This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013


PROM At Modern Elegance
Most NEW Dresses are Under $300
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Overwhelming Power

History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. --Mark Twain

The following is printed in its entirety with the permission of its author, John Detwiler. It appears in the monthly newsletter of MarcellusProtest, the organization dedicated to informing PAians about the dangers to us all from fracking. (

"I’ve been learning about Paris under German occupation during World War II. Although the Nazis showed no mercy toward Jews and dissidents, the German high command wanted Parisian theaters, galleries and nightclubs open – for their own pleasure, and for propaganda value. So I found my readings about the cultural life of occupied Paris to be quite compelling. Performers, painters and writers (those who weren’t Jewish, at least) had to decide how – and whether – to practice their arts. There was no escaping this choice, and no putting it off. Each artist literally staked his or her life upon the dictates of their own soul. But, in retrospect, we see their individual choices clustering around four broad options.
Opportunism: Although a few French Fascists supported the Nazis out of philosophical conviction, many less ideological artists simply saw an opening for advancing their own careers. With Jews forbidden to work (or worse), and the German Propaganda Staffel in need of friendly “French” content, even a second-rate talent or administrator could hope for a prestigious position. These ‘collaborationist’ artists saw the occupation as a “boom time” for their personal advantage.
Acceptance: Many other artists just “needed to work.” Seeing no better option, they aimed to produce something inoffensive to the censors (although inevitably involving self-censorship) and to derive whatever income they could, while claiming to “stay out of politics.” These ‘neutral’ artists simply adjusted to the new realities, hoping to protect their standard of living.
Defiance: At great cost, some artists refused to yield to the oppressor’s power. They published anti-Nazi pamphlets, songs and books; their paintings portrayed “freedom” and “honor” from a patriotic, French perspective. They saw themselves as enemies of the Nazis— and the Nazis agreed. Many were imprisoned, not a few were executed, most were driven underground. Some were pacifists; and none expected their own efforts to win the war. But these ’anti-authoritarian’ artists committed themselves to ensuring that the ideal of France, restored to its best self, would not be extinguished.
Struggle: A few artists were found among those Frenchmen and -women of the active résistants – as saboteurs, spies, or fighters. Some left France to join the Allied forces, others operated behind the lines in the maquis. These ‘activist’ artists were determined to bring down the Nazi regime or to die trying.
Now we know, of course, what no one knew then: that the Third Reich could be – and would be – defeated. But to those in occupied France, the Nazis were demonstrably invincible. Whether one shared their social theories, or simply recognized their inescapable might, it wasn’t safe to bet against them. Yet some people did. At the end of the war, some of the resistance were honored, while many lay among the anonymous dead. Some French collaborators were put on trial, while many escaped unscathed. The France that emerged from World War II is still not perfect, but it has come through its ordeal, as did its artist heroes."

Is Your Dog Missing?

FOUND!! in Waterford area by the Waterford Firehall.  One black lab mix who has been seen running about for the past two days.  She has been secured, warmed up and well fed after her big adventure.  Now,she needs to be reunited with her owner who left her phone number on a voicemail but when the power went out, the number was lost.  Please call either 724-396-4544 or 412-576-1605 if this is your dog.  We have reason to believe that perhaps the owner may attend Waterford's Blue Grass Festival each June. 


Is anyone else out there pinning on pinterest? I didn't get it at first but now it's my new fun thing to do over a cup of coffee or just to pass the time.

Check it out

I've never seen so many pretty pictures in my life!  ;)

"Greeb": Even bigger than "greed"... Mergers, anyone? 
So true Jon, so true... .

"Despite the looming sequester, Wall Street seems downright giddy over merger news. Fortunately, as Jon Stewart and John Hodgman explained on Wednesday's "Daily Show", a surge in mergers has never, ever led to economic disaster. Not once, ever. (hah!) Always the party pooper, Stewart was a little baffled by the celebratory atmosphere of the big business community and wanted an explanation for the uptick in mergers and acquisitions while "the rest of the economy is stagnating." Enter Hodgman, who himself has recently merged with the dictionary, to explain things. In a word, "Greeb." As the "Daily Show" correspondent and noted eccentric millionaire revealed, "Too big to fail -- TBTF -- is the rich man's YOLO.""

Follow-up analysis here:

Gotta love these comedians...crying doesn't help, and they make some of it at least morbidly funny.

Rachel's Weekly Special

Rachel's Ligonier Floral
Touch of Spring- Mini Daffodils in a Basket-$8.00
On the Diamond
Open Monday - Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4

hmmmm...considering anarchy

It was in the lobby of a hotel where Murray Rothbard was staying that I finally just asked him this question. I put it to him straight. If I answer no to the question above as formulated, does that mean I am an anarchist? Murray said yes. I clarified further: If I have concluded that the State contributes nothing of value to the social order and can make no real improvements to what we create on our own, am I an anarchist? He said yes again. I responded: well, I guess I am then. He burst into a smile, shook my hand vigorously, and exuberantly congratulated me, all with his well-known sense of joy. Wow. I guessed the deed had been done.
And yet, I was wrong. The intellectual deed had been done, but it was still too easy to keep the idea as an abstraction, not anything that affected my daily work or life. It is one thing to have some far-flung vision of the light but another thing to see that light all around us. This step took many more years of thinking about particulars such as human rights, market services, the workings of freedom, the way the State functioned in history, and the way it works today. The final stages of this thought process were many years in the making. 

