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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MusikFest 2012 !!!

Special thanks to (click to visit) for our new logo!

We're at 2 locations for MusikFest
8 shows in 10 days
MusikFest! (And all that Beer!)
For anyone keeping a scorecard, here's the Ginseng Roots musician line up throughout MusikFest.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

MusikFest Signage

Now that I've got the right dates on it:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Penn State Punishment Not Enough

Reading the comments of Penn State students and supporters on line, it occurs to me that the entire university should be shut down. These bozos don't get it. Locally, school teachers and others who work with children are decrying the penalties. To them the loss of football prestige is more important than the lost innocence of children.

That's pathetic and disgusting.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

People Win Over Corbett and Frackers

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Strikes Down Act 13’s Municipal Preemption
Statewide zoning provisions of Act 13 found unconstitutional

                Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – The Commonwealth Court issued its opinion this morning and declared the state-wide zoning provisions in Act 13 unconstitutional, null, void and unenforceable.  The Court also struck down the provision of the law that required DEP to grant waivers to the setback requirements in Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act.
The legal team is still analyzing the decision and will discuss the ruling further after conferencing later today.  
““The Court has recognized that the Pennsylvania legislature and Governor Corbett went too far.  This is a great victory for the people of Pennsylvania, for local democracy, for property rights, for our public health, and for the clean water supplies on which we all depend,” said Jordan Yeager, attorney for plaintiffs Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Nockamixon Township and Yardley Borough.
Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, stated

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Uke Jackson on Huffington Post

Today I blog about Ernest Hemingway on the Huffington Post as part of their Book Club: Please check it out here.

And here's the URL just in case:

And a few days ago I did an on line interview with Jennifer Hirtler for Her First 7500 Word blog. If you're interested you can read that interview here.

And here's the URL just in case:

Uke Jackson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Riverkeeper Fracking Lawsuit Update

Lawsuit charges that an analysis must be completed and environmental impacts understood before drilling moves forward in the Delaware River Basin

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Today, the Hon. Judge Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York heard arguments in a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers and the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) for their failure to comply with federal law by proposing gas drilling regulations without first conducting a full environmental review as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.  The lawsuit was filed on August 3, 2011 by a coalition including the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Hudson Riverkeeper and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.  The coalition is represented by attorneys from each organization and the Columbia Environmental Law Clinic.  

“With 5.4 million visitors annually, the Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area are national treasures that must be protected for our children and grandchildren to enjoy,” said Cinda Waldbuesser, Pennsylvania Senior Program Manager for NPCA.  “The economic benefits of natural gas development must not compromise the long-term benefits of protecting water quality and preserving our national parks, which are already economic generators for local communities.”

"When it comes to natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Watershed, the public has not had equal voice in the debate with the politicians and the drillers,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. “The DRBC and the Army Corps have both rejected their obligation to protect the River and the common good by issuing draft gas rules without the required comprehensive environmental studies.  They have allowed politics and their annual budget to drive the drilling debate within their agencies.  Today, our organizations are rising up in defense of the River and the public good — we are enforcing the law so as to ensure good science, facts and common good are the drivers from here on out.”
“The Delaware River Basin provides more than half of the clean, unfiltered drinking water that over nine million New Yorkers depend on daily,” said Kate Hudson, Hudson Riverkeeper Watershed Program Director. “It is completely unacceptable that DRBC is considering opening this critical resource to drilling without conducting any evaluation of the potential environmental impacts or informing the public of the risks ofthose impacts as the law requires.” Hudson adds.

Covering approximately 48,000 square miles, the geological formation called the Marcellus Shale occurs beneath the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Nearly 36 percent of the Delaware River Watershed is underlain by Marcellus Shale.  Based on industrial and academic estimates that trillions of cubic feet of natural gas are theoretically recoverable from the formation, tens of thousands of natural gas wells are anticipated in the Delaware River Basin alone.  The coalition argued today that the impacts to water quality and quantity, air quality, recreation and the wildlife within and near treasured lands like the Upper Delaware National Scenic andRecreational River and Delaware Water Gap could be severe.  The coalition also argued that as federal agencies, the Army Corps and DRBC must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and analyze and inform the public of the environmental impacts of the proposed gas drilling regulations as part of their decision-making process.  

While scientists have long known about the resources of the Marcellus Shale formation, modern advances in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are granting access to the country’s shale gas reserves faster than ever before, especially in Pennsylvania. Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals into a well, fracturing the shale and releasing the natural gas trapped within. Companies are not required to share information publicly about the chemicals used in this process.  While all harmful impacts of natural gas development have yet to be fully understood, impacts may include:
?       Health concerns for local communities and the environment including water contamination related to drilling and the disposal of drilling fluid;
?       Reductions in stream flow and ground water levels;
?       Air quality degradation; and
?       Impacts to the regions national parks including wildlife, night skies, soundscapes and cultural resources.

