Tapered off to Zero

The beginning of 2016 seems a good time to to put this blog into a prolonged slumber.  I’ve been tapering off for some months now, after posting news, current events, high-lights and low-lights for over a decade.  Time to let it go.  Not to stop thinking out loud and writing but to do it less while riding the daily news cycle.

Come over and see me at All In One Boat dot Org.  Much more cultural stuff, book and film reviews, original and translated poems and stories.  I still link from time to time to the weeks news but getting long in life now I seem to want to take the longer view of this wonderful, unsettling, promise-filled world of ours.

Who knows?  I might be forced back to these pages.  It’s immensely hard to disengage from what’s going on, even though I’ve got plenty of other engagements to keep the whole heart pumping….

Will Kirkland

Trump Calls for 1882 All Over Again

It was only a matter of time that Donald Trump would do this:

<a class=”_Dk” href=”https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwifgOe07MrJAhUTqoMKHTekCoIQqQIIHTAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Ffortune.com%2F2015%2F12%2F07%2Fdonald-trump-proposes-stopping-all-muslim-immigration%2F&amp;usg=AFQjCNFaPzxlFExdxFExvqw4kRBxhrmXhg” data-href=”http://fortune.com/2015/12/07/donald-trump-proposes-stopping-all-muslim-immigration/”>Donald Trump Wants to Stop All Muslim Immigration</a>


<a href=”https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&amp;source=imgres&amp;cd=&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiWgIiq7crJAhUPqYMKHdcSCw4QjxwIBTAA&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DJOgIjSI0FrM&amp;psig=AFQjCNHqkUQwGebzQx1INsfEWv2OPYSuug&amp;ust=1449615670608156″><img class=”aligncenter wp-image-14341″ src=”http://www.allinoneboat.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Immigration-2-1024×576.jpg” alt=”Immigration 2″ width=”597″ height=”336″ /></a>


Substitute Muslim for Chinese Laborer and change the dates; just what he wants.<a href=”http://library.uwb.edu/static/USimmigration/22%20stat%2058.pdf”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14340″ src=”http://www.allinoneboat.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Immigration.jpg” alt=”Immigration” width=”615″ height=”840″ /></a>

Farmworkers Still Kicked, Still Struggling

As one of those who witnessed, and participated for three years, in the U.S. farmworker fight for justice, I always feel the slap of anger/energy when news articles appear about them. Still underpaid around the country, still living hand to mouth, still picking pesticide ladened fruit, still working the fields and raising loving families.  And still, in many parts of the country, trying out different tactics and strategy to become visible, be recognized for the work they do and be compensated as any rationally economy would do.

Steven Greenhouse, the longtime labor reporter for the NY Times, takes a tour around various communities to see what is happening.

In Vermont, workers are picketing at a surprising place. “They were demanding that Ben & Jerry’s — which prides itself on its progressive reputation — require the Vermont dairy farms that supply its milk and cream to follow a code of conduct that would guarantee their migrant workers a weekly day off, seven vacation days a year and more, including improved housing….

In North Carolina, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee is pressing R.J. Reynolds and its tobacco growers to reach a three-way agreement to speed unionization.

In California, Oxfam America, working with Costco and the United Farm Workers, started the Equitable Food Initiative to address consumer concerns that produce be safe and grown under nonexploitative conditions.

And in Florida, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has persuaded McDonald’s, Walmart, Burger King, Whole Foods and other companies to require their tomato growers to improve pay and conditions for 30,000 workers. Its Fair Food Program has an elaborate enforcement apparatus, overseen by a retired New York judge, that has greatly reduced abuses like bullying and sexual harassment by crew leaders.

“We’re seeing a bunch of different models to help farmworkers,” said Philip Martin, an agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis. “The question is, Are they scalable?”

And a new book that shows how the growing “locavore” movement, with its ethic of supporting local and small has missed a big part of what makes an ethical food system:

As Margaret Gray chronicles in her remarkable new book, Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic, the small- and medium-sized family farms that the food movement has championed are often sites of appalling labor abuses. Gray shows that the locavore ethic espoused by Michael Pollan and countless imitators not only renders these abuses invisible, it actively enables them by lionizing independent farmers and romanticizing small-scale food production.

Reviewed at Dissent

Fog Catcher Produces Potable Water

With California reservoirs down to 30% perhaps we can look south to Chile’s Atacama desert for a good idea,

“There, (Carlos Espinosa Arancibia) came up with the idea of the fog catcher: netting with tiny openings of approximately 1mm across to capture the tiny water droplets in the fog.

“The droplets accumulate in the netting and form a bigger drop which eventually runs off the netting into a canal underneath.

“From there, it is channelled through a pipe to containers at the base of the hills, ready for use.”

