Saturday, March 24, 2012

HUGE! Federal judge orders FDA to cut antibiotics from animal feed/Updated!

By  beach babe in fl for Meatless Advocates Meetup

Fri Mar 23, 2012

Wow!  The FDA has been taking too long to implement what it knows are best practices for a healthy food system so a federal judge has to make them own up to their responsibilities to maintain a food system that does not harm public health.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered U.S. regulators to start proceedings to withdraw approval for the use of common antibiotics in animal feed, citing concerns that overuse is endangering human health by creating antibiotic-resistant "superbugs".
Can you believe that we have known about the dangers of overuse of antibiotics in animal feed since the 70's but nothing has been done.  Shows the power and money of the corporate meat industry.
The FDA had started such proceedings in 1977, prompted by its concerns the widespread use in livestock feed of certain antibiotics - particularly tetracyclines and penicillin, the most common. But the proceedings were never completed and the approval remained in place. [...]"In the intervening years, the scientific evidence of the risks to human health from the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has grown, and there is no evidence that the FDA has changed its position that such uses are not shown to be safe," .
Thanks for filing the lawsuit is due to environmental and public-health groups including The Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Union of Concerned Scientists in the Manhattan federal court in May.

The plaintiffs argued that using common antibiotics in livestock feed has contributed to the rapid growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in both animals and humans.

We know that the reason the meat industry uses antibiotics in animal feed is because their industrial meat operations are so damaging to animals health that they must be given prophylactic doses of antibiotics just to keep them alive.  Of course our immense market for meat has contributed to these unhealthy operations. 

The push back that we have made against CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) is showing promise.  This is a major blow to their continuance.  Huzzah!

Update with additional study:  This new action comes not a moment to soon as a new study out of Poland has found evidence of high levels of  antibiotic-proof pathogens in the natural environment(soil) as well. And yet again, animal antibiotics seem to be the culprit.  The pathogens seem to come from soil which has been treated with manure feed.  (PDF)

Houston, we have a huge problem when antibiotic-resistant microbes show up in fruits and vegetables

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Funnies: Rick Sanitarium Edition


Conan O'Brien: Today is Ann and Mitt Romney's 43rd wedding anniversary. This means t

hat 43 years ago Mitt proposed to his wife and due to a weak field of candidates, she said yes."

“A photo of a shirtless Rick Santorum lounging in a pool is circulating on the Internet. Ironically, the photo has proven to be a very effective form of birth control.”

David Letterman: "Rick Santorum wants to ban pornography. That's one of the few thriving industries America has left."

Jimmy Fallon: "This weekend President Obama will visit the border that separates North and South Korea. Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich will visit the border that separates the KFC from the Taco Bell."

"President Obama is calling on Iran to give its citizens better access to the Internet. Right now they only have one social networking site: 'Cover-Your-Face Book.'"

"Last week a tourist in Puerto Rico took a picture of Rick Santorum shirtless on the beach. I don’t want to say he looked chubby, but his new Secret Service code name is 'Newt Gingrich.'"

Bill Maher: “You know who hates March Madness? Rick Santorum. It combines the two things he hates most, college and putting something in a hole.

“Rick Santorum said this week that his 12-year-old could out-reason me about God. Look, I am not about to debate a home-schooled twelve-year-old. I have enough trouble with Sarah Palin.”

Republican Congressman Tells Woman To Donate To Democrats


by Kaili Joy Gray  on Thursday, March 22, 2012

Words I never thought I'd say, but this Republican member of Congress speaks for me:

As the only Republican Congressman at a rally for the Equal Rights Amendment on Thursday, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) gave women an unexpected piece of advice: Give your money to Democrats.

"I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault," he told the crowd of mostly women. "I'll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side -- my side -- has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can't succeed without your help." [...]

"This is a dogfight, it's a fistfight, and you have all the cards," he said. "I can only tell you to get out there and use them. Tell the other women, the other 51 percent of the population, to kick in a few of their bucks. Make it matter, get out there, get on TV, advertise, talk about this. The fact that you want [the ERA] is evidence that you deserve it and you need it."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mitt Romney As Dream Candidate

by Hunter for Daily Kos  on Wed Mar 21, 2012

Charles Pierce in Esquire, On Mitt Romney's dull-and-possibly-robotic repetitions of the old conservative "Obama was a community organizer!" talking point:

Let us consider, then, the community in which the president once organized. This is what I found out about it when I went and looked at it in 2008:

Obama also worked in the Altgeld Gardens, a housing development built in 1945 atop an ecological hellspout where two thousand families lived on an old landfill and hard by fifty-three different sites that had been designated as "toxic" by one study of the area.

