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Farmers Markets

Grand Traverse

  • Traverse City-The Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market in Traverse City is now open on Wednesdays. The Wednesday market continues through September.
  • Traverse City-The Saturday market continues through October. The market is between Cass and Union streets, along Grandview Parkway. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon both days. During the National Cherry Festival, the Saturday market will move to the Old Town Parking Deck, near Union and Eighth streets. The market will be held there July 2 and July 9; there will be no farmers market July 6. For more information, go to www.downtowntc.com.
  • The Village at Grand Traverse Commons-Started its Friday hours. The market is open from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Piazza behind Building 50. For more information, call 570-2860.

Benzie

  • The Grow Benzie Farmers Market opens Wednesday, June 15, and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through midSeptember at 5885 M-115, Benzonia.
  • Crystal Mountain’s farmers market starts Friday, June 17, 3-6 p.m., at the Mountain Adventure Zone, 12500 Crystal Mountain Drive, Thompsonville.
  • Frankfort’s farmers market hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Open Space Park, downtown Frankfort.

Leelanau

  • Leelanau County farmers markets are: Suttons Bay Market, North Park, M-204 and M-22, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Empire Market, next door to the post office, Saturdays (beginning June 18), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Lake Leelanau Market, parking lot across from NJ’s Grocery, Sundays (beginning June 19), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Glen Arbor Market, behind the township hall on Western Avenue, Tuesdays (beginning June 21), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Leland Market, parkling lot across from the Bluebird, Thursdays (beginning June 23), 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Northport Market, next to the Depot by the marina, Fridays (beginning June 17), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Petoskey

  • The Petoskey farmers market is Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Sept. 30 on Howard Street, between Michigan and Mitchell streets in downtown Petoskey.

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Brown Bridge Dam Failure: community information
Please visit this page where we will attempt to relay up to date information regarding dam failure, including stories and other media from people who live on the river.

What Do Republicans Have Against Biking and Walking?
In these antagonistic political times, bikers and walkers are now targets of controversy for some members of Congress. October 28, 2011 | How in the the world can biking and walking be controversial? They’re good exercise, fun to do and—as an alternative to driving everywhere—help us save money and the environment. Both biking and walking are increasingly popular for transportation and recreation today, thanks in large part to a recent flowering of federally-funded trails, bikeways and pathways that make getting around on two wheels and two feet safer and more convenient. But in these antagonistic political times, bikers and walkers are now targets of controversy for some members of Congress. In September, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn proposed stripping all designated federal funding for bike and pedestrian projects from the pending Transportation Bill.

New Film Exposes Connection Between the Kochs and a Small Community Dying of Cancer
Exposed: Koch Industries and Cancer Risk, (which you can watch below) is a chilling demonstration of just how horrific a price people are forced to pay. The film is set in the town of Crossett, Arkansas and focuses on a community of residents on Penn Road. Among 15 families, there have been at least 11 deaths from cancer, and many more people are ill. The source of their anguish seems to be coming from a foul smelling canal of water, steaming with toxic pollutants, that runs through the woods near their homes. If you were to follow the stench all the way upstream, one woman in the film explains, it leads to the town's only manufacturer and main employer: Georgia Pacific. A Koch Industries subsidiary

Why the Whole Idea of the U.S Achieving 'Energy Independence' Is a Sham That Enriches Big Oil and Coal
In late August, Oil Change International shattered the myth that the Keystone XL, which is to transport tar sands from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas, will be used domestically. Refiners based in Port Arthur, where the oil will end up, are focused on exporting oil to Europe and Latin America. The majority of the heavy tar sands oil extracted in Alberta will never end up being burned in the United States. To top it off, Port Arthur, where the dirty oil is to be refined, is in a Foreign Trade Zone, where the company can operate without paying any U.S. taxes.

What Gay Marriages Didn't Do
It must have come as an awful shock to those who have been arguing so vehemently against the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state. On Monday morning, despite two such marriages being performed Sunday in Oneonta along with hundreds elsewhere in the state, the sun rose in the east. Later on that day, it set in the west. The world did not come to an end. In another remarkable development, married heterosexuals awoke to find that their unions were not the least bit damaged.

The World at 7 Billion People: How Much More Growth Can the Planet Support?
With global population expected to surpass 7 billion people this year, the staggering impact on an overtaxed planet is becoming more and more evident. Where we go, nature retreats. We are entering an epoch scientists have begun calling the Anthropocene, a break with the geologic past marked by humanity's long-term alteration of the natural world and its biota. We are inadvertently bringing on the sixth mass extinction not just because our appetites are vast and our technologies powerful, but because we occupy or manipulate most of the land in every continent except Antarctica. We appropriate anywhere from 24 percent to nearly 40 percent of the photosynthetic output of the planet for our food and other purposes, and more than half of its accessible renewable freshwater runoff.

We Are Hard-Wired to Care and Connect
The primary barrier to achieving our common dream is in fact a story that endlessly loops in our heads telling us that a world of peace and sharing is contrary to our nature—a naïve fantasy forever beyond reach. There are many variations, but this is the essence: It is our human nature to be competitive, individualistic, and materialistic. Our well-being depends on strong leaders with the will to use police and military powers to protect us from one another, and on the competitive forces of a free, unregulated market to channel our individual greed to constructive ends. The competition for survival and dominance—violent and destructive as it may be—is the driving force of evolution. It has been the key to human success since the beginning of time, assures that the most worthy rise to leadership, and ultimately works to the benefit of everyone. I call this our Empire story because it affirms the system of dominator hierarchy that has held sway for 5,000 years. Underlying the economic and scientific versions of this story is a religious story which promises that enduring violence and injustice in this life will be rewarded with eternal peace, harmony, and bliss in the afterlife. To reinforce the Empire myth, corporate media bombard us with reports of greed and violence, and celebrate as cultural heroes materially successful, but morally challenged politicians and corporate CEOs who exhibit a callous disregard for the human and environmental consequences of their actions. Never mind the story’s moral contradictions and its conflict with our own experience with caring and trustworthy friends, family, and strangers.

To Save Our Cities, Put Children First
During the post-World War II era we redefined and recreated communities of all sizes to support the transition to an automobile age within the span of only three decades. The North American landscape was changed forever—and its about to change just as radically, over just as short of a timeframe yet again. There will emerge a new urban landscape supported by new kinds of infrastructure responding to the new reality of energy, food, water, and population.

Equality and the Good Life
New research shows that, among developed countries, the healthiest and happiest are those with the most equality. Inequality is a reflection of how strong hierarchies are, how much we share or how much we don't. It shows us which part of our potential we're developing. What game do I play? Have I got to fend for myself? Or have I got to get people to trust me and cooperate with me? Is my survival dependent on good relationships? Are you my rival? Have I got to keep what I've got, defend it? Or can we share? We've lived in the most egalitarian and the most awful, hierarchical, tyrannical societies.

House Republicans Massively Chop Funding for Wildlife, Clean Water and Air
The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee has approved a restrictive spending bill for Fiscal Year 2012 that allows uranium mining on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon, prohibits funding for the U.S. EPA to set greenhouse gas standards, and exempts oil and utility companies from the Clean Air Act. The EPA's budget would be cut by $1.5 billion and the Interior Department would take a $715 million hit under the bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee

The Relentless Christian Crusade to Prevent Kids from Learning Science
Religious Right strategies to introduce fundamentalist Christianity into public school science classes have (ironically) evolved over the years. In decades past, state legislators passed laws flatly barring the teaching of evolution or requiring “balanced treatment” between creationism and evolution. Those efforts were struck down by the courts. Undaunted, Religious Right activists returned with a host of new ideas and presented them to friendly lawmakers. They advocated teaching the “weaknesses” of evolution, asserted that public school teachers had a free-speech right to attack evolution in class and even advocating pasting anti-evolution disclaimers in science books. When courts rejected those gambits as well, the creationists retrenched and relabeled. Creationism became “intelligent design” (ID), a concept that its proponents swore was not necessarily religious (although they were unclear on who the designer could be other than God). That gambit floundered in court as well, bringing us to the newest incarnation of creationism: Teach the controversy.

The Sky Really is Falling
The rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, has been confronted by the power elite with two kinds of self-delusion. There are those, many of whom hold elected office, who dismiss the science and empirical evidence as false. There are others who accept the science surrounding global warming but insist that the human species can adapt. Our only salvation—the rapid dismantling of the fossil fuel industry—is ignored by both groups. And we will be led, unless we build popular resistance movements and carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience, toward collective self-annihilation by dimwitted pied pipers and fools.

Focus on the Family CEO Admits: "We're Losing" on Gay Marriage
Even the bigotry-peddlers knows it's true; gay marriage, once a "wedge issue" is fast becoming a losing issue thanks to the growing pro-equality feelings of American young people (and open-minded older folks as well, of course!). Jim Daly, the president and CEO of Focus on the Family, which funds attacks against marriage equality across the country, concedes in a new interview that “We're losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage,” says Daly in the interview. “I don't know if that's going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We've probably lost that.”

The Christian Right is Aiming to Destroy All Things Public
The Right has pushed for the state to hand over its public duties to private companies, including military operations, prisons, health care, public transport, and all the rest. To the old-fashioned conservative mantra “Big government doesn’t work,” the newly radicalized Evangelicals (and their Roman Catholic and Mormon cobelligerents) added “The U.S. government is evil!” And the very same community—Protestant American Evangelicals—who had once been the bedrock supporters of public education, and voted for such moderate and reasonable men as President Dwight Eisenhower, became the enemies of not only the public schools but also of anything in the (nonmilitary) public sphere “run by the government.”

Complete Streets Myths Debunked
Pedestrian-friendly … walkable … You’ve most likely heard, and used, these terms when describing the future vision of your community. You’ve also likely heard about Complete Streets and assumed it was the same thing. Technically you’re right…and wrong. While Complete Streets initiatives do improve the walkability of roadways, the concept includes so much more.

Extremists Behind the GOP's War on Women: the Taliban Style Christian Right
By failing to fully interrogate so-called social conservatism and understand its religious motivations, the press and pundits continue to provide cover for candidates with an extreme agenda, which they're far from finished carrying out. By failing to fully interrogate so-called social conservatism and understand its religious motivations, the press and pundits continue to provide cover for candidates with an extreme agenda, which they're far from finished carrying out. The Tea Party is full of religious zealots hell-bent on undermining the rights of women.

Parsing the subtext of the racist ‘birther’ conspiracy
It’s time to recognize the “birther” conspiracy wingnuts for what they are. They’re racists. There is no other explanation for the circus sideshow that’s been going on since the inception of the Obama administration. The birthers, including most recently the windbag carnival barker, Donald Trump, just can’t stand the fact that a man born to a white mother and black father could ever succeed at anything in this country, much less become president.

World-renowned Bible scholar says the Bible is full of fibs, forgeries and downright lies
Ancient "books" weren't mass-produced, thus couldn't become bestsellers. While forgery wasn't illegal then, it was frowned upon. Forgers, if exposed, faced public shame. Yet some braved that risk as a means of hawking their agendas: doctrine that the devout would devour if declared by Matthew or Luke but dismiss if propounded by a random guy named Flavius. It's relatively easy to fool illiterate hordes [Editor: As true today as ever - on both sides of the pulpit]. For example, the First Epistle to Timothy — attributed to Paul, although Ehrman insists it's forged — forbids females from becoming pastors or even speaking aloud in church. For example, the First Epistle to Timothy — attributed to Paul, although Ehrman insists it's forged — forbids females from becoming pastors or even speaking aloud in church. Faked scriptures warning us to speak the truth: Some liars lie for what they say is our own good. Parents assure their children that people are kind. Spouses never confess those one-night stands. Is it sometimes okay to lie? In Forged, Ehrman argues that hearing the truth might be a human right.

American Family Association: All Immigrants Must "Convert To Christianity"
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is doubling-down on his view that the U.S. should ban Muslim immigration, and on Wednesday he called Muslim immigrants a “toxic cancer.” We believe in freedom of religion for Muslims ... But if they insist on clinging to their religion, they will need to exercise their freedom of religion in a Muslim country which shares their values. The U.S. should use the Book of Numbers when establishing its immigration policy. According to Fischer, all new immigrants must “convert to Christianity” or “stay home”. [Editor: These are the same Christian Taliban Right "Wing Nuts" who are involved in the kill the gays campaign against gays and lesbians, and are endeavoring to reverse the Traverse City "Equal Opportunity Ordinance" passed in October of 2010. At least they area an equal opportunity hate group.]

A Question Of Values And Ethics | OpEd
The Muskegon Tea Party has scheduled a rally in the Muskegon area for April 15, it is important to take a look at them and their Republican cohorts to see what they are up to and what they really seem to want. First, of course, in worshipful homage to the rich there was the tax cut for the rich, 1.8 billion from Michigan's new Republican and 700+ billion from from the new Tea Party lead U.S. House of Representatives in Washington. Who are the targets for the billions in cuts coming from the Right in congress both in Michigan and nationwide?

54 beneficial compounds discovered in pure maple syrup
Researchers have discovered 34 new beneficial compounds in pure maple syrup and confirmed that 20 compounds discovered last year in preliminary research play a key role in human health.

Koch-Backed Right-Wing Group Probes Professors and Unions
Union busters have long relied on scare tactics to boost anti-worker legislation -- fear, threats and intimidation are standard fare for politicians trying to weaken labor laws, and can be effective if they're holding, say, your family's food stamps over your head. Now FOIA's (Freedom of Information Act) are increasingly becoming the weapon of choice for Right Wing groups. They cost next to nothing to write, and create endless hours of frustration for the recipient to produce all of the data sought in the request. It looks like the GOP is planning to use this tactic against more and more public institutions.

The Biggest Threat Facing the Country Today Is Fast Creeping Ignorance
It's reached epidemic levels in government. Isn't wanton ignorance among those we trust with nuclear policies, war, famine, jobs, the national debt and more, a concern? For instance "3/4ths of Senate GOP Doesn't Believe in Science: The Tea Party and its allies had made it unacceptable to the GOP base to be anywhere except pandering to the anti-science crowd." (Full Story)

Our Founding Fathers Were Primarily Deists (Men of Reason) - Not Fundamentalist Christians as the Tea Party and3/4ths of Senate GOP Profess to Believe
Conservatives who claim that the U.S. is a "Christian nation" sometimes dismiss the Treaty of Tripoli because it was authored by the U.S. diplomat Joel Barlow, an Enlightenment freethinker. Well, then, how about the tenth president, John Tyler, in an 1843 letter: "The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent -- that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgment. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgment of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mohammedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma, if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions."

Rev. Fred Phelps' son tells about years of abuse at Westboro Baptist Church
St. Louis, Missouri — Nate Phelps, the son of Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), is offering a different and horrifying perspective of the controversial church and it's anti-gay leader. Nate Phelps tells crowd about abuse at WBC credit :: thevitalvoice.com "I think that he's is a sociopath," Phelps reportedly said of his father. "I think that he fits that based on his inability to empathize with others, his calculated cruelty, and by laughing at the harm he causes. I've seen that growing up with him."

Anti-gay states may be hazardous to your health
Same-sex couples with adopted children living in states with anti-gay adoption laws and attitudes had more mental health issues in their first year of parenthood than couples with adopted children living in more accepting states, a new study has found. While the results may seem like common sense, this is the first study to examine changes in depression and anxiety across the first year of adoptive parenthood in same-sex couples.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Study
The AFSP found that " discriminatory laws and public policies have a profound negative impact on the mental health of gay adults." A panel of 26 leading researchers, clinicians, educators and policy experts have released a comprehensive report on the prevalence and underlying causes of suicidal behavior in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents and adults.

Court Rules: Antigay Counselor at Eastern Michigan University Must Treat All Student Clients, Without Predjudice or Bias
“LGBT students in crisis should be able to turn to a school counselor for help without fearing rejection or judgment,” said James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Guidance counselors have a duty to treat all students fairly and professionally regardless of who the students are or what issues they are grappling with.” While counselors are certainly entitled to their own religious beliefs, EMU correctly took steps to prevent Ms. Ward from imposing those beliefs on her clients in the university’s training program

Change has swept the country
Attitudes about gay marriage are evolving. Many feel that the law is unconstitutionals. The president has friends who are gay, and Obama has suggested in interviews that his thinking is affected by how much marriage means to his staff. Perhaps not coincidentally, the gay rights movement has spent the last year talking about the issue in just such terms. In past debates over same-sex marriage at the state level, gay activists have focused on the rights and benefits they and their partners are denied because they can't marry. All relationships are about love, partnership and care.

Michigan Partner Benefits Victory
Today’s ruling by the Michigan Civil Service Commission (MCSC) to continue offering same-sex partner health benefits to state employees. We applaud the MCSC’s decision to respect and treat fairly all state employees and their families. We need your help to ensure that all Michiganders are treated with full equality and respect. We now need to ensure that towns and municipalities follow the commission’s lead protecting LGBT employees and families. An agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has been drawn up to do just that and is awaiting a vote by the commission. All Michigan families deserve the same level of protection and recognition. Civil Service Commissioner Andrew Abood said it best today when describing the commission’s ruling saying, “It’s not about cost-benefit. It’s about doing what’s right.” However, in this case “doing what’s right” in a moral sense is the same thing as doing the right thing for Michigan’s economy. This MCSC decision will allow us to attract and retain the best and brightest employees to public service in our state. And that can only be good for Michigan.

  • Tell the MCSC that you support a vote to approve the agreement drafted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to extend health benefits to all eligible individuals. Call the commission at 1-800-788-1766. Let the commission know how important protecting Michigan’s LGBT employees and families is important to you.

Local officials feel threatened by violent imagery
01.13.11 | In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, a Traverse City Commissioner involved in gay rights issues says he’s worried about extreme rhetoric being used by those who oppose the recently enacted human rights ordinance.

Attention Tea Party

We, the collective super-consciousness known as ANONYMOUS - the Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People - have long heard you issue your venomous statements of hatred, and we have witnessed your flagrant and absurd displays of inimitable bigotry,, racism and intolerant fanaticism. We have always regarded you and your ilk as an assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots, however benign, who act out for the sake of attention & in the name of a political movement. 

Being such aggressive proponents for the Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Information as we are, we have hitherto allowed you to continue preaching your benighted gospel of hatred and your theatrical exhibitions of, not only your fascist views, but your utter lack of Christ-like attributes. 

Your demonstrations and your unrelenting cascade of disparaging slurs, unfounded judgments, and prejudicial innuendos, which apparently apply to every individual numbered amongst the race of Man - except for yourselves - has frequently crossed the line which separates Freedom of Speech from deliberately utilizing the same tactics and methods of intimidation and mental & emotional abuse that have been previously exploited and employed by tyrants and dictators, fascists and terrorist organizations throughout history. 

ANONYMOUS cannot abide this behavior any longer. The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex, and we shall now be moved to action. Thus, we give you a warning: Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes & close your public Web sites. Should you ignore this warning, you will meet with the vicious retaliatory arm of ANONYMOUS: We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated; the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your activists will ever be able to fully recover. It is in your best interest to comply now, while the option to do so is still being offered, because we will not relent until you cease the conduction & promotion of all your bigoted operations & doctrines.

The warning has been given. What happens from here shall be determined by you.

Anonymous Hackers Threatens to Take Down Tea Party Websites
The Anonymous group known for hacking and taking down numerous websites including Paypal and Bank of America for blocking donation payments to the Wikileak owner Assange, the church of Scientology and their recent attack on the Westborro "God Hates Fags" church has now focused its attention on the Tea Party by posting this message on the Tea Party Patriots message boards. The Oregon Tea Party Facebook page has already been subjected to an onslaught of image macros, desus, flames and herp derps, along with at least one message explaining why it was being smacked around. The Oregon Tea Party's Facebook page is now gone ... completely.

Oh No, Have We Hit Peak Coffee?
It's time to wake up -- climate change is happening here and now, and it's killing our buzz. k' -- first oil, then fish, then chocolate, now coffee -- Richard Heinberg's 'peak everything' thesis is looking more and more astute. In this case, it's because coffee, like cocoa, are picky, finicky plants -- they require just the right temperature and amount of rainfall to produce a decent yield. And climate change is screwing it all up: yields are way down, it's becoming impossible to plant in certain regions, and as a result, prices of coffee beans are soaring.

TSA Controversy Explodes
March 3, 2011 | The TSA, already facing a significant public backlash, has been thrust firmly into the media spotlight again this week as the controversy over the agency’s domestic security takeover has been heightened with the exposure of multiple unsavory stories of secret plans, security failures and outright criminality. The latest incident to be exposed occurred Saturday night at JKF International Airport, as a passenger was allowed to board a plane with three boxcutter knives in his hand luggage. Two Screeners and a TSA supervisor all failed to detect the boxcutters, and they were only discovered when they fell out of the luggage and were reported by a flight attendant. In case anyone has forgotten, the TSA was created because of a couple boxcutter incidents.

Our Dead and Dying Trees
Mounting evidence that dates back to the late 1980’s, reveals nanoparticles of heavy metals and toxic chemicals from Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Programs have contaminated our water, soil and air. This toxic contamination is causing environmental stress on every living thing on this planet, including humans, animals, forests, oceans, etc. Environmental Voices (www.environmentalvoices.org) has begun a study on our declining forests. Certified laboratory tests on tree bark of dying trees indicate the presence of aluminum, barium, strontium and titanium. Tree bark, from a tree in Solano Beach CA, had certified test results as follows: Aluminum 387 mg/kg, barium 18.4 mg/kg, titanium 15.2 mg/kg, strontium 113 mg/kg. Water nourishes our forests and certified laboratory tests of samples from a Pit River arm tributary tested at 4,610,000 ugl (ugl=ppb or parts per billion), over 4,610 times the maximum contaminant level for aluminum in drinking water for the State of California. With the facts that the Welsbach nanoparticles are changing the pH of the soil and that our water sources are contaminated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals; how will we be able to survive on this planet?

Prepare for Economic Disaster
The current world financial system is based on debt, and there are alarming signs that the gigantic global debt bubble is getting ready to burst. In addition, global prices for the key resources that the major economies of the planet depend on are rising very rapidly. Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that human civilization simply cannot function without oil and food. But now the price of oil and the price of food are both increasing dramatically. So how is the current global economy supposed to keep functioning properly if it soon costs much more to ship products between continents? How are the billions of people that are just barely surviving today supposed to feed themselves if the price of food goes up another 30 or 40 percent? For decades, most of the major economies around the globe have been able to take for granted that massive amounts of cheap oil and massive amounts of cheap food will always be there. So what happens when that paradigm changes?

Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40% within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth
Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned. A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said. In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers. Crisis? Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due climate change and population growth, scientists have said Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production.

Why Glenn Beck Keeps Peddling Whack-Job Fantasies About Euthanizing Grandma, Outlawing Christmas and Turning Junior into a Raging Homosexual
In December 2004, when Bill O’Reilly was warning the nation that dark forces were threatening to destroy Christmas, Glenn Beck was touring local performance venues across the country on a “politically incorrect comedic romp” called the Real American Christmas Tour. His show satirized the secularization of Christmas with songs like “Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas.” As Beck’s popularity grew, his routine became darker. Or perhaps, as his routine became darker, his popularity grew

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In Alaska, you know what we do with people like that? We hunt 'em down and shoot 'em between the eyes!Sarah Palin

Extreme political rhetoric in the crosshairs
In the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), a federal judge and several others on Saturday, the million dollar question seems to be what role the increasingly vitriolic and even violent political rhetoric in America’s political discourse may have played in encouraging such acts. The shooting left Giffords in intensive care, fighting for her life, six others dead, including the chief judge of the federal judicial district for Arizona, and over a dozen wounded, allegedly at the hands of 22-year-old Jared Loughner and his 9 mm Glock.

There Is No Progressive Equivalent to the Right's Violent Rhetoric
There is, demonstrably, no leftist equivalent to Sarah Palin, former veep candidate and presumed future presidential candidate, who uses gun imagery (rifle sights) and language ("Don't Retreat, RELOAD") to exhort her followers to action. here is no leftist equivalent to Glenn Beck. There is no leftist equivalent to Ann Coulter who has said that a baseball bat is "the most effective way" to talk to liberals, as well as: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

Flashback: Giffords Warned Of 'Consequences' To Palin's Target Imagery
January 8, 2011 | Back in March 2010, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) responded to the use of violent imagery and heated political rhetoric from conservative activists -- mentioning Sarah Palin's use of crosshairs on a map over Democratic-held districts such as hers. At the time, Giffords said that people should realize such rhetoric has consequences. Giffords was shot today at a meet-and-greet with constituents in Tucson.

An Open Letter to the Far Right
You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about "death panels" and "Obama is coming for your guns" and "He isn't a citizen" and "He's a secret Muslim" and "Sharia Law is coming to America," you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger. The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage. You who worship Jesus at the top of your lungs (in defiance of Christ's own teachings on the matter of worship, by the way) helped put several churchgoers into their graves and into the hospital. You who shriek about the sanctity of marriage helped cut down a man who was about to be married. You who crow with ceaseless abandon about military service and the nobility of our fighting forces helped to critically wound the wife of a Naval aviator who fought for you in a war. You who hold September 11 as your sword and shield helped put a little girl born on that day into the ground. You helped. Yes, damn you, you helped.

Brave Woman Who Grabbed Clip from Shooter Blames Right-Wing Media and Rhetoric
In Fox News Interview In an interview on Fox, the brave woman who helped stop Loughner calls out right-wing media for creating an environment that encourages violent impulses. When Fox News interviewed her on Sunday, they clearly wanted to know if her strength could translate to psychic healing as Americans grappled with the tragedy. “We've all noted the calmness with which all of you, who helped save the day, conducted yourself,” said Fox anchor Shepard Smith. “I just want to know now, a day later... if there's anything you can think of... that you might be able to turn into a positive?

Fred Phelps Church to Picket the Funeral of 9-year old Christina Taylor Green Shot in Tucson
But when the church announced its intention to picket the funeral of a 9-year-old girl -- one of six people who died Saturday during the attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- Christin Gilmer and others put their feet down. Tucson is a "caring, loving, peaceful community," according to Gilmer, who said two of the six people killed were friends. "For something like this to happen in Tucson was a really big shock to us all," she said. "Our nightmare happened when we saw Westboro Baptist Church was going to picket the funerals."

 
Fred Phelps shares his thoughts on the Tucson shooting. Pastor Phelps and people from his Westboro Baptist Church visited Traverse City, guests of our local religious extremists
 

Climate of Hate
When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen? Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again. The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.

International Action Center statement on the Arizona shootings and the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
The Jan. 8 shooting of Arizona Congressperson Gabrielle Giffords should rightfully be termed a political assassination attempt. The planned murder attempt, which took the lives of six people, including a 9-year-old child, takes place in a political climate of extreme racism, anti-immigrant terror, and fear-mongering that the right-wing, their politicians and pundits have been stoking for more than a decade

American Renaissance-Jared Loughner Possible Connection Being Probed By Authorities
The anti-government organization American Renaissance is connected to the white supremacist New Century Foundation, according to an analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based group that tracks hate crimes. Members typically espouse anti-Semitic and anti-government views.

Democrats on Palin ‘crosshair’ map received death threats
Two former Democratic representatives from Arizona reportedly received numerous threats during their time in office after being placed on Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" map. "I cannot tell you how much I wish a panty bomber would come in and just fucking blow your place up," one constituent told former Arizona Congressman Harry Mitchell, a Democrat who lost his reelection bid last year. Another former Arizona representative, Ann Kirkpatrick, received emails calling her a "whore" and had a sewer cap thrown through her office window, The Daily Best reported. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot in the head Saturday in Tucson, was among 20 other members of Congress who were on a "target list" published by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Six people were killed and at least 14 others were injured in the attack. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who is responsible for investigating the shooting of Giffords, stated that "vitriolic remarks" made on television and radio may be partially responsible for the attack on Giffords. "When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government," he said during a press conference. "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous."

Shot Congresswoman Was In Sarah Palin's 'Crosshairs'
Giffords, a third-term legislator, supported Obama's health care reform bill. This earned her a place on the map, posted to Takebackthe20.com by Sarah Palin's Political Action Committe, that literally put Democrats in the cross-hairs last spring after the bill passed. "Don't retreat, instead- RELOAD!" was how Palin introduced the map to her Twitter followers. Days later, a vandal smashed the glass door of Giffords' Tucson office. Giffords' father tells the New York Post that members of the Tea Party "always threatened" his daughter. Giffords' Tea Party opponent in the 2010 election, Jesse Kelly, went even further with the violent rhetoric. Kelly's campaign held an event called "Get on Target for Victory in November." Description: "Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."

Extremists Keep Denying the Consequences of Its Violent Rhetoric
Perhaps the meaning of that has finally sunk in after yesterday's horror. I'm sure it crossed the minds of the congresspeople who were targeted with those signs at Townhall meetings. And since the media are continuing to normalize these statements by suggesting that it's all part of some incoherent left/right extremist rhetoric rather than a very specific intimidation tactic by a newly powerful right wing faction, they'll undoubtedly succeed in intimidating a few. The fact that some impressionable, mentally ill kid did the dirty work doesn't change that.

American Renaissance Leadership: Jared Taylor
White Nationalist Group (2006) The Jewish Question Redux Written Works American Renaissance Founded: 1990 Location: Oakton, Va. Ideology: White Nationalist Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship. It is best known for its American Renaissance magazine and website, which regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists. The foundation also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist "intellectuals" rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.

Authorities cite evidence of assassination plot
According to court documents filed in the United States District Court in Phoenix, the authorities seized evidence from Mr. Loughner’s home showing that he had planned to kill Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was in critical condition on Sunday with a gunshot wound to the headAccording to court documents filed in the United States District Court in Phoenix, the authorities seized evidence from Mr. Loughner’s home showing that he had planned to kill Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was in critical condition on Sunday with a gunshot wound to the head

Flashback: Conservatives mocked DHS report warning of ‘antigovernment’ violence
The report (PDF), which was coordinated with the FBI and titled, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," warned of a rise in violence spurred by the economic downturn and the election of the nation's first African-American president. The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has apparently posted anti-government screeds in videos on YouTube -- first uncovered by Talking Points Memo's Evan McMorris-Santoro.

Fox News abruptly cuts away from Tucson vigil after mourner mentions Sarah Palin
The Fox News Channel abruptly cut to commercial after a mourner attending a Tuscon, Arizona vigil for those killed in Saturday's shootings mentioned Fox employee Sarah Palin as one of the culprits behind a rising tide of violent rhetoric in US politics and media. At the vigil, which was carried live by some -- including CNN's website -- a man stepped up to the microphone holding a candle and implored those in power to ask themselves why they actually want to be in such a position. "And I say to you, Sarah Palin," he began, just before Fox News abruptly cut the feed. In video that seemed to be unavailable late Saturday, the man continued, calling for violent rhetoric in politics and the media to be toned down. His sentiment was seemingly echoed by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. "I think it's the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business and what we see on TV and how our youngsters are being raised, that ... This has not become the nice United States that most of us grew up in, and I think it's time that we do the soul searching," he said. "It's not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included," Dupnik added. "That's the sad thing about what's going on in America...

Are Republican Right Wingers Homeland Security Threats?
These Republicans have, in essence, raised a call to arms against their own countrymen and women during a time when this country continues to fight a war started by Republicans for bogus reasons, a fact which we must never forget. Representative Michele Bachman from Minnesota screamed to her constituents recently, "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous ... Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing." Representative Steve King yelled, "Let's beat that other side to a pulp! Let's take them out. Let's chase them down." And then there's one of my favorite carnival barkers, Congressman John Boehner, "Take Steve Dryads, for example. He may be a dead man."

Some Words the President Might Choose
Those whose violent, eliminationist rhetoric has polluted the air waves and other media for the past couple of decades, ramping itself up a little more each year, especially with the arrival of an African American in the White House, are, of course, denying that the shootings of a Congresswoman, a judge, a child and bystanders on a street corner in Arizona have anything to do with their savage words. No surprise. One thing they're good at is refusing to accept any responsibility for the consequences of this murderous talk, whether it's Timothy McVeigh blowing up a federal building or Scott Roeder assassinating a doctor. There needs to be a proper counter to this denial

School official charged with child pornography
TRAVERSE CITY — Authorities charged Michael Robert Porter, TBAISD’s chief technology officer, of possessing and manufacturing child pornography and using a computer for criminal activity, in addition to a variety of other charges, according to Grand Traverse County sheriff’s officials.

TCL&P still can't get it right
Traverse City Light & Power can't seem to market itself, evidenced by its twin failures of the biomass plant and the 30 percent renewable-energy goal by 2020. Despite two full-time marketing and communication specialists on staff, plus outside marketing consultants under contract, L&P still can't seem to get it right. Even though Light & Power has no competition for services, it continues to market itself through television, radio and print advertising. Yet a half-million-dollar marketing budget has done little to repair L&P's disconnect with the community. As a public utility without competition, this just makes sense. It's time L&P becomes more fiscally accountable to its ratepayers and provides service at a lower rate

What Kind of Life Are You Creating for Yourself
"I am seeking the fullest expression of myself as a human being on Earth." --Oprah Winfrey Can you even begin to imagine if each and every one of us lived our lives with deep commitment to such a lofty vision? Why don't we? What do we make more important than manifesting our fullest expression? Each of us has our very own set of challenges, preferences and capabilities. What are yours, and what are you doing with them?

Governor-elect Snyder stokes DNR legacy
In a stroke applauded in conservation and environmental circles, Gov.-elect Rick Snyder has tapped Rodney Stokes to replace Humphries, who is leaving to become Ann Arbor-based regional director of Ducks Unlimited.

The Myths and Lies of Anti-Equality Bullies
Traverse City—Last week the City Commisioners representing the City of Travese City unanoumously passed an Ordinance that protected Equality in Employment and Housing. A handful of individuals lead by Paul Nepote, object to equal rights for all and have initiated a referendum petition drive that will place the issue of equal rights on an upcoming ballot to be voted on by the people of Traverse City. In order to shine a light on this issue, we present the following information to aid you in understanding why this issue is important to our region.

To those who agreed we needed a Bill of Rights
“Thanks” to our nation’s founders who, after debate over whether we needed a First Amendment and nine other amendments that make up our Bill of Rights, finally agreed that we did. “Thanks” to James Madison and others who found the right 45 words to declare for more than two centuries that government could not intrude on or deny our core freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. And “thanks” to the citizens who, in a process that reached its zenith on Dec. 15, 1791 — 219 years ago this week — ratified those first 10 amendments that protect our core freedoms. Consider how First Amendment freedoms have shaped the nation’s progress. Freedom of religion — providing that government may neither favor nor disfavor any particular faith, and that we, as individuals, may worship or not as we choose — has helped spare this nation from much of the violence and strife over religious differences that still afflicts much of the world.

How Religious Fundamentalism Enables Sadists Like Elizabeth Smart's Kidnapper
Extreme and patriarchal religions give people with violent or controlling tendencies a justification to let those tendencies loose.

Creepy Christian Patriarchy Movement Shackles Daughters to Their Fathers and Homes
November 29, 2010 | “Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.’”

Laura Bush Is Pro-Choice, Pro Gay Marriage
Former first lady Laura Bush kept mum for eight years on two cornerstone issues of her husband's presidency: gay marriage and abortion. All that changed on Tuesday when she came out in support of both issues on Larry King Live.

Why Religious Believers Are So Desperate for the Atheist Seal of Approval
Believers seeking the Atheist Seal of Approval for their beliefs seem to see atheists as the gold standard. They know that most atheists have rejected religion for a reason: they know we take religion seriously, and that we've examined it carefully and thoughtfully before rejecting it. They know that we're more familiar with the tenets and traditions of religion than most believers: that we not only know more about religion in general than most believers do, but that we know more about specific religious beliefs than the people who actually adhere to those beliefs. They see that, as Julia Sweeney so eloquently put it, we take religion too seriously to believe in it. They see how passionately we value the truth -- and they respect that. So if they can get us to give their religion a thumbs-up... that would really mean something. Yes, most atheists understand that different religions are, you know, different. We get that some religions do more harm than others; that some religions are more out of touch with reality than others; that some religions are more grossly contradicted by hard evidence than others.

Understanding the "Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance"
It's as basic as it gets. Right now, it is a violation of federal and state law to discriminate against someone because of their age, sex, religion, place of origin and more. You can't fire someone simply because he or she is a Christian — or a Jew — or was born in Italy or Indonesia. But in most places, it is still completely legal to fire someone or deny someone a job or refuse to rent them an apartment if they are gay. That's just wrong. Traverse City has done something about it.

Students, community gather to oppose religious bullying, homophobia
In the wake of a rash of high profile bullying-related suicides in the last few weeks, students at Michigan State University and members of the greater Lansing community gathered a vigil Wednesday night. Sarah Midzackowski, chaplain for Canterbury MSU, an Episcopal church group on the campus, also spoke. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that so many of you have experienced spiritual harm at the hands of religious leaders.” [Editor: See photos from the Phelps protest in Traverse City in 2001]

Support Equal Rights in Traverse City | View one womans story
Currently, there is no federal law explicitly barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It is hard to believe that in 2010, you can be fired for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual in 29 states and in 38 states it is legal to fire people on the basis of gender identity. Which is why workers remain vulnerable to losing their jobs, never being promoted, being harassed or staying in the closet.

Traverse City Commissioners Unanimously Pass Equal Rights Protection Ordinance
04-Oct-2010—Simply stated, the Traverse City Equal Rights Protection Ordinance reads: No person shall adopt, enforce or employ any policy or requirement which has the effect of creating unequal opportunities according to actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, family status, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, or gender identity, for a person to obtain housing, employment or public accommodation...

Speech to the Traverse City Commissioners | M'Lynn Hartwell
04-Oct-2010—If we want to live in a free country, we have to accept that people are different. We are not free – if we are only free to be like everyone else.

New Ordinance reflects beliefs | Blake Ringsmuth
Sep 28, 2010—On Monday, the Traverse City Commission will formally consider adding sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination ordinance. It would make it a civil infraction to discriminate against a man or woman in employment, housing, or public accommodation because they are gay. Currently, the ordinance bans discrimination based upon race, sex and age. There already are many cities in Michigan and across the country that have such laws. The hard truth of the matter is this: in Traverse City, it is currently legal to fire someone simply, and only, because they are gay. It is also perfectly legal to maliciously harass someone at work because of their sexual orientation. Those who have spoken against the ordinance have sidestepped this question. Is it OK to fire someone because they are gay? Instead, they question whether there is really a need for such protection, saying they are not aware of any problem. But how would they be aware, unless they inquired? As many who work with the gay population know, the discrimination problem is real and damaging to our community. Professionally, I have met with many who have been harassed out of a job, fired or told there is no place for them to work simply because they are gay. VISIT: SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Judge Dismisses Challenge To Hate Crimes Law
Michigan—The lawsuit, filed in February by the conservative Thomas More Law Center, cited Bible passages, George Orwell's Animal Farm and made references to the "homosexual agenda." The plaintiffs had argued that the law violates their constitutional right to speak out against what they say is immoral sexual conduct.

Supreme Court appears inclined to rule against Christian Hate Group
The Phelps family, from the Westboro Baptist Church (Topeka, Kansas), have picketed across the nation and proclaimed that God is punishing America and its troops because of its tolerance of homosexuality. Though this lawsuit is about funeral protests, the court's ruling will have an effect on the Internet, because it tests whether vicious personal attacks — often made by bloggers — can lead to lawsuits. [Editor: See photos from the Phelps protest in Traverse City in 2001]

How religious right groups distort legitimate research to demonize the gay community
Granted there are some people who are rabidly anti-gay, but this piece isn't about them. My theory and all of my focus have been on the religious right organizations who manipulate people's religious beliefs and personal fears to make the lgbt community the boogeymen or the "big nasty other" in American society. Today, I want to show how these groups have their own ways of distorting credible research.

Respect My Research: Correcting Antigay Group Distortions of Research
Anti-gay activists and their organizations are co-opting legitimate scientific research to support their discriminatory political goals. These various offenders have distorted, cherry picked or misquoted research from esteemed academic scholars across the world. Fortunately, Truth Wins Out (TWO) has started a trend where researchers stand up and demand accountability. When their work has been purposely distorted, they use this site to set the record straight. These academic leaders offer first-hand accounts of how their research was manipulated

Family Research Council attacks same-sex marriage with ‘counterfeit’ facts
Perusing the Family Research Council’s webpage is always a bonanza for me because there is always something there which can be pointed out as an example of how religious right groups distort studies and current events to push the false “radical homosexual activists are hurting America” narrative.

Children From Lesbian Families Have Better Academics Than Their Peers
June 9, 2010—Results of a brand new study show us that children raised by lesbian couples are well adjusted and fit in just fine in school. The study followed up to 78 children for a 20 year period, from the time the children were born until they graduated high school and proved that the lesbian family home has only positives when it comes to school. Children from lesbian families were found to be less likely to be aggressive, less likely to engage in illegal activity and had no difficulties when it came to fitting in socially with their peers. Children from lesbian families were also found to be more apt when it came to their academics than children of a similar age from traditional families. “This is a straightforward statistical analysis. It will stand and it has withstood very rigorous peer review .

Study: Kids of Lesbian Parents Are Well-Adjusted
June 7, 2010—Children raised by lesbian parents develop into psychologically healthy teens and have fewer behavior problems than their peers, according to the latest report on a long-running study that began in 1986. ''Contrary to assertions from people opposed to same-sex parenting, we found that the 17-year-olds scored higher in psychological adjustment in areas of competency and lower in problem behaviors than the normative age-matched sample of kids raised in traditional families with a mom and a dad," says researcher Nanette Gartrell, MD, the Williams distinguished scholar at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. More than 270,000 U.S. children were living in households headed by same-sex couples in 2005, according to Gartrell, and nearly twice that number had a single gay or lesbian parent. The teens raised by lesbian parents were rated higher in social, school, academic, and total competence.

“There Is a War Being Waged Against the Working Families of America”
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gave a lively, impassioned speech before Congress earlier this week on how the U.S. is becoming a banana republic and waging a war against its working families. At a time when the middle class is disappearing and when the top 1% now earns more income than the bottom 50 percent, this Congress is going to have to be very careful about how it goes forward on deficit reduction. In my view, we must not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly or the poor. Instead, we’ve got to do away with the enormous tax breaks and loop-holes that have been given to millionaires and billionaires and take a hard look at the excessive amount of money we spend on the military as well as some other government agencies.

Here Come Homeland Security Internet Police, and They're Already Shutting Down Web Sites They Don't Like
December 3, 2010 | Last week, the Department of Homeland Security seized 82 domain names for allegedly hawking counterfeit goods. A few sites on the list, though, stuck out: Onsmash.com, rapgodfathers.com and dajaz1.com are popular music blogs that were generally involved in the promotion of artists, rather than outright piracy. Well-known among rap fans for posting the latest videos, singles and remixes (always hosted from third-party download sites), their seizure was shocking, not just to the hip-hop blogosphere, but to music sites everywhere. Their inclusion on a list of sites that profit from manufacturing hard goods seemed arbitrary and ignorant. Furthermore, these sites were directly involved with artists, widely viewed as outlets that could help artists build buzz and promote their upcoming albums. ICE began seizing domain names mere days after Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, blocked the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), a bill that would effectively allow the government to censor any Web site it sees fit, and one that is widely viewed as an attack on our free speech.

Beyond the light switch: Can clean energy manufacture green jobs?
It's not a pipe dream. Vacant manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio and elsewhere have been filling up with manufacturers of the raw components of solar cells or some of the 8,000 moving parts that go into a modern wind turbine. These form the foundation of the clean-energy economy—and the source of so-called green jobs.

Building Community: An Economic Approach
Wall Street is basically dedicated to eliminating jobs or outsourcing jobs in order to increase financial profits of the biggest corporations and to increase the financial assets of the world’s already richest people. Now what we need is a money system that actually is doing what you just said, is connecting real resources with real needs, creating real community wealth at the community level. But that requires a financial system that is rooted in the community and accountable to community interest and that operates by life values rather than financial values. Bay Bucks in NW Michigan

How People Are Relearning How to Live as a Community
In the past, neighbors knew each other and engaged more naturally in mutual aid, sharing common resources and helping those in need. Nowadays, our mutual aid muscles are out of shape and pretty flabby. Clubs help us to start flexing and stretching them again, little by little. Clubs also chip away at our resistance to being helped. “People at first resist simply receiving—they think they can’t show up to a potluck empty-handed,” Jared says. “We tell them it’s okay—it’s okay to receive if you need help. We say we’re putting the ‘luck’ back in potluck.”

