Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where are the Grainitarians?

It is the primary unanswered question of meat-free diets. We've all heard the arguments, about how we are soooo like the herbivores, and soooo not like the carnivores, therefore we should eat plant based foods.

The problem is, most of these herbivores eat grass. Not grain. These herbivores we are supposed to be so similar to, get into lots of trouble when their diet becomes heavy with corn, wheat, oats etc.

PBS Frontline hosted an interview with Michael Pollan that revealed what happens to our cousins the herbivores when they eat grain.

Cows are not evolved to digest corn. It creates all sorts of problems for them. The rumen is designed for grass. And corn is just too rich, too starchy. So as soon as you introduce corn, the animal is liable to get sick.

It creates a whole [host] of changes to the animal.

You start giving them antibiotics, because as soon as you give them corn, you've disturbed their digestion, and they're apt to get sick, so you then have to give them drugs. That's how you get in this whole cycle of drugs and meat. By feeding them what they're not equipped to eat well, we then go down this path of technological fixes, and the first is the antibiotics. Once they start eating the [corn], they're more vulnerable. They're stressed, so they're more vulnerable to all the different diseases cows get. But specifically they get bloat, which is just a horrible thing to happen. They stop ruminating.

So you put in the corn, and this layer of slime forms over the rumen. You've got to picture the rumen. It's a 45-gallon fermentation tank. It's essentially fermenting the grass. Suddenly your slime forms and the gas can't escape, and the rumen just expands like a balloon. It's pressing against the lungs and the heart, and if nothing is done, the animal suffocates.

So what is done is, if you catch it in time, you stick a hose down the esophagus and you release the gas and maybe give the animal some hay or grass, and it's a lot healthier. But it's one of the things that happens to cows on corn. ...

Slime. Eeewww. I've seen hams with horror movie quality slime on them (ok that's another story but still gross.) Poor cows. How cruel is it to force the poor herbivores we are sooo much like to be grainitarians. Is it more cruel than eating them?

But we don't eat grass or hay. So maybe the ruminent herbivores are not the ones we are so like after all.

I know! It's apes. They are vegetarian (or are they) and genetically very like us. They must be the herbivores we are so very like.

Well, here is dedicated carniphobe McDougall on our ape cousins.

The diets of great apes, like those of chimpanzees, our closest relative, are nearly pure vegetarian in composition; consisting largely of fruits, and in the dry seasons when fruit is scarce, they eat tree seeds, flowers, soft pith, and bark; with termites and small mammals making a very small contribution all year long. Chimpanzees eat very little starch.

Dr. McDougall, you see, thinks everything can be cured by a vegetarian diet. However, he will only hold this claim if it is a starch-based vegetarian diet. So if even says we are not like the chimpanzee, then they must not be the herbivore our vegetarian pre-disposed systems are modeled after.

Additionally, chimps have been observed eating meat in the wild. Real meat, like bush pigs, not just the better known termite fetishes.

What does that leave?

Vermin. Mice, rats, gerbils etc. Rodents.

Are we like rodents? (I don't think that is quite what the 'we're all vegetarians by design' crowd has in mind, but for the sake of full disclosure, we'll investigate.)

Small mammal nutrition tells us that rabbits eat green leafy things, they are strict herbivores and grains can lead to gastrointestinal disease (ok, sounds like cows). Yes, I know rabbits aren't rodents, to most people anyway. My dog I'm not so sure about.

Guinea pigs and chinchillas are like rabbits.

The real rodents, the climb on the chair screaming 'There's a Rodent' rodents, are a little different. They eat everything. Plants and meat and of course they are notorious for eating grain. But what happens to the mouse and rat when it eats only vegetarian foods? Well, how does cannibalism sound? Okay, what about mouse-ablism? Better? Ratablism?

The Ratablism link is a FAQ from a rat breeder. Not hard science, but breeders can make some very valid observations.

Belief: Feeding meat will make rat vicious.

Basis/Reality: WRONG. Meat products are a necessary part of a rats diet. Rats are omnivores. That doesn't mean they CAN eat both meat and vegetable products, it means they MUST eat a varied diet that contains both in order to be healthy. There is absolutely no evidence that a diet rich with meat makes rats or any other animal vicious. There is evidence to the contrary! If rats are denied meat products such as a kibble, rodent block, or a little egg or chicken in their diet, they will and have had to turn elsewhere for the nutrients they need. This may involve preying on mice (or trying their best to!) nearby or catching bugs--whatever it takes. The rare instances where rats have eaten the flesh of other rats or killed other animals often take place when the rats have an incomplete diet. (Especially in pet stores where they are fed only grains and kept in close proximity to other rodents they can hunt.) BTW, I have among the most gentle rats I've ever known, and they regularly get leftovers including bones and meat--in addition to their dry diet which includes kibble. Only a despirate or starving animal is a "vicious" animal...

So where does that leave us?

One idea is that we are just unique. We are, 'Cookitarians'. Meaning it doesn't matter what our food of choice, as long as we cook it.

