of our national food system have pointed out how fragile and vulnerable the US food system is, both to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Decentralizing and localizing the Triangle’s food system will increase the long-term food security for everyone in the area.

Preserving a Culture - Farmers want to farm because it is a culture, lifestyle and a tradition that has often been passed down in their families for generations. Ensuring the economic viability of farms is also the most efficient economic development path as it utilizes the farmers’ existing desire, knowledge and infrastructure, rather than retraining them for non-farm jobs, and investing time and money in new infrastructure. Moreover, the preservation of the rural character of their community is a top priority for most rural residents, including non-farmers. For example, it is listed as the top priority in Moore County’s, citizen-based, Land Use Plan. Even city dwellers derive great benefit from having large rural, open space areas to visit in close proximity to their hectic urban lives.

Be a Leader in New American Agriculture – Over the next decade, a number of existing factors (oil prices, rural poverty, terrorism, food insecurity, trade deficit) will certainly slow, if not reverse, what has been the inexorable trend of centralization/globalization. Interest is already growing in community food systems as a model for a revitalized New American Agriculture. The Triangle has the opportunity to become the first US metropolitan area to implement a fully integrated, sustainable community food system. In addition to the benefits noted above, being such a leader would mean greatly increased high value tourism (many people coming to learn the what’s and how’s) and increased exports of knowledge and equipment that will be developed for a regional scale system.

For further information contact:
Fenton Wilkinson - Integrity Systems

Are You a Localvore?


[Remember our food shed? We're within the 200 mile radius of The Triangle, our food shed.]

In Lebanon, Olives

Lebanese Olive Harvest Brings Fears of More Cluster Deaths

In Lebanon, aid workers are warning unexploded cluster bombs will likely mean a rise in casualties as the country’s harvest season nears. Hundreds of thousands of bomblets lie unexploded across the country, many in the olive trees that will be picked this year. Monitors say unexploded cluster bombs have killed at least eighty-three Lebanese civilians since last month’s ceasefire.

FAQs about Ethanol


Frequently-Asked Questions about ethanol

FAQs about Global Warming


Frequently-Asked Questions About Global Warming
from The Union of Concerned Scientists

School Food


"Nutritionists have their eyes on school lunches in the U.S., and aren't happy with the heaping helpings of tater tots, greasy pizza, and lack of balanced nutrition seen in many school cafeterias.
We'll talk about improving nutrition in schools. Could changes to school lunches help stem the tide of childhood obesity in the U. S.?"

Yes, We Can Do This

From Jan, a good reference paper to bookmark if you grow blueberries or would like to start:



Future Weather Forecast

[by blog reader, Richard Siege]

Hurricane seasons will last longer and longer, their severity and duration continuing to increase and lengthen well into winter. Eventually a hurricane may make landfall and collide with cold, wintry air, where the interaction will cause the storm’s precipitation to turn into ice, sleet and snow.
Under normal circumstances, an inch of rain is equal to about six inches of snow. Imagine six or eight inches of rain becoming a hurricane-driven snow storm, 36 or 48 inches of snow becoming drifts twenty or thirty feet deep.
Such a storm could bury whole houses, stall transportation, paralyze rescue equipment, and be nearly impossible to remove with plows. Food and fuel shipments would be disrupted for weeks if not months...
If the many portents of global warming are not heeded, a catastrophe such as a snow hurricane is merely one possible consequence of disregarding the present course of unmanaged human activity.
If such a devastating scenario is to be avoided, our world, our governments, our industries, all of us, must reverse the effects of fossil fuel dependency and atmospheric pollution. Non-polluting and energy efficient technologies must be put in place as quickly as possible.
Otherwise, none of us will have to bother about world peace. Mother Nature will correct us. Richard Siege

Turn It Off, Really

How much energy and money could you save in your home by eliminating a hidden source of wasted energy known as"phantom loads?"



DDT is Back

[As Gore predicted in An Inconvenient Truth, the bug population is growing and spreading. . .]

WHO backs DDT for malaria control
In a reversal of 30 years of policy, the World Health Organizationendorses DDT spraying for malaria control.


Community Solutions

Curtailment and Community

A basic societal transformation is needed to change from the three principle values of Competing, Hoarding and Consuming to values of Cooperating, Sharing and Conserving.

These latter values are easier to implement in small local communities where people know each other and have a history of working together. To usefully “think globally-act locally,” we must conserve here at home and we must cooperate at home and abroad in finding just and equitable solutions to the challenges of Peak Oil, climate change and inequity. By thinking this way, we can make choices that will bring life systems on the planet back into balance so that we can survive. The first steps are personal ones – changing our way of life to use as little energy as possible, keeping in mind the billions of poor people in the world as well as the welfare of our children and generations to come.

Plan A - Business as Usual
Plan B - Clean/Green Technology
Plan D – Die Off
Plan C - Curtailment and Community
Thinking Globally
A Global Relationship
Looking at U.S. Consumption
Reviewing Energy Options
The Psychology of Curtailment
Giving up Technology Worship
Personal Change vs. Municipality Change
Personal Impact on Institutional Energy Use
The Personal Picture – Food, Cars and Houses

Read the full report here: http://www.communitysolution.org/pdfs/NS10.pdf


Gore Film Opening in the UK

UK opening of Gore climate film
Al Gore's climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth, seen by more than 2 million people in the US, opens in the UK.

Vatican Sparks Muslim Anger

Muslim anger grows at Pope speech

The Vatican fails to quell Muslim anger after Pope Benedict XVI is accused of making anti-Islamic remarks.
[BUT we would be wise to read his entire speech, found at this link]:



Solar Oven

Or we could make them ourselves. . .

