Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ya Can't Make This Stuff Up...

Today's "Hint from Heloise" (as seen in the Portland Press-Herald):

Dear Heloise: Twice in two years we have had a skunk move in under our patio enclosure.

Anyway, all I did was put a boombox-type radio on the floor and let it play on an all-night talk-radio station at a loud volume, and in the morning, the skunk was gone.

Was it the volume or the content?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

OMFG... Part III

Infectious disease trading cards. Three sets of them.

"Hey, Bobby, I'll trade you my Hantavirus and Anthrax for your Ebola..."

From the CDC.

(Via William the Coroner)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Follow-up to "A Real Hero"

A couple of days ago, I told you about Alex Whitehouse, a Webelos Cub Scout in Turner, Maine. 10 year old Alex saved the life of his younger brother, Drake, when Drake began choking on a piece of candy.

Susan Kimball, of WCSH-TV, Channel 6 in Portland, covered the story today on the noon newscast (yes, I scooped the network affiliate!). Kimball mentioned that, prior to this incident, Alex had been selected to represent Maine at the People To People youth conference in England, and that the townsfolk were sponsoring a spaghetti dinner to raise the $7,000 needed.

I spoke with Ms. Kimball this afternoon, regarding an address for donations from people who can't attend the dinner. If you would like to make a donation to help this young hero get to England, please make your check payable to People To People, and write "Alex Whitehouse" on the memo line. Checks may be sent to this address:

Alex Whitehouse
c/o Claire Bailey
171 Birch Drive
Poland, Maine 04274

I know the economy is tough these days -- I've been unemployed for more than a year -- but I'm sending $10.00.

Other than begging for the Red Cross back during Hurricane Katrina (at the urging of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and -- talk about strange bedfellows -- InstaPundit's Glenn Reynolds), I haven't asked readers to part with their hard-earned money.

But now I am asking. Even if it's just a few bucks, could you please contribute and help Alex travel to England?

Many sincere thanks.

Discosure: I am not related to, nor have I ever met, Alex, although I would like to. I am not affiliated in any way with People To People. I have NO connection to any of the people mentioned, other than having spoken to Susan Kimball about donations.

Maine Voters Veto Same-Sex Marriage

By a 53-47 margin, Maine voters vetoed the same-sex marriage law. It is was tough, nasty campaign.

Protect Maine Equality, which supported SSM and opposed the veto move, based their campaign on facts, figures, legal opinions, human rights, and common decency. Stand For Marriage Maine [no link to homophobic fear-mongering idiots], which supported the veto and opposed the law, bravely countered with fear, innuendo, lies, and loathing.

SFFM aired many commercials pointing out that "gay marriage would be taught in Maine schools." State education officials pointed out that local school boards set local curricula, and already have the option to teach about gay issues if they so desire (none have done so). SFFM also claimed that support for the SSM law came from 40 states, implying that it was people "from away," those who "support the gay agenda," who were telling Mainers how to vote. Yet at the same time, SFMM was desperately fighting to keep its donor list secret. A cynic would think that was because the SFMM list would show a vast majority of their support came from outside Maine.

By enacting this citizen's veto, Maine legally relegated a substantial portion of the population to second-class citizenship status. These neo-con "morans" have effectively proven that the old adage, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation" is no longer a beacon of hope, but a harbinger of terror. Now that the mouth-breathers have forced "them damned queers" back into the closet, what's next in their quest for a 16th-century Christianist theocracy? Get rid of other "undesirables" like mixed-race couples, "moozlims", Jews, "nigras", Catholics, and -- eventually -- "libruls"?

Opponents of same-sex marriage sent out a broadcast fax several weeks ago, that I discussed here. It is a prime example of the way the far right amps up their base.

By appealing to the basest instincts of the Bible-thumpin', hooker-humpin', sister-marryin', rifle-rack-in-the-pickmup crowd, these homophobic idiots have once again gotten the "Ah have more toes than teeth... and I stuck mah foot under the mower" single-digit-IQ twits to do their bidding.

On a related matter, it might be time to re-examine the tax-exempt status of the Catholic Diocese of Maine. As a tax-exempt church, the diocese is barred from active participation in partisan politics. Yet the Portland Press-Herald, in its front-page coverage of the vote, ran a large picture of the official spokesman of the diocese, at the campaign headquarters of the SFMM, saying "we fought the good fight" [emphasis added]. That is particularly galling, in that the Catholic Church is setting itself up as a "moral arbiter" [THERE's a laugh], yet tacitly condones and actively protects HOMOSEXUAL PEDOPHILE SERIAL-RAPISTS in the priesthood, and demands bishops conceal these crimes.

