10/31/2007

No End in Sight

http://www.noendinsightmovie.com/

Embargo Continues

UN Renews Near-Unanimous Call to End US Embargo on Cuba

The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba for the sixteenth consecutive year. Tuesday’s vote was one-hundred-eighty-four to four. The U.S., Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands were the lone countries opposed. Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque called the vote a repudiation of longstanding U.S. policy.

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque: "The United States has ignored with both arrogance and political blindness the fifteen resolutions adopted by this General Assembly calling for the lifting of the blockade against Cuba. The blockade is today the main obstacle to the development and well-being of the Cubans and a blatant, massive and systematic violation to the rights of our people."

The vote comes just days after President Bush vowed to maintain the embargo on Cuba through the end of his presidency.

People Want Mass Transit, Smart Growth

[We the people are usually more progressive than our elected officials, and, here again, it is so]

2007 Growth and Transportation Survey: People Want Mass Transit, Not New Roads
Three-fourths of Americans surveyed believe that either being smarter about development or improving public transportation are both better long-term solutions for reducing traffic congestion than building new roads, according to a survey sponsored by the National Association of REALTORS® and Smart Growth America.

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2007102502?OpenDocument

Edwards in Debate

http://johnedwards.com/watch/debate/

10/30/2007

A Better Death

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=143467&ac=PHnws&pg=1
[a good article on death]

Careers in Social Justice Work

http://www.thedartcenter.org/
[Check it out: careers in peace and social justice]

Vote Smart

[Why we must elect Chris Smithson and Abigail Dowd in Southern Pines]

Op-Ed Columnist
Save the Planet: Vote Smart

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: October 21, 2007

People often ask: I want to get greener, what should I do? New light bulbs? A hybrid? A solar roof? Well, all of those things are helpful. But actually, the greenest thing you can do is this: Choose the right leaders. It is so much more important to change your leaders than change your light bulbs.

Why? Because leaders write the rules, set the standards and offer the tax incentives that drive market behavior across a whole city, state or country. Whatever any of us does individually matters a tiny bit. But when leaders change the rules, you get scale change across the whole marketplace. And the energy-climate challenge we face today is a huge scale problem. Without scale, all you have is a green hobby.

Have no illusions, everything George Bush wouldn’t do on energy after 9/11 — his resisting improved mileage for cars and actually trying to weaken air-conditioner standards — swamped any good works you did. Fortunately, the vacuum in the White House is being filled by leaders from below.

Take the New York City taxi story. Two years ago, David Yassky, a City Council member, sat down with one of his backers, Jack Hidary, a technology entrepreneur, to brainstorm about how to make New York City greener — at scale. For starters, they checked with the Taxi and Limousine Commission to see what it would take to replace the old gas-guzzling Crown Victoria yellow cabs, which get around 10 miles a gallon, with better-mileage, low-emission hybrids. Great idea, only it turned out to be illegal, thanks to some old size regulations designed to favor Crown Vics.

Recalled Mr. Hidary: “When they first told me, I said, ‘Are you serious? Illegal?’” So he formed a nonprofit called SmartTransportation.org to help Mr. Yassky lobby the City Council to change the laws to permit hybrid taxis. They also reframed it as a health issue, with the help of Louise Vetter, president of the American Lung Association of the City of New York.

“New York City has among the dirtiest air in the U.S.,” Ms. Vetter said. “When it comes to ozone and particulate matter, New Yorkers are breathing very unhealthy air. Most of it is tailpipe emissions. And in New York City, where asthma rates are among the highest in the nation, the high ozone levels create very serious threats, especially for kids who spend a lot of time outdoors. Converting cabs from yellow to green would be a great gift to the city’s children.”

Matt Daus, who heads the taxi commission, which is independent of the mayor, was initially reluctant, but once he learned of the health and other benefits, he joined forces with Messrs. Yassky and Hidary, and the measure passed the City Council by 50 to 0 on June 30, 2005. Since then, more than 500 taxi drivers have converted to hybrids — mostly Ford Escapes, but also Toyota Highlanders and Priuses, and others.

On May 22, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the greenest mayors in America, decided to push even further, insisting on a new rule, which the taxi commission has to approve, that will not just permit but require all cabs — 13,000 in all — to be hybrids or other low-emission vehicles that get at least 30 miles a gallon, within five years.

“When it comes to health and safety and environmental issues, government should be setting standards,” the mayor said. “What you need are leaders who are willing to push for standards that are in society’s long-term interest.” When the citizens see the progress, Mr. Bloomberg added, “then they start to lead.” And this encourages leaders to seek even higher standards.

I asked Evgeny Freidman, a top New York City fleet operator, how he liked the hybrids: “Absolutely fabulous! We started out with 18, and now we have over 200, mostly Ford Escapes. Now we only put hybrids out there. The drivers are demanding them and the public is demanding them. It has been great economically. With gas prices as they are, the drivers are saving $30 dollars a shift.” He said drivers who were getting 7 to 10 miles a gallon from their Crown Vics were getting 25 to 30 from their hybrids. The cost of shifting to these hybrids, he added, has not been onerous.

Now Mr. Hidary is trying to get law firms and investment banks, which use gas-guzzling Town Cars — 12,000 in the city — to demand hybrid sedans only.

This is how scale change happens. When the Big Apple becomes the Green Apple, and 40 million tourists come through every year and take at least one hybrid cab ride, they’ll go back home and ask their leaders, “Why don’t we have hybrid cabs?”

So if you want to be a green college kid or a green adult, don’t fool yourself: You can change lights. You can change cars. But if you don’t change leaders, your actions are nothing more than an expression of, as Dick Cheney would say, “personal virtue.”

Hogan's Writing Workshops

JUDY HOGAN’S WRITING WORKSHOPS-WINTER/SPRING 08

POETRY WORKSHOP at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC), Pittsboro.

April 5, 12, 19, & 26, Saturdays, 1-4 P.M. Room and registration info: 542-2201. Cost $150. Learn to write publishable poetry in one’s own voice by imitating themes and forms of Russia’s great poet, Anna Akhmatova. Min. 6; max.12. No prerequisites. Students read in English; Judy reads Russian. Text: The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, Translator, Judith Hemschemeyer.

FICTION WORKSHOP. Judy’s home in Moncure. Jan 19, 22 & Feb 2, snow day Feb 9. Saturdays, 9 AM-4 PM, w/lunch, $240; bring bag lunch, $216. Preparing, revising, and editing fiction. Participants should already be writing short stories or novels. We will use Elizabeth George’s Write Away, including plot and character exercises. Hogan will read up to 20 pages/week; students may read aloud for additional feedback Min. 4, max. 12.

JOURNAL/MEMOIR/AUTOBIOGRAPHY WORKSHOP. Judy’s home. March 1, 8, 15, Saturdays 9-4 PM, w/lunch, $240, bring bag lunch, $216. How to get more out of journal writing and create memoirs and first person narratives more alive to a reader using details, metaphors, and characterization. No prerequisites. Min. 4, max. 12. Texts: May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude; Marcel Proust’s "Combray" section of In Search of Lost Time (Vol. I).

SELF HEAL/JOURNAL/LIFE-STYLE WORKSHOP. Judy’s home. May 17, Saturday, 9-4 PM. W/lunch and sample self heal herb tea and plants. $100. Learn the uses and cultivation of the medicinal herb, self heal ( prunella vulgaris) and discuss lifestyle strategies for self-healing and a calmer, more enjoyable life-style. Self heal is notable for its usefulness for allergies, colds, sore throats, coughs, and wounds. It’s an astringent with minimal side-effects. Judy has used it many years and is now growing it. She has also kept a journal since she was 13 and will show ways the journal heals and enhances one’s life.

For more information: Judy Hogan, (919) 545-9932. judyhogan@mindspring.com. To register for Judy’s classes held at her home in Moncure, send $20 with contact info to: PO Box 253, Moncure, N.C. 27559-0253. Note: Judy may only teach courses in Jan-May. She does free-lance editing for $2.50/page, $40 min.. Details: http://judyhogan.home.mindspring.com

Who is Judy Hogan? Judson Jerome of Writer’s Digest, called Judy Hogan "one of the most experienced editor-publishers in the small press field," and strongly recommended her consultation-by-mail service. Ms. Hogan has 35+ years of editing experience in all genres and was Co-Editor of Hyperion Poetry Journal (1969-81) and Editor-in Chief of Carolina Wren Press (1976-90). She has published and helped launch on their literary careers hundreds of new writers of all ages, men/women/, black/white, with varying educational backgrounds. As Carolina Wren Press editor, she saw 34 books into print, 13 of which were picked to be part of NEA’s "New American Writing" displays at international book fairs. She has taught classes since 1974. Ms. Hogan has published five volumes of her own poetry, edited five anthologies, and published two non-fiction books. In 2003 an early Carolina Wren author, Jaki Shelton Green, won the prestigious North Carolina award for her poetry and service to literature.



"Healthy beings take short rests, adjust themselves, grieve, let go, but pick up where they left off, noting what has been achieved, turning to finish the work while time is given--precious time." A Thread of Gold XIV. May 27, 2007
Judy Hogan (919) 545-9932

10/29/2007

Tell It, Krugman!

October 29, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Fearing Fear Itself
By PAUL KRUGMAN
In America’s darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation not to succumb to “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” But that was then.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president — including all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republican nomination — have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns.

Consider, for a moment, the implications of the fact that Rudy Giuliani is taking foreign policy advice from Norman Podhoretz, who wants us to start bombing Iran “as soon as it is logistically possible.”

Mr. Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a founding neoconservative, tells us that Iran is the “main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11.” The Islamofascists, he tells us, are well on their way toward creating a world “shaped by their will and tailored to their wishes.” Indeed, “Already, some observers are warning that by the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed into a place to which they give the name Eurabia.”

Do I have to point out that none of this makes a bit of sense?

For one thing, there isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism — it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin Laden, who attacked America, to Saddam Hussein, who didn’t. And Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 — in fact, the Iranian regime was quite helpful to the United States when it went after Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan.

