Saturday, February 27, 2010

Letter-Writing Makes A Difference In Government

Dear Jadene,

Thank you for contacting me with your ideas concerning support for green agriculture . It is an honor to serve as your Senator, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

The advice and comments I receive from the people of Oregon are very important to me. I believe that the involvement of citizens in government is vital to its success. If we all get involved, we can affect real change in our country. I pursued a career in public service out of my passion to build a better America. Working together and participating in ongoing dialogue with citizens and elected officials alike are key to developing innovative solutions to resolve the many challenges facing our nation.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep me informed on matters important to you.

All my best,

Jeff Merkley
United States Senate StumbleUpon

Senator Merkley Responds: Clean Water Restoration Act (S.787)

Dear Jadene,

Thank you for contacting me to share your support for the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2009 (S.787). You will be pleased to know that I am an original cosponsor of this important legislation.

I am committed to protecting rivers, lakes, and streams in Oregon and across the country. Access to clean water is critical for millions of Americans' supply of drinking water, as well as for recreation and wildlife habitat. For years, the Clean Water Act of 1972 provided common-sense protections for our nation's water resources. Since 2001, two Supreme Court decisions have undermined the Clean Water Act, significantly restricting what waters can be protected and putting many of the places where millions of Americans get their drinking water at risk. The Clean Water Restoration Act of 2009 was drafted to restore the ability of the Clean Water Act, to protect our waterways and maintain the health of our nation's water sources.

I was pleased to join with a majority of my colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to vote in support of this important legislation on June 18th. I am hopeful that this legislation will now be quickly considered and passed by the full Senate.

Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts with me. I hope you will continue to keep me informed about the issues that matter most to you.

All my best,

Jeff Merkley
United States Senate StumbleUpon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Representative Ben Cannon's Response - Battery Cages

On Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 10:17 PM, Rep Cannon wrote:

I serve on both the Environment and Water committee, which I chair, and the Health Care committee. Bills on animal issues tend to go to the Consumer Protection committee. Rep. Paul Holvey of Eugene has taken a particular interest in animal rights. The Humane Society of the United States has a strong lobby in the Capitol and has passed several pieces of legislation since I have been in office. I will have my assistant, Christy, check in to see if they are working on anything related to chicken cages. She will get back to you with what she finds out. It might take awhile depending on whether or not people are working next week.

Next Question - Mailed February 16, 2010
Representative Cannon,
I was glad to find your letter in my inbox. It is great to know that you care about the issue of animal welfare and humane treatment for farm animals. I eagerly look forward to hearing from Christy, your assistant, about potential battery cage legislation. I will also send correspondence to Rep. Paul Holvey in Eugene and to the Consumer Protection Committee.
I wonder how the Environment and Water Committee, on which you serve, sees the frequent major spills of factory farm waste into natural waterways? I would think that factory farms and C.A.F.O.s would be one of the main concerns of the Environment and Water Committee, considering these pollution events resulting directly from their operation.
Thank you so much,
Jadene Fourman,2315532
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New Seasons Response - Humane Animal Products

Reply sent January 4, 2010


Thank you so much for contacting us with your questions! We think it’s important that our customers have the resources they need to make informed decisions about the food they purchase. Because we feel so strongly about the farm to table connection we are always happy when our customers take the time to learn more about the foods they purchase and the wide variety of options we as consumers have. It’s one of the reasons we host farmers and ranchers in our stores. We want our customers and ranchers to meet each other and learn more about how each one feels about the animals or plants that eventually end up in our meals. This desire to provide information is also why we enjoy answering emails like this one.

All the meat and poultry in the New Seasons Market Meat Departments comes to us from the partnerships that Alan, our Meat and Seafood Director, has developed over the years (the same is true for our seafood). Alan, our buyer, knows our ranchers and farmers and their operations intimately. Humane animal treatment is an important factor in Alan’s decision to enter into a partnership and to renew it over the years. Alan visits our farm and ranch partners as frequently as possible, and nearly all of our meat department staff have had the chance to stay (and even work) with Country Natural Beef, Pacific Village Beef and/or Umpqua Valley Lamb ranchers.