The Delaware River is the largest free flowing river east of the Mississippi and its water quality is exceptional, which merits it special protection under DRBC regulations. The DRBC, an agency that includes the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and the Army Corps of Engineers, regulates activities within the Delaware River Basin. The agency has proposed new regulations for natural gas development without first conducting an environmental impact analysis, and neglects to provide sufficient protections for local communities, the environment and nearby national parks.  


About Delaware Riverkeeper Network: Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the defense and restoration of the Delaware RiverWatershed since 1988.  Members live throughout the watershed in New York Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. For additional information, please visit

About the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA):  Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in the fight to safeguard our NationalPark System. With more than 600,000 members and supporters, NPCA is the largest independent membership organization dedicated to protecting our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren. For additional information, please visit

About Hudson Riverkeeper: Riverkeeper is a member-supported watchdog organization whose mission includes safeguarding the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the watershed that provides New York City its drinking water.  Riverkeeper is actively involved in advocacy and public education surrounding the issue of natural gas development in the New York portion of the Delaware River Basin, in particular because of its potential impacts on the watershed and a pristine New York recreational area.   Riverkeeper has been New York’s clean water advocate for over 44 years, and has served as the model and mentor for the growing Waterkeeper movement that includes nearly 200 Keeper programs across the country and around the globe.  For more information on Riverkeeper, please visit

Friday, July 20, 2012

Uke Jackson's Ginseng Roots Band

@Hotel Bethlehem Sat. July 21, Noon 'til 3 pm

Celebrating Bethlehem Garden Club's 

Free Flower Show

New Uke Jackson Books published (story below)

Uke Jackson's Ginseng Roots Band will be pumping out the sounds out front of the Hotel Bethlehem to greet visitors to the Bethlehem Garden Club's annual Flower Show. You can make a day of it by visiting the club's well known Bach Choir Garden and other gardens, as well as have some wonderful food and drink at the Hotel Bethlehem after visiting the exhibit in the Mural Ballroom.

Hotel Bethlehem
437 Main St
Bethlehem PA

This week's line up:
Uke Jackson, Pete Reichlin, Mike Green, Henry Dale, Adam Niewood. Johnny Peppers will be with us for the first set (at least)

3 (well, 2.5) new Uke Jackson paperback books:

Beach Tales -- a dozen short stories from my days writing from the Miami Herald Sunday magazine -- and Lord Byron's Coda (A Monologue on Censorship & Sensuality for a Young Thespian) are now both available in paperback for $9.99. Also the Revised First Edition of The Moon of Innocence is now out. Anyone possessing the earlier version will have something valuable if the book ever catches on. And since some good reviews are starting to appear on various publishing and book sites, I'm feeling confident.

 Click here to open Uke Jackson's listing of titles on Amazon.

As always, thanks for supporting our music and my efforts as a writer.

Come on out and see us!

Thank you!

Uke Jackson

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Worst Farm Bill Ever -- Organic Bytes 7/19/2012

Monsanto Nation: The Worst Farm Bill in History

Tell Congress to fix this horrible Farm Bill! Take Action!
Last week, the House Agriculture Committee rolled out its version of the Farm Bill (H.R.6083). We told you about Monsanto's latest line of attack on the few laws that actually protect "a farmer's choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer's choice to eat non-genetically engineered food."

If you haven't already taken action to stop Monsanto's sneak attack, both in the House Farm Bill and the Monsanto Rider in the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, click here.
Monsanto's attacks on the law's ability to protect farmers and consumers from unwanted, dangerous GMO contamination may be the boldest example of its power over Congress. But there's a lot more in the House Farm Bill that benefits biotechnology and Big Ag at the expense of family farmers and organic and sustainable food and agriculture. The House Farm Bill includes:
  • $16.1 billion in cuts to food assistance
  • Eliminates the Organic Certification Cost Share Program
  • Tens of billions in corporate welfare for the largest commodity crop growers, insurance companies, and agribusinesses
  • $6 billion in cuts to programs to protect natural resources, invest in beginning and disadvantaged farmers, revitalize local food economies, and promote health and food security
  • Unlimited subsidies to mega-farms that continue to drive small family farmers out of business
  • Incentives for growers to drop conservation practices, plow up marginal areas and intensify fencerow-to-fencerow cultivation of environmentally sensitive land
  • Nearly eight times more support for corn, soy, cotton, rice and wheat than for healthy fruits, nuts and vegetables
  • Guts the common-sense rules that protect water quality and wildlife from agricultural pesticides
  • Undermines progress made at the state level for animal rights
  • Ends fair competition and contract protections for livestock producers
Tell Congress to fix this horrible Farm Bill!
Take Action

RT America Features the Monsanto Rider

The United States is experiencing its worst drought since the 1950's, but that's not the only thing affecting your food supply these days - a new bill aimed at helping one company in particular is changing the American food chain for the worse. Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association joins RT's Liz Wahl for more.



