June 6, 2009 archive

NYC locals take note: “Just Food” sponsors “Pollinator Week”

From June 22-28, Just Food, a non-profit organization that works to develop a just and sustainable food system in the New York City region, will be sponsoring “Pollinator Week”, a series of events in Manhattan that highlight the use of local honey in food and drink. In part these events are designed to bring public attention to a drive to legalize beekeeping in New York City.

Kicking off the week will be the First Annual Beekeeper’s Ball at Pier 17, South Street Seaport on Monday, June 22 from 6-11pm. On Thursday the 24th, fifteen Manhattan bars and restaurants will be featuring signature dishes and drinks that incorporate locally harvested honey. On Saturday the 26th, the Union Square farmer’s market will be having a “honey fest” featuring local beekeepers and their wares.

As part of Pollinator Week, I will be one of the speakers at Jimmy’s #43 on June 25th at 6pm. This is a fundraiser for Just Food, admission is $10. The evening includes a screening of “Hidden Hives”, a movie about urban beekeeping. Representatives from the Manhattan Meadery and the Long Island Meadery will be present to let you sample their commercially available offerings. I will be speaking about the art of making homebrewed mead, and may have some of my own stuff for people to try.

Damned – A personal abortion essay

That’s how I felt then, trapped and damned.

Photobucket  He didn’t want the baby.

He wasn’t even sure about me after a year.

I understood the fear he came from, the betrayal he felt when he and Jill fell apart. I loved him so, and he would leave me if I had it. Maybe. He said he wasn’t sure, but he was positive he wasn’t ready to be tied to a child with me. We had little money. We weren’t even living together. He thought himself too unstable, I thought him the most sane being, the most enlightened being on the planet. I suppose in retrospect, with the adults I grew up with, he was by comparison. I was 22, he was 37. He had a thousand reasons, and let me know every one of them.

I always wanted a dozen kids. But I knew this man was my soul-mate. Knew upon knowing it was he that I would spend my life with, believed with all the certitude and bravado of youth. I couldn’t lose him. Couldn’t. He was my world, and introduced me to so much more of the world than my sheltered past had. He was my guide, my mentor, and I suppose a bit of the father figure that I lacked.

He claimed that I loved him now, but would tire of him as we aged, that I would be too young to want an old man later. He said he had taken lousy care of the kid he already had.He said abortion was really the only option. He railed on it, endlessly.

Finally, after many tears, he conceded it was my body, and ultimately my choice, but not to count on him in it.

I needed time to think. I had other concerns going too….

an untitled diary

“…the really important stuff they never tell you about – you have to imagine it on your own.”

b. andreas 1997

cross posted at Daily Kos

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

Now with 29 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 New ministers back UK’s Brown but fate uncertain

By Avril Ormsby, Reuters

2 hrs 37 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, battling to avert the collapse of his government, said on Saturday he would stick to his policies, as his Labour Party faced a European election drubbing.

A day after reshuffling his cabinet to try to secure the loyalty of ministers after several walked out of his government, Brown said: “I think it is important to recognize that in these unprecedented times you are bound to have up and downs in politics.

“You are bound to have difficulties because the public are waiting to see the results, but you have got to stick with the policies and make sure that they come through,” he told reporters after attending a cathedral service in France to mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The Hidden Danger in Coal Ash The Selenium Wars – in the TN. Legislature.

This is up at DK now – not getting ANY attention, but it’s an important story – so Ill put it up here but don’t have time to edit.

Who knows how the polo ponies were killed in Florida?  

“An overdose of selenium is the probable cause of death of 21 polo horses in Wellington last week, the state veterinarian said today.” http://www.palmbeachpost.com/h…

While a little bit of selenium may be health promoting, at amounts of just a little bit more, it becomes a deadly toxic.  http://ods.od.nih.gov/factshee…

Aquatic selenium pollution is a global environmental safety issue. http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.u…

Kossacks have heard previously in many good diaries about  the Kingston coal ash disaster, including this one TOXIC BREW IN TENNESSEE: A look at what’s in TVA’s coal ash. http://www.dailykos.com/storyo…

There have also been diaries about the absurd things happening in the Tennessee legislature this year, particularly with guns http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

and our water laws.

