Morning Links

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
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65 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  bbartlog | 

    Hah. I knew that Gingrich had siphoned $42K from his campaign into his own pockets by selling it a list of email addresses (that any sensible candidate would simply have donated). But I *hadn’t* realized that he had arranged for his campaign to pay for his Hawaiian anniversary vacation! The hits just keep on coming with that guy!

  2. #2 |  Jay | 

    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19636151?source=bb

    Denver cop wants job back, calls firing “unfair and overly harsh”.

    He was arrested for speeding 143mph in a 55 with a .089 BAC.

  3. #3 |  omar | 

    Police stand guard inside the Church of the Nativity after a fight broke out between priests. “This is an internal problem related to the Nativity church only. The Palestinian police had to interfere to stop the clashes as soon as possible to avoid devastating consequences,” he said.

    I’m always happy to see Palestinians presented in the media as regular people with regular issues. Just kidding, kind of.

  4. #4 |  Roho | 

    Y’know, they should just skip the whole drug-sniffing dog thing altogether. Start equipping cops with a little electronic gizmo that consists of a button, and a green light. Basically the same thing; on-demand probable cause for the busy cop on the go. There’s no time for your ‘warrants’!

    “You’re correct, ma’am, I don’t have a warrant. So we’ll just see if the cause-o-matic here lights up…*click*…Oop, look, there it goes. DOWN ON THE FLOOR, SCUMBAG!”

  5. #5 |  Mattocracy | 

    Idustrial Food critics are pretty terrible people. Industrial scale food production is the only way we can keep the current human population fed. Penn and Teller did a great episode on food nazis.

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “The state of Florida wants to allow cops to bring drug-sniffing dogs to your door without a warrant.”

    Hell, sounds fair enough…with the stipulation that the citizenry gets to
    approach police headquarters with pitchforks, tar, feathers, and nooses.

  7. #7 |  Eric | 

    It’s hard to argue with the NYT’s logic on the online-shopping-while-drunk article. I mean, they do have the stats to back it up. Namely, (a) 3 anecdotes, (b) eBay is most busy between 6:30 and 10:30, (c) online orders between 9 and midnight “increased compared with previous years,” and (d) Saks sent out an overnight e-mail to its customers.

  8. #8 |  M | 

    Is Eric Schlosser really an industrial food critic? I thought he said hamburgers and fries were still his favorite food. The main thing I took away from his book was that he thought the process should be made to follow OSHA regulations (sharp knives and slower assembly lines) and more common sense cleanliness practices.

  9. #9 |  damaged justice | 

    “Industrial scale food production is the only way we can keep the current human population fed.”

    Bullshit. There’s more than enough food in the world for everyone even at current population levels. The problem has always been distribution, not production. And the problems with distribution are always political.

  10. #10 |  Price | 

    Drunk iTunes shopping is pretty common, among my friends anyway.

  11. #11 |  omar | 

    There’s more than enough food in the world for everyone even at current population levels.

    …because we have industrial food production? I mean, we aren’t exactly about to switch our production from 100% local organic to dystopian mega factories overnight. And “industrial food production” is a pretty broad term – it it not a measurement of the worker:food-output ratio? In that sense, the only way to lower that ratio would be to make more less-efficient farmers – whatever good or bad may come from that.

    I’m not saying there aren’t dangers or bad things happening or that will happen…I’m just find situation is more complex than you what you seem to be presenting.

  12. #12 |  Mattocracy | 

    No, it’s not bullshit.

    “There’s more than enough food in the world for everyone even at current population levels”…thanks to things like genetically engineered crops, preservatives, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. AKA, industrial scale food production. Without those things, a whole lot of us would starve.

    And I don’t where the whole food distribution thing came from…

  13. #13 |  marco73 | 

    @#2 – Yeah, that Denver cop is going to argue that he didn’t beat any suspects or shoot any dogs. Maybe he belongs on the SWAT team.

