Jun 22, 2013

David Letterman on "Fracking" !!!

David Letterman gives us his take in fracking.

Perhaps you've notice the similarities between Tobacco advertising and that of the Natural Gas Industry.

Years ago the tobacco industry vehemently denied any connection between smoking and health issues.

Tobacco advertising in the 1950's would often include doctors and other medical professionals in their ads as a method of allaying public concerns. After all if you doctor smoked, what's the harm?

The Natural Gas industry hasn't gone as far as including doctors or even actors dressed up as doctors in their advertising, nonetheless, the advertising and talking points do include words like "Safe", "Natural", "Clean". These words are selected to make the public feel more comfortable.

And it's working on those who just understand the damage fracking is doing to our water supply.

Like Dave said, WE ARE SCREWED!  Monte Hines

Fracking - YouTube

Drone Mosquitoes? U.S. Companies Developing Tiny Surveillance Devices to Snoop Inside Homes - YouTube

Published on Jun 21, 2013

Watch the full interview with Heidi Boghosian on Democracy Now! at http://owl.li/mgwKg. The FBI confirmed this week that drones are "very seldomly" carrying out surveillance within the United States, without regulations in place to address privacy concerns. Speaking to Democracy Now!, Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and author of the forthcoming book, "Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance," explains the technologies being developed to expand drone surveillance. These include drones the size of mosquitoes or birds, capable of entering apartment buildings and remaining airborne inside to spy without detection.

Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,100+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Check out our vast news archive and stream live 8-9am ET at http://www.democracynow.org.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/democracynow
Drone Mosquitoes? U.S. Companies Developing Tiny Surveillance Devices to Snoop Inside Homes - YouTube

The Alarming Science Behind Climate Change's Increasingly Wild Weather: Ostro And Francis On Video - YouTube


Larger Image

Larger Image

Published on Jun 22, 2013

Earlier this month, Chris Mooney moderated a terrific Climate Desk event featuring top climate researcher Jennifer Francis along with senior Weather Channel meteorologist (and former skeptic) Stu Ostro.

Ostro's observations suggest that global warming is increasing the atmosphere's thickness, leading to stronger and more persistent ridges of high pressure, which in turn are a key to temperature, rainfall, and snowfall extremes and topsy-turvy weather patterns like we've had in recent years.

Francis's scientific story is complementary. She sees the rapid warming of the Arctic weakening the northern hemisphere jet stream, and thus, once again, slowing down the weather, leaving a given pattern stuck in place for longer (making any event potentially more disruptive and extreme).

Stu Ostro is a senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel, and was a longtime climate change skeptic—until the devastating 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, when he started documenting hundreds of cases of extreme and unusual weather and the patterns associated with them, and became convinced that something is very off about the atmosphere.

For more on Ostro's work and amazing story, see:
One Meteorologist's Come-to-Jesus Moment on Climate Change (by Chris Mooney): Like many TV weathermen, Stu Ostro didn't believe in climate change—until extreme weather and scientific evidence changed his mind. Weather Channel expert on Georgia's record-smashing global-warming-type deluge.

Jennifer Francis is "a top climate researcher focused on the Arctic, whose work has drawn dramatic attention in the context of the very warm U.S. winter of 2012 (and attendant droughts and wildfires), the Russian heat wave and Pakistan floods of 2010, and other extreme weather events."

The Alarming Science Behind Climate Change's Increasingly Wild Weather: Ostro And Francis On Video - YouTube

Related Link:

Made In Peoria: The Birth of Industry | peoriamagazines.com

by Jerry Klein
Photos courtesy of Peoria Historical Society Collection, Bradley University Library

If one might be permitted to amend the remark by Calvin Coolidge which goes, “The business of America is business,” it might read, “The business of Peoria is making things.” For about the time that President Coolidge made that observation, it was claimed that 900 items bore the title, “Made in Peoria.”

To detail all these products is impractical, but they included everything from cigars and bicycles to bricks and plows, nails and gloves, crackers and pottery, wagons and barbed wire, tombstones and rope, washing machines and caskets, automobiles and peanut roasters, oil burners, kitchen ranges, lawn sprinklers, lift trucks, steel fabrications, and, of course, tractors, beer and whiskey.

For several decades, “making things” was Peoria’s very reason for existence. The practice was fueled in the beginning by the river, which not only made this city a destination for all kinds of imports, but an export point from which all manner of goods could be shipped. This was long before paved roads or railroads, when river shipping was the only way to go, giving river cities a head start in the business of making things. And among the earliest products of the “Made in Peoria” era were whiskey and beer.

Distilleries & Breweries
These days, with the breweries and distilleries long gone, it might be hard to imagine that Peoria once was the whiskey capital of the world. No place on earth produced so much bourbon and rye as that which came from local distilleries. So great was the revenue from the whiskey tax that Peoria’s share of these taxes paid to the federal government was larger than any other city in the United States. Chicago was second, and Cincinnati was third.

The city’s first distillery was built by Almiran S. Cole in 1843. It stood along the river at the foot of Oak Street. Cole soon sold out, but returned to whiskey making in 1850 with partners Benjamin Bourland, Tobias Bradley and William Moss, a steamboat captain and the father of Lydia Moss, who later married Tobias Bradley and became the founder of Bradley University.

From these beginnings, Peoria became the center for beer and whiskey making. Between 1837 and 1919, there were 24 breweries and 73 distilleries in operation here. It was, at its peak, the largest corn-consuming market in the world.

In 1881, Joseph Greenhut, the quintessential whiskey baron, built the Great Western Distillery, which was known as the largest distillery in the world. The title was later claimed by Hiram Walker & Sons, who purchased the facility in 1933, and then ADM, who took it over in 1982.

While it lasted, distilling was the leading industry, producing an estimated 18.6 million gallons of alcohol a year. Many of the houses along Peoria’s High Street and Moss Avenue owe their existence in one way or another to whiskey, for distilling spawned a host of related businesses. It required woodcutters, sawmills and barrel makers. The resulting sawdust was used by ice houses in the summer. Since one of the byproducts of whiskey was wet mash or slop, which made an excellent food for cattle, huge herds were maintained in an area near the foot of Western Avenue. As many as 28,000 animals munched contentedly on this alcoholic mash.

The presence of all these cattle made Peoria a major center for the dairy industry and for meat-packing houses. Other offshoot occupations included delivery wagons, repairmen, veterinarians, blacksmiths, farriers, shippers, drovers, stockyard workers, label printers and even workers whose specialty was caulking leaking whisky barrels with papyrus.

The production of beer was perhaps not quite so spectacular. Andrew Eitle established the first brewery here in 1837, just south of the present-day Bob Michel Bridge. Nearby, John Gipps opened his brewery, which became famous for its motto, “Gimme Gipps.” The Leisy Brewery was founded in 1884 on the site of the former City Brewery. It remained in operation until Prohibition, when it was sold to Premier Malt Products Company. It is now the site of PMP Fermentation.

Premier eventually became associated with the Pabst Brewing Company, which built a new plant in Peoria Heights in 1933. This plant closed in 1982. Today, the only beer made in Peoria is by home brewers and at a few brew pubs, and the only distillation occurs at ADM in the form of ethanol and neutral grain spirits. But the legacy remains, not only in the grand mansions and the so-called “old money,” but the fact that booze and a wide-open city gave Peoria a reputation it has never quite shed.

There is another legacy as well. It involved Joseph Greenhut, who hired an eminent Japanese scientist, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, to come to Peoria to apply a new process to the making of alcohol. It was never achieved, but Dr. Takamine went on to become famous for his work with adrenaline—and for his purchase of 2,000 cherry trees to be planted around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Every year, the national Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated beneath the trees donated by a man brought to Peoria by the whiskey trust.

Earthmoving & Manufacturing
While the distilleries and breweries brought astonishing wealth to so many in such a short time, its demise still left the city with the unchallenged title of earthmoving capital of the world. Today, it is Caterpillar which assures the claim to the title. In recent years, “Big Yellow” has molded Peoria’s economy with its massive workforce, its wages and benefits, and its international reach. But before Caterpillar, there was Avery, the city’s major industrial presence, which was located in what was then known as Averyville.

