Friday, October 30, 2009

Wisconsin farmer promotes 'good-food revolution'

MILWAUKEE — After years of tilling away in obscurity, Will Allen has found sudden fame as the face of the urban farming movement.

In the year since he won a so-called genius grant from a Chicago foundation, Allen has mingled with former President Bill Clinton, appeared in Oprah Winfrey's O magazine and spoken to scores of groups across the nation and overseas.

"The thing that makes me happiest is that more people of color are joining the good-food revolution," Allen told The Associated Press. "Ten years ago, an African-American would say, this is slaves' work, why you doing this? Now we have more people of color at my talks. Before this I had never been interviewed by black media, and now I've had stories in seven or eight black magazines."

A former pro basketball player, Allen is the founder and chief executive of Growing Power Inc., a Milwaukee-based company that develops urban farming techniques and teaches young people how to grow food in poor, inner-city neighborhoods.


"It's about building sustainable food systems," Allen said of his mission, "creating a whole industry around local food systems that can improve communities. That can help end crime and create thousands of jobs. It's about working to make sure everyone has access to good food, to healthy food, high-quality, safe food."


Will Allen's website

Booker Rising

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Raymond Carver is in the American pantheon now

I think when the Library of America decides to publish an author's collected works it becomes official - they're inducted into the pantheon of great American writers. Some say what made Carver great was his editor Gordon Lish and his slicing and chopping of submitted text, changing names and titles, and generally driving Carver nuts. But the success is hard to argue with. What makes this edition so interesting is Carver's stories are laid out as he intended alongside Lish's edited ones.

Raymond Carver
Collected Stories
Library of America, 1,019 pages, $40

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Story of Survival

Christine is from West Hartford and attended Northwest Catholic and Hall High, any help she can get right now would be greatly appreciated.

>>On August 4th, 2007, Christine Kent was the victim of a horrible crime that has left her changed forever. On that date, Christine was attacked by a stalker at her Ft. Lauderdale home. Allan Sinclair had become obsessed with her when she did not want to be his girlfriend. She rebuffed his advances toward her and told him that they could only be friends. After not seeing Sinclair for three years, he showed up at her house and said that he was in the area and thought that he’d stop by to say hello. He wanted what he couldn’t have and put a gun to the back of her head. Christine spoke to him about God and pleaded with him to let her go. When she fled for her life, he shot her twice, with one of the bullets obliterating her spine. Paralyzed, she laid on the gravel beside her driveway as Sinclair ran over her with his SUV, turning the tire while on top of her abdomen, further shattering her body. Sinclair fled the scene and Christine desperately screamed for help, but no one came. Her neighbor’s phoned the police when they heard the shots fired, but they were too afraid to go to her aid. Thinking the horrific ordeal was over; Christine was shocked to find that her attacker came back within minutes in an attempt to hide her from view. He grabbed her by the ankles and dragged her across the driveway, leaving her behind the hedges. Being left there to die, she prayed for her life and to be saved while waiting to be rescued. Christine survived, by the grace of God.

Fortunately for Christine and for all of us, this dangerous man was apprehended the very next day. Sinclair pled Guilty to Attempted Rape and Attempted Murder First Degree on Oct.2, 2009 and was sentenced to Life without the possibility of parole. Now Christine has some closure and peace of mind knowing that he’ll never get out, to hurt her or anyone else ever again. Christine’s injuries have left her paralyzed from the waist down, in unrelenting pain and fear of what the future holds. The doctors confirm that the injury to her spine is so severe that she’ll never walk again. Having spent over five months in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, she is blessed to be back in her own home. Christine tries to remain positive despite her disability and feels that everyday is a gift and life is a blessing. She is thankful that her condition is not worse, and at least she’s able to use her upper body. The Spinal Cord Injury Support Group of South Florida has been a big help to her with adjusting, problem solving, goal setting, and offering encouragement. Christine wishes so much to be independent and looks forward to being active again, at least as far as her circumstances allow. The costs associated with her injuries are quite high. These include medications, medical equipment, medical treatments, rehabilitation, home modifications, and the purchase of a handicap accessible van in the near future. Unfortunately, she cannot afford all these necessary changes. Would you please help? Your consideration is greatly appreciated.

To assist with Christine’s injury-related uninsured expenses, a fundraising campaign has been established with the Catastrophic Injury Program of the National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF). NTAF is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the transplant and catastrophic injury community for 25 years. All contributions are tax-deductible and are administered for injury-related expenses only.

If you wish to make a donation:

Make check payable to:
NTAF Southeast Spinal Cord Injury Fund

Write on check memo line:
In honor of Christine Kent

Mail to:
150 N. Radnor Chester Road, Suite F-120
Radnor, PA 19087

For secure credit card donations:
Call 800-642-8399 or click the “CONTRIBUTE NOW” button.

To email this page directly to others in your community who might wish to learn about this campaign, click the “E-MAIL TO FRIENDS” button and type in as many addresses as you wish.

Thank you for your prayers, support and donations.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sweden Turning Stray Rabbits Into Biofuel

Stray rabbits are getting a raw deal in Sweden. Thousands of them living in the center of Stockholm are being culled, deep frozen and converted into biofuel for heating homes. Wildlife campaigners have criticized the practice.