Why Americans Want Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods
by Ronnie Cummins

“Why do the overwhelming majority of Americans want labeling on foods gene-spliced with bacteria, viruses, antibiotic-resistant marker genes and foreign DNA? Because millions of us don’t believe they’re safe. Americans want labels because the FDA acknowledges that they conduct no safety studies of GMOs before allowing them on the market, but rather rely on the word of biotech companies that these foods are safe. Americans want labels because GMO health disasters, emergencies or near disasters have already occurred. Americans want labels on foods with GMOs so we can avoid buying them. More than 100 peer-reviewed studies have shown that GMOs damage the vital organs, immune systems and reproductive functions of animals. Polls indicate that 40 percent of U.S. consumers believe that GMO foods are dangerous. Another 40 percent are unsure. No wonder millions of consumers have switched to organic foods, the only foods in the marketplace guaranteed to be GMO-free...”

Read More

Support the OCA and OCF

Don’t Just Imagine It… Invest in It!

"Imagine a world where organic farming is the leading form of agriculture. A world where everyone-from all income levels and geographic locations-has access to food grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers that have been linked to myriad diseases and disorders. A world where instead of just a few agribusinesses getting rich off selling chemicals and chemically grown food, farmers thrive economically while they also help improve the health of our fragile ecosystem. Where the need for millions of pounds of toxins is eliminated keeping them from entering our water, air and soil. A world where agriculture and nature exist in harmony providing healthier food for everyone.”Organic Processing Magazine

We posted a great article from Organic Processing Magazine on the OCA site this week: "The Many Benefits of Organic Farming for Health and Prosperity." The article outlined the many ways in which organic farming is good for the earth, our health, and our future prosperity.

We believe organic agriculture is the future. With your help, we work for a healthier, more prosperous future every day.

Our work depends on people like you, who share our vision. Please invest with us in a healthier, sustainable future by making a donation today. Thank you!
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in California and other states)

Vote for Monsanto!

If there were a Corporate Hall of Shame, would Monsanto belong in it? Of course they would.
Thankfully, there IS a Hall of Shame for abusive corporations, and now we can help make sure Monsanto is inducted.
Corporate Accountability International, a membership organization that protects people through campaigns that challenge abusive corporations, is opening up voting to the public for their popular Corporate Hall of Shame.
The Hall of Shame exposes some of the most abusive, manipulative and harmful corporations — and this year Monsanto is one of eight possible inductees.
Voting is open now, so click here to vote to make sure Monsanto gets inducted.
Corporate Accountability International will announce the three new inductees this fall, and having Monsanto included will add pressure to our own campaign work.
Thanks for voting.

Kickstarter Film Project of the Week: Toxic Profits

Imagine discovering a product that you've been using is causing serious damage to your health and the environment. But instead of safely disposing of that toxic product, you decide to go next door and sell it to your neighbor. Hard to imagine, right?
Unfortunately this scenario is not fictional. In the United States, once a pesticide is pulled off the market because it is shown have dangerous effects on peoples' health and the environment, we allow corporations to continue manufacturing and exporting that pesticide to other countries - even just a few feet across our borders.
If successfully funded, Toxic Profits will be a feature-length film documenting the lives of those most affected by this policy - those living in the Global South who are applying these banned and unregistered pesticides and suffering serious health effects as a result.
Watch the Trailer

Stop the Michigan Threat Against Heritage Breeds

On April 1, 2012, an Invasive Species Order (ISO) issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) went into effect; the ISO prohibits the possession of certain swine. Violating the ISO is a felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a $20,000 fine per violation for harboring an invasive species. The ISO infringes upon private property rights, deprives small farmers of their livelihood in breeding heritage swine, and denies consumers the freedom of food choice while increasing marketshare for CAFO hog operations.
This is a national concern.
DNR has defined “invasive species swine” as any pig exhibiting certain characteristics, many of which describe just about any heritage breed of swine. Even more troubling, the DNR characteristics are often displayed in swine that are raised outside, not in confinement. DNR is not only seeking court orders to depopulate two heritage breed operations but is even going after pet pig owners. The ISO not only threatens heritage breed hog farmers in Michigan but sets a very dangerous precedent across the U.S. for those choosing not to raise animals in confinement. Other states are looking at implementing similar orders if the Michigan DNR succeeds.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has the power to tell DNR to rescind the ISO. The strategy of the governor and DNR looks to be waiting out the opposition to the ISO, hoping the issue will quietly go away. To help ensure that does not happen, use the online fax petition to ask Governor Snyder to “Rescind DNR’s Swine ISO."