Read more:
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Crony Capitalists vs. Value Makers: Q&A w Max Borders

5 Sequester Facts to Know Before Committing Suicide

Patronising the Palestinians

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fleeing for peace

All this fleeing, of course, is nothing new in Europe. Norwegians have been saying ta-ta to certain east Oslo neighborhoods for years. A couple of years ago the Danish newspaper Politiken ran an article headlined “Christians and Jews are fleeing from Danish ghettos,” noting that in Vollsmose, a suburb of Odense, Jews and Christians were clearing out because they were being threatened with beatings, while in Muslim-heavy areas of Copenhagen, Jewish kids were being advised to apply to schools in other parts of town. The only surprise was the article’s appearance in the ordinarily PC Politiken – that, and the willingness of a political scientist at Aarhus University to finger Islam as “a major part of the problem.” Jews, he worried, might well start emigrating from Denmark. A young Jewish man told Politiken that on several occasions Muslim neighbors in Vollsmose had offered him the explicit choice: leave town or get beaten up. He left.

The situation in Denmark has only gotten more and more rotten. Yesterday, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran an article headlined “Why you can’t be a Jew in Copenhagen,” in which Martin Henriksen, immigration and integration spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, bluntly noted that owing to Muslim anti-Semitism, schools in Copenhagen “encourage Jewish parents to find other pastures” for their children. “We haven’t witnessed anything like this since the Occupation,” he wrote.

As I said at the outset: different places, same story. Danish Christians and Jews are being bullied by Muslim thugs into checking out of their neighborhoods and moving to safer locales. French Jews are taking it on the lam from Paris to settle in marginally less dangerous parts of London. Londoners are leaving their increasingly dodgy city and, literally, heading for the hills. East Oslo is being drained of ethnic Norwegians. And all of them are running scared for one reason, and one reason only: they’re terrified of getting beaten up by primitive thugs with a primitive religion who, at these European taxpayers’ expense, have been imported from some of the most primitive parts of the world. Years and years ago these cultural hooligans, these religious autocrats, these would-be enforcers of sharia, were welcomed to Europe by clueless, spineless political leaders, and – although the reality of “creeping jihad” has long since set in – they continue to be celebrated by most of those leaders (as well as by craven mainstream-media cheerleaders such as Mark Easton) for purportedly enriching European culture. And all the while, as a result, European culture is quickly going down the tubes.

When you’re discussing such large-scale phenomena such as this one – hundreds of thousands of Muslims occupying this or that part of this or that city, hundreds of thousands of native Londoners relocating hither and thither in consequence – it can be hard to grasp it all, to reduce the big picture to a comprehensible, human scale. As Stalin put it, one death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic. Yesterday Daniel Greenfield told the terrible story of how relentless harassment by Muslim schoolmates drove a nine-year-old English boy not to flight but to suicide. The other day the Norwegian newspaper Aftonbladet reported on another European boy who found himself in the jihadist crosshairs and was forced to flee.

Here goes. On the evening of February 16, a boy –

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Peace Spreads

Celebrating the common language of music, the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin has now been carefully passed down to this year's recipient - along with the viola, cello and second violin that make up the Daniel Pearl Quartet - as instruments of peace. Named and crafted in honor of the Wall Street Journal reporter and devoted amateur violinist killed in Pakistan, the instruments are the work of Maine-based luthier and fiddler Jonathan Cooper who, after Pearl's murder in 2002, saw them and the power of music as "a way to help counteract all that darkness....a chance to, perhaps, push back against a world I felt was very chaotic and destructive and wrong." At first, Cooper envisioned making one violin to give to Pearl's son Adam, so that the son could remember the father who reportedly always brought and played his violin on his travels. But in conjunction with the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which organizes fellowships and concerts around the globe, the "small idea" grew. Now each year four instruments pass, hand to hand, to four young musicians chosen at a renowned strings camp. The kids are chosen for their musical skill as well as their ability to share a message of tolerance as they work, play, travel and once more pass along their instrument. From Sarah Hubbard, 19, this year's recipient, "This is how peace spreads, I guess." 

Republicans Choose *Progressive* Budget Solutions Over Their Own Party's

"Surveys have found that asking people about just titles of plans -- or telling people who proposed policy -- changes the results, so the point of this poll was to see what people thought of the plans when they were fully explained, but also stripped of partisan labels."

"When the Business Insider polled registered voters and asked for their preferences among three Congressional plans floated to avoid the looming "sequestration" cuts in Washington, they found that when stripped of their partisan labels, the policies most favorable to the majority were those offered by the progressive wing of the Democratic caucus. Strikingly, the plan offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called The Balancing Act and introduced in early February, is the plan that has received the least attention in the corporate media's coverage of the ongoing and latest "invented" Beltway crisis.

The poll found that in addition to beating the House Republican plan and the Senate Democrat's plan overall, "more than half of respondents supported [the Balancing Act] compared to sequestration and [only] a fifth of respondents were opposed." Moreover and "shockingly," a full 47% of Republicans preferred the House Progressive plan to the across-the-board cuts pushed by their party leaders in Washington. According to the Insider, "This means that Republicans supported the House Progressive plan just as much as they supported their own party's plan."


