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Preview: Left of the Isthmus

Left of the Isthmus

In Madison, our politics range from Left to Far Left

Updated: 2012-03-25T14:06:53.843-07:00




Terracotta Warriors

A Village in China
(image) (image) (image)

In my dorm
  (image) (image)

Around Campus

My Chinese Friend's Apartment

Funny Pics!



9/26 Direct Action at the White House


If you heard about Cindy Sheehan getting arrested, I was there. Here are my groupeviction noticemarchingmarching - monumentcamp patrickchurchcode pinkcode pinkwhite housethe same old signflagboobsbuddhistsbuddhistsM&Msnot really surehillarycopshandcuffsdrugsnames on fenceran out of paddy wagonsgoing to jail[...]

Shop Organic


The White House is pushing for CAFTA and now is the time to oppose it. CAFTA represents an international race to the bottom both in environmental standards and working conditions. You can oppose CAFTA from a political point of view via writing letters to the editor or writing your representative, but if you want to oppose the destruction of the environment in your shopping habits, you can buy organic foods.

Shop Organic

I choose to shop organic because of my own health and also to drive up demand for agricultural products grown in a sustainable manner. The one issue: buying organic can be friendly to the earth and rough on the bank account.

If you cannot afford to buy all organic, maybe you can only buy the most contaminated fruits and veggies organic and buy the rest of your food conventionally grown.


12 Most Contaminated
Buy These Organic
12 Least Contaminated

• Apples
• Bell Peppers
• Celery
• Cherries
• Imported Grapes
• Nectarines
• Peaches
• Pears
• Potatoes
• Red Raspberries
• Spinach
• Strawberries

• Asparagus
• Avocados
• Bananas
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Corn (sweet)
• Kiwi
• Mangos
• Onions
• Papaya
• Pineapples
• Peas (sweet)

Ask Me About the Downing Street Memo


"Ask Me About the Downing Street Memo" Organic Cotton T-Shirt

Today was a big day for us Dems! Congress held a hearing about the Downing Street Memo. Of course, half of Congress ("Republicans") chose not to participate, and the group of our leaders who are doing their jobs were forced to hold the hearing in the basement of the Capitol. But, they did it nonetheless.

Afterwards, there were rallies and they walked to the White House to personally deliver a letter with over half a million signatures (including about 120 representatives). I feel like wearing this T-shirt to show solidarity and develop awareness (normally the "awareness" thing is the newspapers' job, but they have clearly abdicated that responsibility in this case).


Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn


Here is an idea from your friendly, local Canadian government:

Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn

Practise “grass cycling”
Leave grass clippings on your lawn where they quickly break down and add needed nutrients to your lawn. Keeping grass out of your garbage can save 0.1 tonne in GHGs.

While the Canadian govt works to save the world, here's the latest American attempt to dirty it up:

Philip Cooney was a lawyer with no science background. Bush needed someone to do the final edits on reports about global warming. Philip Cooney was a perfect fit for the job.

Last Wednesday, the NY Times blew the whistle on him. He was editing the reports to reduce the link between emissions and climate change.

Friday, the Bush administration announced that he left his position to "spend more time with his family." And he did... if he's related to Exxon-Mobil.

Travel To or Live In Another Country


President Bush makes headlines for his lack of international travel as President. I think I've heard that before becoming President, he never even left the country except for a trip or so to Mexico (correct me if that is wrong).

I've always thought that international travel improves our understanding not only of other countries but also of our own country and our place in the world. When you travel abroad, you find that things you've always taken for granted as being one particular way can actually be different. Growing up in the US, I thought that all pop cans were created the same. Not so - in China the tabs to open the cans are pull-off. It's a small detail but opening a can of pop, something that is second nature, suddenly throws you through a loop when you try to do it without thinking. I've also taken a lot of aspects of my own country's laws and culture for granted but when I worked in London for a summer, I was always thrown off by questions I had never even considered before ("Why are you allowed to own a gun before you are allowed to drink alcohol in America?").

