Sunday, November 23, 2008

finding a place for cultibotics in Obama's rural agenda

For a detailed discussion of ‘cultibotics’, see the Cultibotics blog.

It's not like there was any shortage of ideas for how to improve the stability of U.S. agriculture, the lot of farmers, and the economic vitality of rural America. Just have a look at President-Elect Obama's rural agenda.

What would the ideas encapsulated in the Cultibotics blog look like if embraced by the Obama-Biden team? What might they be called? Here's a few focused statements that occur to me...
  • Help insulate farmers and farming regions from dependency on volatile bulk commodity markets by encouraging greater diversity of production.
  • Facilitate production improvements through both simultaneous and sequential polyculture.
  • Enable farmers to grow more of their own food without need for much time investment or manual labor.
  • Reduce the time spent in machine operation.
  • Reduce the acreage needed for an economically viable farming operation.
  • Reduce the initial investment required to start a farm.
  • Provide farmers and their children with high-tech experience.
  • Create a demand for skilled technicians and technical instructors in rural areas.
  • Create opportunities for rural youth.
  • Preserve local crop varieties and experiment with new crops.
  • Improve the quality and diversity of locally available produce.
  • Reverse the impoverishment of rural culture.
  • Reduce exposure to pesticides and pesticide residues.
  • Reduce the dependency of agriculture on fossil fuels and feed stocks.
  • Reduce contamination of runoff and ground water.
  • Reduce and eventually reverse the loss of soil fertility.
  • Reduce wind-borne dust.
  • Enlist productive land in the efforts to preserve endangered species and provide wildlife habitat.

This list could be far longer, but that should be enough for a sample.

Obama: the road ahead

One thing is already becoming crystal clear about Barack Obama, he meant what he said about change.

If you haven't already, have a look at <>, the website of The Office of the President-Elect.

Thankfully, President-Elect Obama also appears to possess the tenacity to follow through on his high aspirations, even in the face of obstinate opposition. He may not win on every point, but, with the help of the people, he'll make real headway.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

W: “What a long, strange trip it's been.”

A week ago, I went to see the new Oliver Stone movie, W., which is a remarkably respectful biographical treatment of George W. Bush.

Nevertheless, I came away from that film thinking “What a long, strange trip it's been.” (an expression made famous by the Grateful Dead)

Worse, it's not over yet. No matter who wins on Tuesday, we'll be dealing with the consequences of eight years of sloppy thinking and mismanagement for a long time to come, the scope of which will only begin to become clear after the inauguration in January.

Even so, good health to W. — may he serve out the remainder of his second term in peace. Heaven forbid something should happen to him that would allow Dick Cheney a few brief weeks as President, for, if that were to happen, we might have yet another war on our hands, in Iran.