Category Archives: Organic Gardening

Toxic botulism in animals linked to RoundUp

Now that the Holidays are over and the Republican Primaries are becoming increasingly boring, it’s time to get back to our ongoing discussion of the threat to our life and food by chemical companies like (ESPECIALLY like) Monsanto.

Here’s a video you should take a look at… watch the WHOLE hour:

Dr Mercola recently interviewed Dr Don Huber, whose letter to the USDA warning that Monsanto’s RoundUp, a broad-spectrumherbicide” that has been linked with spontaneous abortion in animals, continues to be ignored by food and environmental safety authorities. In this important hour-long discussion, Huber, a plant pathologist for over 50 years, explains how RoundUp is destroying our healthy soils by killing needed microorganisms.

Not only did his team discover a new soil pathogen, but he reports that animals are coming down with over 40 new diseases, like toxic botulism.

 

Want to help do something about it? Go to MILLIONS AGAINST MONSANTO and find out how.

The sun is out, but it is really icy,,,

Damn! My car doors are shut. I can’t even get in to warm it up so I can drive into town to see if the Farmer’s Market is open.

By the time the su n gets to the front of the house, bringing the Subaru out of the shade, it will be after the Market ends for the day.

There goes this week’s local, natural food shopping!

Continuing with food and poison problem…

Here is a rather long video with a French and Canadian co-creation, and it deals with how Monsanto markets their chemical products to farms, etc. Take a look:

UPDATE:

After watching “The World According to Monsanto,” I saw significant proof of the company’s lies, ethical violations, manipulation, bullying and significant health destruction world wide. I hope you take the hour and 3/4 it takes to watch this and then get back to me to discuss what we can do to protect ourselves, our children and out food.

If we don’t act now, it becomes harder and harder to turn the hazard of RoundUp Ready Crops around; to eliminate bovine hormones in our milk, cheese, ice cream; to prevent Monsanto from taking control of the world’s food supply.

In the last couple of days there have been protests in Washington DC against Monsanto. Their grasp on the balls of our politicians and the amount of money they spend on controlling the FDA and the EPA is outrageous.

Some suggestions:

1. Let local restaurants, school cafeterias and grocery stores know that the community is not happy to have GMO contaminated foods in their establishments…

2. Start community gardens and Food Coops to bring untainted foods to our homes…

3. Make sure all our local politicians and state and federal representatives know how we feel (get them to look at the videos we’ve put up over the last couple of days)…

4. Demand that American food be labeled like European food to know when GMOs are present in what we buy.

– then =

5. Don’t buy them.

 

Here’s a PR that went out on World Food Day… Keep this stuff going around:

 

Good luck… we’ll need it.

Last night at the Sustainable Shepherdstown Local Food meeting we discussed food safety, among other things.

We played the Ted Conference piece by Robyn O’Brien on poisoning in food. It led me to research more about Monsanto and the chemical poisoning all our food which they are carrying out through government manipulation and media control.

Take a look at this:

And look at this one:

Now what are you going to do about it?

I’d like to hear from you. (By the way, we’re screwed.)

Just returned from the Farmer’s Market where we did quite a bit of shopping…

The idea of being “sustainable” on locally grown and processed foods starts at the weekly Farmer’s Market and we got there about 1 and 1/2 hours before its closing for the day.

Elly wants to experiment with putting some fruit “up”… she’ll cook the apples and pears and I’ll haul out my Mason jars and can them – based on my pickling experience last year.

We also got to spread the word about the Friday night Sustainable Shepherdstown program about growing and eating locally.

We also bought a week’s worth of local meat and cheese… everything wild grass raised and organic.

Going to a GMO Rally? Look your best…

This was sent to me from my favorite graphic design specialist, my wife:

After more than 40,000 votes on 139 designs, here is the winning design chosen by Threadless – and we LOVE it! It makes people laugh, tells a story, raises questions, and starts a conversation.
There’s an AMAZING $10 sale price (regular price $24) that ends Oct 11th for this organic shirt, in guys or girls styles: Wear it for GMO rallies! Buy them as holiday gifts! Give one to your favorite teacher!

