I taught myself to drink coffee when I was 16. That is 45 years of drinking coffee. I taught myself to prefer my coffee black. Even 45 years ago I was a practical gal, figuring that sugar and cream were not always available. Back then coffee was always available at every event. If there was a school function, church event, block BBQ, neighbor visit, store opening, shower, reunion or break room - there was brewed coffee at all times. In those days soda was not the ubiquitous beverage it is now. It was a kid drink, pop, and water was out of the tap and rarely the only beverage available. Yes, there was piping hot coffee even if there wasn't any cream or sugar.

My friends, twins Carol and Claudia, had just moved from a nearby town and they were my coffee buddies. After school we would come home and brew a whole pot (Glass pot by Pyrex) for ourselves. And, yes, we also lit up our cigarettes - spending the next several hours in deep discussion. (Those twins later were bridesmaids at my wedding).

When I was 23 or so I realized that I always had a mug of coffee and a cigarette going. I couldn't leave the house without making sure I had a pack of smokes and a mug of coffee. It made me so scared to realize I had to have these props when I'd been a camper an outdoor girl. I'd been proud of my prowess in the outdoors and my 12 years at summer camp. But, no more. Even having two children, I still hadn't quit.

I carried this guilt for 16 more years until I finally gave up smoking. It was relatively easy. It was a great deal easier to quit than to carry around guilt and anxiety for almost 40 years! The time was right and that's all I can figure.

Back to my coffee, I have switched to decaf several times in these 45 years - but I have never gone without coffee even a day unless I was violently ill. Thing is, when I get addicted, I seem to stay addicted. And, I know myself well enough to not attempt to quit anything when I am half-hearted. So, I have not had to struggle with the aftermath of many failed attempts. When I am ready, I usually know it is time. It was time.

Ten days ago I decided to quit drinking coffee. My digestion woes made me skip coffee one day almost 3 weeks ago. Besides falling asleep sitting up it wasn't so bad. M. suggested I should maybe consider quitting altogether, so I did. It has been absolutely painless - she says with great relief. My struggle is one that pops up now and then in the last 6 years - "poor me I am so deprived." That is bullshit of course, because my quitting anything in the past years (smoking, beer, sex, baby showers, convenience foods, carbohydrates, television, refrigerator, etc.) has been about gaining freedom. No props required for enjoyment, movement, conversation, concentration, creativity. This is spectacularly freeing.

Clarification. I had coffee at a restaurant breakfast M and I enjyed the other day. But, I didn't feel like I'd broken my new habit. I didn't quit because of caffeine as much as I needed to quit my dependence on using coffee every day - all day. And, having that restaurant coffee didn't make the next morning any harder - ergo I am still succeeding in altering my behavior.

I must remain vigilant in this goofy culture I am immersed in, so that I don't fall for the lie that I need stuff - must have stuff - must drink stuff. It is also terribly demoralizing to think of the years I was a virtual prisoner of habits. Ten days and feeling oh so good about it.

Cross posted make-a-(sun) plan

Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Jun 26 -

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009:

“I oppose H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The reason is simple. It won’t address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse.

“It sets targets that are too weak, especially in the short term, and sets about meeting those targets through Enron-style accounting methods. It gives new life to one of the primary sources of the problem that should be on its way out– coal – by giving it record subsidies. And it is rounded out with massive corporate giveaways at taxpayer expense. There is $60 billion for a single technology which may or may not work, but which enables coal power plants to keep warming the planet at least another 20 years.

“Worse, the bill locks us into a framework that will fail. Science tells us that immediately is not soon enough to begin repairing the planet. Waiting another decade or more will virtually guarantee catastrophic levels of warming. But the bill does not require any greenhouse gas reductions beyond current levels until 2030.

“Today’s bill is a fragile compromise, which leads some to claim that we cannot do better. I respectfully submit that not only can we do better; we have no choice but to do better. Indeed, if we pass a bill that only creates the illusion of addressing the problem, we walk away with only an illusion. The price for that illusion is the opportunity to take substantive action.

“There are several aspects of the bill that are problematic.

1. Overall targets are too weak. The bill is predicated on a target atmospheric concentration of 450 parts per million, a target that is arguably justified in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but which is already out of date. Recent science suggests 350 parts per million is necessary to help us avoid the worst effects of global warming.

2. The offsets undercut the emission reductions. Offsets allow polluters to keep polluting; they are rife with fraudulent claims of emissions reduction; they create environmental, social, and economic unintended adverse consequences; and they codify and endorse the idea that polluters do not have to make sacrifices to solve the problem.

3. It kicks the can down the road. By requiring the bulk of the emissions to be carried out in the long term and requiring few reductions in the short term, we are not only failing to take the action when it is needed to address rapid global warming, but we are assuming the long term targets will remain intact.

4. EPA’s authority to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short- to medium-term is rescinded. It is our best defense against a new generation of coal power plants. There is no room for coal as a major energy source in a future with a stable climate.

5. Nuclear power is given a lifeline instead of phasing it out. Nuclear power is far more expensive, has major safety issues including a near release in my own home state in 2002, and there is still no resolution to the waste problem. A recent study by Dr. Mark Cooper showed that it would cost $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than to generate the same amount of electricity from energy efficiency and renewables.

