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Mammoths, really, WHY?

2014 July 28

1024px-Font-de-GaumeBy Sherry Pasquarello,WWH/CJE -

It looks like plans to bring back a genetically engineered mammoth are still in the works. Yes folks, by using an elephant and genes from a preserved mammoth we might end up with herds of elephants in need of a good dog groomer.

Now as much as I think having mammoths around to replace the elephant as the symbol of the Republican Party would be truth in advertising- honestly, I can think of far better uses for the money and the brain power involved in bringing a mammoth-elephant hybrid into the world. Yes, I’ve read the pros involved in the debate, permafrost and dwindling elephant herds…

But I wonder about the risks of diseases and frankly, the gigantic waste of research in a time when we have genetic diseases that need so much more time and resources and never seem to be addressed properly. Then there is the fact that we have children in need of shelter and food, vets on the street and in lines at the V.A. and refugee children at this very moment seeking asylum from drug wars and crushing poverty.

Yeah, it would be pretty cool to see a living mammoth, but knowing us as a species they’ll end up in zoos and as pets for the uber-rich wandering around private island compounds, permafrost, be damned. We are poor stewards of the animals we do have in our world.

Maybe we should just knit BIG shaggy brown pet coats- like we put on our pooches and pretend.





Letter to the Editor; Save Wilderland…

2014 July 26

Picture 1Hi Joe: (WWH/CJE) –  Is it possible to post a message concerning the plight of the Wilderland community in New Zealand. They are being chased by the local council over a consent development fee of NZ30,500 which has to be paid in the next 30 days or the council will sell the land.

There is a long story to this going back to the 1960s when the community was established and a number of dwellings were erected without council knowledge. This was not unusual in NZ then especially in rural areas.

In 2004 the founder died. Before his death the community had been put under a Trust, the Wilderland Trust, the purpose being to ensure the continuation of the community and the Trust were granted 64 Ha of land, the orchards, the gardens, internal roads, machinery, a shop, houses and the hall, that is that occupied and used by the community.

Not all of Wilderland went under the Trust, however. Half went to the founder’s only daughter. This was a spectacular piece of bush, harbour views and so forth, which had not been a functional part of the farm.

After Dan Hansen’s death his daughter Heather objected to the split and considered the part in the hands of the Trust was hers and there were a number of complaints to the Council about various matters including the houses without permits.

Heather took the Will to the High Court and lost the case. In the meantime an arrangement was able to be made with the Council and retrospective consent was given and repairs were made to various houses to bring them up to the current Building code, one house was demolished, one house was demolished and rebuilt as an exact replica, and a small cottage was built near the hall.

There were fees payable and it was thought an arrangement to pay the fees of over time was working until the Council about 10 days ago demanded the full outstanding amount in 30 days.

Wilderland’s response has been to organise a fund raising campaign and so far in a week nearly  US$10,000 has been raised (It is in US$ as Wilderland are using an American crowd funder) I would be grateful  if you are able to publicise the appeal. The second link is to a slightly flippant story in the local daily newpaper. Blessing. Gerald.


California Summer, Baby, is Getting Out of Hand: The Diggers and the Summer of ’67

2014 July 25
Griffith Park Love-In, May 30, 1967 | Photo: Kent Kanouse/Flickr/Creative Commons

Griffith Park Love-In, May 30, 1967 | Photo: Kent Kanouse/Flickr/Creative Commons

By  |Posted

June gloom days typically make Los Angelenos eager for the warm sunny days of Southland summers, but in June of 1967 those hip enough to be in the know were looking with worrisome eyes toward the summer months, anticipating the predicted invasion of 100,000 or more hippies to Los Angeles, its beach communities, and even into staid Orange County.

While Los Angeles cops and straights might have only demonstrated a mild concern with this rumored mass migration, it was the Los Angeles Diggers Creative Society who expressed the most apprehension and concern about the love children’s imminent arrival. The San Francisco Diggers, shivering away in the foggy panhandle of Golden Gate Park, had too been anticipating the projected influx. Each group asked themselves: What would the hippies eat? Where would they crash? Who would give them jobs? And how could they avoid getting busted by cops?

