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Those of us with school-aged children probably respond especially strongly to stories about child laborers around the world, children much like ours but without the protections of law or economic security against exploitation, abuse, and exhaustion.  My six-year-old daughter has terrific manual dexterity and loves sewing and crafts.  Right now she fits these pursuits into her limited free time between school and activities, comfortable regular meals and bedtimes.  Under other circumstances, she might be putting in 16-hour days making beaded clothing for a pittance.  It’s an unbearable thought.

I wanted to share a compelling article from the March 10 Forbes on child labor, mostly in agriculture, and in particular detailing the problems of the GE cottonseed industry, undertaken by Indian farmers contracted to companies like Monsanto and Syngenta.  According to the article, there are between 12 and 50 million children under the age of 14 working in India.

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(Cross-posted from Cherry River Fishing Access.)

The Montana At-Large House seat has been held for the past 4 terms by mediocre Republican Denny Rehberg, whose most recent legislative accomplishment according to the Library of Congress was introducing a resolution to recognize the 125th birthday of Billings.  It was referred to committee nearly a year ago.

More about Rehberg as a Very Serious Person, in a diary I’d previously missed, here.  What an ass.

Montana, besides having a popular Democratic governor, is also (since the election of Jon Tester in 2006) represented by two Democratic U.S. senators.  Sen. Max Baucus should coast to an easy reelection.  The time is right to focus on targeting Rehberg this November.

As of February 12, we have a declared Democratic opponent for Rehberg: consumer and personal injury attorney Jim Hunt of Helena.

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I diaried last week about my pledge to try "locavory" in the upcoming year.


Saying you're going to "eat local" is all well and good, but what counts as local?  In a large, semi-arid state with few population centers, I have to figure out how widely to cast my net.  No matter where you live, this matter of arriving at an appropriate definition is crucial and must vary from place to place, depending on the productivity of local land and the activity of the local economy.


What is the best definition of "local food"?

6%8 votes
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28%35 votes
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16%20 votes
0%0 votes
7%9 votes
2%3 votes
2%3 votes

| 125 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:16 PM PST

Let the Wild Locavory Start!

by renaissance grrrl

I've mentioned this to several people now. But I'd yet to make a public commitment. Here goes:

My daughter and I are "eating local" (with a couple exceptions), for a year, starting June 3 with the opening of the first of two local farmer’s markets.

In this, as many will recognize, we are inspired by Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful and immensely popular Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which I also raved about here.

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Dear Kossack friends, and supporters of a new, healthier, more humane, ecologically- and economically-sound food and agriculture system...

This is the promised follow-up to my diary of January 13 (it seems like an age ago): Helping your fellow NKossacks get to Netroots Nation '08!

That diary had two aims.  First, recognizing that the Netroots Nation convention (July 17-20, in Austin, TX)  is out of financial reach for some of our most valuable allies and coconspirators, it proposed a decentralized, grassroots fundraising model by which various formal or informal groups of Kossacks could arrange "scholarships" for their members.

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This will be a very short diary, but I wanted to call attention to "The Corner"'s take on Obama's speech tonight.  Says Peter Wehner,

Barack Obama's speech tonight was simply exceptional — and a reminder of why he is one of the most remarkable political talents in our lifetime.


If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, Republicans have a great deal to fear. He has tremendous break-out potential.

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Earlier today I found myself writing this comment:

Okay... if I were the boss of all you

I would make the following list of forbidden language:

"race card"
"sour grapes"

ay, that's just a start.  Anyone want to add more?

Now this, as you can see from the above short list, was not (primarily) in defense of a particular candidate.  I've just gotten to a point where there is a long list of words and phrases, bandied about in relation to our candidates, that have lost all useful meaning and serve no purpose except to enrage their hearers.  They're kneejerk words.  Kneejerk use.  Kneejerk response.  They're driving me crazy.


Which word/phrase annoys you most?

11%5 votes
13%6 votes
11%5 votes
15%7 votes
4%2 votes
11%5 votes
22%10 votes
2%1 votes
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| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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'Cause we all still really love each other here, right?  Consistent upwellings of fellow feeling?  I mean, what's a bit of outrageous sniping and wildly dishonest warfare between friends?

By July, the primary wars will be over.  I trust.  (Oh, shit, the Democratic National Convention isn't until August.)  And an event is coming that can help make us a whole community again: the alliteratively-named Netroots Nation N2008, July 17-20 in Austin, TX!

It'll do the best job of making us a whole community if everybody here-- regardless of financial means-- who wants to attend, and can contribute valuable content, is able to do so.  Please follow me over the fold for an example of how organized groups of Kossacks can help their friends, allies-- yes, even their bitterly sworn enemies-- find their way to the sort-of-expensive convention which has become the high holiday of our blogyear.

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Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 07:49 AM PST

Dude, where'd my tires go?

by renaissance grrrl

Monday I replaced the tires on my car. They were all-weather tires that had come with the car from the factory in the summer of 2002, and were going bald and cracked. Since my car's a four-wheel-drive, I replaced all four.

But as my daughter and I had walked by the open garage, piled high with tires, she'd marvelled. Look at all those. Yeah, there were a lot, but I've seen more simply dumped in piles here and there across the landscape. My biggest reluctance in tire replacement was not price, it was waste. What the hell was going to happen to my, and everybody's, old tires? If there are miles-long rafts of plastic bags floating in the Pacific Ocean, are there tire buttes, mountains, jetties? The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says that industry and EPA estimates suggest an average of one waste tire per year generated by each person in the U.S.. Seriously, where are they gonna go?


Do YOU know what happened to your last set of tires?

10%18 votes
4%8 votes
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| 169 votes | Vote | Results

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Finally! I admit the August recess (and yes, I'm aware it's September 25) caused me to take my eye off this ball. It's time for a whirlwind reorientation, mainly an opportunity for me to catch up with what's been happening; I hope those with additional news, insights, and corrections will add those in the comments.  So what's going on, these days, with the Farm Bill, which passed the House in July and is now on to the Senate?

First of all, timing. A lot of other things have been on the Senate’s plate this month, including the post-surge Iraq assessment. Poor Tom Harkin and his farm bill have been put off, again. Since the 2002 farm bill expires on September 30, a 30-day extension will be sought (for the time being, though further short-term extensions are certainly possible). Harkin still says he intends for the Agriculture Committee to take up the farm bill in the first week of October, before the Columbus day break. It’s unclear to me how likely that actually is.

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Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 05:02 PM PDT

A very special WYFP.

by renaissance grrrl

** Won't you please share the joy of WYFP by recommending?

WYFP is our community's Saturday evening gathering to talk about our problems, empathize with one another, and perhaps share advice. Everyone and all sorts of troubles are welcome. May we find peace and healing here. :-)

Folks, tonight, struggling with a bit of writer's block, I bring you the first ever (I think) Flarf WYFP.

"Flarf poetry," as defined by Wikipedia, is "an avant garde poetry movement of the late 20th century and the early 21st century. Its first practitioners practiced an aesthetic dedicated to the exploration of "the inappropriate" in all of its guises. Their method was to mine the Internet with odd search terms then distill the results into often hilarious and sometimes disturbing poems, plays, and other texts."

This makes it sound serious.

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Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 11:34 AM PDT

Whither the Farm Bill Now?

by renaissance grrrl

I took a farm bill break, and so did most people for a few days after the House passed it on July 27 (its passage is reported here in haiku form). But it's worth taking stock of where we stand, with the Senate due to take up the bill in September, after the recess.

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