6. Dirty Coal is given a lifeline instead of phasing it out. Coal-based energy destroys entire mountains, kills and injures workers at higher rates than most other occupations, decimates ecologically sensitive wetlands and streams, creates ponds of ash that are so toxic the Department of Homeland Security will not disclose their locations for fear of their potential to become a terrorist weapon, and fouls the air and water with sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates, mercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and thousands of other toxic compounds that cause asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, and pulmonary and cardiac problems for starters. In contrast, several times more jobs are yielded by renewable energy investments than comparable coal investments.

7. The $60 billion allocated for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is triple the amount of money for basic research and development in the bill. We should be pressuring China, India and Russia to slow and stop their power plants now instead of enabling their perpetuation. We cannot create that pressure while spending unprecedented amounts on a single technology that may or may not work. If it does not work on the necessary scale, we have then spent 10-20 years emitting more CO2, which we cannot afford to do. In addition, those who will profit from the technology will not be viable or able to stem any leaks from CCS facilities that may occur 50, 100, or 1000 years from now.

8. Carbon markets can and will be manipulated using the same Wall Street sleights of hand that brought us the financial crisis.

9. It is regressive. Free allocations doled out with the intent of blunting the effects on those of modest means will pale in comparison to the allocations that go to polluters and special interests. The financial benefits of offsets and unlimited banking also tend to accrue to large corporations. And of course, the trillion dollar carbon derivatives market will help Wall Street investors. Much of the benefits designed to assist consumers are passed through coal companies and other large corporations, on whom we will rely to pass on the savings.

10. The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) is not an improvement. The 15% RES standard would be achieved even if we failed to act.

11. Dirty energy options qualify as “renewable”: The bill allows polluting industries to qualify as “renewable energy.” Trash incinerators not only emit greenhouse gases, but also emit highly toxic substances. These plants disproportionately expose communities of color and low-income to the toxics. Biomass burners that allow the use of trees as a fuel source are also defined as “renewable.” Under the bill, neither source of greenhouse gas emissions is counted as contributing to global warming.

12. It undermines our bargaining position in international negotiations in Copenhagen and beyond. As the biggest per capita polluter, we have a responsibility to take action that is disproportionately stronger than the actions of other countries. It is, in fact, the best way to preserve credibility in the international context.

13. International assistance is much less than demanded by developing countries. Given the level of climate change that is already in the pipeline, we are going to need to devote major resources toward adaptation. Developing countries will need it the most, which is why they are calling for much more resources for adaptation and technology transfer than is allocated in this bill. This will also undercut our position in Copenhagen.

“I offered eight amendments and cosponsored two more that collectively would have turned the bill into an acceptable starting point. All amendments were not allowed to be offered to the full House. Three amendments endeavored to minimize the damage that will be done by offsets, a method of achieving greenhouse gas reductions that has already racked up a history of failure to reduce emissions – increasing emissions in some cases – while displacing people in developing countries who rely on the land for their well being.

“Three other amendments would have made the federal government a force for change by requiring all federal energy to eventually come from renewable resources, by requiring the federal government to transition to electric and plug-in hybrid cars, and by requiring the installation of solar panels on government rooftops and parking lots. These provisions would accelerate the transition to a green economy.

“Another amendment would have moved up the year by which reductions of greenhouse gas emissions were required from 2030 to 2025. It would have encouraged the efficient use of allowances and would have reduced opportunities for speculation by reducing the emission value of an allowance by a third each year.

“The last amendment would have removed trash incineration from the definition of renewable energy. Trash incineration is one of the primary sources of environmental injustice in the country. It a primary source of compounds in the air known to cause cancer, asthma, and other chronic diseases. These facilities are disproportionately sited in communities of color and communities of low income. Furthermore, incinerators emit more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity produced than coal-fired power plants.

“Passing a weak bill today gives us weak environmental policy tomorrow,” said Kucinich.

Guest Post - Because He Found the Words I Have Searched To Find

This morning I read a post by quixote at Shakesville that moved me deeply. His post carries the depth of experience, of three decades of family experience, that something I might write cannot deliver. So, I wrote and asked him if I might cross post here and he approved.

A Sad Anniversary

This has been hard for me to write. It's part of the reason I haven't wanted to write anything for a while. I didn't think I'd be here at this point.

I started my blog because I was devastated that the US was torturing people. Worse, the powers-that-be were making excuses for it. The US has been guilty of crimes before. But in the bad old days that was just it: they were guilty. The thing was to pretend it wasn't happening. Now they were doing something much worse. They were saying it was okay.

I come from a family that fled Communists, Nazis, and Fascists. (Yes, that was a lot of fleeing and it took three decades.) Maybe that's made me hypersensitive to the ultimate personal price of dictatorships. They are horrible, awful, terrifying places and nobody really survives. You can try to escape with the clothes on your back, or become subhuman, or die. That's all. There are no other choices. So it's a matter of life or death to avoid that road at all costs. Never put so much as one toe on the path that ends in that hell.

