Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘family values’ Category

Good News From The Biomass Front

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 6, 2010

The Kreidermachers show how it’s done.

From the Sustainability page on their website:

Everything grown onsite – our family grows everything on the farm starting from seeds or small cuttings of plants, so there is no trucking of finished plants before you purchase them in our retail greenhouse. We have a special production greenhouse with open roof vents (below), so we don’t need to run fans to cool the greenhouse and plants get direct sun making them adapt faster when you take them home.

Water conservation – for several decades we’ve watered all the plants thru “ebb and flow” benching (below), which means we pump water into the bench, let the plants soak up the water and then drain the remainder back into a tub at the end of the bench to save for the next watering. Besides saving a lot of water, the plants stay healthier since the foliage isn’t getting wet (and susceptible to disease). For nearly the past decade, we’ve taken the next step by collecting rain water onsite and using it to water the plants. We also have rain collection barrels for customers to use at home.

Heating thru renewable energy sources – as everyone is concerned about the increasing cost of gas for their cars/trucks, we’ve been seeing even sharper increases in natural gas prices for heating the greenhouses over the past decade. Eric and Paul have changed the greenhouse heating to bio-mass boilers (above) and currently working on making our own pellets from native prairie grasses, corn stover, etc., which are better renewable energy sources. See Alternative Energy Solutions, LLC for more.

Natural liquid Daniels Fertilizer – everyone comments on how healthy our plants look. We credit some of that to the fact that for more than ten years we have used a liquid fertilizer that is much “friendlier” to plants. It’s a natural fertilizer, made from soybean extract, and thereby doesn’t burn the plant’s roots if it’s stressed. We also sell the Daniels Fertilizer in the retail for use at home.

Soil Mix made with renewable resources – we’ve been working for years to get the right mix of components to grow in, and in the past few years we’ve been primarily looking at alternatives to peat moss. Our soil mix (pictured below) is now primarily made with Coir (Coconut fiber) and Rice hulls. We also make a soil mix especially formulated for container gardening that can be purchased in our retail.

Organic pest & disease control – We don’t like having to spray chemicals anymore than our customers, so we’ve been experimenting with beneficial bugs and compost teas. We still need to do more work to understand how it all works, but so far it seems to be looking very promising. Customers are always asking for “safer” means of treating bugs and fungus on their plants at home. We have the best organic products on the market.

Bio-degradable pots & baskets – for a number of years we’ve used fiber hanging baskets and perennial pots, as well as Rice hull pots for the annuals. Both the fiber and rice hull pots will break down in a compost pile or landfill within 2-3 years, but unfortunately they don’t break down fast enough to leave the plants in them when you plant in the ground. Our goal, beyond getting rid of the use of plastics, is to find a pot that you can just put in the ground with your plant still in it and the roots will go right thru the pot. We’re getting closer this year with a new pot (pictured below) for the vegetables that has slits for the roots to grow right thru.

We’re never done searching for ways to improve the way we grow or “greener” ways to do it. We’ll be sure to keep updating on what we’re doing.

Posted in energy, environment, family values, farming, food, gardening, global food crisis, global warming, Good Causes, Good Things, Minnesota, sustainability | 3 Comments »

Family Values Candidates

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 10, 2010

It’s rather amusing to see the Republicans fielding “family values” (read: social conservative trogdolyte) candidates, especially when so many of them turn out to be silly little hypocrites.

I was reminded of this again when thinking about the way the Republican Party of Minnesota has packaged Tom Emmer, fan of boozing and bullying (whether by himself or family members), as a “family values” candidate because he’s only been married once and has had seven kids so far by his wife, whereas Mark Dayton, whose own alcohol issues (unlike Emmer’s or Emmer’s staffs‘) have been confessed to and addressed in an appropriate medical matter before anyone could ask him about them, is somehow evil because he’s been married and divorced twice.

Oh, how soon they forget.

When Mark Dayton ran for Senate in the year 2000, his opponent, and the incumbent in the office, was a fellow by the name of Rod Grams. Grams, a former anchorman for what would become the local FOX News affiliate, first was elected to the U.S. House in 1992 and, rather than defend his Sixth Congressional seat in 1994, chose to run for Senate instead, and was swept into office in the 1994 wave election. Grams was such an airhead that he was utterly helpless to do anything much other than hit his marks and do what his minders ordered. His press secretary, Peter Hong, became known as “Senator Hong” to the local and national media.

