Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Organics are Expensive & Monsanto's GMOs are Cheap

Ever wonder why organic foods are relatively more expensive and sometimes hard to find, while Monsanto and biotech-derived junk foods are cheap and omnipresent?
It's because of a federal law known as the Farm Bill that uses billions of dollars of our tax money every year to subsidize factory farms, biotech crops, and chemical agriculture.
The Farm Bill is also a major reason why obesity, diet-related disease and health care costs are skyrocketing. It's partly why food production is responsible for more than half of greenhouse gas emissions and farm run-off is fouling drinking water and creating dead-zones in the ocean.
The current Farm Bill is set to expire and be re-written this year. We have an opportunity now to press Congress to cut corporate welfare and enact agriculture reforms that would create jobs, clean up the environment, strengthen sustainable local food systems and make healthy food available to everyone.
From: Organic Consumers Association <>
Date: Thu, May 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Poisoned Bees

Honeybee Deaths Linked to Corn Insecticides

                                  Image credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
What was killing all those honeybees in recent years?  New research shows a link between an increase in the death of bees andinsecticides, specifically the chemicals used to coat corn seeds.
The study, titled "Assessment of the Environmental Exposure of Honeybees to Particulate Matter Containing Neonicotinoid Insecticides Coming from Corn Coated Seeds," was published in the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology journal, and provides insight into colony collapse disorder.
Colony collapse disorder, or the mass die-off of honeybees, has stumped researchers up to now. This new research may provide information that  could lead to even more answers.
According to the new study, neonicotinoid insecticides "are among the most widely used in the world, popular because they kill insects by paralyzing nerves but have lower toxicity for other animals."
Beekeepers immediately observed an increase in die-offs right around the time of corn planting using this particular kind of insecticide.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Book!

Here's the brief description of my recently submitted ms. on Shakespeare. Notice that I'm not shy in describing the selling points of myown work. Agents like descriptions of this sort, because they save time and effort:

Shakespeare's Back Room: Tricks and Transgressions of Genius by Robert Grudin Shakespeare's Back Room is a major breakthrough in the understanding of Shakespearean drama and a memorable celebration of the living theater. Focusing on aspects of Shakespeare's style that have been seen by most readers as strokes of pure genius, Grudin reveals the motives and methods that make them so compelling. Grudin's discoveries, including his brilliant treatment of "audience abuse," combine magisterial learning with a style so clear and graceful that it may seem as though you, he and Shakespeare are conversing in real time. Viewing the Shakespearean text from a uniquely intimate perspective, he offers new interpretations of Hamlet, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2), Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest, revealing the subtle engines of enchantment that power each play. A long-recognized Shakespeare scholar, Grudin concludes by revealing how the Bard himself considered his own unique blend of high and low styles -- of psychological depth and cunning trickery. Although Grudin's insights will be of interest to academic readers, he has presented them in a lucid, almost-spoken style that will appeal to fans of Shakespeare everywhere, and that will easily lend itself to translation into other languages. Here, for example, is the opening to Ch. 3:

To embark on a project of narrative, be it a play or a short story or a novel, is to enter a kind of mental city. This metropolis is vivid and universal, both in its population and its geography. Its population includes the full range of human ages and sexes and ethnic types that animate our actual world: the family members, the tradesmen, the professionals, students and teachers, labor and management, and the rest of what one might expect to meet on a walk through a city or town. But this population can also include, as though as a sort of Central Casting, the classic array of character types, the usual suspects of fiction: the growing child, the care giver, the young lover, the soldier, the malcontent, the fat cat, the psychopath, the outsider – in short the full complement of evolved individuals who make life unstable and interesting. The geography of this mental city is equally intimate and familiar. Its streets and squares, its bridges and byways, comprise the panorama of human experience: love, lust, longing, greed, fear, hatred, compassion and the full range of emotion, crisscrossed by parallels of memory, consciousness, oblivion and surprise. We pause by a window to hear a lover proclaiming his devotion to a young lady. At the next corner a messenger announces his news to a group of startled listeners. Across the way a tradesman extols the worth of his product, while two young wags poke fun at him in whispers. A portly mother sails by, lecturing her less-than-attentive daughter about the do’s and don’ts of life, while behind them the grandfather follows slowly, mumbling about the evils of the times. Familiar feelings, familiar forms of expression. The Greeks called them topoi, the Romans loci. Both words mean “place”, and indeed they are places in the republic of letters and the communal mind. Entry to this city is not without its fee. For writers, the price of admission can be years of study and practice. And once you’re actually downtown, the burden of proof is on you. The rank and file of writers are like shoppers, bagging an item here and there and carting them home to botch together into tales or plays. William Shakespeare, however, was more like a marauder – indeed, an Alexander the Great. He took the City of Letters by storm, laid it waste and rebuilt it again. Robert Grudin's many publications on the Renaissance include Mighty Opposites: Shakespeare and Renaissance Contrariety, Boccaccio's Decameron and the Ciceronian Renaissance and the Encyclopedia Britannica article, "Humanism." Himself a kind of Renaissance man, he has also published a five-book sequence on liberty and two novels, including the much-acclaimed Book and the nationally-honored The Most Amazing Thing. His hundreds of publications and public appearances have made him a staple of the Internet literati, while the breadth of his interests has established him as a visible presence in the current literature of several academic fields.

