Damn Good Biking

Damn Good Biking
Mammath Mountain

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1 Month + 4,000 miles = 2 Worn out Puppies

Before arriving in California Agadez the super pup and I had put on 2,500 miles.

Add a flight to California, tally the day trips to Sonoma, Napa, and other locales then add on this weekend trip to Santa Cruz this weekend and it should total atleast if not more than 4,000 miles.

Whew! We are some worn out road pups.

Since being in Cali' we have been working tirelessly to pull together our first regional food and farming career fair for the Farmer Veteran Coalition in Sonoma County (NorCal). Total score, we have nearly 40 tables of veteran, food, and farming organizations in line to deliver some fantastic services, jobs, and educational opportunities.

We are unsure of how many veterans are going to come, but we already have 30+ of our regional farmer veterans who are looking to continue or begin their lives into the realms of agriculture.

Did I mention the event is only 8 days away?

Incredible! If not anything else, we are actually ahead of the bell curve.
A first for us.

Though we are not finished, there are some finishing garnishes to add to compliment the dish.
I could not be more thrilled. Life is SPICY!!

Now for news of NIGER:

As you can read after my last few posts; you will see that in the midst of all this traveling, Niger has suffered a coup as in the last week. At first glance before the gun smoke dissipated one (including myself) would have thought that this was one more step towards the precipice of chaos that Niger seems to be teetering towards.

However. Its looking like a little coup is good for democracy.

In short initial reports from Niger are speculating that the military junta that overthrew the president did so to preserve the sanctity of democracy and have pledged NOT to run for public office in the ensuing election that will sweep the country.

Apparently President Tandja was overthrown as a direct result of his failed power vacuum to extend his presidency beyond his mandated term limits. Beyond the crushing hand he has placed over his people with the world's finest military training and weapons America can offer; he even found time to dissolve the supreme court and parliament….and that's for beginners.

If anything, getting him out of power was a good thing, his wife even better.

Well, nuff said on this matter.

Its been mentioned by another blogger that I should write something on behalf of my own opinions. I normally would relish in the opportunity to speak my piece on Niger and the horrible direction they are being nudged towards to preserve their country through strong military rule.

But as things stand. Niger seems to be doing better as a result of this coup…..well at least for now anyhow. Where in the world has anyone actually heard of "pro coup" demonstrations across the country….and peaceful at that?

I love Niger, everything I am doing now as a farmer is because of what the proud saheliens taught me about living.

I'm broke, penniless, and have no idea how I'm going to make my living in Minnesota.
But this I do know. There are worst things to be than broke, being without resourcefulness is far, far, worse.

Folk, I'm doing just fine.
Agadez and I are just pooped.

That's life on the road.

Now I'm figuring out how to put the farm together. Who knows I might even come out of California with a few potential farmer veterans.

Oh how I relish in the opportunity to finally cook my own meals, pump some iron at the gym and meditate in the solace of my own farm.

Another downside of the road. Restaurant food and hotels. Geez I think I've put on 10 pounds since the beginning of the year. Agadez too! But good normal weight for a puppy; he's 'bout 50 lbs!!

Well Folk Be well, and keep on rocking in the free world.

And don't worry, President Obama is American born and doing his best to reform health care.

Put the petty partisanship aside. I think 8 years with an inept faux dictator and his kabal at the helm was enough of a setback for our country.

Move on, move forward, and plant some Acorns :-)

One Coup over the Cockoo's Nest

An article from BBC describing Niger's current Coup.
Interesting Coup to say the least.....

NIGER Characteristics from the World Bank:

Chronic poverty:
Population 14 million, 61% live on less than $1 a day

Resource rich:
Huge reserves of uranium, Chinese firms digging for oil

Politically unstable:
History of coups, assassinations and on-off rebellion by nomadic Tuareg people in the north

Niger junta bars itself from future elections

Salou Djibo, leader of the coup that overthrew Mamadou Tandja
The junta leaders have not yet set a date for elections

Members of Niger's military junta and the interim administration it is setting up will not be allowed to run future democratic elections.

Junta spokesman Abdoul Karim Goukoye reiterated that the coup leaders' priorities were to hold transparent polls and restore democracy.

President Mamadou Tandja was overthrown a week ago after a decade in power.

Col Goukoye said that Morocco had offered to shelter Mr Tandja, but this was denied by Rabat.

Mr Tandja and several of his ministers are still under house arrest.

Niger's main opposition party has called for Mr Tandja to be tried for high treason because of his decision last year to scrap limits on the presidential term in office, which went against a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the week Mahamadou Danda was named as a civilian prime minister to oversee the transition to democracy.

The junta has not set a date for the new polls.

"I have asked for the necessary guarantees to be sure of committing myself in the process leading to a real restoration of democracy," AFP news agency quotes Mr Danda as saying in his first public comments since his appointment.

Niger has experienced long periods of military rule since independence from France in 1960.

But Mr Tandja's supporters argue that his decade in power brought a measure of economic stability to the poor West African nation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Coup de E'tat In Niger....Not Good.

Now for some terrible but not completely unexpected news from Niger…..

The BBC reports…..

Niger President Mamadou Tandja and his cabinet are being held by soldiers after gun battles in the capital, a government source has told the BBC.

Gunfire broke out around the presidential palace at about 1300 (1200 GMT) and continued for 30 minutes, says the BBC's Idy Baraou in Niamey.

State radio is playing military music - a similar pattern to two coups in the 1990s.

Tensions have been growing in the uranium-rich nation since last year.

Mr Tandja was widely criticised when he changed the constitution in August to allow him to stand for a third term.

Long-term tensions
Our correspondent says tanks have been firing and witnesses report seeing injured people being taken to hospital.

An unnamed French official told AFP that a coup attempt was under way.

"All I can say is that it would appear that Tandja is not in a good position," he told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

Soldiers captured Mr Tandja while he was chairing his weekly cabinet meeting, the government source told the BBC. AFP later reported an official as saying Mr Tandja was possibly being held at a military barracks about 20km (13 miles) west of Niamey.

A witness told the news agency that the bodies of three soldiers had been taken to a military mortuary.
The situation in Niamey remains unclear - there has apparently been no large-scale deployment of military personnel.

The government and opposition have been holding on-off talks since December - mediated by the regional body Ecowas - to try to resolve the country's political crisis.

Mr Tandja, a former army officer, was first voted into office in 1999 and was returned to power in an election in 2004.

Niger has experienced long periods of military rule since independence from France in 1960. It is one of the world's poorest countries, but Mr Tandja's supporters argue that his decade in power has brought a measure of economic stability.

Under his tenure, work has begun on the world's second-biggest uranium mine, and energy deals have been signed with Chinese firms.