PURCHASE NOW
IRT FACEBOOK T-SHIRT CONTEST PHOTO GALLERY: Take a picture of yourself in this winning design and upload it to our Facebook page!http://org2.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=shnNj3QLhnE2Oee9gpkQBlGttroMg2wz
OUR GRATITUDE AND THANKS: So many talented designers entered, we can’t thank you enough for your energy and passion!
OUR WORK: Threadless donates 25% of each sale to the Non-GMO Campaign of The Institute for Responsible Technology.

Wegman’s… WOW!

Elly and I have been meaning to drive down to Frederick, MD, to see what the nearest Wegman’s to us was like (there’s a persistent rumor that one is coming up here to the Eastern Panhandle, but I’ll believe it when I see it.) Wow… this was gigantic… Elly said, I think quite accurately, that it felt like the IKEA of supermarkets.

We started with lunch in their huge Cafe area where you wander through separate stands for sushi, seafood, Italian, deli, Thai… and more and more and more. Then you take your selections through a checkout and end up sitting at a nice table in the sit-down section. Great lunch… and the food was better than any fast food place: cooked well, served by courteous staff and more variety than you can imagine.

The store was about the size of a football field and I got more walking exercise than I’ve had in a long time. Great organic sections and very competitive prices.

I don’t see how a little area like Shepherdstown (I hesitate to say “Greater Shepherdstown”) can support anything of this size… but it would sure be nice. At current gas prices it costs $7.00 to and from Frederick.

Congress is back in session… don’t expect anything new.

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Mark Twain

So now there is a reason to find the day’s comedy on C-Span and C-Span2 once more. Unfortunately, this is no longer comedy, but the essence of our national tragedy.

Tragedies have tragic figures, of course, who fall into the inescapable fissure of their own inabilities. The tragic figures here are not Democrats, not Republicans, not the President,

Mitch McConnell LEADS the Ranks of the Inverted

not Mitch McConnell, not John Boehner, and for heaven’s same not the Tea Party.

We are the Tragic Figures: Americans. Americans who no longer vote because they have  been alienated by one party or the other with the marketing assistance of Corporations and that 1% of the population that controls 80% of the money. Americans who hear politicians say “Put America First” and “Put Americans Back To Work” – yet cancel each other out on their own votes in Congress. Americans who are bought off without even knowing it… have been since Reagan… and who attack their own state of well being while they think they are standing strong.

The major point of tragedies is that they prove their point, but don’t end well. The Tragic Figure dies, or has eyes pulled out, or loses everything necessary to maintain life.

In a recent  Truthout article called “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult”, Mike Lofgren shows the strategy that Republicans use to carry us further into unending misery:

Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

“Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.”

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.”

…and, of course, the resulting action is that65% of Americans at a minimum no longer vote.

And that’s the real tragedy.

No Hurricane Here…

… but according to the weather map we’re getting the fringe edge of Irene, which means we’re getting a rain and a wind at about 30 mph. It will probably continue all night and into the morning, with the rain sprinkling through the day.

The Morgan’s Grove Market made it through the morning until closing with only dark clouds and a small spitting of drizzle. Unfortunately, the threat of weather kept a lot of the vendors away. I spent my morning under Ruth Raubertas’ canopy to keep dry in case of a downpour that didn’t come.

They’ve cancelled a couple of outdoor events in Shepherdstown for tomorrow, like the Really Really Free Market in the center of town which the students throw at the end of each month, I guess they got through it today, but had to close down earlier and usual when the rain picked up.

Oh well, don’t have to water the garden today.

Goings on in Shepherdstown this weekend…

This is the last weekend of the CATF and I’m told there are still tickets available for some of the plays.

 CALL THE BOX OFFICE TODAY!  800-999-CATF (2283)

There are still shows tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. RACE, unfortunately is sold out (although some people hang around the box office to see if there are cancellations or last minute non-attendees.)

Speaking of RACE, tomorrow (Saturday) at 4:30 PM at Reynolds Hall, the last CATF Free Lecture, this one on RACE and racial issues, will be held. Free means Free… and these things fill up. No reservations.

Tomorrow Morning from 9:00 to Noon you’ll find me and my friends at Morgan’s Grove Market. There’s going to be fresh local corn and other garden output for sale… plus baked goods, crafts, and other things. Plenty of free parking… just west of Morgan’s Grove park. Live music from 10 to Noon. Exercise classes and more. C’mon by. C’mon and buy.