Little Bytes

Top Stories of the Week

Stand-Off Looms Over U.S. Plans to Cut GMO Crop Oversight
L.A. Braces for Hellish Heat Waves While World Leaders Diddle
The Many Benefits of Organic Farming for Health and Prosperity
Only Two Countries Permit Direct to Consumer Drug (DTC) Ads - the US is One of Them
Six Reasons We Can't Change the Future Without Progressive Religion

Riverkeeper Lawsuit Update

For Immediate Release                                                                
July 19, 2012
Pennsylvania Municipality Support for Legal Challenge to Act 13 Growing
Sixty Seven Municipalities Go on Record Opposing Municipal Preemption

                Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – As the reality of Pennsylvania’s Act 13 sets in at the local level in Pennsylvania, there is a groundswell of disapproval.  In customarily deliberate and carefully considered fashion, municipalities throughout the state are publicly adopting resolutions and sending letters in support of the legal challenge to Act 13, the municipal takeover law that was adopted by the Pennsylvania Legislature and enacted by Governor Corbett’s signature in February 2012.  Act 13 removes municipal zoning of oil and gas operations, weakens environmental protections under the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, limits physicians’ rights to disclose gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) chemicals that their patients may be exposed to, and establishes an impact fee on natural gas.
                To date, at least sixty seven local governing bodies are known to have either adopted a resolution or voted to send a letter in support of the lawsuit that aims to overturn the law based on its unconstitutionality.  The opposition to Act 13 spreads out geographically and includes Marcellus shale regions as well as areas where no drilling is occurring.  Since Act 13 guts municipal rights over all types of natural gas operations – such as drilled gas wells, frack pits, gas pipelines, and natural gas processing facilities -- the law has a long reach that pulls in every community, no matter where it is located.  Gas wells, frack pits and other gas and oil-related industrial pollution sources are now pushed into residential districts and right up against day care centers, schools, and shopping districts and municipalities are not allowed to keep them away. 
Resolutions/Letters of Support have been adopted by:
Allegheny County
Allegheny County Council
Ben Avon Borough
Forest Hills
Greentree Borough
Jefferson Hills Borough
Mount Lebanon Borough
City of Pittsburgh
Scott Township
South Fayette Township (Party to lawsuit)
West Deer Township
Whitehall Borough
Wilkins Township
Wilkinsburg Borough
Allegheny County Council
Beaver County
Hanover Township
South Heights Borough
Berks County
Alsace Township
Kutztown Borough
Lower Alsace Township
Maidencreek Township
Mount Penn Borough
City of Reading
West Reading Borough
Bucks County
Bridgeton Township
Chalfont Borough
Doylestown Borough
Doylestown Township
Falls Township
Morrisville Borough
Nockamixon Township (Party to lawsuit)
Penndel Borough
Riegelsville Borough
Tinicum Township
Tullytown Borough
Yardley Borough (Party to lawsuit)
Butler County
Buffalo Township
Butler Township
Harmony Borough
Middlesex Township
Chester County
City of Coatesville
Newlin Township
Delaware County
Radnor Township
Yeadon Borough
Fayette County
City of Connellsville
Fayette County Council
Greene County
Gray Township
Lackawanna County
Lackawanna Association of Boroughs
Luzerne County
Black Creek Township
Dallas Township
Luzerne County Council
Sugarloaf Township
Mercer County
Springfield Township
Montgomery County
East Greenville Borough
Upper Moreland Township
Northampton County
City of Bethlehem
Washington County
Cecil Township
East Finley Township
Mount Pleasant Township
Peters Township
Robinson Township
South Strabane Township
Washington Township
Westmoreland County
Ligonier Township
Upper Burrell Township
In addition, a member of the Westmoreland County Council and the West Jefferson School Director in Allegheny County submitted letters of support. 
                Seven municipalities and Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a legal pleading in Commonwealth Court challenging Act 13.  The municipalities are: Township of Robinson, Washington County; Township of Nockamixon, Bucks County; Township of South Fayette, Allegheny County; Peters Township, Washington County; Township of Cecil, Washington County; Mount Pleasant Township, Washington County; and the Borough of Yardley Bucks County. 
Act 13 amends the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, preempting municipal zoning of oil and gas development.  It also establishes an impact fee on natural gas.  The plaintiffs are challenging the new law on the grounds it violates the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions and endangers public health, natural resources, communities and the environment.  “The Petition for Review in the Nature of a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief” was filed March 29 in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg. To read the filing:
“Act 13 is an unpopular law, and that fact is becoming more known now that so many municipalities are joining in to support the legal challenge.  Zoning is the backbone of municipal government and without it, municipalities are disenfranchised,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.  “These 67 governing bodies are saying loud and clear ‘Don’t take away our local rights to protect our residents’.  We fully expect the wave of dissent to grow over the coming weeks as the case moves through the courts.  Even the now-infamous ‘South Newark Basin’ in Bucks and Montgomery Counties is not exempt from Act 13, despite some politicians’ attempts to make it seem so,” said Carluccio.
Jordan Yeager Esq. of Curtin & Heefner, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said, “Communities from all across Pennsylvania are joining together and speaking out. They are speaking out to protect their residents, their businesses, their water supplies, their public health, and their local democratic rights. Together, they are sending the message that Act 13 must not stand.” 
“We have received many formal Resolutions of municipal support of our legal challenge to Act 13, and many more informal expressions of support,” said Deron Gabriel, South Fayette Twp. Board of Commissioners, Allegheny Co., PA. “In fact, every local elected official I have spoken with has been generally supportive of our position of keeping our local zoning powers in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our residents including the two largest governing bodies in Allegheny County - Allegheny County Council and Pittsburgh City Council. There just isn’t any support for Act 13 at the local and regional level,” concluded Gabriel.
The case was argued in Commonwealth Court on June 6 and the Court is expected to rule in the near future.  In April, Senior Judge Keith Quigley issued a preliminary injunction against a portion of Act 13 in response to the plaintiffs’ request, ensuring that zoning ordinances dealing with oil and gas operations remain in effect and are not immediately pre-empted, providing  an additional 120 days for municipalities to consider their existing ordinances. 
                For information on how local governing bodies can express support for the challenge to Act 13:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great Review

