Monday, October 31, 2011
We put in an underground irrigation system at LOVESalem HQ so we could install timed drip irrigation throughout our many gardens. We paid extra -- quite a bit extra, actually-- for a high-quality, high-end, backflow preventer with redundancy, though we could have used a cheaper, less-reliable one, and still met the state requirements. But we know that backflow prevention is important. (Backflow prevention is about avoiding contaminants getting sucked into city water pipes if the system pressure dips, such as when fighting fires.)
Drip uses a tiny fraction of the water of conventional sprinkler irrigation, reducing the demand for water substantially just when demand is most likely to strain the city's water supply system. Instead of charging more, a city actually interested in promoting sustainability would waive the backflow prevention test fee for anyone who uses drip rather than broadcasting water into the air. Or add the annual testing charge into rates for everyone, since everyone who gets water from the system benefits from the testing.
The notice letter says that the $15 cost of pushing the paper in the backflow prevention program "were included in your utility rates" but "will now be charged on your utility bill on a prorated monthly basis." Great -- so instead of figuring out how to reward or reduce the blow for those of us who are helping reduce the strain on the system in the drought months, the city has decided that we should pay extra on top of the extra we already pay for a public health measure that benefits everyone.
And they no doubt justified this brainwave by saying that those of us who have a backflow preventer should pay for the testing, not those households that don't. Sounds right at first glance -- except that what it does is create is a fee system that gets the incentives wrong. It hits people with an additional charge for doing what's right (protecting the health of the system) instead of raising rates generally, which tends to reward those who do what's right (such as use drip) and discourage doing what's wrong (using water wastefully).
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Jazz and Retro Swing
7 p.m. Friday, November 4
Tickets : $5 in advance/$7 at the door On sale now at all Library Circulation desks
Doug Sammons and the Midnight Serenaders return to Salem Public Library for an evening recreating the Jazz Age. The swinging sextet presents a show combining old standards and their own original tunes that feel like they belong in the same bygone era.
For their Salem show the band will draw their repertoire from classics by the likes of Fatts Waller and Ethyl Waters as well as original songs from their new album, Hot Lovin’. More information about this concert and the series can be found at www.salemlibrary.org or by calling 503-588-6052.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
SPOT THE CAT
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Judges defending Constitution must sometimes share their foxhole with scoundrels of every sort, but to abandon post because of poor company is to sell freedom cheaply; it is fair summary of history to say that safeguards of liberty have often been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.
Snyder v. Phelps, 580 F.3d 206 (4th Cir. 2009)
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Confluence: Willamette Valley LGBT Chorus will present...
“Classical Melodies,” on Saturday October 15, 7:30 pm, at the
First Congregational Church, 700 Marion St., Salem
Artistic Director Ray Elliott has crafted a special concert of classical music with choral works, madrigals, arias, cello and piano, including composers Rossini, Handel, Donato, Orff, and Benjamin Britten, among others. The concert is designed to lift your spirits and soothe your soul.
Tickets in advance, online or from chorus members, are $15 General Admission, $12 Students & Seniors. Tickets at the door are $18 and $15. For tickets online, or to make a donation, go to confluencechorus.org
You Are Invited
…to a special preconcert wine and cheese reception at 6:30 as well a silent auction which includes three separate coast getaways—
one at Lincoln City with a gift certificate to Kyllos Restaurant
another just south of Salishan, within 250 ft. of Lincoln Beach
and a third near Waldport (on the beach and pet friendly).
All three can accommodate from two to six people. A great opportunity for families or groups of friends to pool their resources and win a chance to spend some time together.
A fourth auction item is a 14,000 BTU Sportable Gas Grill, great for tailgating and camping.
All four auction items will make awesome holiday gifts for friends or family.
Your Support is Needed
Confluence recently purchased a cargo trailer that was stolen two weeks after purchase. Although it was insured, the expenses of the deductible and ongoing secure storage are challenging the nonprofit chorus’s minimal operating budget. Donations for the trailer are welcome as well as attendance at this concert, which is additional to the regular concert season starting in December.
Donations may be made any time at confluencechorus.org or on the night of the concert.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Confluence: Willamette Valley LGBT Chorus
Building Bridges Through Song
Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
. . . “What we’ve learned about libraries is that they fill a really important role in the community by providing an inviting space for people of all backgrounds,” says Molly Raphael, president of the American Library Association (ALA). “They’re important for creating understanding across different cultures and pulling elements of the community into the space.”
