Trump and GOP turning pork inspection over to pork producers. What could possibly go wrong?

❝ The Trump administration plans to shift much of the power and responsibility for food safety inspections in hog plants to the pork industry as early as May, cutting the number of federal inspectors by about 40 percent and replacing them with plant employees.

Under the proposed new inspection system, the responsibility for identifying diseased and contaminated pork would be shared with plant employees, whose training would be at the discretion of plant owners. There would be no limits on slaughter-line speeds.

❝ The new pork inspection system would accelerate the federal government’s move toward delegating inspections to the livestock industry. During the Obama administration, poultry plant owners were given more power over safety inspections, although that administration canceled plans to increase line speeds. The Trump administration in September allowed some poultry plants to increase line speeds.

Give these creeps an inch they’ll take a mile. Put a corporate pimp like Trump into office, he’ll give away the whole road delivering inspected, regulated, food to the nation.

New Zealand gun lobby backs government ban after mosques massacre


Vincent Thian/AP Photo

❝ New Zealand will crack down on firearms ownership this week after the Christchurch mosques massacre that killed 50 people.

In stark contrast to the United States, where even the most minor curbs on gun ownership meet ferocious opposition led by the National Rifle Association, New Zealand gun owners agree action is needed.

❝ “We want to support our government in any changes to prevent a terrorist attack from happening in New Zealand again,” said Nicole McKee, secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearm Owners.

❝ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government announced an immediate ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles after the shooting and will put laws to parliament formalising its action on Tuesday…

Finalising such legislation can often take months but Ardern said the matter was so urgent it will be done by April 11.

❝ Further curbs – potentially including a gun register, tighter vetting and stricter gun storage rules – are set to be passed by the end of the year.

It’s not as difficult as you might think to have responsible, thoughful legislation passed in a nation where politicians are likely to count voters as taking primacy over donors and corporate flunkies.

Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy!


DeAngelo accused of 13 murders, nearly 50 rapes

❝ Everyone’s DNA sequence is unique. But for those who wish to maintain their genetic privacy, it may not be unique enough.

A new study argues that more than half of Americans could be identified by name if all you had to start with was a sample of their DNA and a few basic facts, such as the region where they live and about how old they might be.

❝ One of them is the rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe can sequence anyone’s DNA for about $100. All you have to do is provide a sample of saliva and drop it in the mail.

The other essential element is the proliferation of publicly searchable genealogy databases like GEDmatch. Anyone can upload a full genome to these sites and powerful computers will crunch through it, looking for stretches of matching DNA sequences that can be used to build out a family tree.

❝ So far, 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo is the most famous person to be identified this way. You may know him better as the suspected Golden State Killer, charged with 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted kidnapping…Since then, at least 13 additional suspected criminals have been identified in the same way…

“When the police caught the Golden State Killer, that was a very good day for humanity,” Columbia University computer scientist Yaniv Erlich said. “The problem is that the very same strategy can be misused.”

I tire of timorous mice who whine about the potential misuse of scientific procedures as if they are automatically destined to be implemented by an evil government. The solution is to regulate governments before they can grow evil, crap governments run by fools, reactionary governments voted into office by the ignorant and fearful.

Want to protect our privacy? Quit electing pimps for corporations which profit from abusing privacy. Get off your rusty dusty and spend a little time and political energy working to guarantee privacy. That won’t come from a line or two of patented code; but, by keeping an eye on the human beings who profit from sleazy government.

CitiBank Regulates Gun Sales While Congress Remains Mired In Political Idiocy


Corporate dedication to profits from violence

❝ Citigroup Inc. plans to prohibit retailers that are customers of the bank from offering bump stocks or selling guns to people who haven’t passed a background check or are younger than 21.

The bank is imposing the restrictions on companies that use it to issue store credit-cards or for lending and other services, according to a memo Thursday. The lender also barred the sale of high-capacity magazines.

❝ “The policy was designed to respect the rights of responsible gun owners while helping to keep firearms out of the wrong hands,” Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat said in the memo to staff. “It is clear to me that most people believe there are areas of agreement and practical changes we can make to find common ground.”

