Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Family in Atwater Village

My name is Vincenzo Brasington Caravella and I live in Atwater Village. Even though I’m just two years old, my Grammy and Papa keep telling me about all kinds of good stuff about where we live and how I’m a fifth generation Atwater Villager. They said that this year will 100 years for Atwater Village as a part of the big city of Los Angeles; and even though my family has not been here for 100 years this year does make 71 years in Atwater for my family.

It’s kind of a long story and I’m too little to tell it all, so I’ll let my Grammy help me tell you a little bit of what she knows about our families and the neighborhood.

My Great Great Grandpa Joseph Caravella, Big Daddy, came to Atwater in 1939 with Great Great Grandma Mable, Big Mamma. Their family had been in the grocery business in Birmingham Alabama and before that in Italy. They wanted to buy a little market in Los Angeles. They found the perfect property in the nice quite community of Atwater at the corner of Atwater Ave and Silver Lake Blvd. At the time, Silver Lake Blvd had four other “mom and pop” markets, Bill’s, Parnell’s, Marie’s and Queen’s. Papa Joe tells me there were no super markets then. How did they live without Traders Joes or Whole Foods? Anyway Big Daddy Caravella was able to borrow $500 and buy their grocery store. They named it after their son; my Great Grandpa Vince and the family ran the business there for the next 47 years. Go by there and see the murals. My Grandpa, Papa Joe, tells me that’s how it looked when he was a little boy in the ‘50’s and they used the truck painted in the mural to deliver customer’s groceries… for free.

My Great Great Grandmas; Millie Gould Caravella and Esther de Heras Brasington both went to Marshall High School Millie grew up in Atwater on Atwater Ave and Esther lived near by just off Sunset and Fountain. They were not the first of my family to graduate from Marshall my Great Great Uncle Jose de Heras was a member of the first graduating class in 1931. My Great Grandpa Buck Brasington and Great Grandma Esther moved to Atwater in 1947 Great Grandpa Brasington said that Atwater looked like a good neighborhood to raise a family. My Grammy and Papa meet for the first time when they were six months old, but that’s another chapter.

Both my Grandma and Grandpa, Grammy and Papa Joe, grew up in Atwater with Grammy going to Atwater Ave Elementary. She said it was a big school then all made out of bricks. Papa Joe went to Holy Trinity Catholic School. The Church is still there just about the same, but the old school is gone with a new school now for the kids. Grammy and Papa even got married there a long long time ago.

My Daddy and Uncle grew up in Atwater with my Grammy and Papa and they kept up the family trend and went to Atwater Elementary and to Marshall High School. When my Mamma and Daddy decided to buy a house, they wanted to stay in Atwater so it looks like I will be growing up here too.

I already have my favorite’s places for numm numm (that’s good eats to big people). I can hardly go past the noodle house or the place for arroz con pollo without pulling Grammy in, it smells so good. Plus I love to visit Ms. Lourde’s birdie shop. Well I have to go now its time to walk down the street and see teacher Julie at my Rock Toddler Music class. I guess Grammy is right…she says she always is…Atwater Village is a very good place and we should be proud to have generations of family members who loved living here and tried to help make it the good place it is today.

More on the Caravella Family
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Neighborhood Council Representatives Deliver Statement to City Hall

LOS ANGELES – Neighborhood Council representatives from throughout the city are headed to City Hall to call on the Mayor and the City Council to honor the City Charter which established the Neighborhood Council system and which mandates appropriate funding. They take with them a BudgetLA Statement that says “At this time of financial crisis for the City, the solutions require a partnership between the elected officials at City Hall and the elected representatives of our 90 neighborhood councils.”

Neighborhood Councils exist to advise the Mayor and the City Council on City Budget priorities, to monitor the delivery of services, and to involve the community in the governance of the City of Los Angeles. The Charter goes so far as to call for periodic meetings with responsible officials of City departments.

As the CAO’s “City Restructuring Proposals” are considered by the Budget and Finance Committee on Monday afternoon, Neighborhood Council leaders will stand in defense of the neighborhood council system and will position the NC system as a Funding Solution, a Communication Solution, and as a Community Building Solution. Ultimately, the NC system is an ASSET, not a LIABILITY, and it is protected by the City Charter. To that end, neighborhood councils stand as partners with the Mayor, the City Council, and the City Staff in working together for “An LA that Works!”

BudgetLA has hosted two emergency workshops which have drawn 110 different members from 47 different neighborhood councils, all focused on working together to take on bankruptcy, pensions, the delivery of city services and the reorganization of the city system. The BudgetLA position starts with two basic premises, that “everything is on the table and must be considered as we work together to solve the budget crisis and neighborhood councils must be at that table as partners in the process.”

The NC reps have taken a full-spectrum approach to the budget crisis and believe that it is essential that the community engage with our elected officials as well as city staff to pursue Revenue innovations along with Pension reform while maintaining prioritized delivery of City Services and the implementation of Organizational improvements, all of which work together to guarantee that Los Angeles take its place as a Great City.

This past Saturday, BudgetLA featured Alex Rubalcava who addressed LA’s future on “The Road to Bankruptcy” and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s GM, BongHwan Kim’s “A Vision for Neighborhood Councils.” BudgetLA will meet again on Saturday, February 13 and on Saturday, February 27 at Hollywood City Hall. Both BudgetLA sessions start at 10:00 am.

Press Conference
Monday, February 1, 2010
City Hall Rotunda
200 Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Budget & Finance Committee
Monday, February 1, 2010
City Council Chambers
200 Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

BudgetLA supports the activities of several neighborhood council groups, all working together to pursue solutions to LA’s Budget Crisis. Participants include the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition, the Saving Los Angeles project, the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, the Mayor’s Budget Advisory Committee and representatives from neighborhood councils throughout the city. For more information visit where you will find a Calendar of upcoming events, the Speakers Bureau, an archive of BudgetLA videos and links to individual neighborhood councils. Join BudgetLA on Facebook and follow BudgetLA on Twitter (@BudgetLA) To get involved, join BudgetLA on Saturday, February 13 at 10:00 am for “Look for the Union Label” at Hollywood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Ave., Hollywood 90028.
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"Over £140m in the bank” (when I checked on Friday)

Now I know I promised a “full analysis” of David Gill’s interview on BBC Radio 5Live (download here).  Unfortunately a combination of United’s amazing demolition of Arsenal and the BBC’s choice of Garry Richardson as their highly trained attack dog interviewer (he tittered in agreement when Gill said “you’re not an accountant Garry” which was a bad start given the subject matter) meant that there’s not a lot of analysis to post tonight, so let’s focus on one thing.  The big pile of cash.

Don’t worry about the debit says David Gill, because when he went to the cash machine on Friday with his United debt card, it said the club had “over £140m in the bank”.

Well that was Friday.