The First 7500 words is an interesting blog. I recently submitted The Moon of Innocence for review.

Jennifer Hirtler, the owner of the blog, reads 7500 words of a novel and then rates it based on those 7500 words. It's an interesting concept. 

Anyway, she LOVED The Moon of Innocence: Click here to read it, please.

Here's the URL, just in case:

Thank you, Jennifer!
Uke Jackson

Monday, July 16, 2012

Penn State football

Penn State Football should be shut down for 14 years. It won't happen, of course, because there is no justice in America when it comes to sports. Tom Corbett, current governor of Pennsylvania, will never be prosecuted for his role in the Sandusky cover up. Joe Paterno died his way out.

Why fourteen years? Because that's the amount of time we know for sure that Joe Paterno and his bosses decided that Penn State football was more important than the lives and innocence of young children. Penn State, at the same time, with Coach Paterno, held up the university's athletic program as one of the most upright, moral programs in the country. That was a lie. While the athletes may have been held to a high standard, the coaches and their bosses allowed degeneracy and the worst sort of perversion to flourish in the shower room.

As a Pennsylvania taxpayer, I am appalled that any public money is going to this university as long as the football program is allowed to function without any repercussions for the cover up.

It's up to the NCAA to step in and shut down the program. As to the silly argument that it will punish the athletes  -- athletes will stop going to Penn State for football during the time the program is shut down. Why would any decent young person want to be part of such a tainted operation?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just a Couple Ukulele Heroes Playing for Peace

News from Ukuleles for Peace and Paul Moore in Israel.

Meanwhile, here in the USA -- music programs in schools are being cut while sports programs thrive. 

Gigs R Us



Uke Jackson's Ginseng Roots Band

@ The Bookstore Speakeasy

Saturday July 14, 9 p-m - 1 am

Great 1920s theme nightclub! Outstanding menu!

336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA

Line up: Uke Jackson, Johnny Peppers, Scott Ricketts, Rocco Patierno

Mark Your Calendar:

Saturday, July 21, Hotel Bethlehem, Noon – 3 pm

Friday August 3, Bookstore Speakeasy, 9 pm – 1 am
Saturday August 4, Hotel Bethlehem 4 pm – 7 pm
Sunday, August 5, Hotel Bethlehem 4 pm – 7 pm
August  9, 10, 11, 12 Hotel Bethlehem 4 pm – 7 pm
Saturday August 11 (double), Bookstore Speakeasy, 9 pm – 1 am

Friday August 31, Hunters Lodge, Columbia NJ 9 pm – Midnight

New Year’s Eve – Hotel Bethlehem, 10 pm – 1 am
Mardi Gras – Hotel Bethlehem, 6 pm – 9 pm

Special Note: This Friday night, July 13, Uke Jackson will be sitting in with JJ Barron, a talented young singer songwriter who is up north from Nashville this summer. They will be at the Hunter's Lodge on Route 46 just outside Columbia, NJ. Should be fun. In addtion to his own music, JJ Barron seems to know every song recorded by The Band, Van Morrison, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and many more. He and I will be jamming on some old traditional Appalachian tunes -- a fun change for me.

Looking forward to seeing you this summer!