Wi-Fi Makes Trees Sick, Study Says
Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands. All deciduous trees in the Western world are affected, according to the study by Wageningen University. The city of Alphen aan den Rijn ordered the study five years ago after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees that couldn't be ascribed to a virus or bacterial infection. In the Netherlands, about 70 percent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with only 10 percent five years ago. Besides the electromagnetic fields created by mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs, ultrafine particles emitted by cars and trucks may also be to blame. These particles are so small they are able to enter the organisms.

You Elected Them: No new extended claims for Michigan's jobless after Saturday
Nov 23, 2010, 07:02 AM EST LANSING — Michigan says it will stop taking new extended unemployment benefit applications after Saturday because Congress has failed to renew the program. The state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth says about 162,000 Michiganians exhausted their jobless benefits from January through November and about 181,500 will exhaust their unemployment benefits from this December through April 2011, barring an extension by Congress.

One of our readers writes
If you agree, please pass it on. This is an idea that we should address. For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that passed ... In all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever . The self-serving must stop. If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around. Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ." Please, at the same time, repeal any past laws not complying. You are one of my 20.

Whose Water? The Struggle for Public Ownership of Freshwater
September 22, 2010—We go to Michigan, where from the city of Detroit, to the farmlands and countryside, citizens are battling to gain greater control over the bounty of the great lakes.

Wednesday, September 29th 5:30-7:00pm
You are Cordially Invited to a reception for Lawrence Bernero
Black Star Farms Winery (Old Mission Peninsula) 360 McKinley Rd. East Traverse City, MI 49686. RSVP to rsvp@votevirg.com or call (517) 708-2900. Please make checks payable to: Virg Bernero for Michigan Contributions may also be made online at: votevirg.com

Where the Salmonella Really Came From
The cause of this outbreak is factory farming, which has also been the cause of virtually every instance of bacterial food contamination we have seen here in recent years. [Editor: More specifically, the problem is traced to the practice of mixing dead and diseased animal slaughter house waste into the feed livestock and poultry eat today. Something that had never been done before we began to see the outbreaks.]

Neighborhood Net
Save money and resources by sharing stuff with your friends and neighbors. Help your neighbors save money and resources by inviting your friends and sharing your stuff!

10 Easy Steps for Becoming a Radical Homemaker
Three years of research about the social, economic, and ecological significance of homemaking, and I had to reduce it to 10 easy tips? I didn’t see a to-do list as a viable route to a dramatic shift in thinking, beliefs, and behaviors. But since the objective of such a list was smoother discussion and communication of Radical Homemaking ideas with the public, I did it.

Energy Generations Dirty Secrets | EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
More than a century ago, our ancestors had a simple plan for dealing with industrial waste: they simply flushed it into the river or let it settle into the ground. Problem solved. What could be easier and more sensible? No one had a clue at the time that there were unintended consequences that would involve billions of dollars in cleanup schemes within a few decades.

Traverse City #8 Beach Town in America
Traverse City is now proudly posted as America's #8 beach town. The beach itself is a major factor in the ranking. AOL even called Traverse City the "Malibu of Michigan." But they also judged the beach towns on other things they offer, like festivals and downtown shopping. Traverse City holds its own on the list against coastal towns in places like California and Florida. In fact, we're the only Midwest city to make the cut.

Photo ©2010 Utopian Empire Creativeworks
IN THIS PHOTO, THE GULF OIL SPILL IS ILLUSTRATED OVER A MAP OF MICHIGAN

Dan Scripps, Representative for the 101st. District Presents Legislation to Ban Drilling in the Great Lakes | Listen to Audio
Traverse City—Representative Dan Scripps announces legislation that will constitutionally ban drilling in the Great Lakes. While drilling in the lakes is already prohibited, it is a law that could be reversed at any time legislatively. This legislation would amend the Michigan constitution to permanently ban drilling. Michigan would be the first Great Lakes state to permanently ban drilling. The legislation will have to pass the Michigan House and Senate, and then the prohibition would appear on the November ballot, giving Michigan voters the right to decide the issue. Rep. Scripps is joined by members of the sport fishing community, as well as the council chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and other allies and supporters. DontDrillMILakes.com

Former Mayor Dodd pushes vote changing Rules for Traverse City Light & Power
Margaret Dodd recently began circulating a petition in hopes of getting a city charter amendment on the November general election ballot. The amendment would give city residents the right to vote on Traverse City Light & Power's plans for a biomass plant. Dodd crafted a separate petition to amend the charter and bring Light & Power operations back under the city commission's control. Light & Power is run by its own seven-member board, though it once was a fully-contained city department. Dodd, Traverse City's mayor from 2001-03, needs 566 signatures for each proposal to place them on the ballot, a figure that amounts to 5 percent of registered city voters. Dodd, a vocal opponent of Light & Power's biomass maneuvering, believes the public utility has a "pattern of behavior" that shows it's out of touch with taxpayers.

Controversy Surrounds Tests of Nutro Dry Cat Food
Controversy is swirling around recent tests on a sample of Nutro dry cat food, which detected what two leading veterinarians consider “worrisome” levels vitamin D3. The non-profit group that hired a private lab to test the food disagrees and calls the Nutro sample “one of the most deadly pet foods we've tested to date.”

Beware of Sewage Sludge Being Marketed as Fertilizer
Only 1 percent of the hazardous materials in sludge are regulated. Most national and local gardening shops around the country sell sludge-based fertilizers. One option is Milorganite, a fertilizer advertised as “organic biosolids.” Say what? “Biosolids” is a euphemism for sewage sludge. It was created in the early 1990s by the “Name Change Task Force” of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Once known as the Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations, WEF is the sewage industry’s main lobbying and public-relations organization. The deceptive wording has not changed one startling fact: Sewage sludge contains hazardous materials, such as dioxins, PCBs, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and toxic heavy metals. But “biosolids” certainly sounds nicer than “toxic waste.” The propaganda campaign was a success: “Biosolids” now appears in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton argue that America would have benefited from completely rethinking waste treatment. Beginning in the mid-1800s and continuing today, combined sewer systems—where storm water, household sewage and industrial waste are mixed together—discharge massive amounts of polluted water, most of it “treated,” into rivers, lakes and oceans. When the wastewater is “treated,” toxic sludge—a product of wastewater treatment—is produced. Not putting human waste into the sewer in the first place would have allowed its use as a fertilizer to enrich agricultural soil.

Food in the U.S. Is Still Tainted with Chemicals That Were Banned Decades Ago
April 22, 2010—In a photograph from a 1947 newspaper advertisement, a smiling mother leans over her baby's crib. The wall behind her is decorated with rows of flowers and Disney characters. Above the photo, a headline reads "Protect Your Children From Disease Carrying Insects." The ad, for wallpaper impregnated with DDT, captures a moment of historical ignorance, before the infamous insecticide nearly wiped out many birds and turned up inside the bodies of virtually everyone on Earth. Thirty-eight years after it was banned, Americans still consume traces of DDT and its metabolites every day, along with more than 20 other banned chemicals. Residues of these legacy contaminants are ubiquitous in U.S. food, particularly dairy products, meat and fish.

Dry weather has water levels dropping
Water levels in the Great Lakes are dropping because of sparse snow and rain, which could mean hard times for commercial shippers and recreational boaters in some areas, officials say. The drop-off continues a trend that began in the late 1990s. "We're below last year's lake levels across the board," Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told The Detroit News for a Wednesday story. "That's largely due to the very dry conditions we had during the winter and early spring."

Facebook groupBiomass: a Few Burning Questions | FACEBOOK GROUP
Environmental groups, forest biologists and green energy advocates are endeavoring to stop the construction of more biomass burning plants in Michigan which threaten our forests, your health, and Michigan ecosystems. Please join us in our effort to put an end to additional biomass burning in Michigan. Biomass@JobsAndEnergy.com

Wisdom: An Endangered Natural Resource
There was a time when wisdom, as the pinnacle of human insight and understanding, was prized above anything else. Knowledge looks around, wisdom sees deeper. Wisdom is available within each and every one of us, a combination of clear vision--seeing things as they are, not as we might like them to be--combined with understanding how things are interconnected and function. Truth or reality is things as they are, just as they are--stripped of concepts, preconceptions and judgment -- and not as we are, heavily conditioned by projections and interpretations. MetaWisdom is that overarching, underlying, timeless yet timely discriminating awareness which sees clearly and acts accordingly, in tune with how things are and need to be.

Beware of Sewage Sludge Being Marketed as Fertilizer
Only 1 percent of the hazardous materials in sludge are regulated. Most national and local gardening shops around the country sell sludge-based fertilizers. One option is Milorganite, a fertilizer advertised as “organic biosolids.” Say what? “Biosolids” is a euphemism for sewage sludge. It was created in the early 1990s by the “Name Change Task Force” of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Once known as the Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations, WEF is the sewage industry’s main lobbying and public-relations organization. The deceptive wording has not changed one startling fact: Sewage sludge contains hazardous materials, such as dioxins, PCBs, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and toxic heavy metals. But “biosolids” certainly sounds nicer than “toxic waste.” The propaganda campaign was a success: “Biosolids” now appears in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton argue that America would have benefited from completely rethinking waste treatment. Beginning in the mid-1800s and continuing today, combined sewer systems—where storm water, household sewage and industrial waste are mixed together—discharge massive amounts of polluted water, most of it “treated,” into rivers, lakes and oceans. When the wastewater is “treated,” toxic sludge—a product of wastewater treatment—is produced. Not putting human waste into the sewer in the first place would have allowed its use as a fertilizer to enrich agricultural soil.

Traverse City Clean Energy Campaign by the Sierra Club
Ask Traverse City to Weigh Environmental Impacts of Woody Biomass Plants vs. Michigan's Forests
A headlong rush to build wood biomass power and fuel plants across Michigan is raising concerns among conservationists and foresters alike. Proposed wood biomass facilities in the northern Lower Peninsula alone will require the annual sustainable harvest from 1.6 million acres of forestlands to feed these burners. And that total doesn't include a proposal before Traverse City Light and Power (TCL&P) to build multiple wood biomass facilities. TCL&P deserves kudos for committing to meet 30% of its power needs from renewables by 2020. But TCL&P has not done an environmental assessment of proposed wood biomass facilities to consider and disclose all the pluses and minuses. A recently released TCL&P integrated resource plan is a start, but it falls short of Michigan environmental protection act standards of review, and a public input process for the plan has not been announced. Environmental review is needed to understand wood biomass impacts on water, air quality, the impacts of odors, noise and traffic, as well as to disclose ash disposal plans and to protect forest biodiversity. Because much of the forest land within the range of the TCL&P proposed wood biomass plant is publicly owned, all of us have an interest in this decision as well! Click Here to Urge Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok and TCL&P Executive Director Ed Rice to do a full environmental review with public input before deciding Traverse City's future energy course!

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things | BOOK
In Cradle to Cradle, McDonough and Braungart argue that the conflict between industry and the environment is not an indictment of commerce but an outgrowth of purely opportunistic design. The design of products and manufacturing systems growing out of the Industrial Revolution reflected the spirit of the day-and yielded a host of unintended yet tragic consequences. Today, with our growing knowledge of the living earth, design can reflect a new spirit. In fact, the authors write, when designers employ the intelligence of natural systems—the effectiveness of nutrient cycling, the abundance of the sun's energy—they can create products, industrial systems, buildings, even regional plans that allow nature and commerce to fruitfully co-exist. Cradle to Cradle maps the lineaments of McDonough and Braungart's new design paradigm, offering practical steps on how to innovate within today's economic environment. Part social history, part green business primer, part design manual, the book makes plain that the re-invention of human industry is not only within our grasp, it is our best hope for a future of sustaining prosperity.

Energy Stars for Everyone!
Mar. 26, 2010—Energy Star is often lauded as one of the federal government's most successful energy efficiency programs. Most Americans have seen the logo on air conditioners, refrigerators, lamps, and laptops. The Energy Star stamp of approval is supposedly reserved for products that use 20 to 30 percent less energy than federal standards for appliances. But an investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the program hands out stars like candy. In fact, GAO investigators were able to get Energy Star approval for products that a) weren't even remotely energy efficient and b) didn't actually exist.

Non-Toxic Spring Cleaning
Tackling spring-cleaning this month? Us too. But there's no sense in doing it if you're going to create a big mess for the planet (and your body) in the process. Instead of wondering what kinds of toxic chemicals you're flushing down the toilet or dumping down the drain every time you decide your apartment's gotten a little grungy, stock up on a few things listed below, and keep these easy recipes handy. You'll probably notice you already have a lot of these ingredients in your house, and the ones you don't are way cheaper than any pre-made, environmentally unsound cleaner you can buy at the store.

Best Buy has an incredible e-waste recycling program
They'll accept almost any electronic gadget, working or broken, no matter who made it, at any of their stores: ...we'll take just about anything electronic, including TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, cell phones and more. You can bring in up to two items a day, per household, and most things are absolutely free. However, there is a $10 charge for TVs 32" and under, CRTs, monitors and laptops — but we'll give you a $10 Best Buy gift card to offset that cost.

In town? Slow it Down!
I would like to announce a campaign for community-wide support to limit the upper speed limit on ALL roads within the Traverse City, city limits to 25 MPH (or less). It is unjustifiable by any logic to have traffic whizzing along at 45 miles per hour, and often more, through neighborhood areas putting lives at risk. That extra two or three minutes added to your travel time will contribute toward the safe movements of our youth, differently enabled, and older adults.

Mayor questions Eighth St. redesign plans
Mayor Chris Bzdok can't figure out why bicycle lanes and pedestrian crossings weren't included in plans to reconstruct a busy section of Eighth Street. Bzdok is an avid bicyclist, but that's not why he's scratching his head. The city's past and current master plans either explicitly or generally call for bike lanes and crossings along Eighth and other city streets, as does a regional planning concept dubbed The Grand Vision, and other documents. Bzdok wonders why all that seemingly was ignored when City Engineer Tim Lodge crafted an $850,000 redesign of Eighth between Garfield Avenue and Barlow Street, a project set to break ground in April.

Is There Enough Food Out There For Nine Billion People?
Sometime around 2050, there are going to be nine billion people roaming this planet—two billion more than there are today. It's a safe bet that all those folks will want to eat. And that's... an incredibly daunting prospect. Right now, an estimated one billion people go hungry each day. So add two billion more people, a limited supply of arable land, plus the fact that rising incomes will boost demand for meat and dairy products, plus the fact that many key natural resources (fisheries, say) are already being overexploited… and it's hard to see the situation getting better. And that's before we get into the fact that the planet's heating up, which is expected to wreak havoc on agricultural yields.

The Seed Industry's Scary Consolidation
Michigan State University tells us that three chemical giants, Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta, have come to dominate the agricultural seed industry in the last 10 years. This monopoly isn't just bad for farmers' livelihoods; it's bad for the resilience of our ecosystem. We have 71 percent of U.S. cropland being used for just three crops, and a small handful of companies supplying the seeds. That's a precarious situation, and it's why projects like the Seed Vault are important.

Monsanto's GMO Corn Linked To Organ Failure, Study Reveals pdf
In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage. Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity....These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet.

Related: Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.'s business practices reveal how the world's biggest seed developer is squeezing competitors

City lawsuit wins swimingly
Jan 19—Early this evening, Judge Thomas Power ruled in favor of the city on the DNR swim areas controversy. He ruled that the city has the authority to establish and enforce no-boat swim areas under an 1895 statute giving us jurisdiction of the waters up to a mile out from the shore of Grand Traverse Bay, and also under the city’s Constitutional authority to reasonably control our public places. In a detailed and extensive opinion that took 45 minutes to deliver from the bench, Judge Power reversed the DNR and ruled that the state must issue buoy permits for expanded swim areas if the city chooses to establish them. This decision returns control of city beaches and near shore waters to city residents, through their elected representatives. City Attorney Karrie Zeits represented the city brilliantly in this case. More details on possible appeals and the city’s plans for the beaches this summer will be coming soon.

Unpackaged Grocery Shop: No Packaging Whatsoever
I can't fathom a better way to reduce waste created by plastic bags and other packaging than by eschewing the stuff altogether, which is precisely what London's Unpackaged grocery shop does. [Editor: in NW Michigan, if you haven't yet shopped at Oryana, near downtown Traverse City, you owe it to yourself to pay them a visit]

The Plastics Many Use Every Day Linked to Heart Disease, Study Confirms
BPA is commonly used in consumer plastics, particularly polycarbonate plastic items such as many sunglasses, reusable bottles, food packaging, and baby bottles. It also lines the inside of food cans. In a sampling of U.S. adults, those with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than those with the lowest concentrations of BPA. BPA's ability to mimic estrogen—and spur reproductive mutations in the womb—has been well documented, leading some cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to ban BPA-containing products. People can limit their exposure by not microwaving polycarbonate plastic food containers (which normally have number sevens on their undersides), avoiding canned foods, and using BPA-free baby bottles, according to the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

RELATED

How Green Are Your Electronincs
On the heels of Sony's new "green" laptop unveil, here comes the latest in that organization's regular electronics-monitoring guide, in which they assess how green leading electronics companies are. Some of the results are kind of surprising.

Traverse City Government Passes Resolution to Eliminate Disposable Plastic Water Bottles PDF
In an effort to protect the environment, reduce waste, and save wildlife and fish, passed a Resolution (brought before the Commission by NMEAC) to Ban Plastic Bottles at city facilities, meetings and events.

Traverse City Passes Resolution to Reduce Plastic Bag Waste PDF
Traverse City, in an effort to protect the environment, reduce waste, and save wildlife and fish, passed a Resolution (brought before the Commission by NMEAC) to Ban Plastic Bags.

Canadian Cities Leading the Charge Against Bottled Water
Seventy-two municipalities from 8 provinces and 2 territories have implemented restrictions on bottled water. The last 12 months have not been kind to the big three bottled water manufacturers Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi, whose bottled water sales are down while the number of bans continues to increase.

Bottled water sales dry up
For the first time in decades, the $11.1 billion bottled water industry is stuttering. Experts say that an increasing sense of environmental awareness across the U.S. is influencing consumer choices. Environmental groups take credit after campaigning for years against the industry over waste, safety concerns and the corporate privatization of water.

Living Local
Community-by-community response to climate change offers Iowa its best chance to become a national leader in sustainability. Stories from people who are living comfortably and sustainably off local resources.

How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities
A growing number of Americans, mounted on their bicycles like some new kind of urban cowboy, are mixing it up with swift, two-ton motor vehicles as they create a new society on the streets. They’re finding physical fitness, low-cost transportation, environmental purity. In a world of increasing traffic congestion, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on city streets. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities explores the growing bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities, suburbs, and small towns across North America.

How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road
An emerging body of research suggests that a superior strategy to increase pedal pushing could be had by asking the perennial question: What do women want?

Jesus Hated War -- Why Do Christians Love It So Much?
There are no "blessed wars". Yet virtually all evangelical, conservative and many mainstream church leaders were active supporters of the Bush wars.

Anti-Rape Amendment Passes, Infuriating Several (Male) Republicans
Motivated by the harrowing violence Jamie Leigh Jones suffered in 2005 while working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq, Franken pushed a measure to withhold defense contracts from companies that "restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court." Franken's measure passed, 68 to 30. The 30 opponents -- representing 75% of the entire GOP Senate caucus -- were Republican men.

Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition United States Movement
Rob Hopkins reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. He proposes a unique solution to this problem -- the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels. To join the NW Michigan "Community Transistion" working group | Contact us at mail [at] We Are Traverse City [dot] com | View Transition Page

The Earth is Hiring
No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done.

Agency may sue for Front, Division cleanup
A Grand Traverse County agency may sue to force former gas station owners to pay more than $2 million in cleanup costs at one of the county's top pollution sites at the West Front and Division streets' intersection. Historical leaks from buried tanks at gas stations on the four corners left gasoline floating on top of the water table and saturated in soil beneath the intersection, said Ann Emington, DEQ senior geologist in its Cadillac office. A gasoline-contaminated groundwater plume has migrated from the site to within a couple blocks of West Grand Traverse Bay. The county's brownfield redevelopment authority told its attorney in September to investigate whether it can recover more than $475,000 in cleanup costs for one of the corners. The authority will consider a recommendation from attorney Scott Howard to begin legal proceedings against 23 potentially liable parties when it meets at 8 a.m. Dec. 3 in the Governmental Center.

Opera House Operatics
The most exciting theatrical performance in the 120-year history of the City Opera House in Traverse City is not taking place on its own stage, but rather in the city commission chambers of city hall and coffee shops around town. The debate over the future of the City Opera House easily could be a script right out of some nighttime reality soap opera show. It has all the twists and turns and the “he said, she said” and the “she did, he did” that has residents, supporters, user groups and others at the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next.

The Traverse City Commission will discuss whether to approve a three-year City Opera House management contract with the Wharton Center for Performing Arts on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. on the second floor at the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman Ave. in Traverse City.

TC commission to vote on Wharton proposal
The deal was negotiated quietly for months and the public and elected officials learned about the proposal late in the game, a situation that drew heavy criticism at a Nov. 23 city meeting. The contract could have been pursued differently, but it doesn't diminish the promotional expertise Wharton can offer the opera house, officials said.

Keeping the Lights On : a Guide for NW Michigan
Burning biomass (wood, tire and waste) for energy production needs to become part of the public debate. For one thing, It's a profound water issue --millions of gallons a day, and potentially serious water pollution from the fly ash and airborne particles. Our forests can't take any more logging than is already occurring! It's also a profound public health threat. It is also time that we take a serious look at what really constitutes biomass. You may be surprised.

An Open Letter to Congress From US Scientists on Climate Change and Recently Stolen Emails
As U.S. scientists with substantial expertise on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems, our built environment and human well-being, we want to assure policy makers and the public of the integrity of the underlying scientific research and the need for urgent action to reduce heat-trapping emissions. In the last few weeks, opponents of taking action on climate change have misrepresented both the content and the significance of stolen emails to obscure public understanding of climate science and the scientific process. We would like to set the record straight. The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.

America Without a Middle Class
The crisis facing the middle class started more than a generation ago. Even as productivity rose, the wages of the average fully-employed male have been flat since the 1970s. But core expenses kept going up. By the early 2000s, families were spending twice as much (adjusted for inflation) on mortgages than they did a generation ago -- for a house that was, on average, only ten percent bigger and 25 years older. They also had to pay twice as much to hang on to their health insurance. To cope, millions of families put a second parent into the workforce. But higher housing and medical costs combined with new expenses for child care, the costs of a second car to get to work and higher taxes combined to squeeze families even harder. Even with two incomes, they tightened their belts. Families today spend less than they did a generation ago on food, clothing, furniture, appliances, and other flexible purchases -- but it hasn't been enough to save them. While the middle class has been caught in an economic vise, the financial industry that was supposed to serve them has prospered at their expense. America today has plenty of rich and super-rich.