Der Spiegel

Rabbits face hard times in Stockholm

Jungle Trader

John Mackey on health care, veganism, and free markets

This is an abridged version of an hour-long conversation with Mackey. For that and downloadable versions, go here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chinese soldiers on parade

mini skirts and go-go boots are back!

Lindy Bill

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Four-year old Paige didn't want to say goodbye to her daddy before he was shipped off to Iraq

Four-year-old Paige Bennethum really, really didn't want her daddy to go to Iraq.

So much so, that when Army Reservist Staff Sgt. Brett Bennethum lined up in formation at his deployment this July, she couldn't let go.

No one had the heart to pull her away.

The commanding officer allowed Paige to say goodbye as her dad prepared to ship off from Fort Dix.

Gina Vener

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

8 US KIA overnight

"All over America, the yellow ribbons are fading.
I hate to even have this thought, but our troops are war weary.
Their junior leaders see the political score. Indecisive leadership is abhorred in combat, even if it is emanating from a Washington office suite.

I received info that indicates morale is sliding in some combat units. Some sergeants do not want one of their men to be the last to die for a lost political cause. The moment they get the idea they are merely political pawns, morale will fall like a rock.

An army with lousy morale is a lousy army."


Stephen Moore interviews John Mackey

Mr. Mackey says that combining “our high deductible plan (patients pay for the first $2,500 of medical expenses) with personal wellness accounts or health savings accounts works extremely well for us.” He estimates the plan’s premiums plus other costs at $2,100 per employee, and about $7,000 for a family. This is about half what other companies typically pay. “And,” he is quick to add, “we do cover pre-existing conditions after one year of service.”

Whole Foods also puts several hundred dollars into a health savings account for each worker.This money can be used to cover routine medical expenses, like drug purchases or antismoking programs. If that money is not used in a year, the workers can save the money to pay for expenses in later years.

This type of plan does not excite proponents of a single-payer system, who think that individuals can’t make wise health-care choices, and that this type of system is “antiwellness” because it discourages spending on preventive care.

Mr. Mackey scoffs at that idea: “The assumption behind that is that people don’t care about their own health, and that somebody else has to—a nanny or somebody—has to take care of me because people are too stupid to make these decisions themselves. That’s not been our experience. We find our team members [employees], not surprisingly, seem to care a whole lot about their health.”

more at Fausta's blog

Today is the Feast of Saint Francis

Perhaps the most famous story of St. Francis is when he tamed the wolf that was terrorizing the people of Gubbio. While Francis was staying in that town he learned of a wolf so ravenous that it was not only killing and eating animals, but people, too. The people took up arms and went after it, but those who encountered the wolf perished at its sharp teeth. Villagers became afraid to leave the city walls.

Francis had pity on the people and decided to go out and meet the wolf. He was desperately warned by the people, but he insisted that God would take care of him. A brave friar and several peasants accompanied Francis outside the city gate. But soon the peasants lost heart and said they would go no farther.

Francis and his companion began to walk on. Suddenly the wolf, jaws agape, charged out of the woods at the couple. Francis made the Sign of the Cross toward it. The power of God caused the wolf to slow down and to close its mouth.

Francis called out to the creature: “Come to me, Brother Wolf. In the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt anyone.” At that moment the wolf lowered its head and lay down at St. Francis’ feet, meek as a lamb.

St. Francis explained to the wolf that he had been terrorizing the people, killing not only animals, but humans who are made in the image of God. “Brother Wolf,” said Francis, “I want to make peace between you and the people of Gubbio. They will harm you no more and you must no longer harm them. All past crimes are to be forgiven.”

The wolf showed its assent by moving its body and nodding its head. Then to the absolute surprise of the gathering crowd, Francis asked the wolf to make a pledge. As St. Francis extended his hand to receive the pledge, so the wolf extended its front paw and placed it into the saint’s hand. Then Francis commanded the wolf to follow him into town to make a peace pact with the townspeople. The wolf meekly followed St. Francis.

By the time they got to the town square, everyone was there to witness the miracle. With the wolf at his side, Francis gave the town a sermon on the wondrous and fearful love of God, calling them to repent from all their sins. Then he offered the townspeople peace, on behalf of the wolf. The townspeople promised in a loud voice to feed the wolf. Then Francis asked the wolf if he would live in peace under those terms. He bowed his head and twisted his body in a way that convinced everyone he accepted the pact. Then once again the wolf placed its paw in Francis’ hand as a sign of the pact.

From that day on the people kept the pact they had made. The wolf lived for two years among the townspeople, going from door to door for food. It hurt no one and no one hurt it. Even the dogs did not bark at it. When the wolf finally died of old age, the people of Gubbio were sad. The wolf’s peaceful ways had been a living reminder to them of the wonders, patience, virtues and holiness of St. Francis. It had been a living symbol of the power and providence of the living God.


Thanks to Elena Maria Vidal for the reminder

Stop, thief!

Scribal Terror

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Carrie Rodriguez - Absence

What is it about Austin that keeps on producing great musicians like this?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy birthday Gillian Welch

France Tells Obama To Cowboy Up

Sarkozy reminds Obama that “we live in a real world, not a virtual world“

The American Catholic