Participate, Car-Free-Days

http://www.car-free-days.org Take a look, take a pledge!

Hurricanes and Warmer Seas

Hurricane boost 'due to warm sea'
Atlantic hurricanes have doubled in the past century, in part due to warmer seas, a new study says.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/6921695.stm


Concert, Aberdeen, Aug. 12

The Rooster’s Wife


Summer on the Porch

Strictly Clean and Decent

Martha Bassett will open at 6 p.m.

August 12

The Postmaster’s House

204 E. South Street, Aberdeen, NC

Admission $8., Children under 12 free

Gates open at 5:30 Picnics welcome.

Info: (910)944-7502 theroosterswife.org

Dictatorship Under Presidential Directive

C-Span discussion of potential for martial law
Dr Jerome Corsi, Havard phD:

Used Screen Door

Please look around and see if you have an old screen door you don't need. Local, small poultry grower is building a make-shift pen.

Call me, Maureen, 692-9413. Thanks!

Metro Food Site


This Saturday at 9am Pacific, the Food Chain with Michael Olson hosts
author Richard Rosen for a conversation about Bison bison­– the American buffalo.

Log on www.metrofarm.com to listen on your radio, computer or IPOD.

Topics include why buffalo were slaughtered to near extinction; how, in the 1850’s, a Texas rancher and wife saved the great herd from extinction; and why the couple’s distant relative nursed a buffalo calf to adulthood in her Santa Fe home.

Question of the Week: Can there be a home where buffalo roam?

Support Land for Tomorrow

HOT LIST [from CCNC legislative advocate Mike Nelson]

July 18, 2007


Act Today on Land for Tomorrow

House Bills

Outdoor Advertising Vegetation Removal Changes

Promote Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Preservation of Farmland

Dear Legislator,

This week's Hotlist looks once more at a vital part of the environmental community's common agenda for the 2007 session -- Land for Tomorrow.

North Carolina is among the fastest-growing states in the country; current projections estimate that North Carolina's population will reach twelve million in the next twenty years, up substantially from the current level of eight million. This unprecedented population growth will bring many good things to the state, but it will also present challenges. One of the biggest concerns is sprawl. Even in traditionally rural areas of the state, rampant development can threaten farmland, historic lands, and crucial wildlife and plant habitat. We urge the General Assembly to act soon to ensure that these important lands are preserved for the future of North Carolina.

Two bills were introduced this session addressing land conservation needs -- Senate Bill 1522 and House Bill 990. Both of these are land and water conservation bonds which would set aside up to one billion dollars to protect and preserve vital farmland, habitat, and historic sites. Known generally as "Land for Tomorrow," unfortunately these bills haven't yet been acted upon.

Please act on SB1522/HB990 soon and preserve natural and historic land for North Carolina.


Mike Nelson
Director of Government Relations
Conservation Council of NC

Conservation Insider Bulletin

Conservation Insider Bulletin

Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina

Conservation News to Peruse & Use

Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org

July 27, 2007

Legislative Watch: Proposed Budget Deal Includes Land Measures; Half a Hog Bill Passes

Proposed Budget Deal Includes Land Measures: As of earlier this afternoon, the printed copies of the full budget were not yet available (and Republicans were complaining about it), but some key contents of the proposal were well known. In particular, the budget proposal from conference committee negotiators would include a local-option increase in the land transfer tax, as one possible replacement for sales tax revenues to be taken by the state in conjunction with taking over the previously county share of paying for Medicaid. The realtor lobby was aghast. Municipalities were reported to be none too pleased, as well, as the word in circulation said that they wouldn't get access to any of the new revenues—but would lose their share of the sales tax proceeds which would go to the state. On the spending side, the budget is reported to contain about $550 million in bond debt for new capital expenditures, including $100 million for local water and sewer projects and $120 million for land conservation. When the budget hits the floor, it will need two separate votes from both the House and Senate.

Half a Hog Bill Passes: The N.C. Senate approved and sent to the governor this week legislation which takes another half-step toward addressing the problem of hog lagoons in North Carolina. In place of the series of leaky "moratoriums" on new factory hog farms, the bill includes a permanent prohibition on new waste lagoon and sprayfield systems in the state. However, the bill also permits farms with existing such fields to continue to use them indefinitely. This compromise measure sets up hog farms as a continuing hot environmental debate issue. On the positive side, the bill also includes state assistance for a voluntary program for farmers to change their lagoon-sprayfield system to a more environmentally friendly, modern alternative.

Campaign Watch: Asheville's Possible Return to Partisan Elections Roils Local Politics

During the past biennium, Asheville's City Council has compiled a record that conservationists in most other North Carolina cities would find enviable. Among other steps, the city took these:

--Created a public transit marketing campaign and expanded bus service routes, boosting bus ridership by more than 33% in just two years;

--Strengthened rules designed to control environmental impacts from development on steep hillsides and ridgetops;

--Joined other cities nationwide in efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming;

--Required new city buildings to meet "green construction" standards;

--Added a major new city park; and

--Doubled annual city investment in sidewalks and greenways.

As in most of North Carolina's larger cities (and a great many of its small towns), dealing with the impacts of new growth and development is a central theme underlying much of all city policy debate. Officials and candidates can be evaluated in substantial part by their thinking and positions on related issues.

Yet none of that is the hot topic of the hour in Asheville city politics. Instead, the debate du jour is over partisan vs. nonpartisan elections. Just last month, a bare majority of the council (four of six) voted to return to explicitly partisan elections, in which candidates run as Republican or Democrat in party primaries, and appear as their party's nominees on the general election ballot. The change was to be effective this year.

