December 2011

Monthly Archive

Ecotopia #170: Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Posted by on 29 Dec 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Date: December 27, 2011

This week we’ll be previewing the Wild and Scenic Film Festival that takes place in Nevada City, January 13-15. This is a fabulous event, and it’s close to home, accessible to KZFR listeners. In the first part of the program, we’ll talk with festival organizer Melinda Booth about the overall plans and scheduled events and why it the Festival is “a place where activists get inspired.”

Then we’ll talk with Sally Rubin, one of the filmmakers presenting at the Festival, about her film series Deep Down, which highlights people in the Appalachians who have made a difference in the environment, opposing projects like mountaintop coal mining.

And finally, we’ll talk with David Lukas, a Sierra Nevada naturalist who will be introducing several films at the festival and conducting a guided walk of a creek restoration project in Nevada City.

Listen to the Program

Our Conversation with Melinda Booth

Melinda Booth is the Director of Development and Wild and Scenic Events for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival.

1. First of all, just tell us a little about the Wild and Scenic Film Festival. How many years has it been in operation? What’s its mission?

2. How many films are being shown this year? We know that the range of subjects is immense. Can you give us an overview of the subjects and approaches?

3. Who are some of the special guests who will be appearing at the festival? Will a lot of the filmmakers be there?

4. Who makes the selections of the films that will be shown? Do you get to preview them? Do you have some personal favorites?

5. How many venues are there for viewing films? How many sessions are running at one time? Has this change over the years? How has the festival grown and changed?

6. There are also some special events at the film festival. Can you tell us about those?

7. Can you remind people of when and where the festival will take place? Where can they get tickets?

8. Are there other ways of being involved in the Wild and Scenic Film Festival? We’re sure it takes an enormous number of volunteers to make something like this happen? Do you still need help for this festival? What should people do if they want to be involved next year?

Our Questions for Sally Rubin
Sally Rubin is a filmmaker who has done a number of documentaries on social, environmental, and political issues. At the festival, she and Jen Gilomen will be showing their film from the “Deep Down’s People Power Series.”

1.  What’s the topic and title of the film you and Jen are showing? What’s the People Power project and how does this fit in?

2.  What’s the story you told about Carol Judy and why did you select her?

3.  We understand that this film is part of a film portrait series about Americans who make a difference in environmental issues.  Please tell us about other topics and people you’ve covered.

4.  How do you go about making these kinds of films?  Do you start with a script?  Raw footage?  How does the editing process work?

5.  What kinds of results have you seen from people like the activists featured in your films?

6. Where can our listeners learn more about and get involved with these causes?

7.  What’s your next project?

Our guest has been Sally Rubin and you can learn more about the film at Thanks for being with us tonight.  The film will be shown Friday evening at 7:05 in Stone Hall and Sunday morning at 10:47 at the Nevada Theater.  Full details are at

Additional links:

Chatting with David Lukas

David Lukas is a naturalist specializing in the Sierra Nevada, and he he’ll be playing several roles at the Festival. Welcome David.

1. Please tell us what you’ll be doing at the Festival. [We understand you will be doing a wrap-up for a film called Death of a Forest, mc-ing a session of films on animals, leading and a Sunday morning nature hike at a creek restoration site in downtown Nevada City].

2. What can you tell us about Death of a Forest, the film by Michael Pellagatti? What’s the link between the pine beetle infestation and global warming? What have you seen of this problem here in the Sierra? [The film will be shown Saturday morning at Vets Hall, 9:05.]

3. You’ve done several guidebooks the Sierra. How does your work lead in to the Wild and Scenic Film Festival session on animals? What films will be shown? [1 pm Saturday, Nevada Theater]

4. When does your Sunday morning creek walk take place? What will you be discussing?

5. Generally, what role do you see for films in the environmental movement? Do they change the way people think? Do they possibly just preach to the choir?