If a same-sex relationship between two consenting adults is a sin, why is it okay for Father Flannigan to keep raping little boys?!?

If the Catholic Church is going to function as a political action committee, it should lose its tax-exempt status.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A REAL Hero.

10 year old Alex Whitehouse is a real hero.

Let me say that again:

10 year old Alex Whitehouse is a real hero.

This past Thursday, Whitehouse saved the life of his 4 year old brother, Drake Gibbert, after the youngster began choking on a Tootsie Roll. Drake was bouncing on Alex's bed when the candy lodged in his throat.

As part of his Cub Scout training, Whitehouse learned how to perform the Heimlich maneuver last year. Alex grabbed Drake, wrapped his arms around his brother and squeezed.

Article in the Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal is here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Right-Wing HATE Comes Back to Maine... Again.

Yesterday, the lovely yet talented Mrs 618 showed me a broadcast fax that had been received at her office. It's from some batch of far-right-wing whackjobs out in Draper, UT, calling themselves "America Forever," and is chockablock full of the hate-filled, spurious accusations we've come to expect from wingnuttia. Capitalization and emphasis from the original.

The looney diatribe starts "You! Citizen of Maine who VOTED IN Senators Olympia Snowe & Susan Collins YOU WILL BE AS RESPONSIBLE AS THEY ARE FOR BRINGING DOWN THIS NATION INTO DESTRUCTION!" That almost sounds like a threat, not only against Collins and Snowe, but against the thinking people of Maine.

It continues, "The day that America socially recognizes, validates, and condones the stimulation of homosexuality to the children; GOD WILL REMOVE HIS HAND FROM THIS NATION." Oh, goody. The sooner the "Christianists" get the hell out of here, the better off we'll all be.

The hysterical screed goes on to claim that Snowe and Collins are "now part of President Obama's team, that continues to use the 20 year homosexual "power wheel" [whatever the hell that is; I couldn't find anything on "teh Google"] to bring down this nation as a nation under God" and that he would "give all rights to homosexuals." [Of course, under the photograph in the center of the fax, it says, "This is not about HATE or CIVIL RIGHTS."]

Some other gems from this paranoid, delusional piece of crap:

  • Both Senators have a "100% voting record with the homosexual agenda and [co-sponsor] their major legislation"
  • "HATE CRIMES LAW is the Back door to advance the entire homosexual agenda"
  • "[...] the URGENCY of HEALTHCARE REFORM is also about the homosexual, transgender, bisexual, and lesbian movement."
  • "Moreover, they [apparently referring to Snowe and Collins, or perhaps to thinking people as a whole] are intolerant and do not emulate any Christian Ethics"
  • The photo in the middle of the page shows a big black guy kissing a white guy... no racist feeling there, right?

The fax also urges readers -- in bold type -- to "check out the OBAMA KILLER SONG"

This piece of putrid trash ranks up there with the "manifestos" of various fringe-group terrorist cells, rife with all the delusional, paranoid, "black FEMA helicopter" garbage that passes for discourse with these idiots.

Jesus, what a hideous, hate-mongering message. And these assholes, these neo-Nazi/KKK thugs, these Bible-thumpin', hooker-humpin', sister-marryin', rifle-rack-in-the-pickmup slack-jawed drooling IDIOTS, dare to profess their "Christianity"?!?

How DARE they? Have any of these asshats realized that there is more to their precious Bible than the Old Testament? Have they completely overlooked the REAL message of Jesus, which is love and peace?

On the other hand, something good came of this execrable fax... many of the people in the town supported the "people's veto" of the state law recognizing gay marriage... but after this fax made its way around, they are now saying "where do these folks from away get off telling us how to vote? They're telling us how to be good Christians? Screw 'em, if this is the way they're gonna be, I'm going to vote against the veto!"

These frickin' "morans" need to go the hell away.

Since they seem to be in favor of stifling free speech, let's stifle theirs.