I also think that travel abroad increases one's empathy for those who live outside the U.S. In 2002, a girl from Slovenia was a boarder at the house in south London where I was staying. I was so embarrassed to admit I couldn't even locate her country on a map - even though as an American I expected her to know many details about my country, including our language. If I had never met a Slovenian, it would have not mattered to me, but sitting next to her at the dinner table, it seemed self-centered of me as an American to be so ignorant. For the record, it's south of Austria, north of Croatia, west of Hungary, and east of Italy. Maybe we wouldn't be in an illegal war if George Bush knew - or cared - what it was like to be an Iraqi.

Power Your Home with Clean Wind Power


Back in 2001, Dick Cheney had a series of secret meetings with his energy industry pals that shaped the nation's energy policy. Advocacy groups Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club brought this case to court to find out what went on behind those closed doors. Today the news broke that Cheney won the case in a federal appeals court. This was a major victory for the Dark Side.So what can we do? I think we can guess what their policy is. They never met a form of dirty power they don't like - oil, coal, anything to put money in the pockets of their rich friends.It is actually possible for any one of us to power our homes or apartments with clean, renewable wind power.Here's how:You purchase something called a Green Tag. The money paid for your green tag is enough to add enough clean energy to power your home or apartment into the power grid. You still pay your normal utility bills because they cannot route your clean energy to you. Instead think of it as a numbers game - if 1/10 of the population bought green tags, then 1/10 of your country's power will be clean. About the MoneyOf course, a factor in this program is the cost. If you live in a dorm or an apartment, you can purchase a green tag for $10/month. The power generated by a home costs $30/month. I chose to go with the $30 Green Tag even though I live in an apartment because I fly in planes so much and probably pollute my fair share from that. Your Green Tag is tax deductable in the US.If you choose the $30/month option, you will receive a monthly "thank you gift" - a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. If you drink that much coffee anyway, that effectively reduces your tax deductable monthly cost to $25.You also receive $30 for every 3 people you refer.A Note About BirdsI heard about this program on a radio show based out of San Francisco called Eco-Talk. The representative from Krystal Planet mentioned on the show that they've improved their technology so the wind turbines are no longer a power from birds. Specifically he said that it's *so* hard for a bird to injure itself on a wind turbine, if a bird is dumb enough to hurt itself, it's probably a good thing that bird took itself out of the gene pool.The Sales Pitch from Krystal PlanetDo you have any idea how much pollution the electricity we use in our home creates? The average US home uses about 12,000 kWh of electricity annually which produces:12 tons of CO2 (leading global warming gas)67 pounds of nitrogen oxide (smog & pollution)55 pounds sulfur dioxide (acid rain, pollutes crops & water)172 mg of mercury (poisons fish; pollutes lakes, rivers, streams)Pollution from our dirty power plants kill 24,000 Americans every year!Did you know that Kansas, North Dakota and Texas have enough wind potential to power every home and business in the US? Add in the rest of the Midwest and wind could power every home, every office building, and every vehicle (with hydrogen) in America. Tapping our wind potential will help us 1) end our dependency of fossil fuel and foreign oil 2) help stabilize our energy costs and 3) reduce the pollution that is impacting our families health.How can the average America citizen help tap our countries wind potential? We do it by purchasing a Green Tag (also known as a Renewable Energy Certificate or REC) for our home and/or office. Krystal Planet’s Green Tags are tax deductible and they even use part of the purchase price to build more wind turbines!Krystal Planet is working to improve the health of our families by reducing the pollution from the utility companies by generating electricity using clean pollution free wind power. Their mission is to enroll One Million homes on renewable energy from wind farms by Earth Day 2007Join in the effort to improve the health of our families, reduce our dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels and protect our environment for future generations by clicking o[...]

The Argument for Organic Pork (or No Pork at All)


If You Eat Pork, Buy Organic

The Senate is back in session again this week, so while they work on bringing home the bacon, here is some information about some bacon that might affect the environment near you.

Here's why pork is on the radar. I first heard about this issue on Bobby Kennedy's radio show, Ring of Fire (if you click the link you can listen to the show segment).

The blurb on the site reads:
"The pork industry is now one of the worst polluters in the U.S., thanks to massive "hog factories" that spew animal waste into vast lagoons, fouling the air and water with dangerous bacteria. Bobby talks with North Carolina fisherman Rick Dove, an ex-Marine and former Republican who now patrols the Neuse River as a water quality monitor for Waterkeeper Alliance."