Food Alliance currently offers certification for Beef, Lamb and Pork. All Country Natural Beef and Pacific Village Beef ranchers are Food Alliance certified, as are the Umpqua Valley Lamb ranchers and the Oregon families who raise our Pacific Village Pork. You can learn more about the farmers and ranchers on our website: click here. The left hand margins contain many videos, interviews, and information about the specific farms and ranchers our meat products come from.
Our Country Natural Beef is raised and finished on a diet of grain and pasture while our Pacific Village Beef is 100% grass fed and never grain finished. We offer the Pacific Village Grass Fed Beef in the spring through the fall, but in the winter we have a limited supply since it’s difficult for cows to sustain themselves entirely on pasture during the cold winter months.

Slaughter is often one of the most difficult aspects of animal farming, and while the question is rare, it is an important one that we are more than happy to discuss with our customers. It is important to New Seasons Market to establish relationships with ranchers and growers who are committed to humane farming practices, and humane slaughter is not the least of the significant criteria that our partnerships require. To our Meat Merchandisers, humane slaughter includes a low stress environment for the animals; a quick and painless kill; and a processing facility that is top quality, USDA certified, and relatively small-scale. None of the animals in our meat cases have been tortured at any time, including the time of their slaughter. If you are interested in further details about the slaughter of our animals, I can provide that for you.

Thanks again for being in touch with us, Jadene, and I hope you won’t hesitate to stay in touch with me if you have any further questions for us!


Chenoa Philabaum
Customer Advocate
New Seasons Market

Inquiry Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 6:56 PM
To: Talk To Us
Subject: inquiry about meat products

i'm interested in finding out about how animals are treated on farms that new seasons stocks its meat counter from. do new seasons suppliers allow their livestock regular access to fresh outdoor air, green grass, and sunlight? are farm animals that new seasons buys from raised and slaughtered humanely? does new seasons buy from any confined animal feeding operations (cafos)?
thank you,
jadene f

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reversal of Supreme Court Decision - Campaign Underway

My housemate sent this to me today from from a January 28th announcement:

"Last time, far-right Congressman Joe Wilson shouted "You Lie." Last night, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was only slightly more graceful.1

It's never been more clear that the current Supreme Court is dominated by right-wing partisans, and last week, they issued the most scandalous decision since Bush v. Gore by opening the floodgates to unlimited campaign spending by corporations.2

Today we're launching a massive new campaign to end corporate domination of American politics.

We'll demand a constitutional amendment to directly reverse the Supreme Court decision, and we'll fight for essential changes like the Fair Elections Now Act, to give small-donor-backed populist candidates a chance against the corporate big guns.

It'll be a huge fight and we need to know if we'll have the resources to proceed. It'll take $200,000 right away to start strong, and that'll take 62 donations from Portland. Are you in? Please help with a contribution of $5 today. Click here:

This new tsunami of corporate money in elections is on top of the tremendous power corporate lobbyists already have on Capitol Hill—just look at health care reform to see what a few hundred million dollars from big corporations can do.3

With this Court decision, Big Insurance could spend as much as they want to support Joe Lieberman in his efforts to keep watering down health care reform. And ExxonMobil or BP can spend millions to elect candidates who oppose clean energy. It's a disastrous decision with a disastrous outcome.

That's why we're launching a major new campaign to break the stranglehold that corporate influence has over our politics, and over all of President Obama's agenda, and we're going really big.

We'll push Congress to pass a real "fair elections" bill that will make sure politicians rely on money from real people in their home districts instead of major multi-national corporations. We'll fight to kick lobbyists out of the back room negotiations on Capitol Hill. And together we'll tackle the single biggest and best solution to the corporate corruption problem: A constitutional amendment to undo the damage of the horrible Supreme Court decision.4

Over the course of the next year we'll:

* Expose the ties between big oil, insurance and Wall Street CEOs and politicians who stand in the way of the change Americans want
* Invest in a major organizing effort to rally voters in every district to hold their representatives accountable for taking corporate money and then watering down critical reform
* Launch tough ads that shine a light on the corrupting influence of corporate interests on crucial public priorities.

