Chelsea Green Publishing

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Take Back the Rhetoric

We need to take back the rhetoric in the health care debate and in everything else. The middle class has been lost in this debate or misled into these stupid Tea Parties, and the lower class has no voice at all. The bottom line on social policy and economics is that the rich keep getting richer and everyone else is getting squeezed. The area where I live and work used to be a bastion of the middle class, but a study recently showed that jobs paying between $30,000 and $80,000 are disappearing. That is (or was) the middle class. No doubt you know that the Top 5% or so of the population possesses more wealth than the other 95% of us. That number has gotten worse, because just a few years ago those same statistics used to say 10%/90%. Check out this similarly disturbing set of figures on income disparity over time, for which I am indebted to the Five Cent Nickel site. This is based on historical Federal Reserve data. The “mean” is the average, whereas the “median” is the line dividing the top of the sample from the bottom half: 1960: Median = $8,690; Mean = $10,420 (Median is 83% of mean.) 1976: Median = $13,549; Mean = $16,893 (Median is 80% of mean.) 1982: Median = $19,446; Mean = $26,259 (Median is 74% mean.) 2004: Median = $93,100; Mean = $448,200 (Median is 21% mean.) Translation? Granted, the 2004 numbers include inflated real estate, which drives up peoples’ paper net worth. But the bottom line is that a few SICKENINGLY rich people are distorting this in a very bad way. Shame on any of them for opposing health care as a universal right for all Americans. And shame on the big insurance companies and right wing for misleading everyone into believing in the false dilemma of the middle class: that health care means higher taxes and Soviet-style services. Somebody needs to pay for it, you say? I know just who can afford it, and taxing them won’t cost you a dime. These same people blame unions for being greedy. Public sector unions are blamed for pushing for more tax dollars for the government employees they represent, bankrupting the states. Private sector unions are blamed for driving up costs, and driving companies overseas. Auto workers unions are blamed for causing the demise of Detroit and of American manufacturing. Well, guess what? Unions helped create the middle class. Now the middle class has been outsourced and unions have less power than ever. But someone else is laughing all the way to the bank. And trying to pit the rest of us against one another. But I ain’t buying it, and neither should you. Take back the rhetoric. Remind people that the super rich in this country have cashed out the middle class, and that they can darn well afford to pay for health care, middle class employee benefits, school lunches for poor kids, student loans for college students and anything else we think we need. Health care, housing, and a good education should be universal rights for all Americans, and they are quite affordable through higher taxes for the rich.


Furniture from Mycelium

The house is filled with the earthy smell of mushrooms cooking. It’s not a welcome-to-winter soup simmering or a ragout thickening; I’m baking a little mushroom footstool in the oven. That’s not all that’s baking in that house, you may be thinking… Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Philip-Ross-crafts-furniture-from-mycelium-4116989.php#page-1 Read More..

Roasted Squash Soup (Recipe)

Roasted Squash Soup This recipe makes some delicious squash soup, which is a healthy way to keep yourself warm as the evenings turn cool. If you like a creamy, herby, or spicy soup, there are some flavor variations included below. I recommend using a sweet, dense-fleshed winter squash such as butternut, buttercup, or kabocha. Alternatively, […] Read More..

Grameen is installing 1000 solar home systems a day…in rural Bangladesh!

In one of the poorest countries on the planet a renewable energy service company is installing one thousand solar home systems – a day. Not in its capital or busy urban centers, but where 80 percent of the population lives – in rural Bangladesh. The company, Grameen Shakti, literally translates as rural energy. By the […] Read More..

Long Orange Firecrackers

In our home garden, we just picked carrots this week. From one raised bed, my kids unearthed an armload of long orange firecrackers. Picking carrots, potatoes, and root/tuber vegetables is such a satisfying harvest. There is something special about bringing up buried treasure: you’re never quite sure what is hidden until you pull it out […] Read More..

Some Sick Chickens and Eggs in Your Food Supply

The U.S. government is attempting to cut the jobs of 1,000 poultry inspectors to save $85 million per year. The new plan is to have the poultry industry “self inspect” themselves (after all, the same concept worked well with Wall Street, right?). One poultry industry inspector will now be responsible for “inspecting” the dizzying number […] Read More..