Sunday Morning Reads………An Eclectic Mix

Good Morning, All. I am pinch hitting for JJ while she and her family are visiting our nation’s capital. I haven’t traveled much, but I have been to D.C. twice. What an amazing place. This will be an eclectic mix of links and stories, covering many different categories. I hope you will find at least some of them of interest to you.

This first group is about gardening. bb had mentioned to me that she likes to work in her garden, so I figured she would enjoy these. The first is a list of ideas on how to attract butterflies to your garden.

Planting your garden with plants that attract butterflies is only one step in making your garden butterfly-friendly. Once butterflies discover your garden the females will lay eggs on plants that become food for the hatching caterpillars.

The host plant selected, and the time of year the eggs are laid, depends on the species of butterfly. Different butterflies prefer different host plants.

Bees are pollinaters, picking up pollen as they go from flower to flower to gather nectar. Obviously they are an important component for a successful garden. Besides nectar, bees also need water and this has ideas about how to make a watering hole for bees.

As the temperature rise in the garden it is important to remember the bees you’re attracting to your garden will also be searching for water. For bees, a supply of water is as important as pollen and nectar forage in the summer.

Besides the lovely green foliage of a garden, it is important to do what we can to use “green” products. Treehugger contributor Ramon Gonzalez provides a list of 10 sustainable garden products.

A garden that is kinder to the earth can be achieved through the selection of products and tools that are sustainably manufactured or given new life through recycling. It’s never been so easy to build a garden that’s green from the moment you plunge that spade into the soil.

Many commercial fertilizers used in both gardening and farming contain phosphates. Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show covered a story about Simplot, a phosphate mining company in Idaho. Naturally, it is a satirical look at the dangers of phosphate mining and the damage being done by the by-product, selenium. Greater Yellowstone Coalition is an environmental organization working to get J.R. Simplot Co. to Clean Up Its Smoky Canyon Mine Superfund Site.

The New York Times featured a story and video today about the industrial damage done to Newtown Creek since the mid-1800s, and Mitch Waxman who has chronicled its history. The waterway was declared a Super Fund site in 2010.

If Mitch Waxman is your guide, he will identify it as the derelict smokestack of Peter Van Iderstine’s fat-rendering business, which first set up shop in 1855. But he won’t stop there.
He will expound on the archaic waste-disposal operations that once flourished on the creek, conjuring scenes of putrescent horse carcasses floating in on barges from Manhattan and docks piled with manure three stories high. The narrative will extend to Cord Meyer’s bone blackers and Conrad Wissel’s night soil wharf — the gothic names of these forgotten businesses rattled off in a distinct Brooklyn accent.
At some point, he will start in on the horrors of the M. Kalbfleisch Chemical Works, eventually making his way to the sins of Standard Oil.

Moving on to some stories about activism that caught my eye. The first story comes from Truth-Out about The Heritage Foundation’s conference to re-brand the Occupy Movement. Matt Dineen interviews Jason del Grandio, the author of Rhetoric for Radicals. Here’s a snippet of what Jason has to say about his perceived purpose of the conference.

The speakers make frequent reference to capitalism, free markets and free enterprise, and often mention traditional buzzwords like individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Heritage Foundation is trying to understand the populist appeal of Occupy, and by doing so, trying to use that appeal to “win back” some of the Occupiers. Or, at the very least, to impede Occupy’s progress and win the hearts and minds of those who are still on the fence.

Brian Merchant interviews Tzeporah Berman, an environmental activist since was was 19, for Treehugger. This quote really hit home for me – you can’t un-know or un-see an injustice once your eyes, mind and heart have been opened to them.

Sometimes I wish I could open up a paper and not be immediately drawn to the story about mercury in fish or the dramatic increase in flooding in Sudan. But I can’t now.

Have you heard of Emem Okon, the Nigerian ecofeminist? I had not. She is a courageous woman, organizing other women of the Niger River Delta and taking on Chevron. The interview from Antonia Juhasz is reprinted from Ms magazine on Truth-Out.