Altgeld Gardens was built on the bones of old steel mills and factories, and atop the waste dumps and landfills that serviced them. And, when they built the projects there, they filled them full of asbestos. That poisoned neighborhood was a perfect product of the "freedom" that Romney talks about when he talks about an unregulated economy. Barack Obama went there to organize the people who were living on that deadly ground because The Market couldn't have cared less about them, and the various governments allowed The Market not to care and, so, did not care either. The kids with the asthma, they weren't free. The kids who developed the renal disease, they weren't free. The people in all the cancer clusters, they weren't free. If I were as much of a demagogue as Willard Romney is, I would point out that, in the 1980's, when the president was working for peanuts trying to get some sort of justice for the people that The Market had chosen to poison, Willard Romney was making millions with Bain Capital. But I'm not, so I won't.

Today's Etch-A-Sketch mockeries took off because they perfectly fit what people already believe about Mitt Romney: that he is, at heart, substanceless, merely a blank slate on which the usual Republican powerbrokers can write whatever the hell the latest talking points are, and have them repeat those talking points verbatim. Not well, maybe, but at least verbatim. I do think it a bit unfair, though. Clearly, Romney does have core beliefs, but I wonder if they are not foreign enough to Most Normal People that they are unrecognizable. Mitt Romney is, primarily, a corporation. If he is a person, it is only via the transitive property foisted upon us by the Supreme Court. His functions appear to be seeking profit, building firewalls around profit, and verbally defending profit—it is all the rest of the stuff that renders him tongue-tied.

Like the near-entirety of the Republican Party, the thing most earnestly pursued are vague plans about how allowing the wealthy and the corporate to further shirk their financial obligations to their country will, in some unspecified fashion, lead to an economic golden age. Whether or not children get asthma from inhaling fully unregulated profits is not a concern. What the rest of the budget looks like is not a concern (see: Paul Ryan and his ridiculous, comical, and utterly execrable plan proposing to cut the entire federal budget to a number below what his surrounding Republicans demand we spend on defense alone.) What the religious nuts that Rick Santorum courts want is most definitely not a concern, and Mitt can't even make a decent stab at pretending such a thing. Will the War on Women help the magical and wondrous free market? Eh, fine, then he's for it. Or against it. Whatever the thing is that means less regulation on companies, and who gives a damn about the rest.

Today Mitt Romney praised George W. Bush for avoiding a Great Depression and instead causing a mere catastrophic recession. (The phrase "I shit you not" is used a lot, these days, but ...) I don't think that line was just lip service. I think Mitt really is, in some ways, the continuation of what the Republican powerbrokers sought in George W. Bush. They wanted someone who would be as pliant as possible on regulation and oversight; they got it. They want someone who would either overturn anti-corporate law outright or at least prevent government from aggressively acting on it; they got that, too. They wanted the tax cuts, the massively deficit-causing tax cuts whose primary goal was to accrue just a tiny bit more money at the very top of the income spectrum; they got it. Deficits? They "didn't matter." Social issues? Well, George W. Bush was a mighty prick, on social issues, but he didn't go nearly as far as even the supposedly "moderate" Republicans lurched just a few years later. No, Dubya Bush was the perfect blank slate, the Iraq with which  conservatives could experiment with all their little pipe dreams, not worrying about the pitiful moron having any deep thoughts of his own on the subject. It was paradise, for them, until each and every one of those pipe dreams started going to hell in a handbasket. Oops!

In conservative savior candidates, the Republicans have been looking for the same thing. Christie, Rubio and the others are lusted after because of their pro-business predilictions, not because of their social conservative stances. Paul Ryan is the closest thing George W. Bush has to a younger, dumber clone, but he's looked at as the Republican's economic messiah. (Apparently, not being able to do basic math is the conservative equivalent of turning water into wine.) Rick Perry? Good Lord, Rick Perry was George W. Bush on acid. He had all of the good qualities of Bush, but since his name wasn't Bush he still had a shred of credibility to his name. Then he opened his own mouth, and all was lost.

No, I think Mitt Romney is exactly what the Republicans are after this election cycle. The social conservatives might not like it, and the base may put up a mighty fight, but the true money is behind the pliable, generic-sounding guy with a dollar sign where his heart should be. The Republican Party is, more than anything else, pissed off at the damn kids with asthma and the damn seniors demanding medical care and the damn government demanding the same damn taxes that everyone used to pay a mere twenty or thirty years ago, all of whom are pitted against the true Masters of the Universe, i.e. the people with all the money and most of the power, and they are out for blood. And they don't care how many stones they have to squeeze for that blood, either. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt would be so, so much preferable over someone who once was caught giving a damn about the poor.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hey! Guess who still gets mega tax breaks under the GOP budget plan? BIG OIL

by Eclectablog     Tue Mar 20,2012

It's good to be the king

 Not only is Paul Ryan's "Path to Poverty" budget going to give rich people tax breaks and cut benefits to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while maintaining current levels of military spending, it does something else, too. The GOP budget preserves massive subsidies to Big Oil companies while cutting investments in renewable energy.


