Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bad McCain!

Also from

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."4

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.5

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

1. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008

"McCain Facts,", April 4, 2008

2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007

5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007

6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008

9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008

"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Score 1 for we vegeterians

From The Washington Post.

Study: Factory Farming Taking Toll on Health, Economy

By Rick Weiss Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 29, 2008; 4:12 PM

Factory farming takes a big hidden toll on human health and the environment, is undermining rural America's economic stability and fails to provide the humane treatment of livestock increasingly demanded by American consumers, concludes an independent, 2 1/2 -year analysis that calls for major changes in the way corporate agriculture produces meat, milk and eggs.

The 111-page report released today, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, finds that the "economies of scale" long used to justify factory farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for a raft of associated costs.

Among those costs are human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the rampant use of antibiotics on feedlots and degradation of land, water and air quality caused by animal waste too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes.

Several experts said the report, by a commission of experts with varying backgrounds and allegiances, is remarkable for the number of tough recommendations that survived the grueling research and review process, which participants said was politically charged and under constant pressure from powerful agricultural interests.

In the end, however, even industry representatives on the panel agreed to such controversial recommendations as a ban on the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals -- a huge hit against veterinary pharmaceutical companies -- a phase-out of all intensive confinement systems that prevent the free movement of farm animals, and more vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws in the increasingly consolidated agricultural arena.

"At the end of his second term, President Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of the military-industrial complex -- an unhealthy alliance between the defense industry, the Pentagon and their friends on Capitol Hill," wrote Robert P. Martin, executive director of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Production, which wrote the report. "Now the agro-industrial complex -- an alliance of agricultural commodity groups, scientists at academic institutions who are paid by the industry, and their friends on Capitol Hill -- is a concern in animal food production in the 21st century."

The report, "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Production in America," comes at a time when food, agriculture and animal welfare issues are prominent in the American psyche.

Food prices are rising faster than they have for decades. Concerns about global climate change have brought new attention to the fact that modern agriculture is responsible for about 20 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas production. And recent meat recalls, punctuated by the release of undercover footage of dairy cows being abused at a California slaughterhouse, have struck a chord with consumers increasingly attuned to the realities of where their meat and dairy products come from.

The report acknowledges that the decades-long trend towards reliance on "concentrated animal feeding operations," or CAFOs, has brought some benefits, including cheaper food. In 1970, the average American spent 4.2 percent of his or her income to buy 194 pounds of red meat and poultry annually. By 2005 typical Americans were spending just 2.1 percent of their income for 221 pounds per year.

But the system has also brought unintended consequences. With thousands of animals kept in close quarters, diseases spread quickly. To prevent some of those outbreaks -- and, more often, simply to spur faster growth -- factory farms routinely treat animals with antibiotics, speeding the development of drug-resistant bacteria and in some cases rendering important medicines less effective in people.

The vast majority of U.S. antibiotic use is for animals, the commission noted, adding that because of the lack of oversight by the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies, even regulators can only estimate how many drugs are being given to animals.

The commission urges stronger reporting requirements for companies and a phase-out and then ban on antibiotics in farm animals except as treatments for disease, a policy already initiated in some European countries.

"That's a good recommendation. A strong recommendation," said Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which released its own report last week documenting billions of dollars in farm subsidies to factory farming operations and annual federal expenditures of $100 million just to clean up their ongoing environmental damage.

The Pew report also calls for tighter regulation of factory farm waste, finding that toxic gases and dust from animal waste are making CAFO workers and neighbors ill.

In calling for a ten-year phase-out of intensive confinement systems such as gestation crates for pigs and so-called battery cages for chickens, the commission adds impetus to recent commitments from some corporate operators to drop, gradually, those controversial practices.

"These animals can't engage in normal behavior at all," said commission member Michael Blackwell, a veterinarian and former assistant U.S. Surgeon General.

The report also calls for implementation of a long-delayed national tracking system that would allow trace-back of diseased animals within 48 hours after a human outbreak of food-borne disease. And it calls for an end to forced feeding of poultry to produce foie gras, a delicacy that Blackwell described unpalatably as "diseased liver."