Of course, Grams was a “family values” candidate, despite the fact — long unspoken by the local press — that his marriage was in a shambles and that rumors about him and his chief of staff Christine Gunhus had been circulating for quite some time. However, an attempted bit of dirty-tricksterism by Gunhus against Mike Ciresi, one of the Democrats vying to face Grams in the general election, wound up backfiring so badly that it led to the exposure of the inner workings of the Grams campaign, including the exposure of Grams’ affair with Gunhus. Grams would go on to lose the election to Dayton; after leaving the Senate, he divorced his wife Lolly and married Gunhus.

But that wasn’t the end of Grams’ political aspirations; he’s run for office a few times since then, though he hasn’t actually won any of his races. And of course, he’s endorsed Tom Emmer, a fellow “family values” candidate.

As for Grams’ right-hand man “Senator Hong”, he was last in the news two years ago when he was busted for trying to pick up a hooker. What was that about “Family Values” again?

Posted in 2010, false prophets, family values, Minnesota | Tagged: | 20 Comments »

Emmer Family Values?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 3, 2010

The political news of the week in Minnesota seems to have been the undermining of the wholesome image surrounding Tom Emmer by the discovery that his son Tripp, who is employed by his father’s campaign, is not all that wholesome:

The source of the photos says they were obtained more than a year ago, at a time when Tripp’s privacy preferences on Facebook made the images available to the public.

That also means he was 19 or younger when he was snapped power drinking with his bros and posing alongside a passed-out girl with a penis drawn on her face and arm in marker.

Make that “at least three penises drawn on her face and both arms with a marker”. The Cucking Stool also has the photo, with a grinning Tripp giving the thumbs-up. In the interests of irony, the pic is placed next to a shot of him from the Emmer “wholesome family” TV ad making the same gesture. As TCS’ Aaron Klemz and Steve Timmer say:

The moral character of a spokesman and endorser in such a case is a legitimate issue. If you don’t think so, consider what happened to Tiger Woods when it became known what a philanderer he was.

[…]

Let’s be direct: this is assault.

[…]

The Emmer campaign has mostly avoided talking about traditional family values issues in this campaign, supposedly focusing on bread-and-butter economic issues. It can do this by using the Emmer family as an enthymeme. Look at Tom Emmer’s fecundity! He’s pro-life! Just a big, good old fashioned heterosexual family here! Just like his patron Sarah Palin, Emmer’s learned that you don’t to say a word about these issues; you just need to use your family as a prop. And like Bristol Palin, Tripp Emmer’s demonstrating that when you use your family as a symbol, their conduct becomes relevant.

Messrs. Klemz and Timmer aren’t just woofing when they call this assault, by the way. This looks like the relevant Minnesota statute — and Lord help them if it turns out that they slipped her roofies. [UPDATE: “They” in this case meaning Tripp Emmer, his male friend in the photo, the person taking the picture, and anyone else who was on the scene at the time.]

This is why the conservative apologists currently clogging the CP letters thread defending Tom and Tripp Emmer are focusing on the far less severe evidence of underage drinking than on the damning Facebook photo.

Posted in 2010, conservativism, family values, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 34 Comments »

Good News From Colombia, Of All Places

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 4, 2010

Proof that good things can flourish even in one of the world’s most notorious narcostates:

Indigenous and rural women from southern Tolima, a province located in the heart of Colombia, are lending a hand to the bleak land around them, with the aim of simultaneously recovering the ecosystem and regaining their own dignity, in a community effort that is changing their environment and their lives.

Manos de Mujer (Women’s Hands) is the name of the non-governmental organisation working since 2001 in Natagaima, a town some 100 kilometres south of the provincial capital, Ibagué. Nine hundred women of the Pijao native community plant ecosystem-friendly seeds to grow natural crops without the use of agrochemicals.

“Nine years ago, the land all around my plot was a yellowish colour. There were only one or two lonely trees,” Claudina Loaiza, who has been part of the projects since its onset, told IPS.

[…]

“When I left the father of my children, because of his drinking and cheating, I began planting my own fruit and vegetable garden in my yard; this was something I really wanted,” Loaiza said, her eyes shining as she introduced her daughter and niece, who work the land with her.

“I’m the kind of woman who’d rather be alone than have a bad man by her side,” she said, before going on to describe how she fenced off her one-hectare garden with 144 metres of wire netting.

