Tuesday, August 30


This is a delightful phrasing, packing in both meanings of "Stooge" - a) the audience "volunteer" who's secretly working for you, and b) one of the trio of comically incompetent buffoons - and both with perfect accuracy.

  • The quote comes from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who has fought the importation of young Canadian cattle over BSE concerns. His full quote was: "A few years ago, the four big meat companies, they expanded their role in this country. They bought a U.S. company called the United States Department of Agriculture. They are a bunch of stooges. The USDA crawled right into bed with them (the meat companies) and they run our internal policy and our international (beef) policy." Not often you hear a high-ranking official put it so bluntly.

  • Schweitzer may have been thinking of the specific stoogery of the August 19th (you'll never guess what day of the week that was) recall of 1,856 pounds of potential high-risk bone-in beef that had entered our country improperly from Canada. Even R-CALF was livid, expressing disappointment in the USDA's "failures," and in the fact that "although the processing facility, Green Bay Dressed Beef, voluntarily recalled the bone-in beef at issue, the recall was not initiated until Aug. 19, more than two weeks after this cow was processed." Yeah, that is kinda odd, ain't it?

  • Earlier that same week, it was revealed that "inspectors cited meatpackers more than 1,000 times over a 17-month period for violating rules concerning the removal of tissue associated with mad cow disease." While apologists try to downplay the "non-compliance" citations as trivial, the reports do indeed document "instances of meatpackers failing to properly remove 'specified risk materials' or SRMs-- brains, spinal cord tissue and other tissues that scientists say harbor the disease." Which means these entered the US food supply. 

  • And a couple days later, the Stooges admitted - only after a specific inquiry on this from the Associated Press -- that they had done no test other than IHC on at least 9,000 cows. You may remember IHC as the test that falsely cleared a Mad Cow back in November, an error we didn't find out about -- and wouldn't have, if the USDA chief had his way - until June of this year. Now, how exactly did that happen, again?

  • Funny you should ask. And even funnier that you expect the Stooges to provide an answer. After their lengthy taxpayer-funded investigation into that embarrassing and suspicious snafu, the final answer is... "Gosh, we just dunno!" Duh... Klonk!!! Whoop-whoop-whoop... Why I oughta...

    It's hilarious, except that these knuckleheads are in charge of an industry that has literal life-and-death consequences for all of us.

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