Until the bank debt is repaid this week, none of the possible outflows of money to the Glazers described in great detail on this site can take place.  So by definition the money is there.  Plus we know there are banking fees and derivatives losses to pay.  What's more important is whether it's our football club's or may be needed by other people whose US shopping center (sic) empire isn't generating any cash.

But first, where did it come from?  Well we all know about the £80m for Ronaldo.  But another £36m came from our new sponsors Aon.  This followed the weird stipulation by United that any successful bidder to take over from AIG had to pay a big percentage (in this case 45%) upfront, more than a year before the shirts change.  So this is just money brought forward and means future cashflow will be £8.6m less than profits each year for the next four years.

Why would they be so desperate to bring cash in early which must have reduced the total value of the sponsorship deal?  I can’t imagine (but then I haven’t seen the PIK net debt / EBITDA covenants).

Now I don’t doubt that we will buy players of greater stature than the relatively unknown Chris Smalling in the next year or two.  The squad has an ageing element to it which needs work and even the most aggressive asset stripping owner would try to paper over a few cracks.  But I’m certain that we will operate at the “value” end of the market.

And here’s a weird thing: 
  1. Gill says all the money is available.
  2. We have £140m in the bank (true on Friday).
  3. He says we make a cash profit of around £90m each year (true).
  4. He says this comfortably covers the £45m bond interest each year (if 2x is comfortable then yes that is also true).
  5. He says that leaves £45m in cash coming in each year (true until someone lifts it).

So why, whilst doing the bond issue has the club put in place a £75m additional debt facility and said this about it (page 60 of the prospectus my emphasis):

Although we have not historically drawn on our revolving credit facilities during the summer transfer window, if we seek to acquire players with values substantially in excess of the values of players we seek to sell, we may be required to draw from our revolving credit facilities to meet our cash needs.

Hang on, we may need to borrow from the £75m facility to buy players……?

The ground is fully built out so doesn’t need much investment, we’ve got £45m in profits a year after interest (and Gill thinks that will grow).

We don’t overpay in frothy transfer markets.  Has a new age of plenty arrived?  Double Verons all round?

This is how much we have spent on transfers in the last 12 years (page 52 of the prospectus my emphasis):

From the 1997/98 season to the 2008/09 season, average net player capital expenditure was a cash outflow of £13.1 million per season (excluding the sale of a significant player in the 2008/09 season, average net player capital expenditure over the same period would have been a cash outflow of £19.8 million per season). For the 2006/07 season, net player capital expenditure was a cash outflow of £10.6 million, for the 2007/08 season, net player capital expenditure was a cash outflow of £26.4 million, and for the 2008/09 season, net player capital expenditure was a cash inflow of £44.0 million.

So having spent an net average of £20m per year on transfers in the last 12 years (excluding Ronnie’s sale), and a maximum of £26.4m in the biggest year of the last four and despite having Gill’s reassurance that we are generating enormous amounts of cash, we need a £75m back up debt facility.  That's odd.

It really is going to be fantasy football when Fergie gets his hands on all this cash.  I suggest Villa and Torres to go up front with Rooney and buyback Tevez and then play him in the reserves…

You’d almost think the profits were needed elsewhere.

A better interviewer than Garry would have put points like this to Gill, but until that happens we’ll just have to make up our own minds.

More tomorrow on Carrington and Gill's innocuous mention of “peppercorn rent”….


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Congratulations 55 Degree Wine!

Click here for KCAL-9 Video
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Today's BBC Radio 5 interviews with David Gill and Duncan Drasdo

Half time at the Emirates.  I want whatever they've slipped into Nani's porridge. Get in.

Here is a link where you can download Radio 5's interviews with United Chief Executive David Gill and MUST's Duncan Drasdo.

Full analysis to follow.....

PS. One of these people is paid over £1.8m a year to talk rubbish like this.....

LUHGAny source

Analisi ed evoluzione 1 - 2 - 3 Febbraio 2010

Buonasera a tutti!!
Inizio settimana nel freezer per la maggior parte dell'Italia, dopo le ultime nevicate di oggi partite dal NE in discesa lungo l'Adriatico. Infatti il peggioramento odierno è seguito da aria polare che, seppur in un contesto di cielo sereno sulla maggior parte della penisola, si farà sentire bene, soprattutto durante le ore notturne, con gelate estese un pò ovunque (escluso il versante tirrenico ligure) al Nord e Centro. Insomma tempo bello ed aria limbida i prossimi giorni, poi successivamente potrebbe riaccendersi il motore del vortice polare che ritornerà a stabilizzare i westerlies alle medie latitudini, con le classiche perturbazioni meno fredde ma certamente cariche di umidità.
LUNEDI 1: nevicate qua e là a bassa quota sul medio Adriatico, instabile sulle Isole Maggiori e sulla Calabria, con rovesci e neve a quote basse. Bello ma molto freddo altrove.
MARTEDI 2: ancora nubi e qualche precipitazione su Salento, sud Calabria e nord Sicilia. Neve in arrivo sui crinali alpini di confine. Bello altrove ma molto freddo ovunque.
MERCOLEDI 3: variabilità con neve sulle creste alpine di confine e qualche fiocco fino in collina sulle regioni tirreniche.
Mar Ligure
Lunedì 1: Mari calmi o poco mossi. Vento assente e bel tempo ma freddo.
Martedì 2: Al mattino piccole onde da maestrale lungo sul settore di levante ( 1 m circa) con vento assente e cielo sereno. Al pomeriggio calo a 0,5 m fino a poco mosso, lieve brezza da mare e qualche nuvola passeggera.
Mercoledì 3: Giornata di venti da ponente moderati, con onde piccole (0,8-1 m) sul settore di ponente con vento debole, in calo al pomeriggio. 1,3-1,5 m da ponente sul settore di levante, vento moderato anche sottocosta e tempo in peggioramento.
Isole Maggiori
Lunedì 1: Su w Sardegna scaduta da 1,5 m al mattino in calo, con ripresa dei venti di maestrale il pomeriggio senza conseguenze sull'altezza delle onde, che anzi, inizialmente caleranno. 1,3 m da w-nw anche sulla Sicilia con maggiore incidenza del vento sottocosta.
Martedì 2: Bella risentita da maestrele su entrambe le isole, con 1,5-1,8 m al mattino in calo al metro-1,3 m il pomeriggio, con vento sottocosta debole.
Mercoledì 3: Piccole onde da ponente (0,5-0,8 m) su entrambe le isole (zone esposte al vento), venti deboli. Solo su Sardegna settentrionale vento moderato sottocosta e misura sui 1-1,3 m.
Mar Tirreno
Lunedì 1: Al mattino onde in scaduta da NW (1-1,2 m) sul basso Tirreno (Calabria e parte della Campania) con bel tempo e vento assente; poco mosso al pomeriggio.
Martedì 2: Mari poco mossi, con piccole onde da ponente al pomeriggio su basso Tirreno, max 0,5 m.
Mercoledì 3:
1-1,2 m da ponente in lieve aumento su Alto tirreno, 0,5-0,8 m sempre da ponente a sud, con venti al massimo moderati sottocosta e tempo uggioso.
Mar Ionio
Lunedì 1: Al mattino 1 metro in calo da SW con vento debole da terra. Pomeriggio poco mosso.
Martedì 2: Mari calmi o poco mossi per venti da terra sottocosta.
Mercoledì 3:
Mari calmi o poco mossi.
Mar Adriatico
Lunedì 1: Al mattino piccole onde da Nord (max 0,5 m) in rapido calo sulle Marche, 0,8-1 m da N-NW su Abruzzo-Molise e Puglia con venti moderati sottocosta. Bel tempo e molto freddo.
Martedì 2: Mari poco mossi per venti da maestrale su Marche, mentre al sud piccole onde di max 0,5-0,8 m (anche 1 m sulla Puglia) con venti moderati sottocosta.
Mercoledì 3:
Mari calmi sottocosta per venti da garbino.
Ecco un'anteprima della magnifica giornata di surf ieri (sabato) a Levanto, dove l'inverno si è dimenticato di passare da quelle parti ( mentre a Bologna il termometro era a circa 0 ° C, là nelle ore centrali abbiamo toccato i 14° C con sole e vento debole). Domani report fotografico più dettagliato della due giorni di buon surf.
Fotografo Tommy ---> LaTo Photografy