Beyond that, the claim that Iran is on the path to global domination is beyond ludicrous. Yes, the Iranian regime is a nasty piece of work in many ways, and it would be a bad thing if that regime acquired nuclear weapons. But let’s have some perspective, please: we’re talking about a country with roughly the G.D.P. of Connecticut, and a government whose military budget is roughly the same as Sweden’s.

Meanwhile, the idea that bombing will bring the Iranian regime to its knees — and bombing is the only option, since we’ve run out of troops — is pure wishful thinking. Last year Israel tried to cripple Hezbollah with an air campaign, and ended up strengthening it instead. There’s every reason to believe that an attack on Iran would produce the same result, with the added effects of endangering U.S. forces in Iraq and driving oil prices well into triple digits.

Mr. Podhoretz, in short, is engaging in what my relatives call crazy talk. Yet he is being treated with respect by the front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination. And Mr. Podhoretz’s rants are, if anything, saner than some of what we’ve been hearing from some of Mr. Giuliani’s rivals.

Thus, in a recent campaign ad Mitt Romney asserted that America is in a struggle with people who aim “to unite the world under a single jihadist Caliphate. To do that they must collapse freedom-loving nations. Like us.” He doesn’t say exactly who these jihadists are, but presumably he’s referring to Al Qaeda — an organization that has certainly demonstrated its willingness and ability to kill innocent people, but has no chance of collapsing the United States, let alone taking over the world.

And Mike Huckabee, whom reporters like to portray as a nice, reasonable guy, says that if Hillary Clinton is elected, “I’m not sure we’ll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country’s ever faced in Islamofascism.” Yep, a bunch of lightly armed terrorists and a fourth-rate military power — which aren’t even allies — pose a greater danger than Hitler’s panzers or the Soviet nuclear arsenal ever did.

All of this would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration adopted fear-mongering as a political strategy. Instead of treating the attack as what it was — an atrocity committed by a fundamentally weak, though ruthless adversary — the administration portrayed America as a nation under threat from every direction.

Most Americans have now regained their balance. But the Republican base, which lapped up the administration’s rhetoric about the axis of evil and the war on terror, remains infected by the fear the Bushies stirred up — perhaps because fear of terrorists maps so easily into the base’s older fears, including fear of dark-skinned people in general.

And the base is looking for a candidate who shares this fear.

Just to be clear, Al Qaeda is a real threat, and so is the Iranian nuclear program. But neither of these threats frightens me as much as fear itself — the unreasoning fear that has taken over one of America’s two great political parties.

For Christmas Give Your House LEDs

http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/light/conserve/cv5_hlt.htm

Dynamite Speech, John Edwards

Remarks by Senator John Edwards
St. Anselm's College, Manchester, New Hamphshire
October 29, 2007

Many of you know that I am the son of a mill worker -- that I rose from modest means and have been blessed in so many ways in life. Elizabeth and I have so much to be grateful for.

And all of you know about some of the challenges we have faced in my family. But there came a time, a few months ago, when Elizabeth and I had to decide, in the quiet of a hospital room, after many hours of tests and getting pretty bad news -- what we were going to do with our lives.

And we made our decision. That we were not going to go quietly into the night -- that we were going to stand and fight for what we believe in.

As Elizabeth and I have campaigned across America, I've come to a better understanding of what that decision really meant -- and why we made it.

Earlier this year, I spoke at Riverside Church in New York, where, forty years ago, Martin Luther King gave a historic speech. I talked about that speech then, and I want to talk about it today. Dr. King was tormented by the way he had kept silent for two years about the Vietnam War.

He was told that if he spoke out he would hurt the civil rights movement and all that he had worked for -- but he could not take it any more -- instead of decrying the silence of others -- he spoke the truth about himself.

"Over the past two years" he said, "I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silence and speak from the burning of my own heart."

I am not holier than thou. I am not perfect by any means. But there are events in life that you learn from, and which remind you what this is really all about. Maybe I have been freed from the system and the fear that holds back politicians because I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul.

Especially right now, when our country requires so much more of us, and needs to hear the truth from its leaders.

And, although I have spent my entire life taking on the big powerful interests and winning -- which is why I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or political action committees -- I too have been guilty of my own silence -- but no more.

It's time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.

As I look across the political landscape of both parties today -- what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth -- good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office.

This presidential campaign is a perfect example of how our politics is awash with money. I have raised more money up to this point than any Democratic candidate raised last time in the presidential campaign -- $30 million. And, I did it without taking a dime from any Washington lobbyist or any special interest PAC.

I saw the chase for campaign money at any cost by the frontrunner in this race -- and I did not join it -- because the cost to our nation and our children is not worth the hollow victory of any candidate. Being called president while powerful interests really run things is not the same as being free to lead this nation as president of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If protecting the current established structure in Washington is in your interest, then I am not your candidate. I ran for president four years ago -- yes, in part out of personal ambition -- but also with a deep desire to stand for working people like my father and mother -- who no matter how hard things were for our family, always worked even harder to make things better for us.

But the more Elizabeth and I campaigned this year, the more we talked to the American people, the more we met people just like my father, and hard working people like James Lowe. James is a decent and honest man who had to live for 50 years with no voice in the richest country in the world because he didn't have health care. The more people like him that I met, the more I realized something much bigger was stirring in the American people. And it has stirred in each of us for far too long.

Last month Ken Burns -- who made the great Civil War documentary -- launched his newest epic on World War II on PBS -- and what a story it tells.

At the cost of great suffering, blood and enormous sacrifice, within four years after Pearl Harbor it is incredible what this nation achieved. America built the arsenal of democracy worthy of our great history. We launched the greatest invasion armada in the history of warfare against Hitler's fortress Europe, and, with our allies, we freed a continent of suffering humanity.

At the same time on the other side of the globe we crossed 10,000 miles of ocean and liberated another hemisphere of humanity -- islands and nations freed from the grip of Japanese militarists. While at the same time succeeding in the greatest scientific endeavor ever undertaken -- the Manhattan project -- and topped it off with building the Pentagon, one of the largest buildings in the world in a little over a year.

It is incredible what America has accomplished. Because no matter what extraordinary challenges we have been faced with, we did exactly what America has always done in our history -- we rose to the challenge.

And, now, as I travel across America and listen to people, I hear real concern about what's going on. For the first time in our nation's history, people are worried that we're going to be the first generation of Americans not to pass on a better life to our children.

And it's not the fault of the American people. The American people have not changed. The American people are still the strong, courageous people they have always been. The problem is what our government has become. And, it is up to us to do something about it.

Because Washington may not see it, but we are facing a moral crisis as great as any that has ever challenged us. And, it is this test -- this moral test -- that I have come to understand is at the heart of this campaign.

Just look at what has happened in Iraq. What was the response of the American people to the challenge at hand? Our men and women in uniform have been heroes. They've done everything that's been asked of them and more. But what about our government? Four years after invading Iraq, we cannot even keep the lights on in Baghdad.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the American people were at their best. They donated their time and their money in record numbers. There was an outpouring of support. I took 700 college kids down to help -- young people who gave up their spring break. But what about our government? Three years after hurricane Katrina thousands of our fellow Americans, our brothers and sisters, are still housed in trailers waiting to go home.

There's no better example of the bravery and goodness of the American people than the response to the attacks of 9/11: firefighters and first responders risking and too often giving their lives to save others, charging up the stairs while everyone else was coming down; record bloodbank donations; and the list goes on. But what about our government? Six years after 9/11, at Ground Zero there sits only a black hole that tortures our conscience and scars our hearts.

In every instance we see an American people who are good, decent, compassionate and undeterred. And, American people who are better than the government that is supposed to serve and represent them.

And what has happened to the American "can do" spirit? I will tell you what has happened: all of this is the result of the bitter poisoned fruit of corruption and the bankruptcy of our political leadership.

It is not an accident that the government of the United States cannot function on behalf of its people, because it is no longer our people's government -- and we the people know it.

This corruption did not begin yesterday -- and it did not even begin with George Bush -- it has been building for decades -- until it now threatens literally the life of our democracy.

While the American people personally rose to the occasion with an enormous outpouring of support and donations to both the victims of Katrina and 9/11 -- we all saw our government's neglect. And we saw greed and incompetence at work. Out of more than 700 contracts valued at $500,000 or greater, at least half were given without full competition or, according to news sources, with vague or open ended terms, and many of these contracts went to companies with deep political connections such as a subsidiary of Haliburton, Bechtel Corp., and AshBritt Inc.

And in Iraq -- while our nation's brave sons and daughters put their lives on the line for our country -- we now have mercenaries under their own law while their bosses sit at home raking in millions.

We have squandered millions on building Olympic size swimming pools and buildings that have never been used. We have weapons and ammunition unaccounted for that may now be being used against our own soldiers. We literally have billions wasted or misspent -- while our troops and their families continue to sacrifice. And the politically connected lobby for more. What's their great sacrifice -- higher profits.

It goes on every minute of every day.

Corporate executives at United Airlines and US Airways receive millions in compensation for taking their companies into bankruptcy, while their employees are forced to take cuts in pay.

Companies like Wal-Mart lobby against inspecting containers entering our nation's ports, even though expert after expert agrees that the likeliest way for a dirty bomb to enter the United States is through a container, because they believe their profits are more important than our safety. What has become of America when America's largest company lobbies against protecting America?

Trade deals cost of millions of jobs. What do we get in return? Millions of dangerous Chinese toys in our children's cribs laden with lead. This is the price we are made to pay when trade agreements are decided based on how much they pad the profits for multinational corporations instead of what is best for America's workers or the safety of America's consumers.

We have even gotten to the point where our children's safety is potentially at risk because nearly half of the apple juice consumed by our children comes from apples grown in China. And Americans are kept in the dark because the corporate lobbyists have pushed back country of origin labeling laws again and again.

This is not the America I believe in.

The hubris of greed knows no bounds. Days after the homeland security bill passed, staffers from the homeland security department resigned and became homeland security consultants trying to cash in. And, where was the outrage? There was none, because that's how it works in Washington now. It is not a Republican revolving door or a Democratic revolving door -- it is just the way it's done.

