US Bars Kansas Meatpacker from Mad-Cow Testing

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Our safety obviously doesn’t matter to Big Agriculture; they only test a small percentage of cows for the deadly disease.  The U.S. tested about 20,000 out of a possible 1 million animals that fit the high risk category.  The high risk cattle are 3 yrs or older. The highest risk are “downer cows” (those unable to walk or stand on their own).

Big Ag had a big win today in Federal Court.  A federal appeals court says the government can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad cow disease.

Makes you think twice about that juicy hamburger or grilling those steaks this weekend.

What started this uproar was a Kansas meatpacker Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.  Sounds to me like a great idea and responsible policy to have.  Which is exactly what Japan does; they have the most extensive testing system in the world. All slaughtered cattle there are tested, no matter the age.

Throughout the continental European Union, countries test all cattle over 30 months that are slaughtered; Germany includes all over 24 months.  The American approach, not so good, has been to test roughly one in every 1,700 slaughtered.

Well this didn’t sit well with the other larger meat companies.  They worried that if Creekstone is allowed to perform the test and advertise its meat as safe, they could be forced to do the expensive test, too.  Advertise meat safety, wow, what a concept.
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Obama’s Senate Accomplishments

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UPDATE:  There has been some speculation that Gov Sarah Palin is just as — or more — qualified than Barack Obama.  Let’s try to put that to rest by re-running this post from July 31, 2008, by our MsJoanne.

Much has been made of Obama’s lack of accomplishments, that he hasn’t done anything, that he’s an empty suit, and all the other inexperience meme’s you can think of.

I wonder, do you find the following empty (details after the fold)? And thank you Helenann at DailyKos for your efforts! I quote her in full below (Note that I changed the formatting and order of some of the data for ease in reading. Nothing else was changed.) :


It has really been bothering me – the charges that Obama is all talk and no action. Those of us who support him and have reviewed his record know there is no basis to this charge, but just to make sure, I went to the Congressional Record ( and did a search for bills sponsored or co-sponsored by Senator Obama in his three short years in the US Senate. I searched the 109th and 110th Congresses which cover the years 2005-2007.

In a nut shell I found:

Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored 570 bills in the 109th and 110th Congress.

Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored 15 bills that have become LAW since he joined the Senate in 2005.

Senator Obama has also introduced amendments to 50 bills, of which 16 were adopted by the Senate.

His record is in fact quite impressive for a junior Senator from Illinois.

Most of his legislative effort has been in the areas of:

  • Energy Efficiency and Climate Change (25 bills)
  • Health care (21 bills) and public health (20 bills)
  • Consumer protection/labor (14 bills)
  • The needs of Veterans and the Armed Forces (13 bills)
  • Congressional Ethics and Accountability (12 bills)
  • Foreign Policy (10 bills)
  • Voting and Elections (9 bills)
  • Education (7 bills)
  • Hurricane Katrina Relief (6)
  • The Environment (5 bills)
  • Homeland Security (4 bills)
  • Discrimination (4 bills)

And the full details including bill numbers? Keep reading. I promise you will be impressed!

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DATELINE: June, 2012

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Hillary Clinton has just clinched the Democratic Party’s nomination to be candidate for President of the United States. The Democratic Party, driven underground since it was outlawed 6 months into the McCain presidency, announced the results of their clandestine primaries via short-wave radio broadcasts from undisclosed locations across the country. Five HAM radio operators and their equipment were taken into custody as Blackwater’s Homeland Security Teams quickly closed in on their broadcasts. They will be taken to the re-education camps to be purified.

The second year of drought has scorched the Midwest again, and farm production is off 50% from last year’s low. The Surgeon General reports that as a result of higher food prices and the unavailability of beef, pork or poultry, obesity has been eradicated from America’s children. On the down-side, the diet industry suffered a major setback with the twin closings of both Weight-Watchers and Jenny Craig.

Illegal immigration has declined to the point it is virtually non-existent, President McCain announced. “The collapse of the agricultural industry in California and the Midwest had the unexpected side benefit of eliminating illegal immigration.” Said McCain in a White House press release. “We noticed a first big dip in the numbers right after the Greenland ice shelf collapse caused a salt-water intrusion that covered much of California’s central valley.”

Although it’s been three years since McCain has made any public appearances, he continues to issue press-releases on a daily basis. These press releases indicate McCain suffered no serious side effects from the stroke he suffered 6 months into his Presidency.