  14. #14 |  CyniCAl | 

    Pro-jury nullification op-ed in the NYTimes:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/opinion/jurors-can-say-no.html?scp=2&sq=Heicklen&st=cse

  15. #15 |  Scott Alexander Meiner | 

    Re: Probable Cause

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/sniffer-dogs-get-it-wrong-four-out-of-five-times-20111211-1oprv.html

  16. #16 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    “Organic” “All Natural” “Free Range” and the like are luxury brand names that make numerous claims of benefits that are not supported by the available evidence. The people who push them are not concerned with public health so much as they are interested in being perceived to be morally superior to the rank and file. They should be viewed with the same suspicion accorded to bumptious moralizers of the Pat Robertson stripe.

  17. #17 |  omar | 

    The people who push them are not concerned with public health so much as they are interested in being perceived to be morally superior to the rank and file.

    An equally hackish and shallow team red vs team blue sentiment as the one cited above.

  18. #18 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Evidently the latest libertarian cause celebre is wrongly maligned meatpackers. Well, shit. The meatpacking industry is one of the most out-of-control, unchallenged syndicates in the country. The only reasons it limits the amounts of unwholesome scraps that it mixes into the food supply are the threat of litigation, much of it by sleazy ambulance chasers, and occasional pressure from government inspectors when the latter aren’t understaffed or corrupted.

    Disturbingly, under libertarian orthodoxy both of these checks on the meatpacking industry are completely unacceptable because in a perfect world meatpackers would get to put whatever the fuck they want into our meat because that’s what the free market demands. Just look at what the big meatpackers have done to their workforces, bullying unions into votes of dissolution with threats of plant closures and replacing unionized staff with easily intimidated, poorly paid, ill-treated illegal immigrants. These companies are vicious.

    Our industrial food supply is indeed abundant, but it is also brittle. The only way most agronomists see fit to control diseases, weeds and pests is with ever-increasing doses of ever stronger poisons. Meanwhile, the target organisms evolve defenses, with results including horrors like MRSA that jump species into humans. The supplies of alternative strains at seed banks have always been perilously low relative to the demands of large-scale farmers. This situation will go from worrisome to frightening if the UG-99 wheat rust spreads much further with any speed, a development that could make the Irish potato blight pale in comparison.

    At the present time we clearly need industrial monocultures for sheer output, but we also desperately need more diverse organic agriculture for flexibility and as a near to medium-term fallback.

  19. #19 |  Tim K | 

    With regard to the drunk on-line shopping story:

    1) Who will be the first to propose a law to stop this from happening? Clearly, there is a need to save people from themselves.

    2) When that proposed law, passes, but fails to actually protect people from themselves, the government will have no choice but to just start killing everyone as the only way to truly save people from themselves. It’s worked wonders in the drug war.

  20. #20 |  Ted S. | 

    Is there a link to a single-page version of the story on industrial food production?

    That site is trying to push so mush antisocial networking crap, and when I try to click on the printer icon (another bugaboo; I surf a lot of sites with only cached images set to load, and links like that won’t show up unless you have all images turned on) actually tries to send the page to my printer, giving me no way of knowing whether or not the whole article will load.

    And then if you try to scroll to the bottom to look for a link to a one-page version, you get some pop-out from the right side of the browser window….

  21. #21 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Tyler has to make some kind of exception for recurring stories that involve cops and dogs. Otherwise, a pretty interesting talk that has me all inspired about my loose ends!

  22. #22 |  Doodi | 

    I like this blog, really.

    But I don’t understand what your quarrel is, as a libertarian, with the ‘pink slime’ story. It isn’t like the food activists forced legislation through to outlaw ‘pink slime.’

    No, they wrote articles, and educated consumers. And, in response, to make themselves more attractive to consumers, the fast food restaurants voluntarily decided to stop using pink slime.

    That’s the free market at work. That’s laissez faire economics. That’s something libertarians should point towards as a success story for libertarianism and ‘invisible hand’ regulation.

    I think you’re letting your own personal views—anti-regulation on food—cloud your vision. This is about giving power to individual consumers to make their own choice, and corporations taking those choice into account while making their own decisions.. The government isn’t forcing anything on fast food restaurants (and through those regulations, onto consumers).