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Confirmant neu per aquesta tarda.

A hores d’ara, els ruixats estan apareixent per diferents punts de Catalunya, especialment pel litoral central. Hi ha hagut alguns ruixats de neu granulada en poblacions com Palafrugell. La tendència és que aquesta tarda les precipitacions vagin guanyant terrenys i que aquestes siguin de neu en cotes molt baixes.

A Tossa, s’espera una tarda cada cop més embolicada, amb precipitacions que s’han de generalitzar al llarg del dia i, especialment, a partir de mitja tara i vespre. La neu pot caure a partir dels 200 metres i de cara al vespre fins a la mateixa població. No s’esperen gruixos importants, però suficient per enfarinar els nostres boscos i qui sap, si la platja es cobreix de blanc...

Tarda de seguiment.
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Too much focus on environment

Conservative shadow minister Lord Taylor has said that there has been strong a focus on environmental considerations in agricultural policy. He said, 'If we want a very productive agriculture we want to re-focus the attention that's been diverted away from farming itself.'

It has been apparent for some time that a Conservative government would adopt a more productionist approach to farm policy, but that has always been foreshadowed by the recent Defra strategy paper which was substantially influenced by the growing influence of the food security discourse.

This comes at a time when a new study by WWF-UK and the Food Climate Research Network estimates the food we eat accounts for 30 per cent of the UK's carbon footprint. Previous official estimates had been below 20 per cent. However, these figures take into account emissions generated overseas. It is estimated that more than half of greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for by livestock farming.

What we do not want are ill thought out responses of the 'Meat Free Monday' type which have been criticised by careful analysts like Tom MacMillan of the Food Ethics Research Council. Too hasty a lurch in that direction could have implications for animal welfare.Any source

New ideas from Scotland

The interim report of the Scottish Government's Pack Inquiry has called for direct support to Scottish farmers to continue beyond 2013. You can find out more here:

No surprises there, but the report also proposes a new top-up find which would be financed by money taken out of the direct payment budget. This could be used to support measures such as fuel efficiency, renewable energy and animal health schemes (an area where Scotland has often been ahead of the curve).

Former auctioneer Brian Pack commented, 'Much more consultation and research is needed, but the idea is that a top-up fund would be used to back outcome and transformational change. It could be the new contract between producers and Scottish society and give the Scottish public the sort of efficient and sustainable agriculture they want to see.'

This is an interesting and innovative idea which deserves further consideration.Any source

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Empire strikes back.....

So here we go, released from the legal restrictions during the bond roadshow, David Gill and the club hierarchy are coming out fighting against all the criticism they have received. Tomorrow morning, Gill will do an "exclusive" interview on Radio 5.

Football Focus on BBC1 this morning had a piece on the gold and green protests and spoke to MUST, Keith Harris (banker not ventriloquist) and a rather ill informed academic. The club was obviously given the chance to take part but instead sent the BBC this statement:

"Manchester United is the most profitable football club in the world, last year, on a record turnover of £278m, the club made a record cash profit of £91m. Interest payments were £41m and wages accounted for less than half of the turnover.
"The recent bond issue has been very successful and provides the club with certainty in its interest payments, as well as great flexibility with the removal of bank covenants.
"The cash from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo is available for Sir Alex to spend and it will be spent on players who are available for purchase and who the manager thinks can improve the squad, not to prove to pundits that it exists."

Let's take a look at this statement bit by bit:

"The recent bond issue has been very successful" - They have indeed raised £504m, £4m above the initial target.  That is a successful bond issue.  Well done all.

[The bond issue] "provides the club with certainty in its interest payments" - This is also true.  From now until February 2017, the club will have to pay a fixed £44m per year (unless it chooses to redeem some bonds). The 8.72% they are paying on the £504m is indeed certain.  It is also higher than the actual interest rates on the bank debt they are replacing and is even higher than the fixed rate (5.0775%) that the management chose to lock into in 2007 and is now costing the club £35m to unwind.  But yes, they get certainty.

[The bond issue gives] "great flexibility with the removal of bank covenants" - hmmm.  Let's be very clear about this.  The bond does indeed remove the bank covenants and replaces them with bond covenants.  These are a lot less onerous than bank covenants.  They allow Red Football Ltd flexibility to do the following:
  1. Pay an immediate dividend to Red Football Joint Venture Ltd of £70m (page 130 note 13).
  2. Pay an additional dividend to Red Football Joint Venture Ltd of £25m whenever they wish (page 130 note 14).
  3. Transfer Carrington (for free) to another Glazer company, sell it and let the new owners lease it back to the club (page 78 and onto 79 "Real Property").
  4. Pay £6m a year to the Glazers in management fees (page 100).
  5. Pay £3m a year in "general corporate expenses" to Glazer companies (page 129 note 10b).
  6. If EBITDA is at least twice the interest bill, pay 50% of the net cash profits of the club to parent companies in dividends (page 127 note c(i)).

So who benefits from the "flexibility"?  The football club or the Glazers personally?

"The cash from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo is available for Sir Alex to spend and it will be spent on players who are available for purchase and who the manager thinks can improve the squad, not to prove to pundits that it exists." - Now I don't want to use rude words in a family blog, but this is a bit much.....

Look at this table from page 44 of the prospectus.

