Microsoft has Gaelic LIP

Given the tremendous growth in the IT sector in Ireland, this should help to preserve/spread the native tongue, especially with the recognition of Gaelic earlier this month as an official language of the EU. Good job, Microsoft! (and I don't say that very often ...)

Introducing Microsoft Fuinneoige and Oifig

(link) [The Register]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Second Case of Mad Cow Traced to Texas

I've gotta wonder what kind of pressure the chief veterinarian of the USDA was put under to get him to say this:

"The animal did not enter the human food chain. The safety of our food supply is not in question," Clifford said in conference call with reporters.

Now, given that the cow was 12 years old, and undoubtedly got the disease from it's feed, which was mixed with parts from an infected animal, what does this tell you?

  1. There was at least one other infected animal in the United States before the 1997 feed ban.
  2. It was ground up for feed.
  3. It was fed to a herd in Texas

Does anybody here think that the feedlot people go around to each individual cow with a separate feed bag? Not hardly - the remains of the infected beast were mixed into a batch of feed on the order of several tons.

Since there were undoubtedly several (perhaps several hundred) cattle that ate the same feed as this one, it stands to reason that some percentage of them were also infected. Since this cow was over a decade old, it's more than probable that some of the cows that were fed this infected batch of cow chow were sold and slaughtered for beef. Several years ago. Quite possibly before 1997.

The veterinarian's statement that this cow didn't enter the human food supply is technically correct: and completely meaningless regarding the safety of the food supply. Other cattle from the same herd, which ate the same feed, almost undoubtedly have entered the human food supply, and were possibly ground up themselves before 1997 to feed other cattle, spreading the disease even further.

We've known "scientifically" since the outbreak in Britain that BSE is spread by feeding cows dead cow. We should've known it was a bad idea forever: cattle are not meat eaters. But we ignored our common sense, ignored the science for several years and are all set to reap exactly what we've sown.

Here's a suggestion for the USDA: covering up will only last so long, and will only serve to deepen the wrath of the public when the cow pie hits the fan. 'Fess up, fellas. Tell us straight what's going on, so far as you know.

AP - The second case of mad cow disease in the United States was a cow born, raised and slaughtered in Texas, Agriculture Department officials said Wednesday.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Sorry 'bout that!

No posts yesterday - it was an incredibly busy day. Of course, Tuesday's always are around here: that's when I run the delivery route. But yesterday was worse...

I suppose I should preface by telling you that we have garnered a bunch of new customers, mostly from an ad that's breaking in the Zionsville Times-Sentinel (they have an article coming out on the farm as well) and on the inclusion of our delivery service in the email newsletter run by Trader's Point. So it was going to be busier than usual anyway, when the milk cooler broken down.

The temperature here was slated to reach 95 F, so without a working cooler, I had to load the perishable products up into picnic coolers, pack them with ice, and run fast! The the storms started popping up, and the cooler (without ice) that I used to store the bread began to leak. So I emptied the cooler, packed the bread into the front seat beside me, and tried to navigate to several new locations. What a pain in the ass!

Getting home about three, I went to feed the chickens - and noticed that we were out of supplemental feed! Shit! So Kris and I went up to Lafayette to pick up a bag until I can get some more ordered bulk, and decided to go out to eat while were were up there.

Getting back home about 9:30 pm, I checked my mail and noticed something highly unusual: no SPAM. In fact, I had no email at all, and neither did Kris. Uh-oh... it turned out that qmail had died on our main server, overrun by runaway mailing list manager that a customer maintains.

So I frantically log on and start killing rogue processes, finally getting everything back to normal after midnight.

And having started yesterday morning before 6, I just collapsed into the sack. So no blogging. Sometimes, it seems, I get a real life...

00:00 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Supreme Court Justice Proclaims Monotheist State

How could I have missed this? I even read and commented on parts of Scalia's dissent. But I stopped reading too soon, it seems - sorry, but legal briefs aren't exactly my cup'o'tea. This is from his dissenting opinion in one of the recent Ten Commandments cases:

If religion in the public forum had to be entirely nondenominational, there could be no religion in the public forum at all. One cannot say the word "God," or "the Almighty," one cannot offer public supplication or thanksgiving, without contradicting the beliefs of some people that there are many gods, or that God or the gods pay no attention to human affairs. With respect to public acknowledgment of religious belief, it is entirely clear from our Nation's historical practices that the Establishment Clause permits this disregard of polytheists and believers in unconcerned deities, just as it permits the disregard of devout atheists.

So there you have it. In the opinion of this distinguished, conservative legal scholar and Supreme Court Associate Justice, polytheists, pantheists and atheists can simply be disregarded with respect to the First Amendment.