The fisherman on the show had noticed significant (bad) changes in the Neuse River and he went looking for the cause. The cause was the corporate pig farms. There *is* a way to deal with the amounts of waste generated by the pigs - that's how we deal with human waste. Corporate pig farms choose not to deal with the waste properly though. It would cost them so much money to do so that they would no longer have any advantage from economies of scale over individual family pig farms. Instead they use what they call the "lagoon" method, polluting North Carolina's natural environment.

If you've got a minute, I highly recommend you take a listen to the pig farm segment of the show.

How to Help
If you're not up for a total lifestyle overhaul (such as going vegetarian), here are a few easy choices. If one idea's too extreme or difficult for you, pick the next best one that you *can* do.

1. Give up pork.
2. If you can't do that, buy only organic pork at home and make sure in restaurants you either eat organic pork or none at all.
3. If you can't do that, buy only organic pork at home, but eat whatever kind of pork the restaurant serves.
4. If you can't do that, at least limit your portions of pork to a reasonable serving. Americans eat very large servings of meat, but nutritionists say that one serving of meat is only 3-4 oz. A serving of meat should be the size of a deck of cards.

There's often a price premium attached with buying organic, but if you can afford it, it's worthwhile. There's a price premium attached to conventionally-grown food too, but it's an environmental price that we pay instead of a monetary one. Fortunately, though it's still not a big enough market segment to make the changes we need, organic food's market share is growing.

Change From Brand Name Drugs to Generics


In 2000, I attended a presidential debate. If you listened to what Bush was saying, he basically told us he was going to spend his presidency living in the pants of the drug companies. Who says politicians do not keep promises? He's done it faithfully. For example, it was reported this week that under the American Jobs Creation Act, there are some new tax breaks for Big Pharma corporations.Without addressing issues of health insurance, the problems with prescription drugs in the US are two-fold.1. The government does not work to reduce drug prices.2. Big Pharma does not have its priorities in the right place.The Krugman article:"Outside the United States, almost every government bargains over drug prices. And it works: the Congressional Budget Office says that foreign drug prices are 35 to 55 percent below U.S. levels. Even within the United States, Veterans Affairs is able to negotiate discounts of 50 percent or more, far larger than those the Medicare actuary expects the elderly to receive under the new plan.One way is to challenge claims that the pharmaceutical industry needs high prices to innovate. In her book "The Truth About the Drug Companies," Marcia Angell, the former editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, shows convincingly that drug companies spend far more on marketing than they do on research - and that much of the marketing is designed to sell "me, too" drugs, which are no better than the cheaper drugs they replace. It should be possible to pay less for medicine, yet encourage more real innovation."The Bush Medicare BillIf you've been reading the news over the past few years, you already know that the Medicare bill Bush pushed through was a big scam and payout to drug companies. The Bush administration lied about the cost of the program to Congress to get the bill passed. Not only that, but the bill specified that the federal government is not allowed to bargain for drug prices for Medicare. The gist of the bill is that seniors can purchase prescription cards to supposedly receive a discount BUT once they buy the cards they are locked in, even if the prices on their drugs under the cards go up.Today, news broke that there's more. Seniors who purchase the cards might have to choose between food stamps and prescription drugs.Actually, healthcare had a big day in the news. Our 2006 federal budget calls for $10 billion in Medicaid cuts. This move pushes the cost onto the states, who are drowning in Medicaid costs. There's been an increase in enrollment that is out of control. Why? Because hospital costs and drug costs are out of control! While the need is greatest, our states are the least equipped to deal with it. Tennessee dropped 300,000 people from its Medicaid program and Missouri dropped 90,000 people from theirs.Despite everything else they are up to, drug companies like Merck are promoting a warm and cuddly image for themselves. Prescription Assistant Programs like the ones you can find here, here, and here allow consumers to receive discounts on their drugs. The catch? There are different forms and eligibility requirements per drug. They aren't going to make it easy for you if you want your drugs for a reasonable price.A few weeks ago I switched the one prescription I'm on to a generic. I'm saving a few bucks, and I don't think Big Pharma should miss it, what with all the cash being thrown in their direction by Bush & co. Ask your pharmacist or physician if there is a generic available the next time you get a prescription.[...]

