Tuesday February 25, 2014 Watering Hole: Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread

Let’s start with some of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules:

#11. Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

#19. If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.

#20. It is not food if it arrived through the window of your car.

The rest of the rules here: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Obama’s most effect environmental action, from High Country News: Smog in the West

Not environmental per se, but more from HCN – Failed secession movements litter the West.

Open Thread

97 thoughts on “Tuesday February 25, 2014 Watering Hole: Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread

  1. May we all live this long and be this lucid. Roger Angell, age 93, pens a lovely essay about growing old:

    “A few notes about age is my aim here, but a little more about loss is inevitable. “Most of the people my age is dead. You could look it up” was the way Casey Stengel put it. He was seventy-five at the time, and contemporary social scientists might prefer Casey’s line delivered at eighty-five now, for accuracy, but the point remains. We geezers carry about a bulging directory of dead husbands or wives, children, parents, lovers, brothers and sisters, dentists and shrinks, office sidekicks, summer neighbors, classmates, and bosses, all once entirely familiar to us and seen as part of the safe landscape of the day. It’s no wonder we’re a bit bent. The surprise, for me, is that the accruing weight of these departures doesn’t bury us, and that even the pain of an almost unbearable loss gives way quite quickly to something more distant but still stubbornly gleaming. The dead have departed, but gestures and glances and tones of voice of theirs, even scraps of clothing—that pale-yellow Saks scarf—reappear unexpectedly, along with accompanying touches of sweetness or irritation.”


    • The loss of my husbands brother, one of the nicest people ever, has change our world immensely. By the time you’re 93 I can’t even imagine how much loss you have suffered.

      • I can empathize with your husband. One brother died at 45. My nephews have stayed very close to our family, for which we are grateful.
        Another brother died at 56.
        It is devastating, raw, unfathomable, then time helps soothe and bring forth the fond memories allowing us to, once again, laugh.

        My warm thoughts enwrap you and your husband at this time of anguish.

        • I should be used to it. My father’s brother & business partner died at 45 and then his best friend died at 45. My father had his first heart attack at 37 and then passed away at 59.
          I am staying close to my sister inlaw and hope that will help us both.
          When his mother passes I don’t know how my husband will be able to handle it. They are very close.

    • “Energy Security Keystone XL connects the largest most sophisticated refining hub in the Gulf Coast with the third largest oil reserves on the planet and the second largest oil-producing region in the United States. Safe, secure access to domestic crude oil is key to ensuring long-term energy security. That’s exactly what Keystone XL provides.”

      Umm. all this oil is sold on world market. Safe secure access to zilch. Liars.

      • Not only that, but Canada does have its own refineries. If there was nothing unsafe about transporting this oil, then Canada can send the dirty tar sands oil to its own refineries and send clean refined oil back through another pipeline to reach the West Coast where they can ship it to Asia, its likely end point anyway. So I’m pretty sure the only thing stopping them is the danger of spills and leaks. In which case, fuck you, take the risk yourselves.

  2. I was sent this chronicle of last week’s events in Kiev in English. There are some powerful pictures here – of the people of the city just coming out in their thousands on Friday and Saturday to clean up the square.


    News of yesterday emerging was that Yanokovych absolutely wanted to order troops into the square on Wednesday. (source -Euromaidan twitter feed and Pravda.ua). His whereabouts still unknown – I think he’s in Russia now.

    Tweet from Euromaidan about the only woman to die this past week: Antonia Dvorianets, clubbed to death near the subway station on Tuesday, 62 year-old grandmother.

    Heavenly hundred's the only woman Antonina Dvorianets. Read more: https://t.co/G3oW4UWAtZ |PR News #Ukraine #Euromaidan— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) February 25, 2014

    • http://www.ibamag.com/news/72-of-producers-agree-on-how-aca-will-impact-business-17372.aspx

      When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, Orange County, Calif. broker Patrick Freeman took the opportunity to read the law in its entirety, along with 100 other independents in the state. His initial impression?

      “We basically said, ‘This thing will be a disaster,’” Freeman said. “We were just stating our feelings—it wasn’t political one way or another. It just looked like a convoluted mess that seemed like it was designed to fail.”

    • No, they don;t realize someone is going to fact-check it because that’s not what they would do. And as we have all learned, Conservatives suffer from Projection more than liberals do. That’s the reasoning behind their voter fraud claims – if they could commit voter fraud and vote several times, they would, so they assume everybody else would, too.

      So, the reason they don’t think we would fact-check what they say is because they would never fact-check anything we say. (I mean real fact-check, not see if Fox News claims the opposite.)

  3. so much for a 6000 year old earth where man walked with the dinosuars…..

    Scientists say this blue zircon crystal is 4.4 billion years old, making it the oldest known chunk of our planet. The discovery is forcing a rethink of Earth’s early geological history — and our planet’s capacity to harbor life.