Other trial sites are in Mexico and Guatemala 

“The largest expanse of fog catchers is located in Tojquia in Guatemala, where 60 fog catchers trap 4,000 litres of water a day.”

Read All

I imagine wind would be a potential problem but the whole central-northern coast of California has month long cloud banks. In fact if you’ve ever walked in a redwood grove in the fog you’ll feel fog catchers at work

Don’t Buy Child Labor Produce

“California congressman on Friday introduced a bill to ensure U.S. retailers rid their supply chains of child and forced labor — legislation inspired by The Times’ Product of Mexico series, which documented widespread abuses at export farms south of the border.

“The Stop Blood Tomatoes Act, sponsored by Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), seeks to bring more oversight to the Mexican farms that supply much of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

“Under the proposal, large companies would have to get independent audits of their suppliers to certify that they do not use child or forced labor. The legislation would apply to companies in other industries that also import large quantities of goods from developing countries.

LA Times Read all

150 Years Ago — Lee Surrenders to Grant, but wait, there’s more….

Interesting opinion piece today, the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant ending the armed Civil War,  in the Washington Post by Harold Meyerson

Fueled by the mega-donations of the mega-rich, today’s Republican Party is not just far from being the party of Lincoln: It’s really the party of Jefferson Davis. It suppresses black voting; it opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty; it objects to federal investment in infrastructure and education just as the antebellum South opposed internal improvements and rejected public education; it scorns compromise. It is nearly all white. It is the lineal descendant of Lee’s army, and the descendants of Grant’s have yet to subdue it.

Just South of the Arctic, Real Worries

“In the past decade, scientists have been training more attention on a … deeply troubling consequence. Rapid Arctic warming is expected to lead to the thawing of a great deal of frozen soil or permafrost, which, as it thaws, will begin to emit carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere. And if this occurs in the amounts that some scientists are predicting, it could significantly undermine efforts to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Indeed, scientists have discovered a simple statistic that underscores the scale of the potential problem: There may be more than twice as much carbon contained in northern permafrost as there is in the atmosphere itself. That’s a staggering thought.”



Never Before High Temperatures in Anarctic

Two temperature readings register ominous new potential measurements of accelerating climate change

A weather station on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula recorded what may be the highest temperature ever on the continent, while a separate study published in the journal Science found that the losses of ice shelf volume in the western Antarctic had increased by 70% in the last decade.


Bob Simon: A Good One Gone

A nice, and appropriate, remembrance of 60 Minutes news man, Bob Simon, who was killed in a traffic accident in New York City on Friday,


PBS a clip from a speech Simon gave at a 2010 Emmy awards ceremony where he offered advice to news reporters:

There are not two sides to every story. There were not two sides to the stories in Sarajevo or Rwanda.

Whenever someone calls you by your first name when you’re interviewing them, as in “let me tell you what really happened Morley,” chances are he’s lying. Honest subjects addressed him as “Mr. Safer.” If you want to make sure you’re not being lied to, do what I’ve done over the last two and a half years, do animal stories.”

See more

For more notices of his life and work, NY Times, CBS News, LA Times.

Old Bob talks about the Young Bob

Grammy night and Bob Dylan reveals more in 30 minutes than in 30 interviews.

“I  sang  a  lot  of  “come  all  you”  songs.  There’s  plenty  of  them.  There’s  way  too  many  to  be  counted.  “Come  along  boys  and  listen  to  my  tale  /  Tell  you  of  my  troubles on  the  old  Chisholm  Trail.”  Or,  “Come  all  ye  good  people,  listen  while  I  tell  /  the  fate  of  Floyd  Collins,  a  lad  we  all  know  well.”

“Come  all  ye  fair  and  tender  ladies  /  Take  warning  how  you  court  your  men  /  They’re  like  a  star  on  a  summer  morning  /  They  first  appear  and  then  they’re  gone  again.”  And  then  there’s  this  one,  “Gather ’round,  people  /  A  story  I  will  tell  /  ‘Bout  Pretty  Boy  Floyd,  the outlaw  /  Oklahoma  knew  him well”

If  you  sung  all these  “come  all  ye”  songs  all  the  time like  I  did,  you’d  be  writing,  “Come gather  ’round  people  where  ever  you  roam,  admit  that  the  waters  around  you  have  grown  /  Accept  that  soon  you’ll  be  drenched  to  the  bone  /  If  your  time  to  you  is  worth  saving  /  And  you  better  start  swimming  or  you’ll  sink  like  a  stone  /  The times  they  are  a changing.”

You’d  have  written that too.  There’s  nothing  secret  about  it.  You  just  do  it  subliminally  and  unconsciously,  because  that’s  all  enough,  and  that’s  all you  know.  That  was  all  that  was  dear  to  me.  They  were  the  only  kinds  of  songs  that made sense.

The entire speech linked above.  An article about it here.