Dispose of Dog Poop Properly


Dispose of Dog Poop Properly

Get a free George Bush flag to stick in some dog poop here. Several months ago, this began mysteriously in Germany with an unknown person (or people) sticking American flags in dog poop. The police tried to catch whoever it was but admitted they would not know what they would even do if they caught them.

I'd like to call attention to what my poli sci professor referred to informally as the "Dog Shit Theory" (the formal name in Game Theory is "Prisoner's Dilemma"). His version of it is, if you take your dog to a dog park, you want everyone to clean up their own dog's crap (so you don't have to walk in it). But you don't want to clean up your dog's crap. And no one else wants to clean up their dog's crap (but they want you to clean yours). The end result is that no one cleans up any dog shit and the park is full of it.

Expanded out, this can be seen as an analogy to corporations taking care of the environment. Individuals within the company want all companies to cut the amount they pollute, but they will profit individually if their company pollutes. Without government regulation, monitoring, and penalties, every company will pollute even if they all want the environment to be clean as a whole. Internationally, developing nations say that developed nations had their chance to pollute for the past century or two and it is not fair if they are denied that right while they keep their economies afloat and work on joining the developed world.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. calls this a "race to the bottom" - both within countries and among them. Republicans may argue for "self-regulation" or "free-trade" but until treaties like CAFTA have environmental protections built into them (in addition to all that stuff about fair working conditions), we are just entering into a race to the bottom. Sometimes the Democrats agree with the Republicans' focus on governance at the state level. Howard Dean noted that rural Montana will not have the same needs for gun control that urban Detroit does. That makes sense. But if states are allowed to individually regulate environmental protections, they will strip the protections away to draw in businesses and the whole country will look like a field of dog shit waving flags of George W. Bush.

Stay Away from Members of AWRS


Stay Away From AWRS MembersThe Story:The AFL-CIO has put pressure on members of the so-called Alliance for Worker Retirement Safety (a lobbying organization representing 40 companies that would stand to gain from privatization of social security). The good news is this: Edward Jones and Waddell & Reed Financial pulled out of AWRS!Corporate Douchebags:According to all internet sources I could find, the only known financial companies that are members of AWRS are Wachovia & Charles Schwab. I wrote to AWRS and received a prompt response that the names of the member organizations are not public information. Want to take action? Take your money out of these two known institutions.Wall Street Links to Groups Attacking Retirement SecuritySource: AFL-CIOThese companies do not necessarily support AWRS (although some do), but each of them supports privatization through ties to groups like AWRS, AEI, ALEC, Cato, Manhattan, Third Millennium, the Heritage Foundation, and USA Next (the lovely people who brought us the Swift Boat ads) AG Edwards AEGON Transamerica Allstate American Express American Financial Group American International Group Ameriquest Capital AXA Bank of America/Quick & Reilly Bank of New York/Pershing Bear Stearns Charles Schwab CIGNA Citigroup/Smith Barney Credit Suisse Deutsche Bank Dimensional Fund Advisors Dodge & Cox Edward Jones E-Trade Fidelity Franklin Resources Gilder Gagnon Howe Goldman Sachs ING JP Morgan Chase AEI, ALEC, Manhattan Legg Mason Wood Walker Lehman Brothers MassMutual MBNA Mellon Merrill Lynch MetLife MFS Investment Management Morgan Stanley Nationwide Oaktree Capital Mgmt Prudential Raymond James RBC Dain Rauscher Robert W. Baird State Farm St. Paul Travelers SunTrust Susquehanna Group Trust Company of the West UBS USAA Wachovia Wells Fargo/Strong FinancialSource: AFL-CIOBUSINESS COALITIONS LOBBYING FOR PRIVATIZATIONAlliance for Worker Retirement SecurityThe AWRS was set up by the National Association of Manufacturers in 1998 to do inside-the-beltway lobbying for privatization. AWRS plans to spend “multiples” of their $5 million budget to promote privatization. Charles Blahous, Bush’s point man on Social Security, is a former president of AWRS. The current director, Derrick Max, is the former government affairs director at the Cato Institute, where “he was instrumental in helping to advance Cato's presence in the national debate on Social Security reform.”On Feb. 10, Edward Jones issued a statement saying that “it had decided not to renew its membership” in AWRS, in the wake of an AFL-CIO campaign to highlight the company’s support for privatization. On March 4, Waddell & Reed announced that it too had withdrawn its membership from AWRS, saying “the firm has a history of listening to its clients and being sympathetic and supportive of their issues.”The SIA and ABA remain members of AWRS, as do Charles Schwab and Wachovia. On March 31, unions staged protests at more than 70 Schwab and Wachovia locations across the country to protest their membership in the pro-privatization alliance.COMPASS/Generations TogetherCOMPASS was set up by AWRS, the Business Roundtable and the Financial Services Roundtable in 2002 to do outside-the-beltway public relations in favor of privatization.COMPASS plans to spend up to $20 million on ads and “grassroots projects” to support privatization, with 90 percent of the funds channeled through an organization called Generations Together. Both COMPASS and AWRS are headed by Derrick Max, who works out of the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers.In addition to ads targeting Washington insiders and voters in selected local markets, Generatio[...]