    The zircon crystal, which was extracted in 2001 from a rock outcrop in Australia, measures a mere 200 by 400 microns — about twice the diameter of a human hair. To age it, scientists used two different techniques: atom-probe tomography (which identifies and maps individual atoms) and by determining the radioactive decay of uranium to lead in the sample. Individual zircon rocks provide the only physical evidence from the earliest phases of Earth’s geological past.

    To put the extreme age of this rock into perspective, the Earth itself formed as a ball of molten rock about 4.5 billion years ago. The presence of this crystal suggests our planet cooled down enough to form a solid crust a mere 100 million years later, and 160 million years after the formation of the solar system. The finding strengthens the “cool early Earth” hypothesis, where temperatures were low enough to sustain oceans — and perhaps life — earlier than assumed. The Hadean eon, it now appears, may not have been as harsh as we thought.


  4. Who says cats aren’t practical? I just noticed that everywhere Kodos drags that puffy tail of his is entirely free of dust. I might have to rent him out to my old bachelor friends when they need to dust.

    On a related note: everyone who has met the new cats in my life has fallen in love with them and, should I ever decide that two cats are too much for one apartment, I think there will be a bidding war.

    • Mine apparently knocked over the chainsaw gas in her exploring. I woke up to the smell and had to walk outside until my head cleared enough to come back in and locate where it was coming from. I’ve got the back windows open airing the place out now. It’s 53 outside, and the sun is out, so it won’t get too cold in here.

        • She’s a bundle of energy, when she’s not insistent I let her stay on my lap in lieu of the computer keyboard.

          It leaked onto the air compressor, but I don’t smell it on her.

          • I have yet to convince Kang and Kodos that they aren’t qualified to operate a keyboard but they are getting better about taking turns on my lap. The amazing thing is that they can be sleeping on my bed and yet, the second I get out of my chair, one or both will be on said chair before I’m done with whatever I got up to do. I’m actually starting to think that they may teleport to said chair because I almost never see them jump up on it!

            • My Mischief woke me up at 2:30 a.m. to play fetch with his favorite mousey. He and his brother are my orphans from the storm….hurricane Sandy.

        • One of Dad’s favorite jokes was about how cats and gas don’t mix. The setup was that our fictional cat took a drink from a can of gasoline that Dad was using to clean rusty bolts. He would then go into lurid detail about how this alleged cat went insane and tore up the place and evaded all attempts at capture. Sometimes the people he was telling would even get a bit teary eyed. The climax of the story was when said cat climbed up the curtains and stopped to hang, motionless, by his claws. Invariably someone would ask “did he die”?

          Dad’s punchline was; “no, he ran out of gas”.

            • Indeed. He did and I try to carry on the tradition. My parents didn’t exclude me from their socializing and social events in our house almost always included a long joke telling session. I didn’t always understand the references but I was able to identify the right moment to laugh before I could ride a bike!

            • Another example. I was about 10 when I helped Dad paint our house. We were finishing up the last wall and he said; “now we’re getting down to the short strokes”. I think I was about 30 before I realized that there was a sexual connotation to the remark. When I told Dad I finally “got it” he said; “it’s about time”.

              It is said that one of the hallmarks of a great humorist is to allow the audience time to get the joke. I think waiting 20 years counts as an exemplary implementation of the rule.

            • Your Dad would be quite proud that you have carried on the tradition!

              That a joke stayed with you for twenty years before the ‘light goes on’ as to the true meaning – admirable!

      • He has two eyes. However; I decided that Kang and Kodos are appropriate names because they share genetic material, appeared out of nowhere, and will gnaw on human flesh if given the opportunity. That’s where the drool comes in. They are getting their adult teeth so they like to chew on things that include my fingers. They are actually quite gentile and are really just massaging their sore gums but I do have to wash the drool off my hands when they are done. So?

        Kang and Kodos are their current names but I do reserve the right to change my mind.

    • Sure they wipe the dust off the table. Then they walk up to you and shake there tails in your face. And that’s where the dust goes. 🙂

  5. We saw this story yesterday but I was not aware of the blind guy’s history of violence. Allowing a blind person to own a gun is insane enough on its own but allowing a blind person with a long history of violent criminal offenses delves into a world where “insane” is far too weak a word. Booting Florida, not to mention Texas and Arizona, out of the Union is looking like a better idea with each passing day.


    • NRA take:
      All blind persons should keep at least three loaded weapons in their abode.
      Since it takes a few moments to locate, aim and shoot (no need to take any sissy safety off), they need one per room in case of, well, whatever…

      PS. after reading the end of the article, I’m shocked that the judge confiscated his old, out of date, dangerous ammo and didn’t offer to buy him fresh, ready to kill rounds from his judicial discretionary slush funds.