In 1898, the Avery Company was capable of producing 250 grain separators a year, 150 threshing engines, 225 self-feeders for grain separators, 3,000 corn planters, 1,500 stalk cutters and 2,000 farm wagons, plus countless steel-wheel tractors. A 1913 article in The Peorian boasted that “Avery machines are bearing the name ‘Peoria’ to all parts of the globe.” In 1920, it employed 20,600 workers in the plant formerly known as the Kingman Plow Company. But in 1924, the firm went broke. What remained were the buildings, the town of Averyville and the farm machines that are now collectors’ items.

The empty plant was eventually purchased by Robert Gilmour LeTourneau, who had located in Peoria in 1935, setting up shop between the site of Woodruff Field and the Avery plant. He bought the Avery Company in 1941, and during World War II, produced hundreds of Tournapull scrapers, dozers, rooters and rollers for military roads and airfields. His famous Tournapulls could move 27 tons of earth at 17 miles per hour. LeTourneau, who said that God runs his business, sold his plant to Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) in 1953. It later became home to American Standard, Dresser, Komatsu-Dresser and now Komatsu. A statue of LeTourneau now stands near the tennis courts in Glen Oak Park.

Keystone, the other major industrial presence, was founded in 1889 by Peter Sommer, a tenant farmer near Dillon, Illinois. He began producing wire fence on a crude machine he had cobbled together in a barnyard shed. He later moved to Tremont, then to South Adams Street in Peoria and finally Bartonville, where Keystone has been the dominant presence in town since 1900. Keystone fence was advertised as being “horse high, pig tight and bull strong.” Some 2,000 miles of its fence were sold to the King Ranch in Texas, and the company sponsored several radio programs, including the WLS Red Brand Barn Dance, live from Chicago. Keystone remains a major employer in central Illinois.

Caterpillar is unquestionably the predominant business and industrial presence in the area. It started somewhat inauspiciously in 1910 at a time when Peoria had a wealth of prosperous industries, cranking out everything from plows and bicycles to automobiles, tractors and washing machines. Then, the Holt Caterpillar Co. operated out of a small East Peoria plant that employed 65 people by year end.

At a time when Horace Greeley was urging Americans to go west, the California-based Holt Manufacturing Company decided to add a plant in the east. Holt was at the point of locating in Minneapolis, but was convinced by Murray Baker, a Peoria tractor distributor, to buy the bankrupt Colean Manufacturing Co. plant in East Peoria. The company began its major growth during World War I, as the Holt Caterpillar track-type tractor proved adept at dragging heavy artillery equipment through the mud of the Western front. Thousands of these tractors were sold to the Allies.

Caterpillar Tractor Co. was formed in 1925 when the C. L. Best Tractor Co. and The Holt Manufacturing Company were merged into the new company. Originally based in California, the company’s headquarters were relocated to the East Peoria plant in 1930. While it survived the Depression, the company received a major boost from the outbreak of World War II. Initially, it provided transmissions for tanks, howitzer carriages and bomb fuses, along with its tractors. By 1943, it resumed full-time production of tractors, which became famous for their role in building the Burma Road, for leveling South Pacific islands for runways, and for clearing the London streets of rubble during the Battle of Britain.

Today, with its plants spread around the world, Caterpillar no longer dominates Peoria as it once did. The healthcare industry has moved into second place in a strictly business sense, and the economy has diversified since the days when Caterpillar vacation meant a virtually empty city. But it is still the big player.

When Pliny Holt was negotiating the purchase of the Colean plant in East Peoria, he wrote to Murray Baker, “I am sure that this marks the beginning of one of the largest enterprises in the Middle West, and assures the city of Peoria of an industry that they will be proud of in the future.” Prophetic words indeed. After more than 100 years, Caterpillar and Peoria remain virtually inseparable.

While there are no longer 900 items bearing the “Made in Peoria” label, this remains a community that has been enriched by what it has produced over the years and by the people who have planned, worked and sweated to make it happen. They have made this a very special city. iBi

Jerry Klein is a longtime writer with the Peoria Journal Star and columnist with The Catholic Post. He is the author of numerous books on Peoria history.

Made In Peoria: The Birth of Industry | peoriamagazines.com

Jun 21, 2013

Biscuit Joiner by Bill Wood (1h05m)

Published on Jun 21, 2013

GWA Member Bill Wood demonstrates the use and care of a biscuit joiner, carefully locating both edges of the materials being joined and using the electic tool to cut slots for the biscuits. This basic shop tool can greatly enhance your project's success.

Full Video (1:05) Filmed and uploaded in HD.
 Biscuit Joiner by Bill Wood (1h05m)

In the Bag for Big Ag!!!

Don't Stop Fronting: 9 Industry-Funded Groups That Promote Big Food and Big Ag
These groups exist to do the bidding of the giants in corporate food and agriculture.
By Steve Holt
June 21, 2013

In The Bag For Big Ag

SLIDE SHOW: In the Bag for Big Ag

Food and biotech corporations like Coca-Cola, Monsanto and ConAgra have the best public relations teams money can buy. A huge (and incredibly deceptive) part of these companies’ PR and damage control strategies is the buying or formation of front groups—often with nice-sounding, farm- or consumer-centered names—to work on their behalf, pushing for a more industrialized and genetically compromised food system.

These groups hire the best and the brightest scientists and researchers to “prove” that genetically modified foods are good for our bodies and the world, that sugary soda “hydrates” us, that pesticides and high fructose corn syrup are harmless—and that anyone who says otherwise is a crazy conspiracy theorist.

Recently, Center for Food Safety researcher Michelle Simon pulled back the curtain on these groups, their funders, and how they operate in an enlightening report titled, “Best Public Relations Money Can Buy: A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups.” Click through this gallery to see a few of the groups who want Americans to eat more junk and farmers to further contaminate our food supply—and download the entire report to read about all their dirty tricks!
Photo: Don Farrall/Getty Images

Prudent Pantry: 10 Uses for Baking Soda | Prudent Living – On The Home Front

Published June 13, 2013 | By Nancy

Did you know you can use this common kitchen staple to clean, deodorize, soothe and more? There are two places you will usually find baking soda in a home, in the refrigerator to absorb unpleasant odors and in your cupboard as a baking staple.

However there are other ways that you can put baking soda to work in your home.

There are many ways to use baking soda!

1. Fire Control: keep baking soda close to the stove in case of a grease fire. Water encourages grease fires to spread. Instead smother it with baking soda. Heated baking soda release carbon dioxide, eating the oxygen fires need for fuel.

2. Flower Freshener: Keep cut flowers alive longer by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the water in the vase.

Use baking soda in your fresh cut flowers!

3. Sting Soother: stung by a bee or wasp? Because of its alkaline properties, baking soda can help neutralize formic acid in bee stings. Mix baking soda with a little water to create a paste and apply to the sting. Instant relief!

Baking soda gives instant relief from stings!

4. Hairbrush Cleaner: remove natural oil buildup from hairbrushes and combs by soaking them in a solution of 1-teaspoon baking soda combined with water.

5. Laundry Booster: Add ½ cup baking soda to the wash cycle to enhance the effectiveness of detergent, absorb odors and help remove stains from clothing.

Give a boost to your laundry with baking soda.

6. Caked On Food: Easily remove caked on food from pots and pans by soaking them in baking soda. Just sprinkle a liberal amount on tough spots, ad water, let soak for 30 minutes to an hour, then scrub off. For extra power add a few drops of white vinegar to the mix.

7. Silverware Sparkler: To clean silverware line a large glass baking dish with foil, then add the silverware, making sure each piece touches foil.

Place silver on aluminum foil.

Evenly distribute ½ cup baking soda over the silverware, then completely immerse in boiling water.

Cover silver with baking soda.

Let soak for five minutes, rinse and dry.

Clean silver!

8. Odor Absorber: besides keeping a box of baking soda in your refrigerator sprinkle some at the bottom of your trashcan liners. For carpet odors, sprinkle baking soda over your carpet and let sit for 30 minutes to overnight, then vacuum.

9. Homemade Play Clay: combine 2 cups od baking soda, 1 cup corn starch and 1 ¼ cups cold water in a pan and cook over low heat until the mixture reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from the pan and let cook on a plate. Provides hours of fun!

Make play clay with baking soda.

10. Foot Soak: dissolve 3 Tbsp of baking soda in a basin of warm water and soak your feet. Gently scrub with a paste of baking soda.