At the end of September 2009, Red Football Ltd had £146.6m in cash (that's the first column entitled "Actual").  Why so much?  Firstly because £80m of Ronaldo money was in the bank and secondly because Aon, our new sponsors paid £35.9m of their £80m four year deal up front.  So that's a bonus inflow of £115.9m in the £146.6m.

The second "As adjusted" column shows the impact of the bond issue (as if it had happened in September because those are the most recent figures).  See how the cash mysteriously falls from £146.6m to £116.6m. This is explained on page 43 of the prospectus.  The bond cash needs to be topped up with club cash to pay off all the old debt, plus some of the losses on the interest rate derivative and the £15m in fees the bond deal cost.  So there goes £30m.

Then look at little note 1 below the table,  "we may, without restriction, make a distribution or loan of up to £70.0 million to our immediate parent company, Red Football Joint Venture Limited, that may, in turn, use the proceeds of that loan for general corporate purposes, including repaying existing indebtedness."

They "may" do that.  If they did that of course, no less than £100m would have gone out of the club.  Have they done it as of today 30th January 2010?  No.  Why not?  Because the settlement date for buyers of the bonds (the date they pay for them) was yesterday the 29th January.  It wouldn't have been possible to pass the money up to Red Football by today because they need to do the "Closing Funds Flow" whereby money moves around group companies.  So today it is true the money is there.  You can guarantee it won't be around for long.

Will they pay up the £70m?  We won't know for certain until the accounts for the year to 30 June 2010 are published next year.  But with the PIK time bomb ticking under the Glazer family (and their other businesses struggling in the US) the answer is obvious.  My bet of a pint to anyone who wants to gamble on the money staying in the club is still there.

So what of buying players?  Even if the cash goes as I described, the club can still buy, with even more debt. The Glazers can take the money from Ronaldo as set out above but out of the kindness of their hearts they've fixed a new £75m bank facility for the club.  Now of course cash is cash whether its Aon cash, cash paid by TV companies over the rest of the season, Ronnie cash or cash drawn down under the £75m facility.  Maybe they have put the Ronaldo money in a separate account called "Look, look it's the Ronaldo fee account" so they can show journalists the bank statement.  It doesn't matter of course,  sell the best player in the world for £80m and push at least £100m of cash out in fees, dividends, derivative payments etc and you end up in exactly the same position.

So if you happen to hear David Gill on the radio tomorrow, remember this, the money IS there this weekend, but the whole design of the bond issue is structured to mean it and a whole lot more will walk out of Old Trafford in the weeks, months and years to come.


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Anunciant, novament, neu.

Ahir al matí explicava que estàvem esperant a diumenge i anunciava la possibilitat de tenir, novament aquest hivern, una situació de nevades en cotes baixes. Aquesta situació es va confirmant, però amb una difícil predicció en quan extensió, intensitat i cotes de neu.

Tot plegat, vindrà originat pel pas d’un sistema frontal amb una petita baixa que entrarà pel nord peninsular agafant camí del Cantàbric cap a Catalunya resseguint, aproximadament, la conca de l’Ebre. A més, pel nord començarà a entrar una important irrupció d’aire fred en tots els nivells. La combinació d’aquests dos elements està clara, neu a cotes baixes. ¿Però quan i a on? Aquesta és la gran incògnita, tot dependrà del posicionament final de la baixa, tot i això, hi hauran precipitacions i aquestes seran de neu a cotes molt baixes.

Entrem en detall intentant explicar l’evolució més probable que poden fer les precipitacions demà i la neu.

Demà al matí serà un dia radiant arreu de Catalunya a excepció del Pirineu on estarà nevant. Ràpidament, començaran a arribar núvols alts i nuvolades per ponent que a partir de darreres hores del matçi començaran a deixar precipitacions (ponent i interior de Tarragona). A partir de migdia, aniran estenent-se per tot el centre de Catalunya i tota la meitat sud arribant fins al litoral. Independentment, per la zona nord-est, hi haurà un increment de l’inestabilitat amb creixement de nuvolades degut al xoc de masses (aire molt fred del nord, amb la baixa creuant per l’Ebre aportant vents marítims). De cara al vespre, les precipitacions més importants estarien al litoral i prelitoral central i zona de Tarragona, tot i això, també s’esperen però de menys importància a l’extrem nord-est. De matinada es quedarien restringides al litoral central i es podrien reactivar al nord-est i al Pirineu.

La neu baixarà ràpidament al llarg de la tarda fins a totes les cotes a l’interior i els 400 metres a Tarragona, per desplomar-se fins a nivell de mar de cara a la nit i matinada al centre i nord del litoral, i els 200 metres a Tarragona. Per sobre dels 500 metres i zona interior es poden acumular més de 5 cms de neu i entre 2 i 5 cms per sobre dels 200 metres, els gruixos més importants, sembla que serien al prelitoral central i interior de Tarragona. Les nevades que poden caure a nivell de mar a partir de la nit al centre del litoral i punts de la Costa Brava sud serien enfarinades dèbils.

A partir de dilluns el temps es tornaria a estabilitzar però amb un ambient molt fred.

Què pot passar a Tossa?

A la nostra vila, el matí serà un dia plenament assolellat, però ràpidament s’anirà cobrint. Les precipitacions sembla que apareixerien de a partir de primeres hores de la tarda que serien en forma de neu per sobre dels 200 metres. De cara al vespre, la neu podria aparèixer a la mateixa platja. No sembla que hagin de ser nevades molt importants per les nostra zona (entorn els 2 cms per sobre dels 200 metres) però s’haurà d’anar seguint, el xoc de masses es produirà just a sobre nostre amb vents marítims febles. Demà tarda serà un dia dels que fa afició.
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Ultimas Fotografías de O Barco ( Helada )

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Laser, IPL, Waxing: what are the differences?

Laser, IPL and waxing are the top three hair removal methods. Before choosing the right method for you, you needed to know the differences of those three methods. 

Laser hair removal and IPL hair removal

Laser and IPL are similar in work principle. However, you have to the details about them since they are different for different cases.

People often mistake the laser and IPL. IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light. Both of them use the light based technology and deliver long term result. The differences between them are significant. The works principle is similar but not same. Laser uses the ling with one specific wavelength to treat one skin problem. IPL is different since it uses many types of light with different wavelength. IPLcan treat many different skin problems. The laser can treat one target skin area selectively and its light energy is high. So it is effective in treating a specific skin tissue. Laser can always treat the tattoos which has difficult pigmented conditions.

IpLis different since IPL uses may different of lights with different wavelength. It can be used to treat many skin conditions. IPL just filter some of the light and many light would treat on the area. Not the hair removal function is provided, IPL can also provides skin rejuvenation function.

As to the hair removal, if your hair is very thick and coarse, laser can deliver the better result based its function. High energy peak can be reached to get rid of coarse hair and break the hair follicle. If you have thin hair, both laser and IPL can be used to remove your hair. However, the expert need to adjust the settings for you.