6. Finally, please tell us a little about how listeners can get involved in the kind of work you do. [,]

Playlist for Ecotopia #170–Wild and Scenic Film Festival:

1. Let’s Go To The Movies (Album Version) 4:42 Aileen Quinn;Albert Finney
2. Utopia 4:58 Alanis Morissette Under Rug Swept
3. High On A Mountain Top 2:44 Loretta Lynn
4. Global Warming Blues 3:42 Lenny Solomon Armando’s Pie
5. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary
6. Danger (Global Warming) – Radio Mix 3:35 Brick Casey
7. 3 Birds 3:45 The Dead Weather Horehound 8. Trophic Cascade 4:12 Ronn Fryer

Ecotopia #169: Plastic Bag Ban

Posted by on 21 Dec 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

December 20, 2011

This Week’s Program This week we’ll be talking about the proposed plastic bag ban in Chico. The Sustainability Task Force of the Chico City Council has been discussing the issue, and will take it up again in January. We’ll talk first with Sue Vang. She’s a Policy Associate for Californians Against Waste, based in Sacramento, CA.

Later in the show, we’ll talk with Linda Herman, General Services Administrative Manager for the City of Chico. Among other jobs, she works with the City Council’s Sustainability Task Force.

Listen to the Program

Our Discussion with Sue Vang

You are listening to Ecotopia on KZFR, 90.1 Chico. We’re talking tonight about the proposed plastic bag proposal in Chico, and our first guest will provide some information to persuade us that that’s a good idea. She’s Sue Vang, and she’s a Policy Associate for Californians Against Waste. We’re on the phone with hertonight from Sacramento. Thanks for being with us, Sue.

1. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about Californians Against Waste. What is your mission? What are some of the issues you’re currently involved in?

2. As you know, Chico is considering a policy against plastic bags. Can we start by talking about what’s wrong with plastic bags?

3. Californians Against Waste has a “Bag Ban Tool Kit.” Can you tell us what that is? What are some of the most persuasive facts that you provide in your materials? What else is in the kit?

4. When proposing a ban against plastic bags, supporters of the ban can expect resistance from plastic bag makers. What are some of the myths that the plastic industry perpetuates about plastic? What other sorts of resistance do activists meet when trying to institute a plastic bag ban?

5. But bans on plastic bags have been successful in California. Can you tell us about some of the successes? Who’s done it and how have they succeeded?

6. What are the consequences of banning the plastic bag?

7. What advice do you have for Chico-ans who are trying to get a plastic bag ban here?

8. What else should we be doing about single use waste? What other fronts is Californians Against Waste working on?

9. How can people help with these issues? How can they learn more about what’s going on in California and the work of Californians Against Waste?

Thank you, Sue Vang. Sue Vang is a Policy Associate for Californians Against Waste. You can learn more and get involved at

Our Conversation with Linda Herman

You are listening to Ecotopia on KZFR. With us now is Linda Herman, General Services Administrative Manager for the City of Chico. Among other jobs, she works with the City Council’s Sustainability Task Force. Welcome, Linda.

1. First, can you tell us a little about the Sustainability Task Force? What are its aims and function?

2. The Sustainability Task Force is considering a ban on plastic bags in Chico. Can you tell us how a ban on plastic came to be proposed? What a ban would mean? Is there a specific proposal under consideration?

3. The Sustainability Task Force discussed the ban on plastic bags a week ago, and was unable to reach a decision on the ban. Why was the task force unable to reach a decision? What are some of the considerations brought up in the discussion?

4. Is Chico looking at other laws or regulations that other cities have enacted as a model for their action? What have been some successful bans?

5. The Task Force will take this ban into consideration in their next meeting in January. If Chico-ans have ideas or suggestions, is there some way they can be involved in this process?

6. What are some other activities in the Sustainability Task Force that citizens might want to know about and be involved in? What should they do, if they’d like to participate?

We’ve been talking with Linda Herman, General Services Administrative Manager for the City of Chico. Thanks for joining us, Linda.

Playlist for Ecotopia 169: Plastic Bags

1. Recycle Reuse Reduce 2:46 Heidi Howe Give a Hootenanny!

2. reduce, reuse, recycle 3:35 The Junkman (Donald Knaack) Junk Music

3. The 3 R’s 2:54 Jack Johnson Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies For The Film Curious George

4. Working On A Dream 3:30 Bruce Springsteen Working On A Dream

5. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary Folk 96 5/9/11 2:39 PM

6. Big Yellow Taxi (LP Version) 2:15 Joni Mitchell Ladies Of The Canyon Pop 43 1/24/10 11:29 AM

Ecotopia #168: OSGATA v. Monsanto

Posted by on 13 Dec 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

13 December 2011

This week we’re once again exploring the corporate practices of Monsanto and the response of organic growers. We’ll talk with Jim Gerritsen, president of OSGATA, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, about the lawsuit he has spear-headed against Monsanto.

