Blogs

Katie Halper at the Yearly KOS

Katie brings it home at the Yearly KOS.

Lee Camp at the Yearly KOS

Lee Camp running wild in the windy city.

Harry Terjanian at the Yearly KOS

Harry being 'the man' in Chicago.

Baratunde Thurston @ The Yearly KOS

Mr. Thurston brings down the house.

YPSILANTI PIE WALK TAKES THE CAKE

(We’re posting this from on board Sustainable Table’s bio-fueled bus where we've joined them for the final leg of their Eat Well road trip today, winding up a cross-country trek that’s celebrated our nation's most sustainable farms and restaurants, along with America’s best homemade pies. We’ll be visiting some Hudson Valley farms, orchards and a vineyard on the way to the Harvest Barbeque this evening at Gigi Market in Red Hook, where the road tour’s final pie contest will take place. We’ll have a hard time topping the pies served up in Michigan, though, according to Sustainable Table founder Diane Hatz, who blogged that “Ypsilanti just might win for best event of the tour!”)

Guest blogger Heidi Kumao, an artist and educator at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, covered Sustainable Table’s stop in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan for Eating Liberally, and got to taste the pies Diane raved about. Heidi’s no stranger to fabulous pastries; she and her husband Michael created a 6,000 Volt Wedding Cake to commemorate their electrifying union. Here is Heidi's post:

The Sustainable Table gang rolled through Ann Arbor, Michigan last Saturday, Sept. 1 and I shadowed them for the whole day, taking in all kinds of tasty, edifying tidbits about local food and farming along the way. Sustainable Table was ably hosted by Slow Food Huron Valley and Project Growing Hope, a local organization "dedicated to helping people improve their lives and communities through gardening." Based in Washtenaw County, Michigan, they work with neighborhoods, schools, community groups, and families to develop and sustain gardens.

Over the course of the day, the tour wound its way from our famous local deli, Zingermans, to the Ann Arbor People's Food Coop (hosts of a recent talk by Anna Lappe) and on to Ypsilanti (gotta love that name!) to the Ypsi Food Coop and a Project Growing Hope community garden. The day had a grand finale at the Ypsilanti Ladies Literary Club where the "Pie Lovers Unite" extravaganza took place.

Having the Sustainable Table folks visit our area helped introduce me to the many groups that care about local farms and food. I learned a little more about how Food Coops work (guided by their membership!) and the fact that some food coops (not ours!) actually carry COKE--because that's what their members want!

The Ypsi Coop was really impressive on a number of fronts. Adam Chase, their Educational Coordinator, provided a delightful overview with tons of interesting information: the bakery's wood-fired oven uses only old wood palettes for its fuel, thus never sacrificing a tree for the yummy bread. This Coop has 4 solar panels on its roof, generating a small (it's a start!) portion of their electricity. It sells herbs and greens grown by kids at the Growing Hope Gardens as well as eggs raised by a local small farmer in the city (yes, chickens in the city!). Google Peter Thomason's battle to have chickens in the city, the Michigan "Right to Farm Act" and the IRS definition of "farmer."

We visited West Middle School where Project Growing Hope has a community garden and I learned that there are 27 community or school gardens in Washtenaw County!

The day ended with a grand pie celebration, inspired by Sustainable Table's Pie Tasting Tour and creatively organized by Kim Bayer and Slow Food Huron Valley. Diane from Sustainable Table complimented the organizers and said that the Ypsi event might be one of the best events on the tour so far!

People were invited to bring pies for the pie contest and to share recipes. There were 4 judges and many willing tasters (me included!).

Below: the judging table. There were approximately 32 entries.

The pies were all placed on a giant dining room table (see below) and everyone feasted! Everyone helped themselves to seconds and even thirds, and there were STILL leftovers!


At the end of the night, the judges awarded prizes for different top pies: most local, best savory, best taste, most creative. Each winner received an apple basket filled with local ingredients to make an apple pie: local apples, local flour, local sugar, etc. Below, Kim Bayer and the prize baskets.

Overall, a terrific day!

Freedom Censorship

Laughing Liberally's Lee Camp talks Thailand, censorship and what kids are seeing on YouTube these days.

Iraq, You Report

It's almost time for General Petraeus to present his report on Iraq's progress to Congress.

