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Friday, August 31, 2012

Hunters Lodge tonight! -- Old School NJ roadhouse

Uke Jackson -- reso ukulele, the Grand Contraption, vocals
Johnny Peppers -- saxophones
Adrian Moring -- bass fiddle

With special guest: Dr. 5's on guitar

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fat Cat Corbett Goes Paddle Dancing

Christine Todd Whitman used to go paddle dancing on the Delaware for the cameras. Even though she was terrible for the NJ environment, the fascist main stream media used to cover these photo ops like flies on you know what. It led to Whitman being named head of the EPA under Bush; which led to Whitman lying about the toxicity of the air around the World Trade Center clean up site. Now hundreds if not thousands of firefighters and clean up workers are sick, dying or dead from the poison in the air there.

So, now PA fat cat governor Tom Corbett is taking his cue from Whitman. He's going out on the river in a kayak. I'm surprised there's one that can handle him, with his weight. But there you go. Corbett wants to destroy the Delaware River valley on behalf of his out of state fracking energy cronies.

That's my take anyway.

Now, from the Delaware Riverkeeper:

Citizens Challenge Corbett’s Ride on the River
               Narrowsburg, NY – Residents from around the region, including Pennsylvania and New York, greeted Governor Corbett’s planned trip down the Delaware River with signs, boats, and a strong message against opening the Delaware River watershed to gas drilling. 
                “How dare Governor Corbett attempt to use the Delaware River for his political photo op.  His political maneuvering focused on opening up this River and region to shale gas development and fracking would devastate the quality of our air, water, environment, and even food grown in the watershed.  He has no right to seek political gain from this beautiful River that he has worked so hard to decimate with his bad policies and politicking,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
                “The Delaware River community will not stand by quietly and let our River be harmed by fracking, drilling, dredging, deforestation or shale development,” added Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.  “Once again the citizens of this region are standing together in defense of the River that sustains us.”
                “The Delaware River is the source of drinking water for over 15 million, including residents of Easton and Philadelphia; it generates tens of billions in jobs and economic value for the region; it waters the food we eat; it supports the fishing, swimming, boating and birding that are emblematic of the region and which makes this River a world-renowned vacation spot.  We are here to tell Corbett that this River is not his, it is ours, and we will protect it with our lives,” added van Rossum.
                Governor Corbett began his day in the Wild & Scenic Upper Delaware River, in Narrowsburg. Canoers, kayakers, anglers and spectators lined the banks and waters of the River to deliver the message:  “Don’t Drill the Delaware,” which was among the many signs displayed.
                Some of the documented facts included in a report titled River Values-The Value of a Clean and Healthy Delaware River released by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in April 2010, as well as other reports about the economic values of a healthy Delaware River include:
ü    In just one year the Upper Delaware and Delaware Water Gap brought to our local communities 367,400 whitewater paddlers, who spent over $20 million (20,229,000), contributed almost $10 million (9,895,000) to our local economies, and supported 447 jobs. 
ü    Trout fishing in the Upper Delaware River resulted in one year in $17.69 million in local business revenue.  This revenue supporting 348 jobs, providing $3.65 million in wages and $719,350 in local taxes.  This investment translates into an ongoing $29.98 million in local economic activities.
ü    River festivals generate as many as 75,000 visitors to small riverside towns, giving an important boost to local businesses.
ü    Clean and healthy waterways like the Delaware River enhance the value of our national lands by $3.7 billion nationwide.
ü    The Delaware River supports 44,941 jobs and $1.5 billion in wages from fishing, hunting and bird watching in the watershed.
ü    The Delaware River supports 4,226 jobs associated with paddling-based recreation.
ü    The Delaware River watershed and its scenic views support over $87 million a year associated with skiing.
ü    The Delaware River provides healthy drinking water to over 15 million people in the Watershed and beyond.  If the waters feeding New York City’s Delaware River water supply were to become contaminated from fracking, drilling or associated shale gas development it would cost New York City $10 to $20 billion to treat that water for drinking.
ü    The healthy forests of the Delaware River Basin protect communities from flooding and save them the high cost of associated stormwater infrastructure – 4 communities in the basin were saved $6 ½ billion in stormwater infrastructure because of watershed forests and trees.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Big Moolah Biotech Attacks