Uke Jackson

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Organic Bytes -- July 12, 2012

New Monsanto Rider in the House Farm Bill

Monsanto has launched a series of sneak attacks on organic and non-GMO farmers and consumers. They began by attaching a rider to the U.S. House of Representatives' 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would allow new genetically engineered crops to be planted even when courts rule that the US Department of Agriculture has approved them illegally. This would result in, as one federal judge described it, "the potential elimination of a farmer's choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer's choice to eat non-genetically engineered food."
Rep. Peter DeFazio is going to try to remove the appropriations rider through an amendment, with a vote expected the week of July 23rd.
Now, Monsanto has slipped a similar provision into the House version of the Farm Bill.
In addition to eliminating judicial review, this even more dangerous provision would also stop the EPA from regulating new and expanded uses of pesticides (often caused by the introduction of new herbicide-resistant GMO crops) and require the USDA to make the approval of new genetically engineered crops easier and faster.
Please contact your Member of Congress today to get this free pass for Monsanto out of the House Farm Bill.
Take Action

Support the OCA & OCF

A Bright Future in Fundraising and Education?

"Many people say that it's impossible to eliminate GMOs, because of the powerful companies behind them. But I say, that even though it will not be easy to eliminate GMOs, it can be done - if enough effort and courage is put into this issue.” – AJ Adkins, Bar Mitzvah speech, June 16, 2012
When AJ Adkins stood up to give his Bar Mitzvah speech last month, he did a brilliant job of weaving today’s critical issue of the dangers of GMO food into his speech, tying the issue to a passage from the Torah.
But AJ didn’t stop at using the opportunity to educate his audience – he went on to show, by example, how everyone can help. He donated a portion of the money he received to the Organic Consumers Association – money we will put toward our continued GMO education efforts.
According to AJ’s mother, most of the 200 people who heard AJ’s speech knew little or nothing about GMOs – and they thanked AJ for explaining the issue. AJ also distributed GMO shopping guides and pamphlets on the health hazards of GMOs.
From all of us at the OCA, a big ‘thank you’ to AJ for his creativity and generosity! You can make his donation go further, by following his example. Please consider a contribution today!
Read the Speech Here
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in California and other states)

Boycott Scotts and Monsanto: Get GMOs & Pesticides Off Your Lawn!

Please boycott the following lawn and garden brands: Scotts Miracle-Gro®, Scotts Osmocote®, Scotts Ortho®, Scotts Weed-B-Gon® as well as Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp®
Do you want children and pets to roll around in pesticides while enjoying the outdoors this summer? Each year, American homeowners use approximately 70 million pounds of pesticides to maintain their lawns and gardens. Yet as the use of these chemicals continues to increase, researchers keep uncovering links between pesticide exposure and serious human health problems, including several types of cancer, neurological and reproductive disorders, and birth defects.
Among the products to watch out for is Scotts new GMO lawn grass. This leading home and garden product is genetically engineered to withstand Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp - intended to kill garden weeds. The growing popularity of Scotts grass means more pesticide use in neighborhoods, parks, schoolyards and golf courses - ultimately increasing your exposure to harmful toxins.
Join the Boycott

SOS: The New York Times on Organic Standards

Although organic foods, body care products, and clothing are obviously far superior to chemical and GMO brands and varieties, it takes constant vigilance on the part of organic consumers and farmers to maintain strict organic standards and to punish companies in the marketplace who violate organic integrity. The National Organic Standards Board, the civilian review board over organic standards, meets every six months, and every time they meet, it seems they approve another petition from industry (often over the objections of the OCA, the Consumers Union and the Cornucopia Institute) to add a new synthetic to the national list of non-organic ingredients allowed in USDA certified products.
This in-depth New York Times article examines the NOSB process and how the largest food companies have gained an upper hand.
When it comes to food or other products purchased at the grocery store, there's no better alternative to USDA Organic, but we must step up the pressure to prevent “corporate organics” from degrading organic standards.
Read More & Take Action

Right to Know Bloggers Needed!

Are you passionate about labeling genetically engineered foods? Join the official California Right To Know blogger team. Start sharing your voice on labeling GMOs with a team of bloggers lead by California Right To Know with great activities planned to get your message out, such as Twitter parties, blogging carnivals, prizes and much more!
Sign Up Here

Little Bytes

Top Stories of the Week

The Mosquito Solution: Can Genetic Modification Eliminate a Deadly Tropical Disease?
Hope Is For The Lazy: The Challenge Of Our Dead World
Nanotechnology: Great Economic Potential but Serious Risks?
We're Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures - Imagine What'll Happen if We Fail to Stop 10F Warming
European Commission to Drop GMO Zero Tolerance Policy

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Sweet Story in River City

So, Sunday was Heritage Day in River City (aka Easton, PA). Heritage Day celebrates the public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776 in Easton's Center Square.

My Ginseng Roots Band played the closing set for the crowd in Center Square. We play New Orleans jazz & blues and Tin Pan Alley tunes from the 1920s & 1930s, all with a novelty twist. Some of America's top trad jazz musicians circulate in and out of the line up, and on Sunday we were lucky to have the great Randy Reinhart with us on cornet.