We’ll also talk with Chicoan Pamm Larry about the petition drive to have GMOs labeled as such here in California.

And we’ll have a brief follow-up on last week’s discussion of Electric Vehicles.

Listen to the Program

Our Questions for Jim Gerritsen

Jim Gerritsen ispresident of OSGATA–Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. Unte Reader chose him as one of one of “25 Visonaries who are changing your world in 2011.” He was chosen as an “Organic Food Champion. Monsanto has a well-documented history of aggressively defending its genetically modified seeds. Organic farmer Jim Gerritsen is leading a lawsuit against the corporate agriculture giant on behalf of 270,000 family farmers, gardeners, and consumers who are suing to keep a portion of the world food supply free of genetic modification.” He’s here to talk about that lawsuit and about his vision for farmers becoming a significant participant in the Occupy movement.

1. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. What is its mission? What sorts of activities and issues is it involved in?

2. How did you become involved in OSGATA?

3. You are recently back from Farmers Occupy Wall Street on December 4. Tell us about that experience. Who was there? What were the conversations about? What were some of the highlights of the trip?

(from OSGATA press release: NEW YORK, December 4, 2011 — Today farmers from across the U.S. will participate in the Occupy Wall Street Farmers March to join in solidarity with efforts to expose corporate control of our food supply: The event begins at 2 p.m. at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden with remarks about the growing inequity in our food system from farmers and food workers followed by a 4 p.m. Farmers March to Zuccotti Park, where farmers, activists and ranchers, who have travelled from as far as Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Upstate New York, will march to ground zero of the growing Occupy Wall Street movement to curtail excessive corporate influence.)

4. Why do you think farmers are such a good fit for the Occupy movement? What is your advice to farmers in making their voices heard?

5. OSGATA is also involved in a lawsuit against Monsanto. The case was filed in March. What is the claim of the suit? Who is involved? Where is OSGATA in the process? What have been some of the responses to the lawsuit? When is it likely to be resolved? What do you anticipate the resolution to be?

6. What do you see as some of the other pressing issues for organic farmers, food justice, and food safety?

7. What advice do you have for listeners who want to be involved in food justice issues?

8. Finally, what was it like to be selected as one of Utne Reader’s 25 Visionaries of 2011?

You can learn more about OSGATA, the OSGATA lawsuit against Monsanto, and Jim Gerritsen at OSGATA’s website:

(from OSGATA press release: The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court on March 29, 2011, on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed. The case now represents 83 plaintiffs.)

Our Discussion with Pamm Larry

Pamm Larry is one of the chief organizers of the label GMOs movement here in California. We first talked with Pamm eight months ago, in April, when she told us she’d had an epiphany on January 20 of this year to take a stand on protection of the food system against GMOs. And here she is, less than a year later, heading a ballot initiative that would require GMOs to be labeled.

1. What does the ballot initiative call for?

2. What is the process for getting the initiative on the November ballot?

3. What do you teach in your signature gathering workshops

4. How many signatures do you have to gather and by when?

5. How can listeners get involved in this process? The LabelGMOS website is You can find a link to the actual language of the ballot initiative, and FAQs about the initiative.

An Update on Electric Vehicles

Last week a listener called in to ask if EVs create high levels of EMFs–electromotive magnetic forces–which have been identified as health risks from sources like high tension wires.

We found a brief article by Eric J. Leech, Planet Green [note that he is talking about hybrids, not all-electric vehicles]:

We should by no means conclude that hybrids are not a potential source of dangerous levels of EMF, but nor should we go running scared just yet. Recent studies from Honda show that the electric hybrid produces no more EMF levels than any other combustion vehicle. Almost every vehicle has its share of electric components (stereo, seats, GPS, control module, etc.) that cause a certain amount of EMF, there is just unfortunately no getting around that.