The Biotech Goliath Roars: Monsanto’s Gang Dumps $25 Million into NO on 37 Campaign to Label GMOs

Yesterday it was revealed that the biotech industry and Big Ag have already dumped $25 million - $4.2 million from chemical and seed giant Monsanto alone - into the campaign to defeat Proposition 37 in California, the November 6 citizens ballot initiative that will require genetically engineered foods to be labeled and put an end to the deceptive industry practice of marketing GMO-tainted foods as “natural” or “all natural.”

The California Secretary of State just released the latest Who’s Who of donors to the NO on 37 and YES on 37 campaigns. Topping the list of donors to the NO on 37 anti-labeling campaign is Monsanto and the rest of the Biotech agri-toxics gang, aided and abetted by processed food manufacturers and supermarket chains. As of Aug. 15, they’ve raised more than $25 million to keep you from knowing what’s in your food. And of course the November 6 election is still more than two months away. On our side, YES on 37, we’ve raised $2.7 million with several million more in pledges.

Who are the top donors on our side, calling for truthful labels on GMOs? The top two donors are, the nation’s largest network of natural health consumers, and the Organic Consumers Fund (OCF), the allied grassroots lobbying arm of the Organic Consumers Association. has already donated $800,000 to the cause, while the OCF has donated approximately $700,000 so far, almost all of which has come in the form of small donations from organic food consumers. Other large donors to the YES on 37 campaign so far include Nature’s Path, Dr. Bronner’s, Lundberg Family Farms, Eden Foods, and Organic Valley, leading brands in the organic industry.

It’s clear that the NO on 37 folks have a lot at stake – namely, grotesque profits. After Monsanto, the top donor is DuPont Pioneer, at more than $2.4 million. Pepsi/Frito Lay has moved into the no. 3 spot, at more than $1.7 million. In all, nine companies have pitched in more than $1 million each – most of them biotech and pesticide companies, along with Pepsi, Nestle and Coca-Cola.

Total number of major donors so far to the NO on Prop 37 campaign? 45 – all with ties to the biotech, pesticide and Big Food industries. Total number of major donors to the YES campaign? 18 – none with ties to biotech, pesticides or Big Food.

Goliath has indeed roared, but the food fight of our lives has just begun. Goliath has more money, but David, our champion on the battlefield, has truth and grassroots power backing him up. How much more will the Biotech Bullies and Big Ag spend to keep voters in the dark about chemical and energy intensive GMO food? Please stay tuned from now until Nov. 6. We’ll keep you informed and motivated to join OCA, OCF, and our allies in this historic battle that will determine the future of food and farming, not only in North America, but across the world.
See the chart here

What Does $25 Million Buy? Support for the OCA and the OCF!

Twenty-five million dollars. That’s how much opponents of California’s Prop 37, have raised so far. Monsanto alone has kicked in $4.2 million. It’s a sign of just how desperate these companies are to defeat mandatory GMO labeling laws – and how grotesquely profitable it is for them to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food.
What will they buy with that money? Big, fancy TV ads to try to scare voters into thinking that a little label on their food is a dangerous thing?
We don’t need to beat Big Biotech and Big Food in the race to raise money. But we do need to beat them in the court of public opinion and in the voting booths on Nov. 6. And we know how to do that. We and our allies are mobilizing armies of volunteers to leaflet in front of grocery stores all over California, to explain to consumers why they should have the right to know what’s in their food. We’re also recruiting armies of volunteers to phone voters, to tell them why it’s important to vote YES on 37.
We don’t need $25 million dollars this week. But we do need to raise $100,000 as quickly as possible. We have printing costs for leaflets and yard signs and bumper stickers. We have staff costs to coordinate thousands of volunteers and to educate the public via articles, press releases, newsletters, social media, websites, etc.
With your help, we’re going to win this David versus Goliath battle. With the power of grassroots – not corporate – fundraising. If you haven’t pitched in yet for this campaign, we need your help today. If you donated already, please consider donating again. Thank you!
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps  support our public education work against GMOs and chemical food, and our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and sustainable farming)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in California and other states)

USDA Fast-Tracks GMO Crop Approval Process

Despite massive public opposition, last year the USDA announced plans to streamline its genetically engineered petition process under the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Earlier this year, these controversial changes were implemented, speeding up the approval process for new genetically engineered seeds and crops. The new process will cut in half the time it takes for new GE seeds and crops to enter the market.