“I felt, and I still feel, so proud, because we were planting beans, watermelon, plantain, cassava, corn, green vegetables and all sorts of things, without using any weed killers or chemicals, just what we prepared for fertilising and replenishing the soil,” she explained.

Posted in Colombia, environment, family values, farming, food, gardening, Good Things | 1 Comment »

This Is What Decency Looks Like

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 13, 2009

1105reppledge1

Ten-year-old Will Phillips, in the West Fork School District in Washington County, Arkansas, did something very brave recently:

There’s a 10-year-old lad, a fifth-grader at West Fork Elementary, who decided he wasn’t going to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school anymore because there was no liberty or justice for all in America, as the pledge’s rote recitation asserts.

He’d concluded that gay people didn’t get equal justice or liberty in this country and that he was loath to mouth something suggesting they did.

That is to say the boy was thoughtful, sensitive, courageous and free.

And it wasn’t just a one-time action, either:

The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will’s mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Each day, the substitute got a little more cross with him. On Thursday, it finally came to a head. The teacher, Will said, told him that she knew his mother and grandmother, and they would want him to stand and say the pledge.

“She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up,” Will said. “I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ‘With all due respect, ma’am, you can go jump off a bridge.’ ”

Will was sent to the office, where he was given an assignment to look up information about the flag and what it represents. Meanwhile, the principal called his mother.

“She said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge,” Laura Phillips said. “My first response was: Why? He’s not just going to say this because he doesn’t want to do his math work.”

Eventually, Phillips said, the principal told her that the altercation was over Will’s refusal to stand for the pledge of allegiance, and admitted that it was Will’s right not to stand. Given that, Laura Phillips asked the principal when they could expect an apology from the teacher. “She said, ‘Well I don’t think that’s necessary at this point,’ ” Phillips said.

And of course, since he’s sticking up for gay people, he’s getting the usual sort of harrassment. But he’s standing firm, if you will, in his refusal to stand for a pledge that he believes is untrue.

You are a good young man, Will Phillips. Good and brave and honorable. I can’t wait to see what you’ll be like in another ten years.

Posted in Constitution, family values, freedom, gay rights, heroes | 6 Comments »

The Art of the Cutout

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 5, 2009

Many of us are familiar with the concept of the Bright Shiny Object, which is a relatively unimportant but attention-grabbing news item used to draw away our interest from a much more important story unfolding at the same time. (One could make the argument that most of our corporate media news output is almost nothing but Bright Shiny Objects. But I digress.)

A variation on the BSO is the Cutout. The Cutout, like its close cousin the Straw Man, is a Bright Shiny Object that has a deceptive similarity to the item the Cutout’s deployer wants to hide. The main difference is that the Straw Man is fictional, whereas a Cutout typically is based on a real incident or thing.

(A famous historical example of the use of a Straw Man — or in this case, a Straw Woman — was when the mythical “Elizabeth Lucy”, alleged wife of Edward Plantagenet, was created and then debunked by Tudor apologist Sir Thomas More in an effort to discredit the existence of real-life woman Lady Eleanor Butler, who had indeed married Edward, the future King Edward IV of England, before he’d married Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of his two sons and heirs. More, working on behalf of Tudor usurper Henry Lancaster (later Henry VII), wanted to hide the existence of Lady Butler, because the fact of her marriage to Edward meant that his children by the later bigamous marriage were illegitimate and therefore no longer in the direct line of succession — which meant that Edward’s brother Richard, who succeeded him as king when the existence of the Butler marriage was discovered shortly after Edward’s death, had no reason to kill Edward’s sons, as Henry and More claimed he did, whereas Henry VII, whose claim to the throne was far shakier than Richard’s, had every reason to want the lads dead. See also: page 102, The Daughter of Time. But I digress again.)

Over at Firedoglake, Teddy Partridge notices the Hacktacular Howard Kurtz’ weird obsession with the Letterman extortion case — which to me sounds very much like Kurtz is using it as a Cutout to bury the news of the Ensign extortion case:

Writing about Letterman’s extortion from the city where Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn acted as the go-between for a workplace adulterer and his extortionist suggests Howie Kurtz is dangling a shiny object for the Versailles media to fondle and examine, when there’s lackluster Village media coverage of an in-town crime worth reporting.

I mean, there was actual money paid out in Ensign’s case, and unlike in Letterman’s, no one notified the authorities. Unless you count FOX News as an authority.

Wouldn’t a real media reporter ask questions about the DeeCee’s media near-blackout of the ongoing Coburn/Ensign saga?