      • And why stop there? If we really want blind people to feel safe I think we should just install a claymore mine in every room of their abode and they can wear the remote detonator around their necks

        • Speaking of which that thing they sell “I’ve fallen and can’t get up.” Well every time you push the button and they send help is $500. How much do you think it would cost for remote detonators and claymore mines?

          • I guess I didn’t consider the cost and who will pay for it. Taking a page from the rightwhiners; i would have to say that anyone who can’t pay for their home security doesn’t really deserve home security. It’s not like poor people have piles of gold and jewels lying about. As for the falling thing…

            I recently stumbled while taking my boots off and tweaked the shoulder I have dislocated four times. Falls do take on another meaning when one gets older. When I had my most recent seizure over two years ago (Yaaaay!) I just pounded on the wall and yelled “help” and my delightful neighbor lady (She just happens to be incredibly beautiful and serves me a great Mexican meal a couple times a month.) had the paramedics at my door in about five minutes. I have decided to trust the goodwill of my neighbors over an anonymous service.

      • My thoughts, exactly. If a person is not allowed to drive a car, due to a physical or moral disability, they should not be allowed to have a freakin’ gun. And it sounds like the guy in this story is both physically and morally disabled.

        • Legally blind and completely without sight are two very distinct and different ways of conducting life’s affairs.
          He can see but, it is in a limited capacity.

          • I understand that. My vision is 20/60 in my left eye and 20/80 in my right eye. I have not seen the relevant numbers about this particular gentleman but, if one can’t tell one face from another at, let’s say, 20 yards? Common sense dictates that one should not be allowed to possess firearms. I am more disturbed by this guy’s history of violent crime than his visual acuity but I think both have a standing in this case.

    • Reminiscent of the scene in Rat Race where the Jewish guy winds up at a Holocaust rally driving Hitler’s car and sporting a similar facial lip hair arrangement…

    • What could go wrong, besides slipping into a coma and dying. Anyway RWNJs don’t worry about food. Heck they don’t even worry about clean water. Kind of a problem when there is none.

      • One of my songs/poems

        Will our nest egg be sufficient
        When there’s no more air to breathe
        Will our gold card buy us water
        That’s free of PCBs

        Sperm count’s getting lower
        Let’s raid the college fund
        And bet it on the market
        Cause the bull is on a run

        Let’s build for a future we destroyed (X4)

        Grubbing for a dollar
        Like a bloodhound on a scent
        Trying to build capital
        Regretting what we spent

        Building bigger mansions
        Or are they gilded tombs
        Searching for salvation
        Among the empty rooms

        Let’s build for the future we destroyed (X4)

          • Thanks, Ebb. One of these days I really have to convince my band mates that our stuff is, at least, good enough to post on line so we can share it with people. Wanna hear the funny part?

            The lyrics I posted are actually the second incarnation. My friend, Terry, came up with this great baseline and, since we were recording a stream of consciousness, I had to come up with something. I think you will understand why the song, despite changing the lyrics, is still called “The Gerbil Song”.

            Drinking like a gerbil
            With your bottle upside down
            Have you overdrawn your bar tab
            Is that why you wear a frown

      • Yeah, parody, except there are idiots who actually think they can exist on eating air. (or prama, whatever the hell that might be.)

  6. Holy Shit!

    California Couple Finds $10M in Gold Coins Buried in Yard
    A Northern California couple out walking their dog on their Gold Country property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree.

    Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, which recently authenticated them.

    Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece.


    • And here I thought I was unbelievably lucky when I dug up a 1921 silver dollar while looking for fossils when I was a kid. I sold it to a dealer for $7.00 and bought two model airplane kits and the assorted stuff I needed to build said kits.

      My sister was luckier. She was working at a bank when she took an older lady in to get her safety deposit box. Before my sister realized what she was doing the lady dumped the box, full of gold and silver coins, on the floor of the vault! The lady grabbed the gold coins and then offered to sell the silver coins to my sister for face value. Since my sister is almost as smart as me she ignored the rules and took the lady up on her offer. Sis made a few-thousand dollars on the deal and still retained a pretty impressive collection of silver coins.

  7. Gov. Jan Brewer is thinking about vetoing the hate bill because businesses are telling her it’s a bad idea, and not because it is pants-on-head retarded? Thanks for reinforcing that politicians as a whole don’t give a shiat about people, instead just chasing after the dollar like a carrot on a stick.

  8. Small Town Cops Impounded Cars from the Poor, Sold Them, Prosecutors Say

    Police in a small California town colluded with a towing company to impound the cars of poor people and then sell the vehicles for profit or keep them when the owners couldn’t pay, prosecutors said Tuesday.

    In all, Monterey County prosecutors charged six officers from the King City police department with crimes on Tuesday. King City is a town of about 13,000 people in the northern California’s Salinas Valley…

    “The victims were economically disadvantaged persons of Hispanic descent who were targeted by having their vehicles impounded, towed and stored by Miller’s Tow,” Flippo said…

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