[I]t appears that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion. And his budget would cut billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil and help protect middle-class families from volatile energy prices as well as create jobs. In short, the Ryan budget compounds the cost of high oil and gasoline prices on the middle class.

That's today's GOP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Oil.

Bought. And. Paid. For.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Violence Against Women Act Gets 60th Cosponsor Needed To Beat Filibuster


The newly politicized fight to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for the third time may have reached a tipping point. With the cosponsorship of Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, there are now 60 cosponsors, enough to overcome a filibuster if they all actually vote for the bill.

Heller joins Idaho's Mike Crapo, an author of the bill, Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Massachusetts' Scott Brown, and Illinois' Mark Kirk as a Republican supporting reauthorization. Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, the bill's other author, notes that "Fewer than a dozen bills introduced in the United States Senate this Congress have amassed 60 or more cosponsors."

Republicans—with the above-named exceptions—are trying to block reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act because of, as Adam Serwer explains, gays, immigrants and Native Americans:

Republicans' biggest qualms are about provisions that make federal grants to domestic violence organizations contingent on nondiscrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender victims; rules extending the authority of tribal courts over domestic violence matters; and a section that would provide more visas for abused undocumented women who agree to cooperate with law enforcement.

Dean Heller and Scott Brown are both facing strong challenges from women, Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley and, of course, Elizabeth Warren. If that helps get their votes on this critical piece of legislation, excellent. But let's not forget that if Shelley Berkley and Elizabeth Warren were in the Senate, we wouldn't have to wonder about these votes.

Sign the petition telling Senate Republicans to reauthorize The Violence Against Women Act.


Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Mar 20, 2012


Software Test

  I am trying to migrate from Windows to Linux. I have been using both systems for some time but I keep Windows only because I like their blogging software. Live Writer cannot be beat by anything that the Linux community has.

  So now i'm trying out ScribeFire, which is an add-on to Firefox. We'll see how this goes, and if I like it, then it is goodby Microsoft!

Tampa’s Domestic Partnership Registry…

…  received the City Council’s initial approval on Thursday, March 15, 2012 in a 5-0 vote, giving both heterosexual and same-sex couples a few more rights as far as being able to plan for their loved ones medical care in an emergency situation and even their funeral, if needed.

    A final vote is set for April 5, and that vote is expected to pass also.

Tampa Bay Times

The ordinance creating the registry says that nothing about it "shall be construed as recognizing or treating a domestic partnership as a marriage," and its City Council sponsor said it's not meant as a step toward legalizing gay marriage.

Rather, Yvonne Yolie Capin said, the registry is designed to help ensure that couples can visit each other in the hospital, make medical decisions and funeral arrangements for their loved ones and be informed when a partner has been in an accident.

    This topic caught my eye because I have recently had to endure the bullshit that a partner has to put up with when their other half has a major trauma and you aren’t considered a “ family member “ by hospital personnel, or by certain family members. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mitt Romney’s Problem? Sarah Palin

by brooklynbadboy for Daily Kos    Sun Mar 18, 2012

When Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, AKA "Joe the Plumber," won a Republican nomination for Congress, Sarah Palin's transformation of the Republican electoral base was complete. What has happened to the GOP, much to the consternation of the elite party establishment, is that it has become a party of paranoid conspiracy freaks, religious kooks, bigots, the marginally insane, and amateur grifters like Joe the Plumber. If Palin were running in the primary election for president, there is no doubt that she would be winning it, probably handily. This, in a nutshell, is why Mitt Romney, the only plausibly qualified candidate running for president in the GOP, is having such a hard time winning what should be a cakewalk primary. This party is no longer the party of the country club or even of Ronald Reagan. This is a party unhinged from reality. This is the party of Palin.

After Sarah Palin was first elevated to from obscure governor of less than 1 percent of the population, her influence over the party became abundantly clear. Other than Obama, nobody pulled larger crowds than her. She became the top small donor fundraiser in the Republican Party. She commanded the biggest speaking fees, sold the most books, and even won herself a top paid spot at Fox News. Her endorsement during the 2010 election cycle was the most coveted in the country. The media proclaimed her ability to "connect" with the most base desires of the GOP as unrivaled. Until Palin's infamous "blood libel" video permanently damaged her as a national candidate, she represented everything the GOP base wants in an American leader: White, not too smart, against modernity, an ability to ignore inconsistency, a devotion to megachurchdom, hostility to metropolitan areas, and hateful of anyone not like themselves. The fact that she was woefully unprepared to take on the responsibilities of being president was irrelevant. The Republican right doesn't want a president. They want a televangelist.