Hey, "America Forever"... SCREW YOU!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Republican Family Values: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Senator John Ensign (R-NV) has been in the news a lot lately. He is, of course, one of those "family values" Republicans... the kind that violates his deeply-held Biblical principles by fornicating with a woman to whom he is not married, and not to propagate the species, but simply because it's fun. In a half-assed attempt to atone for his egregious sin, Ensign used his political influence to find a job for the husband of his girlfriend, and to line up clients for the aforementioned husband of the aforementioned girlfriend of the aforementioned "family values" Republican.

In doing so, Ensign has joined the ranks of other "family values" Republican fornicators like Gov Mark Sanford (R-SC) who was cheating on his wife by boffing some babe in Buenos Aires; he is now also asking the SC Supreme Court to block the release of a state ethics report on his behavior, claiming it would be used for political purposes. He also lied to his constituents, but to a "family values" Republican, that's merely business as usual.

Another "family values" Republican lecher is Vito Fossella, who got bagged for drunk driving. He was on his way to visit his illegitimate daughter by the woman with whom he was committing adultery.

Ted Alvin Klaudt, a former state representative from South Dakota -- "family values" Republican, of course -- was charged with eight counts of second-degree rape, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of witness tampering, one count of sexual contact with a person under 16, and one count of stalking.

And of course, who could forget Mark Foley, disgraced former representative from Florida, who was hitting on underage pages?

In looking back through my previous posts on this never-ending topic, I found this link to ArmchairSubversive, which has a list of 82 instances of Republican pedophilia. And that's just child molesting (or child rape). There probably isn't enough room in the whole damn Internet for all the moral lapses by the "family values" Republicans.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Take on Healthcare Reform

Like many others, I listened to President Obama's speech last night. And, I hope, like many others, I was disgusted when South Carolina Representative Addison Graves "Joe" Wilson III -- a member of the "Sons of Confederate Veterans" -- shouted out "You lie" when Obama said his plan would not provide insurance to illegal aliens. But this is exactly the behavior we have come to expect from the GOP: completely obstreperous, completely devoid of logic, and completely lacking in sympathy for those less well-off than they. It was, after all, Representative Zach Wamp (R-TN, of course) who said, "Health care is a privilege... it's not necessarily a right." I wonder how Zach Wamp (what a perfect name for a redneck) would feel if his Congressional (i.e., taxpayer-paid) healthcare were suddenly eliminated.

BadTux has written extensively about the healthcare crisis, both the economic factors involved and the political implications. For a snarky penguin, he has a remarkable grasp of all the variables involved, and -- more importantly -- can impart them without sounding pedantic or condescending. I don't plan on duplicating his efforts; I don't have the knowledge he has, nor do I have his flair. I will instead give you my take on this mess.

I'm unemployed, and I have been for more than a year. Yes, some of it is my fault: my profession is safety and security, and a state as safe and secure as Maine has little need for safety and security professionals. Those facilities that do have such a need are (a) a two- or three-hour drive away, (b) Defense Department facilities (Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Brunswick Naval Air Station [which is closing next year anyway], or Bath Iron Works), or (c) correctional facilities.

I did not move to Maine simply because I got tired of a reasonably good job, with reasonably good benefits, I moved because my parents are in their 80s and can no longer care for themselves.

I found a job for a while, but the contract ended unexpectedly, and I was laid off. I had not worked enough quarters in Maine to qualify for unemployment, and of course Michigan's unemployment wouldn't pay me in Maine. I was fortunate in that my wife and I had housing, and that she works part-time, so we had food and lights and all those other neat things.

But, I didn't have medical insurance. And Mrs 618's part-time job paid just enough to make us ineligible for MaineCare, the state version of Medicare/Medicaid. So, of course, I had to tear up my back and pinch my sciatic nerve* working around the house. No medical insurance meant no visit to the doctor until I couldn't bear the pain any longer. None of the few local doctors are accepting new patients, so Mrs 618 hauled me off to the local ER, where the doctor gave me a couple of prescriptions (I was just barely able to scrape up the money for two, the other two had to wait), and instructions for physical therapy. PT here runs about $300 an hour, more money that we don't have, so that had to wait.

Guess what? I'm not getting any better. I'm still in excruciating pain (since I ran out of pain-killers), I still can't walk, I still can't find a job... and now I can't even keep up with the chores around the house. Oh, and I explained to the hospital that I would need to make payments arrangements; when they heard my situation, we agreed on $20 per week (which means about 100 weeks of payments; meanwhile, other patients' payments are taking up the slack).