For more helpful hints check out the Arm & Hammer website. They have numerous used for baking soda.- 

Fall & Winter Growing Guides - Winter Planting Chart

Larger image

Fall & Winter Growing Guides - Winter Planting Chart

AgriNews: Farmall restoration honors father leaves legacy

Jeannine Otto, Field Editor
Friday, June 21, 2013 8:00 AM

Chad Colby, sales and marketing manager at Cross Implement in Minier, Ill., shows off the Farmall 560 that his father, Dan, owned and used until his death in 2010. Chad Colby and friends restored the tractor as a way to honor his father. He drove the tractor in the 2013 Heritage Tractor Adventure, and it is the featured tractor for the upcoming Bureau County Farm Bureau Foundation 2013 Tractor Trek.

MORTON, Ill. — When he talks about the Farmall 560, Chad Colby is talking about his past and his future.

The fully-restored and improved-upon 1962 Farmall was the tractor that Colby used when he was growing up on his father Dan’s farm near Tiskilwa.

“We always had a 560 on the farm. In my lifetime, there’s nothing on the farm I didn’t do with the 560. This tractor has always been on the farm, and we always used it,” he said.

His thoughts turn to a tractor of another color, the fully-loaded John Deere 8260 R sitting in Mike Unzicker’s driveway, a John Deere planter behind it, just finished with a day of planting soybeans with the Heyworth High School FFA chapter.

The green tractor dwarfs the Farmall, both in size and in power. The Farmall has 65 horsepower, while the John Deere has 265 horsepower.

But Colby, now a father to daughter Bristol, born in September, thinks he knows which one she’ll want to drive.

“We joke that when Bristol is in high school and FFA and when they get to drive a tractor to school, I can give her a new John Deere to drive, but she’ll be bugging me to drive the 560,” he smiled.

The Farmall 560 that belonged to Dan Colby now belongs to his son. The restoration of that tractor has been a way for the son to heal from the loss of his father and to make a trip they talked about shortly before Colby died in 2010.

“My dad called me and said, ‘Hey, we should go see that,’” Chad Colby said.

That was in 2010, a few weeks before Max Armstrong’s annual Heritage Tractor Drive.

The father and son talked on the phone every day, and they made plans to go see the drive as it passed through Hennepin, the dad’s hometown.

“Dad said over lunch, ‘I think I’d like to do this,’ so I said, ‘Why don’t we redo the 560 and redo it nice so you can go play?’” Chad Colby said.

A month later, Dan Colby passed away suddenly of a heart attack.

“It was so hard losing Dad unexpectedly. I talked to Dad every day, and we were super close. It’s hard to describe that, when you lose that. You kind of don’t know what to do,” Chad Colby said.

Colby knew he wanted his dad’s Farmall 560, and a year later, in the summer of 2011, he and friends Mike Unzicker, Chad Unzicker and Aaron Baer started the restoration.

“It was a very solid, working tractor,” said Colby of the 560 when the restoration started.

They restored classic touches such as paint, but added some modern touches, as well. Some touches – such as the gauge that Colby replaced in high school when he drove the 560 to school at Tiskilwa High School — remain in place.

“We put a lot of modern touches in it, things like LED lights, a modern battery, a master on/off switch for safety in storage, a modern electrical system,” he said, noting they also added chrome, which the tractor hadn’t had.

“We joke that it’s a 2012 560,” he said.

Colby also looks on the restoration as more than just dressing up an old tractor.

“I probably would call it a journey more than anything else,” he said.

The restoration didn’t start out to be the massive project it turned into — Chad and Mike Unzicker originally planned a few touches to spruce up the tractor.

“Once we went from doing a quick-and-easy job to a complete overhaul, we slowed down — and then we went crazy,” Colby said.

They used information from the Internet, including tractor forums and social media, to help with more detailed parts of the restoration. Each of them brought specific skills to the restoration.

“I could never have done it without the help of my friends,” Colby said. “I’m really blessed that those guys helped and put in countless hours. We all had expertise, and we all had patience.”

Colby and wife Karen had another project in the works, as well — they were expecting their first child.

The restoration of the 560 was finished in time for their baby shower, which was held in the shop with the 560 in attendance.

“My wife tells me all the time she thinks this was like therapy for me. This was the release,” Colby said. “The goal was to make sure it was done before our daughter was born.”

Bristol Colby arrived in September. But even as the duties of being a new father took priority, Chad Colby had more plans for the 560.

“It came to a head when I went on the Heritage Tractor Adventure,” he said.

The three-day tractor drive is led by famous farm broadcaster and radio personality Max Armstrong, a noted fan and collector of the Farmall brand.

“We had a blast. We had so much fun. We drove 200 miles, and I put something like 15 hours on the tractor. It was a lot of fun driving down the road — it brought back a lot of memories,” Colby said.

He and the 560 will take another trip down memory lane on June 22 as they travel some of the roads they likely traveled together decades ago as a farm kid driving his dad’s tractor.

Colby and his Farmall 560 are the featured tractor at the Bureau County Farm Bureau Foundation 2013 Tractor Trek. The event is a fundraiser to support the county’s ag literacy program.

The trek will traverse rural roads in southern Bureau County, from the Bureau County Fairgrounds in Princeton to the village of Henry and back. The tractors will leave the fairgrounds in Princeton at 8:30 a.m. on June 22.

“A lot of my friends and my dad’s friends will be on the drive,” Colby said.

More than 60 tractors are signed up for the drive, which also will take the riders near Tiskilwa, through Lake Thunderbird and then on to Hornbaker Gardens before the tractors finish the drive back at the fairgrounds.

For Colby, the journey to restore his father’s Farmall 560 has come full circle, with he and the tractor not only completing the journey father and son talked about, but soon returning to familiar country roads.

“I got it out a week ago and started it up and drove it around, and all those memories come back,” Colby said. “I think Dad would have been really proud.”

AgriNews: Farmall restoration honors father leaves legacy

Polaris Off-Road Vehicles

Larger Image

Another RANGER 6x6 enlisted for fire and ems support.

Read more: http://www.clantonadvertiser.com/2013/06/17/thorsby-fire-department-adds-utility-vehicle-to-fleet/

Thorsby Fire Department adds utility vehicle to fleet By Stephen Dawkins Published 2:41pm Monday, June 17, 2013

Thorsby has a new tool for fighting fires.

The town’s fire department recently purchased a utility vehicle, which Chief Lee Gunn thinks will allow firefighters a more variable response to grass fires and some medical emergency situations.

The six-wheel-drive Polaris Ranger cost $16,000, which was paid for out of the fire department’s account.

Thorsby’s Town Council approved the purchase of the vehicle at its June 3 meeting, and the vehicle was purchased shortly thereafter.

Gunn said many departments use a pick-up truck to battle grass fires, but he said he thinks the utility vehicle is better suited for that purpose and could also have other uses.

Gunn said pick-ups can be outfitted with a water tank that holds 100-200 gallons. A tank installed on the utility vehicle holds 75 gallons.

Gunn said the utility vehicle’s maneuverability makes up for the smaller tank, especially considering that 100-gallon tank wouldn’t last much longer than a 75-gallon tank and would have to be re-filled several times while putting out a grass fire.

“It’s a lot more maneuverable than a pick-up would be,” he said.

The vehicle can also be fitted with a bracket that will allow it to carry a stretcher, making it perfect for responding to injuries during high school football games.

The stretcher-carrying capability could also be used to rescue someone injured and stranded in a wooded area.

“When you need it, you can’t replace it,” Gunn said. “It won’t ever work independently; it would never replace a full-size truck.”

Gunn said some firefighters still have to be trained on the vehicle, and equipment such as fire extinguishers and rakes still have to be installed, before the vehicle is put into service.
Polaris Off-Road Vehicles

Shields and Brooks on Farm Bill Failure, Obama in Berlin - YouTube

Published on Jun 21, 2013
New York Times columnist David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields analyze the week's top political news with Jeffrey Brown, including the failure of the farm bill in the House, the progress of and prospects for immigration reform and President Barack Obama's speech about nuclear arms in Berlin.

