Tell me how I’m wrong

BP logoIf BP is truly going to foot the bill to cover all the damages its inconceivably massive oil spill is causing, won’t that cost so much money that BP will go out of business?

I’m not an expert in economics, but the monetary liability here for BP is going to be gigantic. If they stay in business, it’s hard for me to envision them making a profit for decades, because their expenses will be so high from paying off the debt this disaster is going to incur for them.

It seems to me that there are three possible outcomes here for BP:

  1. BP attempts to pay for all the damage is has caused, and doing so puts BP out of business forever.
  2. BP pays for all of the damage it has caused by taking on a large loan, and doing so is so expensive that BP will not turn a profit for more than a decade.
  3. BP does not pay for all the damage it has caused.

I’m a betting man, and my money goes on outcome No. 3.

Am I being too cynical? Am I missing a possible outcome for BP?

Tell me how I’m wrong.

Ethan Demme is running for Lancaster GOP Chair

Ethan Demme, candidate for Lancaster County GOP chair
Ethan Demme is running for chair of the county Republican party

I’m heartened and excited by Ethan Demme’s announcement that he is running as a candidate for Chairman of the Lancaster County Republican Committee.

His announcement was covered first by Tom Murse of the Intelligencer Journal, and then Ethan himself wrote about it on his blog.

It was by looking at this LancasterOnline story that I came late to the news that Lancaster Newspapers has, at long last, completely taken down the cesspool of faux-conversation that was the TalkBack forum. I wanted to see what the reaction was from people who likely don’t know Ethan personally (as I do).

I’m a registered Democrat who puts a lot of priorities and allegiances ahead of my political party. A healthy degree of civil discourse in our community is one of those priorities for me, and I know that’s something Ethan will bring with his chairmanship.

As for TalkBack, the first impression is that it will make it harder to quickly get a finger on the pulse of a news story as it is being received by Lancaster County residents. The truth, however, is that the mood in the TalkBack forums rarely reflected the mood of the community at large. Where will those online conversations take place now?

To do ‘local’ right, we need to learn our history

I want to learn about Lancaster’s history. Can someone tell me how an ordinary person like me, who doesn’t have much extra time, do that? Is there a book that gives a survey-level overview of our local history?

This desire of mine to know more about where our community has come from came to a head this weekend when David Moulton and I interviewed my neighbor Christine Minnich on The Lancast. Late in the conversation, I made these remarks:

I’ve been thinking lately about how more and more of our focus right now culturally is about what’s local and what’s nearby. I watch the national political talk shows and read national magazines and I think this stuff is so detached from me and Washington is so screwed up, that I’m just happier focusing on Lancaster. But one of the things if you want to understand America or the current cultural scene or political scene is, you have to know the history. You have to understand the Civil War, you have to understand JFK’s assassination, how the political parties got to be where they are, and so on. But it seems like the awareness of our local history, if we really want to be l0cal and we really want to figure out what we’re dealing with and how to overcome it, or what to celebrate about what we’ve got, we have to understand our history. I think, for me, that’s something I definitely don’t understand.

I’m totally curious, and I think it would totally change my outlook on the world and our community, if I can just understand, how did we start with the Herr House in 1710, and then go through becoming our own county, our town that became a city, then we had all these men from our community go off to fight in the Civil War, many of them never returned, then we hit the mid-1900s and the city starts to become dilapidated and there’s this whole urban renewal project where they knock down lots of buildings and build Binns Park and the Lancaster Square area. So how did we start with the Hans Herr house and get to here, and what can we learn from that?

Any guidance or advice? Anyone else feeling this need for some history lately, or is it just me?

John McCain’s Lancaster appearance featured on Fox News Sunday

McCain campaign speech in Lancaster

Chris Wallace pressed John McCain hard this Sunday to explain why he no longer describes himself as a “maverick,” which he did so fervently and frequently while campaigning for president in 2008. Wallace used a video clip of McCain speaking here in Lancaster, PA to prove the point. The full episode of Fox News Sunday is available on Hulu.

“What ‘maverick’ really means, what this team of mavericks really means, is we understand who we work for,” Sen. McCain says in the clip.

Lancaster CSAs

Community-Supported Agriculture Co-Ops in Lancaster, PA

With the weather turning warmer, my thoughts turn to fresh produce. And with that, CSAs come to mind. A CSA is a program of community-supported agriculture put together by a single farm or by several farms working together, in which non-farming families/individuals can buy shares of whatever is harvested throughout the growing season. Once a week, you go to a designated pickup location, grab a box or two or three stuffed with fresh-grown, fresh-picked vegetables, and take them home to enjoy. By paying for your share up front, you are being more than a consumer. You’re investing in a local farm and the people that run it with their own hands and minds.

Vegetables from a Lancaster CSA
Tomatoes on display at a pickup location for the Goldfinch Farm CSA in Lancaster, PA

People in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and D.C. go to great lengths to get shares in CSAs from right here in Lancaster County, PA. There is probably nowhere in the world where the opportunities through buy fresh and local, particularly through a CSA, are more abundant.

Here is a list of the Lancaster County-based CSAs that have well-maintained websites with accurate and up-to-date information. In most cases, you can apply for a share this year online. Move quickly, though, because in many cases the first harvests begin this month (April).

I’ve included information on the pickup locations for each CSA, as well as the price of a full share. Please note that comparing prices isn’t apples to apples (so to speak). No two farms grow the same vegetables, and the growing season lengths vary from one farm to the other. Most CSAs in this list offer half shares for a little more than half the price of a full share. Half shares are ideal for individuals or couples with no children.

Most of the produce from these farms are not certified organic but are grown without chemical insecticides or fertilizers.

A few of the community-supported agriculture programs listed here offer “accessory” shares. That is, they sell CSA shares of eggs, fruit, flowers, and even meat.

Have you participated in a CSA before? Was it one listed here? Are there any Lancaster CSA farms missing from this list?

Goldfinch Farm CSA –  $510 for a full non-working share. Working shares are available and include a discount. Pickup locations are on the farm in Wrightsville, in Lancaster city, and west of the city off Columbia Ave.

Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative CSA – A nonprofit organic farmers’ cooperative of fifty member farmers in Lancaster County. $775 for a full share. Half shares, fruit shares, vegetable shares, and medicinal herb shares available.

FirstWatch Farms CSA – Pickup at the farm in Lititz. $530 for a full share. Half-shares and fruit shares (strawberries and blueberries) available.

Wilmer’s Organics CSA – Blue Ball/East Earl pickup location. $850 for a full share. Half shares, flower shares, and egg shares available.

Goodwill at Homefields Farm CSA – Millersville farm and pickup location. $650 for a full share. Half shares available.

Crawford Organics CSA – East Earl and Lititz pickup locations. $775 for a full share. Egg and flower shares available.

Kauffman’s Fruit Farm – Bird-in-Hand. $480 for full share—fruit only.

Breakaway Farms – Manheim. $500 for a full share—meat only.

Buckhill Farm – Lititz. $675 for a full share. Shares for 2010 are sold out.

B&H Organic Produce in Morgantown has canceled its 2010 season.

For a great directory of CSAs around the United States, check out LocalHarvest.org.