Category Archives: Global action

Interview with Aaron Newton

My friend Aaron was recently interviewed by a local news organization. The interview is below.

His new book, A Nation of Farmers, is coming out very soon.

Interview originally appeared here.

I can’t get the interview button to embed here so follow the link over and listen to what he has to say.


Orlov Hits One Out of the Park

I don’t agree with every single things he says, but for the most part he is spot on.

Club Orlov

Fantastic writing.

Videos about Tent Cities In California

These two videos show the tent cities showing up in CA after people have lost their houses, or they are just plain priced out of the housing market. Included with the story I had the other day about people sleeping in their cars I would think there is a problem in CA related to finding affordable housing for people who aren’t able or willing to borrower ridiculous amounts of money to buy a house.

If you want to see other videos follow the links out to You Tube and see other videos in Seattle as well as other videos or even more tent cities.

Your Action Is Needed To Help Stop The Starving

OK, Greenpa has a post up talking about how we need action to bring about some political change to stop the starving that is occurring around the world.  It’s not just happening in isolated cases, but also in a lot of places that weren’t having problems before.  Great compilation of news stories so go over and read it.

When I read all these stories I wonder to myself how these people get into these situations.  If they are so hungry why don’t they get some plants and plant them?  I don’t understand why the people are looking to their government to help them instead of making a solution themselves.  Why is that?  I can’t figure it out.

We have the same thing going on here in America.  People are hungry but the idea to grow some of their own food never crosses their mind.  Why is that?

All these news stories talk and talk and talk about all the reasons that we’re having all this mass hysteria about food and shortages and riots.  Why is that?  They say it’s because people are eating too much meat (true) or because food is being used to make fuel for cars instead of people (true).  It’s because there are droughts (true) and because the prices have gone up and some of the more poor groups can’t afford to buy it (true).

Why isn’t there any mention of overpopulation?  Why is there never any mention of how these local economies have sold themselves out for the export money (at our behest) and thus have lost the ability to be self sufficient with their agriculture?  Why doesn’t anyone mention that Bangladesh is the same size as Wisconsin or Arkansas but they have either 30 times or 75 times as many people as those two states?  Is that sustainable?  There never seems to be an mention of how badly the politicians in those countries have managed their countries.  There’s never any blame on the people themselves for allowing their food security to become so compromised.

Greenpa speculates in his blog post that financial traders could be the cause of some of the price increases.  He’s right, people speculate and “invest” in the food markets all the time, and have for a long time.  Do we need to get rid of it?  I don’t know.  It would seem like the prudent thing to do would be to keep food supplies out of the arena of speculators.   Of course, without the commodity exchanges and these “speculators” our food supplies would be completely local and we wouldn’t ever see food being exchanged around the world.

I think the repercussions from that would be much, much worse than what the world is seeing now.

How much is a fair wage?

I guess it depends on where you are in the heirarchy of wages.

Check out this article from Ethicurian and let me know what you think.

My common sense-o-meter tells me something just ain’t quite just about this situation.

UPDATE:  I have more to say about this. 

The more I think about this the more pissed off I get.  These stupid CEOs, who make millions, can’t see it in their big fat stupid hearts to give these people a few extra pennies a pound so they can have a decent living?  Granted, the capitalist way is for corporations to maximize their profits for their owners and keep their costs low.  That’s bullshit. They just use that as an excuse to make their behavior sound OK.  They know what they’re doing is wrong, but they have to justify it somehow so they can sleep at night.

Maybe these guys should go pick tomatoes for a day and see if they feel differently about it then.  Sometimes you do things because you are forced to, but sometimes you do things because it’s the right thing to do.  Paying more to the pickers is the right thing to do

Anyway, I shouldn’t care that much because this is a fast food place and I frankly would feel better at night if they all shriveled up and died.  But, BK was one that I would go to if I had to because they had a veggie burger there.  Not anymore.  I’d rather go hungry or instead just hit a grocery store for some vittles if I’m that hard up for something to it.   

Detroit trip

I was out of hat at the end of the week of June 7th because I had a quick trip to Detroit that Weds night.  And then, as they say, hilarity ensued and it proceeded to mess up what little excess time I had the rest of the week.

I went to Detroit to observe the end of the Challenge X competition.  (You can see that write up soon on Groovy Green)  But this post is about my personal thoughts on the trip.

I was a little scared because I hadn’t heard a lot of good things about Detroit, and I was staying downtown.  But it was actually pretty darn nice.  I stayed at the Renaissance Center and it was close to a lot of interesting things downtown.  Detroit has a nice little rocking downtown area, although all the locals complained about it how lame it was.  I guess they should come hang out in Iowa for a while.

I ate dinner Weds night at Sweetwater Tavern.  It was fantastic.  If you ever get a chance to eat there do it.  Especially have the chicken wings.  The service left quite a bit to be desired, but when the food is this good I can put up with bad service…And I have no idea what the hummer is that they are world famous for, according to the article.  I didn’t see any mention of it on the menu…

Thursday was mostly taken up with Challenge X events but I did get to ride the Monorail around the city a little.  It goes in a circle from the Renaissance Center so it’s not really a mass transit thing.  But maybe they’ll get it expanded someday.  According to the locals the only mass transit they have is a bus service, which is not really much for a city that size.