Dr. Richard Wrangham, a Harvard professor of anthropology, attempts to explain why we are alive today and have not become extinct because we are so poorly designed. He thinks that humans survived because they learned to cook.

Okay. Maybe. I think the evidence comes down most strongly on the side of the carnivore. The Eskimos (Inuit) pretty much disproved the cooking philosophy. Archeologists are routing any concept of agricultural societies being healthier than hunter-gatherers.

And then there are the socialogical implications, that would be really fun to post about. For example, what happens when a agricultural based society begins to enjoy a higher fertility rate than the hunter gatherers? Oh yeah, mortality is higher, so no prob. BUT. What if we fix the mortality problems caused by the agriculture with our superior technology developed by our cooked food enhanced brains? Mortality Redux.

Hmmm. 6 Billion strong. Someday we'll figure it out.

In the meantime, I still want to know. Which obligate vegetarian mammals are we designed like again?

A flu pandemic . . . In April?

I haven't seen anyone blame this April Swine Flu pandemic on global warming yet, so let me be the first to call it for . . . Global Cooling.

Come'on. Flu season in April? The flu season typically runs from October to March (the coldest half of the year) and peaks in January. Recent research has shown virus transmission is greatest when the air is cold and dry.

So when is the air coldest and driest?


And when does winter extend into April?

When the planet is cooling.

Maybe I'm skating on thin ice, but it's getting thicker every day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Name the New Solar Minimum

What should the New Solar Minimum be called?


Note of course that first a full solar minimum must develop, and then the powers that be must consider the outcome of this informal "denier" web poll.

p.s. The proper vote is for "Gore Minimum".


One Remaining Hero?

I don't buy the concept of "hero", generally speaking there is nobody out there worth modeling your life after.

But once in a great while, someone comes along, stands up for that which is right, and TAKES ONE FOR THE REST OF US.

Such an individual, I think, can be called a hero.

Such an individual is this man.

And he took one for all of us. Another time when he went through the same Checkpoint Carlito, he was roughed up quite a bit more.

InfoWars is the only outlet to publish the story so far, that I know of.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brainwashing the Babies

Horrors in Oz. Federal Government wants tots to learn more social skills.

"Social skills" is a code word for "diversity". Diversity is fast becoming a bad word.

Diversity, you see, means "different". Promoting diversity, really means the promotion of everything that is different about people. The end goal of promoting a bunch of different things is to bring about homogeneity of ideals, specifically, the ideal of embracing everything because it is different.

To paraphrase a idiom, there is no "Unity" in "Diversity". And there is no logic in this ridiculous circle.

This OZ article must stick in the craw of every parent.
We can start at the top.

The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT wants babies to learn social skills.
The government is not really alive. To anthropomorphize it is to fulfill the beast/leviathan analogies. Who has any business saying what babies should learn? Parents. Don't babies learn social skills by virtue of their daily interactions? Evidently not. Or, not the appropriate type of "social skills".

"It's not as if children will be harmed for life by this focus on difference and commonality," she said. To which I can only say - PROVE IT.

"the goal will be to "promote children's civic participation and nurture socially responsible citizens for a future world," The goal of child rearing should be the molding of self-reliant individuals who put a premium on minding their own business.

"The early childhood years are a time when children are developing understandings of community and citizenship and learning about democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizens," it says. The early childhood years are a time when babies are so very vulnerable, when their emotions and reactions are developing and the concepts and experiences they encounter will last a lifetime. Don't believe it? Just ask any caretaker of children who were abused during these early years. The idea that government could publish guidelines for exploiting that very vulnerable period for servitude to the state should terrify every individual.

Community Childcare executive director Barbara Romeril also welcomed the focus on equity and getting children to challenge discrimination and disadvantage. Challenge disadvantage? To challenge disadvantage, you first have to define what it is. How are you going to define "disadvantage" while promoting diversity? And who gets to define disadvantage? Ok, you don't have to answer that. We know it will be the Leviathan.

Granny Miller posted this a couple years ago:
“Back in those days people from the government came and told us how bad we had it. They told us we were poor, backwards and uneducated.
Now that was news to us, because we thought we had it pretty good.

We always had more than enough to eat and were warm and happy, while people who live in the city were standing in breadlines without jobs and freezing.
We didn’t have any hard money, but you didn’t need that much.
Everybody was poor back then but we had each other."

My father-in-law's life taught me that my world view was poor, ignorant, backwards and most certainly uneducated; and so was Uncle Sam.

If adopted, the Department of Education guidelines would cover all kinders, childcare centres and other early childhood settings, and would provide the basis for the education and care of all Australian preschoolers.
Well, since we already know these guidelines are not promoting the advancement of the individual, it is no small jump to presume that soon such guidelines, and the necessity for such guidelines, will bring the government to discourage home schooling.

The Mecca of Regulation

Let no one say that Sharia law is the law of lawlessness and no-regulation.

No, where Sharia law governs, it governs to the bedroom and beyond.

The law says a husband can demand sex with his wife every four days, unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse. It also regulates when and for what reasons a wife may leave her home without a male escort.

