Archive for February, 2012

Greater Boston Food Bank
Greater Boston Food Bank
image by Office of Governor Patrick under Creative Commons on flickr

Our town has an excellent food bank that is a multi-church and charity cooperative. To qualify for a food bank visit, one meets with a screening counselor, and provides income information and a social security card. The food bank allows two emergency visits per year, per household for folks in our category, but this may vary for others.

We have not visited the food bank in over a year. We were extremely grateful for the two visits that we did take, at a time when we were in need.

The food bank is a highly organized warehouse with industry-sized refrigerators and freezers. Behind a counter, a worker fills grocery bags with a variety of canned, boxed, dry bagged, bakery and frozen foods. When we visited, the worker filled enough bags to load a red Radio Flyer wagon, that we then wheeled to our vehicle. The canned goods included corn, black-eyed peas, greens, beans, spinach, tomatoes, juice, sloppy joe sauce and spaghetti sauce. The boxed goods included dried milk, instant potatoes and cereal. The bagged goods included rice and noodles. The bakery was a flat of muffins and some bread. The freezer goods included USDA stamped cuts of meat from the government, hamburger, and on one occasion, a large bag of lobster. The lobster came from a local restaurant.

On the way out of the food bank are perishables for the taking in shopping carts. When we were there, the carts had potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce. We picked up a few of each.

We were able to make some excellent meals from the food bank food. Later on, when we collected some money from scrapping, we made a financial donation back to the food bank. We continue to receive their newsletter. Other donations that we have made from dumpstering include donations of car seats and clothing for women and children to the battered women’s shelter, and donations of dishes and clothing to an area church that does mission work. Everything that we have salvaged and donated has been clean and in excellent condition.

Today on the rare occasion that we can donate to a food bank collection box, we try to donate cans with pull-top lids, because we remember a time when we had cans of banked food- but no way to open the cans.

Food banks are not required to register with the FDA as a food facility under the 2003 Food Terrorism Regulation Rule, which states:

In the event of a potential or actual bioterrorism incident or an outbreak of food-borne illness, facility registration information will help FDA to determine the location and source of the event and permit the agency to notify quickly facilities that may be affected.

Here is the statement about who does, and who does not, have to register. Please follow the link above for definitions:

This new regulation pertains only to facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food, as defined in the regulation, for consumption in the U.S.


Food contact substances and pesticides are not “food” for purposes of the interim final rule. Thus, a facility that manufactures/processes, packs, or holds a food contact substance or a pesticide is not required to register with FDA.

Who must register?

The owner, operator, or agent in charge of a domestic or foreign facility that manufactures/processes, packs, or holds food for human or animal consumption in the U.S., or an individual authorized by one of them, must register that facility with FDA by December 12, 2003.


What types of facilities do not have to register?

Private residences of individuals, even though food may be manufactured/processed, packed, or held there.

Non-bottled water drinking water collection and distribution establishments and structures, such as municipal water systems.

Transport vehicles that hold food only in the usual course of their business as carriers.



A farm-operated roadside stand that sells food directly to consumers as its primary function would be exempt from registration as a retail food establishment.


Retail food establishments, such as groceries, delis, and roadside stands, that sell food directly to consumers as their primary function, meaning that annual sales directly to consumers are of greater dollar value than annual sales to other buyers. An establishment that manufactures/processes, packs, or holds food and whose primary function is to sell food directly to consumers, including food that the establishment manufactures/processes, from that establishment is a retail food establishment and is not required to register.

Nonprofit food establishments, which are charitable entities that meet the terms of § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that prepare or serve food directly to the consumer or otherwise provide food or meals for consumption by humans or animals in the U.S. Central food banks, soup kitchens, and nonprofit food delivery services are examples of nonprofit food establishments.

Fishing vessels that harvest and transport fish. Such vessels may engage in practices such as heading, eviscerating, or freezing fish solely to prepare the fish for holding on board the vessel and remain exempt.

Facilities regulated exclusively and throughout the entire facility by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that is, facilities handling only meat, poultry or egg products.

Question: Do you agree with the FDA registration rule, in terms of who should register and who should not?

Do you agree that municipal water should be exempt from registration?

Do you think that such a registration process is truly protective?

Our food bank does an excellent job of issuing a variety of nutritious foods, as if it has a dietitian involved. Should food banks have a voluntary or employed dietitian? If you work with a food bank, what are your policies and/or concerns?

cross posted at Firedoglake/MyFDL


3×3 (short film)

Posted: February 18, 2012 in film

Written by Masoninblue and cross posted here with permission.

I write to warn everyone that President Obama likely intends to start a war with Iran before the November election even though two days ago,

(a) Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, admitted that Iran is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes and not attempting to develop a nuclear weapon; and

(b) Chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, admitted that Iran is unlikely to start a war on its own.

Jason Ditz at reports today,

Officials say Obama has been telling Israel he wants to “give sufficient time” to the current round of sanctions before starting the war, though they say that in the end the result will start be a war because Iran is “behaving like sanctions don’t matter.”

Ditz further reports that,

Obama advisers are now calling September or October the “sweet spot.”

For additional information on what I believe to be Obama’s complete capitulation to corporate America’s lust for unfettered access to Iranian oil and his decision to act in “lockstep” with Israel, allowing Netanyahu to drag us into an aggressive, unnecessary and illegal war with Iran in order to assure that he defangs the eventual Republican nominee for president and wins the November election, please listen to this 24-minute interview of David Bromwich by Scott Horton at

Also, please take a few minutes to read Bromwich’s article at the Huffington Post titled, Obama’s Drift Toward War In Iran.