Someone called it a government reconnaissance mission to figure out how to get rich when you leave the government.

Recently, I was dismayed to see headlines in the Wall Street Journal stating that Senate Democrats were backing down to lobbyists for hedge funds who have opposed efforts to make millionaire and billionaire hedge fund managers pay the same tax rate as every hard-working American. Now, tax loopholes the wealthy hedge fund managers do not need or deserve are not going to be closed, all because Democrats -- our party -- wanted their campaign money.

And a few weeks ago, around the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a leading presidential candidate held a fundraiser that was billed as a Homeland Security themed event in Washington, D.C. targeted to homeland security lobbyists and contractors for $1,000 a plate. These lobbyists, for the price of a ticket, would get a special "treat" -- the opportunity to participate in small, hour long breakout sessions with key Democratic lawmakers, many of whom chair important sub committees of the homeland security committee. That presidential candidate was Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton's road to the middle class takes a major detour right through the deep canyon of corporate lobbyists and the hidden bidding of K Street in Washington -- and history tells us that when that bus stops there it is the middle class that loses.

When I asked Hillary Clinton to join me in not taking money from Washington lobbyists -- she refused. Not only did she say that she would continue to take their money, she defended them.

Today Hillary Clinton has taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any candidate from either party -- more money than any Republican candidate.

She has taken more money from the defense industry than any other candidate from either party as well.

She took more money from Wall Street last quarter than Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama combined.

The long slow slide of our democracy into the corporate abyss continues unabated regardless of party, regardless of the best interests of America.

We have a duty -- a duty to end this.

I believe you cannot be for change and take money from the lobbyists who prevent change. You cannot take on the entrenched interests in Washington if you choose to defend the broken system. It will not work. And I believe that, if Americans have a choice, and candidate who takes their money -- Democrat or Republican -- will lose this election.

For us to continue down this path all we have to do is suspend all that we believe in. As Democrats, we continue down this path only if we believe the party of the people is no more.

As Americans, we continue down this path only if we fail to heed Lincoln's warning to us all.

"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected," he asked, "if it ever reaches us it must spring up amongst us. It can not come from abroad. If destruction be our lot -- we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide."

America lives because 20 generations have honored the one moral commandment that makes us Americans.

To give our children a better future than we received.

I stand here today the son of Wallace and Bobbie Edwards. The father of Wade, Cate, Emma Claire and Jack -- and I know, as well as you, that we must not be the first generation that fails to live up to our moral challenge and keep the promise of America.

That would be an abomination.

There is a dream that is America. It is what makes us American. And I will not stand by while that dream is at risk.

I am not perfect -- far from it -- but I do understand that this is not a political issue -- it is the moral test of our generation.

Our nation's founders knew that this moment would come -- that at some point the power of greed and its influence over officials in our government might strain and threaten the very America they hoped would last as an ideal in the minds of all people, and as a beacon of hope for all time.

That is why they made the people sovereign. And this is why it is your responsibility to redeem the promise of America for our children and their future.

It will not be easy -- sacrifice will be required of us -- but it was never easy for our ancestors, and their sacrifices were far greater than any that will fall on our shoulders.

Yet, the responsibility is ours.

We, you and I, are the guardians of what America is and what it will be.

The choice is ours.

Down one path, we trade corporate Democrats for corporate Republicans; our cronies for their cronies; one political dynasty for another dynasty; and all we are left with is a Democratic version of the Republican corruption machine.

It is the easier path. It is the path of the status quo. But, it is a path that perpetuates a corrupt system that has not only failed to deliver the change the American people demand, but has divided America into two -- one America for the very greedy, and one America for everybody else.

And it is that divided America -- the direct result of this corrupt system -- which may very well lead to the suicide Lincoln warned us of -- the poison that continues to seep into our system while none notice.

Or we can choose a different path. The path that generations of Americans command us to take. And be the guardians that kept the faith.

I run for president for my father who worked in a mill his entire life and never got to go to college the way I did.

I run for president for all those who worked in that mill with my father.

I run for president for all those who lost their jobs when that mil was shut down.

I run for president for all the women who have come up to Elizabeth and me and told us the like Elizabeth they had breast cancer -- but unlike Elizabeth they did not have health care.

I run for president for twenty generations of Americans who made sure that their children had a better life than they did.

As Americans we are blessed -- for our ancestors are not dead, they occupy the corridors of our conscience. And, as long we keep the faith -- they live. And so too the America of idealism and hope that was their gift to us.

I carry the promise of America in my heart, where my parents placed it. Like them, like you, I believe in people, hard work, and the sacred obligation of each generation to the next.

This is our time now. It falls to us to redeem our democracy, reclaim our government and relight the promise of America for our children.

Let us blaze a new path together, grounded in the values from which America was forged, still reaching toward the greatness of our ideals. We can do it. We can cast aside the bankrupt ways of Washington and replace them with the timeless values of the American people. We can liberate our government from the shackles of corporate money that bind it to corporate will, and restore the voices of our people to its halls.

This is the cause of my life. This is the cause of our time. Join me. Together, we cannot fail.

We will keep faith with those who have gone before us, strong and proud in the knowledge that we too rose up to guard the promise of America in our day, and that, because we did, America's best days still lie ahead.

Local Artist Denise Baker, UNC-TV

Tuesday Night @ 7:00 PM UNC-TV North Carolina NOW!!!

Long but VERY Important

http://www.bidstrup.com/carbon.htm

Pauley Lecture, Nov. 8

Environmentalist Orrin Pilkey will discuss "Rising Seas, Shifting Shores: The Future of the World's Barrier Islands" on November 8th as part of the Ruth Pauley Lecture Series.
The lecture will be at 7:30 PM in Owens Auditorium on the Sandhills Community College campus in Pinehurst. Admission is free and open to the public with no tickets required.
For additional information, call 910245-3132 after 6:00 PM.

GM Crops on the Rise

Massive rise in Europe GM crops
The area planted with genetically modified crops in Europe has grown by 77% since last year, figures show.
Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/7066878.stm

Daily We Vote with Our Dollars (Read Labels!)

[boycott this multinational corporation, including its bottled waters]

International Campaign to Hold Coca-Cola Accountable

October 29, 2007

Community Protests Coca-Cola Plant in India
October 25, 2007
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2007/1054.html
Over 600 people marched and rallied against the Coca-Cola bottling plant in the village of Sinhachawar in Ballia district in India yesterday, demanding that the plant be shut down permanently. The community has accused the bottling plant of pollution and also illegally occupying land held by the village council. "We are demanding that the Coca-Cola bottling plant cease its operations permanently because they are destroying our land and water, the very source of our livelihoods," said Mr. Baliram Ram of the Coca-Cola Bhagao, Krishi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, the main organizer of the protest.

Norway Students Launch Campaign Against Coca-Cola
October 19, 2007
The India Resource Center has just completed a speaking tour of 5 universities in Norway - Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen, Vestfold and Ås. Organized by ATTAC Norway, the speaking tour was very successful, and now we have active and strong campaigns at all these universities. The student parliaments at Bergen and Vestfold have already passed resolutions against doing business with the Coca-Cola company. All universities have a single contract with Coca-Cola Norway that ends in December 2009, and students are mobilizing support to ensure that the contract is not renewed. Let us know if you want to join the campaign.

Criminal Charges Against Coca-Cola Likely in India
October 15, 2007
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2007/1053.html
The state government of Kerala has initiated the process of filing criminal charges against the Coca-Cola company for pollution. In a notice to the Coca-Cola company on Friday, October 12, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board has asked the company to show cause as to why a criminal case should not be filed against it for polluting the environment. The action by the state government comes directly as a result of a longstanding demand of the campaign that the Coca-Cola company must also be held criminally liable for the damages it has caused in the community of Plachimada in India.

Campaign Expanding to Europe
Help us build a strong campaign against Coca-Cola in Europe. We would like to be in dialogue with friends in Europe to see how we can work together to challenge the abuses of Coca-Cola in India. In particular, we are interested in bringing the campaign to some of the company's larger markets - Sweden, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the UK. Contact us if you are interested!

Coca-Cola Loses University of Illinois Contract
August 6, 2007
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2007/1051.html
The Coca-Cola company has lost its contract with the University of Illinois, giving another boost to the international campaign against Coca-Cola. Students and faculty at the University of Illinois, a prestigious public university with over 40,000 students, have campaigned for over two years to end the 10-year, exclusive “pouring rights” agreement with Coca-Cola because of the company's unethical practices in India and globally. “This is a tremendous victory for the campus community and sends a strong message to the Coca-Cola company that it must respect human rights and the environment,” said Shivali Tukdeo of the Coalition Against Coke Contracts, a broad coalition of campus and community groups that led the campaign to remove Coca-Cola from campus.

Indian Campaign Forces Coca-Cola to Announce Ambitious Water Conservation Project
http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2007/cokewwf.html
Campaña India Obliga a Coca Cola a Anunciar un Ambicioso Proyecto de Conservación de Agua
http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2007/cokewwfespanol.html
July 30, 2007
The Coca-Cola company has recently announced, to much fanfare, a three-year, US$20 million partnership with the World Wildlife Fund on water conservation. At face value, such an announcement is obviously welcome. After all, who would object to water conservation projects in a world where over 1 billion people still lack access to clean drinking water? But the announcement by Coca-Cola deserves scrutiny - something sorely lacking from the media and even NGO's - primarily because it is the Coca-Cola company that is announcing water conservation projects.

La compañía Coca-Cola con gran fanfarria ha anunciado recientemente una alianza de tres años por valor de US$20 millones con el World Wildlife Fund (Fondo Mundial para la Vida Silvestre) para conservación del agua. A simple vista, obviamente tal anuncio sería bienvenido. Después de todo, ¿quién se opondría a un proyecto de conservación de agua en un mundo donde más de 1 billón de personas todavía carece de agua potable? Sin embargo, el anuncio de Coca Cola merece ser escrutado a fondo - algo que los medios no hacen, ni siquiera las ONGs - principalmente porque es nada menos que la compañía Coca Cola la que anuncia estos proyectos de conservación de agua.