Gosh, I guess I'm just a second-class citizen after all - a dhimmi in a Christian Nation.

Actually, what I've become is a stranger in a strange land: this is not the America in whose military I served so many years ago, this is not the America I grew up in. And it's certainly not the America of the Founding Fathers. Here's what Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

Last time I checked, "Hindoos and other Infidels" were polytheist or pantheist. But no matter: obviously our "originalist" Justice knows better what the Founders proposed than they themselves did. He must be a "liberal activist judge", after all!

Does anybody still wonder why the upcoming battles over judical appointments are so critical? At this point the Democrats could run Bozo the Clown for President with Micky Mouse as his running mate in 2008 and I'd volunteer to work the campaign. Because they couldn't possibly do much worse than the clowns and mice that are currently running this great nation.

00:00 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Scientology: It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

The Cheesemistress takes on Tom Cruise.

At the end of 1, the cheese is still standing alone ...

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

File-trading networks can be liable-court (Reuters)

Coding is now a crime ...

Reuters - A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Internet file-trading networks can be held liable when their users copy music, movies and other protected works without permission.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Court Splits on Ten Commandments Displays (AP)

What struck me here was this line from Scalia's dissent in the Kentucky case:

What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle.

This from a man who recently ruled that growing a plant in your backyard for your own legal use in your state of residence constitutes "interstate commerce". Principles, indeed.

AP - A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

The New Fragility of Marriage, for Better or for Worse

According to this researcher, gays aren't threatening the institution: love is. And she makes a good point:

Until the late 18th century, most societies around the world saw marriage as far too vital an economic and political institution to be left entirely to the free choice of the two individuals involved, especially if they were going to base their decision on something as unreasoning and transitory as love. The more I learned about the ancient history of marriage, the more I realized what a gigantic marital revolution had occurred in Western Europe and North America during the Enlightenment.

Well written and well reasoned - read it and learn!

Studying marriage over the last several years has been a lot like adjusting to marriage itself. No matter how well you think you know your partner beforehand, the first years are full of surprises, not only about your spouse but also about yourself.

(link) [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

via My AppleMenu Reader

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Bowled Over No Longer

A big "Thanks!" to Chas Clifton (linked below) for pointing out this wonderful essay. It is indeed a fading memory, and sadly so.

My own first use of tobacco was a pipe, back in the early seventies. It was a contemplative exercise - and yes, I would sometimes smoke other herbs (and inhale) in my pipes. But when I joined the Air Force the time and ceremony required to properly indulge in a pipe (no matter what filled it) disappeared, and my addiction to nicotine truly got going on cigarettes. To quote the essay:

Pipe smoking is going the way of the shaving brush, the straight razor, the fedora, the Freemasons, the liberal Republican.

and that's a real shame...

It smelled like cherry or chocolate or chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Or leaves burning in the back yard in those long-ago autumns when you were still allowed to burn leaves in the back yard. In those days, pipe smoke was a man's signature scent. It was the incense in the Church of Dad, a burnt offering to the god of domesticated masculinity, a symbol of benevolent paternalism.

(link) [Washington Post]

via Letter from Hardscrabble Creek

00:00 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

F1: Teams 'may boycott races'

The saga continues...

Teams could boycott next weekend's French Grand Prix if get severe penalties for their role in the Indy fiasco, says Minardi's Paul Stoddart.

(link) [BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition]

00:00 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

No PodBuddy for iPod lovers

Subtitle: "How to kill a idea, legally."

It appears that DLO (Digital Lifestyle Outfitters) are using their patent #6,591,085 to keep a PodBuddy, designed by DVForge, a product, competing with DLO's TransPod, off the market. Another example where patents are interfering with innovation and in the end - the end users are suffering the consequences, because far more superior product can't see the light due to dirty tricks of the patent owners.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Midsummer, 2005

Ravenswood celebrated Midsummer last night, and I renewed an old acquaintance with the beverage pictured at the left. And now that I've found a local source, this could develop into quite a friendship. Wonderful stuff, indeed!

One of the really very cool things about Heathenry is that it's the only religion that I know of where a beer sampling table is usually set up at gatherings. There's a old joke that a United Methodist must bring a covered dish to get into heaven - we Heathens have to bring a bottle ... or two!

And it was a fine gathering yestereve, to be sure. But I had an even better time than usual, thanks not only to K, but to an email I received about my youngest daughter (Hilary) - from her in-laws!

Hilary moved back to Minnesota last year, an economic migration as much as anything else, but she grew up there, and so it was like going home to some extent for her. She lived with the in-laws for a bit, but is now starting to get it together on her own. She wears the Hammer, and celebrates (when she's able) with Runehof. Here's a bit of the missive that her mother-in-law sent to her dad:

Dave, I just wanted to let you know how proud Ken and I of your daughter. She is working so hard, carrying two jobs. When she is not working she is with the kids. She has never taken for granted the help Ken and I are able to give. If she needs/wants some free time she asks if we are available. We only have the kids overnight Fri - Sun now, when Hilary is working at her night job.