Proponents of the change (including two of the three incumbents up for re-election this year) argued that a partisan system merely recognized what was taking place in reality, and gave voters more information about candidates' likely leanings on key issues. However, in a city which has a relatively activist voter base, including a significant percentage of voters who consider themselves (fairly aggressively) anti-partisan, the decision has proven surprisingly controversial.

Opponents argue that the change is intended to disadvantage Republicans and unaffiliated candidates (although unaffiliated candidates have historically been unsuccessful in Asheville). They organized a petition drive to put the question to a full city vote, and gathered about the 5,000 signatures needed to do so. The Buncombe County Board of Elections has yet to certify that enough signatures were collected, and the question is still hanging. If the issue goes to a full public vote, the return to partisan nomination and election would be postponed, or even overturned.

Asheville has a six-member city council, elected for four-year terms on a staggered basis. Three of the six seats are up for election this year. (The other three seats, and the mayor's post, will be on the ballot in 2009.) All council seats are at-large (elected citywide). The three incumbents up this year are all seeking re-election: Jan Davis, Bryan Freeborn, and Brownie Newman. All three are Democrats. They have been joined by a fourth Democratic candidate, newcomer Elaine Lite, and four Republican challengers: Matthew Hebb, Bobby Johnston, Bill Russell, and Selina Sullivan.
The underlying issues of significance to the economy and quality of life in Asheville revolve around—no surprise here—growth, housing, transportation, development, and environment. Two of the three incumbents (Newman and Freeborn) have been among an assertive block on the council which has pressed for stronger growth management policies and programs. The Democratic challenger (Lite) also comes from that perspective. In contrast, three of the four Republican challengers talk about shifting to policies that would be more lenient on regulation of business and development.

Together with Asheville's size and location (North Carolina's largest mountain city and a traditional bellweather on policy for the region), the outcome of debates on these central policy questions is likely to have regional (and even statewide) significance. But that showdown will just have to wait—while we see whether candidates will be running with an "R" or "D" after their names. What proponents hoped would bring more clarity to local debate on development issues may serve instead as a screen of distraction, allowing candidates favoring weaker regulations to run under a mantle of claimed populist sentiment.

On an interesting side note: Newman held his formal re-election campaign kickoff this week, drawing a large crowd to an event which featured an interesting environmental-theme effort. He announced plans to distribute 2,500 energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs in a door-to-door blitz, which he is calling his "Energy Independence Day" canvass.

(CIB Editor's Full Disclosure Note: One of the Asheville candidates, incumbent Brownie Newman, is the staff political director for CCNC.)

Education & Resources: Public Prefers Renewable Energy

CCNC this week released the results of a new statewide poll on energy topics. Highlighting the results: The public overwhelmingly supports development of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power. A strong majority of respondents also agreed that global warming is a serious threat calling for immediate action, and opposed expanded use of coal for energy.

Results on the question of nuclear power were more equivocal. While 89% of respondents favored more solar energy and 88% backed more wind power, just 61% favored expansion of nuclear generation. When asked whether they supported more nuclear at the cost of higher electric rates, support for more nuclear energy plummeted to 36%. If electric rates have to go up, respondents overwhelmingly preferred that the increase go to pay for more renewable energy (77%) versus more nuclear power (17%).

Finally, respondents overwhelmingly approved of requiring utilities to invest in energy efficiency (79% support versus 15% oppose); and opposed allowing utilities to begin charging consumers for the costs of new power plants before they go into service (only 16% support and 72% oppose).

The results were based on a telephone survey of 435 likely North Carolina voters, conducted on July 18 for CCNC by the Public Policy Polling firm.


Tonight, Southern Pines

Historic Preservation in our Community

Thursday, July 26
Civic Club, Ashe Street

presented by
Moore County Historical Association

Strong Climate Effect

Ozone has 'strong climate effect'
Ozone could be a more important driver of climate change than scientists had previously thought.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/6916162.stm


Restrict Mega-landfills, Call Reps

The Solid Waste Management Act of 2007 has been considerably watered down in the Senate by industry influence. One of the major changes from the original landfill bill relates to the maximum size of a landfill. The original bill has been changed from a maximum landfill footprint of 150 acres to 350 acres. Landfill size has major consequences. Ask Representatives to keep out mega-landfills - restrict size to 150 acres.

Early this week the bill goes to the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee. There is precious little time to remove the harmful provisions. Please contact your own Representatives, and members of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee to request a return of the bill to its original intent.

Environment and Natural Resources House Standing Committee Members
Chairman Rep. Allen
Vice Chairman Rep. Gillespie
Vice Chairman Rep. J. Harrell
Vice Chairman Rep. Harrison
Vice Chairman Rep. Justice
Vice Chairman Rep. Tarleton
Vice Chairman Rep. Underhill
Members Rep. Blackwood, Rep. Brisson, Rep. Dollar, Rep. Gibson , Rep. Haire, Rep. Insko, Rep. Killian, Rep. Kiser, Rep. Luebke , Rep. Martin, Rep. McComas, Rep. McElraft, Rep. Owens, Rep. Samuelson , Rep. Stiller, Rep. Tucker, Rep. Weiss, Rep. West, Rep. Womble


Call Your Legislators

"Please see the two items below from FOGS (Friends of the Green Swamp). As negotiations on the landfill bill reach some sort of conclusion, trash companies-in this case Waste Management-are trying to exempt their existing projects. Let your reps know about this last minute maneuver.
We are still waiting for details on the next version of the bill which is supposed to be heard on Tuesday.

P. O. Box 2249
Whiteville, NC 28472-7249

July 13, 2007


Your immediate action is required!

Dear Friend of the Green Swamp:

We have learned that Senator Clark Jenkins intends to introduce legislation that will amend Senate Bill 1492 that contains new environmental regulations for solid waste landfills in North Carolina. This would exempt the proposed solid regional landfill proposed by Riegel Ridge LLC in the Green Swamp.
There is no clear rationale for this move.