Now that is not the last word on the matter, but it’s the most direct statement we were able to locate. Eric Leech also goes into some other concerns and myths that have been generated about electric cars, such as a myth going around that emergency workers might be afraid to apply the jaws of life to an electric car for fear of being electrocuted. We’d urge you to do additional reading yourself; just type “electric car myths” into your search engine and you’ll find lots of materials.

[Three Hybrid Myths Debunked

by Eric J. Leech, Planet Green

12 Myths About Electric Vehicles

by Dave Chameides, Planet Green

8 Electric-Car Myths Busted

Kiera Butler in Mother Jones


1. Real Food 2:58 Jerry Engler Very Jerry Country

2. Good Health 3:37 The Dixie Hummingbirds In Good Health

3. Monsanto (Go Away!) 6:17 Human Naked

4. The Rape Of The World 7:08 Tracy Chapman New Beginning

5. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary

Ecotopia #166: High Voltage

Posted by on 06 Dec 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Date: 6 December 2011

Tonight’s program:

In this episode we return to the topic of electric vehicles.  We’ll be talking in the first part with Jim Motavalli, author of HIGH VOLTAGE, Abook that studies the history and current status of EVs–electric vehicles–in the world, from Detroit to China–and the variety of new vehicles under development. Then in the second part of the show, we’ll be interviewing Ron Ricci  of Chico Nissan Hyundai. We’ll be asking him about the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric plug in vehicle, and the kind of questions and issues northstaters raise when looking for low emissions cars.

Sorry,  no recording available for this week’s show.  Technology :-[

Our discussion with Jim Motavalli:

This is Ecotopia on KZFR, and our topic tonight is EVs: electric vehicles. Our guest on the phone is Jim Motavalli, author of a new book called HIGH VOLTAGE: THE FAST TRACK TO PLUG IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY. It talks about the problems of electric vehicle development and gives an up-to-date summary and critique of new developments. Jim also does a blog called “wheels” for the New York Times and has a long track record of writing on environmental issues, including 14 years as editor of E/The Environmental Magazine.

1. You note in the first pages of your book that “fledgling [auto] industry was building electric, gasoline, and steam cars” as early as 1900 and that electrics received initial postive public reaction. What happened to the electric car in the last century? How did we come to accept gasoline as the prime mover? (We’re also interested in your discussion of California EV mandates in the ’70s: “Who killed the electric car?”)

2. You are cautiously optimistic about the future of the electric car. What about our current circumstances and technology makes you optimistic? Is the time right for EV’s?

3. Please review the basic differences among the major EVs now available on the market? What are the advantages and drawbacks of, say, the Volt, Leaf, and other EVs now on the road?

4. You write about some cars that (as you say) most of us have never heard of: Wheego, Coda, Fisker, Think. What are these projects attempting to accomplish?

5. You also write about new developments in batteries, which have been one of the weak links in EVs to date. What’s on the horizon in battery technology, and how will that help to spread the use of EVs?

6. Although EVs are low- or zero-emission vehicles, the juice still has to come from somewhere. Don’t plug-ins just transfer the pollution to other sites? What is the evidence for your claim that “Coal-fueled EVs are cleaner than today’s 25-mile-per gallon cars”? (Can the current electrical grid support plug-ins?)

7. As you look to the future, you write, “I think we should all get used to the idea of buying and driving Chinese cars.” As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with Middle Eastern Oil! Please explain.

8. What would you advise listeners who are thinking about going EV soon? How do you think that advice might change if people put off buying for, say, five more years?
The book is HIGH VOLTAGE; THE FAST TRACK TO PLUG IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY and it’s published by Rodale. For those who’d like to learn more about the book and Jim’s interests, we recommend:

Our interview with Ron Ricci

Susan:   You are listening to Ecotopia on KZFR. Our guest in the studio now is Ron Ricci.  He is the Nissan Leaf specialist at Chico Nissan Hyundai.  After our interview with Jim Motavalli, we thought it would be interesting to hear something about Electric Vehicles from a local perspective, realizing, of course, that Nissan has only one of several entries in the EV market.

