Archer Daniels Midland Parady

Thank you, Jill Richardson of La Vida Locavore for this parady.

Check out La Vida Locavore for the original, the real interview.

Pack of bullshit.

January Rituals

My part of the world is drenched in rain all this week. It is a gift in this land of drought. Stuck inside I have been exploring some sites today. I came upon an interesting post about traditions originated outside of the US.

Since next week I am going to help 500 children plant seeds in soil blocks to place in cold frame tables, this first one, Sementivae, is fun.

24, Sunday
- Old Roman festival of sowing honoring goddesses of earth, grain, and seed.
30, Saturday
Mahayana New Year
– The Mahayana Buddhists celebrate their new year with the first full moon in January, which makes sense to me.
Tu B’Shevat – A Jewish birthday party for trees. Because all trees like a party.

31, Sunday
– BIG DEAL old-ass festival. It’s ancient. And, just like Vasant Panchami, it’s about the first signs of Spring.
"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." - Henry David Thoreau, The Dispersion of Seeds 

Dead Ralph

Today's holiday, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, always makes me think of my father. His birthday was the same as Dr. King's. He was a racist from a small coal town in Kentucky. Maybe I will come to a place of forgiveness before I die. Today I still call him dead Ralph. He died before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday finally became official. He was dead before the idea was even suggested. I'm always happy to know he would have been unhappy. It is one thing to be a white person in this racist country and another one to feel no shame.  My dad was considered a funny man. Far too much of his humor depended on hurting others. Not funny. This is how I remember him; cruel imitations of homosexuals, women, blacks, etc. Put-down humor has been in my DNA. I try mightily to idenitfy this and change it in my life. For me this holiday is a kind of personally felt  justice, despite its mere symbollic nature in a time of renewed white supremecy and hate.

Update: Chris Hedges writes an insightful post today on how Dr. King stated his dream was becoming a nightmare.

"King's words have been appropriated by the people who rejected him in the 1960s," said Professor James Cone, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York and who wrote the book Martin & Malcolm & America. "So by making his birthday a national holiday everybody claims him, even though they opposed him while he was alive. They have frozen King in 1963 with his ‘I Have a Dream' speech. That is the one that can best be manipulated and misinterpreted. King also said, shortly after the Selma march and the riots in Watts, ‘they have turned my dream into a nightmare.'"

Why Didn't I Think of This?

After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says "WTF."

via Angryblackbitch commets

Quote of the Day

Cindy Sheehan May, 2007

“The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most….
Good-bye America …you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.”

Emphasis mine. What struck me is how I identified with Sheehan's pain for having bought into this imperial system for so many years. Schools are still teaching myths without a bit of discomfort from millions and millions of educators and parents. It is heartbreaking to me.

See Cyrano's Journal for current interview wit Cindy Sheehan. Who else do we hear speaking out against the empire's occupations around the world? *crickets*

This is About More Than Just Climate Change - It's a War Over Decency & Sheer Bloody Selfishness (Video)

Via Treehugger
Note: It is my personal rule of thumb that is not a good idea to read comments on a big blog like Treehugger. This has been especially true of late, with swarms of trolls from the right filling comment threads. LIke YouTube and others - I don't read the comments. 

Then I read on another blog, Thriving too . . . the antithesis of  selfishness, community building. 

Really nice article from Milenko Matanovic in Yes magazine.
Matanovic writes:

"Building strong communities is critical, hard work. I feel it’s one of the most courageous, important things each of us can do every day.
We can speed up the realization of good community building ideas if we live our lives consistent with community priorities. The good news: practically every activity and every moment grants us the opportunity to practice community-minded behavior."
1. Take interest in other people’s passions as much as you want them to be interested in yours.

2. Become a mentor to others less involved in their community.

3. Support a cause with no direct personal benefit.

4. Invite “them” to your meeting.

5. Reject the tendency to blame.

6. Confront internal contradictions.

7. Practice industrial-strength listening.

8. Render unto community… Shrink your home to what is necessary and conduct the rest of your life in the community.

9. Clarify your image of the future. 

10. Resist the temptation to choose between the ideal and the reality.

The 00's brought innovations that could save us

 January 18th update at end.

I'm going to cite Sarah Van Gelder's article from Common Dreams.  It is a listicle (n. an article consisting primarily of a list) from Yes magazine.  I would like to copy it word for word, but I'll follow fair use and just give the high points.

  1. People fell in love with local foods. 
  2. A home-grown U.S. pro-democracy movement brought greater integrity to the elections process.  (My note: Acorn and the 50-state strategy both figure strongly here.)
  3. Happiness got redefined. As people discovered that debt and overconsumption cause stress to families, the planet, and each of us, many turned instead to friends, family, good works, spirituality, and personal growth as the keys to a good life.
  4. Media became radically decentralized and inclusive, with anyone able to report on events and to post video, tweets, photos, and commentary. Governments found secrecy much harder to come by. Fact checking became a participatory activity.
  5. Prison overcrowding, budget shortfalls, and powerful advocacy turned the public against draconian prison terms and the drug war in favor of limited prison time for nonviolent offenses and alternatives like treatment and community service.
  6. People went local to rebuild the economy. Instead of competing to get corporations to locate in their communities, they began building economies based on local strengths and local needs, striving to be green and to offer living wages and dignity to employees.
  7. Populist resistance grew to corporate power and big government.
  8. The stage was set for nuclear abolition: A global consensus grew around the need to abolish nuclear weapons.
  9. Indigenous people's rights were recognized in an official United Nations declaration. Indigenous peoples began using their new-found clout to protect their ways of life and the biosphere, stewarding sources of invaluable cultural and biological diversity.
  10. The United States elected an African-American president.  But, as has been painfully clear, it does not guarantee progressive policies will come out of the White House.
  11. A new guiding philosophy emerged based on respect for all people and all life.  Earth Charter, formally launched in 2000, received endorsements of thousands of organizations representing millions of people during the ‘00s, revealing the potential for a new worldview to take hold based in environmental sustainability and social justice.
  12. A "Survival" Movement swept the world; millions took action to confront the climate crisis, making changes at home and at work, greening cities, resisting coal and deforestation.  Look to this movement to grow rapidly, post-Copenhagen.
I remember the beginning of this last decade, New Year 2000.  Nothing on this list was a part of my life.  In fact, I would have been baffled with many.  It took me a long painful process to come to these realities for myself.  Although I am convinced that as 2010 begins, most of the above twelve are aspirational rather than reality for the majority of the USofA consumers. Yes, I say consumers because I believe the broken empire sees us all as consumers rather than people - yet alone citizens or fellow human beings.  Corporate bodies are above it all.

Speaking of 'above it all' . . .  I am launching another blog this year called 10:10 Above It All to chronicle 10 projects I am planning for 2010.  Above it all has a whole series of meanings. One of the meanings is an emotional one. I want to rise above the anger, shame and frustration I feel as an American and as an older woman in a patriarchal culture of youth.   I could easily dive into despair or perpetual rage.  For my health and well being I need to avoid getting caught up in the stink of it all.  I took most of this last year off writing my blog, so I might take awhile to get back into a groove with writing.

Jan. 18th Update: I have followed an instinct that struck me - and hung around for a week - to abandon the 10:10 Above it All project. All I know is the time isn't right. The concept is still brilliant, if I do say so myself. I am just not ready it seems. 

Art by Chris Kenny