Shields and Brooks on Farm Bill Failure, Obama in Berlin - YouTube

Thinking Out Loud: Rentier Capitalism, Natural Capitalism, and Permaculture - A Few Observations

by Rhamis Kent June 21, 2013

Ecological destruction and environmental degradation are merely symptoms of a more profound structural economic problem endemic to industrialization and consumerism. As can readily be observed, these are systems based on a flawed operational and ideological premise that believes it can “generate profit” by consuming its capital — the most important being nature itself. FULL ARTICLE: Thinking Out Loud: Rentier Capitalism, Natural Capitalism, and Permaculture - A Few Observations



Dick Proenneke retired at age 50 in 1967 and decided to build his own cabin in Alaska - "Alone in the Wilderness" - Full Length Movie

Published on Feb 1, 2013
A must see film about an extraordinary man -alone in the wilderness. To learn more about this film or to purchase a copy, please visit: www.dickproenneke.com

Dick Proenneke retired at age 50 in 1967 and decided to build his own cabin on the shore of Twin Lakes. The first summer he scouted for the best cabin site, and cut and peeled the logs he would need for his cabin. Dick Proenneke returned the next summer to finish the cabin where he lived for over 30 years. Dick filmed his adventures, and Bob Swerer later turned the film into a video so we can all watch this amazing man build his cabin by hand.

The Supreme Court Just Made It Easier for Big Business to Screw the Little Guy | Mother Jones

The far-reaching consequences of the American Express v. Italian Colors decision.

—By Stephanie Mencimer
| Thu Jun. 20, 2013

Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

In a little-known case called American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the Supreme Court today issued yet another decision making it easier for big corporations to use their market power to screw over consumers and small businesses. Thursday's 5-3 decision affirmed the right of big corporations to use mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts to force small businesses to challenge monopolistic practices in private arbitration rather than through class actions in court. The case shows once again that the conservative majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, has no problem with judicial activism when it comes to bolstering corporate power.

Here's the background on this decision:

The case, Italian Colors v. American Express,was brought by a California Italian restaurant and a group of other small businesses that tried to sue the credit card behemoth for antitrust violations. They allege Amex used its monopoly power to force them to accept its bank-issued knock-off credit cards as a condition of taking regular, more elite American Express cards—and then charging them 30 percent higher fees for the privilege.

The small businesses’ claims were pretty small individually, not more than around $5,000 per shop. So, to make their case worth enough for a lawyer to take it, they banded together to file a class action on behalf of all small businesses affected by the practice. In response, Amex invoked the small print in its contract with them: a clause that not only banned the companies from suing individually but also prevented them from bringing a class action. Instead, Amex insisted the contract required each little businesses to submit to the decision of a private arbitrator paid by Amex, and individually press their claims. (Arbitration is heavily stacked in favor of the big companies, as you can read more about here and here.)

The restaurants estimated, with good evidence, that because of the market research required to press an antitrust case, arbitration would cost each of them almost $1 million to collect a possible maximum of $38,000, making it impossible to bring their claims at all. After a lot of litigation, the little guys prevailed in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the arbitration clause was unconscionable because it prevented the plaintiffs from having their claims heard in any forum. The court said the arbitration contract should be invalidated and that the class action should go forward in a regular courtroom. (Sonia Sotomayor sat on one of the appeals before heading to the high court and is recusing herself from the case as a result.)

The 2nd Circuit repeatedly voted in favor of the merchants. It heard the case at least three times, including once after the high court reversed its original decision in favor of the restaurants, and it seemed fairly united in its belief that the Amex contract was unenforceable. But the Roberts Court has been no friend of small businesses or consumers, particularly those seeking to bring class actions against big companies. The court's conservative majority has made class action litigation much harder to bring, mostly notably in 2011 when it struck down a huge sex discrimination case brought by 1.5 million women working at Walmart.

That's one reason public interest lawyers have sounded the alarm about the Amex case for a year, noting that, given the court's current makeup, the case had potentially awful implications for anyone ripped off while using a credit card or cellphone and for small businesses trying to fend off corporate monopolies.

In an amicus brief submitted in this case on the side of the small businesses, lawyers forAARP, Public Justice, and the American Association for Justice warned that if the court sided with Amex, "statutes intended by Congress to protect weaker parties against stronger parties will essentially be gutted. Small businesses might as well move to a different country where they no longer enjoy the protection of the antitrust laws. At the whim of an employer, workers could be required to prospectively waive their Title VII [anti-discrimination] rights. Consumer protection laws such as the Truth in Lending Act could be silently, but inescapably, repealed by corporations with the stroke of a pen.”

Indeed, if the court ruled that Amex could use an arbitration clause in a contract with a much less powerful party to escape punishment under the Sherman Antitrust Act, there's no reason why a big company couldn't create contracts that prevent people from filing sex discrimination, consumer fraud, or other similar claims in any venue. Laws that Congress passed to protect the public could simply be voided through artfully written arbitration clauses that create expensive hurdles to pressing a claim.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion in the Amex case, seems to believe that this isn't a problem. He said that the law doesn't entitle every potential plaintiff a cheap route into court, noting that litigation outside arbitration is expensive, too, a fact that can keep people from exercising their legal rights. His argument boils down to this: The Federal Arbitration Act, a 1925 maritime law that the court has broadened to cover just about everything, trumps every other law on the books. So if a big company breaks the law and screws you, but you signed a contract with an arbitration clause giving away your right to sue or bring class action, you don't have a case, even if federal law says you do.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas invoked the fiction that the contract Italian Colors signed agreeing to arbitrate its claims individually with Amex was voluntary. But anyone who's ever tried to open a bank account knows it's virtually impossible to engage in commerce these days without being forced to sign a contract in which you forego your right to sue the company if it rips you off.

Justice Elena Kagan gets this point. In her biting dissent aimed squarely at Scalia, she called the majority opinion a "betrayal of our precedents and of federal statutes like antitrust laws." She observed that the court would never uphold an arbitration agreement that explicitly banned merchants from bringing an antitrust claim, yet that's effectively what the Amex contract does by compelling merchants to give up the option of class actions in court. She noted that by ignoring several precedents, the majority is providing companies "every incentive to draft their agreements to extract backdoor waivers of statutory rights." That is, they will use contracts to immunize themselves from laws they don't like.

Kagan was blunt: "If the arbitration clause is enforceable, Amex has insulated itself from antitrust liability—even if it has in fact violated the law. The monopolist gets to use its monopoly power to insist on a contract effectively depriving its victims of all legal recourse. And here is the nutshell version of today’s opinion, admirably flaunted rather than camouflaged: Too darn bad."
The Supreme Court Just Made It Easier for Big Business to Screw the Little Guy | Mother Jones

Jun 20, 2013

Coal foes suffer setback in fight against exports | Grist

Kurt Haubrich Coal dust for everybody!

Bad news for climate hawks, coal haters, and Northwesterners who don’t like breathing coal dust: The Army Corps of Engineers says it won’t consider climate change or other big-picture issues when it reviews the environmental impacts of proposed coal export terminals.

Plans are afoot to build or expand coal export facilities at three ports in the Pacific Northwest. The governors of Oregon and Washington, other elected leaders in the states, and enviros have all been calling for the Army Corps to do a comprehensive study considering the wide-ranging, cumulative impacts of a big coal export push through the region — including coal dust, diesel exhaust, railroad and port congestion, road traffic, water pollution, and, yes, climate change.

But this week, the Army Corps said no. From the Associated Press:

[A] top agency official said Tuesday that a more sweeping study to include all three terminals and impacts further afield was not appropriate.

“Many of the activities of concern to the public, such as rail traffic, coal mining, shipping coal outside of U.S. territory, and the ultimate burning of coal overseas, are outside the Corps’ control and responsibility,” the agency’s acting chief of regulatory affairs, Jennifer Moyer, said in testimony submitted to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

It’s not like “the public” is asking for much — just for the corps to take its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act seriously and review all of the impacts of the planned export rush. Instead, it’s taking a very limited view. From the McClatchy news service:

“The corps will limit its focus on emissions to those associated with construction of the facilities,” Jennifer Moyer … told lawmakers. “The effects of burning of coal in Asia or wherever it may be is too far to affect our action.”

Coal exports have become a big target for climate activists; if they can keep export terminals from being built, that will help keep coal in the ground, because domestic demand for coal has declined markedly in recent years. Activist opposition may have helped kill three of six proposed export terminal proposals in the Northwest since last year.