Grudin's speaking venues include Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts, the Parsons School, and UC, Berkeley; he has also spoken at the Herman Miller Corp., Microsoft Research, Google Headquarters (NY), the Lilly Foundation and the Fetzer Foundation. He has been the recipient of major honors, including a Fulbright scholarship, a Woodrow Wilson fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, and two grants from the NEH. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sandy has contributed a video at
with the following description:

Check out this video... His
honorable Jim Dear speaks with Melissa
McGinnis from Greenopolis TV about the
1000th trash truck to be ran off of
liquefied natural gas, which services his
community of Carson California. This
momentous effort helps to keep the air clean
by reducing green house gases and carbon,
since the harvested gas from landfills burns
at a much cleaner rate than regular diesel gas.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Clean Air Design

Today I ran out of page space at For the latest news on the air, please try

Saturday, October 1, 2011

With Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors (NYTIMES), See:

Monday, July 11, 2011

From the NYTimes, 7/10-11


An Aggressive Ruling on Clean Air

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued a welcome and overdue rule compelling power plants in 27 states and the District of Columbia to reduce smokestack emissions that pollute the air and poison forests, lakes and streams across the eastern United States. The regulation reflects the E.P.A.’s determination to carry out its mandates under the Clean Air Act despite fierce Congressional opposition, and bodes well for progress on a host of other regulatory challenges the agency faces.

Readers' Comments

Readers shared their thoughts on this article.

The rule, which takes effect in 2012, would cut emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain, and nitrogen oxide, a component of smog, by more than half by 2014 compared with 2005 levels. The E.P.A. administrator, Lisa Jackson, said the rule would improve air quality for 240 million Americans in the states where the pollution is produced and in areas downwind.

As is true of nearly every regulation spawned by the landmark 1970 Clean Air Act, the rule’s benefits will greatly outweigh its costs to industry — a truth routinely ignored by the act’s critics, most recently the Tea Party supporters in Congress. The E.P.A. estimates annual benefits at $120 billion to $240 billion, mostly from fewer premature deaths, hospital visits and lost work days associated with respiratory illnesses.

By contrast, the costs of new pollution controls and plant retirements are estimated at $800 million annually, on top of about $1.6 billion in capital improvements already under way in anticipation of the rule.

There were predictable complaints from industry lobbyists and some in Congress that the rule would impede economic growth. Those groups are likely to be even more critical of the rest of the agency’s clean-air agenda.

Over the next few months, the E.P.A. will propose new “performance standards” governing largely unregulated greenhouse gas emissions from power plants; issue a final rule mandating reductions in toxic pollutants like mercury; and propose new state and local health standards for ozone.

In addition, President Obama has asked that the agency, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, set new mileage and emission standards for cars and light trucks manufactured from 2017 to 2025. An earlier round of fuel efficiency standards in 2009 remains Mr. Obama’s single most impressive environmental achievement, but he and the auto industry are nowhere near agreement on what the new standards should be.

Taken together, these rules should lead to cleaner air, a reduction in greenhouse gases and, in the case of the automobile standards, reduced dependence on foreign oil. Given the political obstacles, completing all these will be a remarkable achievement. The new power plant rule is a promising start.