Small Electronics Recycling

Corner of German & King Streets, at ‘The Wall’

104 N. King Street
Shepherdstown, WV
limit: 1 television per person. Bring in your old tape recorders, cd players, etc. Clean up your house!
—-

Sunday Farmers Market (behind the Library)… it’s the beginning of big produce season. Do your grocery shopping locally. 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

The Heat Keeps Up…

Looks like the extreme heat is going to keep up for the next few days according to the Weather Channel. The rain they predicted (scattered of course) for last night didn’t occur here in Shepherdstown, WV, so we have still more garden watering to do before we lose our fruits and vegetables (and sunflowers…beautiful sunflowers) to the awful weather.

To some, this is proof that Climate Change is actually happening as announced by the majority of scientists specializing in this stuff. Rush Limbaugh is, I hope, running around in this oven with a sweater on to prove his point. With any luck he’ll collapse from the heat (and blame his fall on Obama.)

As long as the AC is on, I’m spending most of my time in here watching the Republicans shaft Boehner on C-Span.

The State of Fracking May Be Changing…

In an update to our covering the fracking (hydraulic fracturing) production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, there are things happening and statements being made worldwide against the practice… even from the industry itself (however, these are for capital reasons and not for the environmental dangers that most of us are concerned with.)

If you want to review how fracking works, the National Geographic has a very good animated illustration HERE (although it does not adequately address the polluting of the water table – indeed, it more or less shows the industry point of view.)

France, as a nation, has now completely banned Fracking because of the pollution of water supplies by chemicals used in the process such as Benzine (a carcinogen), Toluene (a central nervous system depressant) and Xylene (a neurotoxin.) French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said before the French National Assembly vote:

“We are at the end of a legislative marathon that stirred emotion from lawmakers and the public. Hydraulic fracturing will be illegal and parliament would have to vote for a new law to allow research using the technique.”

Official photo of Governor Beverly Perdue (D-NC).

Beverly Perdue, Governor of North Carolina

In this country, the New Jersey State Senate voted to ban the practice, which contaminates drinking waterand  North Carolina’s Governor Bev Perdue vetoed a state senate bill that would have allowed fracking in the state. Here in West Virginia, which is on part of the Marcellus Shale, the energy industry has so far retained its hold.  The New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is poised to lift the ban on fracking, however he state issued new guidelines for fracking that will prohibit the practice in state parks and in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds.

New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, an opponent of fracking, in a statement on Cuomo’s position, said:

“If hydrofracking is not safe in the New York City watershed it’s not safe in any watershed. There’s a tacit admission on the part of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that it is not safe and yet it is being allowed.”
Despite claims to the contrary, hydraulic fracturing has never been regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This act was enacted in 1974 to ensure water supply systems serving the public meet appropriate health standards. However, Congress included language in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 making it clear once and for all that underground injection fluids or propping agents were excluded from the SDWA (evidence, of course, of heavy industry lobbying.)
The industry has recently come out to complain that the cost of fracking is currently slightly more than the income that can be received from the practice and is reisting any regulation on it. Because of the cost problems, many natural gas companies have moved into oil drilling due to it’s subsidized profitability. This will not likely be a lasting situation if the Federal government refuses to regulate it. The Feds are waiting for an EPA report which will come out in 2012 (unless the Republicans can eliminate the EPA, which the conservative right is trying to do, supposedly as a deficit cut.)
We’ll keep you updated on more in the future.

Suppose you were killing weeds in your garden and producing birth defects, too.

Monsanto‘s Roundup, which has been associated with deformities in a host of laboratory animals, may have a similar impact on humans.. One laboratory study done in France in 2005 found that Roundup and glyphosate caused the death of human placental cells and abnormal embryonic cells. Another study, conducted in 2009, found that Roundup caused total cell death in human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells within 24 hours. Yet researchers have conducted few follow-up studies.

“Obviously there’s a limit to what’s appropriate in terms of testing poison on humans, but if you look at the line of converging evidence, it points to a serious problem. And if you look at the animal feeding studies with genetically modified Roundup ready crops, there’s a consistent theme of reproductive disorders, which we don’t know the cause for because follow-up studies have not been done.

