Friday, November 21


OK, the SFGate columnist is known for going off on a rant now and again. But I found it interesting that his screed against corporate junk food consumption casually tossed off that piece of advice - here it is in context: "Begin to shun fast food. Wean yourself off milk and refined sugar and excess floury gunk, and seek out organics, start moving in that direction, tune your awareness little by little. Buy a few books. Or just one. Fast Food Nation or Mad Cowboy or The Food Revolution or even Eating Well For Optimum Health."

Thursday, November 20


While the long-term effects of Atkins are still up in the air, some feel the diet has contributed to their serious health problems and to the deaths of loved ones. At a press conference calling on the CDC to investigate, PCRM reported two deaths. "One," said Dr. Neal Barnard, "is the 16-year-old girl who wanted to lose some weight and went on a popular low carb, high fat, high protein diet, collapsed in school and died suddenly. Autopsy showed a massive abnormality in the heart. Another case, a 41-year-old man, no prior history of heart disease, collapsed suddenly and the same thing, the autopsy showed a massive heart malfunction. A third case, a man happened to have a heart scan prior to going on the diet and he got a clean bill of health, but after about two years on this popular low-carb diet, developed chest pain, had stress test changes and angiogram that showed a massive blockage in the heart." The man's arteries had clogged and his cholesterol shot up in the time he was on Atkins. News coverage has duly noted that "many doctors and the American Heart Association have warned that the diet could be dangerous," but not that it's utterly condemned by the health profession in Britain and banned in British hospitals. On the upside, though, this version of the story (Reuters) remained on the front of for at least two hours this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 19


That's the actual title of an in-house publication created by an idiot researcher at the University of Washington who has held onto his job but is prohibited from testing on animals because he decided to play God a few too many times. His infractions - involving experiments he ran without required approval - included "cutting the tips of mouse tails without anesthesia, withholding food from mice without university approval and failing to euthanize mice that were suffering beyond an acceptable level." Maybe he was confused because the level of suffering was acceptable to him. I mean, probably no level of it was acceptable to the mice.


That's what KFC has been saying with a straight face, in so many words.
"Consumers will be surprised to learn they can enjoy fried chicken as part of a healthy, balanced diet," says VP Scott Bergen. Yeah, they might be surprised the can enjoy dirt as part of a healthy, balanced diet too - as long as they just eat a tiny amount. But now the FTC is seriously reviewing CSPI's complaint of "deceptive and misleading" against KFC, who now says, coincidentally, that the three-week-old campaign has run long enough and is about to be replaced. Maybe there are some limits, after all...

Tuesday, November 18


That, at least, would be the logical conclusion drawn from an apology by Bill Singer, an assitant with the New York Mets. This bozo mocked a Chinese-American man for his heritage, repeatedly pressing him on where he was "from," then launched into singsong gibberish as if to imitate Chinese speech. "Singer told Mets general manager Jim Duquete that he was on a low-carbohydrate diet, which didn't react well when he drank alcohol." Victims of racism, it turns out, also don't always react well.

Monday, November 17


The wordplay is intentional: Hunters treat children in general the same way they do their non-human prey: Some "thing" to be bagged and brought home to increase one's status, never mind what the animal or child actually wants. Kids who will go along on a hunt are another kind of prize, perpetuating the myth of hunting as a vibrant, necessary hobby. As the number of adults interested in "bloodsports" continually dwindles, hunters get ever more desperate to inculcate the young'uns into the culture of death. "The decline, says the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, "means there aren't as many 12-year-olds hunting." True - or as many ten-year-olds dying.

In a story that's already become a sad cliche, another boy was killed in a hunting accident while hunting with his father. "Neighbors say Christopher Mattison is an avid sportsman and they say his son was an animal lover." Gosh, I wonder whose idea this hunting trip was?

But even the worst-case scenarios don't need to be invoked to argue against this craven exploitation of youth. As this Louisiana TV station editorializes about the infamous beaver-trapping Girl Scouts, "our young people should not be taught old ways of doing things merely because 'that's how it's always been done.' One of the great gifts new generations bring to older ones is the discovery of the better 'mouse trap,' or in this case, perhaps, a better beaver-reduction plan. Rather than recruiting Girl Scouts in the ugly business of trapping, we would prefer seeing Alaskan youngsters taught about the causes of beaver overpopulation and ways humans might avoid conflicting interests with wild animals." Yeah, it might be nice for kids to learn something productive, instead of being forced into roles as collaborators in dead-end cruelty.

UPDATE 12/1: Father faces charges in boy's hunting death: "Tyler, a fifth-grader at Seven Oaks Elementary School in Baltimore County, had never hunted from a tree stand with a crossbow and had not taken a hunter safety course or obtained a hunting license as required by state law." What a little scofflaw, huh? Wonder where he learned that kind of morals? Oh, BTW, "Police also allege Mattison [the father] had been drinking beer that day. A backpack in his truck had six empty beer cans."