Why is the Army Corps refusing to do a comprehensive study? In part, it seems to be throwing its hands in the air and saying it would be just too darn hard. Again from McClatchy:

Moyer noted in her testimony that … it was beyond the realm of the agency’s expertise to judge what increased coal shipments would mean for the region.

The Corps will have to work on expanding its expertise if the White House ever actually finalizes its plan to require federal agencies to consider climate change when analyzing the environmental impacts of major projects. It couldn’t hurt the Corps to start practicing now.

Northwest political leaders and enviros plan to keep pushing for broader review. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is pushing too: “I think the Corps is making a big mistake,” he told Moyer, later adding, “I think you should reconsider your position.”
Coal foes suffer setback in fight against exports | Grist

Make Room for Flowers in Your Food Garden

Adding more blooms to your garden or farm isn’t just about aesthetics—it will bring the bees.
June 18, 2013
Willy Blackmore

Willy Blackmore
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor. He has written for The Awl, LA Weekly, and elsewhere.

Full Bio

The marigold and naisturtiums seeds haven't germinated yet, OK? (Photo: Willy Blackmore)

The gender divide was fairly distinct in my parents’ yard. The beds that ran along the porch, the shady corner beneath the magnolia tree, and the half-circle plot just outside the fence were all devoted to flowers, and were thereby my mom’s realm. The raised beds in the backyard and the fruit trees that grew on the south and north side of the house? These were my dad’s charges.

A few marigolds planted alongside the tomatoes were the only non-productive flowers that graced these food-producing plots. Herbs were religiously pinched to keep them from going to seed, and the tight furls that dotted the heads of broccoli only opened up in a profusion of mustard yellow blooms when we were all away on vacation. Pea, bean, pepper, tomato, strawberry, cucumber, zucchini, cherry, apple and pear flowers all made their appearances, but as a means to an end—the vegetables and fruits that followed the blooms is what he was after.

That you can buy armfuls of cilantro flowers and arugula blossoms at farmers markets now, that pungent flowering herbs and edible flowers like cucumber-sweet borage and peppery nasturtium are vogue ingredients at restaurants, suggest that the divide between floral and food, between female and male realms of the garden or farm have blurred. And while the equality bit is much deserved (women play a key roll in agriculture, after all), the space being made for showy flowers in patches of dirt that might otherwise be devoted to more substantial crops has less to do with the reframing of gender norms than it does with pollination—a notion that now has science on its side, according to new research published in Ecology Letters.

See, if a tomato flower opens and there’s no bee or moth or another fluttering insect to pollinate it, you aren’t getting a tomato out of that bloom. And with colony collapse disorder making the apian workhorses of agriculture more and more scarce, why not hedge your bets? If the small yellow dots of tomato flowers are growing next countless clusters of feathery cilantro blooms, there’s going to be a lot more buzzing in that general vicinity (also, green cilantro seeds—coriander by another name—are delicious).

The small, diverse nature of my dad’s garden assures that there’s almost always something in flowering, which, along with those nearby decorative flowers, should be enough to keep some bees around. But if you have a few thousand acres of, say, almond trees, the boughs dusted with bushing white flowers for just a few short weeks a year, what kind of pollen-based argument does that make to a bee? Why would they want to stick around?

They don’t, which is why huge trailer trucks full of hives are freighted around to about-to-bloom orchards, guaranteeing an adequate supply of pollinators. But the new research supports the going-to-seed approach that’s made cilantro blossoms a common sight at the farmers market. The study, conducted by Alterra Research, shows that promotingbiodiversity on farmland by dedicating more space to flowers—wild varieties in particular—has a significant impact on the presence of wild pollinators. Co-author David Klejin sums up the analysis of 71 studies of agri-environment schemes throughout Europe, telling Science Daily, “All you have to do to enhance the wild pollinators of crops on farmland is increase flower abundance in field margins roadsides or crop edges.”

If the bees don’t come, there’s no revenue at stake in a backyard garden, of course, but there’s nothing more depressing than seeing dropped blossoms scattered below a plant. If pride is analogous to cash in a home garden, then flowers and the bees they attract are just as important in a backyard as they are on a farm.

Still, I’ve been hemming and hawing about planting the matajilla poppy I bought last weekend. The Southern California native, its palm-sized blooms resembling crepe-paper fried eggs, can achieve a towering stature, the stems reaching as high as six or eight feet tall. It thrives with very little water, and the evocative blossoms are one of my favorites among California native plants. But that’s space where I could plant another fruit tree...

I’ll plant it in the end, though, knowing science is on my side, hoping my tomato harvest will be better for it.
Make Room for Flowers in Your Food Garden

Top Ten Garden Insect Pests and how to control them

The following list of pest descriptions and control measures provides a good starting point for tackling pest control in gardens throughout the United States and Canada. Control solutions are listed in order of environmental friendliness. Botanical sprays, which can have detrimental effects on beneficial insects and other animals, should be used only as a last resort.

1. Aphids (many species).
Tiny, pear-shaped; long antennae; two tubes projecting rearward from abdomen.

Host/Range: Most fruits and vegetables, flowers, ornamentals, shade trees. Found throughout North America.

Damage: Aphids suck plant sap, causing foliage to distort and leaves to drop; honeydew excreted on leaves supports sooty mold growth; feeding spreads viral diseases.

Control: Wash plants with strong spray of water; encourage native predators and parasites such as aphid midges, lacewings, and lady beetles; when feasible, cover plants with floating row cover; apply hot-pepper or garlic repellent sprays; for severe problems, apply horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem.

2. Cabbage maggot (Delia radicum)
Adults: 1⁄4-inch gray flies. Larvae: white, tapering maggots.

Host/Range: Cabbage-family crops. Found throughout North America.

Damage: Maggots tunnel in roots, killing plants directly or by creating entryways for disease organisms.

Control: Apply floating row covers; set out transplants through slits in tar-paper squares; avoid first generation by delaying planting; apply parasitic nematodes around roots; burn roots from harvested plants; mound wood ashes or red pepper dust around stems.

3. Caterpillars (many species)
Soft, segmented larvae with distinct, harder head capsule; six legs in front, fleshy false legs on rear segments.

Host/Range: Many fruits and vegetables, ornamentals, shade trees. Range varies with species.

Damage: Caterpillars chew on leaves or along margins; droppings soil the produce; some tunnel into fruits.

Control: Encourage native predators, parasites; hand pick; apply floating row covers; spray with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) or spinosad.

4. Cutworms (several species)
Fat, 1-inch-long, gray or black segmented larvae; active at night.

Host/Range: Most early vegetable and flower seedlings, transplants. Found throughout North America.

Damage: Cutworms chew through stems at ground level; they may completely devour small plants; most damaging in May and June.

Control: Use cutworm collars on transplants; delay planting; hand pick cutworms curled below soil surface; scatter bran baits mixed with Btk (B.t. var. kurstaki) and molasses before planting.

5. Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)
Adults: yellow-orange beetles with 10 black stripes on wing covers. Larvae: orange, hump-backed grubs with black spots along sides. Eggs: yellow ovals, laid in upright clusters.

Host/Range: Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, petunias. Found throughout North America.

Damage: Beetles defoliate plants, reducing yields or killing young plants.

Control: Apply floating row covers; use deep straw mulches; hand pick; attract native parasites and predators; spray with Beauveria bassiana or spinosad; spray with neem.

6. Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestris)
Adults: oval, yellow-brown, 1⁄4-inch beetles with 16 black spots on wing covers. Larvae: fat, dark yellow grubs with long, branched spines.

Host/Range: Cowpeas, lima beans, snap beans, soybeans. Found in most states east of the Mississippi River; also parts of Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Utah.

Damage: Adults and larvae chew on leaves from beneath, leaving characteristic lacy appearance; plants defoliated and killed.

Control: Apply floating row covers; plant bush beans early; hand pick; plant soybean trap crop; put out lures to draw spined soldier bugs (predators) to your yard. Spray Beauveria bassiana, insecticidal soap, or neem.

7. Flea beetles (several species)
Small, dark beetles that jump like fleas when disturbed.

Host/Range: Most vegetable crops. Found throughout North America.