Waxing hair removal

Hair removal waxing is different from laser and IPL. Both laser and IPL use the advanced machines or equipment to get rid of hair. Waxing just uses the pulling off principle. The wax is stick enough to grab the hair off from the root of hair follicle. Waxing can not deliver permanent hair reduction result such as laser and IPL. As to the permanent hair removal, neither laser nor IPL can deliver guaranteed permanent hair removal result. Both of them are not approved by FDA as a permanent hair removal method.Based on the report,they can only deliver permanent hair reduction result.

Compared with laser and IPL, waxing is simple and can only deliver a temporary hair removal result. However, it features for its easy to use. For example, you can choose waxing at home anytime. You just need to prepare a pack of hair removal wax strips for your hairy area. Also just some wax strips paper, wax warmer, wooden sticks; you can achieve the smooth skin within several minutes.With waxing method,your hair can not be removed permanently but your hair would grow thinner and thinner if your wax the area repeatedly. The points shown above are the differences of those three methods. Just choose the right one for your condition.

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Punta Ordicuso 29 ene

Itinerario a Punta Ordicuso, fotografiado desde la subida previa al Foratura

Punta Ordicuso (2.608m), Balneario Panticosa

Viernes 29 enero San Valero "Ventolero"
Nueva ascensión para todos en un día en que el patrón inestable de norte cerraba los cielos en la frontera y poco a poco se adueñaba del resto del Pirineos.
Al Balneario de Panticosa fuimos Alex Sola, David Latre, Daniel Mur, Nacho el patillas y un servidor. Luego se unieron Rafa Gómez, Isabel Santolaria y Martín.
Comenzamos con un bello día soleado. Tanto que ni nos lo creemos. Qué pasada!!! Las Argualas nos protegen del viento y subimos sudando al sol mientras en Formigal sufren un windchill de -14ºC.
Al mediodía empieza a cerrarse por el NW y nos entra la nube a las 12:30, tras salir de la canal final, quedándonos todavía la arista final, de orientación sur. Subimos con cuidado, a pie, hasta la cima. Descendemos también a pie, despacito y con buena letra, hasta la brecha. Luego ya con esquís.
Nieve costra difícil de esquiar. Las nevadas previstas terminarán de tapar esta horrible costra que tenemos desde hace días.
Hará sol mañana domingo 31?? Los modelos meteorológicos están cambiando. Hoy sábado 30 nos hemos quedado en casa por mal tiempo. A ver qué pasa mañana...
Jorge Gª-Dihinx

Alex y David deciden tirar para Punta Ordicuso en vez del Feniás, que era el objetivo inicial

Nacho el patillas y Daniel Mur nos siguen a media distancia

De momento el Balneario de Panticosa aguanta soleado. No nos lo creemos...

Últimas rampas con esquís. Aquí cambiaremos a crampones para la canal final

Nacho y Daniel, en la canal final

Salimos a la vertiente sur, más soleada. Pero el mal tiempo está llegando rápido...

Arista final a la Punta Ordicuso, entre nubes y claros. Nacho y Daniel

Foto de cima: David Latre, Alex Sola, Nacho el patillas, Daniel Mur y Jorge Gª-Dihinx

Alex desciende con cuidado por la huella de subida

Llegamos al bosque nevando. A mal tiempo, buena cara, no? Isabel, Alex y Rafa.
El resto de las fotos, pinchando aquí
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Who Owns Koha?

In New Zealand, Maori customs are taken seriously. For example, in 2002, the route of a new highway through a swamp had to be altered because it was believed that three taniwha - Karutahi, Waiwai, and Te Iaroa - lived there, and were being disturbed by the road, causing an unusual number of accidents. Taniwha are mythical beings that act as guardian spirits. Many taniwha arrived in New Zealand as guardians of specific ancestral canoes and then took on a protective role over the descendants of the canoe's crew.

Another Maori custom, one that has crossed over into general New Zealand culture, is that of "koha".  "Koha" is often translated as "gift", but according to Chris Cormack, one of the original developers of the Free Open-Source Software (FOSS) Library System with the same name, a more accurate translation would be a "gift with expectations".   Cormack got his B.A. degree in both mathematics and Maori Studies, so he should know. A koha is gift that is offered with an expectation that it will be reciprocated.

In the U.S., (and to a lesser extent, in Europe) it's our lawyers that we seem to take seriously. And so when we let people use software that we've developed, its not enough to offer it as a koha, we have to use a legal license to spell out the terms of the release. The license that has become popular because of the expectations of reciprocity built in to it is the Gnu Public License (GPL).

Software released under the GPL cannot be thought of as an unconditional gift by its developer. GPL software is not in the public domain, it is copyrighted. A copyright owner can exert control over the use of the copyrighted material; the GPL uses that power to require licensees to publish any modifications they make if they want to redistribute the modified work.  When the Horowhenua Library Trust was choosing a license to use for Koha (the library system software), they chose GPL (version 2) because they thought it would prevent Koha from being further developed as non-open software.

Included in the recently announced (but not yet completed) acquisition of LibLime by PTFS were Koha-related assets, including source code copyrights, trademarks and the website. It may be difficult for the casual observer to understand what value these assets have, especially in light of the GPL license attached to Koha. Could these assets be used to privatize Koha in some way? The short answer is "No", but it gets complicated.

Some FOSS companies use "dual licensing" as a business model. They release their code under GPL, but if another company wants to use the software in a way that would not be allowed under GPL, it has the option to pay for a commercial license. Dual-licensing can only be done by the original copyright owner. Index Data has used this model for years to the great benefit of libraries everywhere. MySQL AB is an example of a company which was extremely successful with this model; it was acquired by Sun Microsystems for about a billion dollars. (See this article for an overview of how GPL licensing fared in Oracle's subsequent acquisition of Sun.)

The GPL makes it very difficult, however, for anyone to change licensing terms after software has been released into the world. That's because of the way copyright law determines the copyright holder of derivative works. In general, if I take a piece of software that you have written, and modify it in such a way that involves creative effort on my part, then I own the copyright to the changes that I've made and the resulting work is a derivative work that both you and I have a copyright interest in. Even though you are the original copyright holder, you would need my permission to release the derivative work under any license other than the GPL.

Unlike Index Data's software, Koha has included significant contributions from many developers, including many who have never worked for LibLime or Katipo Communications (which sold its copyrights to Koha source code to LibLime in 2007). So although LibLime probably owned clear copyright to a majority of Koha at some point, Koha is still a collective work locked into GPL, version 2, and it is unlikely that LibLime or PTFS would be able to distribute Koha under terms other than GPL without doing a thorough rewrite of the software.