Anyway, it was hot. It was boiling hot. I brought a cooler with eight or ten water bottles with those plastic frozen blocks that sit on the bottom and keep things cool.

So, about halfway through the show, I needed another bottle of water. When I front the band, as anyone will tell you has heard us play live, I leave it all on the stage. I'm often drenched in sweat when coming off stage.

All of which means I was dehydrated on Sunday when the cooler turned up empty. Not sure what happened or who helped themselves -- maybe the act that was on before us? Doesn't matter.

I had a small amount of hot water warmed by the day, left in a bottle. I drank that and finished the show, and I was totally out of it and still no water.

So, the roadie and I loaded up the van. I paid off all the band members, counted the money from CD sales (great that day!), and then went off to find something to drink and to get the paycheck for the gig.

I was staggering from heat and dehydration. Finally, I got a bottle of cold zero water which helped. I staggered, more or less, down to the river and found the guy with the checks.

Then I ran into my wife and daughter. We ducked into a Thai place where a small bowl of silver noodle soup helped revive me. The girls were off to some mall before closing time.

I stopped at a cash machine and deposited the check. Then I arrived back at the van to discover that I'd left the back hatch wide open. All the equipment had been exposed to passersby for more than an hour. My silver ukulele sat right at the edge of the opening.

Guess what? Everything was still there. Not a thing was missing. Easton often gets a bad rap as a rough, tough town. Some of that might be because of Larry "The Easton Assassin" Holmes -- still the city's greatest booster -- and some of it due to the economic tough times in the Rust Bust Belt.

Whatever the case may be, Easton's a great town and deserves a much better reputation than it has. I lived there through much of the 1990s. It was a safe, pleasant place then and it's even better now.

During the gig, at one point, I called out to the crowd, "We love Easton."

And a young black guy standing near the band shell shouted back, "And Easton loves you."

I guess they do. Thank you, Easton, PA!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Heritage Day with Uke Jackson July 8

Uke Jackson's Ginseng Roots Band

@ Heritage Day, Sunday July 8, 3 PM to 4:30 PM
South Third Street Stage
(one half block off Center Square)
Easton, PA

New EP Live CD Available @ The Gig

Come on out and hear and see our six-piece ensemble at a great community event.

Heritage Day in Easton has a full schedule that can be seen here.

We will be the last musical act of the afternoon. But most of the tribe will be hanging out until dark for the fireworks over the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers.

Ginseng Roots Band for Heritage Day will consist of:
Randy Reinhart, cornet
Rocco Patierno, trombone
Dan Nosheny, tuba
Louis the Gypsy Marchesani, rhythm guitar and banjo
Johnny Peppers, saxophones
Uke Jackson, silver ukulele, vocals, plastic trombone, Grand Contraption

Saloon Sampler

Our first CD -- 4 tracks with a total of 22 minutes of music recorded live -- will be available at the gig, for $5 as our Heritage Day CD Release Special. We expect that the CDs will only be avbailable for sale at gigs. So, come on out and see us!

Uke Jackson

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Organic Bytes -- July 5

Stop Monsanto's Sneak Attack!

As we reported last week, a controversial rider has been attached to the U.S. House of Representative's 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would make it impossible for organic and non-GMO consumers and farmers to fight Monsanto in court (as we did on GMO alfalfa and sugar beets) when the US Department of Agriculture illegally approves new genetically engineered crops that could, as the courts have ruled, eliminate "a farmer's choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer's choice to eat non-genetically engineered food."
The vote we expected last week has been delayed until after the July 4th recess. Already, more than 15,000 of you have taken action, along with over 50,000 of our allies in other organizations. Please join together as we raise our voices loud and clear.

There's still time to stop Monsanto's sneak attack!
Take Action via Email
Call Your Member of Congress

Who's Monsanto's Best Friend in Congress?

Tom Philpott reported this week in Mother Jones that Jack Kingston (R-GA) is the Congressman responsible for inserting this "pro-industry provision that that has nothing to do with agriculture appropriations."
Kingston had already established himself as a friend of the industry. In April, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include ag-biotech giants Monsanto and DuPont, named him its "legislator of the year for 2011-2012." BIO declared Kingston a "champion of America's biotechnology industry" who has "helped to protect funding for programs essential to the survival of biotechnology companies across the United States."
Are there any Members of Congress tough enough to stand up to Monsanto?
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) will sponsor an amendment to the ag appropriations bill that would nullify Kingston's Monsanto-friendly provision.
Ask your Member of Congress to support the DeFazio amendment!
Take Action via Email
Call Your Member of Congress