Infant mortality rates highest in Republican leaning states

The bottom ten states by ranking are

1. Mississippi 11.4/1000
2. Louisiana 10.1/1000
3. South Carolina  9.4/1000
4. Alabama  9.4/1000
5. Delaware  9.0/1000
6. Tennessee  8.9/1000
7. North Carolina  8.8/1000
8. Ohio  8.3/1000
9. Georgia  8.2/1000
10.West Virginia  8.1/1000

    We need a public option in health care reform, preferably a single payer plan, and we need it now.

    We have to fight for quality public health care as if our lives depend on it. Literally. Lives depend on it.

    Sadly, the District of Columbia has the highest percentage of Infant Mortality, with 14.1/1000

    Infant mortality is defined as the number of deaths of infants (one year of age or less) per 1000 live births.  

    If the best indicator of the policies followed by our political leaders is the quality of health, education and prosperity that their constituents enjoy, we can safely say that our nations private health care system and Republican leadership have failed miserably.


    Many factors effect the infant mortality rate. First and foremost among these factors are the availability of medicine and health care to the public itself, and the amount of wealthy or poverty in which that population lives.

    In instances like this many issues seem to converge. Racism, empathy, health care reform, poverty, the economy, all these issues add up to this sad fact; the same people who fear empathy, reverse racism, health care reform and all the strawmen they can raise do not care one bit about the fact that American infants die at a higher rate than any other nation of our stature that has a single payer public health care system and a strong social safety net for those who are less fortunate than others.

    In this case, personal responsibility literally translates into “if you wanted to have a better chance at survival you should have been born into a family that wasn’t as disadvantaged. I am not responsible for your problems. ”

    The nearly 10-year decline in U.S. infant mortality rates has stalled and disparities between black and white infant mortality persist, according to CDC data, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the data, black infants are 2.4 times more likely to die before age one than white infants.

    In 2005, 13.26 black infants died per 1,000 live births, which is similar to the rate in some developing nations, the Journal reports. Among white infants, the mortality rate increased slightly to 5.73 deaths per 1,000 live births, up from 5.66 deaths in 2004, according to the data. Overall, the U.S. infant mortality rate increased from 6.78 deaths per 1,000 births in 2004 to 6.86 deaths per 1,000 births in 2005. According to the Journal, infant mortality rates had “steady declines” in the 1990s and early 2000s, particularly among white infants.

    CDC officials say the higher rates in large part can be attributed to low birthweights, shorter gestation periods and premature births. Experts say that it is difficult to identify a link between race and higher infant mortality but noted that higher rates of poverty, limited access to health care and dietary differences are possible contributors (Abkowitz, Wall Street Journal, 7/30).


    More often than not, those of us who lack basic health care and preventative medicine are those people who are poor and disadvantaged. Often, those same people are minorities, women and people who are not born into the wealth that gives people greater opportunity. It should be telling that, as a society, we have failed to provide for the majority of our citizens as well as other nations that are not as profit hungry.

    The divide between the rich and poor in America can be plainly seen here.

‘Stop’ the War, ‘F’ the Blue Dogs, and Support Justice!!! Blogidarity!

Through an interesting confluence and a unique bug and/or feature of the NewPolitik, there is a rare and precious chance to REALLY make a difference in Congress. A blogosphere wide campaign to do just that is….as they say….ON!

From what I can glean through the intelligence chatter, this even may be the start of a new, effective VLWConspiracy involving and uniting the LW Blogs and an apparently newly vitalized Progressive Caucus in Congress….in an affiliation loose enough too be comfortable for non-herdable cats, but effective enough to REALLY make a difference.

Exciting times!

From what I can tell, the effort was started by Jane Hamsher over at FDL. (The eleventh most influential blog in Blogtopia!) Democrats.com (Bob Fertik) Glenn Greenwald, mcjoan, BTD, Digby, and many others have been pushing it since then. All in support of and with the cooperation of the good folks in the Progressive caucus like Barney Frank, Conyers, Barbara Lee, and Maxine Waters, amongst others.

H.R. 2346, the War Supplemental (I thought we had stopped using this BS method?) does three things. Three things that conflict enough to have brought together various factions in the House to oppose it. It funds the Wars, it allocates $100Billion to the IMF per Obama’s promise to help developing countries deal with the world wide financial crisis created by the Repubs and WallSt…….and it permanently suppresses torture evidence: The photos of torture that the ACLU went to court and WON the release of…which was then ‘overturned’ in a monumental flip-flop by Obama…at the behest of The Generals.