Dispose of Cell Phones and Batteries Properly


Dispose of Cell Phones and Batteries Properly

Keep your cell phone from becoming an environmental hazard.

Text adapted from this website
Actually, cell phones and their batteries contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other health disorders in people and wildlife. When people get rid of their old phones, these end up in landfills or incinerators, where they can escape into the air, soil, and water and affect the environment. People are just tossing their old phones in the trash: Reports estimate that 130 million cell phones will be thrown away in the United States each year by 2005—that's about 65,000 tons of waste, the equivalent of 21 medium—sized cars.

Make the Call
You don't have to give up your cell phone or pledge never to have one. As one of the 128 million subscribers in the United States, you can help make a difference by:

  • Keeping your phone, which is a good start. The average phone gets thrown out after just 18 months as people upgrade or just switch colors.
  • Helping a good cause rather than pitching your phone. A number of charities collect old phones, fix them if they're broken, and put them to good use in other ways.
  • Recycling the battery properly if you're replacing it. Check with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (you can also call 1—800—8—BATTERY) to find out where to drop off the battery.

Today, instead of taking a liberal issue, let's take up a conservative one. If you have a phone, Bill O'Reilly thinks a great use for it would be phone sex:

The Bill O'Reilly Phone Sex Monologue

Well, if I took you down there then I'd want to take a shower with you right away, that would be the first thing I'd do...yeah, we'd check into the room, and we would order up some room service and uh and you'd definitely get two wines into you are quickly as I could get ino you I would get 'em into you... maybe intravenously, get those glasses of wine into you...
You would basically be in the shower and then I would come in and I'd join you and you would have your back to me and I would take that little loofa thing and kinda soap up your back... rub it all over you, get you to relax, hot water... and um... you know, you'd feel the tension drain out of you and uh you still would be with your back to me then I would kinda put my arm -- it's one of those mitts, those loofa mitts you know, so I got my hands in it... and I would put it around front, kinda rub your tummy a little bit with it, and then with my other hand I would start to massage your boobs, get your nipples really hard... 'cuz I like that and you have really spectacular boobs...
So anyway I'd be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda kissing your neck from behind... and then I would take the other hand with the falafel thing and I'd put it on your pussy but you'd have to do it really light, just kind of a tease business.

Buy Blue and Green for Mother's Day


Buy Green for Mother's Day Gifts

Not sure yet what to get for Mother's Day? Because fresh flowers require pesticides to grow, refrigeration to survive and transportation by truck and plane to get in the stores before they wither, the National Wildlife Federation recommends buying Organic Flowers. Better yet, get her gardening supplies! I usually get my mom a manicure, pedicure, or massage.

Buy Blue - Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart

The Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart campaign is in the news calling on all Americans to NOT buy their Mother's Day gifts at Wal-Mart.

What does Wal-Mart have to do with Mother's Day? They are widely accused of discriminating against women by promoting few women and not paying them well. More facts about this are located in the House of Representatives Wal-Mart PDF.