Ligonier man killed Tuesday evening

JENNER TOWNSHIP, SOMERSET COUNTY---37-year old Steve Sherback of Ligonier was killed Tuesday night in Somerset County. It happened just before 7:00 p.m. in Jenner Township near the Rt. 219 interchange. -

How We Give Big Banks $83 Billion A Year In Our Taxes

No Banker Left Behind:

The country's top five banks - JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs - aren't just too big to fail. They're also too big to turn a profit, which is why the profits they report are essentially transfers from us to their shareholders: When we pay our taxes, we give them at least 3 cents on every dollar. More on how we pay these monsters to put us in grave economic danger from that bastion of Marxism, Bloomberg Business: 

And Elizabeth Warren grilling Ben Bernanke on this same $83billion banker giveaway:  (Elizabeth Warren for president... .)

events by Ligonier Radio

  • THROUGH MARCH 22: Holy Trinity School Fish Frys will be held every Friday during Lent  February 15th through March 22nd from 4-7 PM in the school cafeteria. Eat in or take out. Orders can be placed in advance by calling 724-238-6430. All proceeds benefit Holy Trinity School.
  • MARCH 1: The Ligonier Valley Educational Trust has grant applications available for educational projects sponsored by non-profit organizations in the Ligonier Valley. Deadline to apply is March 1st. For more information, contact Paul at 724-593-7732.
  • MARCH 2: The Ligonier Valley Football Boosters will be having Cash Bash to benefit the team on Saturday, March 2nd at the Cooperstown Veterans and Sportmen Association in Latrobe. Doors open at 1 PM, the first ticket goes off at 2 PM and every 15 minutes thereafter until 5:45 PM. There will also be a basket raffle, a 50/50 raffle and cash game tickets.  Winners need not be present to win.Cost is $20.00 which includes raffle tickets, food and beverages. Must be 21 years of age to attend. For more information, call 724-238-3398.
  • MARCH 6: Dr. Henry Croft is holding a Rabies Clinic at Ligonier Agway on March 16th from 1:30 to 3 pm.  Rabies vaccines are $9.00 and proceeds benefit K-9 Officer Blek and Lt. Eric Eslary and K-9 Officer Rocky and Officer Robert Derk. 
  • MARCH 9: Holy Trinity School will hold its annual Art Fair and French Cafe on Saturday, March 9th from 10 AM-3 PM in the school cafeteria. Come see an array of arts and crafts and taste some delicious French foods. Proceeds benefit the Art and French departments of Holy Trinity School.
  • MARCH 9: The Ligonier Valley Association of Churches presents the Spring Corn Hole Shootout at the Ligonier Valley YMCA on Saturday, March 9th. All proceeds will benefit the Ligonier Valley Food Bank. To register call the YMCA at 724-238-7580.
  • MARCH 14: The Ligonier Valley Library will offer a workshop titled, Keeping Up With Technology: The Right Gadget For You on Thursday, March 14th at 1PM in the library's Community Room. No registration is required and the workshop is free and open to the public.
  • MARCH 16: The Ligonier Theatre will host a Shamrockin' Celebration on Saturday, March 16th at 3 PM. There will be beer tasting, an Irish sing a long and plenty of Irish music. Tickets are $20 for adults 21 years of age and over. Call 724-238-6514 for reservations.
  • THROUGH MARCH 23: The third annual "Soups On" will be Saturday, March 23rd from 10 AM- 2 PM. Sample signature soups from local restaurants at participating stores. For more information call the Chamber office at 724-238-4200.
  • THROUGH MARCH 25-29: Holy Trinity Parish is sponsoring His Passion Forever, the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It will be performed by youth of the community on at 7:30 PM on Monday, March 25th at Holy Trinity Church and  at 7:30 PM on Good Friday, March 29th in Ligonier Town Hall. Admission is free,but a goodwill offering will be accepted. 
  • THROUGH MARCH 31: The Annual Blanket Drive continues this year through the end of March. During the cold winter months, donated blankets will be distributed to those families whose income may cause them to sacrifice personal warmth. Donated blankets can be dropped off at the Ligonier Chamber of Commerce in Town Hall. For more information call 724-537-2033.

Digi-Vid, Yoga, and Pilates

It's hard to believe we have been practicing in the Ligonier for eighteen years, but here we are in the same old location, doing our thing!  But it's not just the same old same old, we're always moving forward, perfecting our craft.  We have been growing a bit, so it's about time we get back to Ligonier Living and let the readers know about what is going on here.  

First and foremost, we have a very active Facebook page, and frequent updates are found there.  We also completely revamped and expanded our web site,  

Two of our most exciting recent changes are the upgrading of our video x-ray system to a new ultra low radiation digi-vid format.  We have been using super low radiation videoflouroscopy since 1997.  Our recent upgrade brings our imaging into the digital age so that we have the same low-radiation and motion analysis capabilities (crucial to our x-ray analysis) but with extremely clear digital quality video and stills.  While most chiros in the region don't use x-ray at all or lack a comprehensive analysis package, we still have the same analysis but with more technical capability and have retained minimal radiation exposure per scan.  This is very good news for chiropractic patients —and those who should be!  The photo actually shows screen shots from a recent pre/post scan after two visits.  The low radiation capabilities allow us to monitor the repairs that occur under care with the Sequence System of chiropractic analysis, rationale, and adjustment.  We're getting bigger and better changes than ever before, and the digi-vid system allows us to keep up with the changes in patient's spine as care progresses better than we ever could before.