My Quest To Analyze Every Man-Made Chemical In My Body
Every day we're exposed to thousands of man-made chemicals, some of which seep into our bodies and remain there for decades. What that means for our health, we don't fully understand--but I subjected myself to a battery of new tests in search of answers. WHERE TOXINS COME FROM | 50,000 PRODUCTS

  • All American adults carry around hundreds of synthetic chemicals in their bodies.
  • “Many synthetic chemicals have intrinsic hormonal activity,” and hormonal disruptions carry a high likelihood of causing disease (British Medical Journal).
  • “It is clear that environmental and lifestyle factors are key determinants of human disease—accounting for perhaps 75 percent of most cancers (British Medical Journal).

World carbon emissions overshoot
OSLO (Reuters) - The world has emitted extra greenhouse gases this century equivalent to the annual totals of China and the United States above a maximum for avoiding the worst of climate change, a study estimated on Tuesday. Global accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers said in the report that almost all major nations, including European Union countries that pride themselves on climate policies, were lagging since 2000 in a push for low-carbon growth. It said the world was already far above a "budget" of total emissions of 1,300 billion tons of carbon dioxide from 2000-50 which it estimated as the maximum permissible while avoiding the worst of climate change.

Climate Fog
A recent Washington Post/ABC poll found that the percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening at all has dropped eight points in just the past year. The past few years have been fairly temperate. The economic crisis has pushed issues perceived as not immediately vital to the back burner. And a good portion of the decline in belief in the climate science comes from sheer partisan polarization: for certain Americans in the era of death panels, birthers and Glenn Beck, if Barack Obama says the world is warming, then it must not be.

Factoring People Into Climate Change
Family planning is a toxic subject in too many places, best buried as a malingering relative of Malthusian population "control." Governments, which dominate these huge confabs, and the people who work independently in the field, down at village level, disagree sharply on the perils of omitting women and their reproductive choices when the future of the earth is at stake. "Rising population and climate change need to be considered together in an integrated policy," according to Inter Press Service. Reflective of the NGO view was Kulvashi Devi Hurrynag, a women's rights activist from Mauritius, who said that countries must recognize the "synergies between family planning, sexual education, development and environmental equilibrium."

Effects of Concentrated Ambient Particles and Diesel Engine Exhaust on Allergic Airway Disease
This report describes a study to investigate the suggested association between exposure to traffic-derived pollution and increases in symptoms of airway diseases, including exacerbation of asthma. Dr. Jack Harkema and colleagues assessed the effects of two pollutant mixtures, concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) and diesel exhaust, on airway inflammatory and allergic responses.

Air Pollution and Health: A European and North American Approach (APHENA)
This report describess a unique collaboration among investigators from Europe, the United States, and Canada using existing data from three geographic areas and supported by HEI in collaboration with the European Commission. APHENA offered a large and diverse data set with which to address methodological as well as scientific issues about the relationships between PM10, ozone, and mortality and morbidity that were the subject of lively debates at the time the project was launched.

Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES)
Now released by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) at www.crcao.org, reports on the most rigorous emissions testing ever done for new heavy-duty diesel engines that were developed in response to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Heavy-Duty On-Highway Diesel Rule of 2001.

American Cancer Society Study Linking Particulate Air Pollution and Mortality
This report describes a recent analysis of the original ACS cohort, a large ongoing prospective study of mortality in adults that started in 1982 and has played a central role in the setting of National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM) pollution in the U.S.

Eliminate animal farming on planet Earth
Now along comes Stanford University biochemist Dr. Patrick O. Brown who, as reported in (of all places) Forbes, will spend the next 18 months focused on "put[ting] an end to animal farming." Explains Dr. Brown, "There's absolutely no possibility that 50 years from now this system will be operating as it does now... I want to approach this as a solvable problem.

Eating meat causes more than half of global warming (conservatively)
World Bank agricultural scientists Robert Goodland, who spent 23 years as the Bank’s lead environmental advisor, and Jeff Anhang, a research officer and environmental specialist for the Bank, argue convincingly that more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to our desire to eat chicken, pigs, and other farmed animals. That’s right: Add up all the causes of climate change, and you find that eating meat causes more than everything else combined.

One bite at a time
I heard from a lot of people who wanted help in making the transition to a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) diet. Let's face it: If you've been eating meat all your life, this sort of a change can be daunting even just to think about, let alone act on. Happily, it's easier than ever today to make the transition from meat-eater to vegetarian, and the following suggestions should help even the most die-hard carnivores make the switch.

Vegetarian is the New Prius
Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

Global Warning - The impact of meat production and consumption on climate change
A farmer can feed up to 30 persons throughout the year on one hectare with vegetables, fruits, cereals and vegetable fats. If the same area is used for the production of eggs, milk or meat the number of persons fed varies from five to ten. Dr Pachauri challenged our reliance on high meat consumption, showing how livestock production releases 18% of our global greenhouse gas emissions, can pollute water and soils, damages our health and often causes suffering to animals kept in factory farms. (includes power point and video)

A New Model For Depression Relief
The World Health Organization has predicted that by 2030, more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem. Yet of all the dysfunctions of modern medicine, the way we treat depression may be the worst.

Report Warns Against Overuse of Household Disinfectants
Clean freaks beware. A new study by a national environmental group links some chemicals found in everyday household disinfectants to asthma, hormone imbalances, and other health problems. Companies are working hard to convince consumers, and especially moms, that they need to regularly disinfect every surface in their homes to protect their families from illness,” she added. “But that’s simply not true and it may not be healthy."

An Eaters Guide to Avoiding Factory Farm Food
Most people share at least the following traits: they want to be healthy; they like animals; and they value clean air and water. Yet relatively few Americans connect those concerns with their food. As more people start making the link, many decide it's time to stop eating foods from factory farms. This is a guide for doing just that. Industrialized animal production has become one of the nation's worst polluters of water and air.

The Sierra Club position on Burning Biomass
The Oct 31st article, A Bid to Cut Emissions Looks Away from Coal, leaves the impression that burning trees and other types of biomass is a possible solution for replacing coal, incorrectly concluding that burning the trees is carbon neutral. Recent studies make clear that without adequate safeguards, biomass production on a lifecycle basis can actually increase global warming pollution. If unchecked, biomass production would also threaten invaluable natural resources like our national forests, which store large amounts of carbon and provide habitat to imperiled wildlife. However, with appropriate protections in place, small-scale biomass projects on private lands may work at the community level, such as a proposal to work with farmers in Dane County Wisconsin to grow switch grass and prairie grasses on marginal lands to fuel a new small University of Wisconsin power plant. Sierra Club's focus though is on solutions such as increasing the energy performance of our buildings, scaling up wind, solar and geothermal to 25 percent of our electricity demand, and replacing the rest of the aging and filthy coal fleet with natural gas over the next two decades. Moving beyond coal will slash our global warming pollution by more than half and clear the soot and smog pollution that chokes most of our cities and is driving up healthcare costs. This clean energy revolution is already happening, bringing jobs and clean air to communities around the country, but we need strong national policies to accelerate this transition." Sincerely, Bruce Nilles Director, Beyond Coal Campaign Sierra Club

Accounting error undermines climate change laws
An important but fixable error in legal accounting rules used to measure compliance with carbon limits for bioenergy could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging deforestation, according to a new study by 13 prominent scientists and land use experts published in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Science. Bioenergy use results from burning wood chips from existing forests for electricity... does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and instead may increase them.

Quitting Meat
When I first became a vegetarian when I was nine, in response to an argument made by a radical babysitter. My great change---which lasted a couple of weeks---was based on the very simple instinct that it's wrong to kill animals for food. I imagine most children have some version of this instinct at some point, and while it says nothing at all about the rightness or wrongness of meat, the overcoming of it can, itself, leave a mark. Parental explanations almost always come in the form of half-truths, glossings over, or worse---"Animals live long, happy lives in the sun, and when they one day die, they share their meat with us." Kids are even better at recognizing such bullshit than adults, even if, because they need a stable world, they don't pursue it. Whether or not something is learned about food, something is learned.

Tests Find Wide Range Of BPA In Canned Soups, Juice And More Read more
The latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain measurable levels of Bisphenol A, or BPA. Read more: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2009/11/cr_bpa.html#ixzz0W8mB0xPp

Equal Rights - Not Special Rights - for Christians
At first glance, I thought this story was good news: Oklahoma is going to build a Christian prison! About time, I thought, I can think of a few Christians who deserve a few years for faith-abuse. But no…it's a prison to be administered by Christians to give Christian criminals special privileges. Not quite as appropriate, but more in line with what we've gotten used to from our dominant faith tradition.

Meat is Murder ... and worse
Foer writes in his new book, Eating Animals, that he struggled with ambivalence over eating meat for most of his life, but never committed until he adopted his dog, George. "She changed things for me," Foer tells Guy Raz. "This dog opened up the way that I thought about animals." Foer argues that there's no difference between the value of the lives of pets and the lives of the animals that we eat every day. "If our next-door neighbor kept a dog in the conditions that well more than 90 percent of pigs are kept in, we would call the police. We wouldn't just be offended. We wouldn't just think it was wrong. We would be compelled to take action," Foer says.

How You Can Fight Global Climate Change by Buying Pollution Permits
Here’s a revolutionary plan from Sandbag that enables you and me to end carbon emissions by simply buying up and destroying European pollution permits by retiring them off the market, at $40 per permit or ton of CO2. Sandbag buys up carbon credits from those who have already made energy efficiency investments and as a result have cut their pollution to below their previous level. We buy these clean companies’ credits through Sandbag, and then destroy them so dirty companies can’t buy them.

Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor to be Renamed for Former Gov. William G. Milliken
The William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor, seen as a portal for the state park system and tourism opportunities in Michigan, is located in the heart of downtown Detroit along the riverfront. It is 31 acres in size, located on a reclaimed brownfield that had been impacted by 300 years of industrial use.

Water Wars Continue
In 1897, when the city still drew its drinking water from West Bay, an engineer noted that sewage that floated down the Boardman River was swept by currents past two swimming beaches east of the river and then back across the bay near city intake pipes. It took the city another 33 years to build a treatment plant. The issues may be different today but the premise is the same: our water wealth is a public trust and we must fight every day to protect it -- and our future.

Solar roadways
There is approximately more than 5.7 million miles of paved highway in the United States and in a bid to find new sustainable ways of producing renewable energy, one small Idaho company believes they've found the solution: solar roadways. The idea is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road PanelsTM that collect and store solar energy to be used by our homes and businesses. This renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half."

Prevent Cancer with a Plant Based Diet
Experts are saying a plant-based diet is not only good for our health, but it's also curative of the very serious diseases we face. Consuming plant based foods offers the best hope of avoiding cancer, perhaps even reversing cancer once it is diagnosed. Believing that cancer is attributed to genes is a fatalistic idea but believing that cancer can be controlled by nutrition is a far more hopeful idea.

Great Lakes toxic cleanups lagging badly
Cleanup of the most polluted sites in the Great Lakes is moving so slowly it will take 77 more years to finish the job at the existing pace, according to a federal report. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still does not know the full extent of the problem even though the highly contaminated spots were identified two decades ago, said the report by the agency's inspector general. "Without improved management, coordination and accountability, EPA will not succeed in achieving the results intended" for the recovery program

5 Recycling Myths Shattered
August 11, 2009—This it's too expensive, a waste of time, not energy efficient -- think again.

Fruit Processing Wastewater Threatens Health and Environment
In Michigan's prized fruit and vegetable industry, processors have contaminated groundwater with metals and arsenic by spraying wastewater on fields—a 40-year-old practice that has led to polluted drinking water wells. In other cases, they also have dumped or spilled their waste into streams, marshes and wetlands, damaging them for many years to come. Read this important Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council report

The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science
Part 1: The Development of a Flawed Enterprise
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A major conflict has developed in science and society between promoters and opponents of transgenic foods. Food, feed, and fiber products derived from transgenic agricultural crops are presented here as a different case from bacterial, industrial, and pharmaceutical crop transgenics and should be parsed from the larger transgenics industry for comprehensive re-evaluation and market roll-back. Reviewed is the development of the crop transgenics industry; the early influence of the biotechnology industry over the US federal regulatory agencies in the context of the development of minimal regulation; the basic technology of plant transgenics; the main transgenic crops, traits, and producing countries; consumer resistance to transgenic foods; industry problems with shrinking investments; the worldwide promotion of transgenic crops; and ecological issues of transgenic crops. Flaws in the one gene–one protein model, the foundation of transgenics, are reviewed in the context of the recent and ongoing restructuring of the science of genetics. Research on the mutational consequences of plant transgenics and its phenotypic ramifications such as allergens and novel proteins is discussed. Major research findings and ‘red flag’ incidents in the history of transgenic foods and feeds are reviewed that reflect the flaws in the genetic foundations of transgenics.

The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science
Part 2: Academic Capitalism and the Loss of Scientific Integrity
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Factors in the failure of the scientific community to properly oversee agricultural transgenics are presented. The large-scale restructuring of university science programs in the past 25 years from a model based on non-proprietary science for the ‘public good’ to the ‘academic capitalism’ model based on the ‘knowledge economy’ is discussed in the context of the failure of the science community to oversee the transition of transgenic crop technology from the research stage to commercialization. Discussed are increasing science community and university dependence on private industry funding and on development of proprietary technologies; monopolization of the make-up of expert scientific bodies on transgenics by pro-industry scientists with vested interests in transgenics; deficient scientific protocols, bias, and possible fraud in industry-sponsored and industry-conducted research; increasing politically and commercially driven manipulation of science within federal regulatory bodies such as the FDA; and bias in the peer-review process, tolerance by the scientific community of biotechnology industry manipulation of the information environment, and of biased treatment and harassment of non-compliant scientists. Discussed are future food production strategies for developing countries, recently framed in the 2008 UNsponsored International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology, an action plan that emphasizes non-proprietary, agroecology-based approaches to food production and does not include crop transgenics as a central strategy. The under-funding of non-proprietary agroecological approaches to food production is discussed.

A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches
NRDC's annual survey of water quality and public notification at U.S. beaches finds that pollution caused the number of beach closings and advisories to hit their fourth-highest level in the 19-year history of the report. The number of closing and advisory days at Great Lakes beaches continue at record highs, confirming that our nation's beaches continue to suffer from serious water pollution that puts swimmers at risk.

TCL&P may hire biomass consultant
A city-owned utility may hire a public relations consultant to help sell its biomass power plant idea to area residents. Traverse City Light & Power officials could hire consultant Keith Schneider, of Benzonia, under a part-time, $15,000 contract to help sway area residents on biomass technology and the utility's plans to build a handful of wood-burning power plants. [EDITOR: If you need a spin doctor to convince the public that it is a good idea to cut down and haul about 45 truck loads of wood each day from area forests to power each energy plant in the area, it is probably not a good idea.]

10 Amazing Truths You Already Suspected
Go ahead, pretend you didn't know. Pretend it wasn't obvious. Are you sure? by Mark Morford Let's start out easy. How about a big, dumb, obvious, forehead-slapper of an of-course-you-already-knew, shall we?

Food Miles & Your Carbon Footprint
The number of miles your food travels from farm to plate makes a difference in your personal climate-change footprint. But not as much as eating red meat and dairy, which are responsible for nearly half of all food-related greenhouse gas emissions for an average U.S. household. New research published in Environmental Science & Technology finds it's how food is produced, not how far it's transported, that matters most for global warming.

What's your water footprint
How much water is consumed in the production of common everyday items, and why you should care.

Corn Syrup's Mercury Surprise
Are grape jelly and chocolate milk bad for kids' brains? If the specter of obesity and diabetes wasn't enough to turn you off high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS), try this: New research suggests that the sweetener could be tainted with mercury, putting millions of children at risk for developmental problems.

Assassinations, Weapons Smuggling, Wife-Swapping—The Latest Accusations Against Erik Prince and Blackwater
Grand Rapids—These eye-raising allegations, among others, are contained in the anonymous declarations of two individuals claiming to be ex-Blackwater employees, which were filed in federal court yesterday and first reported by the Nation's Jeremy Scahill. (Find their sworn statements here and here.) Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder
Michigan—A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

Climate-Change Calculus
Among the phrases you really, really do not want to hear from climate scientists are: "that really shocked us," "we had no idea how bad it was," and "reality is well ahead of the climate models." Yet in speaking to researchers who focus on the Arctic, you hear comments like these so regularly they begin to sound like the thumping refrain from Jaws: annoying harbingers of something that you really, really wish would go away.

The people of Michigan find victory
FOR MICHIGAN CITIZENS FOR WATER CONSERVATION v NESTLE

Big Rapids, Michigan: Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation stopped Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.’s attempt to pump more water from a stressed stream and lake for its Ice Mountain bottled water in Mecosta, Michigan on Monday, July 6. CLICK HERE TO READ RELEASE

Cherry Tree Inn owner is jailed
TRAVERSE CITY -- The leader of an Ohio-based hospitality group convicted of illegally bulldozing a portion of Grand Traverse Bay is in jail after he failed to complete court-ordered community service. Joseph Moffa, an owner of the Cherry Tree Inn on U.S. 31 North in East Bay Township, violated state environmental laws when he had a bulldozer drive more than 120 feet into the bay behind the hotel in November 2006.

The people of Michigan find victory
FOR MICHIGAN CITIZENS FOR WATER CONSERVATION v NESTLE

Big Rapids, Michigan: Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation stopped Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.’s attempt to pump more water from a stressed stream and lake for its Ice Mountain bottled water in Mecosta, Michigan on Monday, July 6. CLICK HERE TO READ RELEASE

Traverse City Trying To Get More Rights For Pedestrians
Traverse City was designed to encourage walking, but you wouldn't know it at certain busy intersections. That's why city officials would like to change state laws to give pedestrians more rights. Tonight officials cited intersections like Grandview Parkway and Division Street that create dangerous and scary situations for pedestrians. They'd like state laws to change so that cars have to stop the moment someone steps onto a marked crosswalk. They'd also like cars to yield at unmarked crosswalks, and for mid-block crossing to be legal.

Kroupa plants legacy 80 acres off Barney Road are now chockful of trees
On a blistering hot day, cooler air -- fragrant and piney -- wafted from the forest floor. Clarence Kroupa climbed behind the wheel of a purple 1948 Jeep and rumbled into the woods behind his Garfield Township home. The hilly 80 acres off Barney Road featured about 45 acres of hardwoods when Kroupa purchased it in three parcels in 1952, 1953 and 1954. The remaining acres were barren, undesirable farmland and depleted soil. It is hard to picture the place as Kroupa first saw it. He had a vision to restore and reforest the property, and now trees grow straight, sure and tall from all sides. In the early years, Kroupa estimated he planted as many as 2,000 trees annually. This year, he planted about 100. There's not much room left.

Renewable energy plans approved for Traverse City Light & Power
State regulators approved renewable energy plans for 40 publicly owned utilities around Michigan, including Traverse City Light & Power Co. The Michigan State Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved renewable energy and energy optimization plans for dozens of municipal power companies, providing for rate increases and surcharges for the utilities to generate more renewable power and offer financial incentives and rebates to customers to reduce electricity use

Meijer, Acme Twp. group sign no-lawsuit agreement
Meijer Inc. and a developer have agreed to pay $75,000 to a group that fought their proposed superstore in a rural Michigan community. Under a deal signed Wednesday, Concerned Citizens of Acme Township agreed not to sue Meijer or the Village at Grand Traverse LLC. Also released from liability were a law firm and a public relations firm that represented the companies. The state of Michigan also fined Meijer more than $190,000 last year for violating campaign laws.

Chamber of Commerce Launches $100 Million Campaign to Protect Wall Street's Power at Our Expense
Perhaps the greatest public deception surrounding today's financial meltdown is the notion that it is unique -- a once-in-a-lifetime crisis that reflects bad luck rather than any fundamental problem with the U.S. banking system's sway in global politics. The truth is that throughout the 1980s, the major money center banks were in much the same situation they find themselves in today. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to spend $100 million on a lobbying push to tell you the otherwise. It's a very careful strategy designed to ensure that Wall Street maintains the power to hijack the economy and demand epic bailouts from ordinary citizens as a reward for its own greed.

Michigan voters shifting views on gay couples
Michiganders are increasingly supportive of gay-friendly policies, supporting a range of issues from inheritance rights to civil unions but continuing to balk at gay marriage, a new poll suggests. The shift in opinion was evident in almost every demographic group, including self-identified Republicans. He attributed much of the change to the sharply higher number of poll respondents who said they know a gay or lesbian person in 2009 (80.2%) compared with in 2004 (56%).

Kalamazoo poised to pass anti-discrimination ordinance
In Kalamazoo, the City Commission appears poised to approve a gay rights bill Monday night. 15 cities in Michigan already have local ordinances like the one being considered in Kalamazoo, cities like Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Lansing. Monday night, Kalamazoo could become the 16th. [Editor: It's time that Traverse City passed an anti-discrimination ordinance as well.]

Traverse City, Mich., up-and-coming foodie haven
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.—Attention, traveling foodies: Something yummy is happening in the Traverse City area, and it's even grabbed the attention of luminaries such as celebrity chef Mario Batali, who has a summer home on the scenic Leelanau Peninsula just northwest of town. Long a top Midwestern tourist draw for its lakes, rivers, forests, beaches—and the orchards that inspire the self-proclaimed moniker "cherry capital of the world"—the Traverse City area is now home to an increasingly varied and sophisticated culinary culture with a strong emphasis on local ingredients. The Lake Michigan resort town is awash in award-winning restaurants and wineries, artisan bakeries, dairies and farm markets. The area's food scene "has just exploded" in the past decade, Batali said in a phone interview: "What you're seeing up there is a renaissance, the rise of a gastronomic subculture that makes it a fascinating place to be."

Taking Down the Corporate Food System Is Simple
The time has come for people who are ready to challenge the paradigm of factory-produced food and to return to a more natural, wholesome and sustainable way of eating (and living) to make that declaration to the powers that be, in business and government, that established the existing system and continue to prop it up. It's time to opt out and simply start eating better -- right here, right now. Impractical? Idealistic? Utopian? Not really. As I'll explain, it's actually the most realistic and effective approach to transforming a system that is slowly but surely killing us. All the food staples that our great-grandparents relished and grew healthy on have been banished from today's supermarkets. They've been replaced by an array of pseudo-foods that did not exist a mere century ago.