Damage: Adults chew numerous small, round holes in leaves; most damaging to young plants; larvae feed on plant roots.

Control: Apply floating row covers; repel the pests by spraying plants with garlic spray or kaolin clay; for a serious infestation, try repeated sprays of Beauveria bassiana or spinosad.

8. Tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris)
Fast-moving, mottled, green or brown bugs, forewings with black-tipped yellow triangles. Nymphs: similar to adults, but wingless.

Host/Range: Many flowers, fruits, vegetables. Found throughout North America.

Control: Adults and nymphs suck plant juices, causing leaf and fruit distortion, wilting, stunting, and tip dieback.

Damage: Keep garden weed free in spring. Apply floating row covers; encourage native predatory insects; spray young nymphs with Beauveria bassiana or neem.

9. Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica)
Adults: metallic blue-green, 1⁄2-inch beetles with bronze wing covers. Larvae: fat, white grubs with brown heads.

Host/Range: Many vegetables and flowers, small fruit. Found in all states east of the Mississippi River.

Damage: Adults skeletonize leaves, chew flowers, may completely defoliate plants; larvae feed on lawn and garden plant roots.

Control: Shake beetles from plants in early morning; apply floating row covers; set out baited traps upwind of your garden on two sides and at least 30 feet away; apply milky disease spores or Herterorhabditis nematodes to soil; spray beetles with insecticidal soap.

10. Scales (more than 200 species)
Adults: females look like hard or soft bumps on stems, leaves, fruit; males are minute flying insects. Larvae: tiny, soft, crawling larvae with threadlike mouthparts.

Host/Range: Many fruits, indoor plants, ornamental shrubs, and trees. Found throughout North America.

Damage: All stages suck plant sap, weakening plants. Plants become yellow, drop leaves, and may die. Honeydew is excreted onto foliage and fruit.

Control: Prune out infested plant parts; encourage native predators; scrub scales gently from twigs with soft brush and soapy water, rinse well; apply dormant or summer oil sprays; spray with neem oil.

Learn more about control pests and disease in the garden.

Top Ten Garden Insect Pests

Gagged by Big Ag | Mother Jones

By Ted Genoways
| July/August 2013 Issue

Illustration by Tim O'Brien 

Woodworking - Making Gypsy Flowers

Published on Jun 19, 2013

Ian Barnett demonstrates how to make wooden gypsy flowers using a draw knife and coppiced hazel. He shows the different effects achieved by using green wood and dry wood at his workshop in Amberley Museum, Sussex.

Life in the Rural Police State of Monsanto

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 09:08
By Richard Schiffman, Truthout | News Analysis
There has been mixed news for the agrochemical giant Monsanto recently. On the one hand, there was the surprise announcement on June 1 by company spokesman Brandon Mitchener: "We are no longer working on lobbying for more cultivation in Europe... Currently we do not plan to apply for the approval of new genetically modified crops."

The embattled corporation has decided to stop tilting against the windmill of European resistance to its controversial biotech seeds. Eight EU nations have already prohibited GM (genetically modified) cultivation on their territory and banned the import of genetically modified foods from abroad. Full Story: Life in the Rural Police State of Monsanto

Companion Planting Chart & Companion Planting Guide - Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems — by Stefan Boone June 20, 2013

Larger Image

Larger Image

Source Link: Companion Planting Charand Guide

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author: Talks at Google - YouTube

Published on Jun 19, 2013

Human society runs on trust. We all trust millions of people, organizations, and systems every day -- and we do it so easily that we barely notice. But in any system of trust, there is an alternative, parasitic, strategy that involves abusing that trust. Making sure those defectors don't destroy the cooperative systems they're abusing is an age-old problem, one that we've solved through morals and ethics, laws, and all sort of security technologies. Understanding how these all work -- and fail -- is essential to understanding the problems we face in today's increasingly technological and interconnected world.

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a ""security guru,"" he is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier.

Bruce Schneier: Talks at Google - YouTube

Jun 18, 2013

Opposition to House Farm Bill Spans Political Spectrum - NYTimes.com

June 17, 2013,
Opposition to House Farm Bill Spans Political Spectrum

As the House prepares to vote this week on a new five-year farm bill, advocacy groups from across the political spectrum are lining up to oppose it, threatening to derail legislation that died last year when leaders refused to bring it to the floor. FULL STORY: Opposition to House Farm Bill Spans Political Spectrum - NYTimes.com

See Also: http://www.taxpayer.net/library/article/oppose-house-farm-bill-draft-fails-to-reform-creates-new-subsidy-entitlemen

Jun 17, 2013

7 Essential Foods for Your Gut

Your gut is like a forest, full of diverse life that—if kept in check—helps your whole natural system flourish. The problem is, food isn’t as simple as it used to be, and modern cuisine, even modern medicine like antibiotics, can do a real number on the biodiversity in your digestive tract—your beneficial bacteria. In fact, too many meds and eating too much sugar and processed foods can actually suppress this protective gastrointestinal army, so it’s important to bring balance and stability back to your gut for optimal health to avoid diarrhea and diseases. In fact, many of these probiotic-rich foods will actually help you glow on the outside, too. Studies have found probiotics help combat skin problems.

For better gut health, these 7 foods will help!


The Benefit: Kind of like a drinkable yogurt, kefir is a fermented dairy product that contains oligosaccharides, complex carbs, that feed beneficial bacteria. And keeping those tiny microorganisms content will help supercharge your immune system.

Healthy Tip: Keep your kefir cold—the live and active cultures are sensitive to heat—and be sure to avoid kefir with sky-high sugar content. Too much sugar damages your healthy intestinal flora.

Photo: (cc) Miss Yasmina/Flickr

Greek Yogurt

The Benefit: Like kefir, Greek yogurt also serves as a potent diary-based probiotic, and also boasts 15 to 20 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving and amino acids that will jump-start your metabolism.

Healthy Tip: Some companies market “Greek style” yogurt products that are nothing more than regular yogurt containing additives like gelatin and milk solids to thicken the consistency. For true Greek yogurt, check the ingredients list. It should only read: Milk and cultures.

Learn more: 9 Foods that Boost the Immune System.

Photo: (cc) Janine/Flickr

Real Sauerkraut

The Benefit: Sauerkraut is really fermented cabbage, a preservation technique that far precedes modern-day refrigeration.

Healthy Tip: For true probiotic muscle, avoid canned sauerkraut, because it’s pasteurized, meaning the healthy bacteria is mostly killed off. Instead, make your own in a crock.

Dig Deeper: How to Make Sauerkraut

Photo: (cc) Manray3/Flickr


The Benefit: A standby for centuries in Korean culture, this spicy fermented cabbage dish acts like a tonic for your gastrointestinal tract. A 2005 Seoul National University study found it’s so beneficial to the immune system that it helped speed recovery in chickens stricken with the virulent avian flu.

Healthy Tip: Add kimchi to organic mashed potatoes, rice, or salads if the distinctly sour, fizzy fare isn’t appetizing to you on its own.
Try Edward Lee's Lettuce Kimchi.

Photo: (cc) Craig Nagy/Flickr


The Benefit: Artichokes are potent prebiotics, meaning they contain undigestible nutrients that help feed the beneficial bacteria growth within your digestive system. Think of them like a healthy meal for the helpful bacteria in your gut.

Healthy Tip: If artichokes don’t delight your taste buds, try other potent prebiotics like bananas, lentils, and asparagus.
Video Tip: How to Trim an Artichoke.


The Benefit: With its naturally fizzy profile, this fermented tea serves as a healthy replacement for carbonated drinks like soda. Mildly tart and effervescent, kombucha is teeming with beneficial bacteria to coat your digestive tract. The fermentation process also creates healthy B vitamins that can activate energy.

Healthy Tip: This ancient, nourishing tonic has boosted immune systems for centuries; however, if you have certain digestive-tract diseases or candida, kombucha may aggravate symptoms because it’s considered a wild ferment and could contain irritating yeasts for susceptible individuals.
Like what you see? Sign up for the FREE Organic Gardening Newsletter!

Photo: (cc) Miss Bossy/Flickr

Miso Soup

The Benefit: While there’s debate surrounding the health benefits of soy, the truth is fermented soybeans contain an abundance of beneficial bacteria and isoflavones, which can protect against cancer and possibly halt the production of fat cells.