One of the most prominent voices was Emem Okon, founder and executive director of Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre of Nigeria. A community organizer and women’s rights activist from the Niger Delta, Okon is leading a thriving Nigerian ecofeminist movement. She has coordinated several local women’s networks and coalitions, including Women Against Climate Change (WACC), International Network on Women and Environment, Niger Delta Women for Justice and Niger Delta Women’s Movement.

Speaking of women, the New York Times featured a story on the the Human Rights Film Festival at Lincoln Center. The review starts off with a profile of The Invisible War, which won the 2012 Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

It hardly needs to be said that any armed force has the potential for internal as well as external violence. But “The Invisible War,” Kirby Dick’s incendiary documentary about the epidemic of rape within the United States military, is a shocking and infuriating indictment of widespread sexual attacks on women. Such behavior, the film argues, is tacitly condoned and routinely covered up; the victims are often blamed and their reputations destroyed.

I found other links to discussions of the film, at the military publication, Stars and Stripes along with stories about Congress denying healthcare coverage for abortions for military women who have been raped. from Mother Jones.

The Rio+20 Summit begins on Monday, June 18th. President Obama and England’s David Cameron WON’T be attending, however Hillary Clinton will be representing the U.S. BBC News has more about Rio+20 and the awful state of the world’s oceans.

The researchers assessed the various pledges made at the landmark 1992 Earth Summit and 10 years later at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Governments vowed to establish an ecologically sound network of marine reserves by 2012, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal fishing, protect critical habitat, look after the needs of local fishermen and restore depleted stocks to healthy levels by 2015.

Subsidies have not been eliminated, and illegal fishing is still a major issue in some parts of the world.

Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s On Point, interviewed Bill McKibben of on Friday’s show. McKibben’s name is probably best known for the protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline, held outside of the White House, along with his subsequent arrest for protesting. You can listen to the audio at the link above. Here’s a short introduction:

Environmental champion Bill McKibben wrote nearly a quarter century ago about what he called “the end of nature.” The untouched wild. He didn’t think he was writing about the end of the world. But the climate change path since then has been a scary one. Bad to worse.

And McKibben has gone from writerly philosopher to full-on environmentalist to activist in handcuffs. Political street fighter. He was at the heart of the campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Arrested at the gates of the White House.

The current campaign of McKibben and is ending fossil fuel subsidies. These companies are paid by governments in the neighborhood of 1 TRILLION DOLLARS a year to pollute our planet. is organizing a Twitterstorm for June 18th. Although I don’t have a cell phone (and refuse to get one), I plan to set up a Twitter account so that I can participate. I hope that you will go to the link and sign up to participate as well. This quote comes from Treehugger about the Twitterstorm:

If you’re itching to do some petition signing right now: End Fossil Fuel Subsidies, and check out how your representative (in the US) stands on ending subsidies: End Fossil Fuel Subsidies Scorecard

There’s also more info on the Facebook event page: Twitter Storm: #EndFossilFuelSubsidies

Since it’s Father’s Day, I thought I would end this with a trbute video to a very special Dad
from Discovery News.

41 Comments on “Sunday Morning Reads………An Eclectic Mix”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    One more link for Father’s Day: This is from Story Corps on NPR. These are family members or friends interviewing each other, telling a personal memory from their life to the other person. They are so touching. The interviews will be stored in the Library of Congress – an oral history of real American people. Give it a listen. And the animated video at the end is good, too.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    What a gorgeous photo that is! Now going to read your post….

    • bostonboomer says:

      And what a fabulous roundup of reads! Thank you for the gardening info! I’m afraid my yard is a horrible mess, because it’s really hard for me to manage it all alone. I do have a lot of perennials though, and I enjoy them very much. Since I can’t afford a lot of plants, when a see something that looks like a native grass plant, I let it go. That has been fun.