And don't think of protesting it. In Sharia country, protesters are stoned.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quorum of Socialists

Bond. James Bond. Is not what he used to be. Once a suave, sophisticated man of the world, 007 is now a brawler and special effects stooge who wears polo shirts.

Dress code at MI6 must be business casual.

In Quorum of Socialists (sorry, Quantum of Solace) The bad guy (who was he again? Oh yeah, forgettable) is trying to dry out the poor people of the Bolivian desert region. What they did to him, and why exactly it took an international conspiracy to manipulate the indigenous impoverished of South America, is not explained. Evidently though, the only way to get to them was by damming their water supply. I guess Sandinistas and AKs were in short supply that year.

But the real red of the movie came from the lines of the (forgettable) bad guy.

Like this gem, delivered early on by the *baddest* man in the world, on the poorly guarded docks outside a warehouse in Haiti. Yeah, James was sitting just on the other side of the chainlink, watching the whole thing.

Bad guy says

The Haitains elect a priest who decides to raise the minimum wage from 38 cents to one dollar a day, not a lot, but it is enough to upset the corporations where they are making T-shirts and running shoes. So they called us and we facilitated change.

We facilitated change. Obamastyle. Lol, okay, bad guy didn't say what kind of change they facilitated, we're probably to assume it was an overthrow of the Haitian government. But most likely, if they really wanted to hurt the poor people (which seems to be his m.o.) they forced the government to raise the minimum wage to two dollars a day.

In "The Ugly Truth About the Minimum Wage" Jim Cox explains how to put the greatest hurt on the poor.

The venerable Thomas DeLorenzo takes on the T-shirts and running shoes slander. No one says where the polo shirts were made, but everyone knows T-shirts and running shoes are handcrafted by tiny babes in horrible sweatshops where no one has health insurance. Right?

But our bad guy isn't into running shoe factories anymore. In what has to be the most laughable setting ever in a movie, bad guy meets his client in Fuel Cell Hotel.

I'm sure the watermelons loved that concept. It reminded me of the old home in Oklahoma that was built of coal, with straw in the interior of the walls for insulation. I'm sure they could have use it in the Bond film, except... it burned down a few years ago.

So here we have bad guy, in Fuel Cell Hotel, in the middle of the desert. What does bad guy do for a living again? Oh yeah. He collects water.

Or as he put it,

You don't need another marxist giving resources to the people, do you?

This is the worlds' most precious resource. We must control as much of it as we can.

So who is the opposite of a Marxist that buys water rights under a green banner?

Maybe T. Boone Pickens should be suing the Bond franchise.

At the very least, let's he hope he never builds a windmill hotel, and if he does, he keeps his water resources close at hand.

For some reason, I can't find any links to the Oklahoma coal house online. Maybe they were too embarrassed, but if somebody has one, please let me know. In the mean time, just to prove that people really do build buildings out of coal (and say wonderful things about them, like "1933 -- a year when building a house out of fuel made sense").


Fuel Cell Hotel reminds me of my all-time favorite antique from Antiques Roadshow.

Yes, that is exactly what it looks like. A small glass model of the Hindenburg, fill with FUEL from the Hindenburg. Made into an ASHTRAY.

(please can I have one?)

Glenn Becks' Hockey Stick

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ron Paul was RIGHT . . . in 1999

Denninger recently posted a 'how did we get here again?' ticker titled WayBack Machine: HellFire Call .

In 1999, Congress approved the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill, which essentially nullified the Glass-Steagall Act. Denninger quotes a NYT article from the time of the GLB passage:

The decision to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 provoked dire warnings from a handful of dissenters that the deregulation of Wall Street would someday wreak havoc on the nation's financial system. The original idea behind Glass-Steagall was that separation between bankers and brokers would reduce the potential conflicts of interest that were thought to have contributed to the speculative stock frenzy before the Depression.

and he provides this brilliant comment:

"Funny how we waited until everyone who went through that special Hell known as "The Depression" were dead, then we simply rode roughshod over what they taught us and declared them "fools."

Luckily for us, not everyone called them complete fools. Guess who didn't?

Ron Paul.

Ron Paul's comments on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act:

Madam Speaker, today we are considering a bill aimed at modernizing the financial services industry through deregulation. It is a worthy goal which I support. However, this bill falls short of that goal. The negative aspects of this bill outweigh the benefits. Many have already argued for the need to update our financial laws. I would just add that I agree on the need for reform but oppose this approach.

With the economy more fragile than is popularly recognized, we should move cautiously as we initiate reforms. -[PAUL SAID THIS IN 1999!]

He offered an alternative.

The better alternative is to repeal privacy busting government regulations. The same approach applies to Glass-Steagall and S. 900. Why not just repeal the offending regulation? In the banking committee, I offered an amendment to do just that. My main reasons for voting against this bill are the expansion of the taxpayer liability and the introduction of even more regulations. The entire multi-hundred page S. 900 that reregulates rather than deregulates the financial sector could be replaced with a simple one-page bill.