New Pecking Ordinance for TC?
Chickens in the city? That is the question that the Traverse City planning commission is pondering, and it appears that many people are saying “yes.” As this Traverse City Record-Eagle article explains, the town may not have a choice in the matter, according to a written legal opinion by the City of Traverse City’s attorney, Karrie Zeits. Ms. Zeits writes in her brief that the Michigan Right to Farm Act “prohibits cities from banning commercial farming, including the raising of chickens, and that a city resident need only sell one egg to qualify as commercial.”

Chickens coming home to roost in TC?
Chickens are rare as hens' teeth in Traverse City, but that could change. City workers are scratching out guidelines to allow residents to raise chickens, rules modeled after ordinances adopted in communities across the country

Senior Caregivers Needed: Apply Here
You Can Make a Difference for Seniors in Traverse City, MI You know you have a special way of taking care of others - maybe you've been a family caregiver or you just want to make a difference in the life of a senior. Share your unique talents and skills to help seniors stay independent and live the lifestyle they desire.

Studies indicates that significantly more American's are progressive (despite Republican claims to the contrary)
Significant majorities of Americans favor progressive solutions to the nation's problems and reject the right's worldview. That's true whether the issue at hand is taxes, war and peace, the role of government in the economy, health care, and on and on. Republican and conservative activists repeat the assertion that America is right leaning ad nauseum -- as it's in their interest to do -- and most of the political press corps swallows it whole. The idea is like a zombie -- you can bludgeon it, burn it or get Dick Cheney to shoot it in the face, but it keeps coming -- it will not die. The persistence of the center-right narrative, even in the face of piles of evidence suggesting it's little more than a myth, has very real consequences on our political discourse.

Our appetite is killing us
I've been catching up on my magazine reading and I came across a fascinating piece in a recent issue of New Scientist, which is usually a few steps ahead of the non-scientific press. It is a serious journal - not given to hyperbole - for scientists, although it does try to match scientific rigor with accessibility for interested lay people. The cover title of this usually staid magazine's March issue? Earth 2099: Population crashes, Mass migration, Vast new deserts, Cities abandoned. In order to survive, humans may need to do something radical: rethink our society not along geopolitical lines but in terms of resource distribution.

Cable promises have yet to be kept
Since local cable deregulation became effective in Michigan, the promises of decreased prices and increased customer service have also failed to meet expectations. In this day when consumers are struggling you would think cable companies would want to keep their customers, not drive them away with higher prices and worse customer service. [NOTE: Cherryland Electric Cooperative has also elected to self-regulate. Time will tell if this Board decision will lead to abuse as well]

Charter Cable Files Bankruptcy
Mar 27—Charter Communications Inc. on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to get relief from its creditors, as the nation's fourth-largest cable operator strives to keep its head above water and still compete with phone companies and satellite TV providers. The St. Louis-based company seeks to emerge from bankruptcy as early as the end of summer and doesn't plan on selling any of its assets to competitors. After Chapter 11, interest costs at Charter, which has never posted a profit since going public in 1999 due to massive debt interest payments, will be cut in half to $830 million a year. The filing restructures about $8 billion of debt at Charter, which is controlled by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, but leaves about $13 billion of debt on its books. Allen will control 35 percent of the votes in the reorganized company.

Federal Appeals Court Orders EPA to Review Pollution Limit
WASHINGTON—(FEBRUARY 24, 2009) A federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider limits on particulate air pollution, marking another victory for states and environmental groups which have challenged Bush administration environmental rules favored by industry.

Recession-Related Issues Burden US Power, Electric Companies
Public power and electric cooperatives, already facing prospects for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and additional capital needs, will likely see the most near-term problems from recession-related issues, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

We Are Breeding Ourselves to Extinction
All measures to thwart the degradation and destruction of our ecosystem will be useless if we do not cut population growth. By 2050, if we continue to reproduce at the current rate, the planet will have between 8 billion and 10 billion people, according to a recent U.N. forecast. This is a 50 percent increase. And yet government-commissioned reviews, such as the Stern report in Britain, do not mention the word population. Books and documentaries that deal with the climate crisis, including Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," fail to discuss the danger of population growth. This omission is odd, given that a doubling in population, even if we cut back on the use of fossil fuels, shut down all our coal-burning power plants and build seas of wind turbines, will plunge us into an age of extinction and desolation unseen since the end of the Mesozoic era, 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs disappeared.

Forests Pay the Price for America's Love Affair with Really Soft Toilet Paper
Greenpeace, the international conservation organization, contends that Kimberly Clark, the maker of two popular brands, Cottonelle and Scott, has gotten as much as 22 percent of its pulp from producers who cut trees in Canadian boreal forests where some trees are 200 years old. Instead of waiting decades for carbon-soaking forests to stop being decimated by our need for t.p., this is an area where the government should step in. Someone needs to step up and tell us that next year or in two years or three, all toilet tissue will be 20 percent recycled fibers (for example). DOWNLOAD HANDY GUIDE

Indoor smoking ban proposed
The Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department is calling for bans in both counties as a way to eliminate employees' -- and customers' -- exposure to harmful secondhand smoke. A public hearing is scheduled for March 26, and the proposal would need to be approved by both the Board of Health and both counties' Board of Commissioners.

How You Can Green Your Home and Cash in on Stimulus Money
Tax incentives to encourage investments in energy efficiency took effect last week when President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill. That means homeowners with drafty windows, old heating systems, or other root causes of high energy bills can be rewarded in tax season if they make improvements in 2009 or 2010. "This is by far the most the federal government has done in the past several decades" to reward energy-efficiency investments
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Fightng for Our Homes
Eight million people are at risk of losing their homes because Wall Street abandoned responsible lending practices to gain short-term profits. And the housing crisis is not just a problem for families facing foreclosure – it's a problem for every homeowner in America. As long as foreclosures persist, home values will keep going down, and everyone loses. We need your help. Have you been affected by the housing meltdown? Foreclosed on? Underwater? Record your story, or the story of a friend, family member, or neighbor...

Social Collapse Best Practices
If there is one thing that I would like to claim as my own, it is the comparative theory of superpower collapse. For now, it remains just a theory, although it is currently being quite thoroughly tested. The theory states that the United States and the Soviet Union will have collapsed for the same reasons, namely: a severe and chronic shortfall in the production of crude oil (that magic addictive elixir of industrial economies), a severe and worsening foreign trade deficit, a runaway military budget, and ballooning foreign debt. I call this particular list of ingredients "The Superpower Collapse Soup."

Paul Allen's cable firm, "Charter Communiations" files for Chapter 11
Charter Communications Inc, which is controlled by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by 1 April after striking a deal with senior debt holders yesterday. The US cable firm said in a statement that it had reached an agreement with some of its creditors to help it reduce its debt by $8bn. Since 30 September 2008 Charter has been saddled with a debt load of around $21bn.

Traverse City Light and Power: Just Say NO to Coal
When Traverse City Light & Power Executive Director Ed Rice announced plans for new electrical generation at the Traverse City City Commission meeting that evening, the change for his company that he announced was remarkable. For TCLP, coal has gone from being the first priority for new energy–the position of the municipal utility’s former director a year ago–to the last option on the table. According to Mr. Rice, his muni’s focus now is on a suite of renewable energy options, including a fleet of very small biomass plants in strategic locations around and outside of the city. TCLP is already performing wind measurements at a site north of Traverse City and may soon have an announcement about wind power, as well. The city-owned utility was the first in the state to erect a wind turbine, back in 1996. credit the University of Sydney credit the University of Sydney I applaud TCLP for making such a dramatic change in such a short period of time, in industry terms. The municipal utility responded to the quickly changing financial, political, and regulatory environment surrounding the coal industry, which has seen very little go right for it in the past year. Coal-based utilities now struggle against skyrocketing expenses, toxic waste blunders, a nationwide decreased in electricity demand, and federal regulations

Mayor Pushes Smoking Ban
Michael Estes has a clear vision, but he'll need a lot of help to make it happen. The Traverse City mayor hopes city commissioners will authorize him Monday to write letters to every state senator and representative. The ultimate goal: a complete ban on smoking in city bars and restaurants. The commission meets at 7 p.m. Monday, 19-January, in the Government Center on Boardman Avenue.

State to ask Obama for $3 billion for Great Lakes
The State of Michigan plans to ask the Obama administration for more than $3 billion in funding for Great Lakes cleanup, management and development. Advertisement Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry and Ken DeBeaussaert, director of Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes, unveiled the plan Tuesday in Detroit. The Great Lakes, which contain one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water, are responsible for 823,000 jobs in Michigan, and support portions of the state's $12.8-billion tourism industry, according to the state. The new plan calls for, among other things, $54 million to clean up contaminated sediment and $3.8 million to prevent beach closures. Michigan Sea Grant's Mary Bohling organizes local groups to revegetate Great Lakes shorelines, attack invasive species and increase tourism revenue. She said she is hopeful about the plan, despite misconceptions about the Great Lakes' importance. "They're looking at the Great Lakes as a possible source for water," she said. "It should be looked at at the same level as the Everglades, the same level as Chesapeake Bay." The report can be found online at www.michigan.gov/deqgreatlakes. Click on "protection and restoration."

Traverse City Light and Power is proposing four to five of the plants
Several northern Michigan communities are discussing biomass plant proposals. Viewers have emailed 7&4 News with questions concerning this source of energy and wanted to know the impact the plants could have. Traverse City Light and Power executive director Ed Rice says renewable energy is something Michigan is trying to increase. So the power company is taking hold of that idea with the proposal to build four to five biomass plants. "Around the area that would burn wood. Rice says only wood would be used for the biomass plants and that would come from state land used for forestry. "There's opportunities to burn hay or grass... we'd be looking at that but we're mainly looking at wood at this point," says Rice. Rice says it's still too early in the proposal stages to say where exactly the plants will go, but he says they are planned for just outside Traverse City. "It would be relatively close to the city but definitely not in the residential areas.

Wind 'is the way to go'
An ever increasing interest in energy alternatives brought more than 100 farmers and landowners to a series of wind energy workshops provided by the Michigan State University Extension of Leelanau County, the latest held at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station. "Michigan has a lot of good opportunities for good wind energy production," said Dr. Stephen Harsh of Michigan State University, as he provided information on small wind systems and the economic, zoning and funding opportunities available for interested northern Michigan landowners. Pointing out the benefit a thriving turbine industry can have in turning around a sluggish economy, Harsh sees wind as eventually becoming the least expensive way to produce energy as well as bring down greenhouse gas emissions. According to Harsh, $20 billion leaves the Michigan economy each year in non-renewable fuel costs.

More species invasions in Great Lakes
Dozens of foreign species could spread across the Great Lakes in coming years and cause significant damage to the environment and economy, despite policies designed to keep them out, a federal report says. The National Center for Environmental Assessment issued the warning in a study released this week. It identified 30 nonnative species that pose a medium or high risk of reaching the lakes and 28 others that already have a foothold and could disperse widely. Among them are fish such as the tench ("doctor fish"), the monkey goby and the blueback herring. "These findings support the need for detection and monitoring efforts at those ports believed to be at greatest risk," the report said.

Environmental conference set for this week
The Northern Michigan Waterways Hazardous Materials Spills Committee will hold its 19th annual No Spills Conference Monday through Wednesday in Traverse City. Topics will include Great Lakes water levels, pollution remediation, algae blooms, biodiesel and ethanol spill response guidelines and a case study of a recent fuel spill near Gaylord, among others. "The goal of the conference is to network with and educate anyone who responds to spills into the Great Lakes and its tributaries," said Ryan Blazic, committee president.

Bush Gets Whacked by an Auction Paddle
Good pranks are always fun. They’re really a hoot when the entity being pranked is the Bush administration (less than three weeks to go!) And so we raise our glass to Mr. Tim De Christopher, the coolest monkey-wrencher since the fictional Hayduke roamed the desert west. De Christopher is a 27-year-old student at the University of Utah, and one of the many who was greatly concerned about the flash auction of 150,000 acres of public lands in the southern and eastern parts of that extraordinary state being hurriedly put together by Bushco. The head of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance called it “a fire sale, the Bush administration’s last great gift to the oil and gas industry. “What the environmental movement has been doing in the last 20 years hasn’t worked,” he told the Salt Lake City Tribune later. “There comes a time to take a stand.” And then, following a positively inspired hunch, he took one. He’s created a new strategy for eco-advocacy: Eco-nomic, as opposed to Eco-logic.

Bikes Point the Way to a Sustainable Future
The bicycle has become a cultural signifier that begins to unite people across economic and racial strata. It signals a sensibility that stands against oil wars and the environmental devastation wrought by the oil and chemical industries, the urban decay imposed by cars and highways, the endless monocultural sprawl spreading outward across exurban zones. This new bicycling subculture stands for localism, a more human pace, more face-to-face interaction, hands- on technological self-sufficiency, reuse and recycling, and a healthy urban environment that is friendly to self-propulsion, pleasant smells and sights, and human conviviality. The bicycle has been enjoying a resurgence in the past 15 years. Daily bicycle commuting has expanded dramatically in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and other cities where the monthly seizure of streets by bicyclists known as Critical Mass has opened space and imaginations, and given people a safe and enjoyable way to reconnect with urban bicycling before venturing out on their own.

Life After the Economic Collapse: How Having Less Will Make Us Happier
Maybe we’ll find ways to trade among friends and neighbors -- some winter squash or homemade pie for some child care or home repair. Maybe we’ll reclaim the skills we used to have, and teach each other how to grow food, fix things ourselves, sew and knit, and pass skills along to our children and grandchildren. Somehow, in the exuberance of the economic bubbles of the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, we lost track of something. Money exists to serve us as a tool, not the other way around. Our lives and society do not have to be turned over to the rulers of high finance and their hired representatives in Washington, D.C. We the people can reject the economic orthodoxy that has served us so poorly, and rebuild our economy on a different foundation. Rebuilding. The economy needs to serve people, communities, and the health of natural systems, not the other way around. Instead of relying on footloose unaccountable global corporations, we can turn to local and regional production to serve our needs and provide sustainable employment, including small and medium-sized businesses, co-ops, farmer’s markets, and so on.

Coal Plants: The Next Round of Subprime Loans
Banks like Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Moody's, Standard and Poor's, and Fitch Ratings are betting against the next President of the United States and making a new round of subprime loans. Coal plants cost billions of dollars to build, and this requires bank loans. In turn, those banks are expecting us to buy power from the utilities for decades, at a high enough price to cover operating costs and pay back the loans. Coal plants are also very dirty, spewing millions of tons of global warming pollution and toxic particles into the air. So far we have given companies a free pass, letting them emit as much carbon dioxide as they want. But with President-Elect Obama and Congress committed to strong action on global warming, the free pollution days are over. So if companies build new coal plants - 100 plants currently proposed at a cost of more than $250 billion - we will be paying higher electricity prices for more pollution. In short, we aren't going to need the power from new coal plants. Just like we didn't want gas-guzzling cars, we don't want pollution-spewing coal plants. Americans want energy-efficient technology. So when banks and utilities are suddenly without customers willing to buy coal power, expect banks and utilities to be next in line for bailouts.

Early Childhood Development
Boyce, a pediatrician and developmental psychobiologist, heads a joint UC Berkeley/UBC research program called WINKS - Wellness in Kids - that looks at how the disadvantages of growing up in low socioeconomic circumstances change children's basic neural development over the first several years of life. "This is a wake-up call," Knight said. "It's not just that these kids are poor and more likely to have health problems, but they might actually not be getting full brain development from the stressful and relatively impoverished environment associated with low socioeconomic status: fewer books, less reading, fewer games, fewer visits to museums." Kishiyama, Knight and Boyce suspect that the brain differences can be eliminated by proper training. They are collaborating with UC Berkeley neuroscientists who use games to improve the prefrontal cortex function, and thus the reasoning ability, of school-age children. "It's not a life sentence," Knight emphasized. "We think that with proper intervention and training, you could get improvement in both behavioral and physiological indices."

Charges filed in cyclist's death
KALKASKA -- Bicyclist Carl John Ray died nearly four months ago when a truck struck him from behind as he peddled along Rapid City Road in Kalkaska County. The driver who hit him now faces criminal charges for the collision. Area cyclists will be glad to hear it, said Fred Schaafsma, member of the Cherry Capital Cycling Club. "It won't bring Carl Ray back, but it's good to hear they're proceeding," Schaafsma said. "The thing that is upsetting for us is that the cyclist is often blamed with the fault." Kalkaska County Prosecutor Brian Donnelly charged the driver, whom he wouldn't identify pending an arraignment, with operating under the influence causing death and negligent homicide. The driver, 50, is expected to be arrested and arraigned shortly.

Simplify the Holidays
If you were asked to describe the ideal holiday season, what would you say? Perhaps you would include the company of loved ones, good food, fun and relaxation… maybe an inch or two of snow. Aiming higher in our holiday daydreams, we might even envision a feeling of tranquility and peace blanketing our homes, our community, the wide world.

Group Meets to Fix the Great Lakes Compact
Traverse City—The initial goal is to pass a Michigan constitutional amendment, either through the legislature or by popular referendum, that would accomplish two things: No. 1, eliminate what some environmentalists feel is a dangerous loophole in the recently passed legislation designed to protect waters of the Great Lakes basin and No. 2, clearly establish that Michigan citizens own their water and only they have the right to determine whether and who would be able to sell it for private gain. The legislation of concern, the Great Lakes Compact, is now federal law after having been ratified by legislatures in the eight states with land in the Great Lakes basin. The law prevents diversions of water to outside the basin except under some very specific and controlled conditions. But the law allows companies to ship water out of the basin in containers of 5.7 gallons or smaller if the diversion does not cause certain, specified environmental damages. Buried in the fine print, the Compact by definition also excepts "water produced as a product" from the ban on diversions. “This sets up a climate where hungry states, corporations, or nations outside the basin could tap Great Lakes water if it is packaged in any size containers,” says environmental attorney James Olson, an organizer of the November 16 event.

Close loophole in Great Lakes pact
For years environmental attorney Jim Olson has been a voice in the wilderness. Long before the Great Lakes states (including Michigan) and Congress approved the Great Lakes Compact, Olsen was warning that wording included in the final version of the pact created a massive loophole that would allow Great Lakes water to be considered a commercial product and sold as a commodity. His warnings were often met with a shrug. Those writing the compact language disputed his interpretation. For many environmentalists and others, the most important task was simply to get the compact passed by the legislatures of the Great Lakes states, signed by the various governors, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush. So an honest reading of the document that raises concerns even among laymen must be addressed.

Manmade Threats May Croak Amphibians
The northern leopard frogs that inhabit the boreal U.S. have never recovered from some catastrophic population declines in the 1970s. Some blame it on the acidifying lakes and streams caused by coal-burning, others point to the ongoing loss of wetlands to development, and now new evidence shows that the herbicide atrazine—widely sprayed on crop fields throughout the region—is killing the frogs by helping parasitic worms that feast on them. Amphibians are on the decline worldwide. As many as one third of the nearly 6,000 known amphibian species—frogs, toads, salamanders, even wormlike caecilians—are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Editorial: Downtown should widen shopping tote program
Downtown should widen shopping tote program At the urging of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, the Traverse City commission last month passed a resolution encouraging retailers to eliminate the use of plastic bags, the flimsy white numbers that are in every way, a pain. While inexpensive and practical, the bags are a pox. They're made with petroleum products, driving up the demand for oil. They're difficult to recycle, one thing Grand Traverse county -- with the highest landfill rates in the state and a faltering recycling program -- doesn't need. They can tangle birds and other critters and they're so light they can end up anywhere the wind blows -- on the beach, in the water or in the woods. And they take forever to decompose. Thankfully, a possible answer is already here. This summer, the Downtown Traverse City Association began offering merchants reusable totes, [as have many local and big box stores in the area]. The totes, which cost $1 each, are flying off the shelves. An initial order of 2,000 bags was followed by an order for another 4,000, Downtown Development Authority marketing director Colleen Paveglio said. One store has already gone through four 100-bag boxes.

Clean Energy Now! It's Our Best Hope for Recovery
The transition to a clean-energy economy is not some luxury that we can only afford in good financial times. In fact, it can easily be argued that investing in domestic production of solar power, wind energy, sustainable biofuels, electric vehicles, smart-grid technologies, and dozens of other clean-tech sectors may be the best way out of this fiscal mess. Clean tech is the "triple threat" that can address the Big Three challenges facing the United States: climate change, national security, and economic recovery.

Slay a Vampire this Halloween
Vampires are among us. When you aren't looking (or, when you are looking but not seeing), when you are sleeping, when you aren't paying attention, Vampires are sucking up vital juices, threatening our very existence. This is one video that merits going viral. A video to educate about the importance of Slaying Vampires.

Federal Bicycle legislation passed to help encourage people to bike to work
After seven long years, the bicycle commuter tax provision has finally passed both the House and Senate. President Bush has said that he is eager to sign the legislation. “We are delighted that the bicycle commuter benefits act has passed after a lengthy and persistent campaign spearheaded by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR),” said League President Andy Clarke. “Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit and drive to work – it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change. Keep checking back at www.bikeleague.org as we work on the implementation process.

US Cities Cozy Up to Cycling
Never mind the banks -- it might be time to start worrying about a run on your local bike shop. That's because commuters are asking, "Why shell out for gas when we can get around on sweat equity?" Although cycling remains uncommon in most of the U.S. relative to Europe, according to the League of American Bicyclists, many cities here are warming up to pedal power.

The New Corporate Threat to Our Water Supplies
In the last few years, the world's largest financial institutions and pension funds, from Goldman Sachs to Australia's Macquarie Bank, have figured out that old, trustworthy utilities and infrastructure could become reliable cash cows -- supporting the financial system's speculative junk derivatives with the real concrete of highways, water utilities, airports, harbors, and transit systems. The spiraling collapse of the financial system may only intensify the quest for private investments in what is now the public sector. This flipping of public assets could be the next big phase of privatization, as local and state governments, starved during Bush's two terms in office, look to bail out on public assets, employees, and responsibilities.

Jobs and Energy

What the Economy Needs Now Are Good, Green Jobs
A national day of action tomorrow for green jobs is showing that clean energy can be our modern day gold rush. If a coalition of clean energy and social justice groups has its way, renewable energy will be something of a modern day gold rush, providing both clean energy and scores of stable living-wage jobs for urban and rural Americans. Climate change and declining fossil fuel deposits are igniting interest in renewable energy, and many see the possibility of an economic boom in the building and installation of wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal energy systems along with a blossoming industry in green buildings and retrofits.