Another exciting addition to our office is a Yoga/Pilates mat room and private Yoga and Pilates instruction.  People have asked us what exercises they should do in order to help themselves and their recovery.  Our standard answer is "Yoga and Pilates".  Last spring I started thinking about converting some of our office space into an area where I could demonstrate and instruct stretching techniques for existing patients.  As the space evolved, it turned into this warm, relaxing private area which is ideal for one on one Yoga and Pilates instruction.  A nice private space (not everyone wants to be in a big class!) to promote wellness?  It was a no brainer, and here it is.  Now that lessons are running, just call Jenny at 724-23-2958 for details.  

So that's what we have been up to!  Big things going on here.  So please visit —and 'LIKE" our Facebook page, and be sure to visit  Thank you!  

—Jeffrey Hunt, DC

while we ponder the book 2030 by Albert Brookes

I'm an Albert Brookes fan and his understated humor is found in every line, even though he is pointing out how we ought to get our act together now because even though he presumes global warming happened, the other stuff is far more realistically frightening.

Locally made from the Laurel Highlands

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Wine Regions of Spain Tasting Series
Green Gables Restaurant

The Upper Ebro Valley – March Wine Tasting
Please join Green Gables for the first tasting of a five part series showcasing the Wine Regions of Spain. We begin our series in north central Spain with the wine regions along the Upper Ebro River.  They include Rioja, Navarra and Somontano.  Tempranillo, Garnacha, Viura and Malvasia are a few of the grape varieties grown in the Upper Ebro River Valley. The tasting will showcase the six quality wines from the regions. The cost of $35 per person (all inclusive) provides tastes of the wines intended to educate your palate and a selection of light hors d'oeuvres. Wine Regions of Spain:  The Upper Ebro Valley, Friday, March 1, 2013 from 6:00p.m-9:00p.m. For reservations contact Green Gables at 814-629-9201, option 1 or go to

April First Friday Wine Tasting
Catalunya: Penedès and Priorat – April Wine Tasting
The second tasting of a five part the five part Spanish wine series continues in Catalunya (Cataluña) which is the home of Barcelona and two dominant wine regions, Penedès and Priorat. Catalunya traditionally has been the heartland of Cava production (Spain's sparkling wine) which it still is today. The growing reputation of the region, however, comes from the modern production of still red wines which are made from the blending of traditional and international grapes varieties.  The tasting at Green Gables will feature six wines that convey the quality of wine production in Catalunya. The cost of $35 per person (all inclusive) provides tastes of the six wines intended to educate your palate and a selection of light hors d'oeuvres. Catalunya, Friday April 5, 2013 from 6:00p.m.-9:00p.m. For reservations contact Green Gables at 814-629-9201, option 1 or go to

May First Friday Wine Tasting:
The Levante and the Meseta
The third tasting of the five part series showcasing the regions of Spain continues with the Levante and the Meseta which are the broad areas that span from the Mediterranean coast south of Catalunya through the vast central plateau of Spain. Historically, the Levante produced bulk wine of little reputation and the Meseta grew vast quantities of Airén a white grape variety distilled and made into brandy.  Today, substantial investment in the vineyards and modernization of the regions' wineries is resulting in plantings of regional (Tempranillo, Macabeo) and international (Monastrell (Mourvèdre), Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah) grape varieties and bottlings that range from value-oriented to outstanding wines. The tasting at Green Gables will feature six wines that convey the quality of wine production in the Levante and the Meseta. The cost of $35 per person (all inclusive) provides tastes of the wines and a selection of light hors d'oeuvres. The Levante and the Meseta, Friday, May 3, 2013 from 6:00p.m.-9:00p.m. For reservations contact Green Gables at 814-629-9201, option 1 or go to

June First Friday Wine Tasting:
The Duero Valley:  Toro, Rueda, Ribera del Duero
Further your journey through Spain as Green Gables introduces Spain's Duero Valley at the fourth tasting of a five part series on Spain. The Duero Valley is located on the country's northern plateau along the banks of the Duero River which flows from the elevated plateau into Portugal. The Duero Valley wine regions include Toro, Rueda, and Ribera del Duero, the last of which produces wines comparable to the classed growth in France's Bordeaux. Tempranillo is the king of red wines throughout the Valley.  Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc make the aromatic whites in Rueda. The tasting at Green Gables will feature six wines that convey the quality of wine production in the Duero Valley. The cost of $35 per person (all inclusive) provides tastes of the wines and a selection of light hors d'oeuvres. The Duero Valley, Friday, June 7, 2013 from 6:00p.m.- 9:00p.m. For reservations contact Green Gables at 814-629-9201 option 1 or go to 