      I had a butterfly bush for a couple of years, but it couldn’t handle the New England winters. You should see the one my mom has in Indiana! The butterflies flock to it.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Gardening looks easy on TV – Martha Stewart doesn’t even get dirty. Between my back, neck & ankles, gardening would probably do me in.

        I’m sure there are butterflies that are attracted to so-called weeds, which most times are native plants. If that’s the case, you may be on your way to a butterfly garden without really trying!

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    More on Rio+20 & the fight to keep women included from RH Reality Check (

    Agenda 21 acknowledges that environmental policy must take into account protecting the rights of women; that strategies for poverty eradication must include empowering women’s groups; and that women should have full, access to land, resources, and ownership; It also includes full recognition of women’s rights in health including reproductive health. Now, however, during negotiations, a few countries within the G77, mainly led by Egypt, are attempting to block references to women’s human rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and to women’s right to inherit land and other productive resources. The Holy See, a non-member-state permanent member of the United Nations — without legitimacy to speak on behalf of a citizenry of its own — is seeking to impose their values on Catholics and non-Catholics alike by watering down references to gender equality, women’s human rights, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

  4. Beata says:

    This is an impressive round-up of reads, Connie. Thank you for your hard work!

    I love your new gravatar, btw.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    I just forced myself to watch Mitt Romney on Face the Nation, and my first reaction is that he must take a tanning bed with him on his campaign plane.

    I was hoping Bob Shieffer would press him a little bit, but he really didn’t. Shieffer did try to get Romney to be a little bit specific about what he’d do to help the economy in the wake of a Eurozone crash, but Romney pushed for more austerity or we’d end up like Europe! Of course Europe has tried nothing BUT austerity. Shieffer didn’t call him on it, of course.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Hope springs eternal? Mitt’s campaign motto should be: Hopelessness & Spare Change for those other people. Liberty & Freedom for the Rich. I’m holding out for Mittens on The Daily Show. I can see him running from the stage in tears.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    Rodney King was found dead in his pool this morning in LA.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh no!

    • HT says:

      The comments on that article are horrendous. We truly have gone into a place where I don’t want to be.
      RIP Mr King

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I didn’t even venture there. It’s nice to have a place (here) to have reasonable, rational discussions without worrying about all the hateful comments that appear on so many blogs & news stories.

      • Beata says:

        I agree, Connie. There are many blogs and news websites I simply refuse to visit. How nice to have a few places like SkyDancing where issues can be discussed in a civil manner.

        Thank you Dak, BB, and other SkyDancers!

  7. HT says:

    Great roundup connie. I am currently and surreptiously growing a milkweed plant – although it’s been designated as a noxious weed, it’s the only plant that Monarch butterfly caterpillars feed on, so I’m keeping it a secret.
    WRT to mercury poisoning – 40 years after the identification of the toxic affects:

  8. ecocatwoman says:

    Sorry, but just had to share this link too:

    Maybe the 99% should abandon all other fights & focus on bringing down the Koch Bros. That, in an of itself, would solve so many problems. If nothing else, please everyone, when at all possible avoid buying their products.

  9. foxyladi14 says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!! 🙂

  10. ecocatwoman says:

    Here’s a link to a very short trailer for The Invisible War. I urge you to take a moment and watch it. It isn’t scheduled to play in my town, unfortunately.

    • northwestrain says:

      Democracy Now had interviews with the director and the women the film focused on.

      One of the things that really disturbed me was the coast guard woman who was raped — rape was so common and from a few officers. The officers didn’t want to be bothered because they were involved in ICE (immigration) training.

      So the Coast guard officers right up the chain of command were more interested in catching “illegal” aliens to fill up the for profit jails so that the female aliens could be raped by the guards. The for profit jail corporations were fighting the Fed anti rape legislation — corporations wanted immunity for the guards who rape inmates.