NOTEABLE: We Hold Its Value to Be Self-Evident
Ecuador approved a new constitution this weekend that, among other things, grants inalienable rights to nature, the first such inclusion in a nation's constitution, according to Ecuadorian officials. "Nature ... where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain, and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions, and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community, or nationality will be able to demand the recognition of rights for nature before the public bodies," the document says. The specific mention of evolution isn't accidental; besides being an activity nature arguably likes to do anyway, evolution as we know it has close ties to Ecuador's territory of the Galapagos Islands, where Charles Darwin formed his famous theory. Ecuador's constitution grants nature the right to "integral restoration" and says that the state "will promote respect toward all the elements that form an ecosystem" and that the state "will apply precaution and restriction measures in all the activities that can lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of the ecosystems, or the permanent alteration of the natural cycles."

Kleenex = Gross Mismanagement of Forest Resources
As these new photos and recent government correspondence reveal, Kimberly-Clark is currently purchasing huge quantities of pulp made primarily from whole, old-growth trees from intact areas of Canada’s Boreal Forest. According to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, the stockpile contained 85,000 cubic metres of wood as of the end of March 2008. That’s equivalent to over 7,000 logging trucks full of wood. Since the closure of an area sawmill in June 2008, this wood has been trucked to the Terrace Bay pulp mill where it is being turned directly into pulp for Kleenex and other disposable products. In total, the logs will have been trucked 6-7 hours from the forest to the mill. What’s worse, even with this massive stockpile of timber already cut and waiting to be pulped, the Ogoki Forest continues to be logged, largely in order to supply Kimberly-Clark. [EDITOR: There is currently a nationwide boycott of Kimberly-Clark products as the result of their logging practices. These products include Kleenex, Cottenelle, Depends, Huggies, GoodNites, Kotex, Scott, Pullups, and Viva.]

This Is Not Your Grandma's Arts & Crafts
To casual observers it may look like adults making toys and keeping them, but embroidery hoops and homemade clothes are officially cool.

Dire Future for Warming's Impact on U.S. Transport
A new study by the National Research Council, in collaboration with the Transportation Research Board, has a clear message for transportation professionals: It's time to stop thinking of climate change as a future problem, and start dealing with its realities now.

Al Gore inches toward Solar
This week he advocated getting to an electric power system that is "carbon free" within ten years. It comes alongside the equally telling move by oil baron T. Boone Pickens to invest $2 billion in wind power. Gore has reportedly raised some $300 million (that's not a typo) to spend on moving pubic opinion to support the transition to a totally "carbon-free" electric supply system. That idea has been around at least thirty years, and is a sub-set of the Solartopian demand that our entire energy economy become free of all fossil and nuclear fuels.

Drilling Ourselves Deep in a Hole
At one point in his masterful People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn reflects upon the unspeakable carnage wrought by the Conquistadors in South and Central America, all in the pursuit of gold, and wonders at how those obscene riches sustained imperial greatness… for barely a hundred years. All that bloodletting, enslavement, massacres — genocide in places — for a temporary wealth that quickly vanished on the stage of history. It reminds me of our current oil craze: in one century we have plundered billions of years of stored hydrocarbons, and what do we have to show for it? Fleeting prosperity — one that is hardly shared by all — a highly volatile Middle East, and awesome ecological devastation that will require centuries of recovery. And now, as the age of oil finally signals its inevitable demise, our president and his allies in Washington announce that their grand response is … to drill for more oil. In his latest book, former World Bank director Joseph Stiglitz claims that the war in Iraq will end up costing three trillion dollars. Imagine if that amount had been dedicated to researching and sustaining the transition to renewable energies. A mere trillion dollars would have gone a long way towards remodeling American suburbia for lifestyle and transportation changes. Instead, we have sacrificed unimaginable funds (from future generations, Stiglitz tells us), and tens of thousands of lives (at least) for a resource that is soon to be economically irrelevant!

Complete the Streets
The League of Michigan Bicyclists, We Are Michigan, We Are Traverse City, and Traverse Alive ask the State of Michigan to:

• Require the State roadway system to accommodate safely all users of the public right-of-way, including pedestrians, people requiring mobility aids, bicyclists, and drivers and passengers of transit vehicles, trucks, automobiles and motorized cycles. • Require all MDOT employees involved in planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of the State transportation system fully consider the needs of non-motorized travelers.
• Require all recipients of Act 51 Funds to adhere to the state’s “Complete Streets”

Tell your Legislator to Support HB 6299 and HB 6300, make roads safer for cyclists
Representatives Andy Coulouris (D-Saginaw) and David Palsrok (R-Manistee) on June 29 introduced House Bills 6299 and 6300, which enhance penalties for moving violations causing physical injury or death to bicyclists and other vulnerable roadway users. A teen on a bike deserves the same protection as one driving a tractor. These bills will make Michigan roadways safer for bicyclists and all vulnerable users of our taxpayer-funded road system.

When Will the Housing Crash End?
The worst is yet to come. We are not even halfway into this housing price decline. In books published in 2003 and 2006, respectively, my predictions of 25% home price declines nationwide and 50% price declines in many cities on the coasts are rapidly coming true. You can see that we have a long way to go because most ARMS are just now resetting, most foreclosures to date have been 2006 and 2007 mortgages and the banks are not going to lend 10 times your combined income in the future, but rather something more like 5 times. Unless you are willing to put up 50% down payments, homes have to come down further in price.

Putting a Cap on the Bottled Water Industry
For more than a year, Nestlé and its well drillers, technical consultants, and lawyers have been quietly surveying the profit potential in the few remaining unspoiled springs and aquifers in Central and Western Massachusetts. In its attempts to strike blue gold, the firm has aggressively pursued water extraction deals that have many locals seeing red. Two recent efforts by Nestlé to pursue pumping operations in small towns illustrate why withdrawals for commercial water bottling operations in our state pose unacceptable risks, not only to local drinking water supplies, but also to such natural assets as fisheries and conservation land. Last summer, Montague residents halted — at least for now — Nestlé’s pursuit of the spring water beneath Montague Plains, a state wildlife management area that also recharges critical ground water for a state fish hatchery and the local wells on which many homes and farms depend. This spring, after considerable public outcry, Clinton town officials appeared to have finally rejected Nestlé’s bid to extract and export up to a quarter-million gallons of spring water a day — equal to 4 million servings of some of the cleanest drinking water in the state — from the nearly 600-acre Wekepeke Reservation land that Clinton owns in the town of Sterling. The offer posed several legal issues, not least the fact that Clinton’s 19th-century water rights to the Wekepeke are for surface water — not spring water — and only for town public water supply needs.

Trains to answer traffic, cost, and pollution
Shifting a fourth of U.S. freight from trucks to railroads by 2026 would spare each American an average of 41 hours of travel time, 79 gallons of fuel, and $985 in gas expenses each year, according to the seventh annual Congestion Relief Index. "Railroads last year were able to move a ton of freight an average of 436 miles on a gallon of diesel fuel," said railroad association president and CEO Edward R. Hamberger, speaking before the U.S. Senate last week. "It's like moving a ton from Boston to Baltimore or Eugene, Ore., to San Francisco on a gallon of fuel." He called for the government to support bills that would expand tax credits to help railways expand capacity. His group also backs public-private partnerships to fund railroads.

A Metal Scare to Rival the Oil Scare
Indium, gallium and hafnium are some of the least-known elements on the periodic table, but New Scientist warns that reserves of these low-profile minerals and others like them might soon be exhausted thanks to the demand for flat screens and other high-tech goods. Scientists who have tried to estimate how long the worlds mineral supply can meet global demand have made some gloomy predictions. Armin Reller, a materials chemist at the University of Augsburg in Germany, estimates that in 10 years the world will run out of indium, used for making liquid-crystal displays for flat-screen televisions and computer monitors. He also predicts that the world will run out of zinc by 2037, and hafnium, an increasingly important part of computer chips, by 2017. Recycling of rare metals will be the only way to manufacture some gadgets and machines as demand grows in the developing world.

New round of lawsuits could crack Meijer's facade
A ruling that allows more Acme Township officials to sue Meijer Inc. for alleged harassment and intimidation may help finally reveal just how high in the Meijer organization the decision to make war on Acme really went. New revelations could also set the stage for an array of criminal charges against Meijer officials and/or its attorneys, its public relations firm and local citizens who aligned themselves with the big-box and recall efforts. What Acme residents must demand this time around is a full and final accounting of who at Meijer decided it was time to intimidate instead of negotiate, who decided to knowingly break the law, who decided to essentially try to overthrow an elected local government. Who put profit ahead of the law? (As the result of Meijer SLAPP lawsuits agains community and commission members, a growing chorus of consumers in Michigan have begun a personal boycott against shopping at Meijer)

All aboard a sinking ship
If Meijer Inc. thinks it has new headaches now that seven Acme Township officials have been given the green light to sue the retail giant, wait till its former allies weigh in. Representatives of The Village, a proposed Acme mega-development, appear ready to place the blame for alleged wrongdoing against Acme officials on Meijer and its former attorneys, including Timothy Stoepker, law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC, and the Traverse City firm of Smith & Johnson Attorneys PC. It is a classic cop out. Next to "The dog ate my homework," "He made me do it!" may be the most popular alibi of all time.

Leelanau winery is 'off the grid'
John Wyman's Victoria Creek Vineyards in Leelanau County is the lone winery in the state that's "off the grid," meaning he doesn't use utility-generated power. All Wyman's energy is self-manufactured and comes from geothermal, wind and solar power.

Bicycle Politics
General public opinion holds that bicycling is a good activity. While general public opinion holds that it knows all that is necessary to know about traffic cycling, a scope that excepts the special skills used by those daredevils who do it, it has no accurate knowledge of the subject. General public opinion has an exaggerated fear of same-direction motor traffic, which it holds is the major danger to cyclists. While general public opinion is very strongly attached to the views described above, general public opinion cares very little about bicycle transportation and does not think about it. While the general public will vote for bikeways as the means of reducing motorist congestion on the roadways, its members do so in the expectation, even the hope, that the actual bicycling will be done by other people.

Some put away keys, turn to buses, scooters
Jan Nickerson doesn't mind walking to the Kingsley post office each day to make her public transit bus connection.She's among many northern Michigan residents who are turning to alternative forms of transportation as a way to combat rising gas prices. The money she saves by riding instead of driving steered her to the bus nearly two years ago.
"I save about $300 to $500 a month," Nickerson said.

Midwest Floods and Global Warming: There's a Connection
Extreme weather. It's one of the primary symptoms of global warming. Yet in the mainstream media, you'll find nary a mention of global warming in connection with the floods ravaging the Midwest. That's why you have to read Joe Romm to understand what the connection is. Understandable that he chides the media for not doing their homework and informing the public properly. There's publicly available data produced by the US government that spells out the connection. It's called the US Climate Extremes Index.

City shouldn't sell TCL&P
Traverse City's forefathers showed some long-range wisdom when they established a city-owned electric company more than 90 years ago, and also were bright enough to insulate it from day-to-day city politics. But a city public advisory body that's set up to review city finances and operations raised questions about Light & Power that from this vantage point indicates they may be overstepping their original charge. No one has come close to making a strong case for getting rid of Light & Power. Any financial advantage that may be derived from selling the utility or returning its property to the tax rolls could pale in comparison to higher costs city residents and businesses would incur through long-term rate increases.

Strategies for change
WWF's Strategies for Change Project is a new work stream which contributes to the growing debate about how best to effect environmentally-friendly behavioural change. In particular, the project examines the importance of our collective social values in driving behavioural change, and the ways in which such values are shaped.

Still Waters Run Deep
The British and the Chinese understand global warming has driven their record flooding. The United States? Not so much. Although you wouldn't know it from most U.S. media coverage, the record "once-in-a-hundred-year flooding" the Midwest now seems to be getting every decade or so is precisely what scientists have been expecting from the warming.

Green Fuel
This is one biofuel that lives up to its green billing in more ways than one. It's an emerald-green crude oil, produced by photosynthesis in algae, which could fuel cars, trucks and aircraft - without consuming crops that can be used as food. "This product can go right into today's oil pipeline," claims Jason Pyle of Sapphire Energy in San Diego, California, which developed the fuel. He says the "green crude" is similar in quality to naturally occurring crude oil. It is produced as a by-product of photosynthesis by a genetically engineered strain of algae, housed in tanks of treated waste-water and exposed to sunlight.

Tantrums of An Angry Planet
From the standpoint of global climate change, nature’s incredible assault on the American heartland this year can be interpreted in one of two ways. Both offer lessons about the challenges of adapting to the climate we have created. The first is that the tornadoes and floods battering the country with almost unimaginable severity are the early tantrums of an angry planet. The second is that this season’s extreme weather is an aberration that will return to “normal”. So either climate change has arrived ahead of schedule, or this year’s disasters are a preview of the predicted consequences of global warming, a taste of things to come. Take your pick, either way, there’s urgent need for action.

Blanchard, Milliken: Protect the water
TRAVERSE CITY -- Two former governors -- Republican William Milliken and Democrat James Blanchard -- prodded legislators Thursday to prevent large-scale uses of Michigan water that would not be in the public interest.

Meijer gets judge to hide papers
Meijer Inc. convinced a state appellate judge to hide from public view documents related to Grand Traverse County's efforts to investigate the retailer's campaign finance violations. A motion to seal the appellate case was filed by John Pirich, a Lansing attorney hired by Meijer.

No to Coal
One-hundred -plus coal-fired power plants are currently proposed to be built. If even a small portion of these plants are constructed the global warming pollution pumped into our air will make all our other efforts to reverse climate change irrelevant. Coal plants are the dirtiest, most regressive source of energy possible - poisoning our communities and environment. The Environmental Law Program is working with activists around the country to champion clean energy in the face of this unprecedented rush to build new coal plants.

Give Bottled Water the Boot
You already know tap water is better than bottled water in terms of your health, your pocketbook and the environment, and now restaurants across the country stop serving bottled water!

Global Warming could worsen Great Lakes problems
TRAVERSE CITY -- Climate change could worsen a litany of problems plaguing the Great Lakes, pushing water levels even lower, depleting fish populations and causing more storms that result in sewer overflows, advocates said.

What To Do When There Are Too Many of Us
All historical eras are shaped by the material and environmental realities of their time. Our own reflects the adjustments society and nature have made to accommodate the unprecedented 6.7 billion human beings now alive. And those changes are dramatic. The planet is warming dangerously as a result of the heat-trapping byproducts of our daily lives. Half of the primeval forests that existed at the end of the last ice age are gone. A mist of mercury and other toxic metals from coal combustion falls continuously on land and ocean, and to eat fish is to absorb these metals yourself. Half of us are now urban, rarely if ever meeting up with creatures wilder than crows, cockroaches, and, in some cities, packs of feral dogs. And this is just where we are today, while the beat of growth goes on.

Water Scarcity: The Real Food Crisis
June 9, 2008. In the discussion of the global food emergency, one underlying factor is barely mentioned: The world is running out of freshwater. Climate change, overconsumption and the alarmingly inefficient use of this most basic raw material are all to blame. I wrote a book three years ago titled When The Rivers and lakes run dry. It probed why the Yellow River in China, the Rio Grande and Colorado in the United States, the Nile in Egypt, the Indus in Pakistan, the Amu Darya in Central Asia, and many others are all running on empty. The confident blue lines in a million atlases simply do not tell the truth about rivers sucked dry, for the most part, to irrigate food crops.

Women on Wheels : The Bicycle and the Women’s Movement of the 1890s
The 1890s was the peak of the American bicycle craze and consumers were buying bicycles in large numbers. In 1897 alone, more than two million bicycles were sold in the United States , about one for every 30 inhabitants. Bicycles, or “wheels,” were everywhere in the gay 90s as were “wheelmen’s clubs,” well organized association with newsletters, receptions, weekly outings, uniforms and special meeting rooms. Bicycle paths were clogged with traffic on weekends and newspapers were filled with cycling news and special columns. Cycling in the 1890s was nothing less than “a general intoxication, an eruption of exuberance like a seismic tremor that shook the economic and social foundations of society and rattled the windows of its moral outlook.” 2 Nowhere was this more evident than in the role of the bicycle in the changing lives of American women. Indeed, the woman’s movement of the 1890s and the cycling craze became so inextricably intertwined that in 1896 Susan B. Anthony told the New YorkWorld’s Nellie Bly that bicycling had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

Complete Streets Bicycle Bill in House and Senate
Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) took an important step last Thursday, May 1, for safer, better designed streets by introducing the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2008 into the U.S. House (HR 5951). The bill would make sure that roads built and improved with federal funds safely serve everyone using the roadway,including pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, as well as those with disabilities. On the Senate side, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) signed on this week as first Republican co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, S2686, the Complete Streets Act of 2008, introduced a few weeks ago by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Thomas Carper (D-DE). This is the first time that comprehensive complete streets bills have been introduced in the House and Senate.

Hotel owner charged in wetlands dredging
TRAVERSE CITY A hotel owner charged with wetlands tampering surrendered to face criminal charges. Eighty-Sixth District Court Judge John D. Foresman on Friday arraigned Joseph Moffa on two misdemeanors for violation of state wetlands and submerged bottomlands law. Both offenses are punishable by up to one year in jail.

Beach grooming laws have been given teeth
It is a concept we don't see much of any more. Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider said he decided to charge Joseph Moffa, an officer in the company that owned the Cherry Tree Inn, with two criminal misdemeanors connected to a beach grooming incident in 2007 because "People make decisions ... and individuals are responsible for their conduct." Over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2006 (perhaps in hopes the powers that be would be too sedated by turkey to notice), and without benefit of a permit, Omni Hotels sent a bulldozer more than 120 feet into the water, dredged the lakebottom and filled other areas. Land below the normal waterline has long been recognized as taxpayer-owned property and under state juristiction -- not the whims of property owners.

Cherry Tree Inn owner facing charges
An owner of a local hotel faces criminal charges for sending a bulldozer into Grand Traverse bay to reshape his beach. Authorities charged Joseph Moffa, 42, president of Ohio-based Omni Hospitality and vice president of Pride One Cherry Tree LLC, with two criminal misdemeanors for violation of state wetlands and submerged bottomlands law. Both offenses are punishable by up to one year in jail. State and federal authorities who investigated the inn and its owner determined a bulldozer drove as far as 122 feet into East Bay over Thanksgiving weekend in 2006. Moffa's attorney told Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider's office that Moffa would turn himself in Thursday, but he failed to show.

Paying for War at the Pump
What’s it got to do with the price of gas? Would some reporter with access to the Republican presidential candidate please ask John McCain why he wants to continue President Bush’s Mideast policy when it has proved so ruinous for American taxpayers? Because McCain is determined to ignore our economic meltdown and shift the debate to foreign policy, shouldn’t he have to explain why an open-ended military presence in the Mideast will make us economically and militarily more secure when the opposite is clearly the case? Let’s not waste too much time on the military side of the equation. The argument that troops on the ground have made us militarily more secure is absurd on its face. American resources and lives have been squandered in an inane effort that McCain aptly criticized before becoming a presidential candidate.

GM Foods the Problem, Not The Solution
BONN - The food crisis has prompted some looks towards genetically modified food production as a solution. That in turn has led to stronger warnings over the consequences of such food for health and the environment. These concerns have been raised again as more than 3,000 delegates from 147 countries met for the UN conference on biosafety. The conference has sought to ensure safe use of modern biotechnology. Feeding the debate, scientists, farmers and environmental activists in many countries continue to warn that genetically modified agriculture presents a risk, and not a contribution, to food production.

How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
The outrageous success of bottled water, in a country where more than 89 percent of tap water meets or exceeds federal health and safety regulations, regularly wins in blind taste tests against name-brand waters, and costs 240 to 10,000 times less than bottled water, is an unparalleled social phenomenon, one of the greatest marketing coups of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. But why did the marketing work? Today, kids like having their hands on a personal water bottle, but they have no interest in washing that bottle out, to be reused another day, or otherwise taking responsibility for their waste.

Beyond Recycling
Recycling newspaper and plastic can only go so far toward achieving a "zero-waste" world - the next step is getting industry and government to work together to make going greener more profitable. Getting us close to zero waste means that we need to work with industry to start designing their products and packaging for recovery rather than for the dump.

The time to stand up for Michigan's waters is now.
The State Senate just narrowly passed legislation that would allow up to 25% of some of our precious lakes and rivers to be open for withdrawal! Yes, you heard me right, up to 25% of some of our best waterways. If that wasn't bad enough, the Senate allowed provisions that undermine public control over our water. Without strong laws that support public control of the Great Lakes, our state is vulnerable to corporations and special interests that seek to export and misuse our water. The State House can fix this, but they need to hear from you, not just corporate special interests. Take action now - http://michiganwaternotforsale.com Tell your State Representative to reject the Senate proposal (SB 860). Instead they should pass tough new laws that protect our Great Lakes and inland waters for generations to come by strengthening public control. Tell them to reject a special interest driven proposal that would allow up to 25% of some of Michigan's water to be open for withdrawal.

Billionaire oilman backs wind power
Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens is sinking billions of dollars into a new wind farm in Texas. It is likely to become the biggest in the world, producing enough power for the equivalent of 1.3 million homes. CNN's Ali Velshi asked the oil legend why he thinks wind could be the answer to this country's energy problems. But we are going to have to do something different in America. You can't keep paying out $600 billion a year for oil. [Editor: NW Michigan is wind rich. The sooner we tap into wind power, the sooner we will be energy self reliant.]

Want Cheaper Gas and Oil? End the Damned Wars!
A professor of economics at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, has a different explanation for the price rise, and American motorists and homeowners should pay close attention. "Oil prices have gone from the mid $20 range in the fall of 2002 to $127 yesterday -- a rise of $100/barrel in just over five years," he says. "And the bulk of that increase can be attributed to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the threats of war against Iran." "Neoconservative forces in and around the Bush administration and beneficiaries of war dividends -- wishing to deflect attention away from war as the main culprit for the skyrocketing energy prices -- tend to blame secondary or marginally relevant factors: OPEC, China and India for their increased demand for energy, or supply-demand imbalances in global markets. Whatever the contributory role of these factors, the fact remains that the current oil price hikes started with the beginning of the Bush administration's wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, a closer examination of these factors reveals that their roles in the current price inflation of oil have been negligible." If you want to see gasoline drop back below $3.89/gal, get Congress to end the war! It's that simple.