July First Friday Wine Tasting:
Galicia and Beyond:   Rias Baixas, Bierzo, Vino Verde
Complete the five part tour of Spain's wine regions with the July First Friday Tasting at Green Gables which will feature wines from the Northwest corner of Spain. Galicia experiences a tremendous amount of rainfall compared to the rest of Spain yet also receives ample sunshine.  Its most popular wine region, Rias Baixas, grows Albariño which can produce wines of distinction despite the humid environment. Over the boarder in Portugal, Alvarinho (the same grape variety) of vinho verde experiences a similar climate.  Bierzo lies to the east of Galicia and is a cool region where the Mencia grape is grown.  Wines produced from the Mencia in Bierzo are compared to Cabernet Franc based wines from France's Loire Valley.  The tasting represents the final stop Green Gables will make in Spain this year and will feature six wines that convey the quality of wine production in Galicia and Beyond.  The cost of $35 per person (all inclusive) provides tastes of the wines and a selection of light hors d'oeuvres. Galicia and Beyond, Friday, July 5, 2013 from 6p.m.- 9:00p.m. For reservations, contact Green Gables at 814-629-9201 option 1 or go to

Rioja Wine Dinner
Venture to Green Gables for a journey in wine to Spain's best-known wine region. Rioja lies in the northeast of Spain along the Ebro River where vineyards and wineries produce reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha in a variety of ages and whites from Viura and Malvasia. Rioja is divided into three subregions each containing a unique soil type and experiencing differing climate conditions. This results in wines ranging widely in style. The multi-course wine dinner at Green Gables will show six fine wines from throughout the subregions of Rioja served with five gourmet courses designed to pair with the wines.  The wine dinner will occur on Friday, March 22 at 7 pm.  $90 per person ++  

The Rioja Wine Dinner at Green Gables is the first in a pair of wine dinners focusing on Spain's most prominent wine producing regions.  The second dinner in the series is scheduled for Friday, April 12th and will feature wines from Priorat. The dinners coincide with a series of First Friday Wine Tastings that are showcasing the wine regions of Spain at tastings occurring on the first Fridays of March through July 2013.

Priorat: A Rising International Star 
Join Green Gables for an educational wine dinner featuring Spain’s latest rising star. Priorat is the fashionable wine region from Spain that has raised its profile to DOC status by blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Pinot Noir with traditional varieties of the region, Garnacha or Cariñena. The region is located in Catalunya near Barcelona and has a unique soil known as llicorella which consists of red slate layered with small particles of mica that sparkle in the sun and reflect heat.  Wines produced in Priorat show intense fruit in youth. Their powerful tannins and fruit extract provide them long aging potential.  The multi-course wine dinner at Green Gables will feature six fine wines from Priorat paired with five gourmet courses designed specifically for the dinner by our Executive Chef. The wine dinner will occur on Friday, April 12th at 7 pm.  $90 per person ++  

The Priorat Wine Dinner at Green Gables is the second in a pair of wine dinners focusing on Spain's most prominent wine producing regions.  The first dinner in the series is scheduled for Friday, March 22nd and will feature wines from Rioja. The dinners coincide with a series of First Friday Wine Tastings that are showcasing the wine regions of Spain at tastings occurring on the first Fridays of March through July 2013.

Rachel's Weekly Special

Rachel's Ligonier Floral
Touch of Spring- Mini Daffodils in a Basket-$8.00
On the Diamond
Open Monday - Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4

truth buddha

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hallelujah, the Era of Giant Chain Stores Is Over...

The coming implosion of big box retail implies tremendous opportunities for young people to make a livelihood in the imperative rebuilding of local economies.  Global currency wars (competitive devaluations) are about to destroy trade relationships. Say goodbye to the 12,000 mile supply chain from Guangzhou, China to Hackensack, New Jersey. Say goodbye to the growth financing model in which it becomes necessary to open dozens of new stores every year to keep the credit revolving.

"K-Mart will close over 200 boxes this year, and Radio Shack is committed to shutter around 500 stores. They could be gone in this town well before Santa Claus starts checking his lists. If they go down, opportunities will blossom. There will be no new chain store brands to replace the dying ones. That phase of our history is over. What we're on the brink of is scale implosion. Everything gigantic in American life is about to get smaller or die. Everything that we do to support economic activities at gigantic scale is going to hamper our journey into the new reality. The campaign to sustain the unsustainable, which is the official policy of US leadership, will only produce deeper whirls of entropy.

I hope young people recognize this and can marshal their enthusiasm to get to work. It's already happening in the local farming scene; now it needs to happen in a commercial economy that will support local agriculture. The additional tragedy of the big box saga is that it scuttled social roles and social relations in every American community. On top of the insult of destroying the geographic places we call home, the chain stores also destroyed people's place in the order of daily life, including the duties, responsibilities, obligations, and ceremonies that prompt citizens to care for each other."

"Nest" at Allegory Gallery

Please join us this Friday for an art opening of Kathy Dorfer's work at Allegory Gallery.  This Palm Springs-based artist will be showing twelve original artworks.  The reception is from 5PM to 8PM.  We have invited local authors and writers to come by and do readings about ravens and crows, which are the main focus of Kathy's work.  Stop by and check out this show!

Got Cabin Fever?

Sunday, March 3rd, 6pm
Hands On Sushi Class
Just one part of
The Kitchen on Main's
"March Madness"
for more details...
Space is limited - reserve today!