Because it might ley folks in the Middle east on on the fact that the US engaged in an Organized Policy of Torture….

Because, I guess, they didn’t know that already. < eye roll >

Digby runs down the coalitions in conflict and why an effort on our part can make a difference…

There are a lot of moving parts on this. The Blue Dogs don’t want to pass the IMF provision, but they are for the war funding and secrecy provision. Some progressives are hostile to the war funding and the secrecy provision but not to the IMF. (The DICs prevail on that one.) I would assume that there are a handful who are hostile to all three. Evidently the process is very chaotic and nobody really knows what’s going on. And that brings opportunity to influence the outcome.

And of course the ever active David Swanson is involved and has kindly provided every contact tool you could ever want to join in the effort!

IF you want to see The Progressive Caucus flex some muscle….IF you want to see the Blogs united in a REAL effort at Change….IF you want to be a part of all of this and ‘Stop’ the War, ‘F’ the Blue Dogs, and Support Justice!!! All at the same time……

Yell Louder!!!

Using the contact info David has provided!


A Kabuki Dance on the Grave of American Democracy

In Why We Can’t Have Change Buhdy argued that there is just not much Obama can do to bring Change about . . .

There is plain and simple, just not much he can do to bring Change about. There is not…yet…much he can do to bring Change about for one basic reason. One basic reason, which then blooms into a thousand flowers all smelling like DC bullshit in the spring.

The one card Obama has to play in the DC Realpolitik Poker Game is….us.  The Power of the People.  A steady 65% approval rating, and that is a HARD 65%.  The People who support him REALLY support him. And his many and varied opponents know it. He has that, and the limited (even post-Bush) power of the Executive Branch.

He brings that to the table.  But sitting across from him, arrayed around the table far outnumbering him….is the entire structure of the United States Government.

The entire structure of the United States government is broken, and everyone knows it. That’s why Obama got elected.  Americans elected him President to fix that broken government.  He has far more than one card to play, he’s sitting at that poker table in Washington with a Royal Flush, but he won’t lay it down on the table.

In 2004, no one had ever heard of Obama.  Yet somehow, he won the Presidency of the United States only four years later.  Why?  Because he promised Change.  Because 65 million Americans believed him when he said we have to put the politics of the past behind us, and voted for him.  But he’s not putting the politics of the past behind us, he’s letting the politics of the past, the politics of bullshit posturing in Congress, prevent him from doing what needs to be done.  

I’m not buying any arguments that Obama can’t bring Change.  The problem we have here is that he won’t bring Change.  Not real change.  He knows, and said so many times on the campaign trail, that the overwhelming challenges we face require new solutions.  Yet the only solutions he talks about involve playing the same old politics of the past with a broken Congress that’s about as popular as syphilis.  

Dark Soul – Chapter Two – Saturday Serial

Happy Saturday and welcome to the second chapter of Dark Soul. This is the seirlaization of a novel the Dog has been working on for…well it feels like forever. It is in no way a finished work so if you have thoughts or suggestions, don’t be shy, every bit of feed back helps.

If you want to read the previous chapter you can find it at this link

Dark Soul – Chapter One

Unlike other posts from the Dog, this is only being posted here at Docudharma.  

The new face of anti-abortion activists tapped by Obama

From Raw Story:

President Barack Obama has tapped an anti-abortion activist to a senior Health and Human Services “faith-based” position just a week after the murder of prominent abortion doctor George Tiller.

Alexia Kelley is executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG), and will head the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to The American Prospect, a liberal magazine, “Kelley is a leading proponent of ‘common ground’ abortion reduction — only CACG’s common ground is at odds with that of Obama. While the administration favors reducing the need for abortion by reducing unintended pregnancies, Kelley has made clear that she seeks instead to reduce access to abortion.”

But wait!  There’s more to the story.  Ms. Kelley is a progressive who supported Obama as well as Kathleen Sebelius as head of HHS, in opposition to her own Bishop.

Middle East Reactions To Obama’s Cairo Speech

Pepe Escobar’s commentary on the speech:

Real News Network – June 5, 2009

Peace be upon Barack

Pepe Escobar: Commentary on Obama’s speech to the Muslim World

Covering Up Torture By Coercing Guilty Pleas

Cross posted from The Dream Antilles

According to the New York Times, the Obama Administration may modify the military commission rules to permit require have Gitmo prisoners plead guilty and be executed:

The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.

The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.

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