All posts by Gary

On Any Given Sunday Morning – I Muse

Via The Ethicurean this morning I followed a link to the following…

In his Meat Manifesto, Fearnley-Whittingstall corners the reader: “Are you,” he demands, “among the millions of consumers putting pressure on farmers to produce mountains of cheap meat of dubious quality, by dubious means?” I thought I had perhaps passed this test, as I try to buy organic meat whenever possible, but I flat-out failed his next question. Have the animals you’ve consumed “lived well? . . . Have they been cared for by someone who respects and enjoys their contact with them?” Guilty, I read on. His argument is one we all know but perhaps don’t always adhere to: buy locally, know the farmers, visit their farms, ask questions, be involved, change the landscape of meat production one demand at a time. And best of all, cook well.

You should never taste a dish and feel like shouting: “You mean an animal died for that?” Failure to cook meat well, it would appear, is an unforgivable sin. Moral intimidation is undeniably part of Fearnley-Whittingstall’s plan. But it’s his almost academic thoroughness on everything from animal husbandry to curing meats, from hanging beef to skinning a rabbit, from stuffing a turkey (don’t) to finding the

“tremulous, slow simmer” when making stock that’s more convincing.

Source:Food – Recipes – Cookbooks – Dining – Meat – New York Times

They also pointed the way to this article in The Columbia City Paper where I though the money quote:

The smell of manure is the smell of mismanagement.

That pretty much sums up the problem with all forms of “industrial agriculture”.

Emile DeFelice seems to ride the fence in some ways when it comes to the new organic push by big business. For one, he says he can’t stand the term “agribusiness.”

“Agribusiness replaced agriculture. Agrarianism is a true concept of the real meaning of farming. It’s a blending of art and science,” he says. “Agribusiness makes it just science and capital. It obliterates culture.”

Source: Agriculture Wars By Todd Morehead – Columbia City Paper

I see Fred First’s meme Unplanted Gardens: America’s Roadside Bloomery has grown legs and run (which could explain the run of traffic coming from Fragments From Floyd the past day or so). Sounds fun so I need to go through my catalog.

No Spin in a Spin Filled Zone… Right!

They can’t spin it, they can’t excuse it, they can’t hide it. It’s a payoff for taking the fall for the big guys. And Bush’s very history spells it out.

In the six years that Bush was governor of Texas, he commuted a single death sentence and allowed 152 executions to proceed. He also pardoned 20 people charged with lesser crimes, said Maria Ramirez, the state’s clemency administrator. That was fewer than any Texas governor since the 1940s.

As president, Bush has commuted three sentences in addition to Libby’s and denied more than 4,000 requests, said Margaret Colgate Love, the pardon lawyer at the Justice Department for most of the 1990s. He has also issued 113 pardons and denied more than 1,000 requests.”His grant rate is very low compared to other presidents,” she said.

In commuting Libby’s sentence, Bush said he had found it excessive. If Bush employed a similar calculus in Texas capital cases, he did not say so. Even in cases involving juvenile offenders and mentally retarded people, Bush allowed executions to proceed, saying that he was satisfied of the inmates’ guilt and that they had received a fair hearing.

This whole case just makes the obstruction of justice charge that much more pertinent. There have been a number of articles out in the past week showing that Libby’s sentence wasn’t even out of line with the crimes he was convicted of. But the commuted sentence is in line with Bush Administration guidelines on Accountability. From the top down, nobody in this administration pays the piper on accountability, not politically, not criminally, not morally. It’s time for them to go…America cannot afford to let this President and this Vice-President serve out their terms. At the rate they are going, there wont be much left of American Ideals left when they are finished…

Source: Libby decision at odds with Bush’s clemency history | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

‘Tis the luckiest day there will be…some say.

7/7/07 – trip sevens

Our neighbor is using this as an auspicious date for a wedding. I just think the groom was looking for an easy anniversary mnemonic. He sure wont have much excuse for forgetting it down the road 10 or 20 years. Anyway, wishing lots of good luck in their coming matrimonial state to Rosie and Ben…

Ya gotta love those weather prognosticators…I told you yesterday that their prediction of a tapering off of the rain worried me. Well, it wasn’t my side of Houston that got nailed but the other side sure saw a lot of flooding. On my side we are so saturated that the little puddles of water standing in the yard when the rain stopped about noon took all night to finally soak in and not all of them have. To put that in perspective, my home sits on a rise of land that is mostly sand and even that wasn’t draining yesterday.