I did notice a lot of vacant, decaying buildings in the city and along the highways to and from the airport.  I guess that’s a result of the slow death of the city from the heydays of American car making.  I’ve never seen a more evident example of urban sprawl than Detroit actually.  There is so much developable land close to the heart of the city, but it would require a teardown, so developers stack things up on virgin land around the outside of the city.  It’s too bad really.  By the time people are ready to compress the city I’m not sure we’ll have the capacity to tear these bygone remnants down.

The flight home was murderous.  I hate to even talk about it.  But with the nasty weather that came through the Midwest that Thursday night I had a hard time getting home.  I know better than to take the last flight into a city, especially CR, since it is so small.  But I wanted to stay as long as I could in Detroit, so I did it.  So I was to fly from Detroit to Minneapolis and then to CR.  Only they had Minneapolis mostly shut down because of tornados and such.  So I ended up spending most the night in Detroit.  (Wish I had known so I could have stayed longer at the nice dinner we were having.)  We finally left for Minneapolis at 11:20 (originally 8:20 departure), which was the time I was to be home in CR originally.  We got to Minneapolis around 12:20 (we’re on Central now) or so.  Northwest did hook me up with a hotel and a shuttle to the hotel.  Except the hotel is on the other side of Minneapolis from the airport.  So a 30 minute van ride ensued (with 9 other stranded riders cram in the van).  We finally got to the hotel at about 2.  Of course I was so exhausted I couldn’t sleep so I fell asleep about 3 and I was up at 4:45 to shower and catch a 5:30 shuttle to the airport for my 7:00 flight.

Why don’t airports just have locker rooms like a gym?  I would have been happy to stay on a mat at the airport for the little extra sleep and then just shower there.  They could have saved a fortune on me by doing that.  The only reason I went to the hotel was to get the shower.

I couldn’t see much of Minneapolis, but it looked nice, even I was just along the highway. 

Gina–if you read this I waved as I went by on the highway, although I have no idea where you live there.

Northwest did give me a $5 voucher to cover breakfast the next morning, which is nice, but then I had to eat the food at the airport.  Ugg.  And then I forgot to redeem my voucher for a complimentary item for my trouble.  Whatever that item is.  Guess I’ll never know.

Then after I got back I went home to change clothes, came to work, worked most of the day, even though it was employee appreciation day, and then participated in events in the afternoon.  Signed papers for a refinance, came back to work for dinner, drank a few beers, ate some food and then skipped out to go see Wild Hogs.  (Funny movie)  

I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep when we got home. 

I guess that wasn’t all about Detroit but it made for an interesting end of the week.

The Youth of Europe

After reading this story I couldn’t help but draw some distinctions between Europe in this situation and possibly how America will be in a few years.  The conflict between generations.  It raises good questions and brings to light the potential for conflict.

To the best of my knowledge there hasn’t really been a big, prolonged conflict between generations in America.  I think this is because the generation with the most to lose in a conflict (boomers) have the population numbers to make things happen the way they want them too.  But this will surely change in the future as younger generations start organizing and getting to the voting machines.  I get the sense from people in my generation that they are fed up with how things are going, they just have to wait for sufficient numbers of us to be fed up to politic for change.

I’m pissed that during a normal baby boomers lifespan 50% of all the oil in the world will have been used up.  And to what good?  Yeah staggering amounts of wealth have been created (at least on paper) but so what?  This has been at the expense of cultural ties that have vanished, family ties, family values not to mention the expense of all the wildlife that has been destroyed.  Ugly suburban sprawl is around, malls on every corner, a pervasive shopping culture, toys, gadgets and what not everywhere.  All these restaurants everywhere and for what?  So people can cruise around in big inefficient vehicles and live in 4,000 sq ft houses with two people?  All for a stupid lifestyle.  A valuable resource with so many uses has been squandered for so many stupid reasons.

What about the coming destruction of the social entitlement programs?  Everyone can see the train wreck coming but this generation is being so selfish that they refuse to make any changes to these programs preferring instead of foist the cost of their current lifestyle onto future generations.  People like me and my kids and their kids.  Gee, thanks Beav.  That’s swell.  Because they just have to go on cruises and travel the world and have cheap drugs with $3 co-pays my generation, and all who come after it, will have a bankrupt government and no social programs.

How about this pervasive self centered world we live in?  What is the cause of this?  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people of the boomer generation tell me they voted down a tax increase to fund schools because it would raise taxes for them and they don’t have kids in school so who cares.  Hello!!!  What about the rest of us??  We can’t not increase funding for our schools for the 40 some years you’re alive and don’t have kids.  What about your grand-kids?  Why don’t you suck it up and take one for the team?  My generation is certainly going to be taking plenty of it to clean up all the crap you’ve screwed up.

Someday the pendulum will swing.  I hope when the time comes for my generation to assume the throne we remember how we were treated and make smart choices for all citizens, not just a specific subset.