Rachel's Weekly Special

Rachel's Ligonier Floral
Touch of  Spring- Mini Daffodils in a Basket-$8.00
On the Diamond
Open Monday - Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4

McGinnis Hospital

A Main Street landmark in Ligonier that was shuttered in 2011 will likely reopen in July as an eight-room hotel.
The borough planning commission on Monday night heard a proposal by Ligonier residents Adam and Michelle Gardner to turn the former McGinnis Hospital into the hotel. Michelle Gardner said she also plans to move her yarn shop, Bo Peep Fine Yarns, from the Ligonier Diamond to the first floor of the historic structure at 221 W. Main St.

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I have a very high tolerance for humor and sometimes I think the ADL overreacts, but

I agree with them on the Ted skit during the Oscars.  After the bit was over, Hubby started talking to me and I had to say that I couldn't hear him because I was so stunned at the anti-Jew routine.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
While we have come to expect inappropriate “Jews control Hollywood” jokes from Seth MacFarlane, what he did at the Oscars was offensive and not remotely funny.  It only reinforces stereotypes which legitimize anti-Semitism.  It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Made in the USA

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it's Mellow Mike night!

MELLOW MIKEmellow mikemellow mikemellow mikemellow mikeMELLOW MIKEmellow mike

Order to the Chaos of Life: Isabel Allende on Writing

"I start all my books on January eighth. Can you imagine January seventh? It’s hell. Every year on January seventh, I prepare my physical space. I clean up everything from my other books. I just leave my dictionaries, and my first editions, and the research materials for the new one. And then on January eighth I walk seventeen steps from the kitchen to the little pool house that is my office. It’s like a journey to another world. It’s winter, it’s raining usually. I go with my umbrella and the dog following me. From those seventeen steps on, I am in another world and I am another person. I go there scared. And excited. And disappointed – because I have a sort of idea that isn’t really an idea. The first two, three, four weeks are wasted. I just show up in front of the computer. Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up." [...]

"My daughter, Paula, died on December 6, 1992. On January 7, 1993, my mother said, 'Tomorrow is January eighth. If you don’t write, you’re going to die.' She gave me the 180 letters I’d written to her while Paula was in a coma, and then she went to Macy’s. When my mother came back six hours later, I was in a pool of tears, but I’d written the first pages of Paula. Writing is always giving some sort of order to the chaos of life. It organizes life and memory. To this day, the responses of the readers help me to feel my daughter alive."

Zero Dark Thirty, the CIA and film critics have a very bad evening

"But then political writers had begun to notice what film critics either failed to detect or just wilfully ignored. The film falsely depicted torture as instrumental in the finding of Osama bin Laden ("what is so unsettling about 'Zero Dark Thirty' is not that it tells this difficult history but, rather, that it distorts it", said the New Yorker's Jane Mayer). Beyond the torture falsehoods, it was a blatant vehicle for CIA propaganda, bolstering a worldview exclusively out of Langley ("This is not a coincidence. The CIA played a key role in shaping the film's narrative," reported BuzzFeed's Michael Hastings; the CIA "couldn't have asked for better product placement", said the New York Times' Timothy Egan; as a result, said The Atlantic's Peter Maass: "Zero Dark Thirty represents a new genre of embedded filmmaking that is the problematic offspring of the worrisome endeavor known as embedded journalism"). In sum, said MSNBC's Chris Hayes, the film "colludes with evil" (a long but very partial list of writers, filmmakers, FBI agents and even government officials who similarly denounced the film is here).

The first sign that this fallout was harming the film was when its director, Bigelow, was not even nominated for Best Director. And now, on Sunday night at the Academy Awards, Zero Dark Thirty got exactly what it deserved: basically nothing other than humiliation."

(Thanks to Glenn Greenwald and others for seeing past the film's "rah-rah-we-got-'im" to the more disturbing truth: Torture porn should not be rewarded with Oscars.)

Fracking and the Revolving Door in Pennsylvania government

While media outlets have written about some of these connections independently (such as Gov. Ridge’s
Marcellus Shale Coalition lobbying), this report is the first extensive look at the revolving door between the
gas industry and all of the Pennsylvania government entities responsible for its regulation. The revolving door data in this report raises troubling questions about the incentives that may be guiding public officials’ oversight of fracking in Pennsylvania, from governors to DEP secretaries to well inspectors. 

It's the old adage "the fox is guarding the hen house" safe can one hope their eggs to be? Not very is the clear answer. Separation of church and state, separation of industry and state.

"February 2013 - The oil and gas industry frequently argues that fracking means jobs. This appears to be especially true for former regulators and other public officials in Pennsylvania, many of whom have taken lucrative jobs working for the industry. This report documents the revolving door between government and the gas industry in Pennsylvania, where numerous top government officials and environmental regulators have either left their public jobs for careers in the oil and gas industry or come to government from the private sector. The report is based on extensive research on the career trajectories of dozens of public officials, with a focus on the executive branch and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in particular. The revolving door trend in Pennsylvania raises questions about whether regulators are serving the public interest or private industry interests in their oversight of fracking. The following are major findings from the report:

Pennsylvania’s previous three governors have strong ties to the natural gas industry.
Every Secretary of Environmental Protection since the DEP was created has had ties to the natural gas industry.
Twenty Department of Environmental Protection employees have held jobs in the energy industry either before or after their agency jobs."