      These Homeland Security trained Coast Guard ICE agents can’t be bothered with the crime happening under their own noses. These rapes of female coast guard are unforgivable. Until this mess is cleaned up who can have any respect for the coast guard — or other males in any branch of the service? Those that know about or hear the rapes and do nothing are as guilty as the rapists.

      In the end the raping is costing the tax payers millions if not billions — women and men who have been raped will need treatment for PTSD. These victims didn’t sign up to be raped — but it happens all too frequently.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Is the Democracry Now show archived online? I really would like to see this film, but unless it gets wider distribution, I’ll have to wait for the DVD. Thanks for the extra info.

      • northwestrain says:

        Here’s the link to the Democracy Now interview with the director and women who were the focus of the movie.

        When I was very young and living on base — an officer was raping the wives of men deployed overseas. Nothing was done to the officer — he was quickly transferred to another base. So there is a very long history of officers raping and getting away with their crimes. In fact the military seems to cover up the crimes.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Does this behavior not sound a bit familiar? Let’s say it together………..The Catholic Church! The 2 primary bastions of Patriarchy (priests & the military). The more things change, the more they stay the same. As long as Patriarchy rules the world, makes the rules, enforces the rules, holds all or most of the power and control – all of us “others” are enslaved. We – women & children in particular – are just the spoils of war, the offerings to the High Priests & Shamans. Our value is simply as property. Okay, Rant Off.

      • northwestrain says:

        1 Ah— you are correct!

        The military is one of the most patriarchal organizations as is the Catholic church. I was born into the military — but thankfully not the Catholic church. Fundamentalist churches are also part of the patriarchy — which is why the Gopers are so blindingly stupid these days.

        The GOP at one time was a decent political party — before it was hijacked by the fundamentalists.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          You are correct as well. I guess (in my aged brain), I still look at the power of the Catholic Church as the overarching Christian power structure, but the rise of the fundamentalist Christian churches, primarily in the US, are approaching the throne. I do think that the Catholic Church set the standard, as the 1st Christian religion, for the subjugation & devaluing of women and Fundamentalist ministers are following that rule book.

  11. northwestrain says:

    Bears — are smarter than previously thought.

    Bears can count.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      And they do, in more ways than one! Humans are so self important, we underestimate each other based on gender, color of skin, sexual orientation, religion, even national origin. Is it any wonder we underestimate the intelligence of the non-human animals we share the planet with?

      • northwestrain says:

        Even white lab rats can count and work out abstract logical problems. Alex the African Gray Parrot showed the world that he wasn’t just a pretty toy pet.

  12. ecocatwoman says:

    Everyone, you must watch this. It was taken live this morning on Pensacola Beach by a turtle watch volunteer. A female loggerhead has come ashore to lay her eggs & she was finishing up as the volunteer approached the area. She captured it on video!

  13. ecocatwoman says:

    Just listened to this debate (it’s delayed in my area – so ignore the date) – Obesity it the Government’s Business. One of those arguing No on this question – the ever wacko John Stossel. Check it out: I so love this show. The debates & topics are fascinating.

  14. Thank you Connie for filling in! Here is a picture of my kids in front of the Capitol…

    • bostonboomer says:

      Wonderful! Thanks for sending this, JJ. Now what about a picture of you?

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Can’t be – you are much, much too young to have children that grown up. I had envisioned them as being somewhere between 9 and 12. How is everyone holding up to the sight-seeing?

      • My daughter is 13 and my son is 14…we are all having a wonderful time…

        Connie, your post is fucking awesome! Thank you!

        • ecocatwoman says:

          I had to work hard to keep up your high quality! Hope you & the kids will watch the loggerhead & beaver daddy videos. They are so cool! And, thanks jj, for your generous praise.

    • NW Luna says:

      What fine-looking kids! Great to hear from you. But forget about us while you’re there and have a splendid time.

  15. NW Luna says:

    ecat, love your post (just catching up here) — so many interesting, maddening, and fascinating stories.