. . . Libraries are also dedicated to keeping teens involved in library programs and activities and provide a safe, third place to go with targeted activities and areas set aside for them. “Teens really want to be separate from kids and adults,” says May. “It doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly, just something apart.”
A free remedy for social and creative isolation, libraries are good places to go to get work done, offering a way to tap into the group productivity dynamic that has made co-working so popular.
“Libraries are important spaces for communities to gather,” says May. “There’s an intellectual energy that comes from hundreds of people working.”
. . . With some library branches increasing their focus on e-materials, others prioritizing their community offerings, and many trying to strike a balance of the two, libraries have some big budget and information-delivery questions to work out. Far from going away, they are as relevant to communities as they have ever been; perhaps more so.
“The question of relevance is out of sync with reality,” says May. “We’ll always be consuming new kinds of media, and libraries will always try to keep up with that. Libraries are changing to keep up with the times.”
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
This documentary crisscrosses the nation uncovering startling new findings that suggest there is much more to our health than bad habits, health care, or unlucky genes. The social circumstances in which we are born, live, and work can actually get under our skin and disrupt our physiology as much as germs and viruses. Research has revealed a gradient to health. At each step down the class pyramid, people tend to be sicker and die sooner. Poor Americans die on average almost six years sooner than the rich. Through what channels might inequities in housing, wealth, jobs, and education, along with a lack of power and control over one's life, translate into bad health.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Then there's this summary of our woes.
Combine those two pieces with the other recent reports showing banks and mortgage servicers have changed NOTHING and continue to fabricate documentation and commit frauds on courts when foreclosing people out of their homes and you wonder just how clueless these people are.
I am certain that the elites of Bourbon France sniffed that the message from the masses nearing the Bastille was incoherent. Given Americans' propensity for violence and extremely well stocked gun racks, I pray that the elites here understand something about history, such as what happens to a society when the middle class is destroyed and impoverished.
High tech information processing and the globalization of trade, with the concomitant insecurity for all but the elites creates conditions conducive to tremendous and self- reinforcing inequality, like the positive feedback cycle that drives a microphone into a painful squawk of noise. The destruction of communities by the banksters and the corporate chieftains who insist that Henry Ford was misguided to care whether the people who built his cars could afford them is at the point where even relatively or apparently well-off folks are without any resiliency and cannot withstand any reversals, such as a serious illness or job loss.
Given that most people of a certain age played Monopoly as children (a game created during the Great Depression before this one), it's a wonder that more people don't remember that the game is a lot more fun when all the players have enough money to make deals and exchanges interesting and beneficial to both sides. Once someone establishes enough dominance to make the outcome a foregone conclusion, the fun stops and the grinding down starts, often right before people quit, often by turning over the table and scattering the game pieces to hell and gone. It's not fun when it's a board game, much less when it happens in real life.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The editor, who funds this shoestring operation mainly out of her own pocket, consistently runs rings around the captive media outfits who dare not annoy advertisers, which include both the big hospitals and many polluters who would be happiest if we kept thinking that cancer is the fault of genetics or personal bad choices. These people prefer it if we don't recognize that cancer is primarily an environmental illness.
Hat tip to Lund Report for bringing news of this:
Margaret Kripke, PhD, a co-author of that report, speaks in Portland next Tuesday, October 11 at an event sponsored by Rachel's Friends Breast Cancer Coalition in collaboration with the Oregon Environmental Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility. This free lecture takes place at 7 p.m. at Kaiser Town Hall located at 3704 N. Interstate.
According to the report, 'The incidence of some cancers, including those most common among children, is increasing for unexplained reasons,” while environmental cancers disproportionately affect women and members of disadvantaged social groups, who are more likely to be exposed to carcinogenic materials at work or who live in polluted environments.
Not only is more research needed into environmentally caused cancer, but environmental contaminants should be better regulated, and the methods of measuring such exposures improved, the report states. Currently such research is a low priority and receives inadequate funding, resulting in an inadequate number of environmental oncologists. Instead, most research emphasizes the genetic and molecular mechanisms in cancer.