As you'll see in this graph of average wages (from the NY Times), if you need to go to a Big Box retailer for your shopping, Costco is a better choice than Wal-Mart by far.


Use Cruise Control in Your Car


On the two-year anniversary of Bush declaring "Mission Accomplished," we have experienced the bloodiest couple of days in the past few months in Iraq. Why did over 100 people lose their lives this weekend? The true cause for the war came out in an expose piece by Greg Palast (author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) this past March. The answer isn't too hard to guess - it's a three-letter-word that rhymes with boil. The actual details, however, are shocking.

Back in February 2001 (before 9/11), the Bush administration started planning the war in Iraq. You can see the expose piece in an article in Harper's: "OPEC on the March: Why Iraq Still Sells Its Oil a la Cartel." The plans sparked a debate between two sides: the Pentagon and the neo-cons on one, and the State department with Big Oil friends on the other.

The original plan was to stage an invasion that looks and acts like a coup. The U.S. was going to leave the Baathists (Saddam's party) in power. At that time, the U.S. had someone named Aljibury, a representative of big oil, big finance, and OPEC, scouting for candidates to replace Saddam.

However, after 9/11 when the power shifted in the neo-cons' favor, Wolfowitz took the lead as the war's chief architect. His plan was to topple OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) altogether. To do that, he would sell off Iraq's oil fields, thus breaking up the cartel. He completed this plan a month before the invasion. Chalabi, the new Iraq minister of oil, was in on this plan too.

Resistence to this plan arose in the form of former Shell C.E.O. Philip Carroll. A Texas think tank lead by Jim Baker (remember him from Fahrenheit 9/11?), whose law firm represents Dubya, the government of Saudi Arabia, and Exxon Oil was pulled into the mix. The final plans for the future Iraqi government were submitted by the State Department, ultimately created in the interests of Big Oil.

So why does gas cost so much right now? Big Oil is loving it. They are making record profits. This was their plan all along. As for Wolfowitz, his new job at the World Bank is a punishment for his plan's failure.

I found this information from a BBC transcript from March 21, 2005. You can find the link to it on Greg Palast's website (by the way, Big Oil is threatening to sue him - if you have a few bucks to spare, Greg Palast is a worthy cause - click around his site).

This news angered me so much when I first heard it. For the reason of cutting into these scumbags' huge profits, in addition to all of the other reasons of helping the environment, here is another tip to make your driving more fuel efficient.

Use Cruise Control

Keeping your car in a lower gear is more fuel efficient than accelerating. Also, every time you step on the gas and then hit the brakes, you are wasting gas. By using cruise control, you will go a steady speed in a low gear without unnecessary acceleration or speeding up and braking.