It is speculated that it may be because Riegel Ridge had advanced further in the process prior to the moratorium than any other proposed landfill. It is felt that this is pure politics and there is no real basis for such an exemption.

It is imperative that you contact our local legislative delegation immediately and ask them to vehemently oppose such an exemption. Your request to them is as follows:

"You are requested to oppose an exemption of Riegel Ridge LLC's application for a proposed regional solid waste landfill in the Green Swamp from Senate Bill 1492."

Please contact our local legislative delegation by phone or email as follows:

Senator R. C. Soles, Jr.

Tabor City Law Office Phone: 910-653-2015
Home Phone: 910-653-3948

(After Monday, since he is at legislative office only on Tuesdays through Thursdays)

Legislative Office Phone: 919-733-5963
Legislative Email: rcsoles@ncleg.net

Representative Dewey Hill

Work Phone: 910-642-6044
Home Phone: 910-646-4297

(After Monday, since he is at legislative office only on Tuesdays through Thursdays)

Legislative Office Phone: 919-733-5830
Legislative Email: deweyh@ncleg.net

It would also be helpful to contact any other legislators to request their opposition to this proposed amendment. To email ALL members: internete-mail@ncleg.net (readable by all Legislators)

If you receive any significant feedback from your contact, I would appreciate your notifying me so we can keep tabs on this. Thank you.


Steve Smith, Chairman
Friends of the Green Swamp
Email: stevesmith@interimec.com
Phone: 910-642-2106, ext. 226

From the Whiteville News Reporter:

Fate of Green Swamp landfill lies with state legislature

Staff Writer
A landfill planned for Columbus County may not have to play by new rules.

While tougher regulations for landfills are being considered in the N.C. legislature, Rep. Dewey Hill and Sen. R.C. Soles Jr. both say there is talk of a separate piece of legislation that would exempt a 107-acre regional landfill planned for the Green Swamp from some, if not all, of those rules.

Both Soles and Hill say they would be opposed to such legislation.

"I am not in favor of that and will not support that," Soles said, adding that the need for a place to dispose of trash is realized.

"Columbus County needs a landfill, but whether the Green Swamp is the right place for it or not I don't know," Hill said. "If they are going to dodge all the environmental rules, anywhere they put it would be wrong." Hill said he believes extending the moratorium would be the best thing to do.

"I certainly don't want it," Soles said of the Green Swamp landfill, but made it clear the same rules should apply to it as any other. "If it ends up in the Green Swamp it should be as secure and safe as any other in the state."

Friends of the Green Swamp is an environmental group opposed to the landfill and affiliated with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

FOGS Chairman Stephen Smith said Tuesday the group had received information that a bill to relax the laws for the proposed landfill was scheduled to be discussed in a Senate Agriculture committee Thursday.

"We don't know the particulars of it," Smith said. "Any lessening of that (the Environmental Review Commission's recommendations) we would not support."

The landfill project in Columbus County was initiated by Riegel Ridge, LLC, a subsidiary of Waste Management, in March 2000.

County records indicate that the original developers involved turned the project over completely to Waste Management a few years ago.

In March, the N.C. Division of Environment and Natural Resources, Waste Management Division made recommendations, if passed into law, that would make the permitting process for landfills more costly and environmental protections more strict.
Some of those recommended changes include putting up $3 million in case of a leak, upgraded liners, required traffic impact studies, stream buffers and full financial disclosure.
There has been no word from Columbus County officials on what effect, if any, the recommendations have had on the landfill project in the Green Swamp.

County Manager Jim Varner said in March he had "no earthly idea" if the recommendations made would affect the Riegel Ridge landfill proposal but pointed out the commissioners had given the company "the green light."

The project had not obtained a permit to construct or a permit to operate when a moratorium was imposed statewide last year. The company had jumped several other hurdles.

Prior to that, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers issued a permit allowing developers to fill in a two-thirds acre wetland at the location southwest of N.C. 211 at Roberts Road.

Opposition from groups such as Friends of the Green Swamp emerged and the group unsuccessfully challenged a state water quality permit the developers had been issued.

With the blessings of five of seven Columbus County Commissioners and promises of $1 million in county revenue, the project continued to move forward until state legislation would bring all landfill projects in the state to a halt.

That state moratorium on landfills is set to expire Aug. 1


Conservation Insider Bulletin, July 13

Conservation Insider Bulletin

Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina

Conservation News to Peruse & Use

Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org

July 13, 2007

Legislative Watch: Clock Ticking on Landfill Moratorium

In one of last session's big environmental victories, the General Assembly slammed a permitting moratorium on large landfills, and kicked off a major study of policy action needs in the arena of solid waste management. An extensive "stakeholder" study process ensued, ultimately resulting in a broadly hailed comprehensive legislative proposal: SB 1492, "Responsible Waste Management". The sponsors of the bill are influential State Senators Daniel Clodfelter (D-Mecklenburg) and Charles Albertson (D-Duplin).

Unfortunately, although SB 1492 was on March 27 referred to the Senate Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee (chaired by Albertson), it has not yet emerged. Meanwhile, time is running out for the moratorium, which expires August 1.
A review of SB 1492 was the lead item in this week's legislative issues bulletin, Hot List, from CCNC lobbyist Mike Nelson. Regarding the need for immediate action on this issue, Mike said, "The moratorium stopped development for a year, but the issues with waste management in the state still exist. The waste industry has proposed six huge mega-dumps be constructed in North Carolina, all located in economically depressed areas in the eastern part of the state. Three of these proposed mega-dumps would build up trash higher than the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, creating huge mountains of waste over the state's famous coastal plain. Unregulated expansion of the waste management industry would clearly be an environmental disaster for the state's most depressed regions.