L.A. Digger News, the first published newspaper of the Digger Creative Society — undated but circulated in the late spring or early summer of 1967 — addressed the questions that were on the minds of L.A. Diggers. This bygone newspaper, or more aptly, countercultural rag, was found in a box of unsorted materials — handbills, flyers, pamphlets, self-published magazines — awaiting processing by myself, an archivist at the California Historical Society. The newspapers published by the L.A. Diggers fascinated me. I had never heard of a contingent of Diggers in Los Angeles, although I had been familiar with the San Francisco Diggers, a rowdy and rebellious counterculture group firmly rooted in the Haight Ashbury scene, whose theatrical, political actions became part of the cultural fabric of hippie-era San Francisco. But of their Southland brethren I knew nothing, and their newspaper provided little information about their inception. A web search produced only two other pieces of ephemera, both flyers for benefits organized by the Diggers. Were the Los Angeles Diggers an offshoot of the San Francisco group? How were they alike, or were they even alike at all?

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The San Francisco Diggers, most certainly, were the originators — that is, at least, by 20th century standards. The S.F. Diggers grew out of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a satirical, rambunctious, political theater group that had included S.F. Diggers originals Emmett Grogan, Peter Berg, and Peter Coyote. The S.F. Diggers took their name and philosophy from a 17th century English agrarian-communist community founded by Gerrard Winstanley and William Everand, who led their band of farmers to plots of fallow, common land at St. George Hill in Surrey, England, and encouraged them to dig, sow seeds, and cultivate land that, in their view, rightfully belonged to those who were hungry. The English Diggers believed that property was “the cause of all war, bloodshed, theft, and enslaving laws that [held] people under miserie [sic]“, they refused to participate in the buying or selling of any goods, services, or ideas, and “weren’t satisfied to disobey authority civilly; they literally ignored it.” 2 As could be expected, their movement didn’t last long — beginning in 1649 and culminating with the harassment and incarceration of group members in 1650.

Although short-lived, their movement influenced their San Francisco progenies greatly. Firstly, 17th century Diggers’ implementation of direct action — based on the simple logic that one sees uncultivated land and cultivates it, no permission asked, not even considered needed — can be boiled down to the 20th century Diggers’ simple, straightforward mantra, “Do it, baby.” Hippies hungry in the Haight? Find free food, cook it up in a huge pot, and give it away in the Panhandle. Second, the S.F. Diggers too, paid little heed to any sort of civil authority. Their first rally took place on October 6, 1966 (handbills pointed out the devilishness of the date); the same day the State of California criminalized the possession of LSD. Diggers, along with publishers of the Oracle, a Haight Ashbury underground newspaper, organized an afternoon gathering of people at Masonic and Oak streets. To the crowd the Diggers read their reimagining of the Declaration of Independence, wherein the inalienable rights of humans include freedom of the body, the pursuit of joy, and the expansion of consciousness. Embodying the Diggers ethos to “do it,” hundreds of hippies and heads dropped acid at the same moment, a communal action declaring their independence of, and indifference to the straight world’s laws and moral code Read more…


I Actually Agree With the Bishop Here

2014 July 24




By Sherry Pasquarello,WWH/CJE - 

Yeah, I know, whoda thunk it? I rarely agree with the Bishop of Pittsburgh. Not that he would care if he knew and that’s fine by me. He’s entitled to his opinions. So am I. He gave me fits over his lawsuit over ACA and birth control but I knew why he felt he had to go to court.

Now though, I’m in his corner. He supports Holy Family opening up its doors and its programs to assist about twenty border kids at a time to navigate the system and be safe while they are processed. Good on you Bishop! You rock!!

I can’t say the same for the critics of this plan. It was embarrassing to me as a proud Pittsburgher and as a human being to see some of these critics being interviewed over and over again on our local T.V. news channels.