Trademarks are a different story. LibLime owns the US trademark for Koha; a European trademark is held by BibLibre. Trademarks are frequently used by open source projects to prevent splintering. The excellent primer on legal issues by the Software Freedom Law Center puts it this way:
FOSS applications develop reputations over time as users come to associate an application’s name with a particular standard of quality or set of features. Trademark law can help protect this relationship of trust and reliance that a project develops with its users; it allows the project to maintain a certain amount of control over the use of its brand.
Since GPL and other FOSS licenses allow anyone to modify and distribute software as long as the license conditions are met, they frequently spawn variants. The owner of a trademark can prevent these variants from using the trademarked name, and thus enforce unity in a project.

In the case of Koha, there are currently two parallel tracks of development being pursued, one inside LibLime, and the other by the community of developers outside LibLime. I will have to postpone a discussion of the issues surrounding  these development tracks to yet another article, but for now, let's just assume there will be two main versions of Koha, LibLime Koha and Community Koha. In the US, LibLime could theoretically prevent anyone from  using the name "Koha" without its authorization, and could strip Community Koha of the right to use "Koha" in its name. In fact, LibLime and BibLibre threatened to use this power a year ago to regulate PTFS's use of Koha trademarks in the marketing of its Koha support services. Liblime could even apply the Koha name to non-Open Source software. Similarly, BibLibre could regulate the use of the Koha name in Europe, preventing LibLime from marketing LibLime Koha there.

Based on discussions I've had with the leaders of almost every open-source library system company, I think it is unlikely that there will be any such "trademark war". Even if the development of Koha continues on separate but related tracks, the success of every Koha-based company is tied to the success Koha as a whole, and vice versa. It would be advantageous for every stakeholder if the two trademark owners develop some sort of "big tent" system of Koha trademark governance. Assuming PTFS's acquisition of LibLime is completed, such governance will need to be acceptable to both PTFS and BibLibre, and will need to accommodate differing styles of software development.

Until a general agreement on the use of Koha trademarks is reached, Koha stakeholders would be well advised to recognize that collective copyrights tie them into the same canoe and that they should avoid disturbing the taniwha that guards and protects them.

This article is the second part of a series. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here
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Morality: lessons from Benjamin Franklin

Thanks to the many interesting articles and links shared by my friends on Twitter, I've come across an interesting post on Benjamin Franklin and his life lessons on virtue and morality. I wanted to share it with you today.

Here's an excerpt from, "Lessons in Manliness: Benjamin Franklin's Pursuit of the Virtuous Life":

"Benjamin Franklin is an American legend. He single handily invented the idea of the “self-made man.” Despite being born into a poor family and only receiving two years of formal schooling, Franklin became a successful printer, scientist, musician, and author. Oh, and in his spare time he helped found a country, and then serve as its diplomat.

The key to Franklin’s success was his drive to constantly improve himself and accomplish his ambitions. In 1726, at the age of 20, Ben Franklin set his loftiest goal: the attainment of moral perfection.

In order to accomplish his goal, Franklin developed and committed himself to a personal improvement program that consisted of living 13 virtues..."

Of course, no man is perfect, and (as the authors note) Ben Franklin was no exception to this rule, even with his continuous pursuit of the virtuous life.

Still, I wonder what we can learn from Franklin's quest. How would society and business function today if more of us decided to embark on a similar quest for self-improvement?

Related articles and posts:
1. Great Lessons from Great Men - Get Rich Slowly.Any source


書名:瞪死一隻羊(The Men Who Stare At Goats)
作者:強‧朗森(Jon Ronson)


……現在的人都被小說洗腦了。湯姆克蘭西的東西看太多了,於是他們認為:「我們知道有這種事啊。我們知道中情局會這麼幹的。」其實,我們對事實一無所知。因為沒有真正的案例,小說看多了,真的面對事實的時候也就麻木了。大家自以為什麼都知道了,其實根本就不知道。這種世故和犬儒只是表面的,是大家裝出來的。【by P.251】



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集 數:兩集完
譯 者:張惠真




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Dossier Clearstream: Sarkozy mauvais perdant? Par Didier REMER

" Clearstream, une affaire qui entretient l'amitié!"

Jean-Claude Marin, le procureur de la République a annoncé son intention de faire appel de la relaxe de Dominique de Villepin prononcée jeudi par le tribunal correctionnel dans le procès Clearstream. Le magistrat agit-il aux ordres de Nicolas Sarkozy comme le suggère le camp Villepin ?
Et patatras... Bien courte aura été la "victoire" de Dominique de Villepin! Il fallait s'y attendre, le Procureur de la République Marin redonne à la logique judiciaire française toutes ses lettres de Noblesse, verticalité du pouvoir oblige!

Il y aura bien un autre procès dans quelques bons mois, autant dire un nouvel opus "bien calé" pour s'inviter dans la future campagne pour l'élection présidentielle de 2012... Concrètement c'est le jeu habituel de la justice. Dominique de Villepin s'était retrouvé au centre de cette affaire médiatico-politico-financière par la décision du président Nicolas Sarkozy s'étant constitué Partie Civile.

"Le parquet va faire appel du jugement du procès Clearstream qui a blanchi Dominique de Villepin", a annoncé vendredi le procureur de Paris Jean-Claude Marin sur Europe1. "Il y aura donc sans doute un deuxième procès fin 2010 ou début 2011" précisera t'il.

Ce vendredi toute la presse avait laissé bonne place à la décision de cette fameuse relaxe bien vite devenue fumeuse! Seuls quelques rares éditos invitaient à la prudence comme... Finance Offshore! Tous les médias insistaient sur ce "revers" pour Nicolas Sarkozy, cette partie civile dans le procès... Mais, patatras... Ce n'était pas sans compter sur une autre décision qui allait surprendre au plus haut point avec l' annonce d'un Nicolas Sarkozy, avocat de formation, qui dans un communiqué "très officiel" de l'Elysée, précisera qu'il ne "fera pas appel!" Mais, ceux qui pratiquent et connaissent le Droit savent qu'une Partie Civile de type présidentiel comme dans cette affaire ne peut faire appel! Chercher l'erreur...

De Marin à "Sous-Marin"
Chacun conclura en un possible "message d'apaisement" en trompe l'oeil! Message présidentiel qui allait donc "préparer" le terrain médiatique d'un procureur qui viendra quelques 24 heures après la relaxe sonner le "rappel" avec cette volonté du parquet de faire... appel!
Humour? Pas si sure... Pour de nombreux observateurs comme le très sérieux syndicat de la magistrature français qui parlera d'une démarche purement politicienne... Alors que Dominique de Villepin parlera d'un homme habité par la haine!

