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      One of the great crimes and tragedies of our world is how we treat the animals we eat (or whose milk or eggs or other products we eat and use.) Factory farming keeps them in tiny enclosures, feeds them monotonous foods, and then when they’re slaughtered it’s a terrible experience: they’re terrified and die in […]
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Monday: The instapaper queue

Turkey Tetrazzini for dinner? hmmm...

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?  Did everyone get enough to eat?  I brought the desserts this year and much to my surprise, no one in my family likes Lemon Meringue but me.  I’m not complaining but I did find it weird when my sister told me that it was a summer pie and why didn’t I know that??  Not to fear, we had pumpkin as well.  And a custard fruit tart brought by someone else that was also delicious.  It went fast.

My sister and her husband are into this foodsaver gadget and they shrinkwrapped the leftovers into neat little packages.  I have to get one of those suckers.  They gave me a package of turkey (white meat, yummmm) to take home with me.  Guess what’s for dinner tonight?

Anyway, I have a lot to do today.  I need to finish reading some papers, return a coat I decided I could live without and basically take care of some other stuff that I’ve been putting off.  So, I thought I’d let you in on my instapaper queue.  For those of you not familiar with instapaper, it’s an app/utility that allows you to save links to interesting webpages so that you end up with something like your own frontpage.  It comes with a button that you put on your browser bar and when you see something you want to read later, you just click on “read later” and it saves it to your instapaper account.  Later, you can peruse your links at your leisure.  Highly recommended.  They even have a Browse section of recommended links of things you may be interested in reading based on your current selections.

So, here’s a few things in my instapaper queue:

How do you define who’s homeless during a recession?  The Atlantic

All the Angry People- The New Yorker

Estee Lauder Heirs Tax Strategies Typify Advantages for Weathy- The New York Times (I guess they don’t need my money after all.  Did you know that Estee Lauder owns Clinique, M.A.C., and Origins as well?)

Team Obama Gears Up for 2012 – The New York Times (This one is unsettling.  Milk Bars and droogs come to mind)

So, What did Lipitor do for Pfizer? Or its Shareholders?- In the Pipeline (Or, “How the finance MBA executive class screwed the pooch in pharma, destroyed research, set the shareholders up for HUGE losses later and made the entire world hate drug discovery’s guts”  It’s hard to believe a group of arrogant, hierarchical Ivy League educated individuals could botch things this badly but it’s become clear to me that the Democrats have been taking lessons from them.)

More Parents are Opting out of Vaccines – The Atlantic  (Did you know that Raold Dahl’s 7 year old daughter Olivia died from encephalitis because she was not vaccinated against measles?  True story.  It’s hard to believe there are selfish, ignorant and arrogant parents out there who would expose other very young children to that because they won’t vaccinate their own kids.  It’s immoral.)

The Branding of the Occupy Movement- The New York Times (There’s a better article on Kalle Lasn somewhere but I neglected to instapaper it.  Try The New Yorker, New York Magazine or The Atlantic)

Payroll Tax Cut will Top Political Theater- Roll Call (yes, Virginia, they *are* still playing games instead of raising taxes on the rich)

Iran: We’ll Fire 150,000 Missiles at Israel if attacked- YNet (and we’ll turn Iran into a smoking cinder if it does.  I think there was a cold war term for that)

Pakistanis burn Obama in Effigy and US Flag- Sky News Australia (Ok, now I think we know why we have marines stationed in Australia.)

Cozy Winter Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli– The Kitchn (Apartment Therapy)

Charge Separation in Molecules Consisting of Two Identical Atoms: Size Matters – Science Daily (For the hard core polarity fans)

Finally, here’s a video on Pittsburghese, which is a distinct American dialect.  The host of this video is fresh, energetic and cute, but her accent is not anywhere near as heavy as my cousins’.  Still, if you ever wondered what it meant to “red up your house”, pay attention.

She forgot to say “keller” when she really means “color”.  And is it “UM-brella” or “umBRELLa”?