1.  We’d like to focus on Chico and the northstate and your vision of how the EV market is evolving.  Is there a lot of interest in the Leaf?  Are people buying them?  (Can you lease one?)

2.  What sorts of questions do people ask before they buy?  What doubts do they have?  [possibilities: range, price]

3.  Our guest earlier, Jim Motavalli, said that Nissan is taking something of a gamble by going all-electric rather than plug-in hybrid.  Could you give us your perspective on how that affects the market?

4.  What do you see as the short- or longer-range future for EVs in our part of the world?  Will we

Thank you Ron Ricci for being with us on Ecotopia tonight.

Listeners should know that we are not endorsing the Leaf over other entries in the electric vehicle market, but you can learn more about the Leaf at:   For a comparative reviews of a number of EVsgo to <>


1. Drive My Car 2:30 The Beatles Rubber Soul Rock 12 4/4/11 8:50 PM

2. AC/DC 5:05 Andrew Lloyd Webber Starlight Express (Soundtrack from the
Musical) Soundtrack 8 2/23/11 1:16 PM

3. Fun, Fun, Fun 2:21 The Beach Boys Sounds of Summer – The Very Best of The Beach
Boys Pop

4. Little Deuce Coupe 1:41 The Beach Boys Sounds of Summer – The Very Best of The Beach Boys Pop

5. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary Folk 96 5/9/11 2:39 PM

6. Route 66 3:29 The Cheetah Girls Route 66 – Single Pop 7 3/3/11 12:23 PM

Ecotopia #165 Military Ecology

Posted by on 01 Dec 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Date: 29 November 2011

This Week: Our topic  is “Military Ecology.”  In the first part of the program, we’ll talk with Retired Air Force Colonel Richard Klass, who has been following the funding of the military. We’ll ask him about the implications of the recent Super Committee failure to reach consensus on budget reductions, and what that does and does not mean about altering military spending by a country that already spends ten times more on the military than any other nation on the planet.

Then we will talk with Rick Arndt of the U.S. Chemical Materials Agency. This agency is responsible for getting rid of nerve and mustard gas left over from World War II and reducing the U.S. stockpile of poison weapons of mass destruction. We’ll ask a recent story that the Umatilla army base in Oregon has completed destruction of huge quantities of gas.

Listen to the Program

Our Conversation with Colonel Richard [Dick] Klass

As most listeners know, the Congressional Supercommittee charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion dollars of budget cuts has failed and dissolved. Some automatic cuts–called “sequestration”–now kick in, including some $500 billion in cuts to the Pentagon over the next decade. On the phone with us to talk about defense spending is Colonel Richard Klass, who is retired from the Air Force and Vice-President of the Veteran’s Alliance for Security and Democracy Political Action Committee. Colonel Klass is also a member of the Board of the Council for a Livable world. He has a blog on Huffington Post that comments on a wide range of social, political, and military issues.

1. Please tell us about the organizations for which you work:
–What is the Veteran’s Alliance for Security?
–What is the Council for a Livable World?
How do those fit together in your personal activism?

2A. With the Super Committee having failed, some automatic defense spending cuts kick in. What do you see as the short- and long-range effects of these cuts? Is our security in danger? Or, as some activists have argued, are such cuts long overdue?

2B. What kinds of programs and projects will be cut? Are there programs that you see as wasteful or inefficient or unneeded? If you were wielding the budget axe, where would you swing?

2C. If military spending is drastically cut, will there be fallout for the economy, including government contractors? Will people be put out of work in, say, the aerospace industry? Can alternative jobs in green industries replace lost employment for military hardware?

3. For some of us, the failure of the Super Committee seems–at first glance–like a positive step, since it cuts military without attacking Medicare and Social Security benefits. Are we falsely optimistic here? Do you have thoughts on the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy that are at the core of the Super Committee failure? [Are those cuts really automatic? Some have argued that they are merely a paper sword and that the next Congress will repeal them.]

4. What’s your prediction about next steps, both for Congress and the Pentagon? Will there be attempts to restore the budget cuts? What’s your best case scenario of what might happen next, both within the military and within a livable world?

5. How can interested listeners participate in the process most successfully? Are there groups other than Vet Pac and Livable World that you can recommend? Please tell us where people can find your blog.

