Monthly Archives: April 2007

Melamine Update: Fed To Poultry, Much Already “Processed” (Sold And Consumed)

Attention Melissa and Iain–and everyone else in Indiana–in case you were just about to order some take-out Kung Pao chicken:

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) – The U.S. government said on Monday 38 poultry farms in Indiana were given contaminated feed in early February containing melamine, with some of the chickens likely to have entered the food supply.

The U.S. Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration said there was a “low-risk” to humans and no food recalls were expected at this time. They are uncertain how many chickens were involved, how many entered the food supply or where they went.

“We haven’t completed counting yet,” said USDA spokesman Keith Williams.

In a joint statement, USDA and FDA said “all of the broilers believed to have been fed contaminated product have since been processed. The breeders that were fed the contaminated product are under voluntary hold by the flock owners.”

Birds that were given the contaminated feed will not be allowed to enter the U.S. food supply. Farmers will be compensated if they destroy the birds that consume the feed.

So, to recap, the FDA are uncertain how many tainted-feed-consuming chickens were involved, and they don’t have a clue how many melamine Kievs and cyanuric acid stir-fries have already been served to unwitting Americans. They don’t even know where the tainted poultry went (which unfortunately means that Melissa, Iain, and other Hoosiers aren’t the only ones who should be concerned).

But they want America to be reassured by this: There is a “low risk” to humans and no recalls are expected at this time.

Do you know why I don’t feel comforted in the slightest? Because when the FDA says something, there’s a “low risk” of it actually being reliable.

At this time.

[H/T oddjob]

Crossposted at litbrit.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Weasel: What fictional character would you like to meet and why?

This is a tough one, because so many come to mind. But the first two who came to mind are Cal Stephanides from Jeffrey Eugenides’ beautiful book Middlesex and Oly Binewski from Katherine Dunn’s brilliant Geek Love.

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This Shit Doesn’t Happen in a Void

Part bingzillion in an ongoing series…

So much for ignoring bullies: Last Thursday night, openly gay Minnesota State University-Moorhead student Paul Marquardt was walking across campus around 11:30pm after leaving the school library when he was accosted by a group of men who began yelling anti-gay slurs at him.

Marquart … turned up his MP3 player in an attempt to ignore the men. The men then threw him to the ground, knocking him unconscious, and kicking him repeatedly. Marquardt regained consciousness several minutes later, but remembered very little of the attack. He was treated for a concussion, a separated shoulder, a broken wrist, and possible spleen damage.

According to an email from the Ten Percent Society of MSUM and North Dakota State University, a LGBT group, Paul’s doctor told him that if “Paul been smaller and less well built, the assault could have been fatal.”

Marquardt did not know any of his attackers. Police are investigating.

This shit doesn’t happen in a void.

[Via.]

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One Step Over

“The tuxedo is a wedding safety device, created by women because they know that men are undependable. So in case the groom chickens out, everybody just takes one step over, and she marries the next guy.”—Jerry Seinfeld

Grain of truth in every joke:

Villagers at a wedding in eastern India decided the groom had arrived too drunk to get married, and so the bride married the groom’s more sober brother instead, police said Monday.

“The groom was drunk and had reportedly misbehaved with guests when the bride’s family and local villagers chased him away,” Madho Singh, a senior police officer told Reuters after Sunday’s marriage in a village in Bihar state’s Arwal district.

The younger brother readily agreed to take the groom’s place beside the teenage bride at her family’s invitation, witnesses said.

“The groom apologized for his behavior, but has been crying that word will spread and he will never get a bride again,” Singh said by phone.

Passed along by Mr. Shakes, who notes: “I thought it was interesting how the family decided just to ‘give her’ to the other brother. Well, we’ve spent all this money on a wedding, and invited all these people…

It’s a good thing Mr. Shakes was able to rein it in on our wedding go-down-to-City-Hall-and-get-hitched-then-go-for-burgers day, since he’s an only child.

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Early Friday Catblogging

HT to I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER and my brother.

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The War on Terror: Now with 25 percent more attacks

If the war mongers leading the U.S. keep shoving their fingers in their ears every time a report comes out noting how the U.S. “strategy” is adding to the worldwide terror problem, we can surely get the number of terror attacks and dead and mutilated bodies even higher for 2007.