And a lot of folks are giving the Administration grief over the fact that, while General Petraeus will present the report, the President will prepare the report.

The criticism is unfair, I think.

Look at it from the President's point of view. This is a situation where the President is really just helping out a friend with a tough assignment. I'm sure when the President was in school and he had to present a report, he had someone else write it up for him.

He's just paying it forward.

WEDNESDAY CSA BLOGGING

csaPsychedelic Bear is totally psyched to be the lucky recipient of a half-share from Chubby Bunny Farm’s CSA this week. All this gorgeous produce—almost as colorful as Psychedelic Bear himself—needed to find a good home because its owner, our friend Anne, has gone off on a camping trip and didn’t want to see all those veggies go to waste.

So we collected her half-share from the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew and now we’re blessed with corn, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, potatoes, a Sweet Dumpling squash, apples, pears, and the ubiquitous mesclun. For all this, Anne pays about $14 a week, because she splits a share with our friend Amy, who decided to join a CSA after hearing Sandor Katz sing the praises of Community Supported Agriculture at an Eating Liberally book party for The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.

Psychedelic Bear is especially psyched about the half gallon of delicious raw milk, because he likes to think of himself as a nonconformist, and unpasteurized milk is as daring as dairy gets, these days. It costs extra (about $4.50), but it’s well worth it! Raw milk is what everybody used to drink, but nowadays, it’s treated like contraband in most states. Chubby Bunny’s website puts all the fuss in perspective:

Back in the 20s, Americans could buy fresh raw whole milk, real clabber and buttermilk, luscious naturally yellow butter, fresh farm cheeses and cream in various colors and thicknesses. Today's milk is accused of causing everything from allergies to heart disease to cancer, but when Americans could buy Real Milk, these diseases were rare.

Real Milk comes from real cows that eat real feed. Real feed for cows is green grass in spring, summer and fall; green feed, silage, hay and root vegetables in Winter. It is not soy meal, cottonseed meal or other commercial feeds, nor is it bakery waste, chicken manure or citrus peel cake, laced with pesticides.

Chubby Bunny recommends the real milk website if you’d like to find out more about the campaign for raw milk. All I know is, the milk tastes unlike any milk you’ll find in a store. And it makes mighty fine ice cream, too. I’m pretty psyched, myself.

You Don’t Have to be a Miner to be a Mine Hero

I was sure that the Liberal, Jewish, Gay, Vegan media would spend Labor Day podcasting renditions of the Internationale and running old footage of the Crandall Canyon accident in their ongoing attack on American and corporate values. I was wrong on both counts, the holiday passing with little media attention to workers and their “grievances” old and new. This leaves us free to celebrate true heroes, not your union-made Joe Hills and Mother Joneses, but unsung modern heroes of the mines, who eschew martyrdom yet sacrifice so much. I speak of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and MSHA president Richard Stickler, and, of course, CEO Robert Murray. To them I present the Awards for Non-Miner Mine Heroes. Because you don’t have to be a miner to be a mine hero.

I announce these awards just hours before the Senate holds what it calls an "investigatory hearing" -- and what I call a witch hunt-- on "The Utah Mine Disaster and Preventing Future Tragedies." Ironically, and undoubtedly, the heroes praised on these pages will be the scapegoats slandered on the hill.

Bronze Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes to Elaine Chao. Hers is the typical American story of reward for hard work. The daughter of a shipping magnate, Chao left China for the United States in 1961 . She has labored as a banker, sweated as Bank of America vice-president, and worked herself to the bone at the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. She toiled tirelessly to raise $100,000 for George Bush, which earned her the honor of being a “Bush Pioneer.” Chao generously shared the keys to the kingdom of job security in an interview this summer: “American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene…. They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction.” Chao has already moved to organize an “independent” probe into the mine collapse, which, the indefatigable Chao will personally oversee, even if it cuts into time with her husband, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who received $100,000 in campaign contributions from CEO Murray. Like so many great non-miner mine heroes, Chao is now being persecuted by OCD senators like Ted Kennedy, who is demanding that Chao hand over a ridiculous number of documents related to the Crandall Canyon accident.