“More independent research is needed to evaluate the toxicity of Roundup and glyphosate and the evidence that has already accumulated is sufficient to raise a red flag.”

– Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology

We have been critical of Monsanto for soft-peddling Roundup, as have members of the scientific community. In 1996 New York State’s Attorney General sued Monsanto for describing Roundup as “environmentally friendly” and “safe as table salt” (although I don’t think anyone from Monsanto would sprinkle Roundup on their spaghetti.) Monsanto, while not admitting any wrongdoing, agreed to stop using the terms for promotional purposes and paid New York state $250,000 to settle the suit.

Roundup Ready seeds are now proliferating 80 % or more of the seed market (if you don’t believe me try purchasing a heritage corn seed at any major supplier like Home Depot or Lowe’s. While they are occasionally there, most products are Monsanto GMO seeds that are Roundup Ready.) Driving by fields and fields of weed-free Roundup Ready corn yesterday, I rolled up my car windows so as not to breathe in any of this crap.

If you want to track the GPA‘s review of glyphosphate, go HERE. BTW, this is the same EPA that the Republicans want to have defunded. I wonder who is getting most of the contributions from Monsanto?

The Longest Day of the Year…

Summer Solstice… today. Sunshine from early morning to early evening… the longest stretch of the year. We began the morning with rain, but the sun is out now (although there is a 60% chance that the rain will return later in the day or overnight. Great for the gardens, though.

I spent most of the morning at the dentist having a replacement tooth installed after a root canal. On the way home I stopped in the new local pharmacy to get my dentist’s prescription filled and ran into Delegate Doyle, our representative at the State legislature and a frequent visitor to the radio show. We exchanged some pleasantries and, later, the pharmacist said Doyle was checking out the new store… so he’s showing interest in his District.

I’m back at home now watching the Senate on C-Span2 as they debate Leon Panetta‘s nomination for Defense Secretary and whether or not to pull out of Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Libya. Doesn’t look like we’re going to really get out anytime soon, although Obama is supposed to be presenting a partial Afghanistan withdrawal tomorrow (I don’t expect the percentage to be a big one or the time it takes to do it to be very fast.)

Meanwhile we move forward into the muck of the future..

Hiding from the heat…

Looks like another hot day in Shepherdstown as we wait for the rain (30% chance this afternoon, 50% tonight, 60% tomorrow). Yesterday it was up to 95° and felt like it was going up to 100° when I was out walking the dogs.

Elly will spend time out in the gardens today with her wide brimmed straw hat looking like a lady farmer. I think she enjoys the heat.

The coming weekend has more for me to do… Tomorrow morning, on WSHC, John and I have Delegate Doyle coming in to the show and a friend of John’s calling in from Vermont to talk about their new single-payer health care system. If you can tune in locally, we’re at 89.7 FM. If you are farther out (anywhere in the world, actually) you can get us at http://www.897wshc.org. 7:30 to 9:00 AM.

Friday night there is a meeting to throw ideas around for the Rube Carnival that G. Bradley Sanders is throwing at The Folly in August. This is my first time meeting with the group (Bradley and I had coffee at Mellow Moods the other day) and I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday morning is Morgan’s Grove Market and I’ll be wandering around… probably settling down over at the Four Seasons Bookstore booth.  If you see m there, say Hi.

Then, on Sunday, Elly and I are taking two of our grandsons, John and Jason, to DC to go to the Air and Space Museum. So it looks like the Weekend plans are complete.

Hope yours is a nice one.

If You buy ROUND UP you are helping to build Monsanto’s income while destroying our agriculture.

I’m going to print an article in the morning’s HuffPo intact. I suggest you read it AND go to all the links involved AND to most of their links. What you will discover is that there is a worldwide problem, both in providing us with increased birth defects and dreadful diseases as about ten major chemical companies, with Monsanto in the lead, spreads its poison around the world.

—–

 

Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World’s Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems, New Report Finds

by Lucia Graves at HuffPo

WASHINGTON — Industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world’s best-selling herbicide produced by U.S. company Monsanto, causes birth defects, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The report, “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” found regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals.

But despite such warnings, and although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public.