During boom in crop prices, lawmakers harvest subsidies
05/18/2008 01:35:33 AM PDT With food prices soaring, it takes some gall to force Americans to pay billions of dollars to millionaire agribusinesses. Yet that's what the latest farm bill would do. Since the last farm bill was enacted in 2002, the five crops that receive the lion's share of farm subsidies have also enjoyed massive price increases: cotton (105 percent price increase), soybeans (164 percent), corn (169 percent), wheat (256 percent) and rice (281 percent). For consumers, these price increases have caused financial pain domestically and near-riots abroad. For farmers, it's a sunnier story: Total net farm income has leaped 56 percent in just two years, and helped bring the average farm household's income to a record $89,434, and its net worth to $838,875. During this crop-price boom, continuing to subsidize farmers makes as much sense as paying Apple to make another generation of iPods. Farm subsidies have long been America's largest corporate Advertisement welfare program. Rather than help small, struggling family farmers, the majority of subsidies go to commercial farmers, who report an average income of $200,000 and a net worth of nearly $2 million.

Biofuels are increasingly lumped into a single category of environmentally apocalyptic dead-end solutions. As the food vs. fuel debate rages on, it’s no wonder that the general public believes this.

Flying Wind Turbines More Efficient
The higher up in the air you go, the faster wind travels - so naturally the further from the ground a wind-turbines gets, the more efficient it can be. Thats why the idea of a flying wind-turbine is a such a win-win (or win-wind) proposition.

Traffic Calming
Traffic calming has swept the world over the past 15 years. It's based on the simple idea that cars and trucks don't have exclusive ownership of our streets. Streets are shared public space that also belongs to people on foot and bicycles, in baby strollers and wheelchairs. Traffic calming uses design features such as narrowed roads or elevated crosswalks to slow traffic and to assert pedestrians' inalienable right to cross the street. The origins of this ingenious idea can be traced to Delft, Netherlands, where residents of one neighborhood were fed up with cars racing along their streets, endangering children, pets, and peace of mind. One evening they decided to do something about it by dragging old couches and other furniture out into the roadway. They positioned these objects in such a way that cars could pass, but only if they slowed down. [Editor: Slow down, or this may happen here]

Dusk on planet Earth?
There's a number -- a new number -- that makes this point most powerfully. It may now be the most important number on Earth: 350. As in parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It's like the doctor telling you that your cholesterol is way too high and, if you don't bring it down right away, you're going to have a stroke. So you take the pill, you swear off the cheese, and, if you're lucky, you get back into the safety zone before the coronary. It's like watching the tachometer edge into the red zone and knowing that you need to take your foot off the gas before you hear that clunk up front. In this case, though, it's worse than that because we're not taking the pill and we are stomping on the gas -- hard. Instead of slowing down, we're pouring on the coal, quite literally. Two weeks ago came the news that atmospheric carbon dioxide had jumped 2.4 parts per million last year -- two decades ago, it was going up barely half that fast. And suddenly, the news arrives that the amount of methane, another potent greenhouse gas, accumulating in the atmosphere, has unexpectedly begun to soar as well. Apparently, we've managed to warm the far north enough to start melting huge patches of permafrost and massive quantities of methane trapped beneath it have begun to bubble forth. And don't forget: China is building more power plants; India is pioneering the $2,500 car, and Americans are converting to TVs the size of windshields which suck juice ever faster.

Troubled Waters
The greatest natural resource in a four-state area, Lake Michigan's safe keeping has increasingly become the center of concern and controversy. Many are asking questions. Is the lake safe for recreation? Is drinking water drawn by numerous communities pure? Is pollution lessening? Who are the polluters? And most of all, what is being done to safeguard the lake?

2008 Great Lakes Bioneers Award
The Great Lakes BIONEERS Award goes to a person whose life-work embodies the bioneer principles of interconnectedness, development of healthy relationships, and respect for the inherent intelligence of all life and ecological systems. This Award is for those who go beyond sustaining their home communities, but heal and regenerate them as well. For being an avenue toward hope. Stephanie Mills has been engaged in the ecology movement for more than thirty years, and in 1996 was named by Utne Reader as one of the world’s leadingsmills.jpg visionaries. Stephanie Mills is an author, editor, lecturer and ecological activist who has concerned herself with the fate of the earth and humanity since 1969, when her commencement address at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., drew the attention of a nation. Her speech, which the New York Times called “perhaps the most anguished statement” of the year’s crop of valedictory speeches, predicted a bleak future.


It's National Drinking Water Week
From May 4-10—Communities across North America will celebrate all those things that "Only Tap Water Delivers" during Drinking Water 2008. Drinking Water Week provides a natural opportunity for all of us to pause and consider the immeasurable value that a safe, reliable water supply plays in our daily lives. We have some of the highest quality water in the world and this week we can all celebrate that achievement and also remind ourselves not to take it for granted.

Meijer hadn't counted on Acme's Bill Boltres
Every uprising begins with one man or woman standing up and saying "enough." In Acme Township, that was Bill Boltres. The 72-year-old township treasurer lit a fuse back in 2006 when, after suffering two heart attacks and numerous sleepless nights over lawsuits filed against him by Meijer, Inc., he fought back. During depositions related to his counter-suit it was revealed that a law firm hired by Meijer had paid a public relations agency more than $30,000 to secretly orchestrate a failed recall election against the Acme board in 2007. A report done for Meijer also indicated the company made illegal contributions to a 2005 referendum on halting big-box development. The findings from the Boltres depositions prompted a blistering attack on Meijer's goonish tactics from across the state, Boltres not only didn't back down, he filed his own suit and Meijer was sent reeling. Boltres has since sued the Village at Grand Traverse LLC, the corporation behind the Village at Grand Traverse, claiming Meijer-like illegal harassment. Now other Acme officials are contemplating their own lawsuits. Bill Boltres didn't go looking for a fight. All he wanted was to serve his township, help guide development and keep the books balanced. Meijer, though, decided to declare war.

Will Meijer get its own checkout lane for justice?
Meijer spent years and tens of thousands of dollars bullying local officials, suing them and generally making their lives hell because they dared to exercise local control in a zoning decision. In this case, justice demands more than a wrist-slap and a token fine. In an April 11 ruling, Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers in Traverse City said that retailer Meijer does not have to respond to subpoenas issued by Grand Traverse Prosecutor Alan Schneider. Schneider was seeking communications regarding Meijer's corporate-funded efforts to recall elected officials in Acme Township over a zoning issue for a store. Judge Rodgers said that the Michigan Campaign Finance Act gives exclusive jurisdiction of campaign finance violations to the Michigan Department of State, which administers elections.

Scam Artists Prepared to Fleece Green Industries
Earlier this year, entrepreneur Eric Janszen declared in Harper's magazine that the next bubble -- alternative energy -- had already been "branded". His projection: the eventual creation of $20 trillion in fictitious, speculative wealth, "money that inevitably will be employed to increase share prices rather than to deliver 'energy security.'" and that "when the bubble finally bursts, we will be left to mop up after yet another devastated industry." After that next big bust, not only alternative energy but a host of other "green" industries will be left in ruin. As long as an investing class is allowed to make all major environmental decisions, no new sources of energy will actually replace even one barrel or ton of fossil fuel; rather, they will go to further parasitizing the planet in the cause of growth. The boosters of "green" capitalism have never even bothered to argue otherwise in any effective way.

Amid the debate, energy gets cleaner
Forget the arguments over whether global warming is real. Many American businesses and researchers are well past all that and are scrambling to find ways to make money in a world that must slash its use of fossil fuels. Energy entrepreneurs have sparked an energy revolution that's just starting in the United States but already producing new ideas, more jobs and growing exports. "You have a cavalcade of human intellect springing forth just when we need it," said Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., a co-author of "Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy." "The ice is melting in the North Pole, but the ice also is melting to resistance to progress here in this country," he said. "It's a race to figure out who will win, and I'm betting on our grandkids." But for renewable energy to really take off, the federal government will have to end subsidies for fossil fuels, put a limit on greenhouse-gas emissions and charge for putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The Story of Stuff
Have you ever wondered where the stuff comes from that we buy and where it goes when we throw it out? Must watch.

Is Organic Food Really Healthier?
The U.S. government's food policy suggests an apple is an apple, regardless of how it was grown. Scientific data suggests otherwise.

Grains Gone Wild
Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans — but they’re truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family’s spending.

The Battle to Control Our Food Supply
The rise in global food prices has sparked a number of protests in recent weeks, highlighting the worsening epidemic of global hunger. The World Bank estimates world food prices have risen 80 percent over the last three years and that at least thirty-three countries face social unrest as a result. Several causes factor into the global food price hike, many linked to human activity. These include human-driven climate change, the soaring cost of oil and a Western-led focus on biofuels that critics say turns food into fuel.

Beach Cleanup Tally: 6 Million Pounds of Trash
Last September, the Ocean Conservancy sponsored a worldwide beach cleanup effort. This week it released its findings: 6 million pounds of garbage was cleared from beaches in a single day. The biggest single source of debris was from smoking materials.

Chemical in Plastic Poses Risk to Humans and Other Living Things
The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, concluded that there was "concern" that fetuses, babies and children were in danger because bisphenol A, or BPA, harmed animals at low levels found in nearly all human bodies. An ingredient of polycarbonate plastic, BPA is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in industry today. It can seep from hard plastic beverage containers such as baby bottles, as well as from liners in cans containing food and infant formula. Some scientists suspect that exposure early in life disrupts hormones and alters genes, programming a fetus or child for breast or prostate cancer, premature female puberty, attention deficit disorders and other reproductive or neurological disorders.

Oil Rules!
It's strange that the business and geopolitics of energy takes up so little space on American front pages -- or that we could conduct an oil war in Iraq with hardly a mention of the words "oil" and "war" in the same paragraph in those same papers over the years. Strange indeed. And yet, oil rules our world and energy lies behind so many of the headlines that might seem to be about other matters entirely. Take the food riots now spreading across the planet because the prices of staples are soaring, while stocks of basics are falling. In the last year, wheat (think flour) has risen by 130%, rice by 74%, soya by 87%, and corn by 31%, while there are now only eight to 12 weeks of cereal stocks left globally. Governments across the planetary map are shuddering.

Intern/ Field Producer Wanted to produce environmental film
Part-time and Internship positions for Environmental Documentary. A documentary feature film production is seeking a part time researcher/field-producer and research and editing interns for a documentary about the state of the planet. No film experience necessary but must be a quick study and willing to question everything. This is a rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor with a feature film being produced primarily in Michigan.Work from home and/or at our office. Please email jeffgibbstc@gmail.com for more information or call 231-668-1130.

A message to our grandchildren by Steward and Lee Udall
Arizona native Stewart Udall was perhaps the most influential secretary of Interior ever. He served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations from 1961 to 1969, and played a part in some of the nation’s landmark environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Wilderness Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. Americans must finally cast aside our notion that we can continue the wasteful consumption patterns of our past. We must promote a consciousness attuned to a frugal, highly efficient mode of living. In closing, I leave you with these thoughts, and hope you will hold to these ideals throughout your lives: Foster a consciousness that puts a premium on the common good and the protection of the environment. Give your unstinting support to all lasting, fruitful technological innovations. Be steadfast enemies of waste. The lifetime crusade of your days must be to develop a new energy ethic to sustain life on earth.

Are We Doomed? Why Civilizations Like Ours Fall (audio)
The Bryant Park Project via National Public Radio (NPR) Are we doomed? Debora MacKenzie, the author of a recent New Scientist cover story, says our survival depends on how connected we are to each other. "A civilization is a system whereby people get what they need. They get the basics of life - food, water, shelter, civil order, and some kind of satisfaction," she argues. "When they fall is when they can no longer meet their people's basic needs using the mechanisms that have evolved.

Ecological Collapse: Failing Ecosystems the Mother of All Bubbles
The converging mortgage, financial, food, fuel and climate crises are all symptoms of a massive global ecological bubble --- Ecological overshoot whereby humanity exceeds the Earth's carrying capacity is the mother of all "bubbles". Within the current sub-prime mortgage and financial bubbles, and food and energy price increases, we are witnessing the logical and inevitable economic consequences of over-population, resource scarcity, inequitable and unreasonable consumption, and unsustainable economic growth. Growth and livelihoods based upon unreasonable presumptions of continued resource outputs from dwindling ecosystems are a dangerous, unprecedented "ecological bubble" that threatens civilization and mass apocalyptic death.

Busted
Michigan doesn’t have a shortage of money, as Democrats argue. The state’s budget is $43 billion annually. Nor are its taxes too high, as Republicans assert. Michigan has a shortage of ideas, vision, and willingness to collaborate. So long as the state’s budget is devoted to building more roads not regional rapid transit, promoting farm products in the farm-killing global commodity markets, subsidizing sprawl in rural areas, selling state forests and other assets at bargain prices, and cutting funding to higher education in the knowledge economy, we all lose.

Great Lakes advocates not pleased with Bush's spending plan
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Map, News) - President Bush's proposed budget would shortchange efforts to clean up the Great Lakes and to keep problems such as sewage overflows and exotic species invasions from getting worse, critics said Wednesday. Federal spending for Great Lakes water quality programs would be slashed 16 percent from this year's total under the president's fiscal 2009 spending plan released this week, advocacy groups said.

Court Says EPA Rule Allowing More Power Plant Mercury Is Illegal
EPA violated the law by evading required power plant mercury reductions WASHINGTON, DC - February 8 - A federal appeals court ruled this morning that a rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency violates the Clean Air Act by evading mandatory cuts in toxic mercury pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The decision invalidates the agency's so-called "Clean Air Mercury Rule," which would have allowed dangerously high levels of mercury pollution to persist under a weak cap-and-trade program that would not have taken full effect until well beyond 2020.

Carbon cuts a must to halt warming-US scientists
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - There is already enough carbon in Earth's atmosphere to ensure that sea levels will rise several feet (meters) in coming decades and summertime ice will vanish from the North Pole, scientists warned on Thursday. To mitigate global warming's worst effects, including severe drought and flooding, people must not only cut current carbon emissions but also remove some carbon that has collected in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, they said. "We're a lot closer to climate tipping points than we thought we were," said James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "If we are to have any chance in avoiding the points of no return, we're going to have to make some changes."

Sedatives and Sex Hormones in Our Water Supply
Saturday was World Water Day, and the United Nations estimates close to 1.5 billion people around the world do not have access to clean drinking water. What about here in the United States? The Associated Press has conducted an extensive investigation into the drinking water in at least twenty-four major American cities across the country, which contain trace amounts of a wide array of pharmaceuticals. The amounts might be small, but scientists are worried about the long-term health and environmental consequences of their presence in the water supplies of some forty-one million Americans.

The peak oil crisis: revolt of the teapots
In the last 25 years, China has come a long ways from its old soviet-style command economy to a rather bizarre mixture of traditional Communist centralism and free-wheeling capitalism. This bifurcated system has brought China undreamed of economic success in recent decades, but from time to time, problems turn up. Someday, the unprecedented environmental mess they are busily creating will do them in, but currently Beijing’s major concern is a nationwide fuel shortage. In other times, Chinese waiting in gas lines would be of minimal concern to most Americans so long as enough stuff was still getting through to the WalMart. These are not “other times,” however, and shortages in China may be only weeks or months away from becoming shortages in other places— perhaps even at your favorite gas station. Thus it may be more important than you realize to keep track of gas lines in China for we are living in a globalized world.

Opponents vow to fight DEQ approval of UP sulfide mining permit
Community and environmental leaders united today in their opposition to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s issuance of a permit for a dangerous sulfide mine on the Upper Peninsula’s Yellow Dog Plains. Some opponents are now poised to legally challenge the flawed decision that would allow the mine to operate beneath a critical Lake Superior tributary. The nickel mine would generate hundreds of thousands of tons of acid-leaching waste rock from underneath the Salmon Trout River near Marquette, putting the region’s water at risk, including Lake Superior. "We are extremely disappointed that after all the work which went into crafting the law governing non-ferrous mining in Michigan that the DEQ has chosen to simply ignore key components of that law. They’ve granted Kennecott a permit which clearly doesn’t even meet the intent, let alone the letter of the law," stated Anne Woiwode, state director of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

The Bush War on Science
The Republican War on Science
The Intersection
Bush Abuse of Science

What the Government Doesn't Want You to Know About Global Climate Change
Famed NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen tells the depressing story of government censorship of years of impeccable research. Dr. James Hansen is widely regarded as the leading climate scientist in the country. It was his testimony to a Senate committee in 1988 that first brought the threat of global warming to the world's attention. For the past quarter of a century he has headed the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA's premiere climate research center. Just over a year ago, Dr. Hansen went public with a charge that made headlines around the world, that the Bush administration had been trying to silence his warnings about the urgent need to address climate change.

State Law Slows Farm-to-School Progress
TRAVERSE CITY—Earlier this week, the Michigan Land Use Institute hosted a sold-out conference called Farm to School: Healthy Kids, Thriving Farms in our community. More than 300 school administrators, cooks, teachers, parents, and farmers from Northwest Michigan attended. The fact that the Institute had to turn away still more folks who wanted to be there is a testament to intense community interest in bringing our local farmers’ products into our schools’ dining rooms.

Department of Energy shines $14 million on solar energy projects
03/12/2008 - 10:43pm. Eleven university solar research projects aimed at developing advanced solar photovoltaic (PV) technology manufacturing processes and products got a $14 million boost today from the Dept. of Energy. Photovoltaic-based solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity, and are made of semiconductor materials similar to those used in computer chips.

Transportation By The Numbers
Transportation is one of the biggest causes of global warming pollution in the U.S. Our inefficient use of roadways and public transportation are only part of the problem. Check out our list of startling facts and figures.

Don't Eat Anything That Doesn't Rot
Consumers are getting duped by the food industry, paying the price with their health. Acclaimed author and journalist Michael Pollan argues that what most Americans are consuming today is not food but "edible foodlike substances.

Solar Collecting Roads
Solar is a highly efficient for heating water. Combine it with underground storage, and a year-round system can be created where the system can cover heating requirements in the winter and cooling in the summer. The Dutch company Ooms Avenhorn Holding BV has taken this concept and moved it a step forward with the Road Energy System® (RES).

Great Lakes : Danger Zone
For more than seven months, the nation’s top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states, reportedly because it contains such potentially “alarming information” as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates. Researchers found low birth weights, elevated rates of infant mortality and premature births, and elevated death rates from breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer. The 400-plus-page study, Public Health Implications of Hazardous Substances in the Twenty-Six U.S. Great Lakes Areas of Concern, was undertaken by a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the request of the International Joint Commission, an independent bilateral organization that advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on the use and quality of boundary waters between the two countries.

Combating Climate Change: Farming Out Global Warming Solutions
Forest depletion ultimately contributes more GHG emissions than all the cars and trucks in use worldwide, says Werner Kurz, a forest ecologist with Natural Resources Canada, who was not involved with the study. "What we are doing in these tropical forests is really a massive problem."

Are your products safe? You can't tell.
Labels often fail to list compounds that can disrupt biological development. Scientists first suspected that endocrine disruptors were wreaking havoc decades ago when they began observing freakish abnormalities in wild animals, particularly along the Great Lakes with its legacy of industrial pollution. They were seeing female gulls nesting together, birds with twisted bills and frogs with severe deformities, including one with an eye growing inside its mouth. Frustrated at the lack of action, a consortium of environmental, patient advocacy and labor groups filed a federal lawsuit, prompting the EPA to promise that screening would begin by the end of 2003. But the agency repeatedly has missed its self-imposed deadlines as well as those set by law.

Retailer Bans Some Plastic Bottles
December 8, 2007 OTTAWA, Dec. 7 — A line of water bottles that had become a symbol of environmental responsibility has been removed from the shelves of Canada’s leading outdoor gear retailer over concerns about a chemical used in its manufacture. Skip to next paragraph Polycarbonate plastic bottles are transparent and almost as hard as glass. The Mountain Equipment Co-op, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, removed the bottles, sold under the brand name Nalgene, and other polycarbonate containers from its 11 large-scale stores on Wednesday. The retailer said that it would not restock the bottles, which are made by Nalge Nunc International in Rochester, a unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific, until Health Canada completed a review of bisphenol-a, or B.P.A., a chemical used to make hard, transparent plastics as well as liners for food cans.

WARNING: The chemical bisphenol A has been known to pose severe health risks to laboratory animals.
It's in baby bottles, soda cans and 93% of us. It causes breast cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes and hyperactivity in lab animals, according to 80% of studies analyzed by the Journal Sentinel. But U.S. regulators side with the chemical-makers and say it's safe. PART 2

Election can be stolen in “under a minute” with Diebold machines
Researchers at Princeton University announced Wednesday that common electronic voting machines can be subverted by installing software which undetectably alters vote totals and, as a computer virus, spreads itself from one voting machine to the next. Computer science professor Edward Felten, along with graduate students Ariel Feldman and J. Alex Halderman, published a paper in which they demonstrated the ease of installing malicious software onto a Diebold AccuVote-TS touchscreen voting machine which would alter vote totals in a real election, but be undetectable to election officials by allowing the logic and accuracy tests to pass, and by deleting itself from the voting machines at the end of the election. “This report should finally put to rest the myth that the current generation of e-voting machines adequately protects the integrity of the electoral process,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Matt Zimmerman.

The Poor Get Diabetes; The Rich Get Local and Organic
As a class, lower income people have been well represented in some of the best-covered food stories of our day, particularly hunger, obesity, and diabetes. As these issues have faded in and out of the public's eye over the last 25 years, another food trend was rapidly becoming a national obsession -- namely, local and organic. At about the same time that Berkeley diva Alice Waters was first showing us how to bestow style and grace on something as ordinary as a local tomato, the Reagan administration's anti-poor policies were driving an unprecedented number of people into soup kitchens and food banks. And as organic food advocates were putting the finishing touches on what was to become the first national standard for organic food, supermarket chains were nailing plywood across their city store windows bidding farewell to lower income America.

The Nuclear Power Danger
Nuclear Power Hinders Progress on Climate Change Nuclear power cannot address climate change. Greenhouse gases are emitted throughout the nuclear fuel chain, from the mining of the necessary fuel - uranium - to its enrichment, transportation and the construction of nuclear plants. Nuclear plants take too long to build - up to a dozen years or more. The planet is already in crisis with experts pointing to rapid climate change already underway and less than ten years left to pre-empt disaster. There is no time to wait for nuclear plant construction. Nuclear plants are too expensive - at least $6 billion or more apiece. The planet and its inhabitants need faster, cheaper and safer energy sources without the risks presented by nuclear power: daily exposure to routine releases of radiation; the risk of radiological catastrophe from a serious accident or attack; piles of lethal radioactive waste stored unsafely at reactor sites; and the proliferation dangers and ties to nuclear weapons development. Expansion of nuclear power invites war. This has been most ominously demonstrated by the September 6, 2007 bombing by Israel of a suspected nuclear site in Syria, and the sabre-rattling around Iran's nuclear power program.