  23. #23 |  Mattocracy | 

    “The only reasons it limits the amounts of unwholesome scraps that it mixes into the food supply are the threat of litigation, much of it by sleazy ambulance chasers, and occasional pressure from government inspectors when the latter aren’t understaffed or corrupted.”

    If this is what you’re going to believe, there isn’t much to anyone can say to change your mind, regardless of evidence. Western food is remarkably safe compared to any other time in history. And if the FDA is whoafully understaffed and corrupt, then the threat of litigation seems to be a very power motivator to keep the meat packing industry in check. Anytime there is an issue with a food product, it’s almost always followed by the consumers complete rejection of the product for long periods of time.

    Also, one of the product that mitigates the risk or food born illness in meat is something the critic want to do away with. It’s pretty counter-productive. That was the whole point of the article. Critics complain about evil corporations doing various bad things, but the one group that seems to really be on the war path against safety are the very same critics who want to do away with the products that ensure pathogen free foods.

    People hear chemical and autmatically think cancer causing/mutatant baby making/dick shrinking synthetic concoction made by an evil scientist somewhere. There is a reason why people use pesticides and chemicals to ensure food quality. That shit works. Really well. In a time where we live longer and have the most varied diet ever in our collective history, I’ve never understood why people look that which brought here and think that it’s the downfall of the very civilization it helped to create.

  24. #24 |  albatross | 

    Andrew:

    The libertarian take on it is that the meat packing companies should have to tell the truth about what they’re selling, but that they should be allowed to sell ebola-infested bushmeat hotdogs with yellow-fever-infested mosquito relish if they want, as long as it’s clearly labeled as such.

    One thing I’ve always been annoyed by is that I’d like to buy irradiated foods–particularly stuff like ground meat that’s very likely to be contaminated during the grinding. But there seems to be very little market for these things, probably because most people think the food is somehow radioactive.

  25. #25 |  boomshanka | 

    So Radley, are you saying that McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and BK are now selling beef that is “less safe” for consumers now that they stopped using “pink slime?” Or are you saying that maybe, possibly, it is less safe but we just don’t know, so here’s an industry spokesman to give us the other side?

    I thought this was just the result of free market forces you’re so fond of.

  26. #26 |  Mattocracy | 

    You are right about organisms evolving to become resistant to pesticides, antibiotics, anti-viral medications, and so forth. That’s gonna happen no matter what. Always has, always will. You just deal with it and find new ways and methods. We ourselves will evolve and create new methods to deal with these things. That we are changing our behavior and causing other organisms to change with it is not a valid reason to stop doing what we’re doing. It’s evolution. This shit’s been happening since day one and will regardless of what we do.

    I have no problem with organic farming or people wanting to buy chemical free food. I do have a problem with people who advocate that some form of safety measure be outlawed for no other reason than it sounds icky.

  27. #27 |  hilzoy fangirl | 

    So: company makes beef treated with ammonium hydroxide. Reviewer says that said beef is disgusting. Consumers stop buying said beef. Company making said beef either finds a new product, finds better marketing, or goes out of business.

    Isn’t that all just the free market at work? I fail to see a problem here.

  28. #28 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Omar,

    All I’m saying is that the practical difference between self-rightious Christian twits and self-rightious “eat healthy” twits is not visible to the unaided eye. If that is “red team-blue team” sentiment, so be it.

  29. #29 |  JimBob | 

    I love the way that “chemicals” are regarded as evil, without regard to their origin, purpose, or effects. I also love that the movement has largely caught on with liberal-arts-major hipsters who want to sound like they understand the first goddamn thing about science when they can’t even tell a hypothesis from a hypotenuse.

    Never mind all that stuff that Justus von Liebig, Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and Norman Borlaug did– discovering the importance of nitrogen-rich ammonia (originally obtained from urine) to plant growth, developing a commercially-viable ammonia production method, and feeding hundreds of millions of people in India, Pakistan, and Mexico. Understanding that shit is complicated.