Do we need a "public option", the one the Republicans are screaming about?

Hell, yes.

*If you have never dealt with sciatica, consider yourself blessed. If you have, you know just how wonderful it feels....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spinning in Their Graves

Some of the greatest comedic geniuses are probably spinning in their graves.
Conan "My Parents Should Have Snapped My Neck at Birth" O'Brien is taking over The Tonight Show. Given O'Brien's overwhelming inanity, his complete lack of comic sense, and his overall stupidity, it's just a matter of time until The Tonight Show is dead and gone.
The original host of what would become Tonight was Steve Allen (1921-2000), a gifted comedian, writer, composer, and actor who has been credited with developing much of what defines modern variety shows. Allen hosted the show from it's 1954 debut until 1957, assisted by sidekick Gene Rayburn (who, in turn, went on to host numerous other shows, such as Match Game). Allen pioneered the "main in the street interview," still a staple of late-night television.
One of Allen's guest hosts was a little-known comedian named Johnny Carson.

In 1956, NBC offered Allen a chance to do a weekend show as well. He remained as host of Tonight Wednesdays through Fridays, with comedian Ernie Kovacs taking the Tonight reins on Mondays and Tuesdays. Kovacs, who died in 1962, was an innovator in television comedy; one of his greatest "inventions" was the Nairobi Trio - three gorillas in derby hats and long overcoats. The trio's extraordinary rendition of Solfeggio is a classic.
In January of 1957, Allen left the show permanently and NBC dropped Kovacs' participation, changing Tonight to a news-magazine format, which only lasted six months.

After the ill-fated news format, Tonight returned as a variety show with Al "Jazzbo" Collins as host for a month or so. Collins was a well-known jazz DJ who did stints on New York's WNEW radio from 1950-1960, 1981-1983, and again from 1986-1990 (when I used to listen all night, every night, working the graveyard shift on the PD). Collins' version of "Little Red Riding Hood" (adapted by Steve Allen) is well worth a listen.

Jack Paar took over in July of 1957, beginning a five-year stint as host. It was under Paar's stewardship that Tonight really became the entertainment phenomenon that it remains today.
Paar's guests tended to be more than just actors hucking their latest films, with folks like Peter Ustinov, Peggy Cass, and Zsa Zsa Gabor showing up regularly.
One of the (inadvertently) funniest bits ever to appear on television came in 1960, when studio censors cut a joke. Paar walked out in the middle of a broadcast, leaving announcer Hugh Downs to finish the show. A month later, Paar ambled out on stage and a famous line: "As I was saying before I was interrupted...I believe the last thing I said was 'There must be a better way to make a living than this.' Well, I've looked...and there isn't."
In March of 1962, Johnny Carson began his 30-year reign as the King of Late Night. Carson's era was not without turmoil, however: notable spats occurred with folks like guest host Joan Rivers, psychic Uri Gellar, Wayne Newton, Don Rickles, and Truman Capote. On the flip side, though, Carson also gave us some of the most enduring and iconic characters in American broadcast history, such as TV host Art Fern and Carnack the Magnificent.
Conan "My Parents Should Have Snapped My Neck at Birth" O'Brien made his name, so to speak, by writing for Saturday Night Live (during of its periodic tediously boring periods) and The Simpsons (Fox's horrendously miserable, poorly-animated fart fest). O'Brien -- whose hair bears a suspicious similarity to that of Jimmy Neutron, is -- to use a line from the late great Molly Ivins -- is about as funny as a heart attack.
Yes, there may be people who think Jimmy Neu-- err, O'Brien is a worthy successor to Allen, Kovacs, Paar, and Carson.
But I'm not one of them.
I think he's going to kill the show forever.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Schticks of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

1. Ummmmm, okay....

Headline on a product recall at the Comsumer Product Safety Commission website:

That seems to me to be a "well, duh" type of thing.