Good question, Teddy!

Posted in false prophets, family values, GOP/Media Complex, hypocrites, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on The Art of the Cutout

Giving Themselves A Wedgie

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 11, 2009

Several events, seemingly unrelated, occurred recently:

— Dick Cheney, asked to choose between Rush Limbaugh and Colin Powell, took the vastly overpaid, Clear-Channel-killing “fatass drug addict” over his own former Joint Chiefs head, saying that Powell was “no longer a Republican”. I presume that means they figure that Powell is not going to come grovelling on his knees to prostrate himself before Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, as that seems to be a defining mark of a Republican these days.

Colin Powell’s high-profile endorsement of Obama in October of 2008 — an endorsement that came despite Powell’s having earlier maxed out on contributions to McCain — was probably a sign as well. I know that his backing of Obama made a lot of Republican fence-sitters I know a lot more willing to accept Obama as president, as Powell is someone that they tend to respect.

— Southern Republicans are reacting to Obama’s lifting stem-cell restrictions by planning state-level bans in the states they still control. As Salon’s Peter Dizikes points out, this is not only dumb scientifically, it’s also dumb politically: “State-level politicians from conservative districts may be staging a rear-guard action that displeases the larger public — and many Republicans nationally. A Gallup Poll from February, just before Obama’s stem cell decision, showed 39 percent of Republicans agreeing that embryonic stem cell research restrictions should be eased or eliminated. Wedge issues are supposed to split the other party, not your own.”

Nate Silver on Mike Huckabee’s statements on the GOP’s constitutency:

If you accept Huckabee’s assertion — that social conservatives are always economic conservatives, but economic conservatives are not always social conservatives — it follows that social conservatives are necessarily a subset of economic conservatives…

The GOP’s real problem, of course, is that there is far from perfect overlap between social conservatives and economic conservatives…

The irony of all of this is that Huckabee’s greatest appeal is probably to economically moderate (or even liberal), but socially conservative voters, precisely the sorts of voters that he says don’t exist. But these voters do exist, and the GOP’s medium-term choice is probably in picking between them (which, FWIW, probably requires their making significant into the Hispanic and perhaps even African-American communities) and their alter egos, which are fiscally conservative but socially moderate, libertarianish voters. Right now, however, the GOP’s messaging is so haphazard that they are probably losing majorities of both groups.

Five years after legalizing marriage equality (aka “gay marriage”), Massachusetts residents have noticed that the sky stubbornly refuses to fall. As Nate Silver noted last month — as Iowa was about to join Massachusetts and Connecticut et al in legalizing marriage equality, and Maine would soon follow — the tide is rapidly shifting in favor of marriage equality, thus depriving the Republicans of a favorite wedge issue even as the appeal to racism (another favorite GOP trick) is losing its potency.

Does this all say anything to you? It does to me.

Posted in Dick Cheney, family values, fearmongering, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, stem cell research | Tagged: | Comments Off on Giving Themselves A Wedgie

Homemade Jamz Blues Band

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 10, 2009

It’s a three-piece band — two brothers, one sister — and the youngest member (the drummer) is ten years old.

And they’re scary good: http://www.myspace.com/homemadejamzbluesband

Posted in family values, Good Things, Just for fun | 2 Comments »

Happy Easter/Ostara/Spring Festival Of Your Choice!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 12, 2009

Bring on the fertility! (Well, not for me personally, unless it’s for my garden.)

In that spirit, here’s Gjallarhorn and their song/video dedicated to Suvetar, the Finnish goddess of spring. Enjoy!

Posted in family values, farming, gardening, Good Things, saving the earth | Comments Off on Happy Easter/Ostara/Spring Festival Of Your Choice!

Focusing On The Family?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 7, 2009

Things that make you go “eeeewww!”:

Oooo dear. I guess being a fundamentalist Christian doesn’t make you a good person. Or even a law abiding one. Juan Alberto Ovalle, 42, who works for a Spanish-speaking arm of  Focus on the Family, narrates Biblical text for their Spanish language CDs and

founded Spanish Christian Audio in 2001 to help Christian organizations with their audio needs

was arrested on suspicion of using the Internet to arrange sex with a girl under 15. Jzs, ur dum.

I’d link to the audio, but FotF has apparently yanked it.

More on Ovalle here and here.

Posted in eedjits, evil, faith-based flim-flams, false prophets, family values, Professional Christians, WTF? | Comments Off on Focusing On The Family?