Daily Granola in Summary


To get this blog up to speed, here is everything so far from Daily Granola, minus yesterday's post (I'll add that one later). If you're pissed off at the neo-cons, read on. Most posts contain both a current political issue and a way you can privately take action.After 4 years of Bschool, I am keenly aware of how much research is gathered about our habits as consumers. Barcode data alone tells the companies out there a lot about what we are up to. As much as I wish the neo-cons were not allowing for a corrupt big business free-for-all, the only way I feel I can make a difference is if the barcode data coming from me shows that I do not buy things that are against my self-interest. Of course, the only way this will truly make a difference is if the data shows a clear trend in an aggregate form - which is why I am putting my ideas online.If you have a new idea for something to add here, please send it to me or sign up for LiveJournal and post it in the Daily Granola community there (instructions are at You Can Help - Ranked by Difficulty:Easy - Ideas here are easy, fun, quick, involve a one-time only action, or save you moneyMedium - Ideas here may be a little bit more time-consuming, slightly more uncomfortable, or may cost a bit of money, but they do not represent any sort of complete lifestyle overhaulRequires Effort - Ideas here are more extreme and difficult to carry out and they are possibly expensive, although they are achievable if you are committedAssess Your Lifestyle - From the Earth Day WebsiteEasyYour BankingSign Up for Web StatementsPlan for Your Retirement (so Bush can't screw you)Use Green Checks and a Green CheckbookCut Your Ties with MBNA, Citigroup, Wachovia, and Bank of AmericaYour BathroomLeave the Bathwater In the Tub while it cools downUse Recycled Household Paper ProductsCheck Out The Body Shop for bath productsYour CarGet a Heat Shield for Your CarCheck Your Tires' Air Pressure - do this monthlyTake Some Tips from a MechanicCombine Errands Into One TripYour ChildrenRead to a ChildEducate a Kid about SexYour FoodBoycott Coors BeerStop Shopping at Wal*Mart!Seek out and Patronize Farmers' MarketsUse a Commuter Mug for coffee and other drinksYour Free TimeRead a Book about Native AmericansUse a Safe, Reusable Water Bottle When You Work OutYour GardenChoose Native Plants for your back yard and gardenYour HealthcareSign a Living WillYour HomeUse Recycled BagsRecycle Lamps & Lightbulbs ProperlySwitch Your Lightbulbs to Fluorescent LightsTurn on a Fan and Turn Off the Air ConditioningHang Curtains to insulate your windowsAssess Your Kitchen for Energy EfficiencyYour MusicDon't Sell Out - Listen to Music by Real Artists (includes instructions to trade in your Ashlee Simpson CD for one that doesn't suck)Your NewsCancel Time, Read Mother JonesYour OfficeSave and Re-Use Padded EnvelopesGet Yourself Taken Off Commercial Mailing ListsDownload a Program to Print Finely and save paperRe-Use Junk Mail as Scratch PaperPrint Documents on Both SidesYour PetProtect Wildlife from Your PetYour ShoppingStop Shopping at Wal*Mart!Buy Levis Instead of GuessRe-Use a Canvas Bag to carry groceries and other items home from the storeYour TelevisionSend a Message to Fox News AdvertisersMediumYour BankingLeave Your Bank and Join a Credit UnionYour BathroomInvest in Alternative Menstrual ProductsYour CarDecrease Use Of Your Air Conditioning In Your Car (and roll up your windows)Carpool & Take Public TransBuy a Green Car (or at least a less mean one)Your FoodDrink Fair Trade Organic CoffeeBuy Fair Trade Organic ChocolateCut Back on Animal ProductsChoose Eco-Friendly SeafoodStop Drinking Coke ProductsShop [...]



Raiden (my other cat) (image)

Might as well post the whole family.



Meg, my cat (image)

Here is Meg, my new cat. She's a little over 6 mos old and she's only 4 lbs. Right now she's mad at me for putting gingivitis medicine in her mouth, but her breath has been rancid lately and she sleeps under my arm so I smell it more than I'd like to.

A Picture of Me


With my uncle Flip (image)

I figured out how to add pictures. Good. Progress. Feel like I've accomplished something.

This one is of my uncle Flip and me back in October. The Harley is his.



After several months posting on LiveJournal, I began a community there entitled Daily Granola.

My own journal is more or less a holding place for links to news articles I find helpful or recipes I want to try (after which I add them to my online cookbook).

Daily Granola was meant to be something more. The idea behind the community is that liberals can band together to make a difference by tweaking our own lifestyles. I've committed to posting one idea each day. As of today, over 300 people read the blog daily.

The pros of Daily Granola is that those involved seem to like it, myself included, and I have received some very sincere thank yous, which I do appreciate. Also, the knowledge contained among Daily Granola's members is a conserable resource for anyone trying to live in a more environmentally-friendly, socially-responsible manner. The con is that it is limited to LiveJournal participants and it is kind of like preaching to the choir some of the time.

Daily Granola has become a terrific forum for some fantastic, very environmentally-conscious, intelligent people, but most of the time it is not taking your average couch potato American and influencing them to live in a more liberal-friendly way. Some people are the exceptions, but the more vocal members are not. Many of the more participatory members are not even Americans. Again, that is great (and non-Americans are invited to participate), but we need to band liberal Americans together if we are going to create change in America.

The other factor is that I fear I cannot, try as I might, drag the community kicking and screaming to being more politically aware. I try to post current news each day and tie it into the day's post... but by and large it gets ignored. Whether people are reading it without commenting or merely skimming past it, I do not know.

I still need to decide on the purpose of this blog, but it is definitely intended to bring my ideas to hopefully a wider audience - not instead of the LiveJournal group, but in addition to them.

The link between the blogs is going to be found at