Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sacred Cow, part II

Well they did it. The Illinois State Journal register printed my letter about not cooking and instead, eating only fresh fruits and vegetables.

I’m not going to imagine that it was my blog that motivated them, only the huge stack of letters on top of mine.

I am a little disappointed that my telling readers to stop cooking or buying processed foods didn't give them reservations about the letter's publication.

I was at Aldi's getting Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Garlic, and Tomatoes when I saw this Trail Mix from a company called Southern Grove. I'll admit it is packaged but some of the vegetabes are too and that's unavoidable. I tried it and it was quite good.

Trail mix has dehydrated fruit and the drying process may or may not be natural. It seemed harmless enough, but a closer inspection revealed such things as "Sulfer Dioxide to preserve color" and "colored with Titanium Oxide"

It was pretty good despite having a material component commonly found in farts. (1)

The Sacred Cow is very real however. What else is sacrosanct? How about these gems:

• Stop driving cars. Ride bicycles instead. Got a problem with that? Read on.

• Live near where you work. People who live in Springfield and work in Springfield should get special parking stickers that give them privileges. Everyone else should pay extra (besides what they pay at the gas pump. Better yet, they should pay the city exactly the same amount of money they spend on gas commuting to and from Springfield for work every day.)

(1) Sulfur Dioxide ( see the paragraph on "Gas Solutions."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What is a “Sacred Cow?”

A Sacred Cow is a term used to describe a topic that the news media does not want to touch. Reporters don’t dare report on it, editors get angry and most importantly, the financial support of the media outlet from advertisers, subscribers, or in some rare cases, contributing writers, can be shaken to the core.

For example, a newspaper editor might write an editorial that holds a specific political position that the readers might very well appreciate, but that his advertisers absolutely despise. The editor then faces a dilemma. Does he want to risk losing his financial support by offending his advertisers and make an appeal to an audience that is slipping away, or would he rather make an appeal to his advertisers and not mention the fact that he’s losing subscribers?

If he makes an appeal to his audience he will lose his financial support. If he makes his appeal to his advertisers, regardless of how true or false that appeal might be, he will keep his advertisers, and not mention that his advertisers are perhaps the only subscribers he has left.

Recently there have been some publications that contain nothing more than advertising and articles about advertisers. These represent the future of print. The only audience are the advertisers, they only read about each other, and ultimately a subculture of elites is lulled into a false sense of security because they no longer have access to information about the wider world.

I stumbled onto one such sacred cow when I wrote a letter to the editor of the State Journal Register several days ago. It was very short and to the point, and a direct threat to their second biggest block of advertising revenue. Here’s what I wrote.

“Want to go green? Want to save energy, cut back on trash, lose weight and get healthy all at the same time? Stop cooking or eating processed foods! Eat only fresh fruits and vegetables! You will save on your cooling bills too!”

There second biggest block of advertising revenue behind car dealerships is food. Imagine what would happen if nobody cooked anything and ate only fresh fruits and vegetables!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Impatient Parking

The McDonalds on Chatham road just north of Wabash is a usual stop for breakfast for many people, and there are some who prefer to park and walk in for their food rather than gamble with the “Drive-Thru.”

There is plenty of parking on the west side of the building (where the above photo was taken), but some people have very little patience and think they are saving time by parking in the traffic lane, leaving their vehicles running, and walking the same distance to the same entrance used by people who park legally.

These vehicles are parking illegally, and by doing so leave themselves vulnerable to such consequences as losing their insurance, their jobs, their savings, or even their vehicles if they leave them unlocked with the keys in the ignition .

A McDonalds employee said there were a few who parked in the traffic lane just north of the building including government vehicles. There are police cars parked at the gas station on the corner of Chatham and Wabash, but not on the day the photo was taken.

The minivan in the photo was almost rear-ended by the sedan in the photo next to it, and two weeks earlier, I almost rear-ended the same vehicle.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

American food crops to be decimated - Local Farmers Under Attack Again

Food crops will be decimated for lack of pollination by bees.

Worldwide bee populations have been reduced enough to threaten local small farmers. according to the BBC, "Beekeepers in London say 50 to 75 per cent of their bees have died and in the US 24 states are affected and 50 to 90 per cent of hives there have gone."

The French have identified a pesticide "Gaucho" as the culprit, and have banned its use. "Honey producers say Gaucho has damaged bee swarms by making plants toxic. Keepers say bees have become disoriented and unable to return to their hives."

Gaucho is manufactured by Bayer and sold in 70 countries.

Politicians are diverting the blame away from the chemical industry and toward the communication industry. Cellular telephone electronics and their communication towers. If that were true, this would have happened a decade ago.

Local farmers have been under attack now by fuel prices, patented plant genome pollin infiltrating their crops, poisoned imported animal feed (NOW FOUND IN FISH) , and now by the destruction of bee populations.

This can only bolster the profits of companies that have the resources to import food from South America, and it looks like a big fat secret trust between Chemistry and Agriculture multinational corporations.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

First Pet Food, Now Livestock Feed!

On Wednesday, May 2, 2007 Senator Durbin presented on the floor of the Senate, an amendment to food safety legislation that would require prompt reporting of any contamination, among many other new requirements. He said that it took three weeks for the contamination of Wheat Gluten by Melamine to be reported, and not until after there was a rash of cat and dog deaths that provoked veterinarians to start testing the food.

Senator Durbin said that Melamine was deliberately introduced into the wheat gluten to artificially increase it’s value. What they do, he said (I’m paraphrasing), is test the shipment for levels of Nitrogen. The higher the Nitrogen, the higher the price. Melamine tests positive for high levels of Nitrogen in small doses. The Chinese (or the company responsible for shipping the contaminated product) deliberately contaminated the product to make a profit.

In addition to pet food, livestock feed is contaminated as well. Pigs and Chicken were fed contaminated feed. The government says that the Melamine is so diluted that it would pose little or no risk to humans who consume chicken or pork.

Nobody mentioned anything about cattle, dairy or otherwise.

For a recap, visit my previos post from April 15


SHANGHAI: The general manager of one of the companies accused of selling
contaminated wheat gluten to U.S. pet-food suppliers has been detained by the
Chinese authorities, according to police officials here and a person who was
briefed on the investigation.
(International Herald Tribune)

(Instant kidney stones)

Pet Food Poisoning Mystery May Be Solved : Finding Comes As Menu Foods
Expands Its Recall And Senate OKs Regulation Of Pet Food Labels
(CBS News)