Full report:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This is the Steampunk Party picture I was looking for. Great!!

well worth the time to listen to his story

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Circle pit simulation

An audience of frenzied heavy-metal concertgoers behaves just like molecules in a gas, according to the first-ever study of crowd motion in a "mosh pit". The work was done by physicists at Cornell University in the US – who claim that a better understanding of the collective motion of the mosh pit in front of a stage could lead to better designed music venues and improved crowd-control tactics. They also believe that the study could be used to reduce the risk of injury or worse during mass evacuations, riots and other "extreme social gatherings".

thanks to Pittsburgh Dad for the morning chuckle

Kids, listen up for a second. When I wake up in the morning, you kids are the first things I think about. Sitting in traffic down there on the way to work I think of you kids to help get me through it. When I'm dealing with a bunch of jaggos all day, sometimes I think of your guys smiles and everything is just AOK. I deal with yinz skipping a chore here and there and bringing home the occasional low grade. I put up with the fact that you hang out with punks, goofs, and witches cause deep down my heart I know yinz will turn out fine cause of the values your Mum and I have passed on to you. There's nothing I wouldn't do for yinz and I love ya...sooooo...I don't understand why in THE HELL yinz couldn't save me one damn box of them good Girl Scout Samoas like I specifically asked yinz to!! I bought all them boxes and I didn't even get one cookie!? That's real nice! Yinz even managed to find the box of Thin Mints I hid down in the basement freezer way back behind the deer steaks!!!? This is the kind of stuff that's gonna drive me in the fast lane straight to the "nuthouse!" What-a-bunch-of-hogs yinz are. Geeeeez Louise!!!!

Kathy Dorfer at Allegory Gallery

We at Allegory Gallery are pleased to announce our next art exhibition featuring the work of Palm Springs-based artist, Kathy Dorfer.  Kathy will be showing twelve original artworks featuring ravens and crows in her show titled, "Nest".  Please join us, Friday, March 1st from 5PM to 8PM for the opening reception of this lovely show.  As an added bonus, local authors and writers will be doing readings about the iconic bird featured in the paintings!  (You can do a reading too!  If you plan to do a reading at the opening about the bird, email us and we'll add you to the list.

Steampunk Party Recap...

We had a wonderful evening during the Steampunk Party.  We didn't know how it would turn out, but it got quite busy and there were lots of folks in costume!  We were really pleased with the positive reaction and will hopefully do another gathering in warmer weather!

Here are some shots from the evening.  (I apologize for the lack of captions.  There were a lot of new faces... and frankly, after such a successful event, I'm running out of steam.)

Our costume contest winners!  The two misses on the left won the junior prizes and Clint on the right won the adult division!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Purim and the Evolution of Judaism

It always amazes me how Judaism has succeeded in evolving (or shall we say, for the sake of political correctness, reinvigorating itself).
After all, the Bible took orgiastic pagan harvest festivals and turned them into disciplined, monotheistic family celebrations. Shapatu, the Mesopotamian Seventh Day, was transformed from an evil day of fear and bad luck into one of rest and spirituality. The people of Ugarit boiled a kid in its mother’s milk, while we wait six hours between meat and milk (or insist on two sets of dishes, fridges, ovens, dishcloths, tablecloths, dentures, and toothpicks). But I still can’t believe that Moses could ever have imagined his descendants would one day return to the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey to turn it into a land swamped with long black coats and fur hats speaking a variation of “Dog German”. But, as the good book of Psalms says, “How amazing are your works, God, and they are all wise!”

What *are* GMOs, and why should I care, anyway...?

This little tutorial is only for people who eat food, nobody else...:

(So if you don't eat food, please skip this post. Thank you.)

First of all, here is what GMOs (genetically engineered organisms) are not ... . Here's a definition of the old-fashioned, normal, healthy-for-you, what-yer-granma-planted kind of seed : "Open-pollinated seeds are the result of the natural pollination process. You know – birds and bees kind of stuff. But more precisely, open-pollinated seeds are the result of “natural relations” – if you get my drift – between genetically similar parents. You’re probably asking “What the heck does that mean?” Well, let’s use this example: A pure-bred Brandywine tomato plant in your garden has “relations” with another pure-bred Brandywine tomato. This pairing will produce pure-bred Brandywine tomato babies – not Mortgage Lifter babies, or Better Boy babies – only Brandywine babies. These babies are also open-pollinated, pure bred Brandywine, and if they stick with their own in the future, the lineage will carry on from generation to generation. Heirloom or heritage seeds are simply very old open-pollinated varieties."
Now, a sidestep into hybrids, mixes of plants: "Hybrids are seeds that are the direct result of “relations” between two or more genetically distinct (or different) parents that belong to the same species.  In other words the parent plants are usually the same species – a cucumber with a cucumber – but of a different variety – let’s say, a Straight Eight with a Homemade Pickle."
But: "Let’s get one thing straight right now, hybrids are not to be confused in anyway with GMO’s, which are not the result of natural relations of any kind – and it may be argues aren’t natural in any way, shape, or form. GMO’s are seeds that have been tweaked in a laboratory so that they are forced to include genes from all kinds of things, including mice, fungi, viruses, other animals, bugs, and in some cases, human genes. I have often been heard to say, that “Rice and mice don’t splice” – but if you are a genetics expert, you can force them to. And be aware that the number and frequency of genetically modified organisms in food crop seeds, including garden seeds, is on the rise. Demand that these seeds be labeled as GMO’s."

