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Thursday, September 29, 2005

My groceries

Not to brag too much, but I’m proud of my groceries. I feel like I’m doing my part to support sustainable agriculture and keep money away from Bush and the Republicans. (Let me know if you find any errors.) I’m voting with my dollars, which is probably more powerful than voting in November. Here’s what I bought today. It was expensive, $121.90, but I think it was worth it:

12 quarts Soy Dream organic soy milk, Original and Chocolate
6 quarts Rice Dream Carob rice milk
3 Cascadian Farm organic Wheat Crunch, Multigrain Squares, and Purely O’s cereals
3 R.W. Knudsen Just Concord organic 100% grape juice
1 Cascadian Farm Concord Grape organic fruit spread
1 box Gardenburgers
2 Amy’s Pesto organic pizzas
2 Garden of Eatin’ organic pico de gallo corn chips
1 Seeds of Change organic garlic and cilantro spicy salsa

I also bought some things that weren’t in the natural foods aisle:

5 Roundy’s canned pineapple slices
1 Spring Tree 100% pure maple syrup
Would you believe that I also bought parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Callous disregard for human life

As you may have heard, Bush's approval rating is at its lowest ever. Franken and others have said that people are reviewing the Iraq War in the context of the federal reaction to the New Orleans Flood. I think what both actions show is the Bush administration's callous disregard for human life.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

New Orleans on a concrete grid?

I feel mixed about rebuilding New Orleans. On the one hand, I hear it has a distinct character and rich cultural history. Also, the U.S. needs to have a port there to transfer cargo between river barges and ocean freighters, and the port workers need places nearby to live and shop, etc.

On the other hand, the water there is a toxic mess, with sewage, oil, mercury, hexavalent chromium (remember Erin Brockovich?), and reports of sunken bioweapons labs. In addition, Hurricane Rita reminds us it can happen all over again, at any time and at great cost.

Noticing the stilt-houses along the coast after Rita, perhaps New Orleans should be rebuilt on a grid of concrete. Then the water could flow under the city without a risk of flood. Seattle is rebuilt one to two stories higher than the original street level, after its own flooding problems. Maybe any trees that survive the New Orleans flood could be preserved, and salvagable historical landmarks could be hoisted up to the higher level.

If it’s too expensive to rebuild, maybe only essential personnel should inhabit that part of country. I know a lot of people have a strong attachment to historical New Orleans, but I’m just not sure it’s worth the risk.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Mark in Houston…

My former coworker and chess buddy Mark lives in northwest Houston and plans to ride out Hurricane Rita, scheduled to hit overnight. He’s been sending updates. Here are some excerpts:

Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:54 PM
Authorities are advising no travel at this time unless you are in a storm surge area, have a full tank, a foolproof plan, and a shipload of patience. Hopefully, opening the counterflow lanes will alleviate the traffic nightmares for the desperate road warriors.

On the homefront, people in this subdivision seem to be rather cavalier. A bike tour around the neighborhood revealed that precious few homes have been boarded up. On a few homes, you can see that they tried to tape up the windows. There are a lot of people still here, most seem to be staying. Some evacuees may even have come here for shelter, as some homes have several cars in the driveway. People were walking around the neighborhood, and nobody seems too concerned. I talked to a neighbor who is staying. I asked him if he plans to board the house up (like we have done), and he responded "No, I'm just going to drain some water out of the pool. That's it." You could hear the grinding of some saws or the pounding of some nails or the buzzing of some drills, but less homes are boarded up than not.

I rode down to the nearby major street, which had light to normal traffic levels. I rode down to three gas stations. The stores were all closed, and two of them were out of gas. One store continued selling gas ($2.89/gallon) but did not allow patrons inside.

Here at home, the windows are boarded up, tree branches have been cut down, the garage has 2 of the 3 cars inside, and we have plenty of water, ice, food, and drinks. We will bring the animals in tomorrow and make sure the yard is cleaned up. Then, we will just wait it out.

Friday, September 23, 2005 4:11 PM
Locally, winds occasionally gust, and some trees in the neighborhood will probably be broken. We have boarded up all the windows we can, and are as ready as anyone can be. We will just wait for the storm to get here, ready to endure the pounding rain and relentless wind.

It started raining briefly, then stopped. The radio is set up with a battery if/when we lose power. There are 3 backup batteries ready to go. We have a flashlight ready to go with batteries. We have ample supplies of ice, water, food, and drinks. All three vehicles have full or near full gas tanks should we need to drive.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Vote Green today, September 13th!

Today is primary election day with important contests in Minneapolis and St. Paul proper. Corey has some good posts over on his blog.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My Mighty SUV

By Tom Cleland and Sheryl Zettner

This bouquet of decadence
Driving us toward ecstasy
Will take its toll on mind and soul
Poison vapors, toxic scent
You can't survive my armament

Follow my orders if you can
A man must be a man
Worship my god on bended knee
Bow down when you see my mighty SUV

Scorching flame and burning heat
Fueling all our deepest needs
With deadly fumes as it consumes
You can't escape this dragon's breath
To run or fight is certain death

Follow my orders if you can
A man must be a man
Worship my god on bended knee
Bow down when you see my mighty SUV

Pumping and drilling
Feeding the fire
Earthly juices
Fuel our desire

Hunger, thirst, and want for more
Losing all sobriety
Our lives are lost in pure exhaust
Your fertile valley has no plow
You have no choice, surrender now

Follow my orders if you can
A man must be a man
Worship my god on bended knee
Bow down when you see my mighty SUV
Bow down when you see my mighty SUV
Bow down when you see my mighty SUV

This song is shared without copyright. Please borrow from or complete the song. Common law copyright may be invoked if you try to copyright it yourself.

Click the audio post button below to hear the chorus music:

My Mighty SUV - Chorus Music

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, September 09, 2005

Advice for Dean Zimmerman

Federal agents searched the home of Green Party City Councilperson Dean Zimmerman yesterday, and took financial records and campaign materials five days before Tuesday’s primary election. He’s suspected of taking money from a developer in return for his vote on zoning.

I was a contributor this year and when he first ran four years ago. Though I joked about having a secret agenda, it was his idea to become a champion of Personal Rapid Transit, a system of elevated, automated taxicabs. PRT offers tremendous hope in the struggle to end our dependence on fossil fuels, stop global warming, and provide convenient, low-cost transportation.

My advice to Dean is to go with the flow. If it’s a frame job, say that. If you did it, come clean as soon as possible and shine as much light on the system as you can. And if you felt the ends justified the means, then say that.

As you might guess, I’m distrustful of the federal government to begin with. Unless they show convincing proof, I’m inclined to believe Dean.

Friday, September 02, 2005

America’s racist response

Just because many chose not to heed evacuation warnings, that’s no excuse to leave people to die in the New Orleans flood. Many of the estimated 100,000+ who stayed were too poor, frail, or didn’t know where to stay. Even if they were just plain stupid, it’s our elected government’s duty to do everything possible that can be accomplished safely, as it is to educate people in the first place. Supplies and escape buses and boats are late in arriving. I’ve even heard reports of law enforcement firing upon refugees!

This was a man-made disaster waiting to happen, and was predicted long ago by scientists and engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers could not make more improvements to the levy system because funding went to the war in Iraq. Now it’s going to cost a lot more.

New Orleans is low income, and two-thirds black. I think that’s why the president and possibly the governor have not allocated more resources to the crisis. Whether direct or indirect, the end result is racist.