    Never mind the fact that given a basic, no-frills vegetarian diet and the conversion of ALL ARABLE land to farm land (note to hippies: this means clear-cutting the fucking forests you’re so fond of saving), pre-Haber-Bosch techniques max out around 4 billion people, despite a population that is now estimated as having surpassed 7 billion. We can come up with technology– technology that will be protested by the same people who demanded its invention.

    Never mind all that! Because God (or Gaia, or whatever fucking hippie bullshit the hemp-wearing-drum-circle-and-blond-dreadlocks crowd wants to call their new religion THIS week) wants us to be ALL NATURAL. No chemicals, man, just– horse shit and cow shit! I heard guano is good– doesn’t that, like, have stuff in it that’s good for plants or something? And just use rainwater, man– it comes from God! Why do you need to use all these fertilizers and stuff, man? You act so worried about one years’ crops, man, but we’re not gonna starve.

    I’ve also noticed that a shocking number of the “pesticides are evil” crowd REALLY enjoy their coffee and tobacco. Given the evolutionary imperative for the development of these chemicals, it makes me want to strangle the moronic motherfuckers. If you don’t want to consume pesticides, please do NOT fucking say that to me while you’re sucking on an American Spirit cigarette or sipping your cafe americano.

  30. #30 |  Sebastian H | 

    I write about it at embarrassing length here but the drug ‘sniffer’ thing is just outrageous. Their positive ‘alerts’ don’t lead to finding drugs even half the time, so counting it as creating probable cause is ridiculous.

  31. #31 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zps7k_p1mko&feature=relmfu

    This courtroom video (Steven Anderson’s trial) shows how vague and ill-defined the whole “dog alert” is. The truth is dogs are trained to “alert” whenever cops can’t get into your car by asking.

  32. #32 |  A Critic | 

    “How Jamie Oliver, Eric Schlosser, and other “industrial food” critics may be making meat less safe to eat.”

    Gee Mr. Balko, what’s the matter? You can’t get your filthy diseased meat byproduct “cleansed” with ammonia anymore?

    Here’s a simple recipe for a substitute you can make at home:

    1. Get a stray sick dog

    2. Fatten it while keeping it in a pen filled with it’s own shit

    3. Kill it

    4. Butcher it, poorly, being sure to contaminate the meat with more of it’s own shit.

    5. Grind it up!

    6. Spray ammonia on it.

    7. Enjoy!

  33. #33 |  A Critic | 

    @JimBob

    “I’ve also noticed that a shocking number of the “pesticides are evil” crowd REALLY enjoy their coffee”

    Coffee doesn’t require pesticides. Only crappy coffee requires pesticides.

    “We can come up with technology– technology that will be protested by the same people who demanded its invention.”

    I didn’t demand it’s invention. That technology is the stupidest idea in the history of mankind. It takes a major moron to believe that using finite nonrenewable resources to grow the population beyond the carrying capacity of the land while destroying the fertility of the land is a good idea. Makes as much sense as taking huge quantities of steroids and claiming they are the fountain of youth.

  34. #34 |  Radley Balko | 

    Isn’t that all just the free market at work? I fail to see a problem here.

    I mostly agree, but there’s also nothing wrong with someone else coming along to point out that this is an innovative way to keep meat free of bacteria, that the reviewer is wrong and exaggerates the “ick factor” for effect, and that consumers should both go back to buying the meat and trake the reviewer’s future pronouncements with more skepticism.

    It does also seem like meat manufacturers can’t win. They’re derided (rightly) for bacteria outbreaks. So we expect to keep meat bacteria free, but only in ways that aren’t gross (this way) or don’t weird us out (irradiation), even though both methods are safe and effective.

    Reminds of me Morgan Spurlock’s book on food, where he goes from praising subsistence societies for using every part of the animals they kill, to devoting an entire chapter to deriding and grossing-up the business of rendering, which is really only a large-scale application of the same principle.

  35. #35 |  Robert | 

    “Idustrial Food critics are pretty terrible people. Industrial scale food production is the only way we can keep the current human population fed. Penn and Teller did a great episode on food nazis.”

    A vastly lower planetary population is a feature for food nazis, not a bug.

  36. #36 |  A Critic | 

    “It does also seem like meat manufacturers can’t win. ”

    They sell a shitty product. Literally. How can they win? Only by cheating, i.e. irradiation or ammonia.