Thank you Colonel Richard Klass for being with us tonight.  Here are the websites:

Veteran’s Alliance for Security www/vetpac/org

Council for a Livable World

Huffington Post Blog

Read more about the Congressional SuperCommittee Below

Our Conversation with Richard [Rick] Arndt

Rick Arndt is  Public Affairs Specialist with the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency. We recently received a press release from him telling about the destruction of World War II chemical weapons being stored in Umatilla, Oregon.  The full press release is included below.

1. Please tell us about the U.S. Chemical Materials Agency and its broad responsibilities.

2. CMA recently released a press release concerning disposal of a chemical weapons stockpile at the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. Please tell us what happened.

3. How much material was destroyed? What kinds of chemical weapons were at Umatilla? [“The original inventory of chemical weapons stored at UMCD included 220,604 nerve agent and mustard agent munitions and containers holding 3,717 tons of chemical agent.”]

4. How do you safely dispose of this stuff? How is it destroyed? [“using incineration technology while ensuring maximum protection of the installation and community population.”] Since incineration is involved, how do you know what is and is not being put into the atmosphere? What residual, if any, exists and what happens to it?

5. Your press release notes that “90 percent of the Nation’s chemical weapons stockpile” has been or will be destroyed. What happens to the other 10%?

6. Does the destruction of these materials put an end to an era of chemical weapons of mass destruction? [“The United States established the Chemical Demilitarization Program in 1986 to remove the threat posed by continued storage of outdated chemical weapons and inspire a worldwide commitment to the elimination of an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. In April 1997 the United States came under the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, thereby requiring the safe destruction of 100 percent of the nation’s chemical weapons by April 2007. The United States petitioned to have the original deadline extended to April 2012 (an extension allowed by the convention) and was granted this five-year extension.”]

7. Are there other things you’d like our audience to know about the destruction of chemical weapons generally or the Umatilla project in particular?  Here are some links supplied by Rick Arndt:

CMA website homepage

UMCD/UMCDF website homepage

UMCD/UMCDF Weekly Update

Background on the Super Committee from Wikipedia

The Budget Control Act of 2011 (Pub.L. 112-25, S. 365, 125 Stat. 239, enacted August 2, 2011) was passed by the 112th United States Congress signed into law by President Barack Obama. It brought conclusion to the 2011 United States debt ceiling crisis, which had threatened to lead the United States into sovereign default on or about August 3, 2011.

The law involves the introduction of several complex mechanisms, such as creation of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (sometimes called the “super committee”)[1] and options for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Debt limit:

The debt limit was increased by $400 billion immediately.[2]

The President may request a further increase of $500 billion, which is subject to a congressional motion of disapproval which the President may veto, in which case a two-thirds majority in Congress would be needed to override the veto.[3] This has been called the ‘McConnell mechanism’ after the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who first suggested it as part of another scheme.[4]

The President may request a final increase of $1.2–1.5 trillion, subject to the same disapproval procedure. The exact amount depends on the amount of cuts in the “super committee” plan if it passes Congress, and whether a Balanced Budget Amendment has been passed.[3]

Deficit reduction:

Spending is reduced more than the increase in the debt limit. No tax increases or other forms of increases in revenue above current law are included in the bill.[5]

The bill directly specifies $917 billion of cuts over 10 years in exchange the initial debt limit increase of $900 billion.[5] This is the first installment (“tranche”) of cuts. $21 billion of this will be applied in the FY2012 budget.[4]

Additionally, the agreement establishes the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, sometimes called the “super committee”,[1] that would produce debt reduction legislation by November 23, 2011, that would be immune from amendments or filibuster (similar to the Base Realignment and Closure).[4][6] The goal of the legislation is to cut at least $1.5 trillion over the coming 10 years and be passed by December 23, 2011.[6] Projected revenue from the committee’s legislation must not exceed the revenue budgeting baseline produced by current law. (Current law has the Bush tax cuts expiring at the end of 2012.) The committee would have 12 members, 6 from each party.[5]