Report says terror attacks up sharply
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Quote of the Day

“Am I the only one who [is] thoroughly fascinated by the Manly-Man’s relationship to the vulva? He’s supposed to fucking love it (or at least love fucking it), and simultaneously be disgusted by it. All while asserting his dominance over its owner. So make sure you point out how much you just can’t get enough pussy, and then reiterate the fact that girlie-bits are nasty. Don’t forget to promote abstinence-only coolness with the kids by setting a good example and telling them that lady-parts are icky and sex is for fags.”—Jill at Feministe, responding to a conservative dude’s consternation with the vulva and aversion to “cunninglingus.”

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Naturellement…

the Aristocrats.

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The Sound of My Voice

I was a quiet child.

My shyness was for no good reason, really, other than that I was strange. I felt quite out of place in childhood; rambunctiousness didn’t suit me. The ability of most children to inhabit their bodies without inhibitions—flailing arms and legs, tumbling somersaults, endless spinning to a dizziness that left them stumbling until they collapsed to the floor in a giggling heap—was as foreign to me as I must have seemed to other children, with my knitted brow studying them curiously, or my nose buried in a book. I was ever acutely conscious of my own physical presence, intimidating myself with my own awkward gestures, until I folded myself inward and tried to stay very still. I couldn’t relate, and so I retreated.
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There Are More People? No Kidding..

You would think that the Party Of Faith™ wouldn’t have to deal with these lurid sex scandals anymore. Yet more people keep falling through the cracks. Randall Tobias was just the tip of the ol’ iceberg on the current episode. Jeane Palfrey, the DC Madam, will be making her case clear on 20/20 this Friday:

“I’m sure as heck not going to be going to federal prison for one day, let alone, four to eight years, because I’m shy about bringing in the deputy secretary of whatever,” Palfrey told ABC News correspondent Brian Ross in an interview to be broadcast Friday on “20/20.” “I’ll bring in every last one of them in if necessary,” she said.

Perhaps we should start a pool to see how many government related individuals she’ll throw under the bus. Any takers?

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Online, Offline, Everywhere

The WaPo‘s Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers is a real half-assed attempt to cover the pervasive problem of women bloggers being harassed, intimidated, and blatantly threatened using rape-language. There are a lot of problems with it—one being the exclusion of even a cursory discussion of legal options (or the lack thereof), another being the compulsive use of phrases like “some bloggers,” which was embedded right into the headline as well.

One big problem is using Michelle Malkin as an example of a woman blogger who refuses to be intimidated by threats; I object to Malkin’s inclusion not because we have political differences, but because she is completely atypical of the majority of bloggers by virtue of both her notoriety and means. She’s not just any blogger, but one of the most well-known bloggers in existence, and/because she’s not just a blogger, but a deliberately provocative published author and pugnacious, recognizable television pundit (who, presumably, has the means to hire personal security). That shouldn’t be read, by the way, as condoning at all threats against Malkin; nonetheless, it’s simply neither fair nor accurate to juxtapose her experience with Kathy Sierra’s, as if to suggest “every women reacts differently” with no regard for personal circumstances and contextual content. Also glaringly absent from the article is Malkin’s history, which distinctly separates her from an average woman blogger who receives rape and/or death threats simply because someone disagrees with her opinions—precisely the sort of average woman blogger whom Malkin exhorts to “Keep blogging. Don’t cut and run.”

But perhaps the most frustrating omission from the article, so painstakingly not mentioned to the point of utter silliness, are the culprits behind these threats.
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Monday Blogwhoring

Whatcha got, Shakers?

Recommended reading…

LeMew: Abortion “Contrarianism”–Still Wrong

Mad Kane: Mother’s Day Limerick Contest … With Money Prizes!

The Onion: Middle East Conflict Intensifies As Blah Blah Blah, Etc. Etc. [H/T Sarah in Chicago]

Sara Anderson: Ladies Don’t Have Opinions

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Rush Limbaugh’s Influence, RIP

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the death of Rush Limbaugh’s influence on the American political and social scenes. Limbaugh’s influence, which peaked in 1994 and has been steadily eroding since, was at one time a terror on the airwaves, but has now flat-lined, leaving him and his cartel of 75-year-old-angry-white-guy listeners as little more than impotent, powerless parodies of themselves.