The report is also critical of existing environmental cancer research, noting that most of that research investigates the effect of specific chemicals on adolescent laboratory animals – which doesn't really mirror real-world exposures to environmental contaminants. In addition, animals in these studies are exposed to doses substantially higher than those likely to be encountered by humans.
“These data – and the exposure limits extrapolated from them – fail to take into account harmful effects that may occur only at very low doses,” according to the report. “Further, chemicals typically are administered when laboratory animals are in their adolescence, a methodology that fails to assess the impact of in utero, childhood, and lifelong exposures. In addition, agents are tested singly, rather than in combination.”
Since Americans are exposed to tens of thousands of foreign chemicals throughout their lifetimes, studies should be designed to look at the effects of specific groups on contaminants in the communities most likely to be affected.
The report also calls for stronger regulation of environmental contaminants, saying that U.S. regulation is rendered ineffective by inadequate funding, fragmented and overlapping authorities and uneven enforcement, excessive regulatory complexity, weak laws and regulations and undue industry influence: “Too often, these factors, either singly or in combination, result in agency dysfunction, and a lack of will to identify and remove hazards.”
The panel advised President Obama “to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water and air that needlessly increase healthcare costs, cripple our nation's productivity and devastate American lives.”
Kripke is currently serving her second three-year term on the President's Cancer Panel – comprised of three people including Lance Armstrong, and LaSalle D. Lefall, Jr., the report's co-author. The panel, created by former President George W. Bush, advises the President on the status and needs of the cancer problem in America.
Kripke is a professor of immunology and executive vice president and chief academic officer to the University of Texas MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston. Her research focuses on the immunology of the skin and skin cancer, skin cancer's relationship to ultraviolet light, and how the immune system influences the development of skin cancers. She holds a PhD in immunology from the University of California at Berkeley.When I am sad about the people I've known and lost to cancer, I give to only those groups that recognize that blaming the victims for their cancers lets the polluters off the hook. The group that has been sounding the warning about the environmental roots of the cancer pandemic the longest: Breast Cancer Action.
- Pinkwashing Alert: P&G Beauty (habwwe.wordpress.com)
Saturday, October 8, 2011
The Yukon Golds and Red Clouds made a few nice big spuds but didn't produce a lot of tonnage for some reason. But the Carolas -- a delicious creamy yellow variety -- sure are hitting big! That book carton has just one section of a bed's worth, with lots more left to dig tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll also be digging the All Blues and the Buttes (a great Russet) that were very heavy producers for us last year.
In other garden news, we also bought Crazy Neighbor an electric leaf "blower" -- not because she plans to be one of the idiots who stands around using electricity to blow leaves around instead of just picking up a rake, but so that she can use the blower in vacuum/mulcher mode. This thing uses a heavy-duty metal fan that shreds leaves and twigs into fragments and dumps them into a big bag about the size of a king-sized pillow case. The stuff inside is PERFECT for winter mulch on garden beds.
Crazy Neighbor has several gigantic, decidedly deciduous trees and not too much garden use for the leaves. LOVESalem HQ, on the other hand, has only dwarf fruit trees and but many garden beds. Ergo, a symbiotic pairing -- we buy the leaf mulcher/bagger, she does the leaf cleanup on her yard and, instead of having to deal with bagging them and getting someone to take them to the leaf haul day, she shares the treasure with us.
(I have read in several places that leaf mulch is like compost Viagra because trees have those ginormous root systems that pull up nutrients from way way deep and away from the surface, giving you the "good stuff" so often washed through the top few inches of soil in our heavy rain climate).
Defamation suits against people who report on the misdeeds of powerful people are attempts to SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) people.
Thank goodness Oregon has a strong Anti-SLAPP law.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
"From her start in politics as a teenager Andrea Batista Schlesinger has asked the important questions. Now she asks her most important: are we teaching young people to value inquiry, and if not, what hope can we have for the future of democracy?" -Katrina vanden Heuvel, Publisher, The Nation
Monday, October 3, 2011
The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The question we should ask anyone who wants to mine coal, but especially to mine and export coal is this: Why do you hate America so much? Why would you want to condemn our children to an impoverished and degraded future of poisoned food, acidified and barren oceans, and uncontrollably wild climate extremes?
Insanity. If you have children or grandchildren, you need to understand this: our only hope for moderating the worst that we've got coming is keeping the coal in the ground.