In the field of education, the Federal Government completed its takeover of local schools this month, 2 full years ahead of the 2014 mandate in the revised No Child Left Behind Act. Vice-President Palin’s Science for the 21st Century curriculum is largely credited for the rapid federal takeover as science teachers across the country were either terminated or re-educated. Now that all public schools are federally operated, Palin intends to unveil her new History for the 21st Century plan at the upcoming RNC convention.

Finally, the War on Terror is continuing to move forward with new gains on the ground in the middle east. Al Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Israel/Jordan. The Taliban’s grip on Afghanistan has been reduced to under 60% of that country. “We gained an immense tactical advantage over Al Qaeda when I ordered the nuking of every major city in Iran.” McCain said. “Their places of refuge gone, they have been driven back to the nomadic lifestyles of their ancestors.” Meanwhile, a team of archeologists announced that they have uncovered the Gates of Hell, and expect to find Bin Laden there shortly.

Sarah Palin – Maverick for Mining Interests

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According to the Alaska TV news station KTUU where Gov. Palin “appeared occasionally as a television sportscaster,” Palin was so determined to defeat a Clean Water ballot measure this summer that she broke the law to oppose it:


It is against the law for the governor to officially advocate for or against a ballot measure; however, Palin took what she calls “personal privilege” to discuss one of this year’s most contentious initiatives, which voters will decide Tuesday.”

Along with taking a position on the big mine’s side, Palin’s administration apparently used state Department of Natural Resources resources to lobby for defeat of the Clean Water Initiative under the pretense of creating a state run website to “educate” citizens. The citizen group Alaskans for Clean Water responded by filing “a complaint against DNR for a recently-launched state website meant to clarify the issue for voters. “

The complaint alleges that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) improperly attempted to influence the outcome of an election by publishing information against the initiative on its website. It also alleges that DNR failed to report to APOC the expenditures, including employee time, related to creation of the information.

“It has become clear to us that the Department of Natural Resources is working hand-in-hand with the industry, and that the state is inappropriately making efforts to influence voters on this ballot initiative,” said Art Hackney, a co-sponsor of Ballot Measure #4.”

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Who IS Sarah Palin?

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An Alaskan Celebrity

An Alaskan Celebrity

What do we know about Sarah Palin, the presumptive Republican Vice Presidential nominee?

Palin is vehemently anti-abortion (including cases of rape and incest). She thinks the earth is 6000 years old and is all for Intelligent Design education. She doesn’t believe in modern science.

She believes that man-made global warming is a hoax; polar bears are on their own. She believes in wildlife population control, including shooting wolves from the air.

Palin was an ardent supporter of Pat Buchanan in 2000.

She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Idaho, was a member of the Wasilla, AK (population ~9000) City Council before becoming their two-term Mayor. Palin has been the Governor of Alaska (population ~670,000) for just over a year and a half. She was also commissioner of a state oil and gas commission and is a stalwart supporter of drilling in ANWR.

Her only business experience was running a fishing boat with her husband. And she was a television sports reporter. Oh, wait…she was a runner-up for Miss Alaska.

Not too long ago, she said that she didn’t know what the vice president does. (Note to the Obama campaign: Video loop of that statement, please!) And her foreign policy experience consists of her proximity to Russia. (Yes, Fox actually said that!) National Security experience? Non-existent.

Palin has five children, including a near five-month old with Down-Syndrome.

And the oddest part of it all? It’s been reported that McCain has met with Palin, exactly: once before yesterday.

Grand resume for the next Veep, don’t you think? Why do I feel she will be all the Cheney without the dick, Harriet Miers with an updo, and the first trophy Vice President?

Aside from the email problem Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has, ThinkProgress reports that she is already under an ethics investigation for influence peddling in the firing of her ex-brother-in-law (heavy emphasis on the ex part). Talking Points Memo is also on the story, and it appears there is a tape of the pressure her office put on those who be to fire the ex-brother-in-law state trooper. Worse yet, she appointed a man who had a bit of a sexual harassment problem. And then there was the possibly illegal activity by her office to interfere with a clean water bill. It seems she is already on the right track for Republican more-of-the-same, ethically challenged politics. She’s a maverick alright;is there an industry she doesn’t love?

Apparently, she was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it – but she wasn’t against keeping those funds. And Alaska receives more earmarks than any other state.