    Yet my meat manufacturers don’t require irradiation or ammonia to produce meat that won’t kill you if you eat it raw.

  37. #37 |  Anthony | 

    A Critic,
    I believe JimBob’s point was that both nicotine and caffeine are both natural pesticides, and how it is ironic to condemn the use of pesticides while consuming large amounts of them. Not that it takes a lot of pesticides to grow them.

    JimBob, please correct me if I’m wrong.

  38. #38 |  Aresen | 

    Re: “Headline of the day.”

    The priests had to use broomsticks.

    They’re not allowed to cut each other’s heads off on hallowed ground.

    ;p

  39. #39 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Here’s a simple recipe for a substitute you can make at home”

    Gee, forgive me for thinking you’re completely full of shit. Cause I’m sure this is exactly how a meat packing facility operates that has a USDA inspector present. Because all meat packing facilities in the US have one of those present.

    “I didn’t demand it’s invention.”

    You didn’t, but a lot of other people did. Ya know, those who were fucking starving to death and malnurished.

    “It takes a major moron to believe that using finite nonrenewable resources to grow the population beyond the carrying capacity of the land while destroying the fertility of the land is a good idea.”

    I don’t even know where to begin. We aren’t beyond the capacity of the planet. If we were, the population wouldn’t be growing. Destroying the fertility of the land? Well, hence we have fertilizers and the like. The compenents of fertilizers are not nonrenewable.

    “Yet my meat manufacturers don’t require irradiation or ammonia to produce meat that won’t kill you if you eat it raw.”

    I also think this is horse shit. Either you are wrong or you’re taking serious gambles. Either way, even if you hate what the meat packing industry is doing, it’s the fucking law. If you think the law is bad, fine. But don’t blame companies for following the government mandated protocols you find so terrible.

  40. #40 |  JimBob | 

    > Coffee doesn’t require pesticides. Only crappy coffee requires pesticides.

    Why do you think it IS that coffee doesn’t require pesticides, I wonder? Point of fact, coffee generally DOES require pesticides; it just happens to make its own.

    Anthony had it right. Caffeine and nicotine are both pesticides. Point of fact, they are used in a variety of commercial and industrial pesticides worldwide. They are safe, effective, and damn well necessary. Popular neonicotinoid pesticides are derived from (and, at a molecular level, strikingly similar to) nicotine.

    So, yeah, when I see somebody smoking a cigarette or drinking a coffee as he bitches about pesticides, I have every reason to consider said person an asshole.

    > I didn’t demand it’s invention. That technology is the stupidest idea in the history of mankind. It takes a major moron to believe that using finite nonrenewable resources to grow the population beyond the carrying capacity of the land while destroying the fertility of the land is a good idea.

    I’m sorry. Which technology are we discussing? The Haber-Bosch process– the one that fixes nitrogen from the air and turns it into ammonia, which is then placed back into the nitrogen cycle when it’s used for fertilizer?

    By the way, we passed the “carrying capacity” of the earth without chemical fertilizers a long time ago. That 4-billion-people estimate I mentioned was based on the idea that huge tracts of land would be clear-cut to be turned into agricultural land. We haven’t done that. If it weren’t for chemical fertilizers, our current agricultural lands worldwide wouldn’t even support 2 billion people.

    Of course, the funny part is that, if you want to get world population under control, the best thing to DO is actually help poor countries feed themselves with modern agriculture, which is the first step to helping them develop economically. Look at India, whose fertility rate dropped through the floor once they became self-sufficient in food production– their population minister coined the phrase “Development is the best contraceptive”.

    You want to slow the population growth to make things more “sustainable”)? USE MORE FERTILIZER.

    You know what set of beliefs REALLY requires a moronic outlook? The belief that 3 billion people are going to volunteer to slowly starve to death in order to appease the bullshit pseudospiritual beliefs of a bunch of over-privileged white motherfuckers who would never spend a day away from the house without access to free-range, organic vegan trail mix.