USDA claims that the new fast-track process allows for earlier input from the public to improve the quality of its environmental analyses. But according to a USDA press release, the new process is a part of efforts by the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to “transform USDA into a high-performing organization that focuses on its customers.” The customers that USDA is so keen on assisting are none other than Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, BASF, Syngenta, and the rest of the Biotech bullies!

Take Action: 12 New GMOs Up For Approval!
Earlier this summer, the USDA posted twelve new GE crops for public comment with a September 11 deadline, and nine are under the new fast-tracked process. That's twelve to review and issue comments on in two months! The worst of these new GMOs are Dow’s 2-4,D soybeans (2), Monsanto’s new dicamba tolerant soybean and a new GMO apple.
Tell USDA and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack we don’t want these new GMOs!
Stop Dow's Agent Orange Soy!
Stop GMO Apples!
Stop Monsanto's Dicamba Tolerant Soybean!

Read More

Video of the Week

Millions and Millions... But Room for You!

Let’s show Monsanto what a grassroots movement to label GMOs can do. Millions and millions of us, banding together, standing up for the right to know what’s in our food. Please join our growing army of activists today!
Volunteer for the Prop 37 Label GMO campaign here
Sign the Millions Against Monsanto Petition here

Hazards of GMOs: The Scientific Evidence Mounts

The biotech industry likes to claim that genetically engineered foods and crops are perfectly safe, that they are identical (“substantially equivalent”) to the non-GMO foods and crops that humans have always consumed; therefore they don’t need to be labeled. This is a dangerous lie. A lie that is profitable for the large biotech, processed food, chemical, and retail corporations that are forced-feeding us GMOs and deceptively labeling or marketing GMO-tainted foods as “natural,” when actually they are hazardous for human health, the environment, and climate stability.
If you want to know more about the hazards of GMOs, please check out this recent article
If you want to read a comprehensive overview on the hazards of GMOs, please download this summary as well as the entire PDF document

Little Bytes

Other Important Articles of the Week
Joel Salatin Shares His View on Sustainable Agriculture
Monsanto Gives $4.2 Million to Kill California GMO Labeling
Pro-GMO Propaganda in California Dismantled by New Cost Study: GMO Labeling Will Not Raise the Cost of Food
"Adapting" to the Climate Crisis Will Be "Easy" According to ExxonMobil and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Corbett and his Fracking Cronies Lose Another Court Battle