Twenty children, wow, do they think they are going to get off of the school bus with switchblades and bags of coke????

I am waiting nervously to see if these refugee children will be greeting by red faced, screeching knuckle draggers as in other states. If so, I hope they are roundly mocked by everyone in every form of media here and in every bar and bingo hall in the Burgh.


The Joys (and Oys!) of Sex After 50

2014 July 23
by Citizen Journalist Exchange
 Most boomers (71 percent) say sex is still important to their lives. — Barry Blitt

Most boomers (71 percent) say sex is still important to their lives. — Barry Blitt

6 boomer authors open up about physical intimacy — then and now

Source; AARP MAG. – Technically, the baby boomersdidn’t invent sex. They didn’t even lead the sexual revolution — sexologist Alfred Kinsey published the first of his two groundbreaking sexual-behavior studies in 1948. The oral contraceptive pill appeared in 1960. And a complex confluence of social and cultural factors helped unbuckle Americans’ sexual lives in the late 1960s and 1970s. But you’d be forgiven for giving boomers all the credit, since they’re the ones who got to enjoy the fruits of the revolution.

Coming of age as they did in this heady, horny time, it’s little wonder that sex has always loomed large in the boomer psyche. Now that the youngest boomers are celebrating their 50th birthdays, has anything changed? To find out, we asked 1,816 people to share the intimate details of their sexual lives for an exclusive AARP survey. The good news? Most boomers (71 percent) say sex is still important to their lives. Only slightly more than half (54 percent) are satisfied with their sex lives, however, and 67 percent admit that their sexual desire has receded in the past 20 years.

The raw numbers, of course, don’t tell the full story. So we asked some of our favorite writers and thinkers to offer personal observations on the ever-changing, ever-fascinating shape of human desire.

Holy Cow, Look at Me Now!

By Sally Koslow

Last year I met with a plastic surgeon and stripped to the waist faster than [burlesque performer] Dita Von Teese. I’d been diagnosed withbreast cancer. A unilateral mastectomy was in my future. The doctor told me that when he did the replacement surgery, he could fit me with implants on both sides and make not only my faux breast a bit bigger than its original, but also add a small implant to the healthy breast, so my girls matched. Lots of women do this, he explained.

Holy cow. Through the scrim of anxiety I glimpsed a silver lining, though it might have been the glimmer of hot-girl lingerie in my future.

I’d never felt my sex life had been diminished by having small breasts. I am married to an aficionado of legs and a pert behind, and on both scores, my husband had always given me 9.5 and no lack of amorous attention. He is also a guy who held my hand during cancer’s darkest moments, changed post-surgical drains, found my drugged word slurs charming and never stopped making me feel great about my body. Still, I couldn’t wait to get my cleavage card punched. Read more…


An Israeli Soldier’s Story – Eran Efrati

2014 July 22
by Citizen Journalist Exchange

argusfest Published on Mar 8, 2014

The talk by Eran Efrati was filmed in Denver, Colorado on March 3, 2014 as part of The Soldier and the Refusenik U.S. tour with Maya Wind. Eran talk about his experiences in the IDF and then more broadly discusses Israel, its relationship to the U.S. and the global expansion of militarism.

Eran Efrati, 28, was born and raised in Jerusalem. After graduating high school he enlisted in the IDF, where he served as a combat soldier and company sergeant in Battalion 50 of the Nachal Division. He spent most of his service in Hebron and throughout the West Bank. In 2009, he was discharged and joined Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers working to raise awareness about the daily reality in the Occupied Territories. He worked as the chief investigator of the organization, collecting testimonies from IDF soldiers about their activities. He also guided political tours and to the West Bank and worked to educate Israeli youth about the reality of being a soldier in an occupying army. His collected testimonies appear in the booklet “Operation Cast Lead” and their most recent release “Our Harsh Logic”. Since leaving Breaking the Silence, his investigative reports appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Today he is active with the Israeli groups Anarchists Against the Wall and Boycott from Within.