SO: More and more seeds that make the food on your dinner plate are exclusively GMO seeds, produced by agrogiant producers, and those seeds do not make yer granma's tomatoes. BigAg furthermore adds little killer genes to make saving those seeds impossible, thereby ensuring the dead-end dependence of farmers (who used to save seeds year to year) on the agrogiant. (They even sue individual farmers who somehow manage to get some FrankenFood seeds to germinate.) Instead of being able to save seeds and cut costs as farmers have done for millenia, thanks to this model of modern agrobusiness, from 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325%; for cotton prices spiked 516% and corn seed prices are up by 259%.

It's all about controlling markets - three corporations control 53% of the global commercial seed market - and despite the fact Big Agriculture promised increased yields and improved nutrition and better drought resistance, that has not happened. Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers reports a precipitous drop in seed diversity that has been cultivated for millennia. (Remember the old tried and true adage "Don't put all you eggs in one basket"? Yup, matters in seeds, too.) As the report notes:  86% of corn, 88% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans farmed in the U.S. are now genetically-engineered (GE) varieties, making the option of farming non-GE crops increasingly difficult.
Progress for who? Not the farmers, and judging from the test results, not for the end consumer: YOU and me, our families, our descendants, the animals who eat this "food"... . 

Take back the food system, America, before it's too late.

Given the choice....

(On her way back home from rallying with 50,000 others for immediate clean answers to climate change, actress Evangeline Lilly asks:)

"** If oil workers could choose, would they choose to work in toxic environments with damaging chemicals, or would they choose to work surrounded by clean air?
** If Americans could choose, would they choose to work on the infrastructure for cancer-causing oil power or would they choose to work on the infrastructure for health reviving wind power?
** If Canadians could choose, would they choose to dig up their forests, leaving behind barren and filthy wastelands, or would they choose to harvest the sun's rays and leave behind a legacy for their children?
** If people had a choice, what would that choice be?

My reflections on climate choice were abruptly interrupted by the ever more sobering understanding that, right now, so many citizens of our free, democratic nations have no choice. They go to work in the dirty energy sector for lack of a better alternative. There are jobs to be created on both sides of the climate argument. Whether we are investing in oil or sun, coal or wind, gas or algae, the economy will be stimulated by the investment. The economy, unlike each of us, is not swayed by ideology. So, by the time I touched down at home, I had but one, echoing thought in my mind, one aching plea for the leaders of our "free world": Please... ask not the people if they want to work, but ask the people what they want to work toward. Even slaves have jobs. A free man should have choice."

Greens vs. Democrats & Republicans – The Real Difference

Support full access to abortion, with funding, for all women in the U.S. and around the world. Republicans: Oppose abortion
Democrats: Support abortion rights. Sometimes.
Bail out the people Republicans: No Bailouts
Democrats: Bail out the banks
Jail for Banksters Republicans: Reject
Democrats: Will Not Act
Refuse to accept corporate contributions. Demand an end to special rights for corporations & an end to big money elections Republicans & Democrats: Accepts donations from corporations, including defense contractors, oil companies, insurance and drug firms, etc. Republican officials indicted or under investigation of bribery, perjury, etc.
Oppose Corporations as Persons Republicans: Support
Democrats: Support
Refuse Corporate Campaign Contributions Republicans: Support with open hands
Democrats: Support with open hands
Support labeling of genetically modified organism Republicans: Oppose
Democrats: Thinking, Thinking ...
Oppose the death penalty citing racial bias, failure to deter crime, widespread errors, and humanitarian objections. Republicans: Overwhelmingly support it
Democrats: Lukewarm support for it
Support electoral reform including Instant Runoff Voting and public financing of elections. Open debates. Republicans & Democrats: Works for us, why change anything
Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline Republicans: Support
Democrats: Lukewarm opposition
Reduce emissions NOW
Convert to renewable energy sources such as low-cost wind and solar power.
Republicans: Bush withdrew the U.S. from the Kyoto Treaty to reduce greenhouse gases and fossil fuel use (oil, coal). Wants to lower emissions standards to try to reduce gas prices.
Democrats: Willing to weaken emissions standards to lower gas prices. Promotes subsidies to corporate agriculture as a way to reduce petroleum consumption.
Oppose Drone Warfare & Assassinations Republicans: Support
Democrats: Support
Oppose Israeli takeover of Palestine Republicans: Support
Democrats: Support
Reduce the military budget Republicans: Increase the budget
Democrats: Increase the budget
Fully support the Social Security system Republicans: Cut it to the bone
Democrats: Will accept cuts
Support a Jubliee for Student Debt Republicans: Oppose
Democrats: Oppose
Support a living wage and the right to organize        Republicans: Oppose
Democrats: Weak support
Demand real universal health care: Single-payer national health insurance, with guaranteed treatment and medicine regardless of age, ability to pay, employment, prior medical condition, including choice of doctors and hospitals. Republicans: Oppose guaranteed universal health care; Support health policy based on corporate profits for insurance, HMO, and drug companies instead of human need.
Democrats: Support health policy based on corporate profits; Deleted plans for universal health care from the Democratic platform.

Another US is possible...another party is necessary.