Silver Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes to Richard Stickler. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration isn’t named Stickler for nothing. Stickler has dedicated many years to the mines as a high-level executive, and it is this, no doubt, that allows him to creatively interpret the MINER safety act passed after the Sago mine tragedy. For instance, Stickler allows mine operators to meet deadlines by ordering safety equipment (like additional breathing devices), and not having it be on hand. Stickler’s qualifications outweigh the fact that a mine under his supervision had injury rates three times the national average and racked up 3,000 safety violations. Stickler is so bipartisanly respected in Washington that Bush appointed him during a recess after congress had twice rejected Stickler’s nomination. In true stickler character, Stickler is aggressively investigating the collapse: “We want to see if we can get an inkling if there may have been an indication there was a problem before this event.” I’m sure the Stickler means a sign that is more substantial than the cave-in that occurred in Crandall Canyon in March, which he knew about, but did not report, violating federal law. It’s no surprise that Stickler is being slandered by bleeding heart liberals like Arlen Spector, who say Stickler is not “the right man for the job” and cry baby Ted Kennedy, who is

particularly troubled by reports that roof failures, similar in kind to the August 6 collapse, previously occurred in sections of the mine where retreat mining was being conducted, and that this roof failure may not have been reported to MSHA regulators as required by law.

Of course, rather than being allowed to continue his already scrupulous investigation, Stickler will be dragged off to today's hearing and bombarded with endless rounds of questions.

Gold Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes, of course, to Robert Murray. Like so many activists before him, Murray has many enemies, including several senators who, I'm sure, will attempt to crucify the CEO during today's hearings. Having gulped the liberal media’s poisonous Kool-Aid, Robert’s own workers have turned against him and “Lil Bob” piñatas are selling like hotcakes in both the U.S. and Mexico. An understandably outraged Murray responded to the Utah Republican Governor, who had called his behavior “unconscionable” and demanded inspections of all of Murray’s mines, by sending the Governor a “personal and confidential” letter threatening to cut Utah mine jobs if the governor continued to treat him like his “whipping boy.” And sure enough, four days later, Murray laid off 270 workers from his other Utah mine, explaining to the workers that the noisy governor, the “unfair” Salt Lake Tribune, and the vicious Ted Kennedy were responsible for the Tower Mine closing.

Murray insists the collapse was “totally unforeseen by anyone” and brought on by an earthquake and not retreat mining.

Yet there is evidence to the contrary: A similar incident in March caused a delay in mining – which was never reported to the MSHA, though required by federal law. Murray Co. repeatedly (and successfully) petitioned the MSHA for permission to do retreat mining in areas the previous company had left alone because it deemed that mining in the area would be too dangerous for “personnel and the environment.”

Before making the awards decision, I had to reconcile the words of this compassionate CEO with the facts that have surfaced. Liberal conspiracy theorists claim Robert Murray is a liar who puts profits over people, whose greed, unchecked by a complicit Bush administration, has resulted in the death of hard-working miners. And yet the truth, as always, is far more complicated and nuanced. Far from killing and injuring his workers through his ruthless avarice, Robert Murray is, himself, an injured worker, the victim of an occupational hazard, an on the job injury: early onset dementia. It is because Murray so identifies with his workers that, while his body is healthy, his soul is with his six missing employees suffocated and crushed in the depths of the Crandall Canyon mine. Murray is not lying about the retreat mining and the change in mining plans. He forgot about them. He did not invent an earthquake. He experienced it in his demented state.

Of course, my heart goes out to the six missing miners and the three miners who died while trying to rescue them. But these miners are gone. And besides, they have received more than enough attention and sympathy from the media, the church, and the self- serving unions, which are attempting to exploit this tragedy in order to organize miners so that tragedies like this do not happen again. After the accident, in fact, the family members asked the union to represent them. Luckily, the always impartial MSHA has said that only the miners themselves can ask to be represented. I guess the miners should have thought about that before they entered the mine for the last time on August 6th. While we must honor their memory, we must heal the victim who is still alive: Robert Murray. I hope the Non-Minor Mine Hero Gold Award helps to heal his battered soul and brain.

UPDATE: I have just learned that Robert Murray will not be testifying at Wednesday's Senate hearing on mine safety. As usual, Murray is thinking not of himself, but of his workers, explaining he would not be able to “give the situation in Utah the proper attention it needs if I have to travel to Washington to testify.” I like to think that receiving the GNMH (Gold Non-Miner Mine Hero) award emboldened the principled CEO to defy the Senate's Big Brother meddling. Even though we won’t be able to see Murray testify today, we can always see him testify here.