The overwhelming majority of Americans clearly agree with policies like these. Congress – tied in knots of ignorance, arrogance and the almighty dollar$ forked over by corporate profiteers – remains a useless political gang of greedy unprincipled hacks.

“I Don’t Understand Why I Can Still Go Into a Store and Buy a Weapon of War”

❝ A survivor of the Parkland, FL school shooting made an emotional plea during a listening session at the White House on Wednesday — which was hosted by President Donald Trump.

In a powerful speech, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student Sam Zeif questioned why he — having just turned 18 years of age — had the ability to purchase an assault rifle.

“I turned 18 the day after [the shooting],” Zeif said, through tears. “Woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don’t understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war. An AR.”

Life in these United States. Pigs in Congress and a pimp in the White House.

Taking a knee — Republican Style

Pretty much everyone in the family of my father’s generation worked in some part or other of the gun industry for a spell. Part of growing up in the Arsenal of America. We worked every category from machinist to prototype gunsmith, secretary to plant manager. The industry didn’t rely then on the death and destruction of American citizens. The NRA existed to provide safe hunting, safe shooting. Not like today — as a lobbyist for paranoid households and individuals armed to the teeth to “protect” themselves against damned near every other kind of American out there in the dark.

Australians Stay Alive Another Day Without God-Given Right to Shoot Down Their Friends and Neighbors


Boring isn’t it?

❝ Due to the nation’s controversial and oppressive gun restrictions, no one has died as a result of a mass-shooting on Australian soil today, for the 7827th day in a row.

❝ North Betoota cinema attendant, Christina Upton can’t believe it has been a whole 21 years and 57 days since a heavily armed white Australian male decided to shoot at a crowd of unsuspecting Australian civilians for no reason.

She says the peaceful two decades that have followed are “probably” because the Australian government decided to strip her of a God-given right to own projectile weaponry capable of shooting down helicopters…

❝ Ms Upton, who claims to be able to walk freely outside of her home without fear of being killed by a mass shooter, believes that God-given rights probably play a bigger role in America’s mass shootings than Americans think.

“I don’t think America should be so hard on itself about the mental state of thousands of lonely white losers. We have those people too,”

“…Just in our country those people don’t have access to Russian-made automatic assault rifles that have been invented purely to help military personnel win wars.”…

❝ Local Betoota cop, Uncle Rick Ridgeway, says that this is because idiots have a harder time getting their hands on machine guns than criminals.

“I think America needs to realise that it’s not really the criminals you need to worry about as such. I’d be more concerned about the weirdos,”

“Criminals use guns to help their efforts in making money through crime – they have much less interest in killing you for the sake of it…”

I’ll second that emotion.

Thanks, Honeyman

How Dangerous Is Pesticide Drift?


iStock/Thinkstock

❝ If you live near a big farm or an otherwise frequently manicured landscape, “pesticide drift”—drifting spray and dust from pesticide applications — could be an issue for you and yours. Indeed, pesticide drift is an insidious threat to human health as well as to wildlife and ecosystems in and around agricultural and even residential areas where harsh chemicals are used to ward off pests. The biggest risk from pesticide drift is to those living, working or attending school near larger farms which employ elevated spraying equipment or crop duster planes to apply chemicals to crops and fields. Children are especially vulnerable to these airborne pesticides, given that their young bodies are still growing and developing…

❝ Thanks in large part to advocacy by Pesticide Action Network and other groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made strides in protecting more of us against pesticide drift. In late 2009 the agency rolled out new guidelines directing pesticide manufacturers to include labeling on their products indicating how to minimize off-target spray and dust drift. Any spray pesticides manufactured or labeled as of January 2012 and for sale in the U.S. must display the warning on its label: “Do not apply this product in a manner that results in spray (or dust) drift that harms people or any other non-target organisms or sites.”…

Even though spray pesticides are now labeled and 28 states have drift spray regulations on their books, pesticide drift continues to be a problem wherever crops are grown. If pesticide drift is an issue where you live, work, study or play, contact PAN. The group can send out a “Drift Catcher”—a device that collects air samples which can then be analyzed for pesticides. “It enables farmworkers and community members to document and draw attention to otherwise invisible chemical exposures,” says PAN.

Please, please – live or work in an area where this is a problem – contact PAN.