Cross posted from my law blog.

These images are part of a set from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The images are posted under Creative Commons on flicker, with this statement:

Personal, educational and non-commercial use of digital images from the American Art Museum’s collection is permitted, with attribution to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for all images unless otherwise noted.

Marion Post Wolcott: Child in Doorway of Shack of Migrant Pickers and Packing House Workers, near Belle Glade, Florida, 1939
Marion Post Wolcott: Child in Doorway of Shack of Migrant Pickers and Packing House Workers, near Belle Glade, Florida, 1939

Marion Post Wolcott
Born: Montclair, New Jersey 1910
Died: Santa Barbara, California 1990
silver print on paper
sheet: 11 x 14 in. (27.9 x 35.6 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott

Marion Post Wolcott: Migrant family from Missouri camping out in cane brush. One woman said, "We ain't never lived like hogs before, but we sure does now." Canal Point, Florida, 1939

Marion Post Wolcott: Migrant family from Missouri camping out in cane brush. One woman said, “We ain’t never lived like hogs before, but we sure does now.” Canal Point, Florida, 1939

Marion Post Wolcott: Negro men and women working in a field. Bayou Bourbeaux Plantation. Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1940

Marion Post Wolcott: Negro men and women working in a field. Bayou Bourbeaux Plantation. Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1940



Millard Sheets: Tenement Flats, 1934

Millard Sheets: Tenement Flats, 1934

Tenement Flats, 1934
Millard Sheets, Born: Pomona, California 1907 Died: Gualala, California 1989
oil on canvas 40 1/4 x 50 1/4 in. (102.1 x 127.6 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service 1965.18.48

Marion Post Wolcott: Farmers Sleeping in a "white" camp room in a warehouse. They often must remain several days before their tobacco is sold. Durham, North Carolina, 1939

Marion Post Wolcott: Farmers Sleeping in a “white” camp room in a warehouse. They often must remain several days before their tobacco is sold. Durham, North Carolina, 1939

note: This post was inspired by my mother, who lived through the depression. She was born on a farm in Missouri in 1924, and left home at age 12 to pursue an education and teach. I am hoping to work with her, in the months to come, and share some of her amazing story here.

cross posted at

I love this house:

Treehouse 1
Image by Christian Haugen on flickr creative commons.

My husband and I are beginning our research to find a new home. We are baby boomers and we are poor, so we fit into the category of the many who will compete for cheaper places to rent during our transition.

By ‘finding a home,’ I mean that, while we have a roof over our heads and we are grateful for that, we do not now, nor will we ever, feel at home in our current Kafka living circumstance. I do not know if the words We Hate This Place are as appropriate as the words We Are Strangers In A Strange Land are. I have come to believe that America is really more like three or four separate countries.

Without going into a lot of detail, where we are now is neither a cultural nor a spiritual fit. Note that I say ‘spiritual,’ but not ‘religious.’ Religion has nothing to do with being a spiritual misfit. I am a spiritual misfit, just to give give an example, because I rescue turtles and frogs off the road, but in the process I have almost become road kill myself. I want to move to a place where I can escort a turtle across the road without being yelled at and killed. Someplace where animals are respected and cherished would be really nice.

Where we live now, we spend a lot of time risking our lives walking and riding our bikes, because there are no bike paths or places to walk. We usually venture out together, but on Superbowl Sunday my husband went out alone. He was biking on the side of a road, and a carload of drunk people swerved toward him, shouted and heckled, and then threw a beer bottle at his head. We would like to find a home where people as a general rule do not try to kill bicyclists by swerving at them at high rates of speed and throwing beer bottles at their head. Someplace that has bike lanes and walking paths would be nice.

Also along the lines of activity, I would like to find a place that has an Old People’s Soccer league, because I miss playing soccer, and a place that has some sort of Scuba diving, because we both miss diving. A pond with a couple of living fish would be fine.

I find that an excellent independent bookstore, staffed by people who can read, to be sort of a must; a coffee shop where people who enjoy writing congregate- a bonus, and a town that has an art supply store with origami paper other than Michael’s- an extra bonus. Michael’s will get you by, I suppose, but when you want cow spots on your cranes, well…

I will do any sort of work, wherever I go. I love outdoor work, manual labor, anything.

In my quest for a small-to-mid-sized town full of artsy, outdoorsy misfits who have been voted off the island in the South, I came across Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies 2011 State of the Nation on housing.
Man, was that ever bleak! Unemployment. The foreclosure fraud fuckfest. Poverty. I used to think, back when I had a career, that ‘those things’ happened to ‘other people.’ But now, we are the ‘other people.’

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to get an education, and then do better than our parents by working hard; things were supposed to fall in place. Even during the Great Depression, from what my parents tell me, people helped each other out as best they could; what happened to other people mattered. I want to move to a place where people matter to each other, instead of where people are looking for countless ways to shun, hurt, and lock each other up.

I came across another list this morning, based on a San Francisco study of voting patterns. It lists the top 200 or so most conservative and liberal cities in the US. The results may surprise you.

For our purposes, the most useful site is one where you can enter any city in the US, and see what rentals are available, and how much they are. The site is updated constantly. You can adjust the filter to your price range. The site is fabulous.

Our move will not be immediate, and it will likely be a two-step process. But, we are planning well in advance this time. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or are we dreaming? Does any such place exist in America today?

We were out for most of today- I will write again tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy!

Take a look at March.

hat tip: Ray