Healthy Tip: Look for organic miso soup to avoid harmful additives and genetically engineered soy, which has never been tested for long-term impact on human health.

Keep Reading: 11 Foods that Make You Smarter.

Photo: (cc) Jeremy Keith/Flickr
Source URL: http://www.organicgardening.com/living/7-essential-foods-for-your-gut

[1] http://www.flickr.com/photos/miss_yasmina/5676681372/
[2] http://www.organicgardening.com/living/9-foods-boost-immune-system
[3] http://www.flickr.com/photos/geishabot/4579250516/
[4] http://www.organicgardening.com/cook/how-to-make-sauerkraut
[5] http://www.flickr.com/photos/manray3/3808261641/
[6] http://www.organicgardening.com/quickkimchi
[7] http://www.flickr.com/photos/nagy/23219340/
[8] http://www.organicgardening.com/cook/how-to-trim-an-artichoke
[9] http://www.organicgardening.com/free-organic-gardening-newsletters-sign
[10] http://www.flickr.com/photos/missbossy/6933791485/
[11] http://www.organicgardening.com/cook/11-foods-that-make-you-smarter
[12] http://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/66448363/
7 Essential Foods for Your Gut

THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT THE FARM BILL!!! --- The Ed Show: The good and the bad of the Farm Bill

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The Ed Show: The good and the bad of the Farm Bill

Industrial Agriculture - Dont Lose your Shirt to Nitrogen Deficiency

Published: June 13, 2013

Over 16 inches of rain have fallen since April 1 in cross-hatched areas. These areas have likely lost enough N to result in N deficiency in many fields that received all N before planting, especially on well-drained soils. Diagonally-shaded areas are on track to get 16 inches of rain from April 1 to June 30, and are likely to develop N deficiency if that occurs.

Plan. Watch. Act.

Those are my key recommendations to avoid losing your shirt to nitrogen deficiency in this year’s corn crop.
The Situation

Drenching rains since April 1 have endangered fertilizer nitrogen applied before that time, as well as nitrogen contributed by the soil. Over 58 million acres in the midwest received more than 16 inches of rain from April 1 to June 9. Iowa and Missouri lead the charge, with more than 15 million acres each, with Illinois close behind at 12 million acres. These areas are shown in cross-hatch in the map on the left.

Snow and rain in February and March also contributed greatly to re-wetting dry soil and beginning the processes leading to N loss.

In Missouri, more fall anhydrous ammonia was applied last fall than in any of the five previous years. This N has now been in the field for about 7 months. I would say that much of it has already been lost, or is in serious danger of being lost in coming weeks. N-Serve will not provide adequate protection to many of these fields.

I am also guessing that more N has been lost from well-drained soils than from poorly-drained soils to date. This is, if I’m correct (and I’m far from sure that I am), unusual. I’ve seen many more acres of yellow corn in areas with poorly-drained soils than in areas with well-drained soils over the years. But this year’s heaviest rains were in April, when well-drained soils are vulnerable to loss and poorly-drained soils are less vulnerable.

I believe that every farmer who applied all of their N before planting should have a plan for how they will apply more N fertilizer to the growing corn crop if it appears to need it. Further, every fertilizer retailer should have a plan for how they will help customers apply N to their growing corn. Tractor-drawn injection equipment, tractor-drawn dry N buggies, sprayers equipped with drop nozzles, high-clearance self-propelled spinners, airplanes....all are excellent options for how to apply more N if needed. Now is the time to develop a plan for how to apply more N, if you don’t already have one. Developing a backup plan as well would be even better. Fertilizer source should be planned and verified along with application equipment.

You may not need this plan. But if you don’t have one, your odds of getting more N applied if you need it are greatly reduced.

Watching the crop is the most reliable way to tell whether it needs more N or not. If the corn is lighter green than it should be, it probably needs more N, especially if it stays light once the soil is no longer waterlogged. This is reliable mainly for corn that is at least a foot tall.

Watching many fields from ground level is difficult and not very accurate. Getting up in an airplane with a camera is much better. Many local airfields have a pilot who can be hired.

I can predict how much yield will be lost from a straight-down aerial photo of corn that is at least hip-high. If you’re interested in trying this, call me. We can process a limited number of fields this year. Obviously the problem with this is that a limited number of machines are available that can apply N to corn this tall. The corn itself won’t mind at all.

Watching the corn is the most reliable indicator of whether additional N is needed, but requires waiting. Plans to get N applied may require quicker action on at least some fields to accomodate equipment limitations. Watching weather may need to be the basis for at least some decisions. The map above comes from my Nitrogen Watch page, which is based on cumulative precipitation maps and is updated weekly. You can find these maps at: http://plantsci.missouri.edu/nutrientmanagement/nitrogen/Nitrogen%20watch%202013/nitrogen%20watch%202013.htm

This is the most important part. If you need to act and don’t, you will lose a lot of yield and a lot of money.

I think that most producers in the cross-hatched area of the map who applied all their N before planting will profit from applying additional N even if it is not targeted. This is especially true for fields fertilized in the fall.

Fields that received anhydrous ammonia this spring, or that received the bulk of their N after planting, are least likely to need additional N.

Watching fields and targeting additional N to those fields that need it most, or putting higher rates on the fields that need it most, will increase the odds of profitability.

Targeting N within fields would be even better. My research shows the best return on rescue N applications in the areas with the greatest N stress. And my observations show that there is usually a wide range of N stress in fields that have lost N. You can see this in the N loss aerial photo galleries on my website: http://plantsci.missouri.edu/nutrientmanagement/nitrogen/loss.htm

Crop canopy sensors are the most widely available way to target N applications within fields, applying higher rates to more stressed corn and lower rates to less stressed corn. However, not all sensor interpretations follow this logic so look for those that do.

MU | IPM | IPCM | Dont Lose your Shirt to Nitrogen Deficiency

How to Make Homemade Deer Repellent | eHow

How to Keep a Deer Out of My Garden thumbnail
Things You'll Need
Bar soap
Simple Deer Repellent
1 Drill a hole in bars of deodorant or citrus-scented soap and hang them on plants at feeding height or every 3 feet to establish a perimeter around the yard.
2 Wrap human hair in pieces of old nylons and tie the bundles directly to shrubs and trees. It will be easier to replenish this homemade deer repellent when the scent wears off if you work in a hair salon or know someone who does.
3 Combine a dozen eggs (without the shells) and 5 gallons of water in a garden sprayer and apply the mixture to the ground. The odor of the rotting eggs repels the deer but should not be detectable by humans.
Spicy Homemade Deer Repellent
4 Mix 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or juice, 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap and 1 gallon of water. Pour the mixture into a garden sprayer and apply to plants weekly or after rainfall.
5 Combine 5 tablespoons of powdered hot pepper, 5 cloves of fresh garlic and 1 cup of chopped onions with 2 cups of water, cover the container and let it stand for 24 hours. Mix with 1 gallon of water and apply with a garden sprayer.  
6 Bring 1 cup of vinegar to a boil in a saucepan, add 4 tablespoons of cayenne and boil for one minute. Strain it through a coffee filter into a bowl. Puree ½ cup of peeled garlic with 2 cups of water in a blender. Strain it through a coffee filter into the same bowl. Pour into a garden sprayer with 1 cup of ammonia, 1 cup of Murphy's oil soap and 3 gallons of water and apply.

Tips & Warnings

Homemade deer repellents are more effective when they are applied as soon as the deer-feeding problem becomes apparent, and the deer have not established a feeding pattern.

Read more: How to Make Homemade Deer Repellent | eHow http://www.ehow.com/how_5371351_make-homemade-deer-repellent.html#ixzz2WUkNDLRJ

How to Make Homemade Deer Repellent | eHow

Frogs feminized, but atrazine's effects on people uncertain. — Environmental Health News

Upsetting!   Monte


Atrazine, one of the most widely used farm pesticides in the United States, has feminized male frogs and other animals in some scientific studies. But research examining potential effects in people is relatively sparse. A few studies have found possible connections between atrazine and higher rates of some birth defects and poor semen quality in men. Yet scientists say more human research is needed to reach any conclusions. “All of the human studies I know of have some issues,” said Suzanne Fenton of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “The hard part about atrazine work is that it has a really short half-life in humans/animals. Hard to measure accurately.” Dr. Paul Winchester said his research “certainly doesn’t prove that atrazine causes birth defects…but we simply can’t rule it out as a cause.” “We’re not looking for a fight [with Syngenta],” he said. “We’re just looking for answers.”