Limbaugh, who has spent the last several years being busted on drug charges, taking Viagra-fueled trips to such exotic sex tourism locations as the Dominican Republic and interviewing Dick Cheney, could not be reached for comment. Nonetheless, his Influence continued to barely cling to life. With the release of his latest appeal to the KKK, the song “Barack the Magic Negro,” (lyrics here) Limbaugh’s Influence has been rendered utterly irrelevant, and is now as dead as Don Imus’ career.
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Melamine A Hot Commodity, Which Means This

It is widely used. And the practice of adding powdered and even scrap melamine to grain products–a cheap and only “mildy toxic” (!) way to artificially boost protein readings and market prices–did not become popular on a China-wide basis overnight, either.

We who live and dine in America might as well get used to the idea that we’ve probably already consumed an unidentified amount of melamine and, what’s more, that we may have been doing so for as long as sixteen years (read the last sentence of the excerpt; emphasis mine):

BEIJING (Reuters) – Melamine is so popular as a protein lookalike feed additive that at least one Chinese manufacturer is believed to have torn down buildings to get to leftover scraps, industry officials said on Monday.

Melamine, used in making plastic and fertilizers, was blamed for killing pets in the United States and South America last month after it was found in wheat gluten and rice protein exported from China for use in pet food.

More than 100 brands of pet food were recalled, triggering a round of finger-pointing among pet food suppliers in the U.S. China last week said it would ban melamine-tainted protein products from export and from domestic markets.

Melamine scrap is believed to be commonly mixed in animal feed in China to artificially boost the protein level, especially in soymeal, tricking feedlots and farmers into paying more for feed for chickens and pigs.

“The chemical plant next to us used the melamine scrap as waste for landfill and built houses on it. Then they tore down the buildings to get the scrap once the price rose,” said a manager with Tai’an Yongfeng Feedmill Co. Ltd in the coastal province of Shandong.

“It is a very popular business here. I know people have been mixing this since 1991.”

Crossposted at litbrit

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Tart Recommends-No-Requires

Shakers: Do you like a lil’ verite with your cinema? A lil’ gritty ‘n’ realistic with your entertainment? How about some social consciousness and political conscience with your beautiful-but-accessible male protagonists? Then allow me to harangue you into renting Half Nelson, because it’s awesome and you should watch it. It’s about a crack-smoking eighth-grade history teacher who befriends a female student in a rough Brooklyn (what-what!) neighborhood.

One of the things I realized afterward that I really appreciated about this film was its myopic view of life in this part of Brooklyn. Based on a shot which included the Kentile Fabrics sign (which I can see on my morning subway ride), I think it takes place in or around Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is a brief subway ride from Manhattan and all the money and glamour therein. But there is nothing of “New York City” in this film. This is pre-gentrified Brooklyn, a Brooklyn I don’t see at all living in Park Slope with its wine shops and baby-fashion boutiques. The makers of Half Nelson give this place a voice, a visual identity, and most importantly, dignity; they make the old playgrounds and the grass sprouting up from the cracks in the sidewalks look beautiful; the children in class are bored, sweaty, caught on between jaded and impressionable, their budding collective intellect graceful and significant; Gosling’s crappy pre-war one-bedroom seems almost romantic, if only because his living there is a manifestation of his choice to teach history and basketball to poor black kids a brief bridge-ride across the East River from the world’s most famous island of wealth and ‘opportunity.’

I can’t recommend it enough. Oh, and the music rocks, too.

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With Friends Like These…

I missed the interview on 60 Minutes with former CIA director George Tenet, but as I made my way through DFW on the way to my gate, I saw the crawl on CNN on the TV monitors: “WHITE HOUSE BLASTS FORMER CIA CHIEF” and had pictures of Secretary of State Rice and all the other talking heads that the White House trots out on an increasingly often basis to try to debunk the stories and the books that former White House officials are now publishing.