Instead regulators misled the public about glyphosate’s safety, according to the report, and as recently as last year, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the German government body dealing with the glyphosate review, told the European Commission that there was no evidence glyphosate causes birth defects.

The report comes months after researchers found that genetically-modified crops used in conjunction Roundup contain a pathogen that may cause animal miscarriages. After observing the newly discovered organism back in February, Don Huber, a emeritus professor at Purdue University, wrote an open letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting a moratorium on deregulating crops genetically altered to be immune to Roundup, which are commonly called Roundup Ready crops.

In the letter, Huber also commented on the herbicide itself, saying: “It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.”

Although glyphosate was originally due to be reviewed in 2012, the Commission decided late last year not to bring the review forward, instead delaying it until 2015. The chemical will not be reviewed under more stringent, up-to-date standards until 2030.

One of the things you will discover as you tour the links (and their links) are facts like Monsanto’s GMO corn seed (which accounts for 83% of our corn crop) is registered by the EPA as an “insecticide” due to chemical contents built into the seed. I don’t know if I have ever thought of a vegetable or grain as an “insecticide”— certainly a good reason for growing organic.

In another article in HuffPo a month ago there was this finding:

“Recent research claims that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genetically modified crops contain an organism, previously unknown to science, that can cause miscarriages in farm animals.”

It doesn’t look like any research was followed by the previous findings into whether this caused similar miscarriages in humans. As the Washington Post commented on Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready Seeds (RRS) that are spreading throughout our Nation’s agriculture:

 

“You can’t recall them the way you can a car or a plastic toy. They’re out there for good. And no one knows what their full impact will be.”

Will have more to come on this topic… meanwhile, I’m getting back to the all-organic Shepherdstown Community Garden (where we are finding that it is quite a hard task to avoid the chemical subjugation of growing things.)

What a great Sunday Morning…

Our friend the blackbird

Talked to Elly on the phone this morning while I was walking the dogs (and having the fifth day of our friendly red-winged blackbird following us around and making tight circles in the air around us!)  and she’s coming back tonight (her plane leaves Minnesota at 4:30 and I think she has to change flights in Milwaukee…2 hour delay) and my boys will be thrilled. They have so missed their Mama.

G. Bradley Sanders

I didn’t have to water Elly’s gardens this morning since we had a night of rain and thunderstorms (where Byron, my dog who is afraid of thunder, crawled under the bed where he barely fits to sleep in safety) which more than took care of all the plants. So, I went over to Mellow Moods where I had coffee with G. Bradley Sanders, who owns the Timberframe Folly site out in the woods south of town. This was a guy I really wanted to meet for three reasons: his creative history is pretty exceptional, he is putting together a “Folly” at the Folly in August… a 22nd Century Carnival… that I want to be involved in, and I wanted to talk to him about producing Philip Glass‘s chamber opera, The Photographer, at the Folly in a year or so.

The Folly

It’s nice speaking with another 65-year-old who, incidentally, told me he listens to John and me on WSHC Friday mornings. Anyway, now I’m a volunteer for his Carnival Folly… if you’d like to find out more about it, go HERE. Bradley also is willing to let me do The Photographer at the Folly, now I can proceed to my next stage… finding someone to coordinate the music and finding out how much this is going to cost, royalties and such, so I and get into fundraising.

So now I’m going to do the Cartoon(s) of the Week and then get back and give the boys their lunch.

Here’s to my Grandson John…

I’m off early this morning as my oldest grandson, John, is having his elementary school graduation AT 8:00 IN THE MORNING! Who has graduations at 8:00 in the morning?

I’m leaving at 7:15 to make sure I get a place to park.

Elly took off at 4:30 this morning to fly to Minneapolis for a  4-day AIGA confernce and she won’t be back until Sunday, leaving me and her friends with her garden maintenance (I drew the back of the house straw… her community garden buddies are taking care of her plants there.) So this is going to be a week of just me and the dogs.

It’s hot out already… hope you have a nice day.

If you missed this week’s Podcast, you can hear it at BlogTalk Radio…

Just go HERE.