"However, the moratorium passed last session expires in just a few weeks, on August 1. If the moratorium is allowed to sunset, then it would signal a return to almost unrestricted landfill development in North Carolina. While waste management is essential to the state, North Carolina cannot become a dumping ground for the rest of the country's waste, as would inevitably happen if all the proposed landfills are built. The General Assembly needs to act in this session to ensure responsible waste management continues in this state."

As described by Mike, key provisions of SB 1492 include the following:

Promotes recycling in North Carolina by diverting a portion of tip fees to support local recycling programs. A seemingly small amount -- just a dollar per ton of garbage disposed of -- will generate millions of dollars in revenue for local recycling.
Creates a new environmental safety review process for private-sector landfills, and makes public landfills subject to state-level environmental review for the first time.
Provides funding to clean up over 600 non-compliant or abandoned landfills, a clear benefit to the environment around these pre-existing sites, many of which were built before liners were required.
Places size restrictions on new landfills, requiring them to be no higher than 200 feet and ensuring that needed development will not create "mountains of garbage" and hurt the landscape.

Washington Watch: Ex-Bush Surgeon General Details Political Interference; Administration Politics Endangers More Species

Ex-Bush Surgeon General Details Political Interference: George Bush's former Surgeon General, Richard H. Carmona, told a Congressional committee this week that Bush Administration officials persistently suppressed public health reports that ran counter to their political policies. Among a list of policy areas which he said were impacted, he included global warming, as well as health-related issues like secondhand smoke, emergency contraception, sex education, and health care in the prison system. Current Bush officials went scrambling, once again, to try to deny or diminish the revelations of another ex-colleague airing the dirty laundry of an Administration plainly dedicated to trumping science with politics.

Administration Politics Endangers More Species: In a thematically related story, the Los Angeles Times this week reported on strife and disarray within the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's efforts to implement the laws protecting endangered species. According to the paper's research, the Bush Administration's political commitment to halt the expansion of endangered species protections has resulted in a waiting list of 279 candidate species for protection—species near extinction now, but lacking federal designation and protection as such. Further, about 200 of the 1,326 species currently on the endangered list are close to gone, in part because funding for their recovery has been cut. The Service has a 30 percent vacancy rate in the endangered species program's staff, and the agency's top position has been left unfilled for over a year. More program funding cuts are proposed. In sum, it's a portrait of a program in deep trouble. Perhaps the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service should be considered a candidate for endangered listing.

Campaign Watch: Lockie Bids for Local Office

The filing period for local government elections this year still has another week to run, but one of the interesting contests with potential environmental implications is shaping up in Durham. That's because an ex-leader (very recently ex-, as in last week) of one of the Art Pope organizations is running for mayor.

Thomas Stith, currently a Durham City Council Member, resigned last Friday as vice president of the John William Pope Civitas Institute in preparation for his campaign for Durham mayor. Stith will run against incumbent Durham Mayor Bill Bell.

The Civitas Institute is one of the Pope network of conservative advocacy groups, which also include the better-known John Locke Foundation. According to the Durham Herald-Sun, almost 98 percent of the Civitas funding of $1.8 million in fiscal year 2005-2006 came from a Pope family foundation. The paper also notes that a polling firm with ties to Civitas conducted a survey last year on the potential for a challenge to Bell.

As a matter of standard philosophy, the Lockies are aggressively hostile to nearly all meaningful environmental regulation, so we can probably look to this race as a testing ground for their attacks on local involvement in anti-sprawl efforts, stormwater management, renewable energy initiatives, and the like. CIB will plan to follow the details of the contest for environmentally relevant themes and developments.

Sea Level Rise

London's small but relentless dip
Scientists trace London's inexorable sinking in a study that will be critical to the planning of defences against sea level rise.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/6231334.stm

On Immigration, Go Deeper

Immigration Flood Unleashed by NAFTA
By Roger Bybee and Carolyn Winter
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 27 April 2006

The recent ferment on immigration policy has been so narrow that it has excluded the real issue: family-sustaining wages for workers both north and south of the border. The role of the North American Free Trade Agreement and misnamed "free trade" has been scarcely mentioned in the increasingly bitter debate over the fate of America's 11 to 12 million "illegal aliens."

NAFTA was sold to the American public as the magic formula that would improve the American economy at the same time as it would raise up the impoverished Mexican economy. The time has come to look at the failures of this type of trade agreement before we engage in more, and further lower the economic prospects of all workers affected.

While there has been some media coverage of NAFTA's ruinous impact on US industrial communities, there has been even less media attention paid to its catastrophic effects in Mexico:

NAFTA, by permitting heavily-subsidized US corn and other agri-business products to compete with small Mexican farmers, has driven Mexican farmers off the land due to low-priced imports of US corn and other agricultural products. Some 2 million Mexicans have been forced out of agriculture, and many of those that remain are living in desperate poverty. These people are among those that cross the border to feed their families. (Meanwhile, corn-based tortilla prices climbed by 50%. No wonder so many Mexican peasants have called NAFTA their "death warrant.")

NAFTA's service-sector rules allowed big firms like Wal-Mart to enter the Mexican market and, selling low-priced goods made by ultra-cheap labor in China, to displace locally-based shoe, toy, and candy firms. An estimated 28,000 small and medium-sized Mexican businesses have been eliminated.

Wages along the Mexican border have actually been driven down by about 25% since NAFTA, reported a Carnegie Endowment study. An over-supply of workers, combined with the government-sponsored crushing of union organization, has resulted in sweatshop pay along the border where wages now typically run 60 cents to $1 an hour.
So rather than improving living standards, Mexican wages have actually fallen since NAFTA. The initial growth in the number of jobs has leveled off, with China's even more repressive labor system luring US firms to locate there instead.