There are two hallmarks shared by dictatorships: detention without trial and torture.

We're doing both. We're saying that committing crimes is legal. Is there any way to make the rule of law more meaningless?

At first, I never thought that people would stand for it. I knew there'd be a convulsion and the whole country would reject the lethal disease we had. But instead the shock became dulled. Too many people in the US patted themselves on the back for not being as bad as those other real dictatorships. We'd only put both feet on the beginning of the path. That was totally not the same as reaching the end.

You know what? Once you're on that path, in terms of what happens next it doesn't matter who started it. It doesn't matter if you do nothing. All you have to do to reach the end is not get off. It's downhill all the way.

I had to do something. The whole Government needed to be changed from top to bottom. The people who made excuses for it had to be changed. Corporations, media, education, it all had to be changed.

I didn't know how to do any of that. What I did was start a blog in feeble protest, five years ago last May. I'd never understood how the Good Germans could stand by while their government went to the devil between the two World Wars. Now I know. I never thought I'd become the sort of person who could understand that.

I never thought I'd see liberals making excuses for bigotry and war, just because it was their own side doing it. I never thought it would hurt to remember how much hope I felt that the long nightmare of criminal government was coming to an end. I never thought I'd find out that it can get worse than having an unpopular dictator. You can have a popular one.

Regrettably this is now the beginning of new theme at make-a-(green)plan, Obama: spokesmodel for the imperial brand as I have seen it emerge here, here and here.

This has also been brewing because of other posts I have read. A few of these follow:

And these are just a few amongst so many just recently. Even the fauxgressives had some good points.
Added later: Obama a Very Smooth Liar
John R. MacArthur's last line reminds me of my guest post author, quixote. Being popular and coherent is simply not enough.
Yes, of course it’s nice to have a president who speaks in complete sentences. But that they’re coherent doesn’t make them honest.

Another video . . .

Thanks to No Impact man for the following link to Life, Inc. content. This speaks to the corporatacracy and how we got here.

Life Inc. The Movie from Douglas Rushkoff on Vimeo.

Update: Can you tell I haven't been well? There is so much to write about - with the Dervaes Family & Beany / Mr. Beany visit plus the devastating political news of Obama betraying gays, soldiers still in war zones and the sick / uninsured / underinsured citizens of this country. I just feel like crap. Stay tuned . . .


Only in a corporatacracy . . .

Best Buy from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

It was a fairly simple experiment: inserting dozens of people dressed like employees into a Manhattan Best Buy to see what would happen. The group Improv Everywhere gathered volunteers together, asked them to wear khakis and a very specific shade of blue polo shirt, and smuggled cameras inside the store to film the reaction. The ‘agents’ simply spread out in the store and stood around. If customers asked them a question, they answered as best they could. If employees asked what they were doing, they replied, “I’m waiting on a friend.”

As expected, the real Best Buy employees were confused at first… but then they became frightened. Convinced that the prank was some kind of elaborate heist, one frantic employee began shrieking “Thomas Crown Affair! Thomas Crown Affair!” Their hidden camera rig was discovered and the security guard called 911. All because a group of people were wearing blue polo shirts and khakis.

Hat tip to WebUrbanist


I am still feeling star struck and buoyed by the Dervaes Family visit. Admittedly, I am struggling with seeing my image, as I don't photograph well. And it didn't help that I'd walked in the heat right before several of the pictures were taken. I'm the pink one. They sent me photos taken over the weekend of the absolutely wonderful interactions, people and places during their visit from Pasadena. Yesterday I was physically too spent to do anything except my daily walk. I also have had an upset stomach. Through it all I am grinning. What wonderful people and Beany, Mr. Beany too. I was so excited they were coming, but it was wonderful that they understood my fangirl nuttiness with the Dervaes family. Wow.

I was ill prepared for 8 guests in my 272 sf home, but Anais came to the rescue with bags full of additional food, plates and cups. Yes, the downside of the ascetic life or patterns of austerity anyway is not being able to feed a crowd without notice. Vegetarians mind you. I had lots of lamb filled grape leaves and a few non-meat grape leaves for Beany and Mr. Beany. But, I was feeling semi-capable of entertaining a couple and I didn't think I'd have the opportunity to have Jules, Anais, Jordanne, Justin along with Janice and Sergio visit too. A riches of guests.

When are you going to do something with your life?

Thanks to SKM at Shakesville for this. I have seen Lily Tomlin perform live on Broadway and in Denver, and she is a joy. She is one of a handful who can make me laugh - and think. Eddie Izzard is part of this tribe, an almost extinct type in our egregious US irritainment industry.

In many ways this recalibrating the defaults or - as Melinda would say, redefining normal makes this comedy eerily close to the truth. What is really success in this 21st century? What matters most?



I got the sweetest note from my friend this morning . . .
I read your posts about Angela this morning. I was surprised at how I was able to read it through and not cry. Then when I scrolled back to look at all the photos and saw that beautiful sweet face--bam-- it hit. Just feeling what a loss not to have her around right now. She was such a lovegirl.
Here is one more angelic photograph I didn't post yet . . .