Factsheet on Coca-Cola in English
http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2004/Brochure.pdf
Coca-Cola Hechos en Español
http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2004/cokefactespanol.html
Coca-Cola Fatos no Português
http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2005/cokefactportuguese.html
Coca-Cola Fakten auf Deutsch
http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2006/cokefactdeutsch.html

SUPPORT US!! Make an Online Donation
http://www.indiaresource.org/donate/index.html

To unsubscribe, please send an email with Subject UNSUBSCRIBE to info@IndiaResource.org

10/28/2007

Silence of the Bees

http://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/entertainment/119343218447910.xml&coll=7

From Abigail Dowd

Abigail Dowd For Council

Dear Friends,

We have less than two weeks until the election, and are writing to ask you to please show support for Abigail Dowd by taking a yard sign. If you can take a yard sign send an email to a_dowd@earthlink.net and include your street address. We will put up and take down the sign for you. Thank you for your support!

And remember to vote on November 6th!

Abigail Dowd

[These signs cost about $5 each, so send financial help also.

Vote FOR Southern Pines by electing Abigail! Maureen]

Today, 2:00

Special program sponsored by the Moore County Historical Association being held this Sunday, October 28th at 2:00pm at the Southern Pines Civic Club.

It's a terrific lecture event by our own past-president and historian, Ray Owen! If you are interested in everything Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Moore County, then you won¹t want to miss this great historic photo presentation on the Sandhills during the Country Place Era.

Its all about a time in our past when the Sandhills was not about golf courses nor riding trails, nor when it was a huge pine forest - but when from Pinehurst to Southern Pines to Cameron to all connecting towns, this was the center of agriculture. From dewberries, to peaches, to just about every imaginable crop, there was a period of time when agriculture ruled.... and when one of the largest experimental farms in the United States, over 5,000 acres, was located right here!

So, join us on Sunday at 2:00 pm at the Civic Club located at 105 S. Ashe Street in Southern Pines for this special presentation by Ray. It's complimentary and a great way to find out more about this special place we all call home.

For more info about upcoming events, visit the MCHA¹s website at www.moorehistory.com.

Best wishes, Sue

Moore County Historical Association The Moore County Historical Association (MCHA) is one of the oldestnonprofit historical associations in North Carolina. The MCHA has beenrecognized as a pioneer in preserving the history of everyday life of the1700 and 1800s in North Carolina. Among the homes we maintain are the historic properties of the Shaw House, Garner House and Sanders Cabin in Southern Pines and the Bryant House and McLendon Cabin in Carthage. The Association also maintains a Historic Photographic Archives located at the Shaw House.

For more information about the MCHA, please visit our website atwww.moorehistory.com

The Moore County Historical Association offices are located at the ShawHouse on the corner of SW Broad Street and Morganton Road in Southern Pines.P.O. Box 324, Southern Pines, NC 28388. (910) 692-2051.

Today, Civic Club, 2:00, Founding Farmers

Founding Farmers: the Sandhills in the Country Place Era

Join Moore County Historical Association Past President, Ray Owen, Sunday, October 28, at 2:00 pm, at the Southern Pines Civic Club, to explore life in the Sandhills in the period of time the Library of American Landscape History refers to as the "American Country Place Era."

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a remarkable breed of developer/philanthropist were drawn to the Sandhills. The Tufts family of Pinehurst, the Boyd family of Southern Pines, and the Page family of Aberdeen used their fortunes and influence to transform the region, urging large numbers of educated and affluent northerners to move to the Sandhills. Inspired by an interest in nature and a belief in the civilizing influence of rural life, country estates designed by prestigious architects and landscapers proliferated in the area.

In March of 1913, representatives from sixteen towns in the Sandhills united to form regional cooperative called the Sand Hill Board of Trade. The area represented formed a circle 30 miles in diameter with the resort towns at the center, and embraced the entire Sandhills. The group sought to encourage farming in the rural areas surrounding the resort towns, and to promote country society in an effort to keep farmers on the farms.

President Theodore Roosevelt wrote extensively about the Sand Hill Board of Trade in 1917 in his book The Foes of Our Own Household. Roosevelt writes: “It is composed of farmers, merchants, doctors—all the leading citizens. By its activities it has shown that it represents the organized Sandhill community, covering an area as large as Rhode Island and having a population of some ten thousand souls.”

Many of the individuals significant in this national movement had Moore County ties. Walter Hines Page, with his family firmly rooted in Southern Moore County, was a partner in the Doubleday, Page & Company, and publisher of the culturally persuasive magazines Country Life in America, and The Worlds Work that actively promoted the movement nationally. In addition, Walter Page served on President Roosevelt’s seven-member Country Life Commission, and on the General Education Board of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Located in the southern half of the Sand Hill Board of Trade circle was Broadacre, the 22,000 acre estate of Frederick Gates, chief advisor to Rockefeller. Above the northeast rim of the orb was Overhills, the 30,000 acre estate of Percy Rockefeller, the nephew of John D. Rockefeller. The 125,000 acre Fort Bragg tract wrapped around much of the eastern arc of the Sand Hill Board of Trade circle.

In an address given in 1923 at the Southern Pines City Park, forest engineer Thomas Ivey describes this land tract as the Sandhills very own national park. The western region of the circle was populated by more than fifty “county families,” most of them educated at ivey league schools, who had come to the section to farm. Southern Pines writer/developer James Boyd worked for a time as an editor for Country Life in America. Boyd introduced architect Aymar Embury to Sandhills for his grand Weymouth estate, and for his Weymouth Heights development. Alfred B. Yeomans, a landscape architect from Chicago and a relative of the Boyds, moved to Southern Pines and began collaborating with Embury regionally. Leonard Tufts enlisted the services of noted landscape designer Warren Manning for his expensive plans for regional development, envisioning a wide-reaching kingdom of semi-rural grace and opulence, surrounded by a beautiful agrarian landscape.

Expressing his vision for the Sandhills in an interview in 1921, Leonard Tufts said: “ In a very few years, the whole country from Pinehurst eastward will be a big community of winter homes of well-to-do northerners who will establish in the county a concentration of small and camparatively large estates that will result in a settlement that will be unique.”

Ray Owen is an avid student of Moore County history, and has called Southern Pines home for more than thirty years. He is a published writer, and has served as a guest lecturer and curator for museums locally and statewide. His current work for MCHA involves planning for the restoration and interpretation of the Bryant House/McLendon Cabin site, traditionally held to be the earliest farmstead in the Sandhills region. Recent projects include the four-part lecture series Sandhills at a Crossroads with the Classical Design Foundation in Southern Pines, and the contribution a chapter for the upcoming book, North Carolina Redware: Origin of a Ceramic Tradition, for the University of Georgia Press.

copyright Ray Owens

10/26/2007

Good Reading List

http://www.regressiveantidote.net/Recommendations.html

And Who are We?

Third of primates 'under threat' *Almost a third of all primates face extinction because of damage to their habitats, a report warns.

Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7063139.stm

The Lies of Labels

A FOOD CHAIN RELEASE FROM METROFARM.COM
You buy the chicken labeled “100% Natural” because you want the best for your family. But up to 15% of that 100% Natural chicken’s weight may be salt water or seaweed! This leads us to ask, “Is there truth in labeling?”

This Saturday at 9am Pacific, the Food Chain with Michael Olson hosts Mike Adams from the Consumer Wellness Center for a conversation about food labeling.

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

Topics include how labeling laws enacted to protect consumers are often used to mislead them; the different tricks labelers use to hide ingredients; and how to find the lies on labels.

Question of the Week: Is there truth in labeling?

10/24/2007

Co-Creator David Holmgren Interview

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/10/david_holmgren_permaculture_interview.php#comments
[permaculture!]

Interview, Seymour Hersh

http://www.newyorker.com/online/video/festival/2007/HershRemnick

10/21/2007

Petitions, Not

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.asp

Sandhills Water Conference, Nov.

Please attend and spread the word!
Sandhills Water Conference 2007


Can you answer the following questions?

Do we have enough water?

Can I take all the water in the stream?

Will a lack of water stop new home construction?

How do I know if my consultant knows how to advise me about water?

Who really has the answers about water?

What water studies been done?

Is there enough water for growth?

Who controls the water?

Will droughts be more frequent?

Where is funding assistance for water systems?

Where is our water?

Are available water studies current or accurate?

What are the threats to our water?

Who owns the water?

What is the condition of our water systems?

You will be able to answer these and more if you attend!

Vital information to understand and make decisions about water in your community presented by experts in the field.


Speakers

Amy Axon (NCDENR - Division of Environmental Health)
Jon Parsons PE (Sustainable Sandhills - Executive Director)
Jon Risgaard (NCDENR - Division of Water Quality)
Linwood Peele (NCDENR - Division of Water Resources)
Matthew Phelps PE RS (APEC LLC - Co-founder and Principal)
Paul Rawls (NCDENR - Division of Water Quality)
Richard Whisnant (UNCCH - Institute of Government)
Thomas Blue PE PLS (Sustainable Sandhills - Water Team Leader)
Wayne Munden PE (NCDENR - Division of Environmental Health)






Day 1: Community Representatives

Thursday 08 November



Water Supply
Economic Development

Funding Sources
Water Treatment

Water Quality
Current Studies

System Expansion
Wastewater Treatment

Sanitary Sewers
Technical Support

Water Distribution
Stormwater Management

Maintenance Needs
Regulatory Requirements








Day 2: Design Professionals

Friday 09 November

Sustainable Stormwater Management

Decentralized Wastewater Management

(8 PDH credits)


There is no fee for this conference, but registration is limited.