But Mexicans must still contend with the results of the American-owned "maquiladora" sweatshops: subsistence-level wages, pollution, congestion, horrible living conditions (cardboard shacks and open sewers), and a lack of resources (for streetlights and police) to deal with a wave of violence against vulnerable young women working in the factories. The survival (or less)-level wages coupled with harsh working conditions have not been the great answer to Mexican poverty, while they have temporarily been the answer to Corporate America's demand for low wages.

With US firms unwilling to pay even minimal taxes, NAFTA has hardly produced the promised uplift in the lives of Mexicans. Ciudad Juarez Mayor Gustavo Elizondo, whose city is crammed with US-owned low-wage plants, expressed it plainly: "We have no way to provide water, sewage, and sanitation workers. Every year, we get poorer and poorer even though we create more and more wealth."

Falling industrial wages, peasants forced off the land, small businesses liquidated, growing poverty: these are direct consequences of NAFTA. This harsh suffering explains why so many desperate Mexicans lured to the border area in the false hope that they could find dignity in the US-owned maquiladoras - are willing to risk their lives to cross the border to provide for their families. There were 2.5 million Mexican illegals in 1995; 8 million have crossed the border since then. In 2005, some 400 desperate Mexicans died trying to enter the US.

NAFTA failed to curb illegal immigration precisely because it was never designed as a genuine development program crafted to promote rising living standards, health care, environmental cleanup, and worker rights in Mexico. The wholesale surge of Mexicans across the border dramatically illustrates that NAFTA was no attempt at a broad uplift of living conditions and democracy in Mexico, but a formula for
government-sanctioned corporate plunder benefiting elites on both sides of the border.

NAFTA essentially annexed Mexico as a low-wage industrial suburb of the US and opened Mexican markets to heavily-subsidized US agribusiness products, blowing away local producers. Capital could flow freely across the border freely to low-wage factories and Wal-mart-type retailers, but the same standard of free access would be denied to Mexican workers.

Meanwhile, with the planned Central American Free Trade Agreement with five Central American nations coming up, we can anticipate even greater pressure on our borders as agricultural workers are pushed off the land without positive, alternative employment opportunities. People from Guatemala and Honduras will soon learn that they can't compete for industrial jobs with the most oppressed people in say, China, by agreeing to lowering their wages even more. Further, impoverished Central American countries don't have the resources to deal with the pollution and crime that results from moving people from rural areas to the city, often without their families.

Thus far, we have been presented with a narrow range of options to cope with the tide of illegal immigrants living fearfully in the shadows of American life. Should they simply be walled off and criminalized, as Sensenbrenner and House Republicans suggest? The Sensenbrenner option seeks to exploit the sentiment that illegal immigrants entering the US rather than US corporation exiting the US for Mexico and China are the primary cause of falling wages for most Americans.

The Bush version is only slightly different, envisioning the illegal immigrants as part of a vast disposable pool of cheap labor with no meaningful rights on the job or even the right to vote, to be returned to Mexico upon the whim of their employers.

Yet there is another well-known path of economic and social integration that has been ignored in the debates over immigration in the US: the one followed by the European Union and their social charter calling for decent wages, health care, and extensive retraining in all nations. Before then-impoverished nations like Spain, Greece and Portugal were admitted, they received massive EU investments in roads, health care, clean water, and education. The implementation of democracy, including worker rights, was an equally vital pre-condition for entry into the EU.

The underlying concept: the entire reason for trade is to provide improved lives across borders, not to exploit the cheapest labor and weakest environmental rules. We need to question the widely-held assumption that what benefits American corporations benefits Mexican workers and American workers. An authentic plan for growth and development isn't about further enriching Wall Street, major corporations, and a handful of Mexican billionaires; it is about the creation of family-supporting jobs. It is also about a healthy environment, healthy workers, good education, and ordinary people being able to achieve their dreams.

The massive tide of illegal immigration from Mexico is merely one symptom of an economic arrangement where human needs, not maximum profits - are not the ultimate goal but a subject of neglect. Neither a massive, shameful barrier at the border nor a disposable guest-worker program will address the problems ignited by NAFTA.

Programs providing stable, decent employment, modern transportation, clean water, and environmental cleanup are needed to take the place of the immense NAFTA failure and allow Mexicans to live decent, hopeful lives in their native land. But such an effort is imaginable only if the aim is truly mutual uplift for all citizens in both nations, instead of the NAFTA-fueled race to the bottom.

Rooster's Wife Baking Contest, July 22

The Rooster’s Wife Cake Baking Contest

July 22, 2007

Official rules:

Entry fee: $5. Includes admission to the concert

Categories: Pre-teen bakers, Best Decorated, Best Cupcakes AND Best overall, most delicious, scrumptious, for my Birthday Cake will win the Grand Prize.

Awards: In each category, winner will receive a ribbon, a fan, their choice of CD from the Mad Tea Party, and two passes to the summer 2007 concert of their choice. 2nd and third places will receive a ribbon and a fan and one pass to the summer 2007 concert of their choice. The Grand Prize winner will receive a ribbon, a t shirt, a fan and a cd, as well as a pass for two for the remaining concerts for the 2007 season.

Each entry must include a legible copy of the recipe which may be used at the discretion of the Rooster’s Wife.

Entries will be received between 5:00 and 5:45 July 22nd, 2007. Judging will conclude by 7 p.m. The judging may be arbitrary, subjective and on occasion downright silly. Participants shall be aware of the potential for things to be totally out of hand.

Cakes will be sold by the serving at the conclusion of the contest with proceeds collected to support live music in this great town, Aberdeen, North Carolina.