HUNGER FOR A PURPOSE

climate fastFasting is in the zeitgeist, or, rather, “dietgeist,” as those witty Ethicureans like to say. In the past two weeks I’ve heard about several fasts that activists are encouraging people to participate in as an exercise in consciousness raising—one’s own, and others. I was so intrigued, I actually signed on to two of them. After ten and a half days of a liquid fast, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty. I am really, really looking forward to eating solid food again. Food for thought is all well and good, but not very filling.

Giving your body an occasional break from food is a common practice in many cultures, whether for religious purposes or simply to give your digestive system a rest. Fasting in America, though, tends to consist of trendy crash diet/detox strategies like the Master Cleanse, which requires subsisting on nothing but fresh-squeezed lemon juice mixed with cayenne pepper, maple syrup and water for ten days. This regime is popular with women who are in a hurry to get back into their “skinny” jeans, and it seems to work pretty well, until you start eating again.

Starving yourself for fashion’s sake doesn’t really interest me, but the notion of foregoing food to make a social statement has a long and noble history, so I was intrigued when I heard about the Globesity Festival, a 7 day event coming to NYC in October to draw attention to all the havoc overconsumption is wreaking on our bodies and the planet.

I decided to see if I could handle the 10 day juice fast they’re asking participants to undertake. So I stopped eating solid food and consumed nothing but smoothies, juices, and plant-based brothy soup concoctions I whipped up in my trusty vintage Vita-Mix, a pulverizing machine that can make sawdust out of two-by-fours, though that’s not recommended.

OK, I did cheat once or twice, eating a few of our own cherry tomatoes and grapes that were just hanging there waiting to be picked—they were only going to wait so long, after all. And I had a few bites of a meal I made for a guest, just to check that the feta hadn’t gone fetid and the chili was sufficiently spicy. Oh, and a teeny bit of homemade corn ice cream—does that count as solid food?

Other than that, though, it has been all liquid, all the time, while Matt surreptitiously savored all kinds of yummy-looking and highly aromatic foods. It took enormous will power, and I was, obviously, counting the days till I could eat again. Yesterday was the 10th day, so I would have resumed eating solid food today, until the Climate Emergency Fast came along, asking Americans to “Give up food for one day now to draw attention to the fact that others may have no food tomorrow unless we halt global warming.” That one day happens to be today, September 4th, the day Congress returns from recess.

The U.S. Climate Emergency Council, a DC-based non-profit dedicated to fighting global warming at the grassroots level, was looking for a thousand Americans willing to give up food on September 4th to draw attention to the threat posed to food supplies all over the world by climate change. Drought, floods, and plagues of pests and diseases threaten crops all over the world, but the poorest countries are sure to be the hardest hit.

As of today, they’ve exceeded their goal, with 1102 folks signing on to the Climate Emergency Fast, myself included. But to what end?

…The overwhelming urgency of the climate situation is motivating this call. We don't think the climate movement can accept that there will be little of substance coming out of this Congress while President Bush is in office. We can't, in essence, let Congress off the hook for another two years. We must do as much as we can, we must push ourselves to do more than we're used to doing, to step it up now.
What will we be calling for? Three things: no new coal or coal-to-liquid plants; freeze greenhouse gas emissions and move quickly to reduce them; and a down payment of $25 billion for energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy.

All worthy goals, but skeptics abound--including my friend Steve, who noted that I totally trashed “Don’t Buy Gas Day.” How is not eating for a day any different than not buying gas?

Well, for one thing, Bill McKibben, Vandana Shiva, Van Jones, and other highly respected activists have thrown their weight behind the Climate Emergency Fast, and they’re organizing a press conference on Capitol Hill this afternoon. Will it generate the response they’re aiming for?

Our hope is that this fast will generate the kind of media coverage and grassroots response sufficient to pressure Congress to act quickly and decisively.

So far, the only places I’ve read about the Climate Emergency Fast are Grist and Daily Kos. It doesn’t seem likely to become frontpage news in an era when calling on Americans to make even the most modest sacrifice is viewed with suspicion. But I’m happy to participate, because, after all, I’m hungry for change. Really hungry.

Syndicate content