To request registration, go to www.sustainablesandhills.org or call 910-484-9098.


presented by Sustainable Sandhills

Thich Nhat Hanh on Burma

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74o9P6G2y18&feature=dir

Community Garden, NC

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/312/
[healing a community]

Permaculture Articles Galore

http://www.permaculture.com/book_menu/136/250
[great site for permaculture articles]

Not Gas but Alcohol

http://www.kptv.com/newslinks/14282216/detail.html
[suffer thru short commercial, then see interview]

Biofuels Swindle

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/20/4700/
[very important article; see also comments toward the bottom]

10/20/2007

Great Site for Growing

Organic growing, vegetables

Oceans Soaking Up Less CO2

Besse on Children's Health Care

NEWS RELEASE — OCTOBER 19, 2007

Contact: Dan Besse, 336-722-1674

BESSE PRAISES DEMOCRATIC LEADERS FOR EFFORT;

CALLS FOR CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH

WINSTON-SALEM—Dan Besse, Winston-Salem City Council Member and Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, praised the efforts of Congressional Democrats to override the Bush veto of children's health insurance, and called for a campaign to expand children's health care.


"I'm proud of the efforts of Democrats in Congress, including every North Carolina Democrat, to override President Bush's veto," said Besse. "President Bush's veto of health care for children whose families can't afford private insurance was a profoundly immoral act, and the American people won't stand for it over the longer run."


"I call on Congressional leaders of good conscience in both parties to regroup and press forward with the campaign to expand health care coverage for children," said Besse. "As North Carolina's next Lieutenant Governor, I will do everything in my power to see that every child in our state has access to high quality, affordable health care."


"It's an outrage that George Bush sits in the White House, producing record deficit spending on everything else, and vetoes critical help for poor sick kids," declared Besse.


Besse explained that the Bush veto is jeopardizing North Carolina's efforts to cover more of the over 250,000 children in our state with no regular health care coverage. "I supported state legislation adopted this year which would help more hard-working low-income families protect their children's health, through timely doctor visits, needed medication, and other care," Besse said. "I understand from the Governor's budget office that the Bush veto not only undercuts that health care expansion effort, but that Bush's recommended funding level could lead to actually cutting the number of North Carolina children receiving help by up to 30,000 kids."


Dan Besse

Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse 2008

P.O. Box 15346
Winston-Salem, NC 27113

www.danbesse2008.org

Email paid for by Dan Besse 2008.

Conservation Insider Bulletin from Dan Besse, Oct. 19

Conservation Insider Bulletin
Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use

Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org

October 19, 2007

We're still reading the tea leaves from last week's municipal primary election results, as well as other campaign news, this week in CIB:

--Campaign Watch: Boone Council Heads to Runoff; Durham's November Lineup Set; Development Interests Do Well in Greensboro's Low Turnout; Positive Polling in Mecklenburg; Sierra Endorses in Orange; Martin Won't Run Either

--Washington Watch: Clean Water Act Anniversary

Campaign Watch: Boone Council Heads to Runoff; Durham's November Lineup Set; Development Interests Do Well in Greensboro's Low Turnout; Positive Polling in Mecklenburg; Sierra Endorses in Orange; Martin Won't Run Either

Boone Council Heads to Runoff: A final count of questioned ("provisional") ballots in Boone jumbled the Town Council results slightly. Incumbent council member and mayor pro tem Lynne Mason picked up almost enough votes to win outright, and gained re-election when fellow incumbent Bunk Spann (who finished fifth) declined to call for a runoff. Newcomer Liz Aycock, a member of the town's planning commission, picked up enough votes to slip past incumbent Dempsey Wilcox for the third position. However, Wilcox did call for a runoff. As a result, November 6 will see a head to head matchup of Aycock versus Wilcox for the third and final town council seat up for grabs in this year's voting.

Observers of Boone politics say that pro-environment forces have so far had the better of the election results, despite the massive spending by a pro-development PAC for an attack campaign against the incumbents. They say that Mason's re-election guarantees three pro-environment votes out of the five members on the new town board (Mason plus holdover incumbents Janet Pepin and Rennie Brantz, whose terms don't expire until 2009). Moreover, a runoff win by environmentally-friendly challenger Liz Aycock over Wilcox would ensure that the town board remained at its 4-1 pro-environment status quo. (Wilcox was the only incumbent to vote against the recently adopted steep-slope development ordinance.) Spann's replacement by newcomer Stephen Phillips is seen as an environmental loss, but Aycock's ouster of Wilcox would offset that change. In the mayoral contest, environment-friendly mayor Loretta Clawson convincingly defeated PAC-backed challenger Tim Wilson. The active campaigning resulted in a Boone-record turnout for a municipal primary (2,259 voters, about 23% of the registered electorate).

Durham's November Lineup Set: Results last week in Durham's "non-partisan" primary showed progressive Democratic candidates polling strongly compared to conservative Republican challengers. The top six vote-getters advanced to the November 6 general election, at which time voters will select three to serve four-year terms on the city council. Of the top six in the primary, popular incumbent Diane Catotti finished a strong first with 20 percent of the vote (7,228 votes), followed by fellow incumbent Eugene Brown with 15 percent (5,945), and newcomer Farad Ali (vice president of the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development) finishing third with 13 percent (4,891). Two members of a three-candidate conservative Republican slate made it to the general election, but with unimpressive totals: Laney Funderburk, fourth, with 3,750 votes; and Steve Monks, sixth, with 3,198 votes. The other candidate advancing to the general election was another progressive activist: InterNeighborhood Council president David Harris, who placed fifth with 3,376 votes.

Development Interests Do Well in Greensboro's Low Turnout: Greensboro's voter turnout last week was woeful even by municipal primary standards: A mere 7 percent of registered voters bothered to vote. According to one local conservation advocate, it seemed that Greensboro was "invaded by developers" who were the only ones to show up at the polls. Development-favored candidates did well in the council races; according to Yes Weekly (10/17/07), three of the six candidates for at-large council seats work in the real estate and development industry. Voters will select three of those candidates, plus a mayor and district council representatives, in final voting on November 6.

Positive Polling in Mecklenburg: The anti-rail John Lockies must be gnashing their teeth this week. Their own polling numbers in Mecklenburg, released Thursday, show opponents of repealing the transit tax there with a solid lead, 54 percent to 39 percent. Vote Against Repeal, a pro-public transit group organized to support retaining the half-cent sales tax which finances public transit systems in Mecklenburg, welcomed the poll news but said they would continue to work hard. The opinion poll was commissioned by the John Locke-associated entity, the Civitas Institute.

Sierra Endorses in Orange: The state Sierra Club chapter this week announced a series of candidate endorsements in municipal races in Orange County. The Sierra Club's recommendations: Chapel Hill—Mayor Kevin Foy and Town Council Members Jim Ward, Bill Strom, Sally Greene and Cam Hill; Carrboro—Mayor Mark Chilton and Board of Aldermen candidates Joel Hall Broun, Dan Coleman, and Lydia Lavelle; Hillsborough—Mayor Tom Stevens and Board of Commissioners candidates Evelyn Lloyd, Eric Hallman, and Bryant Warren Jr.

Martin Won't Run Either: Conservationists were disappointed late this past week when State Representative Grier Martin (D-Wake) announced that he would not challenge U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) for the U.S. Senate next year. Martin, who has earned environmental group awards for his service in the N.C. House, was the last remaining current office-holder reported to be considering the U.S. Senate race. National analysts have concluded that Dole is vulnerable in what looks to be a Democratic election year in 2008, but all the high-profile potential Democratic challengers have declined the race. Thus far, the only declared Democratic candidate is Jim Neal of Chapel Hill, a little-known corporate investment advisor who has never run for public office before.

Washington Watch: Clean Water Act Anniversary

This week saw the 35th anniversary of passage of the Clean Water Act. Actually, the 1972 bill technically consisted of amendments to an earlier law, the Water Pollution Control Act—but the changes were so broad and critical that the 1972 action is commonly treated as the origin of the law. It set up the system of state and federal permits for and limits on water pollution discharges that still form the backbone of water quality regulation today.

Clean water advocates around the nation are using the 35th anniversary of this critical environmental act as a chance to remind us that it's time to restore key provisions of the law which have been undercut by the Bush Administration and hostile Supreme Court rulings in recent years. (For example, wetlands protections are in serious jeopardy at the federal level, under the Supreme Court's confusing and shifting reading of the Clean Water Act as it stands.)

The Clean Water Restoration Act (HR 2421—CRWA) would reassert federal jurisdiction over "waters" as they had been previously defined by decades of judicial interpretation, broadly including rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. The CWRA is under debate in the U.S. House of Representatives.

10/19/2007

10/18/2007

Replace Lights with LEDs

Ann Arbor to Replace Lights With LEDs
By JEFF KAROUB
AP Business Writer

Posted: Oct. 17 5:34 p.m.

DETROIT — How many Ann Arbor city workers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Soon, none.

Instead, they will be installing light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, to replace about 1,400 street lights.

The eco-friendly city about 30 miles west of Detroit says it will be the nation's first to convert all downtown street lights to LED technology, which uses less than half the energy of traditional bulbs and could save the community $100,000 a year.

"LEDs pay for themselves in four years," said Mayor John Hieftje, who announced the city's plans this week as it joined Raleigh, North Carolina, and Toronto in the LED City initiative, an industry-government group working to evaluate, deploy and promote LED lighting.

"They provide the same light, but they last 10 years. We had to replace the old ones every two years."

LEDs, small chips usually encased in a glass dome the size of a matchstick head, have been used in electronics for decades. They usually gave off red or green light, but a scientific breakthrough in the 1990s paved the way for LEDs that produce white light.

Lighting consumes 22 percent of the electricity produced in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and widespread use of LED technology could cut consumption in half.

Hieftje said Ann Arbor's lighting conversion will reduce the city's production of carbon dioxide and gases that contribute to global warming in an amount equal to taking 400 cars off the road.

The two-year project is being funded by a $630,000 grant from the city's Downtown Development Authority.

Greg Merritt, director of corporate marketing at Durham, North Carolina-based Cree Inc., which is making the components inside Ann Arbor's new lights, acknowledged LEDs can be costly. But "as we improve the technology, the economics make sense for more and more applications," he said.

10/17/2007

Drought

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/16/us/16drought.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

ATLANTA, Oct. 15
For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water.

In North Carolina, Gov. Michael F. Easley asked residents Monday to stop using water for any purpose “not essential to public health and safety.” He warned that he would soon have to declare a state of emergency if voluntary efforts fell short. “Now I don’t want to have to use these powers,” Mr. Easley told a meeting of mayors and other city officials. “As leaders of your communities, you know what works best at the local level. I am asking for your help.”