  41. #41 |  noseeum | 

    I think Jamie Oliver’s point is that the meat being served is so crappy and dangerous that it requires ammonia to make it safe to eat. This is in fact true.

    McDonalds is not going to sell unsafe meat if it can help it, so if they’ve opted to stop using this product because of bad publicity, than they’ve found another solution. That article is about a guy upset because his business is declining. It’s not about more dangerous meat.

  42. #42 |  yonemoto | 

    So… Tyler Cowen tells a story about how he doesn’t trust stories?

  43. #43 |  Rich | 

    Maybe you libertarians can think of a way to shut people up for actually telling the truth about the food industry. DAM them for talking about facts. Its called free speech , Soilant Green IS PEOPLE!!!!!!!

  44. #44 |  Aresen | 

    Thanks, Rich.

    I haven’t heard such a performance of authentic American gibberish since the last Michelle Bachmann soundbite.

  45. #45 |  albatross | 

    Rich:

    Yeah, but the people have been treated with amonium hydrate, so it’s okay.

  46. #46 |  albatross | 

    Most of the industrial food critics Ive ever heard just don’t want to eat it themselves, preferring a higher-cost, higher-quality product. That seems perfectly reasonable to me, though there’s a whiff of the hi fi enthusiast’s disease to some of it.

    And it’s not nuts to worry about antibiotics and pesticides and growth hormones in your food. The folks using those things have different incentives than I do–they are surely less concerned with my long term health than with their profits. That’s no surprise, but when you understand it, you shouldn’t be shocked that I might want to apply some pressure the other direction–say, by buying organic to decrease the amount of pesticide residue, antibiotics, selectively-bred antibiotic resistant bacteria, and hormones I take in unintentionally. (Ironically, a good way to decrease the amount of pesticide used is to use GM crops, which triggers its own reaction among some people.). And the use of antibiotics all the time in farm animals seems like a good place for some regulation, to me–most doctors are reluctant to give you antibiotics most of the time, in hopes of slowing down antibiotic resistance. Dumping them into the feed of our food animals strikes me as a pretty dumb way to achieve that goal. Again, the farmers’ interests diverge from mine, as I’d like a few more years’ usefulness out of antibiotics even if they got less meat per pig or cow as a result.

    My experience is that locally sourced food tastes better (I’m on the east coast, at the ass end of the food supply chain–your mileage may vary) and that organic food usually ends up being higher quality, probably because nobody’s going to pay a premium for shitty food.

  47. #47 |  Rich | 

    SSHHH Albotrose your threatening business with your dam free speech. They might know the truth and have free choice as to what they choose to purchase. We could not have a conversation about it, thats just THREATENING OUR SAFETY THINK OF THE BABIES they must be terrorists. Jamie Oliver a Food Terrorist. Trying to KILL OUR BABIES>

  48. #48 |  Mattocracy | 

    Right, because we’re denying people free speech because we disagree with inaccurate notions about the meat packing industry. Nice try at accusing us of something we’re not. No one here ever said that people shouldn’t have choice. You’re making shit up.

  49. #49 |  pierre | 

    The meat story is bullshit. You want to eat that pink slime shit?

    You know instead of worrying about how to sterilize meat with chemicals, maybee they could, you know – process meat in a clean environment, with clean tools, in a clean manner, done by clean people who care about their jobs.

    If you are in a big enough city always buy your meat kosher or halal.

  50. #50 |  EBL | 

    I posted the Newt story. Newt came to do good and is doing very well!

    Well, he has to keep his wife happy and Tiffanys is expensive!

  51. #51 |  EBL | 

    I am very much against beef. But that is a personal choice on my part. Eat all the chickens, pigs and fish you want I say.

  52. #52 |  Rich | 

    mattocracy, SPEECH making meat less safe to eat, another way of stating the name of the title that this article was given. PURE HYSTERIA

  53. #53 |  Ted S. | 

    albatross wrote:

    Most of the industrial food critics Ive ever heard just don’t want to eat it themselves, preferring a higher-cost, higher-quality product.

    Not in my experience. They want to impose their food choices on everybody else, something I’ve taken to calling the Smug Diet. (I’m the Fedya in the thread who responded to the post I’ve linked to.)