Le jugement est une "véritable claque" pour Nicolas Sarkozy, il fallait entendre le porte-parole de l'UMP, Frédéric Lefebvre, ce fameux monsieur "Météo de l'UMP!" Homme au verbe qui dégage la même sympathie que celle d'un porte parole du Soviet "Suprême" en son temps... Très "bon connaisseur du Droit", nouvelle référence dont l'effiscience ferait retourner dans sa tombe le Général sur lui même! Car le "trop bon" porte parole a publiquement critiqué le jugement, affirmant que "les exécutants sont condamnés, pas les commanditaires". Faisant ainsi la tête de gondole de son camp, l'UMP qui reste très remonté contre le tribunal. Pour de très nombreux observateurs, c'est clair, le jugement Clearstream remet en selle Dominique de Villepin dans le rôle de premier opposant de droite à Nicolas Sarkozy!

Ce pauvre Frédéric Lefèbvre épris de reconnaissance médiatique qui n'aura jamais assez d'une vie et que trop de difficultés pour égaler le record d'un Dominique de Villepin! Leader d'opinion qui s'est retrouvé en tête de la sphère médiatique Internet mondiale... L'affaire passionne l'opinion, même hors de France : les mots Clearstream et Villepin ont été 5ème et 6ème les plus utilisés au monde ce jeudi sur les réseaux sociaux, Facebook et Twitter... De quoi susciter des inquiétudes au siège de l'UMP qui peut se souvenir de l'élection d'un autre président, qui en son temps, devait connaître ce genre de frondes... de son propre parti!

Pour ce qui est des questions de l'image, jeudi, la société Clearstream pensait pouvoir respirer après le jugement de la relaxe! Aujourd'hui, à Luxembourg, on sait que ce n'est plus le cas! La chambre de compensation, émérite filiale de Deucth Borse, devra bien -au passage- surveiller les déclarations de certains pseudos journalistes très motivés pour relancer certaines accusations qui devraient encore permettre quelques pamphlets! Dominique de Villepin souhaite quand à lui "tourner la page!" Voulant se placer au dessus de la mêlée médiatique. Il dit se préparer activement et sereinement avec ses "8000 à 9000 adhérents", à se constituer "un réseau, celui de toutes les forces vives d'un pays", qui selon lui, "sera toujours plus désireux de tourner une certaine page en 2012". Il aura précisé à son auditoire la gravité des déficits publics, qui selon lui, devrait être la véritable préoccupation du chef de l'Etat...
Photographie: Tous droits réservés Campagne RTL Radio, première Radio de France 2007

Le dernier article relatif au dossier Clearstream sur FINANCE OFFSHORE:

FINANCE OFFSHORE ©2010 - Sans mention du site et de l'auteur, la reproduction de cet article est strictement interdite, par tous moyens connus ou à découvrir, quel qu'en soit l'usage.

Nos récents articles sur le Dossier Clearstream

Maître Herzog se berce d'une certitude, Dominique de Villepin est l'instigateur
Se rassurer de pouvoir couper des têtes
L'organisme financier luxembourgeois démontre le mécanisme de la calomnie
La raison (d'état) l'emporte toujours!
Général Rondot, Méthodologie au garde à vous!
Dominique de Villepin pour l'émergence de la vérité, l'ensemble des éléments relatifs à son audience, déclarations, chronologie, réactions...
Dominique de Villepin argumente son innocence
Albert FRERE "invité" dans l'affaire
Dominique de Villepin VS Sarkozy, le bal est ouvert...
Dossier Clearstream "mise en état", récapitulatif des faits, origine de l'affaire

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漫畫名:恐龍之珠(ジャバウォッキー )
集 數:兩集未完
譯 者:ONI






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集 數:一集未完
譯 者:圓園





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小說名:我不是連續殺人魔(I am not a serial killer)
小說家:丹‧威爾斯(Dan Wells)
譯 者:戚建邦








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Esperant a diumenge

Aquest dies estem immensos en uns dies on l’aire fred acumulat a Europa va entrant progressivament per les nostres latituds. Si bé no és una situació excepcional i les temperatures són les normals d’un hivern normal, les glaçades s’estan quedant a les portes de Tossa, i es que aquests dies em baixat fins els 1-2ºC de mínima al centre de la població. Tot degut a que estem dins una situació sinòptica de nord i nord-est, és a dir, els aires que arriben a les nostres latituds estan injectant en menys o més intensitat aire fred.

Aquesta injeccions d’aire fred sembla que s’intensificarà a partir de diumenge amb l’arribada d’un front desgastat que accentuarà l’inestabilitat en diferents punts. És a dir, diumenge serà un dia per anar seguint, si la nevada al Pirineu està garantida de forma continuada, especialment a la seva cara nord, la situació de cel cobert i ruixats en diferents punts de Catalunya encara és una incògnita, tot i que tot plegat sembla indicar que punts del nord-est tindrien ruixats durant les hores centrals que amb l’arribada de l’aire fred seria de neu en cotes baixes (baixant dels 600 als 400 metres i als 200 a l’extrem nord-est). Ho anirem seguint, però la situació de diumenge donarà feina als meteoròlegs. Per la setmana vinent, ja veurem.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Importance of USDA Organic Certification

Wow, it seems like "another one bites the dust."  First there was the reformulation of the baby products, now one of our organic competitors have decided to drop their organic certification.  What's next!?  Instead of talking about their possible motivations, though, we thought we'd take this opportunity to clarify a few things about USDA organic certification, and to talk about what organic certification really means to you, as the end-user of these products. 

In their explanation of why they're dropping their certification, the "other company" says:
"This year the USDA Certifying Agency has raised their annual fees dramatically.  By them doing so it caused most of our USDA Certified Organic Suppliers to have to increase their prices."
I found this kind of strange (improper capitalization aside) for a few reasons.  First, there are always price fluctuations based on supply and demand.  Some ingredients have increased in price, like jojoba oil, due to a worldwide shortage, but we haven't noticed any huge overall increases. Second, there is no such entity as "the USDA Certifying Agency."  There are many organic certifying agencies, but their statement makes it seem like there is just one giant agency that certifies everyone.  Organic certification just doesn't work this way.

The USDA National Organic Program certifies third-party certifying agencies, like QAI, Oregon Tilth, etc.  Then, the certifying agencies certify the farms and production facilities under the USDA regulations.  The USDA does not directly certify any farms, products, or facilities.  It's all done through the certifiers who answer to the USDA.

For a full list of third-party organic certifiers, visit this link:

The "other company" makes it seem like it's the government that's charging them, but, as you can see, it's the certifying company that they hired that they're paying, not the government.  The government isn't seeing any of their money.  If their certifying agency has increased their prices, all they would need to do is find another certifying agency.

They say "We decided that until the government can change the regulations and charge those poison companies instead of us organic and safe companies, that we no longer want to partake in funding the USDA Agencies."  While this may sound like a good argument, it's flawed because the government isn't charging them; it's the certifying agency.  And it's not as if someone just came in and slapped fees on them; it was their choice to earn USDA organic certification in the first place.  And the fees for certification can always be shopped.  If you feel that your current company is charging you too much, you can get a quote from any of the other hundreds of companies.  If you really want organic certification, you can find a way.