It is probably human nature to have a knee-jerk and negative reaction when someone gets off the reservation, so to speak, and tells his side of the story, especially when it portrays the administration in such a bad light. And, to be fair, it sure doesn’t speak well of the teller of the tales that he waits this long to speak out. One of the more typical reactions I’ve seen on blogs and sites of all political stripes has been a variation on “Now you tell us?” I’m sure that a lot of people are wondering how many of our soldiers — not to mention Iraqi civilians — died while Mr. Tenet kept his silence until he could get the galleys back from his book. It is cold comfort to know that even if he had spoken out three years ago after he left his job that we are finding out that missed signals and incompetence were a part of the daily life of the CIA before and after it was abundantly clear that there were people out there who were actively drawing up plans to attack us. (Troll prophylactic: yes, Mr. Tenet was a holdover from the Clinton administration, but the claim that it’s all Bill Clinton’s fault, along with everything else that the Bush administration has managed to bungle, is fatuous. Mr. Bush retained Mr. Tenet and pinned a Medal of Freedom on him. If Mr. Tenet’s job performance was so poor, so beholden to the prior administration, and so prone to bad judgment, the president would have fired him when he took office. Oh, wait…)
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License to Drive Me Nutz

Indiana’s “In God We Trust” license plates, about which I was complaining a couple of weeks ago, have prompted a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Mark Studler, a Hoosier who, like Mr. Shakes and me, has consistently paid a $40 additional fee for environmental plates, $25 of which goes to the Indiana Heritage Trust, a state conservation group, and $15 of which is called “an administrative fee” that goes to the state. Studler, also like Mr. Shakes and me, was decidedly unthrilled to discover that the “In God We Trust” license plate is not considered a “specialty plate,” offered instead as an alternative to the standard plate at no extra cost: “Not even the $15 extra fee that usually goes to the state for administrative costs.”

“I don’t have any problem with people expressing their religious beliefs, whether it’s on a bumper sticker or their license plate,” said Studler, 49, a construction worker. “But folks should be treated in the same way — and charged the same fees by the state — as Hoosiers who prefer that their custom tags promote education or the environment.”

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit, on behalf of Studler, in state court against the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Commissioner Ronald L. Stiver. The complaint challenges a law that lets motorists get the “In God We Trust” design without paying the $15 administrative fee.

…State officials say the plate, introduced in January, has been a hit, chosen by more than 540,000 motorists. That means that had the state charged the $15 fee, it would have an additional $8 million in its coffers.

Question: Did I just get a notice that my property taxes had been increased again?

Answer: Yes I did.
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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Muppet Babies

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Daily Round-Up

Friday and the Weekend

Melissa: Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Melissa: Karl and Clippy

Melissa: Dem Debate

Wolfie: MIWOMIT Presents: VD is for Everybody

The Heretik: Dunking in the Dark

Melissa: Homophobic Hatred in Indiana Leads to Murder

Litbrit: FDA Raids ChemNutra’s Office; China Admits Problem For First Time; Menu Foods To Sue ChemNutra

Melissa: Friday Blogwhoring

Space Cowboy: Kristol Kalled on the Karpet

Melissa: Quote of the Day

Misty: Beliefs on the Teevee

Melissa: Tag Clouding the Debate

Tart: The Mang Kids Will be Happy In Their Own Good Goddamn Time!

Waveflux: Assuming That’s a Lie

Litbrit: Senator Reid’s Emergency Petition

Melissa: It’s Just Violence Against Women

Melissa: Friday Cat Blogging

Melissa: I’m a DUDE!

Melissa: Fox News—What’s Left to Say?

Kathy: Top Al-Qaeda Operative Captured — But When? And Was He?

Melissa: The Virtual Pub

Mustang Bobby: Chalk Up Another One

Brynn: 10 Easy Steps to Fascism in America

Kahty: The Dean of Washington Journalism Needs A Refresher Course in Fact-Checking

Kathy: Health Care is a Partisan Issue

Wolfie: “I will never be good enough, not until I am light as air”

Waveflux: MichaelMoore.com returns to LaVena’s story

Brynn: Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me…!

Melissa: Another Bush Administration Resignation

Litbrit: Food Tainting Update: Melamine Spiking A Common Practice in China

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Food Tainting Update: Melamine Spiking A Common Practice in China

At first, Chinese officials denied even shipping wheat gluten to the US in the first place, though it has since come to light that despite America being one of the world’s largest wheat producers, companies here find it cheaper to import gluten–which requires a certain amount of labor and processing of the grain–from China. This weekend, however, New York Times writer David Barboza, reporting from Zhangqiu, found numerous grain and food-processing workers and management willing to talk about what must seem like old news to them–namely, that adding melamine to grain products in order to boost protein-content readings (and market price) is a common practice in China:

ZHANGQIU, China, April 28 — As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.

For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

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