Finally, “Physician, Heal Thyself”.  Digby is absolutely right about dehumanization but it’s really odd that she and the rest of the left had no problem with it when the 2008 elections made old, uneducated, unattractive, working class, racist, latently Republican, menopausal women out of Hillary Clinton voters.  I mean, when you think of them *that* way, no wonder the Obama hooligans piled on.  Who wants to sit at that lunch table?  Dehumanizing those voters made it a lot easier to ignore their votes and violate their delegates with harrassment and threats at the convention.  They almost deserved it. Right, Digby?  Right, Duncan?  Right, Jay?  If you don’t take your own side to task for acting like flaming assholes, then others might find your newfound concern with “dehumanization” a bit hypocritical.  It was an election with far-reaching consequences not only to the economy but to voting in general. (Didn’t you guys ever figure out why Obama is ignoring his voting base now?  The answer is that you let him get away with it in 2008 so he knows he can do it again.) You guys should have been a lot more vigilant.

(No, I am not going to get over it.  If it were Howard Dean’s voters who got the Hillary treatment, you’d be all over this for decades to come. “Oh, but they’re different”, you’ll say. Exactly.  I rest my case.  “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere”.  Also, Karma is a bitch.)

Where else are they gonna go?

Merced's tent city


The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” – Anatoly France

From the Merced Sun-Stroke:

The students were among more than 30 people, including homeless advocates and Mercedians, who stood outside protesting at the civic center Monday.

Some carried signs that read “Where am I going to live now?” or wore tags that said “Where am I supposed to live?” Others sat in chairs on the sidewalk and one man even stood outside a tent with a sign that read “This is my condo.”

All were protesting against the Oct. 13 closure date of the homeless encampments, which had been previously pushed back because of a county holiday.


So my town has poor people with no place to live. They used to be called tramps, hobos and vagrants, but now we call them homeless. Many of them are parolees, drug addicts and/or mentally ill. They beg, scavenge and steal to survive.

Some of them started living along Black Rascal Creek, forming a “Hooverville” next to the railroad tracks in an industrial area on the edge of town. The lucky ones have tents, the rest make shelters out of whatever they can find.

Now the city is gonna make them leave, but they have no place else to go. They’ll still be poor and homeless, they’ll just have to do it somewhere else. “Out of sight, out of mind” meets NIMBY.

Some conservatives have this weird idea that if we make being poor unpleasant enough people will choose to not be poor. But if Welfare causes poverty, why was there poverty before there was Welfare?

The irony is that the City of Merced has hundreds of vacant houses due to the mortgage crisis. There are half a dozen within two blocks of my house, including one right across the street. People are simply walking away from places that are worth far less than they owe.

This isn’t a unique problem. I don’t have the answers, but we gotta do something. This is ridiculous, because even with our economy in the toilet we’re still the richest nation in the history of humankind.


“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

What kind of evil game is the NYTimes playing?

Two incidences does not mean correlation but let’s just say my tin foil antenna are twitching.

Yesterday, the NYTimes posted an article on the unemployed who are 55 or older.  They feature a picture of the subject of the article.  Patricia Reid, to put it kindly, is overweight, with a double chin and is no longer a young blooming rose.  Not only that but it looks like she’s taking a nap at her computer terminal.  Then, there are the details of her demise: when she was first unemployed, she didn’t curb her spending, she took extravagant vacations to Turkey, she employed the use of a chiropractor, she tapped into her 401K and spent most of it, she’s got significant credit card debt and a 3000 sq ft house.

The portrait of this person is highly unflattering.  She’s unattractive, foolish and lazy or so we are lead to believe.  You come away from this article thinking that Ms. Reid deserved it.

Here’s another one from the NYTimes about exhausting unemployment benefits.  In this one, the subject is a bit younger but still obese and past her prime.  The article mentions she was on “disability” before she was laid off.

I take it back.  There is definitely a trend here. Here’s a third article about exhausting unemployment bennies.  Again, the subject of the article is a middle aged woman, obese, with bleach blond hair.  More unflattering details in this one include the fact that the woman has grown children who have not offered her a place to live.  She’s virtually homeless.

Now, none of the unemployed friends I know look or behave anything like these women.  They’re all well educated, dedicated, hard working, responsible people who simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But if you read the NYTimes, you get the impression that the unemployed are fat, lazy, middle aged women who must have done something wrong or they wouldn’t be facing eviction.  They don’t deserve our help.  The unsympathetic characterization of the long term unemployed makes me think that Glenn Beck is editing.

Does anyone have a reasonable explanation for this phenomenon?  Anyone?  Bueller?