While it may sound like they're taking some kind of stand against the "poison companies," in reality, they're hurting organics.  Each ingredient they switch to conventional takes business away from organic farms that use sustainable growing and harvesting methods and, instead, supports farms that use pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, GMOs and the like.  What if all companies did this in the name of lowering prices? We would end up with our entire food (and body care) supply being "conventional," loaded with genetic modification, pesticides and synthetic fertilizer residue, and deplete from nutritional value. It would be 1994 again, when organic wasn't even a choice.  We wouldn't know how our foods were grown or if they were genetically modified.  If you really want the cost of organic ingredients to go down, you support them. You use as many organic ingredients as possible.  You hold fast and find ways to negotiate with your ingredient suppliers, buy in bulk, and shop around for the best prices.  The greater the demand for organic, the more competition there is, more land is used for organic agriculture and prices go down.  Eschewing organic certification and ingredients doesn't do anything to make organics more affordable. It only allows you to lower your prices in the hopes of getting more sales.

Importance of Organic

Organic is so widely used now in marketing that sometimes we can forget about the real importance of choosing organic products.  Organic isn't a meaningless marketing term just to make something seem more natural or to hike its price.  There are real reasons to use organic products and foods.  Organic ingredients are grown without the use of a group of toxic pesticides called organophosphates.  Organophosphates kill insects by affecting their nervous systems. Unfortunately it can do the same thing to us, hurting our brains and nervous systems, and they can be used as biological weapons.  (Organophosphates have been used as nerve gas in warfare. Source) Herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) are toxic in moderate to high doses in humans, are a suspected reproductive toxin (xenoestrogen) and are highly dangerous to aquatic life.  (Source) Non-organic foods and ingredients contain traces of these poisonous substances.  And yes, these are small traces, and the dose does make the poison, but think about daily exposure from your foods and personal care products combined.  The exposure can build up.  But also, these pesticides and herbicides are sprayed year-after-year on fields, permeating the soil and leaching in to groundwater that affects all those around it, closely, and far downstream.  When you stop supporting organic, you're perpetuating the use of these toxins in the world around us.

Then there are GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms.  These crops have been altered with DNA from a strain of bacteria created to be resistant to glyphosate (so they can spray as much as they want) and to contain toxins that kill insects when they try to eat the crops.  These crops can also be harmful to us, possibly leading to infertility, digestive issues and malabsorption of nutrients.  (A lot of info on this here.) [Won't get in to the whole Monstanto preying on small farmers and developing countries, but watch Food Inc. and you'll know what we're talking about.]  When we choose non-organic, we support GMOs and the companies behind them. 

Distrust of USDA

Each time the USDA approves another genetically modified crop by Monsanto, it loses credibility with many people.  Couple this with the bizarre school lunch requirements that count french fries as vegetables (although this seems to be changing with new regulations) plus deep-seeded corporate ties and you have a bad reputation on your hands.  I've seen comments on social media from people saying "I don't trust the USDA so the USDA organic seal means nothing to me."  On the surface this may seem like sound logic, but really, if you look in to it, it's quite a contradictory statement. 

The NOP (National Organic Program) is one very small office inside the USDA.  It doesn't work with or answer to any other offices within the USDA.  Because the regulations are set forth by the independent council of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the NOP doesn't answer to anyone else inside the USDA, just the NOSB.  NOP regulations are very specific, so there is little room for misinterpretation, corruption, or influence.  If a company breaks the rules, they're fined and/or stripped of their certification.  Distrust of the (general offices of the) USDA to protect our food supply from GMOs and harmful pesticides would be the exact reason to choose organic.  Choosing organic is the only way you can know that you're buying products that don't expose you to these harmful substances.

The organic industry is set up with checks and balances between government and private agencies.  If a third-party certifier breaks the rules, the USDA will fine them $10,000 per infraction.  This could be as simple as not keeping the right paperwork on file. Certifiers work very carefully not to make mistakes or let things slide because their entire business is on the line.  The same goes for an organic farm or organic processing facility.  Speaking as one myself, our certification isn't something that we take lightly.  Additionally, if a farm or operation is going to go through the trouble of getting certification, it usually means that they have true dedication to organic principles.  Organic farming isn't easy.  There is much more work involved than with conventional farming where you would just load the ground up with fertilizer, plant seeds, and spray pesticides everywhere. With organic farming, crop rotation must be planned, compost created properly, natural pest control methods decided upon and documented.  This could mean going tree-to-tree distributing handfuls of ladybugs.  Weeds would have to be pulled by hand or sprayed individually with approved substances like a clove essential oil mixture.  This is why organic ingredients are more expensive; it's labor intensive. And usually there's less yield.  Organic farmers will, a lot of the time, grow a variety of crops that are rotated to keep the soil fertile.  Some crops are more profitable than others.  And while a conventional farm might be able to dedicate all of their land to the most profitable crop, only a portion of an organic farm can be dedicated to the cash crops.  So, when it comes to certification, there's a lot on the line.  If a farm decides to use an unapproved substance, or even mistakenly does so, and they lose their certification, all of the hard work they've done is down the drain.  So, on the side of the farmer, processor, or certifier, there's a lot at stake to follow the rules.  And plus, most of the people in the industry that have chosen to go organic have done it for a reason, because they know it's the right thing to do.  It's not easy, but it's their passion.

Organic Cheaters

All of this said, we do acknowledge that it's not a perfect system, and we can't say that there aren't organic cheaters, people who illegally use the seal.   Check out our previous article that will help you spot organic cheaters.  (One that we pointed out back then has now been forced to take the USDA Organic seal from their website and products due to its illegal use.)  There are ways that you can spot organic cheaters.  The biggest thing is to look for the seal of their third-party certifying agency.  You can also look up a company here to verify their certification.   

The Deal with the Seal

What it means to you when you see the USDA Organic seal:
  • Ingredients grown and processed with only organic-approved substances, (no organophosphates, etc)
  • No artificial colors (colors from juices, etc, only.) 
  • No artificial flavors
  • No GMOs
  • No contact with sewage sludge
  • No contact with ionizing radiation
  • Non-agricultural ingredients in a product must be on the approved substances list (like baking soda and salt) and have to be GMO free and not processed with sewage sludge or ionizing radiation.  
  • Ingredients on ingredient list are exactly what's in the product and verified by a third party.  (Otherwise you're trusting the company to tell you the ingredients. Without certification you end up with ingredients lists with things like "natural cream base" or shampoos that don't disclose the exact detergent they're using.) 
The USDA Organic seal is the gold standard for organic certification in the world.  And there is no separate certification standard for personal care products.  The same rules that apply to foods apply to us as well.  We are proud to make our own USDA organic products in our certified organic facility and are committed, more than ever, to these important standards.  

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