Activists said it will be up to Congress and agency officials, under public pressure, to implement some of the commission's recommendations. Congress is now considering a bill, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, that would accomplish some of the Pew recommendations.

You tell 'em

Apparently Obama's speech in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago hasn't gotten people (the media) to shut up about his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright is now out talking to people and attracting a lot of attention, making even more distractions to turn people's (the media's) attention away from the issues that really matter. So, Obama stuck it to him again, and he means it.


Another dentist appointment today to prep for another crown. My mouth is a big fat cotton ball again, thanks to novocaine. Boo :-(

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another Funny

Here's another funny (but not quite as great as the earlier one) cartoon from toothpaste for dinner.

Run for Wakefield

Our school had a 5K fundraiser yesterday and I went with a team of 9 of my students. I actually walked the 3.2 miles for Wakefield, but it was a lot of fun! I brought my camera with me, but alas, when I took it out to take pictures of the kids, I discovered that I left my battery in the charger at home. Silly me. So, here's a commercial the school made before the race to get kids to sign up. Rah! (PS. I crossed the finish line at just over 48 minutes. Hooray! :-))

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was Eric's birthday. We went out to dinner at a tapas place in town then to our favorite dive to hang out with friends. It was a lot of fun, and a super way to spend the big day! We'll be planning a cook-out at our place some Saturday in May for further celebration. Hooray!

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Obama-talk

I helped endorse Obama a couple of months ago. As a member of the organization, I was one of the 73% who voted to support him and convinced MoveOn to put their political weight behind him. They just ran an advertisement competition for members to create original 30-second spots for Obama. The winner will be aired on national tv.

I've been looking through the ads, all of which have been compelling, touching, and inspiring. This one has been my favorite so far, though:


"by Odette Springer

"POWER OF HOPE, POWER OF CHANGE When children are given a chance to be truly authentic, we often marvel at their poignant intelligence. Unfortunately, even with their profound insightfulness, we have a tendency to minimize their feelings and observations. I know, from my extensive conversations with children, that they are terrified about the future of this increasingly hostile, perilous and broken world. I asked them what advice they would like to offer the adults. They talked about real connection, real understanding and real empathy that come from true wisdom. They told me they wanted children everywhere to challenge adults, especially politicians, to tell the truth, protect our planet, and attend to the needs and problems of the world with much needed wisdom. …which inspired this Project for Senator Barack Obama, “POWER OF HOPE, POWER OF CHANGE�

See for yourself at "Obama in 30 Seconds"

Yard Work

So, spring is here and the weeds are growing! We spent most of the daylight hours on Saturday working in our front yard. Aren't we such cute workers? :-)

Mulching the shrubs

Potting some herbs and flowers


Nearly finished!

It was fun, but wow, we were sore the next day. Got it done just in time, though, because there were some pretty heavy thunderstorms all day Sunday and today. Grow little flowers, grow!

Thursday, April 17, 2008 Petition: Enough is enough

Subject: Enough is enough


If you missed the Democratic presidential debate on ABC Wednesday night, Editor & Publisher called it "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years."

Moderators George Stephanopolous and Charlie Gibson spent the first 50 minutes obsessed with distractions that only political insiders care about--gaffes, polling numbers, the stale Rev. Wright story, and the old-news Bosnia story. And, channelling Karl Rove, they directed a video question to Barack Obama asking if he loves the American flag or not. Seriously!

I just signed a petition to ABC and other media that says: "Debate moderators abuse the public trust every time they ask trivial questions about gaffes and 'gotchas' that only political insiders care about. Enough with the distractions--ABC and other networks must focus on issues that affect people's daily lives."

Want to sign it to? We need a bunch of signers for ABC to take this concern seriously.
Click here to sign:


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We're Back!

The trip was wonderful, and I'll write all about it soon, but I saw this and had to share:

Take your own virtual shopping spree at!!



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