We talked about Apple Computer‘s announcement of iCloud, the shortage of some generic medications in hospitals, the loss of memory with age, The loss of groundwater as seen from space by the GRACE project. and other things… If you sign in and listen, you can also add comments which will be available to all listeners, a list that grows every week.

btw: I’m getting a new cell phone, hopefully in the next week, which will improve the AWFUL sound quality of my current podcasts. And maybe I’ll have a music intro by next week.


– Bill

The weather held out for the Morgan’s Grove Market this morning…

… with a passing rainfall not happening until after the 12 noon close. All-in-all it was a beautiful day at the market. Plenty of fresh vegetables and plantables… 2 new baking folks set up in two different pavilions (what do you call those fabric things? Tents? Rooftops?)… and the Speakeasy Boys, local favorites, playing the blues and country-tinged music for the crowd.

Elly recruited two more people for the Community Garden… people who made up their minds to take a plot or two after seeing the garden from the Market platform and visiting with her while she was planting.

This was a pleasant way to start Memorial Day Weekend Saturday. Play at Full Circle tonite.

I am curious about the Conservative concept of “Socialism”

“Those in power are blind devotees to private enterprise. They accept that degree of socialism implicit in the vast subsidies to the military-industrial-complex, but not that type of socialism which maintains public projects for the disemployed and the unemployed alike.”

William O. Douglas, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice,  1969

Whenever one of the Conservative (read Republican) members of our Congress, or those campaigning for the Presidential nomination, discuss Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid. or unemployment funding, you are certain to hear the word “socialism” pop up with an extremely negative cloaking. It has happened so frequently that the word has lost any of it’s original meaning (“a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole” – Webster’s) and, indeed, has been connected to everything from community farming to Communism.

Socialism appeared as a concept in the early 19th Century in France (“socialisme’) which came from the concept of “social” (needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities : we are social beings as well as individuals) or “society” (the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community)…a term which itself goes back to the 16th Century.

The fact that our 21st century civilization shows that the need for the companionship of individuals, states and countries in order to face potentially devastating changes in climate, creating non-polluting energy methods to protect our air and water and educating our children to eventually take over the mess that has been made on our watch, is so obvious that many don’t see the forest for the trees.

Our job should be to make the trees visible to all, and especially to the people we elect to office… the people who make the rules and allot the funds to give us those necessary services.

And it’s not like the anti-socialist campaign of the current Conservative is something new, urged on by Corporations that are concerned… apparently by Federal regulation… only of making profits for a limited number of shareholders and executives. Justice Douglas’s quote from over four decades ago points out that it has been present for awhile. In fact, if we go back further to when Eisenhower warned us about the “military industrial complex”, something his whole career had given him great insight into, we see our post-WWII economy as a challenge we never met.

Have you wondered why, in all the discussions of the budget and raising of the debt ceiling, we have not heard people yelling for cuts in the military expenditures that keep our remaining industrial giants flowing in dough.  As a whole “community”, the military/industry mix is about as socialist as you can get. Add to that the VA medical system which provides the closest thing to “socialized medicine” (another concept that Conservatives would like to deny the average guy) that exists in the world today. This system, by the way, is praised by just about every politician, probably out of guilt from sending so many of our young soldiers into a life of crippling disabilities.

It is time to make a strong change of focus in our social environment, something which is not going to happen if we leave the decisions and actions to politicians. Republican or Democrat, they keep their jobs because of election funds for advertising and lobby persuasion with highly focused corporate contributions. As we saw, for instance, in the 1940s and 1950s, many cities lost the public transportation systems of mini-railroads that gave people inexpensive commuting transport … without parking, fuel and other expenses… due to the money spent by the automobile industry on lobbyists and state and federal (and local) political campaigns. General Motors even bragged about it in public.

The question is “how do we do it?” There are no easy answers, but I’m pretty sure it will take a lot of time and will begin on a very local level. Here in Shepherdstown, WV, our recent completion of a 10,000 square foot Community Garden allotting 10′ by 10′ growing plots to locals who have no planting areas in their town houses or  downtown apartments is a good example of modern socialism.  At a very low fee (starting at $20 and going up to $30 if you take three plots), which has paid for deer fence construction and publicity to get members, and with volunteers for construction of the fence (and the donation of land and so much more from a local entrepreneur who has created a neighboring public market to serve local farmers and craftspeople), community interdependence has resulted in community celebration.

