FDR’s Secret Handshake with the Press

compliant_newsJeff Pelline has an excellent post on his blog today, “Obama-Fox press war doesn’t compare with FDR media feud,” in which he cites Jack Shafer’s commentary in Slate to the effect that FDR’s war against the press was much more relentless and successful than the Obama administration’s recent tepid attacks against Fox News.

In support of Shafer’s point, I would only add this footnote:  the press in FDR’s day so thoroughly buried the story of Roosevelt’s incapacity from polio that most American’s knew nothing about it. FDR achieved this miracle of deception by a “secret handshake with the press,” in the words of Dan Brooker of Grand Central Station.

FDR achieved a compliant media in his day by winning over the press, a personal accomplishment. Modern presidents today usually achieve — or attempt to achieve — a compliant media by managing access to the administration, an institutional accomplishment.

In the following brief BBC interview with Brooker, he shows us the secret platform underneath Grand Central Station, built especially for and used only by FDR as part of his method of concealing his infirmity from the public.

Grass Valley Skyline if Idaho-Maryland Reopens

IMM_Smokin_thumbnailThe following is an accurate photographic projection, a photograph edited to reflect the likely appearance of the Grass Valley skyline if the Idaho-Maryland Mine were to reopen and go into full operation.

It was done by researchers for the local group, “Citizens Looking at the Impact of Mining” (CLAIM-GV), in consultation with officials in Grass Valley government, taking careful consideration of issues such as water content of the smoke and steam, typical wind direction and other elements of the local microclimate.

Despite — or more likely because of — the care taken to make it as accurate a projection as possible, this image, mounted on a poster and displayed for the past several months at the weekly Nevada City Grower’s Market, caused quite a stir, no doubt because it came as a shock to many citizens who had not realized the significant impact the mine would have on the local environment.

Click on image for better view

IMM_Smokin

Amazing Buzz on New Book: Eating Animals

eating_animalsI’ve never seen this kind of buzz on a new book before, and since I’m a sucker for book buzz and hype, and I haven’t actually read the book yet, I’ll just pass on some of the buzz and hype about Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

From Aaron Gross on Huffington Post:

The Most Important Conversation in Our Lifetimes Might Just Begin with Jonathan Safran Foer’s Latest Book

Over the next weeks Huffington Post will feature a diverse range of responses to Jonathan Safran Foer’s controversial new work of non-fiction, Eating Animals. But these aren’t your usual book reviews. They are the start of a conversation that some powerful people in agribusiness would rather we not have.

Imagine that tomorrow scientists report that a single action, something that most of us do every day, was discovered to be the leading human cause of global warming. And one of the top two or three causes of every other major environmental problem at the local and global level. Even more, this same action appears to have been a decisive factor in the development of the H1N1 “swine flu” and continues to stimulate the growth of pathogens resistant to antimicrobial drugs. Imagine further that this action causes billions of farmed animals annually to suffer in ways that virtually all Americans say should be illegal. And, finally, that this action has lead to the decimation of American farm communities from North Carolina to central California.

Here’s the publisher’s description, which uses the wonderful phrase, “profound moral ferocity.” In book buzz, it doesn’t get any better than “profound moral ferocity.”

Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer’s profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we’ve told-and the stories we now need to tell.

Here’s an Amazon reader’s comment:

The buzz about this book was so incredible I had to get my hands on an advanced copy … Foer never preaches. He shares his own beliefs and asks us to live by our own standards, not his … The material about his grandmother and how she survived the holocaust is really powerful. The stuff about his dog George (Foer makes a mock case for eating dogs) is hilarious. His storytelling is so compelling that you hardly realize how much information he’s conveying (there are 60 pages of notes documenting his sources, but the text itself is uncluttered by footnotes). Another unique thing about this book is that Foer actually sneaks into a factory farm in the middle of the night… Eating Animals is a serious book that could change the way you live.

Finally, here’s Foer describing the book:

Local Participants in the 350.org Campaign

350_logo2Here are a couple of local photos for the 350.org campaign — out of more than 17,000 (and counting) uploaded so far from other planet Earth locations. (Licensed by the Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

See anybody you know?

