RFID chips for migrant workers in the US?

Two more reasons to oppose this insane scheme: who really believed that NAIS would stop at tracking livestock? And note the admission by the good chairman, that his technology often fails and is prohibitively expensive.

VeriChip chairman Scott Silverman's appearance on American TV this week has raised fears of the introduction of RFID technology, but tracking tech 'not ready for prime time'.

(link) [The Register]

11:01 /Agriculture | 2 comments | permanent link

Greenpeace's fill-in-the-blank public relations meltdown

What a bunch of buffoons!

We present it here exactly as it was written, capital letters and all: "In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world's worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE]."

(link) [Philadelphia Inquirer]

via Dispatches from the Culture Wars

10:06 /Humor | 1 comment | permanent link

Well-Intentioned Food Police May Create Havoc With Children's Diets

Great essay on the unintended consequences of "fighting fat" the government way.

Earlier this year, our small Midwestern school district joined the food wars, proposing a new policy that would discourage all food in classrooms, ban nuts and sugary foods and do away with vending machines.

So much for peanut butter sandwiches, snacks for kindergartners and birthday cupcakes.

(link) [New York Times]

via MyAppleMenu:Reader

07:11 /Agriculture | 3 comments | permanent link

Stolen Lives: Technology and Easy Credit Give Identity Thieves an Edge

I often wonder why credit card companies send blank checks in plainly marked envelopes to their customers, many of whom are already firewalled on their credit limits anyway. And I wonder how it works for the other victim of the fraud: the merchant who accepts the bogus money. Do the card companies stick them for part of the bill? Are such losses tax deductible?

One in six adults in Arizona had their identities stolen in the last five years, about twice the national rate.

(link) [New York Times]

07:06 /Technology | 1 comment | permanent link

Mortimer B. Zuckerman: Hypocrisy on stilts

Quite a screed from a man not normally labeled 'liberal' - although I'm sure that once the administration gets a hold of it Mr. Zuckerman will find himself right up there with Lenin and Mao.

The Republicans were once fond of the phrase "tax and spend liberals". Which I suppose makes them "don't tax and spend anyway conservatives". In any event, we're slowly drifting towards national bankruptcy.

The American public, not to speak of its elected officials, has been stunningly indifferent to our reckless fiscal course of the past five years. Maybe it's because our focus has been so much on terrorism, but the numbers are terrifying, too. President Bush inherited a budget surplus estimated at $5.6 trillion over 10 years. He has converted that giant plus into a giant minus--deficits estimated at $5 trillion over those same 10 years. Talk about a U-turn!

(link) [U.S. News & World Report]

07:02 /Politics | 2 comments | permanent link

Report: Top Democrat took free boxing tickets

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that the vaunted "culture of corruption" is not limited to legislators with an 'R' following their name...

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who has criticized Republican ethics, accepted free ringside tickets to three professional boxing matches from Nevada officials who were trying to influence his federal legislation regulating the sport.

(link) [CNN.com]

06:58 /Politics | 3 comments | permanent link

Pope asks God why he 'tolerated' Holocaust

There's no reportage on the answer ... but what what really struck me about this was the continued backhanded smear on pagan paths:

"By destroying Israel with the Shoah, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention." he said.

Maybe the pontiff could use a little review of history. Maybe he'd find that the biggest enemies of the Jewish people aren't the pagans after all.

AP - Pope Benedict XVI visited the Auschwitz concentration camp as "a son of the German people" Sunday and asked God why he remained silent during the "unprecedented mass crimes" of the Holocaust.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

07:28 /Asatru | 4 comments | permanent link

Gingrich revolutionaries turn into arrogant elite

Remember the 1994 "Contract with America" that swept Republicans into power in the House? Remember the corruption and cronyism that pervaded the that august body after decades of Democratic dominance? Remember the part in the Republican's campaign about "all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress."

What a difference 12 years make.

The Hastert-McCain Congress is now the complete inversion of what it's meant to be: They won't exercise their right to brave honest debate but they will claim the right for congressmen to keep evidence of crime and corruption in their offices without having to be bound by footling piffle like court-ordered search warrants.

(link) [Chicago Sun Times]

via Secular Blasphemy

07:10 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Cigs and Cows

A fine essay on why we North Americans go mad banning cigarettes as a precaution, yet continue to ignore (and evade) many more sensible precautionary steps we could take on the food chain or in the environment. And why Europe seems to take the exact opposite tack.

When we North Americans find out that smoking is bad for us, our inner Puritans rise to the challenge with a self-righteousness and commitment that we would never apply to heavy metals in the environment.