The agreement specifies an incentive for Congress to act. If Congress fails to produce a deficit reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts, then Congress can grant a $1.2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling but this would trigger across-the-board cuts (“sequestration”) of spending equally split between security and non-security programs.[4][3] The across-the-board cuts would apply to mandatory and discretionary spending in the years 2013 to 2021 and be in an amount equal to the difference between $1.2 trillion and the amount of deficit reduction enacted from the joint committee. The sequestration mechanism is the same as the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. There are exemptions—across the board cuts would apply to Medicare providers, but not to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare beneficiaries, civil and military employee pay, or veterans.[4][5] Security programs include the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Nuclear Security Administration, some management functions of the intelligence community, and international affairs from the U.S. State Department.[7]

Balanced Budget Amendment:

Congress must vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment between October 1, 2011, and the end of 2011,[3] but is not required to pass it and send it to the states in order for the debt limit increases to occur (as was the case in the previous Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which was not enacted).[4]

Background on Umatilla Chemical Destruction Project

Army Completes Chemical Stockpile Destruction at Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility

Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. (Oct. 25, 2011) – The Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF), located at Umatilla Chemical Depot (UMCD), Oregon, today completed the disposal of the chemical weapons stockpile stored at UMCD.

The UMCDF is a subordinate element of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA). Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, CMA has the mission to provide safe, secure storage of the Nation’s chemical weapons and to safely destroy 90 percent of the Nation’s chemical weapons stockpile.

“This is a great day for the U.S. Army, the people of Oregon and our Nation,” said CMA Director Conrad Whyne. “Thanks to the steadfast dedication of the Umatilla team — the United States Army, its civilian workers and contractors — the Umatilla community, the state of Oregon, and our Nation are all safer today. I could not be more proud of our workforce.”

The UMCDF had the mission to provide safe and environmentally compliant chemical agent destruction operations using incineration technology while ensuring maximum protection of the installation and community population. Umatilla Chemical Depot, also a subordinate element of CMA, had the mission to provide the safe and secure maintenance, storage and transport of 12 percent of the original U.S. stockpile of chemical munitions and containers. The original inventory of chemical weapons stored at UMCD included 220,604 nerve agent and mustard agent munitions and containers holding 3,717 tons of chemical agent. Destruction operations began Sept. 8, 2004.

“The vast experience of CMA employees and contractors — both at the site and at headquarters — was used to build, operate, and oversee the work to safely accomplish today’s destruction milestone. This same cooperation has been demonstrated for the successful operation of CMA storage and disposal facilities across the Nation,” said Col. John Lemondes, CMA Project Manager for Chemical Stockpile Elimination.

The UMCD and UMCDF will now begin closure operations, which will continue for up to 48 months. Closure operations will be conducted in accordance with facility and storage area end-states as agreed upon with all appropriate stakeholders.

The United States established the Chemical Demilitarization Program in 1986 to remove the threat posed by continued storage of outdated chemical weapons and inspire a worldwide commitment to the elimination of an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. In April 1997 the United States came under the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, thereby requiring the safe destruction of 100 percent of the nation’s chemical weapons by April 2007. The United States petitioned to have the original deadline extended to April 2012 (an extension allowed by the convention) and was granted this five-year extension.

The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency has safely completed disposal operations and closed facilities in Edgewood, Md.; Newport, Ind.; and Johnston Atoll, located 800 miles southwest of Hawaii. The Agency has also completed disposal operations in Anniston, Ala. and Pine Bluff, Ark. and is in the process of closing those chemical agent disposal facilities. CMA continues to safely store and destroy the chemical weapons stockpile in Tooele, Utah. CMA also safely stores the chemical weapons stockpiles in Richmond, Ky. and Pueblo, Colo. The disposal of these munitions falls under the purview of the Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, a separate Department of Defense program.


1. Money Money  2:20    Horace Andy     Wicked Dem A Burn       Reggae
2. Money Honey  3:36    Delbert McClinton       Room To Breathe Blues
3. Slower Than Guns (LP Version)        3:50    Iron Butterfly  Metamorphosis   Rock
4. Weave Me the Sunshine        4:28    Peter, Paul And Mary    The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary   Folk
5. It’s Money That I Love       3:43    Randy Newman    It’s Lonely At The Top  Blues
6. Poison Trees 4:00    The Devil Makes Three   Do Wrong Right  Alternative & Punk

Next Page »