Turns out, the glass jar in which the candle sits may break, allowing a fire to start.
2. Life in the Slow Lane. Or not.
One of the many catchy phrases used by the State of Maine to boost tourism is "Life in the Slow Lane," generally with a drawing of a moose relaxing in a hammock.
Up in Clinton, Maine (roughly 25 miles north of Augusta on I-95), one moose apparently didn't get the memo.
A motorist reported that a 500-pound moose "fell out of the sky."
Police Chief Charles Runnels said the yearling bull probably panicked because of the noise and traffic along I-95 and began running. He said it just picked the wrong spot to jump the guardrail, falling onto a road instead of landing in a field.
There were no reports of any suspicious squirrels in the area.
3. Gay Marriage Approved by Maine Legislature
Last week, the state legislature approved a same-sex marriage bill (finally). Needless to say, the various far-right lunatics and the Catholic Church are oppsed. The Church adamantly swears that gay marriage will destroy America.
I would be a little more likely to accept the Catholic Church as moral arbiters if they didn't have so many homosexual pedophiles running around.
Let me see if I have this straight: Father Flannigan can rape all the little boys he wants, but two adult males in a long-term committed relationship are evil?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Schticks of One, Half-a-Dozen of the Other

1. Arlen Specter, Democrat of Pennsylvania?

I believe Watertiger has it nailed on Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic party:

Shorter Arlen Specter: I'm gonna get my ass whupped in 2010 if I run as a Republican. Therefore, I shall run on the Democratic ticket, without actually having to VOTE with my new party affiliation.

Yes, Specter has done the right thing a few times, but obviously he's read the writing on the wall: the party of Limbaugh wouldn't elect him if he were the last man on earth, so he's switching sides.

2. Swine Flu

Speaking of Watertiger, she also has what could be the definitive explanation of how this whole swine flu thing got started:

3. New York Fly-by

By now, probably everyone has heard that some MO-ron in the White House and/or FAA thought it would be a great idea to have the backup Air Force One do a fly-by in NYC, allowing the powers that be to get some stock footage of the new plane. Everyone also knows that the same MO-ron(s) – probably in the interests of “national security” – didn’t bother to tell anyone in NYC.

Let’s see… Low-flying jet, chased (apparently) by a fighter, over Manhattan, on a beautiful day. Anybody see a problem with that?

Naw, I didn’t think so.

4. South Carolina Wild Fire

It appears – and I emphasize appears, as no definite cause has yet been established – that the wildfire plaguing South Carolina might have been started by a burn pile smoldering for a few days. The man whose burn pile has been mentioned has been receiving death threats.

His name? Torchi.

I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

RIP: Richard Scheidt

Via FireGeezer, I learned today that Richard Scheidt died on Monday at the age of 81.

Who, you may ask, was Richard Scheidt?

We all know that "a picture is worth a thousand words." Some pictures, however, are worth much, much more. Some pictures capture the very essence of a scene far better than words ever could. The famous photo of the second jetliner hitting the World Trade Center is one of those pictures. So is the photo of the Oklahoma City firefighter carrying Baylee Almon from the rubble of the Murrah building.

Another is this photo of Richard Scheidt:

Scheidt was a Chicago fire fighter. On December 1, 1958, a fire occurred at Our Lady of Angels School, a Catholic school. The fire began about 2:42 PM, just 18 minutes before school would have been dismissed.

When the fire was out, 92 school children and three nuns were dead. Chicago American photographer Steve Lasker snapped this picture of Scheidt removing the body of ten-year-old John Jajkowski. Scheidt also pulled 19 other dead children from the building.

This picture became the icon for the entire tragedy, and was on the cover of Life magazine on December 15, 1958.

Scheidt retired from CFD as a captain, in 1986. Memories of the fire haunted him throughout his life.

Captain Scheidt leaves behind his wife, nine children, 28 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Schticks of One - Coming Out of Hiatus Edition

After a long, fed-up-with-politics-induced hiatus, a few new things worth discussing.

I. Police pursuits

First, WCSH-TV, Channel 6 in Portland, reported a day or so ago that the state legislature was looking at placing restrictions – or even an outright ban – on high-speed police pursuits. This was in reaction to some recent chases that ended in disasters all the way around. As a former police officer, I can tell you that many chases are unnecessary.

A large number of pursuits are for motor vehicle offenses – speeding, unsafe lane changes, and so on (a quick viewing of Cops, Speeders, and other similar shows displays the often questionable “basis” for pursuits). It is unnecessary and unconscionable to risk the police officer’s life, the lives of other motorists or pedestrians, or even the offender’s life for an offense that generally merits only a mail-in fine. This is aggravated by the introduction of the PIT maneuver (Pursuit Intervention Technique), where the police officer strikes the fleeing vehicle with his cruiser, causing it to go out of control. There have been many documented cases of innocent vehicles being damaged – and the occupants of those vehicles being injured or killed – as a result of the maneuver being performed on crowded highways.