350_hoe_down

Nevada City Farmer’s Market Harvest Hoe-Down. A zero waste soup, music and dancin’ event.

>> Tom Weistar Director
>> SYNERGIA LEARNING VENTURES
>> 18441 Rainbow’s End Road
>> Nevada City CA 95959
>> 530 265-5490
>> tweistar@synersgia.us
>> www.synergia.us

350_brown_howitt

Greetings;

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do something!

Blessings,
Laurel Brown & Bill Howatt
Nevada City, CA

New Union Slogan? (If You Wait Long Enough, It’s No Longer News)

asleepMany of us who have been closely following developments with Emgold’s rapidly sinking effort to obtain funding for its quest to re-open the Idaho-Maryland Mine, immediately recognized Dunn Capital Partner’s October 23rd press release announcing their decision to drop support for Emgold as significant news.

One friend assured me the same day that “the Union will have to run this story,” because it’s big news, particularly since Dunn’s statement directly contradicts Emgold’s explanation reported in The Union’s most recent (10/20/09) article on the subject, “Mine’s controversial re-opening hits $ snag:”

Emgold recently announced it had cut off negotiations with Dunn. Watkinson said his firm was partly scared off by a lawsuit filed by another company against Dunn for allegedly not coming through on a similar financing deal.

But here’s Dunn’s explanation:

Ottawa, Canada, October 23, 2009 –(PR.com)– After much research and deliberation, Dunn Capital Partners has decided to withdraw their support of the Idaho-Maryland Mine project in Grass Valley, California. Based on a unanimous vote, Dunn Capital Partners requires all extractive industry projects to support private equity firm’s social responsibility for the environment and the community that they invest in.

The decision was several-fold, based on review of Emgold’s proposed IMM project’s impact to an urban location, citizen petitions, the risk of water loss to local wells, the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and hydrologist reports. In combination of inadequate support documents to prove the adherence to California’s Environmental Quality Act, Dunn Capital Partners had no choice but to end talks with Emgold on the IMM project. “As a private investment company, it is our responsibility to be more pro-active in taking an extra step to assess how a project can impact the area and regions of that community,” explains Michael Bailey, Head of Equity Capital Markets. Paying attention to the reaction generated by Californians of the targeted region has reinforced their decision.

Why hasn’t The Union yet reported anything about Dunn’s press release? (Maybe it has and I missed it? But I couldn’t find any mention of Dunn in a search of the Union’s website just now, using their own search function).

Perhaps we should suggest a new slogan for The Union, to signify what appears to be its guiding philosophy, especially with regard to news its editor/publisher seems not to like:

If You Wait Long Enough, It’s No Longer News

Wonderful Images from the 350.org Campaign

350_logo2The pictures from the 350.org campaign continue to roll in from around the world.

This is what planetary consciousness looks like.

To see the slide show, click on the image of Yosemite below:

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Library Outsourcing FAQ

full_disclosureThanks to Jeff Pelline today for reporting on Nevada County’s plan to post an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document online to address public questions about the RFP for outsourcing library management (sometimes AKA “privatization”).

The FAQ itself includes an email address which can be used to send questions to be included (and presumably answered) in this FAQ: LibraryDiscussion@co.nevada.ca.us.

I sent the following email to that email address this evening:

Dear Rick Haffey:

Please include the following questions (and your answers) in your Library FAQ:

(1) Since Section 5.6.6 of Nevada County’s RFP for Library Services states that ”Contractor will provide the County with annual audited financial statements of the Company to demonstrate fiscal soundness,” and Library Systems and Services (LSSI) is a private company which is known to be unwilling to reveal its internal financial condition, may we assume that LSSI will be excluded from the bidding, or that its bids will be rejected if they do not meet the requirement specified in Section 5.6.6?

(2) Where (and how soon after being submitted) will the responses to the Library RFP be posted?

Sincerely,

Don Pelton
Editor, “Sierra Voices” (http://sierravoices.com)

Climate Simulation Expert Finds Hope in His Model

hopeDrew Jones of the Sustainability Institute, using a simulation technique developed at MIT, finds hope in his modeling result, and says “the world is waking up in great ways.”