'Tis a father's wish come true - the values I worked so hard to communicate have indeed taken root. This was beyond doubt one of the best missives I've ever received! So my head was already swollen with pride long before the hard cider got to it ...

A Glad Midsummer to All!

00:00 /Asatru | 2 comments | permanent link

Beef scare tests US on cow-feed policies

Maybe the USDA doesn't understand the food chain. Or the fact that prion disease is caused by malformed proteins, not a virus, bacteria or fungus. But the loopholes in current regulations to stop BSE before it starts are glaring:

"The use of rendered cattle remains is allowed in feed for hogs and poultry, and in turn, hog and poultry remains can be put back into cattle feed," Ms. Hauter says. "All of these loopholes provide pathways for cattle to eat potentially infective tissue from other cattle and create the potential for the disease to spread."

Doh! Ya think? By the gods, I wish our bureaucrats in charge of agricultural policy had the brains of a non-mad cow!

The federal government insists that American beef is safe, but doubts linger among importing nations.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Montana Farm Bureau applauds CAFO ruling decision

Here's a good example of how the co-op system, which was for many years the mainstay of family farming, has been co-opted itself into becoming the mouthpiece of corporate agribusiness.

CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) should have to get discharge permits for their waste, whether or not they discharge into running water. We're not talking one or two cow pies, here - we're talking thousands upon thousands of gallons of liquefied manure, which will get into the groundwater where ever it's dumped.

But the 'other side' (enviromental activists) here has a few points it needs to get straight, too. Not all livestock operations are CAFO - smaller ones like mine are free range or pastured. My cattle will never see a feedlot (which is the CAFO destination of choice for most beef cattle in the US). I shouldn't have to get a permit, because the waste my cows dump is not processed, liquefied and hauled in tankers: they just shit where they stand! But the activists want all livestock producers to get permits!

The only sunny side in this whole morass is the fact that liquefied waste is expensive to haul, so most of the time it's dumped somewhere on the farm factory property. Which means the groundwater contamination will show up first there - and out west, water is not a trivial concern. I figure these morons just won the right to pee in their own wells.

The Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) applauds the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Courts' refusal to reconsider its Feb. 28 ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency's Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation rule.

(link) [The Pairie Star]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Pagans: City-approved text 'inaccurate'

Christians seem to complain a lot about being persecuted for their faith. And no doubt there's a kernel of truth to many of their tales. But I would suggest that before they raise their voices too much, that they take a walk in the shoes of an American pagan, preferably in Palmdale, California.

The textbook for a high school class in this community talks about symbols of "Satan", never mind that few pagan religions even recognize that such a being exists, and include Thor's Hammer(!) and the pentagram as well as many, many other designs identified with pagan pathways in this laundry list of evil:

The chapter includes three pages of signs and symbols identified as satanic , along with text such as, "Because we have seen tremendous evil come from occult involvement, we recommend parents also make occultism a zero-tolerance behavior."

When pagans of all stripes showed up to complain, the author of the text wasn't fazed:

"We're not stomping on a religion," Fry said. "Our only intention is to help parents, and we'll continue to do so."

Imagine the righteous national uproar we'd be hearing now if the text said something like "Because Christians practice ritual cannibalism, we recommend parents also make Christianity a zero-tolerance behavior."

But when it's Wicca or Heathenry bearing the brunt, not only do I hear a deafening silence from most Christians, I see their positive acquiescence. Hel, most of the time it's the Christian Religious Right that's doing it! How would Christians react if kindreds or covens operated "bus ministries" that plucked children off the street for a summer afternoon of fun at "Vacation Edda School"? Why, we'd be castigated as child abductors, pedophiles or worse! Most pagan groups I know of have an extreme reluctance to involve kids (unless the parents are pagans) due to a fear of just this kind of reaction: we've seen it before.

Guess I just felt like ranting a bit this morning, and this piece really set me off. Of course there are many good and decent folks following the White Christ - just as there are some evil spuds who call themselves pagans. I can only hope that one day religious discussions will be moved off of the political map, but as long as idiot school boards like the one in Palmdale insist on defining "bad" religions, and mandating "zero tolerance" on the part of parents regarding them, I'll continue to be outraged.

Simmering hurt over an allegedly incorrect and hurtful textbook distributed by Palmdale's Families in Action program boiled over in public Monday at a meeting of the Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force.

(link) [Antelope Valley Press]

00:00 /Asatru | 2 comments | permanent link