Arizona, the second fastest growing state in the nation, will receive just $18.70 per capita in federal earmarks this fiscal year. By comparison, Alaska — with roughly a tenth of Arizona’s population — is set to receive $506.34 per capita, the highest in the nation, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group which tracks earmarks.

The state of Alaska receives about three times as much as Arizona receives in actual dollars, $346 million to $119 million.

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly was confounded by her selection as Veep.

Can anyone, anywhere, explain why Sarah Palin would make a good president? Given that McCain is a 72-year-old man with a history of health trouble, isn’t this a rather important question right now?

Damned good question.

Mark Kleiman has several good articles about Palin, go read them (and don’t forget Digby. She has some doozies, too!) But this one, from Kleiman, struck me the most regarding her stances on issues – they are almost non-existent (information below the fold). Be sure to watch the bonus video below the fold, as well.
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Sarah Palin Supports Teaching Creationism in Science Class

Continuing the Republican assault on science and Republican insult on intelligence, the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee is on the record as supporting the teaching of Biblical creationism as a scientific theory.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: “The education section of the Republican Party of Alaska’s platform states “We support giving Creation Science equal representation with other theories of the origin of life. If evolution is taught, it should be presented as only a theory.” Do you support this position? Why?”

Sarah Palin: “I support this plank in the Republican Party’s platform. I believe society can have healthy debates on scientific theories, so equal representation of creation and evolution shouldn’t be an offense.”

Please read her second sentence carefully and note that Sarah Palin is stating that Biblical creationism is a scientific theory and deserves equal treatment in the science classroom. This is a direct attack both on science and on the First Ammendment.

This belief alone makes her a danger to the future success of the United States and therefore renders her unfit for further consideration for the position of VP. Scientific illiteracy, as well as government-imposed religious indoctrination, is a serious danger that has negative consequences for all aspects of society – social, political, and economic.

Combined with her belief that climate change is not a real danger, and her belief that all abortions should be illegal (including cases of rape and incest), Palin’s position on evangelical core issues underscores the virtual certainty that a McCain administration will complete the Bush administration’s destruction of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is already right-leaning but still maintains a delicate balance. With the likely replacement of the three moderate justices during the next presidential term, a McCain presidency purchased with the Palin-inspired evangelical vote will pay back that constituency by packing the court. This will cause severe damage to the country for decades to come.

McCain: Obama Lacks Experience Running 5,000-Person Town in Alaska

The Borowitz Report

Extolls Veep Pick’s Qualifications

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) used the announcement of his vice-presidential pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin,  to blast the experience of his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill), arguing that Sen. Obama has never been the mayor of a 5,000-person town.

“The Presidency of the United States of America is the toughest job on the planet,” Sen. McCain said.  “And my friends, the best testing ground for that job is being the mayor of a 5,000-person town in Alaska.”

Sen. McCain unleashed a savage attack on Sen. Obama, claiming that his Democratic opponent would be “at a loss” when faced with the challenges of running a 5000-person municipality in Alaska.

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Sarah Barracuda

My friend Ripper McCord has allowed me to repost his latest piece about Sarah Palin, John McCain’s reckless choice for his second in command. I thought you would find it interesting.

The most salient point for Democrats to consider about John McCain’s new veep, Sarah Palin, is that her looks are deceiving. She is fiercely partisan, charming and politically ice-cold and calculating.

Exuding what the Anchorage Daily News, in a 2006 profile, called an “almost Clintonlike” warmth, former beauty queen Palin has consciously positioned herself as a reformer by leaving a trail of political foes — and friends — who she has broken and used as stepping stones.

But her political opponents say there was another side to the charming candidate — one captured by her nickname from those basketball years, “Sarah Barracuda.” Supporters consider the name a testament to her aggressive play and ferocious defense. But opponents said the name captured a predatory instinct that Palin could turn on friend as well as foe — one they said occasionally revealed itself in the mayoral years to come.

Palin’s meteoric political career has risen less on being ruthlessly reformist and more on being ruthlessly ambitious. How else to explain her presumption in accepting McCain’s offer? She is not above using any advantage for political gain, from unabashedly displaying her feminine charms to oddly inserting pro-life rhetoric into her mayoral campaign, from championing regressive sales taxes in place of property and business taxes to sacrificing the careers of even her political allies and sponsors.