Support OCA and OCF

Worth Fighting For? Your Donation Keeps the Fight Alive

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." - Ansel Adams
The photographer Ansel Adams had a keen eye for nature’s beauty – and a keen sense of how our government was allowing its slow destruction.
It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. But we do. These past few weeks the OCA has been educating and mobilizing our members – and anyone else who will listen – on the many threats to our environment that are contained in the latest Farm Bill and, now, the agricultural appropriations bill, which contains an amendment that has been renamed the “Monsanto Protection Act.”
Our staff has worked relentlessly to create and circulate action alerts and petitions, spread the word on our social media networks, and provide the most up-to-date information on our website.
We believe the environment is worth fighting for. But we need your help to do this important work. Please donate today to continue funding the fight for the environment. Thank you!
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in California and other states)

Health Care Decision a Death Blow to Single-Payer

Last week, news broke on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act just as we were sending out our newsletter. We decided to wait on some commentary from OCA allies. Author Raj Patel's take on the decision pretty much sums it up:
“Now that the insurance industry knows it'll have a multi-billion-dollar market of mandatory customers, the industry won't have to spend all that money to buy a different political decision, and it never has to worry about single-payer health care again. And that's the tragedy of the debate around the health-care plan. In all the noise around this ruling, we can't hear the voices demanding a cheaper, better system that dispenses with insurance corporations. The U.S. already spends more per capita than any other country for worse care. The ruling entrenches a bad system. The media circus drowns out discussion of a better one.”
OCA’s ally, the Alliance for Natural Health, has written an excellent overview of what the decision means for integrative medicine.
Another OCA ally, Mike Adams, of Natural News, weighs in here.

Get Antibiotic Residues Out of the U.S Food Supply!

When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new guidelines in April on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, they had the opportunity to take long overdue steps to end the overuse of these drugs in the feed and water of animals that are not sick. Unfortunately, they missed that opportunity. The FDA guidance speaks of “judicious use,” yet does not restrict the everyday use of antibiotics to prevent — not treat — animal disease, a common practice employed by CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) to compensate for overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. And although the FDA has spoken out against the sale of antibiotics for growth promotion, the approach they laid out to end this practice is completely voluntary and lacking in transparency. The use of antibiotics are banned in organic agriculture, which is one of the reasons why millions of Americans are shunning factory farmed meat, eggs, and dairy products and turning to organic products instead.
The good news is that it’s not too late for the FDA to try again. The FDA is accepting public comments on these guidelines until July 12th, and we plan to send them thousands of letters from OCA members. Join us in urging Dr. Hamburg, the FDA Commissioner, to get dangerous antibiotic residues out of the U.S. food supply.
Together, we’ll let the FDA know that we expect better from them.
Take Action

Democracy at Risk in Washington State

Could Spell Disaster for Local Ballot Initiatives
From Paul Cienfuegos:
As many of you already know, there is a movement growing across this country of municipalities and counties exploring more effective ways to protect themselves from unwanted corporate harms, and to roll back corporate constitutional so-called "rights" at the local level. About 150 communities in seven states have already passed such laws.
Over the past five months, residents of Bellingham, WA, have gathered almost 10,000 signatures to successfully place on the ballot this November a legally-binding initiative that would ban coal trains from passing through their city. Unlike the conventional regulatory and zoning laws which municipalities try to pass, and which are always struck down as violating corporate "rights", this new rights-based approach is much more complicated to challenge, and is therefore a much greater threat to those in government and corporations who want to maintain the status quo situation where We The People are powerless to defend our communities.
Last week, the quite liberal city council of Bellingham voted unanimously to file a lawsuit to legally challenge the right of Bellingham residents to even get an opportunity to vote on this initiative in November.
Organizers of the Coal Free Bellingham campaign are outraged that their own City Council would have the gall to pre-empt local residents from exercising their right to govern themselves at the local level. They are calling on people throughout the country to stand up for the right of Bellingham voters, and asking YOU to contact the Bellingham City Council ASAP and tell them to let the voters have their say.
Take Action

Video of the Week

Stop Monsanto from Poisoning Hawai'i

In a recent Organic Bytes, we shared a 43 minute film from Hawaii GMO Justice on “evicting Monsanto”. Now you can watch and share a 2 1/2 minute trailer for the film.

Little Bytes

Top Stories of the Week

Climate Change Is Already Shrinking Crop Yields
Congresswoman Pingree Gives TED Talk on Local Food Policy
Raw Deal: Maine Residents' Fight for Unregulated Food Draws Crackdown
Brave Minnesota Mother Risks Going to Prison for Continuing to Facilitate Raw Milk Distribution

Monday, July 2, 2012


Uke Jackson singing through a megaphone and playing his silver ukulele next to the Grand Contraption: hanging out in front of the Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem, PA: Louis the Gypsy, Adam Niewood, Johnny Peppers, Uke Jackson. And last, but certainly not least, two of our lovely fans from this past Saturday night @ the Bookstore Speakeasy.

Come see us in Center Square, Easton, PA this Sunday July 8 for Heritage Day!