    Any time these so called “public health” nannies try to impose their lifestyle choices on the rest of us by talking about quality of life, I find myself thinking that my quality of life would be much higher if I didn’t have to deal with people trying to bully me. (Note that, as always, the State is the biggest bully.) Also, I can feel my blood pressure getting higher when having to deal with these nasty bullies. I’m sure I’m not alone in that, and the collective blood pressure rise can’t be good for the “public” health. I’ve used this latter argument with some bullies (not in the thread I’ve linked to, though), and you should see them go nuts when they’re confronted with the negative consequences of their bullying: they’re so convinced of their self-righteousness that how could anybody possibly think their bullying isn’t an unalloyed good?

  54. #54 |  EBL | 

    http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2011/12/running-for-president-is-good-for.html

    I am not sure who is a bigger tool, Newt or Romney. Both are better than Obama. But that is not saying much. It seems more and more likely the choices will be Obama or Romney. And I suspect if things do get bad for Obama (the race with Mitt will be close but neither will run away with it, at least at first) then they may bring in Hillary as Veep to try to spark some support for Obama. http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2011/12/wee-man-makes-prediction.html

  55. #55 |  EBL | 

    I agree with Ted S. There has been a history in this country of food reformers going back well into the 19th century. I do not mind people doing as they wish, but when they try to impose it on the rest of us it is a problem. And State bullying is usually reflective of the voters putting pressure on their representatives. There is something about self righteousness that is harmful to one’s health. Ironically the only “cure” is to indulge in some self destructive consuming of certain beverages and substances–preferably with like minded people you enjoy to be with.

  56. #56 |  EBL | 

    There is an allegory to this Church of the Nativity dispute. If Christian monks can not work out their differences in the location they agree Christ was born, how in hell can we expect any resolution in the region when dealing with Israelis, Palestinians and the surrounding countries? You would think logic would some day prevail, but people have so blinded themselves in what they deem is right that no resolution can be achieved and any atrocity can be justified.

  57. #57 |  TomG | 

    Wow.
    Even on The Agitator, Gary Johnson doesn’t even merit a single comment?
    I’m getting depressed – between the Ron Paul crowd who fiercely defend RP to the end and won’t admit that he has serious flaws as a candidate, and the others who just won’t even consider third party candidates (e.g. E. D. Kain at League of Ordinary Gentlemen), I wonder if Gary’s points will even be heard.

    He’s the only candidate I will support at the moment.

  58. #58 |  Detroiter | 

    There’s a naive, Drudge-like irony to skewering Oliver, Schlosser, et al., but it ignores farm subsidies >> agri-business corn production >> feed lots >> resultant e. coli >> cows covered in shit >> e. coli-contaminated shit in meat >> the application of ammonia as a _sensible_ approach to protecting consumers from these abuses.

    There’s nothing free-market about it. But at least Americans get 99-cent hamburgers. And Monsanto gets its farm subsidies.

  59. #59 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    the Ron Paul crowd who fiercely defend RP to the end and won’t admit that he has serious flaws as a candidate

    Let’s compare RP to the other candidates: Newt, Mitt, Michelle, Santorum, Obama, and Perry.

    I’m seeing serious flaws everywhere. You might want to add that RP supporters won’t admit that he eats and shits.

  60. #60 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    There’s nothing free-market about it. But at least Americans get 99-cent hamburgers. And Monsanto gets its farm subsidies.

    Why did it take 58 posts to sum it all up? Detroiter rocks.

  61. #61 |  A Critic | 

    “I don’t even know where to begin. We aren’t beyond the capacity of the planet. If we were, the population wouldn’t be growing. Destroying the fertility of the land? Well, hence we have fertilizers and the like. The compenents of fertilizers are not nonrenewable.”

    You can use steroids to surpass the carrying capacity of your muscles. It works for a while. Then it fails.

    Fertilizers don’t make the land fertile. They function as steroids do, maximizing production in the short term at the expense of health in the long term.

    And phosphorus is running out!