Jennifer Leonard introduces him this way:

Like an Energizer Bunny at a half-time show (or Tony Robbins, at one of his weekend intensives), Jones struts the stage and works up the crowd at TEDxAsheville with reminders of the progress in our midst, like bilateral negotiations (”We’re talking to each other!”), and urges his listeners to “let the doom and gloom stories fade from your mind.” With steel-clad certainty, he affirms, “We get to invest in the possibility that human society does all it can to address climate change. We can do it!”

Although he backs up his fervor with an impressive real-time simulation of future scenarios based on solid science, using C-ROADS (available at Climate Interactive), Jones insists that this, ultimately, isn’t about the model: “This is about the world waking up in great ways.”

Economist: Saving the Planet is Very Affordable

earthEban Goodstein, an economist and professor at Bard College, along with two of his co-authors of their recent in-depth study of the costs of climate stabilization, has an interesting editorial in today’s Washington Post: “We can afford to save the planet.”

In the editorial, professor Goodstein says:

Some have argued that the worrisome climate news is that the cost of preventing climate change is too high. In fact, estimates of the cost of acting to mitigate warming have remained relatively stable, while estimates of the likely cost of inaction are becoming unbearable. Whether the goal is 450 or 350 parts per million, this is still a problem we can afford to solve. Stopping global warming remains fundamentally a problem of political will.

[…]

Our report shows that a comprehensive global strategy is well within the range of what most nations are willing to pay to avoid far greater damages from climate change down the line. With investments of roughly 1 to 3 percent of global gross domestic product, or $600 billion to $1.8 trillion, we could rapidly transition from oil and coal to renewables and clean energy sources, including wind and solar, and replenish global forests, which would help trap billions of tons of carbon. These efforts would create jobs and stabilize the climate in the process. Fluctuations or changes in some factors, such as the price of oil, could mean these investments might actually save us money.

To some, the price of 1 to 3 percent of global economic output may seem too high. But examine the amount in context. Suppose, for instance, that the cost of climate protection turns out to be 2.5 percent of global GDP. In an economy like that of the United States that is, say, growing at a roughly 2.5 percent annual rate, spending 2.5 percent of its GDP on climate protection each year would be equivalent to skipping one year’s growth and then resuming. Put another way, Americans in 2050 would have to wait one additional year, until 2051, to be as rich as they would have been had they not been investing in the transition to clean energy.

Consider another comparison: Military spending is greater than 4 percent of GDP in both the United States and China. Because of concerns about potential future dangers, both countries are already diverting from annual consumption more than the high-end estimates of what it would take to stop global warming.

Business lobbies have argued that even the moderate reductions called for in recent U.S. climate and energy legislation would cripple the economy. Yet academic research and findings by the Congressional Budget Office and the Environmental Protection Agency show that recent U.S. legislative proposals would have very little if any negative impact on the U.S. economy. Our report surveys the economic studies of the costs of achieving the far more ambitious target of 350 ppm and finds only estimates of moderate net global costs.

Read full editorial here.

Dunn Capital or Emgold? Who Broke Off the Romance?

george_costanzaIn the Union article of October 17th, “Mine hits financial, time snags,” David Watkinson was quoted as saying that Emgold had cut off negotiations with Dunn Capital Partners:

Emgold recently announced it had cut off negotiations with Dunn. Watkinson said his firm was partly scared off by a lawsuit filed by another company against Dunn for allegedly not coming through on a similar financing deal.

But Dunn Capital, in its press release today, gave a very different explanation:

The decision was several-fold, based on review of Emgold’s proposed IMM project’s impact to an urban location, citizen petitions, the risk of water loss to local wells, the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and hydrologist reports. In combination of inadequate support documents to prove the adherence to California’s Environmental Quality Act, Dunn Capital Partners had no choice but to end talks with Emgold on the IMM project. “As a private investment company, it is our responsibility to be more pro-active in taking an extra step to assess how a project can impact the area and regions of that community,” explains Michael Bailey, Head of Equity Capital Markets. Paying attention to the reaction generated by Californians of the targeted region has reinforced their decision.

It reminds me of that old Seinfeld episode in which George is about to dump his girlfriend, but before he can open his mouth, she dumps him, using the line he was just about to use on her, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

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