University of Georgia

By Brian Bienkowski and Marla Cone
Environmental Health News

June 17, 2013

Atrazine, one of the most widely used farm pesticides in the United States, has feminized male frogs and other animals in some scientific studies. But research examining potential effects in people is relatively sparse.

A few studies have found possible connections between atrazine and higher rates of some birth defects and poor semen quality in men. Yet scientists say more human research is needed to reach any conclusions. “It pales in comparison to the animal research,” said Dr. Paul Winchester, an Indiana University professor of clinical pediatrics who studies the pesticide.

For more than half a century, U.S. farmers have used large volumes of atrazine to kill weeds, particularly in cornfields. The herbicide has been found in waterways and aquifers that supply drinking water. Syngenta, its manufacturer, says that the chemical is safe for both humans and wildlife at levels found in the environment.

Atrazine is used on most U.S. corn. Runoff from fields contaminates water supplies.

But about a decade ago, researchers at University of California, Berkeley, found that low concentrations – the amount expected near farms – caused male tadpoles to turn into female frogs.

Follow-up studies in the wild found that atrazine either turned male tadpoles into females or “demasculinized” them, causing eggs to grow in their testes and rendering them unable to reproduce, said Tyrone Hayes, a UC Berkeley professor of biology who led the research.

The chemical can disrupt hormones and alter male reproductive tissues when an animal is exposed during development. Other impacts include a reduction in size at birth, according to 2005 and 2008 studies of amphibians and fish by University of Texas researchers.

And it’s not just frogs that might be at risk of being feminized – recent research has found that atrazine has similar hormonal effects on salmon, caimans and lab rats.

In addition, “it’s been shown to cause erratic behavior, like weird swimming patterns,” Hayes said. “Fish and frogs start swimming improperly, which has consequences – they can’t escape predators, they can’t find food.”

“It [atrazine] has been shown to cause erratic behavior, like weird swimming patterns. Fish and frogs start swimming improperly, which has consequences – they can’t escape predators, they can’t find food.” -Tyrone Hayes, UC Berkeley Syngenta disputes all these findings. The Swiss-based company particularly took issue with Hayes’ research, and cited follow-up studies that could not replicate his work and reported no feminizing effects on frogs. Peer-reviewed and published, the industry studies were conducted at two labs, and were funded by Syngenta after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked the company in 2003 to perform more frog tests.

Hayes in 2004 wrote a paper slamming Syngenta's studies, saying there were errors, such as high mortality of frogs and inappropriate measurements of hormone levels. He said due to those factors, their research cannot be compared with his. "All of the studies that say [atrazine] doesn’t have any effect come from industry. We're all finding reproductive effects, except those who are getting paid [by Syngenta],” he said.

Oregon State University
Tyrone Hayes has reported that frogs exposed to atrazine in his lab were feminized.

The field studies of frogs that couldn’t replicate Hayes’ findings used different, less-accurate methods, said Krista McCoy, a professor of biology at East Carolina University and co-author of a 2010 analysis of atrazine and wildlife research.

McCoy said the studies that didn’t find a link assumed that some ponds were clean and could be used as a reference site. When the researchers found similar abnormalities in frogs from the so-called “clean” site and polluted site, they reported no link to atrazine.

But “there’s no such thing as a clean control site where there’s no manmade chemicals,” McCoy said. “If you collect samples from a pond in an agricultural area and then go across the street to someone’s yard, well, the animals [in the non-agricultural pond] are probably exposed to the same chemicals due to runoff.”

McCoy’s analysis of previous research concluded that atrazine consistently affected reproductive development of male frogs in studies. But it’s unclear whether any animal populations are dropping due to possible effects from the herbicide.

Jason Rohr, a biology professor at the University of South Florida and co-author of that analysis, has some concerns about all of the atrazine research. “There are problems with some of Tyrone’s [Hayes] work, some of it is fantastic,” Rohr said. He wondered whether any variables were introduced in the Syngenta-funded studies that may skew the results.

Europe banned atrazine in 2003 because of its widespread discovery in water supplies. But the EPA concluded that water containing atrazine at 3 parts per billion is safe to drink. The agency, however, has initiated another review of data collected since 2007 on both human and wildlife health.In a 2007 review of the chemical, the EPA agreed with Syngenta and renewed the registration of atrazine, concluding that it was not harming frogs and other wildlife at levels found in the environment. “Based on the negative results of these studies, the Agency concludes that it is reasonable to reject the hypothesis…that atrazine exposure can affect amphibian gonadal development,” the EPA said in its review.

Under federal law, “a pesticide must be found not to cause unreasonable risks to people or the environment” in order for the EPA to allow continued use. But the law also allows the EPA to take into “account the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of the use of the pesticide” when assessing “unreasonable risks.” Pesticides are reviewed every 15 years.

Europe banned atrazine in 2003 because of its widespread discovery in water supplies. But the EPA concluded that water containing atrazine at 3 parts per billion is safe to drink. The agency, however, has initiated another review of data collected since 2007 on both human and wildlife health.

Ho-Wen Chen/flickr
Zebrafish embryos exposed to atrazine exhibited changes in how some genes related to reproduction functioned.

One recent study offers clues to the mechanisms through which atrazine can harm animals and possibly humans.

Purdue University researchers found that zebrafish embryos exposed to atrazine at environmental levels showed changes in their genes. “The genes that were altered were associated with neuroendocrine, reproductive function in the fish,” said Jennifer Freeman, a toxicology professor at Purdue University who was the study’s senior author.

While the study didn’t examine whether these gene changes led to health problems, Freeman said it’s plausible that they could be behind some developmental and reproductive effects seen in wildlife. She said these genes work in similar ways in fish and humans.

The strongest evidence of a possible human effect is a study comparing men in a rural area of Missouri to men in three urban areas. The Missouri men with higher atrazine exposures were more likely to have poor semen quality, perhaps due to the chemical’s ability to alter sex hormones, according to the study published a decade ago. Similar effects were reported on the sperm of lab animals.

Another large study, conducted in France, showed babies exposed in the womb to atrazine are born weighing slightly less, by an average of five ounces.

The herbicide also has been linked to changes in breast tissue and birth defects in exposed lab rats, which are used to determine if the chemicals are a danger to humans.

The strongest evidence of a possible human effect is a study comparing men in a rural area of Missouri to men in three urban areas. The Missouri men with higher atrazine exposures were more likely to have poor semen quality.Toxicologist Suzanne Fenton, a leading atrazine researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said when mother rats are exposed to high doses of atrazine, their pups have developmental delays in mammary glands, which may increase susceptibility to breast cancer.

But the International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that there is “inadequate evidence” to say that atrazine causes cancer in humans, and the EPA reported in 2006 that it is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

“All of the human studies I know of have some issues,” Fenton said. “The hard part about atrazine work is that it has a really short half-life in humans/animals. Hard to measure accurately.”

Similar to rat studies, atrazine has been linked to some birth defects in humans. A study published this year that reviewed birth defect records in Texas found “modest, but consistent, associations” between boys’ genital defects and mothers who live near areas with atrazine. A 2007 study in Indiana found an increased rate of abdominal defects in children born in areas with higher atrazine levels in surface waters. Also, U.S. babies conceived in April through August, when farm chemicals including atrazine were at their highest amounts in water, had more birth defects, according to research by Winchester and colleagues.

However, all three of these birth defect studies had to estimate atrazine exposure, making it questionable whether the health impact was from the chemical and not from some other factor. For example, the scientists don’t know how much atrazine the mothers were actually exposed to; they just know they lived in areas where it was found in streams. Also, the study in France that did measure atrazine in mothers found no increase in birth defects in their children.

Winchester said his research linking agricultural months to birth defects “certainly doesn’t prove that atrazine causes birth defects…but we simply can’t rule it out as a cause.”

“We’re not looking for a fight [with Syngenta],” he said. “We’re just looking for answers.”
Frogs feminized, but atrazine's effects on people uncertain. — Environmental Health News