If you read one introduction to Sarah Palin, read the article by Alaska’s largest newspaper I link to above. She will campaign fiercely, hit hard with her campaign-supplied talking points and be a moving target in the McCain-Palin tag team against the Democrats. Her family (particularly her child with Down Syndrome) will give her a degree of immunity to harsh personal attacks. She may even use her child as McCain uses his ex-POW status, as a catch-all emblem of her concern for health care and anti-abortion policies.

Yet she brings with her many Achilles heels.

McCain’s campaign has already begun positioning Palin to peel off angry Clinton supporters and gender-centric women. But because the campaign has tried this wedge so often and so hamfistedly, it is vulnerable to charges of pimping Palin like a three-dollar whore. In the end, her gender is a net negative for McCain, who will be seen as cynically engaging a political trophy wife with no real qualifications and no expectation that she will ever wield any real power.

Palin’s most prominent weakness lies as much in casting doubt on McCain’s judgment for choosing her as in her own limited experience and zero credentials for being a moment’s notice from assuming the duties of commander-in-chief. Biden will be most effective in drawing the distinctions between Obama’s perceived foreign policy weakness and her actual weakness. Furthermore, the issue represents a net loss for McCain by trying to have it both ways and undercutting his own best argument.

But Palin’s strongest selling point — her reformist reputation — may ultimately work against the GOP ticket more than anything else. Although her reformist image has led her to an 80 percent approval rating in Alaska, there is more to be explored below the permafrost of this narrative. Her method of “reforming” local taxes in Wasilla has hurt lower- and middle-class citizens through regressive local taxes. Her coziness to oil interests, particularly BP, exhibits itself in support for expensive pipelines and drilling in ANWR. Her tactics, far from being brave, included resigning in protest from a board she later criticized and, as noted above, leaving political corpses in her wake.

What she has done to so many even in her own party may yet prove sauce for the goose. And a scandal of any notable seriousness, particularly an abuse of power for personal or professional gain, would have devastating effect on any claim to being a reformer.

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Greatest band you’ve never heard of

In the late 60s, I would likely have said that the Sons of Champlin were my favorite (if occasionally exasperating) bands. Not only crazed hippies but one of the first bands to include a horn section and some very complicated music. I saw them live a number of times, mostly great concerts. At the Amador County festival they confessed that they’d been waiting backstage for hours and, well, indulging themselves. For a band whose music required being as tight as the best soul and funk bands, wandering onstage while stoned to the eyeballs just doesn’t work. Oog.

Fairport Convention!

I’ve found it almost impossible to locate decent videos of early Fairport Convention, back when they had the most incredible lineups. Stumbled on this 1970 gem (hey, I was in England that year!) at an outdoor concert — with some silliness at the end of the video.

Richard Thompson (Vocals, Guitar), Dave Swarbrick (Vocals,Fiddle, Mandolin), Dave Pegg (Vocals, Bass Guitar, Mandolin), Dave Mattacks (Drums, Percussion), and Simon Nicol (Vocals,Guitar,Electric Dulcimer).

Alaska Politics: Open and transparent government?

ADN.COM (H/T: wordie from reddit)

Reporter Lisa Demer talked today to the Palin administration about the use of private e-mail accounts in the governor’s office. Palin’s new communciations director, Bill McAllister, gave a surprising answer when pressed about how the public could get access to those e-mails, when they concern state business and aren’t otherwise exempt from public disclosure.

Listen to what McAllister had to say about open and transparent government.

Gov. Palin’s communication director, Bill McAllister

Just what Washington needs. Another mondo secretive politician. After the e-mail scandal of the current most secretive White House ever, this sounds like taken from a Rovian playbook. Are we sure it was not Karl Rove who killed Lieberman’s ambitions just in order to install another apt pupil of the Cheney doctrine of absolute non-disclosure?

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Competing agendas…

Alternet: Palin: The Stakes Just Got Higher

Maybe Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin wouldn’t have been McCain’s first choice for vice president if there weren’t lingering hard feelings about Hillary’s campaign or lack of consideration for the VP slot. But, it doesn’t matter. There were, and she is.

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Katrina Pain Index: New Orleans Three Years Later

by: Bill Quigley, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast three years ago this week. The president promised to do whatever it took to rebuild. But the nation is trying to fight wars in several countries and is dealing with economic crisis. The attention of the president wandered away. As a result, this is what New Orleans looks like today.

0. Number of renters in Louisiana who have received financial assistance from the $10 billion federal post-Katrina rebuilding program Road Home Community Development Block Grant – compared to 116,708 homeowners.