While many of us incorrectly predicted a Palin run for the presidency, her imprint on the primary has been obvious. At every turn, Republican primary voters have spoken loud and clear: they want someone who can beat Barack Obama, but they want that person to be as unqualified to be president as possible. While the establishment has decided that Mitt Romney offers their best shot at accomplishing that goal, even they have taken note of just how far right their base has gone. In any other era, the current version of Mitt Romney would have been considered a far right ideologue far outside the American mainstream. The current version of Romney is considered a moderate not simply because of his previous positions, but because the party base has moved far beyond Reagan conservatism and turned into a radical hate group writ large. If it wasn't for Palin's imprint on the party base, this election would look far more favorable for any Republican challenger.

Each of the now defunct presidential candidates has tried to take her place this year. Each of them failed. Michele Bachmann tried to fill her space with her own brand of crazy, but she literally didn't hunt. Perhaps she needed to air advertisements of herself firing a fully automatic rifle. Then Rick Perry moved in to take up the Palin banner, but he didn't hate brown people sufficiently. Then Herman Cain, who prominently endorsed Joe the Plumber, flew the Palin banner high. But he too had a problem: being a Black man sexually interested in White women, which is how we got Obama in the first place. (Sex scandals don't usually bother Republicans. Ask David Vitter. It is only a crime when Democrats do it.) Finally there was Newt, who seemed perfect at first look. Here was a guy who was a noted liar, an accomplished grifter, and a moral disgrace. While Newt could have certainly represent the values of the Palin Party, he has one tiny flaw: Newt is the most disliked human being in America. Even Palin's endorsement can't overcome that. So what's left is Santorum. Literally. A political nincompoop who can't even get basic things done like getting on the ballot.

Rush Limbaugh, the intellectual leader of the party since William F. Buckley's death, has openly proclaimed Palin the leader of the Republican Party. She knows nothing, hates everyone, and is in politics purely for financial gain just like himself. The Palin Party does not want Mitt Romney. For while Palin and Romney are both ambitious to a fault, Romney's ambition is of a different variety. Romney couldn't care less about minorities, gays, women, city and suburb dwellers, immigrants, or any of the other "others" that the Palin Party despises. Mitt Romney couldn't care less about religion, including his own. That's why he doesn't like talking about it honestly in public. Mitt Romney cares about one thing and one thing only: that the top one percent stay on top and become even more top. That's a problem for the Palin Party because they believe they should be on top by virtue of being better than everyone else ... by being "real Americans" rather than rich Americans. No matter what Mitt Romney does, the most he can hope for is that the Palin Party will tolerate him because they hate the alternative more. After all, as bad as Mitt Romney is, he's still a white man. In the Palin Party, that counts for a lot. But his Palin problem will still be there.

In the end, Palin's legacy will fade away as quickly as it came about. Her party is an aging, shrinking, dying demographic of rural White men. Many of the Republican party's luminaries understand this. Likely sooner than later, the GOP establishment will come to grips with the idea that if they are to survive as a political institution they will have to jettison the nutcase fringe. The reckoning will come, as the American political system tends to correct anomalies over time. But first, they'll have to blow an election that should have been easy as apple pie. For that, Mitt Romney can thank Sarah Palin.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Women Legislators Turn The Tables And Introduce Bills Regulating Men's Reproductive Health

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 12, 2012

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) isn't happy with bills that seek to control women's access to contraception and abortion. She has joined a trend across the nation by introducing a bill that would require men seeking a prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and "get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency." Sex therapists would be required to present the option of "celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

"The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues—the least we can do is return the favor," Senator Turner said. "It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs.

"When a man makes a crucial decision about his health and his body, he should be fully aware of the alternative options and the lifetime repercussions of that decision," Senator Turner said today. Men will be more easily guided through the process of obtaining treatment for impotence so they can better understand and more effectively address their condition.

Sen. Turner isn't the only legislator to introduce a "Viagra bill" or amendments in response to what mostly male legislators have been proposing around the nation.

In Illinois, for instance, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D) introduced an amendment to a bill requiring ultrasounds before a woman can get an abortion that would require men to watch an explicit video about the side-effects of erectile dysfunction drugs. And, Missouri state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) introduced a bill that would allow a man to obtain a vasectomy only when not doing so could cause him serious injury or death.

Some people may take these proposals as jokes. But the problem they spotlight, the war on women's reproductive rights and privacy, isn't funny at all.