The Rooster’s Wife is a private non-profit association organized to celebrate the performing arts in Aberdeen, North Carolina. Created to serve the community by preserving our cultural heritage and presenting the talent of the next generation, the Rooster’s Wife is committed to offering affordable programs for every age to enjoy. Info: (910)944-7502 theroosterswife.org


Organic Yields High


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Organic farming can yield up to three times as
much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and holds its
own against standard methods in rich countries, U.S. researchers said on

They said their findings contradict arguments that organic farming --
which excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides -- is not
as efficient as conventional techniques.

"My hope is that we can finally put a nail in the coffin of the idea
that you can't produce enough food through organic agriculture," Ivette
Perfecto, a professor at the University of Michigan's school of Natural
Resources and Environment, said in a statement.

She and colleagues analyzed published studies on yields from organic
farming. They looked at 293 different examples.

"Model estimates indicate that organic methods could produce enough food
on a global per capita basis to sustain the current human population,
and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the
agricultural land base," they wrote in their report, published in the
journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

"We were struck by how much food the organic farmers would produce,"
Perfecto said.

"Corporate interest in agriculture and the way agriculture research has
been conducted in land grant institutions, with a lot of influence by
the chemical companies and pesticide companies as well as fertilizer
companies, all have been playing an important role in convincing the
public that you need to have these inputs to produce food," she added.


Climate Debate

'New thinking' needed on climate *
The global climate debate needs to embrace a "new way of thinking", UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urges.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/6292744.stm

It's the Oil

* Bush urges Congress Iraq support *
President Bush says he understands US upset on Iraq but says Congress must allow time for the "surge" to work.
Full story:

* Mexico rebels claim oil attacks *
A little-known leftist rebel group in Mexico says it has carried out recent attacks on oil installations.
Full story:

Are You Shrinking?


More Truth to Power


Kennedy Speaks Truth to Power

Sunday 08 July 2007

TRANSCRIPT: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Comments at Live Earth

Now we've all heard the oil industry and the coal industry and their indentured servants in the political process telling us that global climate stability is a luxury that we can't afford. That we have to choose now between economic prosperity on the one hand and environmental protection on the other. And that is a false choice.

In 100% of the situations, good environmental policy is identical to good economic policy - if we want to measure our economy, and this is how we ought to be measuring it, based upon how it produces jobs and the dignity of jobs over the generations, how it preserves the values of the assets of our community and how it averts the catastrophe of global warming.

If, on the other hand, we want to do what they've been urging us to do on Capitol Hill which is to treat the planet as if it were a business in liquidation, convert our natural resources to cash as quickly as possible, have a few years of pollution based prosperity, we can generate an instantaneous cash flow and the illusion of a prosperous economy. But our children are going to pay for our joyride with denuded landscapes, with poor health, with huge cleanup costs and with climate chaos which is going to amplify over time and that they will never be able to pay.

Environmental injury is deficit spending. It is a way of loading the costs of our generation's prosperity on to the backs of our children. Climate change is upon us. Its impacts are going to be catastrophic and we are causing it. The good news is, we have the scientific and technological capacity to avert its most catastrophic impacts. We only need the political will.

If we raise fuel economy standards in our automobiles by one mile - we generate twice the amount of oil that is in the Arctic National Wildlife Refugee. If we raise fuel economy standards by 7.6 miles per gallon we yield more oil than we now import from the Persian Gulf. We can eliminate 100% of Persian Gulf oil.

Think about what that would do for our economy, for our foreign policy, for our global leadership, it would dramatically improve our balance of payments, reduce our national debt and make all of us more prosperous and more independent and spare us from wars in the Mid-East that are costing us, already, a trillion dollars and from entanglements with Mid-Eastern dictators who despise democracy and are hated by their own people.

Now you've heard today a lot of people say that there are many little things that you all can do today to avert climate change on your own. But I will tell you this, it is more important than buying compact flourescent light bulbs or than buying a fuel efficient automobile. The most important thing you can do is to get involved in the political process and get rid of all of these rotten politicians that we have in Washington D.C. -

Who are nothing more than corporate toadies for companies like Exxon and Southern Company, these villainous companies that consistently put their private financial interest ahead of American interest and ahead of the interest of all of humanity. This is treason and we need to start treating them now as traitors.

And they have their slick public relations firms and their phony think tanks in Washington D.C. and their crooked scientists who are lying to the American people day after day after day. And we have a press that has completely let down American Democracy. That's giving us Ana Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton instead of the issues that we need to understand to make rational decisions in a democracy - like global warming.
And so I am going to tell you this, that the next time you see John Stossel or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity - these flat-earthers, these corporate toadies, lying to you, lying to the American public, and telling you that global warming doesn't exist - you send an email to their advertisers and tell them that you are not going to buy their products anymore.

And I want you to remember this, that we are not protecting the environment for the sake of the fishes and the birds, we are protecting it because nature is the infrastructure of our communities. And if we want to meet our obligation as a generation, as a civilization, as a nation, which is to create communities for our children that provide them with the same opportunities for dignity, and enrichment, and good health, and prosperity, and stability as the communities that our parents gave us, we've got to start by protecting our environmental infrastructure.

The air we breathe, the water we drink, the wildlife, the public lands, the things that connect us to our past to our history that provide context to our communities and that are the source, ultimately, of our values and our virtues and our character as a people and the future of our children.

And I will see all of you on the barricades.


Straw Bale Home, Robbins!


Impeachment of Both

Much of US Favors Bush Impeachment


"Nearly half of the US public wants President George W. Bush to face impeachment, and even more favor that fate for Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a poll
out Friday," reveals the Agence France-Presse.



US capital to host Live Earth gig
Washington DC is added to the list of cities staging Live Earth concerts on Saturday, bringing the total to nine.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/entertainment/6277116.stm


Natural Controls in the Garden

Natural Controls

There are many non-chemical means of dealing with cucumber beetles and squash bugs, so you shouldn't have to resort to the use of chemicals, no matter what their level of toxicity. Here are some natural remedies that we have heard about.