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Rules Injunction against Act 13 Remains in Place
Harrisburg, PA - Opponents of Act 13 won another victory today in Commonwealth Court.  The Court held oral argument on the question of whether its order declaring Act 13 unconstitutional and unenforceable should be stayed pending the Commonwealth’s appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  Under Pennsylvania’s appellate court rules, when the Commonwealth appeals from an injunction order, that underlying injunction order is automatically stayed during the course of the appeal. 
The parties challenging Act 13 – including the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Delaware Riverkeeper -- filed a motion for relief from that automatic stay.  In today’s ruling, the Commonwealth Court agreed that its order enjoining Act 13 should remain in place during the pending appeal.  The Court found that the parties challenging Act 13 have a reasonable likelihood of success on appeal, that they would suffer irreparable harm without the injunction blocking enforcement of Act 13, and that there is minimal harm to the public by allowing the injunction to stay in place during the appeal.
“This injunction is essential to protect municipalities and the environment from further intrusion that would result if Act 13’s preemption of local zoning was allowed while we are awaiting Supreme Court action.  This rational decision is most welcome as we continue the battle forward to beat back industry interests”, said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
Jordan Yeager, Esq., representing Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Nockamixon Township and Yardley Borough said, “This ruling prevents the chaos that would have ensued if the Corbett administration and gas companies got their way.  We are pleased that the Court has once again reaffirmed gas company profits do not trump the constitutional rights of Pennsylvania residents and property owners.”
The legal challenge to the chapter of Act 13 that took over municipal zoning of oil and gas operations was challenged by seven municipalities, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Dr. Mehernosh Khan in Commonwealth Court challenging Act 13 in March 2012.  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 have challenged the new law on the grounds it violates the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions and endangers public health, natural resources, communities and the environment.  To read the original filing:
In April, the Court issued a preliminary injunction against a portion of Act 13 ensuring that local zoning ordinances dealing with oil and gas operations remain in effect and were not immediately pre-empted by Act 13 on April 14, 2012.  On July 26, the Commonwealth Court 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. To read the decision:
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.  Attorneys for the Petitioners are Jordan B. Yeager, Susan Kraham of Columbia University School of Law Environmental Law Clinic, John M. Smith, Jonathan M. Kamin, William A. Johnson, Esq.  At least seventy local governing bodies from throughout Pennsylvania have either adopted a resolution or voted to send a letter in support of the lawsuit based on the unconstitutionality of the law.
For information on how local governing bodies can express support for the challenge to Act 13:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

@ MusikFest All Weekend

We're playing @ the Hotel Bethlehem Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 pm - 8 pm as part of MusikFest 2012.
We're also @ The Bookstore Speakeasy on Saturday night from 9 pm - 1 am.

Monday, August 6, 2012

GoodReads Paperback Books Giveaways

I'm giving away forty paperback books through the GoodReads giveaway program, as follows:

The Moon of Innocence (20 copies):


Lord Byron's Coda (10 copies):

I hope you win! Thanks for loving books!
Uke Jackson

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Organic Bytes 8/2/2012

An Open Letter to the Organic Community from Ronnie Cummins

After 45 years of hard work and grassroots struggle, the organic community has built up a $30 billion organic food and farming industry and community. But 10% annual growth isn't enough to avert the public health, environmental and climate crisis ahead - a crisis caused in large part by industrial agriculture. The first step toward an Organic Alternative is to pass truth-in-labeling laws. It's time to support the Nov. 6th California Ballot Initiative (Proposition 37) to require labels on genetically engineered foods and to ban the routine industry practice of marketing GMO-tainted foods as "natural" or "all natural." The outcome of this ballot initiative will determine whether GMO foods are labeled - not only in California, but across the entire United States and Canada as well.
Today I'm asking the organic community - in California and nationwide - to approach the managers of the retail stores, CSAs, restaurants, or farmers markets where you regularly buy your organic food and ask them to endorse Prop 37, educate their consumers and financially support Prop 37. We have thousands of volunteers, but we need more. Please be a part of this historic initiative!
Sign up to volunteer here
Read Ronnie’s open letter here

Essay of the Week

Why a Major Food Organization Is Teaming Up With Monsanto and Friends to Block Your Right to Know What's in Your Food

The powerful Washington D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), a multi-billion dollar trade association representing America’s $1.2 trillion “Big Food” industry, has contributed $375,000 so far to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. Its members are pitching in, too, led by food conglomerates like ConAgra Foods, J.M. Smucker, Hormel Foods, Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola North America, PepsiCo. and others.
How many more thousands – or millions - of dollars will the GMA spend in its desperate attempt to keep Californians from knowing what’s in their food? And the bigger question: Why?
Read the article here

Farm Bill 2012 Update

Late Tuesday, House Republicans pulled the one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill they had proposed after refusing to take up a five-year bill like the Senate passed. The House Agriculture Appropriations Bill has passed out of committee, but neither it nor the House Farm Bill has reached the House floor for a vote by all members. The dangerous Monsanto Riders in both bills are still intact, but there is still time to take action!
Take Action: Stop Monsanto's Sneak Attack!
Read More

Support the OCA and OCF

It’s Time to Bring Down Old Man Santo!