The genius doctor who diagnosed Nuke Power's deadly disease
The nuke power industry now wants $50 billion and more in loan guarantees to build new atomic reactors. As it strong-arms Congress, the warnings of the great Dr. John Gofman, who passed away last week at 88, loom ever larger. One of history's most respected and revered medical and nuclear pioneers, Gofman's research showed as early as 1969 that "normal" radioactive reactor emissions could kill 32,000 Americans per year. At the time, Gofman was the chief medical researcher for the Atomic Energy Commission. He told the AEC that reactor emissions must be radically reduced. The AEC demanded he change his findings, then forced him out when he refused.

Stop $50 Billion Handout to Nuclear Power!
Act now to stop the nuclear power industry scooping up $50 billion in taxpayer money for new nuclear reactors. That's $25 billion a year for an industry that puts our lives at risk every day.

Michigan Glow Job
The way the big-money boys see it, nuclear is just too huge an investment risk without the guarantee taxpayers will be there to bail them out if something goes wrong. As environmentalist and author Chip Ward was recently quoted saying, "Wall Street won't invest in nuclear power because it's too risky. ... The partial meltdown at Three Mile Island taught investment bankers how a $2 billion investment can turn into a billion-dollar clean-up in under two hours." Ever since the TMI incident and the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl plant in what was then the Soviet Union, neither the public nor the financiers are all that hot on nukes. But with the support of George "Nukular" Bush, a technology the president can't even pronounce correctly is gaining new traction. Ironically, a power source that could kill millions if there's a serious mishap and that produces lethal radioactive waste for which there is still no safe disposal is being hailed as a green technology that will supposedly help curb the production of greenhouse gasses that are causing the Earth to heat up.

Michigan House Committee Passes Great Lakes Compact
(Lansing)—The Michigan House of Representatives Great Lakes and Environment Committee today approved legislation ratifying the Great Lakes Compact, taking a crucial first step toward protecting Michigan's water resources from abusive withdrawals and diversions. The multi-state, and a companion multi-nation agreement establishes basic guidelines to prevent Great Lakes water diversions and ensure resource sustainability; the Compact requires each state to pass implementing legislation.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE No. 2007 - 23 PROMOTING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
WHEREAS, Section 1 of Article V of the Michigan Constitution of 1963 vests the executive power of the State of Michigan in the Governor;

Governor Granholm takes on Alternative Energy
W hile the re-election campaign ended over a year ago, Governor Jennifer Granholm finds herself still out on the campaign trail. Term limits will keep her from running again, at least for Governor - and being born in Canada, she is not eligible for the U.S. Presidency - so Granholm finds herself on a different type of campaign trail. Some may view it as a campaign for her gubernatorial legacy while others see it as a Governor who is committed to seeing Michigan get back on the right track. Granholm is campaigning for Michigan to become a leader in the alternative energy industry. She believes that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that led Michigan to become the one time automotive manufacturing capital of the world exists for it to become a leader in the rapidly growing field of alternative energy.

Everything is Killing you!
Do you or someone you know live in a house, apartment or indoor shelter of some sort? house If so, you may already be dying; poisoned slowly by the mass of toxic chemicals present in your carpet, bathroom, and even your precious baby’s bottle. According to several leading scientists, including top former officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, you are exposed to more severe pollution just by walking around your house in the morning than you are from toxic waste sites, smokestacks, and garbage dumps. THINGS THAT GIVE YOU CANCER: CLICK HERE

Radiation Free Fusion Reactor
Dr. Bussard and his team at Energy/Matter Conversion Corporation, after close to 20 years of hard work, have developed a revolutionary radiation-free fusion process that could change the world as we know it today. Fusion is the energy that powers everything in the universe. The sun's energy comes from fusion. Alternatively, fission is the process whereby heavy atoms, which are nearly unstable, are split into two radioactive atoms. Fusion, on the other hand, is when two light atoms merge. The ultimate fuels for fusion include hydrogen and other light atoms such as lithium, boron, and helium isotopes. Some of these reactions are radiation free, others are not. The fusion process recommended by Dr. Bussard takes boron-11 and fuses a proton to it, producing, in its excited state, a carbon-12 atom. This excited carbon-12 atom decays to beryllium-8 and helium-4. Beryllium-8 very quickly (in 10-13 s) decays into two more helium-4 atoms. This is the only nuclear-energy releasing process in the whole world that releases fusion energy and three helium atoms -- and no neutrons. This reaction is completely radiation free.

Spray-On Solar-Power Cells Are True Breakthrough
Scientists have invented a plastic solar cell that can turn the sun's power into electrical energy, even on a cloudy day. The plastic material uses nanotechnology and contains the first solar cells able to harness the sun's invisible, infrared rays. The breakthrough has led theorists to predict that plastic solar cells could one day become five times more efficient than current solar cell technology. Like paint, the composite can be sprayed onto other materials and used as portable electricity. A sweater coated in the material could power a cell phone or other wireless devices. A hydrogen-powered car painted with the film could potentially convert enough energy into electricity to continually recharge the car's battery.

Humanity as your enemy -- or is it "the economy, stupid"?
We look around to see arguably lethal behavior by the average person. Most people drive cars unnecessarily, consume foods from great distance, and engage in other activities that serve to enrich powerful corporations that are a menace to the planet. We still do not see much attempt to restructure lifestyles ecologically and thus challenge the socioeconomic system. At this critical time in history can we argue that modern people are generally stupid? That they are your enemy? And that you may be your enemy too? Or, do we just blame the Bad Guys?

Take Action in Michigan to Slow Global Warming Worldwide
Let's make a difference! By signing this petition, we can stop new coal plants from coming to Michigan and polluting our air, lakes and streams. Join me in telling your legislator that coal plants are just dead wrong for Michigan. http://progressmichigan.org/

State Senate Great Lakes ‘protection’ plan would open spigot to drain Michigan’s rivers
A proposed Great Lakes protection package being considered in the State Senate would allow large water users to drain huge percentages of some of Michigan’s finest rivers and streams, according to an analysis by the Great Lakes, Great Michigan coalition. “There’s no way you can take that much water out of a stream and not destroy it. I’m sure there are plenty of people and corporations who’d like to get their hands on the Au Sable’s spring-fed water, but the State Legislature shouldn’t be helping them do it.”

Plastic bag ban goes into effect
As of yesterday, is it now illegal for large grocery stores in the San Francisco to offer their customers plastic bags in which to carry home their purchases. The ordinance, which was passed earlier in the year, will be enforced starting on December 1st.

Sustainable water
Have you ever dreamed of building a rainwater collection system for your home -- one that will make you totally water independent? Sustainable rainwater catch systems are becoming more reliable, and perhaps more affordable, than you might expect.

Biofuels Could Kill More People Than the Iraq War
If the governments promoting biofuels do not reverse their policies, the humanitarian impact will be greater than that of the Iraq war. Even the International Monetary Fund, always ready to immolate the poor on the altar of business, now warns that using food to produce biofuels "might further strain already tight supplies of arable land and water all over the world, thereby pushing food prices up even further."

Web Site Lets Consumers Offset Personal Carbon
First, you calculate the tons of carbon dioxide you use in your life. Then you offset your guilt by giving money to environmental organizations. How much you spend depends how environmentally un-friendly you are. So now all it takes to change the world are guilt and eBay.

Transportation By The Numbers
Transportation is one of the biggest causes of global warming pollution in the U.S. Our inefficient use of roadways and public transportation are only part of the problem. Check out our list of startling facts and figures.

New Flexible Plastic Solar Panels Are Inexpensive And Easy To Make
Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets. "The process is simple," said lead researcher and author Somenath Mitra, PhD, professor and acting chair of NJIT's Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. "Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations."

ALERT
Today's USDA Announcement: Foods Carrying the USDA '95% Organic' Seal Are Now Allowed to Contain Factory Farmed Intestines, PCBs, and Mercury

Despite receiving more than ten thousand comments from consumers and family farmers opposing various aspects of a late May 2007 proposal, the USDA has approved a rule that will allow 38 new non-organic ingredients to be allowed in products bearing the "USDA Organic" seal. But the agency says this may just be interim approval, ,and has offered to extend the public comment period another 60 days (the original public comment period was only 7 days). "The ruling is yet another reason for organic-minded shoppers to carefully read ingredient labels, look for '100% Organic' labels, and buy from local family farmers via your area co-op, farmers market or CSA." Take action and send a letter to the USDA here.

Dear Congress,
There must be some fundamentally fair process to identify those who have been justly detained while protecting the rights of innocent people caught up in the conflict and confusion of war. This is America—the government should not have the power to make people disappear into legal black holes with no way to prove their innocence. Representing the most basic check on governmental abuse of power, habeas gives all of us the guarantee that if we are detained, we have the right to challenge the legality of the detention. Habeas corpus prevents the government from abusing its power and imprisoning people for no reason. I urge you to pass legislation to restore habeas corpus immediately

Smart & easy ways to recycle electronic equipment in Grand Traverse county
Traverse City—An increasing number of Grand Traverse County consumers have unworking or unwanted technology products in their homes and businesses. Grand Traverse County residents recognize the importance of responsible recycling of these electronics and the Grand Traverse County Resource Recovery Department shares in their desire to ensure that electronics are recycled both safely and affordably. Although computers and other electronics contain many valuable recyclable materials, they also contain harmful materials such as mercury, making proper disposal a necessity. Click Here for More Information

Relocalization, The Power of Community
We can no longer depend upon foreign fuel resources to power our community and country. We Are Traverse City has always been a community building organization and we will be placing an increasing focus on "relocalization". Relocalization involves developing all of the resources we require as a community to meet out needs in a post Peak Oil economy. The "We Are Traverse City" staff is currently developing a comprehensive regional resource directory to assist all of us to work toward meeting our energy, shelter, water, and nutritional needs regionally.

A Global Democratic Movement
Millions strong, the movement has three basic roots: the environmental and social justice movements, and indigenous cultures' resistance to globalization — all of which are intertwining. It arises spontaneously from different economic sectors, cultures, regions, and cohorts, resulting in a global, classless, diverse, and embedded movement, spreading worldwide without exception. In a world grown too complex for constrictive ideologies, the very word movement may be too small, for it is the largest coming together of citizens in history. The movement can't be divided because it is atomized -- small pieces loosely joined. It forms, gathers, and dissipates quickly. Many inside and out dismiss it as powerless, but it has been known to bring down governments, companies, and leaders through witnessing, informing, and massing. Describing the breadth of the movement is like trying to hold the ocean in your hand. It is that large. Historically, social movements have arisen primarily because of injustice, inequalities, and corruption. Those woes remain legion, but a new condition exists that has no precedent: the planet has a life-threatening disease that is marked by massive ecological degradation and rapid climate change. It crossed my mind that perhaps I was seeing something organic, if not biologic. Rather than a movement in the conventional sense, it is a collective response to threat,

Take a Hike: or How I Wasted Money So You Don't Have To
It's that time of the year when it just is more fun to be outside. Many of us run or walk for fun and fitness. I am no exception. Last year I joined Let's Get Moving Northern Michigan (along with about 1,700 others). As this is a walking contest, with prizes I might add, it was important for me to figure out the best way to accurately measure the distance travelled. If you have a desire to measure the distance your body travels, read this article to learn from my experience.

Empty Bowls provide food funds
Partnership looks to purchase 50,000 pounds of produce from area farmers. Tables lined with handcrafted ceramic bowls served as a visual reminder of the too often empty bowls of the hungry during Sunday's Empty Bowls Project held in the Park Place Dome. In it's fifth year, the project has been the primary fund-raiser for the Fresh Food Partnership providing fresh, nutritious food from area farmers to those in need through food pantries and local shelters.

America Gone Wrong: A Slashed Safety Net Turns Libraries into Homeless Shelters
A dirty little secret about America is that public libraries have become de facto daytime shelters for the nation's street people while librarians are increasingly our unofficial social workers for the homeless and mentally disturbed.

Universal Red Blood Cells Could Relieve Blood Bank Shortages
An international team of academic and industry scientists, led by the University of Copenhagen, is reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.has come up with a feasible way of making universal red blood cells that are stripped of their blood type. The hope is that i

City urged to fight global warming Sierra Club asks commission to sign agreement
TRAVERSE CITY — Local environmentalists want Traverse City to join other Michigan cities pledging to reduce global warming pollution. Monday, the city commission discussed signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The pact calls for participating cities to cut back controllable emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. "We see success at this level; it's going to be noticed,” said Tom Karas, an Interlochen resident and representative of the Traverse Group of the Sierra Club.

People willing to pay
TRAVERSE CITY - Surveys show county residents are willing to pay for recycling, and the Grand Traverse County Commission may take them up on it. Instead of closing recycling drop-off sites, the county board of public works recommended the county raise the surcharge on a cubic yard of trash dumped at area landfills from $1.50 to $2.75. The increase should cost the average household approximately $5 more a year.

Community Forums
Watch this space for our upcoming forums

Hot Dates

E-Mail “We Are Traverse City, Inc.” Your Hot Date!

March 15, 2010 at 2pm (NMC Campus- bottom level of West Hall)
The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate
Military personnel discuss national security as it links to climate change, clean energy and energy independence. The Veterans bus tour is part of The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate. The vets will discuss how climate change, energy reliance and changing weather patterns can drastically impact the United States, resulting in wars over food and water.

NMEAC “Smart Community Energy” Forum Series Coming Soon
See the NMEAC website for details. http://NMEAC.org

9&10 Classifieds Community Calendar:   www.9and10classifieds.com
Absolute Michigan:
 
Benzie County Chamber of Commerce:
 
Northern Express
 
Northwest Michigan Community Media Center:   www.upnorthmedia.org/cc
The Leelanau Calendar:
 
Traverse Area Progressives
 
Traverse City Visitors & Conventions Bureau:
 
TV 7&4 Community Calendar:
 

Hot Dates — Recurring

Weekdays 3:30-5:30pm
Multi-Cultural Arts Program for kids in grades 1-6
Offered . Kids experience many cultures and art forms in this dynamic hands-on creative experience. Choose any schedule that suits your child. Visit www.justimagine.name to view details on cultures and daily art forms. Just Imagine. 225 W. 14th. 932-9808. $10/day.

2nd Monday each month at 7pm
International Feminism Meetup

Meetup with other local women who are interested in the topic of Feminism. Discuss current issues, such as equal rights, politics, and standing up for what you believe in!

2nd Monday each month
Traverse City Human Rights Commission meeting
Government Center

4th Monday each month from 6-9pm
GALS Networking Meeting
This event happens at "Just Imagine Creative Arts Healing Center" in Traverse City. The cost is $20. For more information go to www.justimaginecahc.com or call them at (231) 932-9808.

Every Tuesday at Noon
Mabel's Peace Table
Back Room

1st Tuesday each month at 1pm
Stay at Home Moms Meetup
Leave behind the housework and family worries, and come Meetup with other stay at home moms for coffee, a drink, anywhere but home!

Wednesdays (May through July) from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
Traverse City—Two new groups are forming for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their allies! Come and connect with people who understand and can help! A therapeutic group is offered for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Also, a support group for allies of GLBT people is offered. Call for more details or to register! Cost: $5.00 per session For more information contact: 392-3611 (Melissa) or 649-9911 (Corey) at Third Level Counseling Center, 1022 East Front Street, Traverse City.

3rd Wednesday each month
Benzie County NORML mtg
Benzie Central High School, administration offices. Meloday Karr 231 885 2993 fiddlefoot420@hotmail.com

Thursdays from 7-9pm
Argentine Tango classes
Just Imagine. 225 W. 14th. Instructor: Ron Hensel, $10/class, singles or couples. For more info call 620-1485

Thursdays at 7pm
Liberal Singles Mixer
Firefly Lounge, 310 Cass St., Traverse City. TC Common Sense and others are promoting the idea of a singles mixer at the Firefly on Thursday evenings each week. Please join us.

Thursdays at 6:21pm
Cruiser Bike Night
We cruise as a group to local restaurants and bars in TC. We usually start off and ride out to Apache Grill on West Bay and then to Union Street Station for nibbles and $1 PBR's. After that we cruise to other places for a beer or martini and all have a good time. Bring a friend too!

First and Third Friday (Summer)
Food Not Bombs
FREE Freshly made soup and bread at the Open Space. Food Not Bombs feeds the hungry.

4th Friday each month at 5:30pm
Community Bike Ride
Join your neighbors and friends on a group bike ride through Traverse City. Feel the joy at zero gallons per mile.

Each Saturday from 10:00 AM until Noon
Traverse for Peace and Justice Anti-War Presence on the Parkway
Bring signs. Grandview and Division, Traverse City Mr. Miller, 38, served as a therapist for four years before receiving an honorable discharge in January 2006. But on Dec. 22, 2007, he said, he received orders to return to Iraq, although he is appealing that decision. “Seeing what Pete has gone through and always standing up for what he believed in, despite the consequences, made my decision easier to resist the war. It made me comfortable that in the long run I’ll be all right.” ... Asked whether he thought that protesting by the side of the road would help end the war, he said: “I don’t think that big things are as effective as people think they are. The last time there was an antiwar demonstration in New York City I said, ‘Why not have a hundred little ones?’ ” He said that working for peace was like adding sand to a basket on one side of a large scale, trying to tip it one way despite enormous weight on the opposite side. “Some of us try to add more sand by teaspoons,” he explained. “It’s leaking out as fast as it goes in and they’re all laughing at us. But we’re still getting people with teaspoons. I get letters from people saying, ‘I’m still on the teaspoon brigade.’”

4th Saturday each month at 4pm
Home Birth Meetup Day
Meetup with parents, siblings, family, midwives, doulas and supporters of birthing at home.

4th Saturday each month at 3pm
Homeschool Parent Meetup Day

Meetup with other local families taking responsibility for educating their childen by using resources in the home and community. Share tips, discuss problems and pool ideas. (men and women).

2nd Sunday each month at 1:30 p.m.
Self Help for Hard of Hearing People : Northern LightSHHH.
Traverse Area District Library , 610 Woodmere Ave. (construction on Woodmere coming from Airport Rd)

Sundays at 1pm
Something to Talk About - A Coffeehouse for Women
A coffeehouse and discussion group for women who desire to move from thoughtless consumption of modern culture to a vantage point of thoughtful engagement. Each week we may enjoy conversation with friends, poetry, verse, music and games. Let's get together and see what happens. If you are a woman who likes to think and share your ideas. This coffeehouse will be for you. Bring your ideas for activities and events. All ages are welcome and encouraged. Another Cuppa Joe at 1200 W. 11th Street, Traverse City.

More Hot Dates! ...

E-Mail “We Are Traverse City, Inc.” Your Hot Date!

Northern Express calendar of events


Creating Community

Creating an inclusive and safe community is no easy task when the only thing we all share in common are our differences. In Traverse City we have citizens (and seasonal guests) who are tall, short, heavy, thin, who embody many races, cultures, and ethnicity's including; agnostic, Amish, atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Mennonite, Muslim, Pagan, Quaker; people who are red, white, black, brown, yellow, pink and polka-dotted with freckles; homosexual, heterosexual and every point in-between. We have designed this space to be an open forum where all will feel welcome to share and contribute toward our community's future. We support social justice, giving children a decent start in life, protecting our environment, and encouraging our readers to work in cooperation with the world community.

Also please visit our "Lost and Found" pet page.


Resources | Support | Education
We are compiling the most extensive (and still growing) human services resource guide in the Grand Traverse region. The We Are Traverse City, Inc. directory includes a growing list of educational and/or service oriented resources. Please help us to help our community. We urge you to share information with us about the resources you find most valuable in your life. DISCONTINUED DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING

Concerns | Comments
Any community dedicated to a healthy future, will experience growing pains and disagreements along the way. It is our hope that Traverse City citizens, as well as our seasonal guests, will find this web site to be a forum through which you may share your supportive thoughts and deep concerns. As resident's, and guest's, of the Grand Traverse region, it is important that every voice be heard. Please join us as we discuss our community based interests and concerns. DISCONTINUED DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING

Press Releases | Announcements
Information and understanding help us to create a healthy community. We will endeavor to keep you informed about the events that change our lives and impact Traverse City's future. We will do our best to illuminate the activities of those intolerant forces, on every side of an issue, who effectively divide and damage our community. All the news that fits, we print. DISCONTINUED DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING

Links | Books | Factoids
The We Are Traverse City community unity initiative cannot be everything to everybody. Therefore we have created a place where our visitors may contribute links to other web sites they have found of value. We also are in the process of creating a book-list that is relevant to the discussions that are taking place here at this time. DISCONTINUED DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING

About “We Are Traverse City, Inc.”
The We Are Traverse City web site is operated by volunteers as a resource for citizens, community leaders, activists and educators working to preserve traditional community values and to advance our understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues. We believe the people of Traverse City should be involved in developing the master plan for Traverse City's future. We Are Traverse City, Inc. is your host to a Community Forum Series encouraging public input, education, outreach, communication and understanding—creating a safe and livable community for all. Check Out: We Are Michigan too!

A caring thank you is offered to all of our website visitors who support the quest for dignity, real food, fresh water, clean air, human rights, and diversity. Traverse City is located in Grand Traverse County (Northwest corner of the State of Michigan, in the United States of America). We appreciate the time you took to visit us: Africa, Aotearoa, Argentina, Arpanet, Asia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Central African Republic, Central America, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Educational Institutions, Estonia, Europe, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Herzegovina, Hrvatska, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Nonprofit Organizations, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Private Computer Networks, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tobago, Turkey, Trinidad, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States Commercial Webs, United States Educational Institutions, United States Government, Guatemala, United States Military, United States Other, and Yugoslavia. This website is operated by volunteers as an open forum to exchange ideas and information about creating a safe and livable community for all! All opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and may or may not be the opinion of the host, our volunteers or affiliated with the city of Traverse City. By sending e-mail to WeAreTraverseCity.com you are granting us worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display your submission (in whole or part) and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. "We Are Traverse City" [including logo(s) and designs] are the registered trademark and/or copyright of We Are Traverse City, Inc. This website complies with the "Fair Use" provision of Title 17, (Copywrite Act - http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode)
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