You can use predator insects, such as tachnid flies, parasitic nematodes and braconid wasps, or lacewings and ladybugs, which eat the eggs. (Note that Sevin kills some of these beneficial insects!) Bats are also predators of cucumber beetles (among other pests), so build a bat house near your garden. Companion planting has also proven effective in controlling cucumber and squash bugs. Try interplanting with broccoli, radishes, beans, catnip, goldenrod, nasturtiums, calendula or tansy. If you have a relatively small garden, try hand-picking the critters. Or a friend of ours effectively used a portable vacuum cleaner to suck up the adults in the evening.

Or trap the beetles. Cut a piece of plywood or cardboard into eight-by- ten-inch pieces. Paint the board yellow and coat with Tanglefoot or some other adhesive. Bait these traps with allspice oil or clove oil and stake them vertically at or near ground level. However you gather the beetles, be sure to dispose of them quickly.

Deep mulching with straw around the plants will make it difficult for the bugs to migrate from plant to plant and deter them from laying their eggs in the ground near plant stems. Cover the mulch with onion skins and they will be further repelled.

Mix a spray of one ounce of wood ashes, one ounce of hydrated lime and one gallon of water. Spray both upper and lower leaf surfaces. Or use a spray of hot peppers, water and garlic. Another trick is to flatten a square of aluminum foil or an aluminum pie plate around the base of cucumber plants. This will bounce light onto the undersides of leaves and confuse the beetles enough to keep them at bay.

If the infestation gets out of hand, there are botanical insecticides like pyrethrum and rotenone. There is research that suggests the use of neem oil applied to the soil at the right time will destroy eggs and larvae. A kaolin clay product is also available to used as a foliar spray. It creates a non-toxic particle film that places a barrier between a pest and its host plant and also has reflective properties that disguise the plant, similarly to aluminum foil.

So help preserve the biodiversity in your neighborhood and stay away from Sevin and its ilk.

Local Process, Free-Range Chicken!

From Gold Farm, Hoke County, NC

"We are still taking orders up to July 6, Friday 8pm; the chickens will be processed on Saturday, July 7, 2007. We will not be checking email that day, because we will be too busy.

Chickens are sold whole. They can be picked up on July 12, 2007 at the Moore County Farmers Market - Morganton Road in Southern Pines next Thursday.

For pickup of chickens, we suggest that you bring a cooler with ice to keep them cool until they get home.

For pickup of fresh chickens (not frozen), please let us know so arrangements can be made for pickup/delivery.

Our chickens are free range and raised with no antibiotics.

We also have pork products available: sausage, bacon, ham slices, ribs, shoulder, pork chops, etc. These will be available on Thursdays at Moore County Farmers Market - Morganton Road."


Urban Beekeepers



Beyond Kyoto, Al Gore

Moving Beyond Kyoto
By Al Gore
The New York Times

Sunday 01 July 2007

Nashville - We - the human species - have arrived at a moment of decision. It is unprecedented and even laughable for us to imagine that we could actually make a conscious choice as a species, but that is nevertheless the challenge that is before us.

Our home - Earth - is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.

Without realizing the consequences of our actions, we have begun to put so much carbon dioxide into the thin shell of air surrounding our world that we have literally changed the heat balance between Earth and the Sun. If we don't stop doing this pretty quickly, the average temperature will increase to levels humans have never known and put an end to the favorable climate balance on which our civilization depends.

In the last 150 years, in an accelerating frenzy, we have been removing increasing quantities of carbon from the ground - mainly in the form of coal and oil - and burning it in ways that dump 70 million tons of CO2 every 24 hours into the Earth's atmosphere.

The concentrations of CO2 - having never risen above 300 parts per million for at least a million years - have been driven from 280 parts per million at the beginning of the coal boom to 383 parts per million this year.

As a direct result, many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several "tipping points" that could - within 10 years - make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet's habitability for human civilization.

Just in the last few months, new studies have shown that the north polar ice cap - which helps the planet cool itself - is melting nearly three times faster than the most pessimistic computer models predicted. Unless we take action, summer ice could be completely gone in as little as 35 years. Similarly, at the other end of the planet, near the South Pole, scientists have found new evidence of snow melting in West Antarctica across an area as large as California.

This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong. Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours.

On Sept. 21, 1987, President Ronald Reagan said, "In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world."

We - all of us - now face a universal threat. Though it is not from outside this world, it is nevertheless cosmic in scale.

Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground - having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years - and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It's the carbon dioxide.

This threat also requires us, in Reagan's phrase, to unite in recognition of our common bond.

Next Saturday, on all seven continents, the Live Earth concert will ask for the attention of humankind to begin a three-year campaign to make everyone on our planet aware of how we can solve the climate crisis in time to avoid catastrophe. Individuals must be a part of the solution. In the words of Buckminster Fuller, "If the success or failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on how I am and what I do, how would I be? What would I do?"

Live Earth will offer an answer to this question by asking everyone who attends or listens to the concerts to sign a personal pledge to take specific steps to combat climate change. (More details about the pledge are available at algore.com.)

But individual action will also have to shape and drive government action. Here Americans have a special responsibility. Throughout most of our short history, the United States and the American people have provided moral leadership for the world. Establishing the Bill of Rights, framing democracy in the Constitution, defeating fascism in World War II, toppling Communism and landing on the moon - all were the result of American leadership.

Once again, Americans must come together and direct our government to take on a global challenge. American leadership is a precondition for success.

To this end, we should demand that the United States join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.

This treaty would mark a new effort. I am proud of my role during the Clinton administration in negotiating the Kyoto protocol. But I believe that the protocol has been so demonized in the United States that it probably cannot be ratified here - much in the way the Carter administration was prevented from winning ratification of an expanded strategic arms limitation treaty in 1979. Moreover, the negotiations will soon begin on a tougher climate treaty.