Officials in the central North Carolina town of Siler City estimate that without rain, they are 80 days from draining the Lower Rocky River Reservoir, which supplies water for the town’s 8,200 people. In the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has more than four million people, worst-case analyses show that the city’s main source of water, Lake Lanier, could be drained dry in 90 to 121 days. The hard numbers have shocked the Southeast into action, even as many people wonder why things seem to have gotten so bad so quickly. Last week, Mayor Charles L. Turner of Siler City declared a water shortage emergency and ordered each “household, business and industry” to reduce water use by 50 percent. Penalties for not complying range from stiff fines to the termination of water service.

“It’s really alarming,” said Janice Terry, co-owner of the Best Foods cafeteria in Siler City. To curtail water use, Best Foods has swapped its dishes for paper plates and foam cups. Most controversially, it has stopped offering tap water to customers, making them buy 69-cent bottles of water instead. “We’ve had people walk out,” Ms. Terry said. “They get mad when they can’t get a free glass of water.”

For the better part of 18 months, cloudless blue skies and high temperatures have shriveled crops and bronzed lawns from North Carolina to Alabama, quietly creating what David E. Stooksbury, the state climatologist of Georgia, has dubbed “the Rodney Dangerfield of natural disasters,” a reference to that comedian’s repeated lament that he got “no respect.”

“People pay attention to hurricanes,” Mr. Stooksbury said. “They pay attention to tornadoes and earthquakes. But a drought will sneak up on you.”

The situation has gotten so bad that by all of Mr. Stooksbury’s measures — the percentage of moisture in the soil, the flow rate of rivers, inches of rain — this drought has broken every record in Georgia’s history. Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, at a news conference last week, begged people in her city to conserve water. “Please, please, please do not use water unnecessarily,” Ms. Franklin said. “This is not a test.”

Others wondered why the calls to conserve came so late. “I think there’s been an ostrich-head-in-the-sand syndrome that has been growing,” said Mark Crisp, an Atlanta-based consultant with the engineering firm C. H. Guernsey. “Because we seem to have been very, very slow in our actions to deal with an impending crisis.” Mr. Crisp is among a chorus of experts who have warned for years that Atlanta is asking too much of Lake Lanier, a situation quickly being compounded by an absence of rain. Many had hoped that hurricane season, as it has in the past, would bring several soaking storms to the Southeast to replenish reservoirs that are at or near all-time lows.

But the longed-for rains never materialized, and now in October, traditionally the driest month, significant rainfall remains out of the picture. “We’re in a stressful situation now,” Mr. Crisp said, “but come next spring, if we don’t have substantial rainfall this winter, these reservoirs are not going to refill.”

That would leave metro Atlanta dry in the summer, which traditionally has the highest water use of the year.

Others pointed to the Southeast’s inexperience with drought and to explosive growth in population as complicating factors.

“In the West, people expect that it’s dry, and you’re going to have drought situations,” said Michael J. Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“In the Southeast, people think of it as being wet, and I think that mindset makes it tougher to identify worst-case scenarios and plan to that level.” “Here’s the fly in the ointment,” Mr. Hayes added. “The vulnerability in the Southeast has changed. Population shifts, increased competition and demand for water has increased, so that’s made this drought worse than it might have been.” Within two weeks, Carol Couch, director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, is expected to send Gov. Sonny Perdue recommendations on tightening water restrictions, which may include mandatory cutbacks on commercial and industrial users.

If that happens, experts at the National Drought Mitigation Center said, it would be the first time a major metropolitan area in the United States had been forced to take such drastic action to save its water supply.

“The situation is very dire,” Mr. Hayes said.

Founding Farmers, Sandhills, Oct. 28, Sou. Pines

Founding Farmers: the Sandhills in the Country Place Era

Join Moore County Historical Association Past President, Ray Owen, Sunday, October 28, at 2:00 pm, at the Southern Pines Civic Club, to explore life in the Sandhills in the period of time the Library of American Landscape History refers to as the "American Country Place Era."

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a remarkable breed of developer/philanthropist were drawn to the Sandhills. The Tufts family of Pinehurst, the Boyd family of Southern Pines, and the Page family of Aberdeen used their fortunes and influence to transform the region, urging large numbers of educated and affluent northerners to move to the Sandhills. Inspired by an interest in nature and a belief in the civilizing influence of rural life, country estates designed by prestigious architects and landscapers proliferated in the area.

In March of 1913, representatives from sixteen towns in the Sandhills united to form regional cooperative called the Sand Hill Board of Trade. The area represented formed a circle 30 miles in diameter with the resort towns at the center, and embraced the entire Sandhills. The group sought to encourage farming in the rural areas surrounding the resort towns, and to promote country society in an effort to keep farmers on the farms.

President Theodore Roosevelt wrote extensively about the Sand Hill Board of Trade in 1917 in his book The Foes of Our Own Household. Roosevelt writes: “It is composed of farmers, merchants, doctors—all the leading citizens. By its activities it has shown that it represents the organized Sandhill community, covering an area as large as Rhode Island and having a population of some ten thousand souls.”

Many of the individuals significant in this national movement had Moore County ties. Walter Hines Page, with his family firmly rooted in Southern Moore County, was a partner in the Doubleday, Page & Company, and publisher of the culturally persuasive magazines Country Life in America, and The Worlds Work that actively promoted the movement nationally. In addition, Walter Page served on President Roosevelt’s seven-member Country Life Commission, and on the General Education Board of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Located in the southern half of the Sand Hill Board of Trade circle was Broadacre, the 22,000 acre estate of Frederick Gates, chief advisor to Rockefeller. Above the northeast rim of the orb was Overhills, the 30,000 acre estate of Percy Rockefeller, the nephew of John D. Rockefeller. The 125,000 acre Fort Bragg tract wrapped around much of the eastern arc of the Sand Hill Board of Trade circle.

In an address given in 1923 at the Southern Pines City Park, forest engineer Thomas Ivey describes this land tract as the Sandhills very own national park. The western region of the circle was populated by more than fifty “county families,” most of them educated at ivey league schools, who had come to the section to farm. Southern Pines writer/developer James Boyd worked for a time as an editor for Country Life in America. Boyd introduced architect Aymar Embury to Sandhills for his grand Weymouth estate, and for his Weymouth Heights development. Alfred B. Yeomans, a landscape architect from Chicago and a relative of the Boyds, moved to Southern Pines and began collaborating with Embury regionally. Leonard Tufts enlisted the services of noted landscape designer Warren Manning for his expensive plans for regional development, envisioning a wide-reaching kingdom of semi-rural grace and opulence, surrounded by a beautiful agrarian landscape.

Expressing his vision for the Sandhills in an interview in 1921, Leonard Tufts said: “ In a very few years, the whole country from Pinehurst eastward will be a big community of winter homes of well-to-do northerners who will establish in the county a concentration of small and camparatively large estates that will result in a settlement that will be unique.”

Ray Owen is an avid student of Moore County history, and has called Southern Pines home for more than thirty years. He is a published writer, and has served as a guest lecturer and curator for museums locally and statewide. His current work for MCHA involves planning for the restoration and interpretation of the Bryant House/McLendon Cabin site, traditionally held to be the earliest farmstead in the Sandhills region. Recent projects include the four-part lecture series Sandhills at a Crossroads with the Classical Design Foundation in Southern Pines, and the contribution a chapter for the upcoming book, North Carolina Redware: Origin of a Ceramic Tradition, for the University of Georgia Press.

Kucinich

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/#65386

10/12/2007

Gore, UN Panel, Nobel Prize

Gore and UN panel win Nobel prize

Climate change campaigner Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr Gore, 59, was vice-president under Bill Clinton and has since devoted his efforts to environmental campaigning.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change brings together the world's top climate scientists.

The Nobel committee said it wanted to help the world focus on the threat it faced from climate change.

Conservation Insider Bulletin from Dan Besse, Oct. 12

Conservation Insider Bulletin

Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use
Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org


October 12, 2007


Municipal election results will influence environmental policy from west to east. This week in CIB:

--Campaign Watch: Boone Mayor Wins, but Council Needs Runoff; Green Candidates Clear Primary in Asheville; Greensboro Sees Environmentalist Miss; Cary Changes Direction; Raleigh Gets New Majority; Wake Bonds Pass; Wilmington Results Noteworthy; Hagan Won't Run

Campaign Watch: Boone Mayor Wins, but Council Needs Runoff; Green Candidates Clear Primary in Asheville; Greensboro Sees Environmentalist Miss; Cary Changes Direction; Raleigh Gets New Majority; Wake Bonds Pass; Wilmington Results Noteworthy; Hagan Won't Run

Boone Mayor Wins, but Council Needs Runoff: A developer-led PAC missed in its effort to knock off Boone's environmentally-friendly mayor, Loretta Clawson, who held off her challenger by a convincing margin (1,222 to 925) despite the money poured into an "independent expenditure" campaign against her. In a closer set of tallies, however, the PAC managed to aid two of its favored candidates into the top three vote-getters for three seats up for election on the Town Council. Only the top finisher, development PAC-favored challenger Steve Phillips, achieved a final win in the first round of voting, leading the council tallies with 1,062 votes. Four other candidates face the prospect of a runoff for the two remaining seats: environmentalist-favored incumbents Lynne Mason (1,038 votes) and Bunk Spann (1,011 votes) and challenger Liz Aycock (1,015 votes), and development PAC-favored incumbent Dempsey Wilcox (1,028 votes). Clearly, this hard-fought and sometimes nasty campaign has resulted in a closely-divided electorate.

Green Candidates Clear Primary in Asheville: Three Council incumbents easily led the voting in Asheville's primary election this week, including environmental allies Brownie Newman and Bryan Freeborn. Newcomer "green" candidate Elaine Lite ran fourth. The top six vote-getters (including Newman, Freeborn, and Lite) will face off Nov. 6 for the three seats up for election in Asheville this year.