Making this situation even worse is that in many cases, the police officer has been able to get the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle. I’m not sure about the laws in Maine, but when I was a police officer in Connecticut, there were statutory provisions establishing that the registered vehicle owner was the presumed operator (what the lawyers call a “rebuttable presumption”). If the police have the offending vehicle’s license plate number, they have sufficient information to track down the presumed operator of the vehicle; it then becomes the owner’s burden to prove that he was not operating the car at the time in question.

Additionally, I feel that a valid argument could be made for prohibiting pursuits of alleged drunk drivers: although already a menace on the highway, the drunk being pursued by police will almost inevitably make a mistake – often a tragic mistake – in his efforts to avoid apprehension. The drunk not being chased, however, has a tendency to try to drive very carefully, to avoid attracting police attention (in fact, we were taught in the police academy that “excessively careful” driving could be an indicator of operating under the influence).

Obviously, I do not believe that all pursuits should be banned – only those that pose an unnecessary risk to other members of the public. If the state feels that it must take some action, one option is basing a pursuit decision on the nature of the offense. For example, the state might allow pursuits in cases involving serious felonies (aggravated assault, homicide, rape, arson, armed robbery), where the offender’s identity is unknown. However, in lesser offenses like theft, burglary, or motor vehicle offenses, or in serious cases where the offender’s identity is known, the state may opt to prohibit chases.

II. Racists bailing on the Republicans

An article on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “HateWatch” blog reports that white supremacists are saying that they have been betrayed by the Republican National Committee, which recently elected former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele as its national leader.

“I am glad these traitorous leaders of the Republican Party appointed this Black racist, affirmative action advocate to the head of the Republican Party because this will lead to a huge revolt among the Republican base,” wrote former KKK leader David Duke. “As a former Republican official, I can tell you that millions of rank-and-file Republicans are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore! We will either take the Republican Party back over the next four years or we will say, ‘To Hell with the Republican Party!’ And we will take 90 percent of Republicans with us into a New Party that will take its current place!”

Of course, it has been obvious for a while now that the Rethuglicans had consciously been wooing the racist/supremacist crowd, along with the fundamentalist Christianist community, in an effort to portray themselves as “real, working-class ‘Muricans.” This might have been more successful, had the primary interests of the real Republican leaders – accumulating ever more wealth and power – not been so at odds with the needs of the rank-and-file. The appeal of the Rethuglicans to the blue-collar crowd was three-fold:
  • We’re gazillionaires, so you can be, too;
  • We’ll keep them uppity n*ggers and women in their place (i.e., out of your jobs, bars, and neighborhoods); and
  • All the “best” people are Republicans

Couple this with their overt appeal to the ultra-conservative, ultra-patriotic types, and they had a potent force.

For a while.

But since their poster-child, the New England blue blood, cowboy-wannabe, good ole boy, global village idiot Dubya screwed everyone with his shameless prostitution to big business, even the redneck racists are learning: the Rethuglicans don’t care ‘bout nobody iffen they ain’t rich white evangelical neoconservatives.

III. Peanut butter recall

From the Dining section of Wednesday’s dead-tree edition of the New York Times:

  • Almost 900 products were recalled after salmonella tied to hundreds of illnesses was traced to a Georgia peanut factory.
  • The business of selling peanut butter in America is worth nearly $900 million a year.
  • When the economy goes south, it’s one of the inexpensive but nutritionally rich foods that shoppers buy more of.
  • [The Peanut Corporation of America] has expanded its recall to include any foods made with its products since January 2007.
  • Critics of the food industry, like the Center for Science in the Public Interest[1], say this outbreak points up how serious problems with food manufacturing can be.
    [It also points out how the lackadaisical “oversight” by the FDA under the Bush regime resulted in huge profits for big business at the expense of the health of American citizens (and at least one Canadian)]
  • Peanut butter started its move to the masses in 1904 when, along with iced tea, cotton candy and the ice cream cone, it became popular at a world’s fair in St. Louis.

    [1] These are the same folks who provided the startling news that movie theatre popcorn is not all that nutritious, and that Chinese food isn’t all that healthy either.