Therefore, just as President Reagan renamed and modified the SALT agreement (calling it Start), after belatedly recognizing the need for it, our next president must immediately focus on quickly concluding a new and even tougher climate change pact. We should aim to complete this global treaty by the end of 2009 - and not wait until 2012 as currently planned.

If by the beginning of 2009, the United States already has in place a domestic regime to reduce global warming pollution, I have no doubt that when we give industry a goal and the tools and flexibility to sharply reduce carbon emissions, we can complete and ratify a new treaty quickly. It is, after all, a planetary emergency.

A new treaty will still have differentiated commitments, of course; countries will be asked to meet different requirements based upon their historical share or contribution to the problem and their relative ability to carry the burden of change. This precedent is well established in international law, and there is no other way to do it.

There are some who will try to pervert this precedent and use xenophobia or nativist arguments to say that every country should be held to the same standard. But should countries with one-fifth our gross domestic product - countries that contributed almost nothing in the past to the creation of this crisis - really carry the same load as the United States? Are we so scared of this challenge that we cannot lead?

Our children have a right to hold us to a higher standard when their future - indeed, the future of all human civilization - is hanging in the balance. They deserve better than a government that censors the best scientific evidence and harasses honest scientists who try to warn us about looming catastrophe. They deserve better than politicians who sit on their hands and do nothing to confront the greatest challenge that humankind has ever faced - even as the danger bears down on us.

We should focus instead on the opportunities that are part of this challenge. Certainly, there will be new jobs and new profits as corporations move aggressively to capture the enormous economic opportunities offered by a clean energy future.

But there's something even more precious to be gained if we do the right thing. The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.


Al Gore, vice president from 1993 to 2001, is the chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection. He is the author, most recently, of The Assault on Reason.

Plastic vs. Plankton

[I]n coastal studies off Southern California and in studies as far from the coast as you can get … we found that … plastic outweighs plankton. And the coastal ocean even has more plastic than plankton near the bottom. Captain Charles Moore


Zinn on The 4th

Published on Sunday, July 1, 2007 by The Progressive
Put Away the Flags
On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours — huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction — what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

That self-deception started early.

When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession.”

When the English set fire to a Pequot village and massacred men, women and children, the Puritan theologian Cotton Mather said: “It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day.”

On the eve of the Mexican War, an American journalist declared it our “Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence.” After the invasion of Mexico began, The New York Herald announced: “We believe it is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country.”

It was always supposedly for benign purposes that our country went to war.

We invaded Cuba in 1898 to liberate the Cubans, and went to war in the Philippines shortly after, as President McKinley put it, “to civilize and Christianize” the Filipino people.

As our armies were committing massacres in the Philippines (at least 600,000 Filipinos died in a few years of conflict), Elihu Root, our secretary of war, was saying: “The American soldier is different from all other soldiers of all other countries since the war began. He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace and happiness.”

We see in Iraq that our soldiers are not different. They have, perhaps against their better nature, killed thousands of Iraq civilians. And some soldiers have shown themselves capable of brutality, of torture.

Yet they are victims, too, of our government’s lies.

How many times have we heard President Bush tell the troops that if they die, if they return without arms or legs, or blinded, it is for “liberty,” for “democracy”?

One of the effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of a sense of proportion. The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The killing of 3,000 people on Sept. 11 becomes the justification for killing tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And nationalism is given a special virulence when it is said to be blessed by Providence. Today we have a president, invading two countries in four years, who announced on the campaign trail in 2004 that God speaks through him.

We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

Howard Zinn, a World War II bombardier, is the author of the best-selling “A People’s History of the United States” (Perennial Classics, 2003, latest edition). This piece was distributed by the Progressive Media Project.

©2007 The Progressive Magazine

Concert, Aberdeen, July 8

The Rooster’s Wife
Summer on the Porch

Bill Sheffield

Ron Huff and Friends will open at 6 p.m.

July 8, 2007

The Postmaster’s House

204 E. South Street, Aberdeen, NC

Admission $8. Children under 12 free

Gates open at 5:30 Picnics welcome.

Info: (910)944-7502

Our Nation's Primary Mission


"We're involved in Iraq because we don't want to begin thinking about modifying our behavior at home. We are desperate to preserve our access to Middle East oil because that is the only way we can keep running our society the way we're used to running it. Mostly, we don't want to face the tragic misinvestments we've made in the infrastructure of happy motoring, and we don't want to face the inconvenient truth that there really isn't any combination of alt.fuels that will permit us to keep
running all the cars the way we like to run them. Either we keep getting the oil or say goodbye to the American Dream Version 2.K.
The public has now decided that this nation's primary mission is to find some magic way to keep the cars running on a fuel other than gasoline. Everyone from the greenest greenies to the most medieval-minded Kansas Republican senator has joined in this collective wish. They are certain to be disappointed. All the Priuses in the world will not avail to save the Drive-In Utopia. The public will learn
painfully what Iraq is all about.
Every time somebody blames the politicians for this predicament, I'm reminded that the politicians are actually doing a fine job of representing what their constituents want. What they want is to not change their behavior. Not even the science and technology folks want to think about changing our behavior. They just want to find new ways to continue the old behavior. They're invested in the triumphal effort to come up with a happy motoring rescue remedy. Their techno-cred is on the line. They all want to be the first kid in their housing subdivision to
run a car on dark matter.

So, we've gone to Iraq on the quixotic mission to stabilize-and-pacify this key territory in the greater region of the Middle East, so we can keep getting oil imports out of there in a reliable and orderly way, so we can keep on driving all our cars. And the whole thing has turned out rather badly."