Arctic Ice Melting Faster

'Drastic' shrinkage in Arctic ice
A Nasa satellite records major changes to ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean between 2004 and 2005.
"If the pace of Arctic melting is quickening, the implications for the future are not reassuring. Ice reflects the Sun's energy back into space; open water absorbs it. So a planet with less ice warms faster, potentially turning the projected impacts of global warming into reality sooner than anticipated. "


Reduce Your Junk Mail

Reduce the Amount of Junk Mail You Receive

If you’re interested in living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, here’s something you can do that will help protect the environment and preserve your sanity: reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.

According to information from sources such as the Center for a New American Dream (CNAD)—a Maryland-based nonprofit organization that helps people consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice—reducing the amount of junk mail you receive will save energy, natural resources, landfill space, tax dollars, and a lot of your personal time. For example:

5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in U.S.
landfills annually.

The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year—more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined.

44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half of all junk mail (22 percent) is recycled.

Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that doesn’t get recycled.

On average, Americans spend 8 months opening junk mail in the course of their lives.

Camp Democracy Will Pay Your Way


Want a free trip to DC for peace and impeachment events this coming weekend? Want to make a difference? Any group or groups that want to send a bus, large or small, full of people to Camp Democracy on the National Mall in DC - such as for the weekend of the 16th and 17th - Camp Democracy will pay for your bus - until our money runs out.

There is a bus coming from Durham: contact Andrew Pearson 919-360-2028 -- he'd like to work together with you.

Please help us by reaching out to groups who can organize buses. Do you know any good activists locally in peace or justice groups? Do you know any college students who would like a free weekend in DC? Please get them in touch with us.

Update on Marquez Fish-fry

"The fish fry was awesome. It was such a good crowd. I thought it was a true representation of our citizenry countywide. We had young and old, new school and old school, ministers and community activists, and last but not least, first time voters. We have been able to get people to register to vote who have never done it before. Wow! That's what I'm excited about the most.

"Thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday and offered their moral, monetary and spiritual support to me, my campaign, all of the volunteers who have worked on my behalf - loyal Democrats, new Democrats, the unaffiliated and more. We welcome anyone to join us in our campaign to get a Democrat elected to the Moore County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 7, 2006." Terry
[Terry Marquez is Media Center Specialist at Southern Pines Elementary School, smart, energetic, a great candidate with great ideas!]

Slow Food in The Nation

On newstands now: Slow Food in The Nation
"Since we're a weekly magazine, 'slow' is not a quality we often find ourselves working to achieve. But after embarking on the process of producing a special food issue under the guidance of Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters, we soon discovered that the 'slow food values' she espouses are in harmony with our own...this issue, The Nation's first (though we hope not last) on food, seeks not only to expose but to inspire."
-Excerpted from The Nation, September 11, 2006 issue

On newstands now, The Food Issue of The Nation hits home for Slow Food USA with articles and features by our movement's biggest supporters. The issue kicks off with an article entitled "Slow Food Nation", written by Slow Food International Vice President Alice Waters. Her article is followed by a forum where Slow Food Founder and President Carlo Petrini weigh in on the state of our nation's food system, along with Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Marion Nestle, Vandana Shiva, Randy Fertel, Wendell Berry and many others.

The features include topics such as school lunches, Walmart's organic plans, fast-food, popular food books and the Edible Schoolyard in New Orleans. Pick up a copy of the issue at your local newstand (we hear that issues are already hard to find!), order it by calling The Nation or read most of the issue online. www.thenation.com

Trade Deficit Hits Record High

from: Deficit Hits New Record By Dean Baker
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Wednesday 13 September 2006

The record trade deficit is a bi-partisan policy. It had its origins in the high-dollar policy that Robert Rubin put in place as President Clinton's treasury secretary in 1996. The over-valued dollar, which has been advocated, or at least tolerated, by both Clinton and Bush, is the main cause of the trade deficit.

Another reason that the trade deficit draws less attention than the budget deficit is that there is a strong class bias to the short-term gains and pain. In the short-term, the main beneficiaries are the people who work in occupations that are largely protected from international competition, like doctors, lawyers, accountants, and economists. The people who are hurt by the high dollar policy are the people whom US trade policy has subjected to international competition, most importantly manufacturing workers.

Because the short-term winners have much more political power, and own the newspapers and write the news stories, we don't hear much about the trade deficit. So, until we get a better press corps, if you want the news that will really impact your life, you will have to hunt for it.

It's Coming. . .

Community Renewable Energy Just Around the Corner
by Ted Bernhard

September 11, 2006
For decades, the conventional wisdom about developing energy projects in the U.S. has been that "big" always meant cheaper, and therefore better, projects. This produced what has become our modern centralized electric power system fueled primarily by coal, natural gas and nuclear power.


They Eat What??

from The Union of Concerned Scientists

Industrial Agriculture: The Reality of Feed at Animal Factories

When many Americans think of farm animals, they picture cattle munching grass on rolling pastures, chickens pecking on the ground outside of picturesque red barns, and pigs gobbling down food at the trough.

Over the last 50 years, the way food animals are raised and fed has changed dramatically—to the detriment of both animals and humans. Many people are surprised to find that most of the food animals in the United States are no longer raised on farms at all. Instead they come from crowded animal factories, also known as large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Just like other factories, animal factories are constantly searching for ways to shave their costs. To save money, they've redefined what constitutes animal feed, with little consideration of what is best for the animals or for human health.

As a result, many of the ingredients used in feed these days are not the kind of food the animals are designed by nature to eat. Read further if you have a strong stomach. . . http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/sustainable_food/they-eat-what.html