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2007 April 13 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Nothing To See, Move Along

CBS News reports: Alarm Bells Ring Over China Food Imports

The list of Chinese food exports rejected at American ports reads like a chef’s nightmare: pesticide-laden pea pods, drug-laced catfish, filthy plums and crawfish contaminated with salmonella.

Yet, it took a much more obscure item, contaminated wheat gluten, to focus U.S. public attention on a very real and frightening fact: China’s chronic food safety woes are now an international concern.


While the public was focused on the danger to their pets, sources tell CBS News that the FDA had tracked at least one suspect batch of wheat gluten into the human food supply, quietly quarantined some products and notified the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to watch for new patients admitted to hospitals with renal or kidney failure.

“This really shows the risks of food purity problems combining with international trade,” said Michiel Keyzer, director of the Center for World Food Studies at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit.

Don’t worry; be happy; the government will protect you.

While China talks about privatization, many of their “enterprises” operate on the old model, which demands fulfillment of quotas at any cost. Cut any corners necessary, but don’t miss the target you were given. The lives of individuals are not valued very highly and the elite don’t eat the local food.

Bribery and corruption is endemic in the system, even more of a problem since the move to capitalization began. If Party membership was once the key to a comfortable life, now it is considered the path to wealth.

The question for Americans is how many deaths will it take before we start seeing an effort made at really inspecting what comes into the country?

April 13, 2007   8 Comments

Running Government Like A Business

Another Washington Post investigative report: Tons of food spoiled as FEMA ran out of space

As many as 6 million prepared meals stockpiled near potential victims of the 2006 hurricane season spoiled in the Gulf Coast heat last summer when the Federal Emergency Management Agency ran short of warehouse and refrigeration space, according to agency officials.

In all, hundreds of truckloads of food worth more than $40 million are being thrown away or scavenged for unspoiled contents to be offered to domestic hunger-relief groups, FEMA officials said. Most of the meals were commercial versions of the military’s Meals Ready to Eat, which were ruined despite being engineered to withstand the demands of desert and jungle climates.


News of the latest problems at FEMA follows findings after Katrina that the agency awarded up to $1 billion in improper payments to individuals, spent $900 million on 25,000 trailers that could not be used in flood zones and paid $1.8 billion for hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins that were more expensive than apartments.

MREs aren’t designed to be stored for extended periods in deserts and jungles; they are designed to be stored in human compatible warehouses until needed. If you keep the stuff at 70° it lasts for years, but at 100° it’s months. The storage requirements are on the boxes if you bother to read.

These people don’t seem to have any relevant training or experience in any of the necessary areas. Why are they still employed?

[If the WaPo keeps this up, they might be mistaken for a newspaper.]

April 13, 2007   9 Comments

Not Amusing

From Danger Room this bit of supposed levity: Army Chief Still Not Dead

“I understand that when Pete came out of retirement [to take over the Army post] his status was changed somehow from retired to deceased,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said. “It took General Schoomaker, the highest-ranking officer in the Army, a full six months to iron out the paperwork. Leave it to the Pentagon bureaucracy to prove that you can in fact be brought back from the dead.”

That’s not all, added Schoomaker as he took the podium. He said, “You know, on that letter that I received from finance … when I got called back, the interesting thing was they – it was a form letter, and they had my name in there three times, and each time it was misspelled.”

This was Rumfeld’s Defense Department, Schoomaker assumed the job in August of 2003. If they screw up the paperwork for one the top five generals in the military, what chance do enlisted people have?

Repeating a complaint – why do all of these generals get to retire while the lower rants keep getting hit by stop-loss orders and tour extensions?

April 13, 2007   3 Comments

What’s The Problem?

CNN contributor Roland Martin gets it – it wasn’t the racism, it was the sexism.

The media kept up with the race side and did their best to ignore that the players were attacked and belittled because they were women and they play really good “roundball”. For those that missed it, not all of the players on the Rutgers team are black.

And while we are on sexism, let’s address the comments issue again. It isn’t the “heat in the kitchen,” it’s the cockroaches. No one should put up with cockroaches in the kitchen, but a sign saying “no cockroaches” isn’t the solution.

From the AP: Man Sentenced For Printing Lewd Stickers

A Byron [Minnesota] man, who distributed sexually vulgar stickers featuring his ex-girlfriend’s name, phone number and address, has been sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to a felony harassment charge.

Thomas Carl Tiedeman, 62, who appeared in Dodge County District Court on March 21, was also ordered to serve five years on probation, perform 32 hours of community service and pay a $100 fine.

The behavior is illegal. It is important to file charges. People can be tracked down using the information their browser, blogging software, and site counters provide. Don’t ignore it; stomp on them.

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April 13, 2007   7 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

What Football?

Friday Cat Blogging

Whatever it is, I don’t want to hear it?

[Editor: Ringo is decidedly unhappy in her current condition. The restrictions on her normal activities are frustrating, but she was warned.]

Friday Ark

Athenae had to bid good bye: Thanks, Joe

Lab Kat learned that Coby has chronic renal failure.

April 13, 2007   12 Comments