Greensboro Sees Environmentalist Miss: In Greensboro's city council primary this week, environmentalists were disappointed as candidate Joel Landau just missed the cut for the Nov. 6 general election balloting. Landau finished seventh of 13 candidates vying for three open at-large seats. The top six move on to the Nov. 6 showdown. Only about 7 per cent of Greensboro's electorate turned out for this important vote.

Cary Changes Direction: N.C. Policy Watch head Chris Fitzsimon put a blunt interpretation on Tuesday's results in Wake County: "It’s still early in the fall local election season, but Tuesday’s results in Cary and Raleigh and the findings of the latest Carolina Issues Poll seem to indicate that people are no longer buying the line from the market fundamentalists that the free market alone should govern the state’s growth.

"Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister, a friend of developers and real estate interests, was defeated by challenger Harold Weinbrecht, a proponent of managed growth for the city.

"And it wasn’t that close. Weinbrecht won with 58 percent of the vote after a heated campaign in which McAlister spent five times as much as his challenger. The results in city council races in Cary and Raleigh were similar, with candidates who campaigned on more controls on growth doing well, defeating incumbents in several cases." (Email 10/10/07.)

Other analysts generally echoed that assessment. The Raleigh News & Observer noted in its 10/11/07 editorial column that incumbent McAlister was "heavily backed by business interests' money" but that "Weinbrecht speaks of a 'balanced' approach, which in Cary means backing off on—but not halting—development permits until the infrastructure can support new projects."

Raleigh Gets New Majority: The results in Raleigh were even more dramatic a turn for pro-planning forces. Two incumbents regarded as more likely to favor development interests were turned out by challengers running as planning-friendly proponents of carefully managing growth and development. Newcomer Nancy McFarlane ousted developer-backed incumbent Tommy Craven in Council District A, and newcomer Rodger Koopman convincingly led developer-favored incumbent Jessie Taliafero in District B. A third, more conservative candidate in District B pulled away enough votes that Taliafero could have called for a runoff, but she declined to do so. In the at-large races, planning-friendly incumbent Russ Stephenson strongly led the ticket to win re-election. He will be joined by newcomer Mary-Ann Baldwin, the only candidate who appeared favored by development interests who carried the evening. Mayor Charles Meeker was re-elected without opposition. Analysts project that the new council lineup will tend to favor his planning-friendly policies by at least a 5-3 majority, and perhaps by 6-2 or even 7-1 on some votes.

Wake Bonds Pass: Also in Wake this week, four bond issues won handily, including two of specific interest to conservationists: Open Space Preservation bonds, $50 million for purchase of undeveloped land in drinking water supply watersheds; and Raleigh Parks bonds, $88.6 million for parks, recreation, and greenways acquisition and development.

Wilmington Results Noteworthy: In Wilmington's City Council elections this week, incumbent Council Member Laura Padgett was the only outright winner. Four other candidates appear headed for a Nov. 6 runoff to determine the remaining two seats. Of those, incumbent Council Member Pat Delair, arguably the council's strongest environmental voice, finished a strong second to Padgett and needs only hold that spot to win re-election in the runoff.

Hagan Won't Run: Another potential Democratic challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) announced this week that she was giving the race a pass. State Sen. Kay Hagan (D-Guilford) said that she will instead seek re-election to the N.C. Senate, where she holds the influential post of co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Speculation now focuses on State House Rep. Grier Martin (D-Wake) as the undropped shoe in this potential contest. The rumor mill is active—some Pundits say he's definitely running, others say definitely not, and Martin himself still says he's pondering. The clock is ticking.

With many cities and towns across North Carolina holding some stage of their municipal elections this week, we have necessarily included only a sampling of the most noteworthy results coming to our attention. It is clear, however, that development policy played a major role in many elections, with the advantage going toward the green side in many cases. We will look for more final outcomes of note in the Nov. 6 final voting round.

10/11/2007

Climate Debate

Gore climate film's 'nine errors'
English schools can show the climate change film by Al Gore - but with the other side of the argument, a judge rules.
Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/uk_news/education/7037671.stm

Warmth makes the world more humid
Human-induced climate change is making the air more humid, with implications for weather globally.
Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/7038278.stm

10/09/2007

Worth Watching

http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/short-film

African Honey Bee

Bees to make elephants 'buzz off'
African elephants' fear of bees could help keep them out of valuable crop fields, researchers suggest.
Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/7033830.stm

10/08/2007

Dem Women of Moore County

Saturday, October 13 at 10 AM is the date and time of the next Democratic Women of Moore County.
The meeting will be held at Democratic Headquarters in Carthage.

The speaker this month is Becky Wallace, a retired Federal Marshall. Ms. Marshall was a Bill Clinton appointee and the first female Federal Marshall in North Carolina.

Moore County Beekeepers, Oct. 9

October 2007 Monthly Meeting of the Moore County Beekeepers
Tuesday, October 9th ay 7:00 PM
Agricultural Building, Room 3, Carthage, NC.

Jan Leitschuh and Maureen Sutton will be discussing Top Bar Hives.

Free Lecture, Moore County Historical Soc.

Moore County Historical Association presents

Founding Farmers: The Sandhills in the Country Place Era

lecture by Ray Owen

Sunday, Oct. 28, 2 - 3pm
Southern Pines Civic Club
105 S Ashe Street, Southern Pines
info: 692-2051

Wetland Restoration

Farmland yields to major wetland
One of Europe's largest coastal wetland habitats is to be created on farmland at Wallasea Island in Essex.
Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/7030298.stm

10/07/2007

Dan (He's Running for Lt. Gov.)

Campaign Journal: Standing Up to the Big-Money Lobbyists

A wealthy business lobby demanded that we do things their way. Instead, we stood up for the public's interest. This week, I have a story of democracy at work, and my latest Road Report:

-- Standing Up to the Big-Money Lobbyists.

-- Road Report: Salisbury, Gastonia, Charlotte, Watauga, Wilkes, Lee, Alamance, Greensboro.

Standing Up to the Big-Money Lobbyists

The billboard industry has a reputation. They're everywhere, pushing endlessly for their right to block out the scenery and stay "in your face" at all times on the road. Under the Bush Administration, Federal Highway Administration rulemakers are in their pockets. They contribute heavily to legislative campaigns, and slide sweetheart deals for their signs through state legislatures. When a local government seeks to restrict them in any way, they threaten to sue—and very often do.

As a result, this is a big-money lobby which always expects to get its way. So, when elected officials stand up to them, it's news.

We made news this week in Winston-Salem. In the face of heavy pressure from the signage industry, the Winston-Salem City Council adopted strong limits on the newest trend in visual litter-on-a-stick: "electronic message boards".

You've seen these glowing, flashing distractions along our roadsides. They're just beginning to proliferate fast. In a few years, the commercial streets of any area that doesn't have rules in place to control them may become rows of spinning, blinking ads and videos beaming into drivers' fields of vision.

This is not only a new level of public ugliness, but also an increasing safety hazard. These signs are designed to distract drivers' attention away from the road—and they're very effective in doing so. Unfortunately, research shows that driver distraction is a leading cause of collisions, and that anything which draws a driver's attention away from the road for as little as two seconds measurably increases the risk of accidents.

In other words, the "Las Vegas Strip" effect of rows of flashing signs is one of those things that ought to stay in Vegas.

Naturally, the folks who make big money from selling these expensive new electronic signs to small retailers desperate for any competitive edge don't see it that way. From the billboard industry viewpoint, rules that say their signs can't blink and flash at drivers, at dazzling rates of change, just interfere with their money-printing machine.

That makes them very unhappy with elected leaders who understand the problem, take the long view, and vote for the public's best interests over the profits of this special interest. When the Winston-Salem City Council this past Monday voted 7-1 in favor of new controls on electronic signs, after months of study and public hearings, that upset the sign industry.

As a member of the Council, I made the motion to adopt the new rules. Even more, I took the lead in researching and working this important but controversial rule through the adoption process.

That means the sign industry is going to be seriously unhappy with me. I have no doubt that their displeasure will show up in the form of contributions to another candidate in the Lieutenant Governor primary. (You can check the campaign finance reports as they come out in January for the evidence.)

In the meantime, please consider this: What's important to you in a candidate for public office? Someone who's prepared to stand up to the lobbyists and do what's right for the public?

If so, I need your help. Please check my website, www.danbesse2008.org, for how. I know that the big-money lobbyists aren't going to advise their clients to contribute!

Road Report—Salisbury, Gastonia, Charlotte, Watauga, Wilkes, Lee, Alamance, Greensboro

My road report this week starts at the state Democratic Women's convention in Salisbury on September 22. A big banquet hall full of strong women Democratic leaders assembled there to recognize their achievements for the past year and plan their big push for change in 2008. I was delighted to take part.

On September 24, I was on up the road to speak to the Gaston County Democrats. Two days later, I headed back down I-85 to serve on a panel discussing critical public policy questions, from education to economic opportunity to health care, at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte.

Last weekend, it was up to the mountains: the Watauga Democrats Fall Rally in Boone, and the Wilkes County Democratic Supper in North Wilkesboro. (By the way, if you haven't heard, we have a great Democratic mayor and town council in Boone now, but a Republican-backed PAC is spending heavily to try to replace them next month. Our Boone Democratic leaders deserve our support now.)

This Monday night, I was at home in Winston-Salem, working with my city colleagues to pass our electronic sign ordinance. Then on Tuesday October 2, I was off east on US 421 to the Lee County Democratic Banquet in Sanford. It was great to speak with the enthusiastic Democrats of Lee County, young and old alike, at their big event emceed by their hometown hero, former Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker.

On October 3, I spoke to the Alamance Senior Democrats in Burlington, including the best Q&A discussion I can recall in a while. These thinking Democrats had good, challenging questions about the lottery and education spending, children's health care, the local tax structure, and public transit. That evening, I was delighted to co-sponsor the Equality North Carolina reception in Greensboro, visiting with friends there including outstanding Democratic Representatives Pricey Harrison and Maggie Jeffus, along with the many other Guilford County supporters of ENC.

This weekend, it's back up the mountain for a full day of Democratic events in Asheville.

Those are my latest campaign highlights. As always, you're invited to check my website for more background, issue information, and contact information at www.danbesse2008.org.