0. Number of apartments currently being built to replace the 963 public housing apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the St. Bernard Housing Development.

0. Amount of data available to evaluate performance of publicly financed, privately run charter schools in New Orleans in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years.

.008. Percentage of rental homes that were supposed to be repaired and occupied by August 2008 which were actually completed and occupied – a total of 82 finished out of 10,000 projected.

1. Rank of New Orleans among US cities in percentage of housing vacant or ruined.

1. Rank of New Orleans among US cities in murders per capita for 2006 and 2007.

4. Number of the 13 City of New Orleans Planning Districts that are at the same risk of flooding as they were before Katrina.

10. Number of apartments being rehabbed so far to replace the 896 apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the Lafitte Housing Development.

11. Percent of families who have returned to live in Lower Ninth Ward.

17. Percentage increase in wages in the hotel and food industry since before Katrina.

20-25. Years that experts estimate it will take to rebuild the City of New Orleans at current pace.

25. Percent fewer hospitals in metro New Orleans than before Katrina.

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McCain’s Running Mate – Pressured department of Public safety to fire trooper..Lied about it..

She may be still quite unknown to most of you, but she is already a specialist in Washingtonian behaviour. She already knows about the “I can’t remember” defense, when caught out in a lie.

How fitting. By the way ’twas a family affair. The trooper to be fired was her sister’s ex and the background a bitter divorce battle.

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Waxman Calls for Cancellation of Blackwater’s Contract

Congress member Henry Waxman, chair of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform committee, has called on Senator Barack Obama to cancel the private military firm Blackwater’s Iraq contract if Obama is elected president. Waxman’s committee is the top investigative body in the Congress and has been leading multiple investigations into the firm’s activities. In recent months, Obama has indicated he intends to continue using private military companies as part of his foreign policy and specifically in Iraq.

Waxman’s call comes as newly revealed federal documents obtained by USA Today show US spending on armed private contractors like Blackwater is on the rise. This year alone, the US State Department will spend more than a billon dollars on armed contractors. That’s a 13 percent increase from 2007. A State Department official revealed contractors “will increasingly take over…former military roles and missions, increasing [the] numbers of private security.”

As Barack Obama prepares to make the war in Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign against John McCain, serious questions remain about what Obama will do with this massive private shadow army in Iraq. Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill filed this report.

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Friday News, Views, and Blues

Photo: Reuters/Rick Wilking

From Huffington Post: More than 84,000 people have jammed into Invesco Field at Mile High stadium to hear Barack Obama’s historic acceptance speech, city officials say.. The stadium normally holds 76,125 people, but additional seats were placed on the football field where the Denver Broncos play.

Raw Story: Record 38,000,000 viewers watched Barack Obama’s speech!

Reactions to Barack Obama’s speech last night:

The NY Times (Truthout): Obama Takes Aim at Bush and McCain With a Forceful Call to Change America

Washington Post (Eugene Robinson): So Many Miles From Selma

Salon: American revolutionary

Truthdig: “We Cannot Turn Back”

The Hill (Brent Budowsky): What Would Martin Luther King Think of Barack Obama’s Speech?

TPM (Josh Marshall): Initial Thoughts

The Nation (John Nichols): “Economics. Economics. Economics.”

The Atlantic (Andrew Sullivan): The Hope We Confess

Mother Jones (Kevin Drum): Obama’s Speech

McClatchy: History echoes all around as Obama steps up to big speech

Huffington Post (with video): Olbermann Rips AP Reporter’s Analysis of Obama’s Speech

And now for the blues…

It’s not really the blues, but this is the music of New Orleans. I posted this last year on this day.
Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis in New Orleans supporting the Musicians’ Village by Habitat for Humanity.

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McCain Veepstakes – Sarah Palin! UPDATED

The internet is abuzz. McCain may make Alaska Governor Sarah Palin his running mate.

The Trail reports:

Speculation quickly turned to a dark-horse candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The Atlantic’s Mark Ambinder was the first to report that a private plane from Anchorage landed last night at a private airport about 30 miles from here.

The private plane is connected to a McCain fundraiser.

There have been more female names dropped recently, among them Condoleeza Rice and Carly Fiorina.

Poor Mitt..

UPDATE:CNBC calls it for Palin!

UPDATE II: Palin is under investigation for abuse of power!

UPDATE III: Audio from her spokesperson, shows the lack of openness and transparency in her government.

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