Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In case you didn't grow up growing food

AgricultureExcept for the part about the plant being happy and the gardener looking competent, this is totally us. Image via Wikipedia

At LOVESalem HQ, we're barely even novice gardeners.

In fact, we're still at that embarrassing stage where it seems like our most common activity could be described as laying down the experiences for what we hope will become funny gardening stories about our early years.

We hope that, years from now, when our vegetables are lush and our fruit trees overwhelm us with their fecundity, we'll be telling those stories.

We found a cool cheat sheet though, one that should help bring those halcyon years about sooner: What to plant when, month by month, by region. All praise to Mother Earth News for this great service.

For instance, from there, you can go here, to a link to a great table showing, for virtually every place in Oregon, the dates for the 10%, 50%, and 90% chance of frosty, freezing, and hard frost weather (frosty = 36F; freezing = 32F, and hard frost = 28F) and the number of frost-free days per year and total number of days below the three threshold temperatures (again, all given in terms of 10, 50, and 90% probabilities). An invaluable chart to helping answer the question about "What should I be planting now?"

UPDATE: Rather than getting rid of farmland in the city, Salem should be following Milwaukee's lead.
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Another incident shows why we need cop-cam

Police officers making videos during a demonst...Police all over the world are videotaping citizens. We should approve 100% - and require that police be equipped with audio/video devices in all their interactions with non-police. Image via Wikipedia

Another case where the presence of audio/video makes the difference.

Update: From Washington, DC, supposedly the heart of American democracy, the place where the principle that government derives its just powers from the people -- another clear example of why police should be fitted with cop cams that record their interactions with civilians:

DC Examiner - A federal judge has called for an investigation into the D.C. police department after officials there destroyed key evidence related to a controversial mass arrest of anti-globalization protesters in 2002.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he wanted to get to the bottom of the disappearance of police records of the orders and movements of police officers in a massive crackdown of protesters rallying against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Hundreds of innocent bystanders in Pershing Park were swept up by the police dragnet. Some 400 people have filed a class-action civil rights lawsuit. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, then a deputy, ordered those arrested to be "hog tied" -- bound hand to foot.

In federal court Wednesday, Sullivan ordered D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles to file an affidavit on the disappearance of the records within the next two weeks. He also suggested that he might appoint an independent investigator to look into the matter.

"When, if ever, can anyone trust their government?" Sullivan asked.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard said the District has shown "reckless disregard" for legal ethics.

"This case has now developed from a case solely about a massive constitutional rights violation to being about a massive cover-up," she said.

Nickles denied there was anything untoward in the destruction of the evidence and blamed the D.C. Council for not funding a better document-management system.

Police union Chairman Kris Baumann, who has often litigated against the department, said the incident wasn't isolated.

"The destruction of e-mails, the destruction of documents -- anything to cover up government misconduct is the norm," Baumann said.

Washington Post - Some evidence, including a key report and portions of radio transmissions, has vanished. In recent days, the D.C. government has also turned over thousands of pages of records and videotapes to protesters' lawyers, some of which should have been produced years ago.

Sullivan ordered D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles to submit a sworn declaration detailing his office's shoddy work and the steps he was taking to fix the problems.

Sullivan said he would impose "severe" monetary sanctions on the D.C. government and urged Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to "settle this case soon."

"This kind of conduct is not acceptable," Sullivan said, calling the actions of D.C. government lawyers "abysmal" and urging the D.C. Council to investigate the attorney general's office.

After the judge's harangue, the District's attorney, Thomas Koger, had tears in his eyes. He declined to comment.

Sullivan's criticism came during a hearing in two lawsuits that accuse D.C. police of violating the rights of demonstrators and bystanders when officers arrested 386 people in Pershing Park without a warning on Sept. 27, 2002. Former D.C. police chief Charles H. Ramsey eventually issued a public apology for the arrests. Protesting at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the demonstrators were charged with parading without a permit.

Jonathan Turley, an attorney for the protesters, called for an independent investigation of the attorney general's office. Another lawyer for the protesters, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, said she had never seen such "a breathtaking destruction of evidence before."

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Dangerous curves

In August 2003, we were living in the Midwest, and we sweltered through a terrible heatwave -- which led to the most recent great blackout in the US, which sent us back to pre-electric days.

This made me even more attuned to the stress that climate change is placing on our electrical grid (a failure of which was the proximate cause of that blackout, the real cause of which is our blockheaded habit of thinking that we don't have to live within any natural limits and that we can use as much energy as we want to bail us out of our poor decisions, such as to build millions of houses and commercial office buildings so that they must draw immense amounts of energy at all times).

So I've been following this curve quite closely this week.

Got antibiotic-resistant superbugs?

None - This image is in the public domain and ...Image via Wikipedia

Yup, and our industrial phactory phood "pharmers" are making more all the time. That's why we need this bill, NOW.

With their feedlots and confined-animal feeding operations (CAFOs), phactory pharmers create conditions that approximate hell on earth as well as anything this side of a battlefield. Then, because of the conditions in which they keep these animals, the pharmers have to keep them all hopped up on continuous dosages of antibiotics, giving the bugs all the time needed to undergo a mutation that neutralizes the antibiotics. This is exactly what you'd do if you were a terrorist and wanted to destroy the usefulness of an antibiotic and render the country vulnerable to a pandemic infection.

The phactory pharmers have already succeeded in wiping out scores of useful medicines and turning our waterways into chemical and excrement-filled sewers. We need to act now. The war on drugs we should be waging is to keep farm animals off drugs.

You can send a letter to your representatives in Congress by visiting and signing up with Progressive Secretary here. It's free, fast, and confidential.

Also, more info here and here.
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