This video says it all! Please watch it and share with everyone you know. Every donation, large or small, will go directly toward winning the right to know what’s in our food.
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)

Host a Bitter Seeds Film Screening During the Occupy Monsanto Sept. 17 Week of Action!

As part of Occupy Monsanto’s Sept. 17th week of action, the Organic Consumers Association has teamed up with Working Films to bring you the film Bitter Seeds. As part of the Occupy action, you can host a screening of Bitter Seeds in your community to learn more about the impact of GMOs.
Director Micha X. Peled introduces us to citizens of a small Indian town who are dealing with the impacts of GMO seeds in their community. Bitter Seeds is a dire warning about the potentially devastating impacts of GMO seeds on agriculture. His film offers an intimate portrayal of the financial, family and social tolls these seeds have had on the farmers. We meet farmers, family members and a young girl aspiring to be a journalist who seeks to unearth the cause of so many farmer suicides in her town. Her determination to expose the connection between farmer suicides and Monsanto’s seeds is inspiring, heart-wrenching and a David vs. Goliath story of the 21st century.

As part of your commitment to fighting Monsanto and GMOs in the US, you are invited to host a screening of Bitter Seeds in your community. In addition to the film, you will be given a free discussion guide and access to a range of digital resources to connect you to anti-GMO actions in the US. Seeing the film is a critical first step towards educating people about the need to stop GMOs in our country and an important way to connect people to important anti-GMO actions happening in the US right now. Get involved today to see Bitter Seeds and spread the film’s important message!

Watch the trailer and learn more about the film
Click here to request a DVD and host a screening

For more information about Occupy Monsanto’s Sept. 17th Week of Action click here – and stay tuned to Organic Bytes in the coming weeks

Fair World Project Update

The Global Economic System is rife with abuse and injustice. Most of the people that grow, process and produce our food and apparel suffer poverty wages, unsafe working conditions and other human rights violations. The Fair World Project supports diverse mechanisms and pathways to justice in the marketplace. While not a panacea, these mechanisms provide concrete opportunities for consumers to support products that reflect their values, educate others, and provide a lifeline to farmers, workers and artisans, while we simultaneously work in conjunction to improve the global system that impacts us all.
Four movements - Fair Trade, SweatFree, Family Farm, and Labor Justice - support broader movements for systemic change in our food and apparel systems, which aim to transform an unjust economic system. Together, they drive a larger movement for justice and sustainability.
Learn more and explore the interactive map

Yes On 37 Twitter Party!

Join us on August 10th at 7pm PST as we educate the public on genetically engineered foods and ingredients. The discussion will include issues surrounding GMOs, Prop 37 awareness and how you can take action online. Expert panelists including Dave Murphy from Food Democracy Now, Unhealthy Truth author Robyn O'Brien, plus prizes from Natures Path, Hawaiian Ola, Beanitos, Unreal and many more.
Be there to take part and share this invite with your friends.
Go here for more information on this event

Little Bytes

Top Stories of the Week

Monsanto's Quiet Coup: Will Congress Limit Scope and Time for GMO Reviews?
Monsanto's Deep Roots in Washington
Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
General Mills Sued Over 'Natural' Labeling
Drought, Blistering Temperatures and Raging Fires: Are We Screwed? 5 Facts You Should Know

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

University Acting School Scam

PARENTS: Save Yourselves $200,000
Do you have a child about to leave for college? Is that child going to study drama/acting/theater? STOP! Do not write any more checks. You are about to become part of a huge Ponzi scam if you send any more money to a college/university that offers an undergrad degree in drama. Unless your kid is enrolled at the Yale School of Drama, be prepared to lose your deposits. And save yourself a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Sending your kid to college for acting is stupid. You’re stupid if you do it. You’re not stupid, right? Then why would you pay to take your child out of the job market during his/her most marketable years? Why would you send them to study under some losers who can’t make it in the real world?

When we did Ukulele Land in 2008, after talking with the cast members, most of whom had recently graduated from university drama programs, I discovered something frightening. These kids did not know what a Ross Reports is – not one of them knew what I was talking about when I mentioned that basic tool for getting an acting gig in New York City.