This only one concept of local change which can be achieved. Tie that together with activities that follow such as expansion of public libraries (which is part of both education promotion and public interaction), involvement in schools beyond their operations budgets, group purchase alignments for reduction of basic living costs, etc., and you have a good start at what can then expand to the state level… and eventually to the national top. This can also, I would hope, be the start of a new political structure, beginning in local government and expanding upward over time.

Now… if we can only protect ourselves from corporate corruption and maintain the basic concept of “socialism”… that our community organization is controlled by ALL of it’s members and not the artificial “Citizens United” persons funded by the corporate bankbook.

A Beautiful Day for the End of the World…

The sun is shining and it looks like a nice day for the Morgan’s Grove Market and the final side of the Community Garden deer fence.

But wait! Today is the Rapture according to Harold Camping, no? All those fine, saved people (and the bodies of the buried, saved people, arise from the ground and float upward) should be headed to heaven to sit at the feet of the Lord.

Except, it has not happened yet. Maybe later today.

I’m off to the Market in an hour or so. Elly is subbing for Ruth at the Four Seasons Book Store booth (which doubles as the Sustainable Shepherdstown handout area) and I’ve pledged to sit in for Joy at her ceramics booth while she uses her truck and the Fence Puller to stretch the last side.

Anyway, come Hell (which has been predicted for the likes of me) or High Water, we will get something accomplished today. Hope you do, too (unless you are taken up in the Rapture… if so, bask in the pleasure of knowing I was wrong.)

Saturday Morning… Market, Voting, Making Pie

Elly is off at the Hagerstown Community College graduation with the rest of the faculty, leaving me and the dogs behind. The weather is threatening… right now there is an ongoing drizzle, but it is threatening thunderstorms. Even so, after feeding and taking the dogs for their morning walk, I left for the second week of the Morgan’s Grove Market.

Because of threatening weather about half of last week’s vendors didn’t show up… attendance was lower as well, although about half the parking area was filled. In general, the weather was not terrible, so it was a shame that more folks didn’t show up.

The Entertainment, billed as Gregorio and Friends (there were only 2 of them, so I guess some friends were absent), arrived and started playing.

Al Thomas was doing a demonstration of old-fashioned, hand turned wood which he was happy to answer questions about…

After helping Ruth Robertas out at her Four Seasons Bookstore booth for a few minutes so she could go and get a donut (I sold seven lottery tickets for the community garden!), I took off to go and vote in the Governor primary (this was an unusual Saturday election day).

Then I came home to further develop my Vegan Key Lime Pie recipe.

Tonite we’re going to see 1776 at the Apollo Civic Theater in Martinsburg.

Busy Saturday.

I was so happy to see that the NY Times has the CATF in their Summer Theatre Season listing.

Contemporary American Theater Festival

I didn’t remember seeing CATF last year, but this year, when the NY Times ran it’s annual listing of major theater sites across the country, there was the Contemporary American Theater Festival, the only listing under West Virginia in Summer Stages.

Looks like our local festival, now entering its 21st year, is being recognized in the major listings. Congratulations to Ed Herendeen and staff.

The Plays in Repertory, JULY 8 – 31:
FROM PRAGUE by Kyle Bradstreet
RACE by David Mamet
AGES OF THE MOON by Sam Shepard
WE ARE HERE by Tracy Thorne
THE INSURGENTS by Lucy Thurber

You couldn’t have asked for a nicer day…

… for the opening of Morgan’s Grove Market. The sun was out, it wasn’t too warm , and people showed up to fill the parking lot.

Elly and I went for a little more than the first hour… bought some vegetables, talked to people and had a great time.

And everyone seemed so happy! This is going to be a regular Saturday morning thing until the late Fall…and we have to hand it to Peter Corum who organized the whole thing and really pulled it off.

Can’t wait until next week… it’s going to be fun.


Following our visit to Morgan’s Grove Market, we drove over to Boonsboro Maryland for their Green fest, primarily because Elly wanted to buy two more composting bins for our gardening.

We walked around the park, spoke to some of Elly’s colleagues from HCC and came back home to feed the dogs and have lunch.

Nice day all around. Hope yours was, too.