Valentine’s Day massacre

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Today saw another massacre, this time in a school in Florida.

17 dead, so far.

One 19-year-old with an AR-15, the “civilian version of a military assault rifle.”

Why is there a civilian version of a military assault rifle?   Continue reading

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The Post and the perfidy of presidents

Pentagon Papers

Photo by Rory Finneren, published under Creative Commons license.

The Post takes us back to the courage of Daniel Ellsberg and the testing of Katherine Graham and the perfidy of presidents as revealed in the Pentagon Papers. i loved the movie last night, but today I’m thinking harder about what it means.  Continue reading

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For the record: Trump tracking, January 13, 2018

emperor Trump

The Emperor’s New Clothes

I do not like writing about Trump. I fear that writing about him only strengthens him by giving him more of the attention he craves and thrives on. Nonetheless, this year is already full of so much new information about his racism, lies, and other bizarre behavior that I will record several reports here, to make track-backs easier for myself and for anyone else who may want the information. Continue reading

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U.S. immigration policy: un-protect and deport

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 10.00.23 PM

Image from SEDAC Maps, used under Creative Commons license

CORRECTION 1/10 – DHS=Department of Homeland Security (see below)

Giovanni Miranda was 32 years old when Salvadoran gangs murdered him in front of his family in the tiny room where they lived, behind the small auto body shop he owned. Miranda had lived for most of his life in the United States and was a legal permanent resident, but was deported in 2012, after U.S. authorities discovered a 2002 conviction for possessing a small amount of cocaine. Nothing special about his story: he is one more murder victim in one of the most violent countries in the world, the 2016 murder capital of the world.

On Monday, President Trump and his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered more than 200,000 Salvadorans to return to the most violent country in the world. The administration canceled Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for all Salvadorans and gave them until September 2019 to return to El Salvador or be deported. Continue reading

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Not your father’s racists

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What do the Identity Evropa banner in St. Cloud, an anti-Islam protest in Texas, and a Russian Facebook account have in common? Each of them uses social media deceptively, in an attempt to increase hatred and division in American communities.

Identity Evropa is the white nationalist group that marched in Charlotte this summer, with violence that killed one counter-protester. In St. Cloud, the Identity Evropa hate-mongers hung their anti-immigrant banner over MN Highway 23 in the dark of night, on December 23. St. Cloud police saw the banner and took it down before it saw the light of day. Continue reading

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Urban farming: Lessons from Growing Power

IMG_5218.jpgJust a year ago, an article in Medium touted Will Allen as “the Godfather of Urban Farming, Who’s Breeding the Next Generation of People to Feed the World.” Allen, who started urban farming in Milwaukee in 1993, then moved on to Chicago, ended up with his Growing Power organization involved in urban farming projects around the world. Along the way, Allen won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2008 and was named one of Time Magazine’s 2010 Time 100.

This article was first published on The Uptake, December 30, 2017 with support from the New Economy Coalition. This post is part of a News Day series on Re-Visioning Farming.

Allen’s vision, and his non-profit corporations, focused on reimagining and rebuilding a food system in cities. Among its ambitious projects:

  • aquaponic systems growing fish, watercress, and wheatgrass;
  • rebuilding soil through composting and vermiculture, including collection of supermarket wastes and use of red worm composting to turn them into soil;
  • increasing productivity with intensive cultivation of food plants on small plots of land;
  • sparking a passion for farming in urban youth and teaching them job skills to land jobs in the sustainable farming and food system;
  • growing mass quantities of high quality food and delivering it to people living in inner cities;
  • modeling urban farming as a real and sustainable option for people around the world.

Then, in November 2017, Growing Power crashed. After years of running deficits and with more than half a million dollars in legal judgments against the organization, Allen resigned and the organization closed its doors. Continue reading

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Immigrant farming dreams: the Hmong American Farmers Association

Yao Yang with disk

Working cooperatively, HAFA members can purchase farm implements that would be too expensive for individuals.

Hmong farmers make Minnesota a national leader in the local foods movement. Visit any Twin Cities farmers’ market, and their contributions are evident. Yet, too often, they struggle both for access to land and for a return on their investment and work.

For Pakou Hang’s family, farming is “part of our life, part of our blood in some ways.” From as early as she can remember, she grew up helping to grow food and to sell it in farmers’ markets.

Her life path led through farm fields and farmers’ markets to Yale and the University of Minnesota and years of community organizing and social and economic research. After years of experience in community organizing and financial research, she brought a critical analysis to the place of Hmong farmers in the food system and especially in farmers’ markets. Continue reading

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Re-visioning farming: HAFA, CSAs, Urban Farming, Farm Transitions

IMG_4294.jpgI grew up on a family farm of the kind that now exists mostly in myth and memory. In the early 1950s, we had dairy cows, placid Holstein giants who filed quietly into the barn each morning and night and lined up ready for milking at one end and eating at the other. Then came the Clean Milkhouse Act and the end of dairy on our farm. Sanitation is a good thing, no doubt about it, but my father couldn’t borrow the money needed to upgrade the milking facilities, so he switched over to beef.

Like the dairy cattle, the beef grazed in the pasture all summer long, drinking from the river that ran through it. I fixed fences and counted calves and checked the wooden fence posts in the lane for bluebird nests. Continue reading

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Tiny Tim needs the Children’s Health Insurance Program

Dickens - Christmas Carol. Date: 1843-44

Image via Fotolia

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health care for 9 million children and 375,000 pregnant women in working families who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough for private insurance. Working families like Bob Cratchit’s family.

You remember Bob Cratchit. He worked for old Ebenezer Scrooge, and he didn’t make much money. Not enough money to pay for medical care for his crippled son, Tiny Tim. Continue reading

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Scrooge’s Republican tax plan: Die, and reduce the surplus population

scrooge

Old Scrooge, before he repented, thought the poor and disabled might as well die and reduce the surplus population. He would have loved this tax bill, which is likely to reduce the surplus population by, among other things, reducing access to chemotherapy for Medicare patients with cancer.

The tax bill also eliminates tax deductions for medical expenses.  You might call that the Tiny Tim deduction: Continue reading

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