    “I also think this is horse shit. Either you are wrong or you’re taking serious gambles. Either way, even if you hate what the meat packing industry is doing, it’s the fucking law. If you think the law is bad, fine. But don’t blame companies for following the government mandated protocols you find so terrible.”

    I blame fascists for following fascist policies.

    “Gee, forgive me for thinking you’re completely full of shit. Cause I’m sure this is exactly how a meat packing facility operates that has a USDA inspector present. Because all meat packing facilities in the US have one of those present.”

    Yeah, you can trust the USDA! That is if you are an ignorant naive fool.

  62. #62 |  A Critic | 

    “So, yeah, when I see somebody smoking a cigarette or drinking a coffee as he bitches about pesticides, I have every reason to consider said person an asshole.”

    There’s a world of difference between a naturally occurring chemical produced in small quantities in a small number of plant species versus the wholesale dumping of toxic chemicals into our land, water, and air.

    “If it weren’t for chemical fertilizers, our current agricultural lands worldwide wouldn’t even support 2 billion people.”

    And what will be done when the soil is eroded and dead?

    “You want to slow the population growth to make things more “sustainable”)? USE MORE FERTILIZER.”

    Yeah, because destroying the fertility of the soil is the way to fertilize it!

    Oh wait, it ain’t. It’s not fertile, it’s not sustainable, and when the magic nutrient bank we call soil runs out people are going to be screwed.

    “You know what set of beliefs REALLY requires a moronic outlook? The belief that 3 billion people are going to volunteer to slowly starve to death in order to appease the bullshit pseudospiritual beliefs of a bunch of over-privileged white motherfuckers who would never spend a day away from the house without access to free-range, organic vegan trail mix.”

    That’s equally as stupid.

  63. #63 |  EBL | 

    I am also not going to pretend pesticides and fertilizers are problem free. Anyone who knows anything about water quality and run off knows you do not want to drink from any stream in an agricultural area (beyond mere fecal bacteria from cows, livestock, etc.). But you know how you deal with that? With science. With objective testing. With common sense.

  64. #64 |  lykorian | 

    it’s sad to see fellow libertarians buying the industry line on chemically-treated meat.

    there are two excellent alternatives to eating ammoniated beef: 1) buying grass-fed, hormone-free beef from a reputable local farm and 2) eating vegetables instead. a combination of those two is healthier, more sustainable and more environmentally responsible than eating abundant quantities of cheap, low-quality beef.

  65. #65 |  Windy | 

    There are ways of restoring the fertility to soil by using crop rotation. For instance growing green beans improves the soil by increasing the nitrogen in the soil.

    I haven’t personally confirmed this by growing this plant and testing the soil before and after its lifecycle is over, but I have read that hemp also gives back to the soil more than it takes from it. On the other hand there are crops that strip the soil of all the important nutrients, cotton is one of those soil strippers. Seems to me it would make more sense and the world would be better off if hemp became the foremost fiber used for fabrics of all kinds, over cotton and petroleum based synthetics (including plastic products other than fiber/fabric). Additionally, the hemp plant’s seeds supply an oil that can be used in diesel engines without modification of the engine (or so I’ve been told), and also makes a good cooking oil high in nutrient content. Logically we should be growing hemp in place of cotton and more hemp than corn.

    If you are concerned about “saving the forests” then you should know hemp is a much better alternative to wood pulp for making a higher quality paper with a much longer life span. Grow trees for the beauty of the forest and the fine woods used in furniture and cabinetry and to replenish our atmosphere, and grow hemp for paper (I’ve also read that high quality cannabis grown for medical and recreational use provides higher quality fibers and even a very strong bamboo type of “wood” for use in building and flooring, better quality than even plain old hemp, no seeds of course, but the fiber and building material are a better use for what’s left of the plant after harvest of the buds, for med/rec use, than just burning or shredding/chipping it).

    As for beef, free range graze them on grass (their natural food), forget the damn feedlots, supplement their diet with hemp leaves and seeds if grazing land is limited (all mammals have an endocannabinoid system, and hemp and cannabis are nutrient rich food sources) instead filling them with GM corn and antibiotics.

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