Thanks!

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse 2008

P.O. Box 15346
Winston-Salem, NC 27113

www.danbesse2008.org

Retailed Through WalMarts

Meat Recall Forces Topps Out of Business
Compiled By Staff
October 5, 2007


The second-largest beef recall in U.S. history has caused Topps Meat Company LLC to go out of business. More than 21.7 million pounds of ground beef products from the company's Elizabeth, N.J. processing facility were recalled due to E. coli contamination.

"This is tragic for all concerned," said Anthony D'Urso, Chief Operating Officer. "In one week we have gone from the largest U.S. manufacturer of frozen hamburgers to a company that cannot overcome the economic reality of a recall this large."

D'Urso says the company regrets the illnesses that have been linked to the company's products and hopes for those individuals recovery. He says this closure will impact employees, consumers and suppliers as well as the Elizabeth community.

A few employees will stay at the plant to help the USDA with their investigation and to ensure the effectiveness of the recall.

"We want to thank our loyal employees and customers who have supported us throughout the 67 years in which Topps Meat has been in business," D'Urso said. "Topps has always prided itself on providing the utmost quality and safety and never had a recall in our history until now. This has been a shocking and sobering experience for everyone."

Individuals with business related questions can direct them to info@toppsmeat.com.

More Radioactive Fallout

Windscale fallout underestimated
The amount of radioactive fallout from a nuclear accident in 1957 was underestimated, scientists say.
Full story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/7030536.stm

Devil's in the Retail

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6454399.stm
[Substitute Wal-Marts, Targets, etc. for Tesco, and it's the same story.]

Fertilized with WHAT?

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20070922/note15.asp
[And it's especially good for fruit trees.]

10/05/2007

Trees Down on Conservation Easement

Downed Trees: Contractor Cuts Into Protected Woods

BY TOM EMBREY: STAFF WRITER

Some West End residents are concerned over damage inflicted by a utility company contractor to ecologically sensitive areas.
Landowners said contractors from Progress Energy carelessly and needlessly cut down trees and destroyed preserved wetlands and other sensitive areas when crews were surveying portions of their property for a proposed power line route.

"There were a lot of trees unnecessarily cut during this surveying," property owner Mike Wilson said. Wilson and Jesse Wimberley are the principal owners of the land.

Mike Hughes, a spokesperson for Progress Energy in Raleigh, acknowledged the situation and admitted the error.

"It appears that our contractor left significantly more damage than normal and significantly more damage than expected," Hughes said.

Hughes said the contractors were conducting a centerline survey, and it is common to clear trees on property to do such a survey. He said that cutting trees is kept to a minimum necessary to complete the survey.

In this case, a wetlands area on Wimberley's property was damaged when heavy equipment operators got stuck there.

"This is one of the most unique ecosystems in the United States," Wimberley said.

Wilson and Wimberley alleged that Progress Energy did not perform any type of environmental study of the land prior to starting work.

Hughes said Progress Energy has apologized for the error and is working with the property owners and other state and federal agencies to mitigate the situation.

"We want to make sure it is resolved in the best way possible," Hughes said.

The work was being done as part of Progress Energy's attempt to plan a 34-mile route for a new high-transmission line from Rockingham to West End. Construction on the line is slated to begin in 2009, with completion set for 2011.

Wimberley said he uses his land as an agritourism site. He conducts tours of the land and is active in trying to preserve its intricate and diverse ecosystem that is unique to the Sandhills.

Wimberley and Wilson are actively trying to bring back the red-cockaded woodpecker to western Moore County. They say the property is a prime site for the nesting and foraging of the species.

Wimberley, Wilson and other property owners said they were not told that their property was along Progress Energy's chosen route. They said they were notified that part of their land was being considered and that workers would be meeting with them to survey possible sites. They were not told that the land was slated for immediate destruction.

Wilson and Wimberley said they found out about the survey work from a neighbor, Johnny Pigg.

"My son told me at 10:30 at night when I got home from work one day," Pigg said, "He said, 'Somebody was in here cutting trees on our land. I could see the trees falling from the house,'" Pigg said.

Pigg said he investigated his son's claims and discovered heavy equipment he described as a skid loader with a grinder. After finding the equipment, he notified Wimberley.

Downed trees and tracks left by the heavy equipment are visible on the property.

Hughes said the situation arose because of a "communication breakdown."

Wimberley accused Progress Energy and its contractors and subcontractors of lying to him.

"Why I find this so egregious is that I had taken steps to contact Progress Energy and say, don't you bring equipment out here. This is a protected area." Wimberley said. "I put a conservation easement on this land to protect it from this very activity."

Escape from Suburbia

http://escapefromsuburbia.com/

Conservation Insider Bulletin, Dan Besse

Conservation Insider Bulletin
Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use

Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org

October 5, 2007

--Campaign Watch:
Boone Developers Pour Cash Into Campaign
Challenger Launches Attacks in Durham
Green Candidates Get Support in Asheville
Small Towns Debate Growth Too
New Candidates Declare

--Judicial Watch: Supreme Court Says NC Must Answer Water Suit

--Education & Resources
Learn How to Monitor Streams
Sustainability Conference

Boone Developers Pour Cash Into Campaign: A developer-led PAC is spending heavily in an attempt to persuade voters to replace an environmentally-friendly mayor and council majority in Boone. The political action committee Citizens for Change is conducting an independent expenditure campaign, reportedly costing tens of thousands of dollars, in print and broadcast attacks on the incumbents. The attack campaign is a response to the passage last year of new regulations limiting development on mountainsides in the town. The anti-regulation PAC is targeting incumbent Mayor Loretta Clawson and Town Council Members Bunk Spann and Lynne Mason for defeat. Allied with these incumbents in this election is newcomer Liz Aycock.

The 2007 Boone campaign appears to be this year's most dramatic and rawest attacks on environmental protection advocates at the local level in North Carolina. The independent expenditure level is very high for a small town with fewer than 12,000 eligible voters, of whom only about 800 voted in town elections two years ago. The outcome of the voting may provide a good read on public response in this region to an all-out frontal assault by development interests in a local election campaign.

Challenger Launches Attacks in Durham: An ex-employee of an anti-environmental advocacy group, the John W. Pope Civitas Institute (one of the organizations associated with wealthy "conservative" Art Pope and his John Locke Foundation), now running for mayor of Durham, has gone on the campaign attack against his incumbent opponent. Challenger Thomas Stith has launched negative direct mail and professional phoning attacks aimed at Durham Mayor Bill Bell. Media reports indicate that Stith is financing these attacks from his over $100,000 in contributions mostly from business and development interests, including $4,000 from Pope himself. Stith's campaign themes this time feature crime and immigration; in the past, he has also focused on attacking "liberal special interests" which increase government (often code phrases for environmental rules and social welfare programs). (Independent Weekly, 10/4/07.) (CIB Editor's Note: By our definition, a generalized opposition to strong, effective pollution control rules counts as "anti-environmental"—no matter what fantasies the advocates in question may entertain about purely "market-based" approaches. Those of us who don't live in Fantasyland understand how poorly that ideology works for pollution control.)

Green Candidates Get Support in Asheville: The N.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club has announced its endorsements in this year's Asheville city elections: incumbent Council Members Brownie Newman and Bryan Freeborn, and newcomer Elaine Lite. Asheville voters on October 9 will send six of 15 candidates on to the November 6 general election, where the top three vote-getters will win four-year terms on the city council.

Small Towns Debate Growth Too: Many of the small towns around North Carolina are facing their own sets of growth and development issues, and this is reflected in their own election debates.

For example, the 5,200-resident town of Harrisburg in Cabarrus County recently faced a hot debate over a proposed "big box" retail development in the town. Its town council ultimately voted by a mere 4-3 majority to keep the store out. Now, five of six candidates seeking four available seats in this fall's election are stated opponents of big-box development in the town. (Charlotte Observer, 10/4/07.)

In the 2,600-resident town of Rural Hall in Forsyth County, population is expected to nearly double in a mere five years. That's producing a spirited discussion of growth-related issues (such as traffic, infrastructure, and "small-town atmosphere") in this fall's election there. Two incumbents seeking re-election (John McDermon and Durward Smith) specifically cite the need to manage growth and make the town more "walkable". (Winston-Salem Journal, 10/5/07.)

New Candidates Declare: The 2008 federal races in North Carolina picked up a couple of new candidates this week. Jim Neal of Chapel Hill is a corporate financial advisor who has acted as a fundraiser for presidential candidates but not previously run for office himself. Neal announced that he would seek the Senate seat held by Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). (Associated Press, 10/5/07.) Meanwhile, up in the mountainous 11th Congressional District, a second Republican candidate announced his intention to challenge first-term U.S. Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC11). Spence Campbell has chaired the Henderson County Republican Party for three years, and previously worked as president of an insurance and real estate company in Hendersonville. (Raleigh News & Observer, 10/5/07.)

Judicial Watch: Supreme Court Says NC Must Answer Water Suit

The U.S. Supreme Court this week gave the State of North Carolina 30 days to respond to South Carolina's complaint over interbasin water transfers authorized from the Catawba to the Yadkin-Pee Dee river basin. (North Carolina earlier this year permitted the cities of Concord and Kannapolis to pump up to 10 million gallons a day from the Catawba River without returning it to that river basin. The plan is also opposed by environmental advocates and many local governments in the Catawba basin.)

Under the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court can accept original jurisdiction over lawsuits between states. This week's order encourages South Carolina's legal representatives to believe that the Court will choose to hear its claims in this case.

Education & Resources: Learn How to Monitor Streams; Sustainability Conference

Learn How to Monitor Streams: SMIE (Stream Monitoring Information Exchange) is sponsoring a free training session for prospective volunteers on Saturday, October 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Haywood Community College in Clyde. More information on this program or SMIE generally is available from Gracia O'Neill at Clean Water for NC, 828-251-1291 or gracia@cwfnc.org.

Sustainability Conference: The sixth North Carolina Sustainability Awards and Conference will be held October 22 in Chapel Hill. Workshops will include climate change issues and sustainable business practices. Details can be found at www.sustainnc.org/2007awards.