Garrison let me know that today is the birthday of Robert Anson Heinlein (1907-1988), my favorite author as I was coming to understand who I was. I probably acquired more of my beliefs in life and moral instruction from the fiction of Robert Heinlein than from all of the religious and scientific books I have ever read. So far, his fiction has served me well…may he rest in peace. The two books of his I would recommend highly are Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. Both novels have aged well and still speak to me whenever I reread them, which I do every few years. I have to say I have worn out multiple copies of each over the years. If you’ve never lived in Heinlein’s worlds, let me recommend you invest some time and travel an alternate reality for a while, you’ll be glad you did. He was the ultimate storyteller.

Today’s Number is 17…Almost Half Way There.

It was a little strange this morning, waking up to the sounds of silence. No thunder, no pounding rain, not even the subliminal sound of water dripping from the eaves, seems very weird. I am sure it won’t last as the humidity is at 99% and the temperature is already pushing 80. According to the National Weather Service we are in a tapering off mode for rain, 50% chance today going down to 20% through the weekend…Anybody have a skiff I can borrow. Seems like almost every time the prognosticators start this tapering off bs we get flooded…Stay tuned.

Noon…as I was leaving the house this morning the thunder began to rumble. Watching the radar it appears the rain has been training across the house most of the day. The ditch out front is full again and there doen’t appear to be an end in sight at this time. Thunder still rumbles. I am about to head off for my treatment which means I get to drive right into the worst of today’s rains…Where’s that skiff?

Time for the coffee and the emails…

The Washington Post is reporting on another reason to contact your Congressmen about COOL – Country of Origin Listing, and to spend time reading labels…

Many of the “Southern-style” catfish fillets on U.S. grocery shelves these days are indeed from the south — of China.

The Chinese government’s own reports express alarm that many rivers in this region are so contaminated with heavy metals from industrial byproducts and pesticides, including DDT, that they are too dangerous to touch, much less raise fish in.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking on China. They are where the US was 50 years ago in cleaning up our industrial mess. And it’s not just China, it’s all of the developing countries we are getting our cheap food from.

Even the Chinese government’s own reports are damning, describing how industrial and urban sewage forces farmers to use chemicals to keep the fish alive.

“Environmental change is a major factor” driving fish farmers to use drugs, said Wu Tingting, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.

All of this just points to another reason everyone in America should be taking an interest in this years Farm Bill. We can’t let the industrial agriculture and the Wal-Marts of this country set our food policies. Folks, get informed, get involved or get what you deserve…

Source: Farmed in China’s Foul Waters, Imported Fish Treated With Drugs

It looks like the Scooter Libby story is just gonna keep rolling along…Eugene Robinson’s piece, The Commuter in Chief, is particularly good today…

What led us to this point — when a lifestyle maven, a bling-bedecked rapper and a table-dancing celebrity are held more accountable than a powerful member of the White House inner circle who functioned as Dick Cheney’s right-hand man — was an abuse, or at least a misuse, of presidential power.

It’s true that the Libby affair pales beside other recent abuses of power — the war in Iraq, intrusive domestic surveillance, secret CIA prisons, Guantanamo, torture “lite” and whatever else Bush and Cheney have done to the Constitution that we don’t know about yet. But we can’t accept presidential rule-by-fiat as the norm. If we do, our way of life is threatened, and the terrorists have won.

I’m joking, but I’m serious.

Go read the whole thing…

E J Dionne is pretty PO’ed himself…Or as he calls it enraged. Go read An Unpardonable Act

Yet when I learned that President Bush had commuted Libby’s 30-month sentence, I was enraged although not surprised. Rage should not be a standard response to political events (though avoiding it has gotten harder in recent years), so I had to ask if my anger was justified. Here’s the case for getting mad and staying mad.

The core point is that “equal justice under law” either means something or it doesn’t. In this case, all the facts we know tell us that Libby received far more than equal justice, as evidenced by the irregular way his commutation was handled.

I guess the main question I have is how much longer can these folks blame it all on Willy Jeff? Every time they get caught with there hand in the cookie jar they point at Bill Clinton. Now I know we all like to point out that George Bush acts like a little bully who never grew up in the real world, but, can’t they quit feeding the image?

Times up, coffees gone cold, gotta run…Later