(link) [Toranto Star]

via MyAppleMenu:Reader

07:01 /Agriculture | 3 comments | permanent link

Kerry Pressing Swiftboat Case, Long After Loss

I don't care where you stood on John Kerry's policies or candidacy, the 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' campaign was the low point for the political dirt machine. It was such an obvious political play that I was frankly incredulous that nobody saw the wider implications. Nobody disputed that John Kerry was in Vietnam, in the Navy and in harms way. Nobody disputed that George W Bush was sitting in Texas in the National Guard, well out of harms way.

Therefore, according to Republican pundits and political hacks, John Kerry was a lying, cheating, cowardly bastard who didn't deserve his Bronze Star, and George Bush was a hero. Uh, excuse me?

As a veteran myself, this was what tipped me into pulling the handle for Kerry in November of 2004. Without this smear campaign I probably would've voted Libertarian, even though their candidate was an obvious moonbat, or not bothered with voting for President at all. I was ashamed that the major American veterans organizations let politics get in their way and said nothing in Kerry's defense. This was a fight about facts, and the facts were clear, and the lies won.

What really set them off was this quote from a book Kerry wrote soon after he returned from Vietnam:

We will not quickly join those who march on Veterans' Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the "greater glory of the United States." We will not accept the rhetoric. We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars--in fact, we will find it hard to join anything at all and when we do, we will demand relevancy such as other organizations have recently been unable to provide. We will not take solace from the creation of monuments or the naming of parks after a select few of the thousands of dead Americans and Vietnamese. We will not uphold the traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim...
We are asking America to turn from false glory, hollow victory, fabricated foreign threats, fear which threatens us as a nation, shallow pride which feeds of fear.
John F. Kerry
Epilogue to The New Soldier (1971)

For the record, I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. If I'd have been writing books in 1975, after I got out of the military, I would've said pretty much the same thing. This doesn't denigrate the soldiers who served: it denigrates the national hubris and political climate that makes wars such as Vietnam (and Iraq) possible.

The fact that Kerry's still fighting to clear up this mess, long after it's lost any relevance to his political future, is a testament to his political and personal integrity. I don't agree with alot of his politics, but I gotta give credit where it's due - and in my mind this has proven that John Kerry is an honorable man, whatever else he may be.

The battle over John Kerry's wartime service continues, out of the limelight but in some ways more heatedly.

(link) [New York Times]

08:30 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Poll: Americans like instant gratification

And that's the biggest problem we have as a society ...

AP - We'll make this quick. We know you're busy. An Associated Press poll has found an impatient nation. To get to the point without further ado, it's a nation that gets antsy after five minutes on hold on the phone and 15 minutes max in a line. So say people in the survey.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

08:21 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Constitutional Squabble May Have Earlier Roots

The hypocrisy of these Congressional "leaders" is simply staggering. They've repeatedly voted, over the course of the last five years, to surveil, wiretap, search and even imprison American citizens without so much as a judge being aware the the authorities were investigating anything, much less a warrant.

But they consider it a grave constitutional crisis when a judge issues a warrant in support of an ongoing investigation of one of their own, even if the target's an "evil liberal" Democrat who was caught hiding bribe cash in his freezer!

So the only place in America that still has anything resembling Constitutional rights is apparently the halls of Congress, and the only Americans still to be protected from the depredations of an Administration run amok are sitting members.

And to Hel with the rest of us.

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is trying to move past a showdown over the search of a lawmaker's office. But many on Capitol Hill believe the fight will resonate.

(link) [NYT > Home Page]

07:51 /Politics | 1 comment | permanent link

Chicken and egg debate unscrambled

Elephant Egg - artist unknown

It's a question that has baffled scientists, academics and pub bores through the ages: What came first, the chicken or the egg?

(link) [CNN]

10:19 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link


Out of the night that covers me,
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
  How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

23:25 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Antimicrobials help prevent mastitis

The problems with mastitis in dairy herds has been aggravated by several factors, but there's one eight hundred pound gorilla in the room:

In the realm of infectious disease, one way to reduce microbial resistance that results from widespread antibiotic use is to come up with new ways to fight pathogens.

Translation: mastitis has gotten out of hand because we feed massive doses of sub therapeutic antibiotics to our cows. To solve the problem we're going to genetically engineer the cow to produce it's own antibiotics.

To which the bacteria that cause mastitis will never gain resistance, I'm sure.

Oh, and by the way, this new bovine generated antibiotic will be in the milk, too, but don;t worry: we've hired the same kinds of folks that tested Vioxx to insure that it's perfectly safe before we put it on your store shelf.

Here's a hint guys: stop feeding antibiotics as a matter of routine, keep your herd clean, adjust your milking schedules to fit the cows, and you'll be able to control mastitis. The approach described here is nothing short of madness.

ORLANDO, Fla. (ARS) - An Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-led team has combined specific DNA segments from two different sources to produce a novel antimicrobial protein.

(link) [The Prairie Star]

21:18 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link