This is obviously an enormous challenge and, honestly, it'll take a lot of resources to run a truly strong effort. It's going to take 62 folks from Portland today to make sure we can kick off the campaign. Can you chip in $5 today?

Nothing less than our democracy is at stake. But together, we can begin to turn the tide.

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Kat, Adam, Ilya, and the rest of the team

P.S. Last week, President Eli Pariser wrote an opinion column for The Wall Street Journal showing how corporate control of politics has dramatically limited progress in President Obama's first year—and explaining how we can fight back. Click here to read it:


1. "Justice Samuel Alito Mouths 'Not True' During State of the Union," Politics Daily, January 28, 2010

"Justice Samuel Alito channels Joe Wilson during State of the Union," Daily Kos, January 27, 2010

2. "Justices Overturn Key Campaign Limits," The New York Times, January 21, 2010

"Lobbyists Get Potent Weapon in Campaign Finance Ruling," The New York Times, January 21, 2010

3. "New Lobbying Reports Show Big Business Keeps Spending to Influence Politics," Center for Responsive Politics, January 21, 2010

4. "The Solutions: Three Ways to Curb Excessive Corporate Money in Politics," Public Citizen, accessed January 28, 2010

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. StumbleUpon

Saturday, January 23, 2010

URGENT - Corporations Are Not People

The United States Supreme Court is allowing corporations to be considered natural persons by law. This is very bad and very important.
The decision is ludicrous, but it affects everything, from our drinking water to our basic human rights. It must not be ignored. If there was a time to take a stand, it is now.
Please please take five minutes to contact your senators and representatives. Make them aware that you do not support the new legal designation. Tell them that corporations are not people. Tell them that you will not tolerate the decision and that it must be reversed immediately.
It is quite easy to make contact with elected officials in America. Contrary to popular belief, they listen and respond. The following website had direct email, phone, and mailing addresses for each state's government officials. A letter counts as two thousand citizen voices, and email and phone are counted below that number somewhere. It is up to us to stop total corporate domination over ecosystems and communities, which has been steadily growing, but this right here is the big one. We can't allow this.
Capitol Switchboard:
Mailing Addresses & Emails:

Sample Letter

Dear Member of Congress,

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC would allow corporations to spend money directly on attack ads supporting or opposing Congressional candidates.

This decision was made under the pretext that because a corporation is a “person,” they should be allowed to spend their massive aggregated wealth to influence elections.

A corporation is not a person with voting rights. Giving corporations the rights of people would fundamentally change our democracy.

Rep. Van Hollen, Sen. Schumer and the White House are working protect our democracy from the implications of this decision.

I urge you to take swift action in support of this effort.


_________________________(your name)


Stop the corporate takeover of democracy - OSPIRG StumbleUpon

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Clean Water & Air Is a Basic Right We Have to Protect - Here's What You Can Do

So I work at a nonprofit office, and I'm daily made aware of shifts and achievements in the Environmental movement. Today it was announced that Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has put forward an amendment to the Clean Air Act that was written by industry lobbyists representing air polluters! It's obvious that she's been paid off, but by letting our Senators know we are aware of and opposed to the amendment she's been paid to propose, our clout can (is usually what) put a stop to big destruction of Clean Air Act protections. If you call 202-224-3121 you can tell your Senator's office that you want her or him to oppose the Murkowski amendment to the Clean Air Act. Actions like this do make the difference! Please take two minutes out of your busy day to make this call. Also on the chopping block is the Clean Water Act! In 2001 and 2006 two Supreme Court decisions created a loophole that has since then allowed major polluters to pour toxins into waterways not classified as "navigable." The obvious thing here is that streams and other waterways not navigable by ships are source feeders to major water bodies. The impetus for action is that millions of people get their drinking water from lakes and rivers fed by the tributaries being polluted. Please take a minute or five out of your packed schedule to voice your support for the Clean Water Restoration Act. You can call the number above and ask for the offices of your Representatives and Senators. This legislation restores the original 1970's Clean Water Act to protect all water in the United States. It is our only protection for drinking water in the country, so it's vital we restore its protections. Thank you so much. StumbleUpon