Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meatless school cafeterias?

Whatever happened to having to eat your meat and drink your milk before you got dessert?

From the Associated Press:

DENVER — More kids could get vegetarian meals and nondairy food and drink in the school cafeteria under a bill proposed by Colorado congressman Jared Polis.

"One of the things I've always been dismayed by is the nutritional value of the meals schools serve," Polis said Monday before promoting his Healthy School Meals Act at a suburban Denver charter school.

Polis, a Democrat, wants to give schools an incentive to offer more plant-based food. He estimated it would cost around $50 million a year but said he believes that would be more than offset in health care savings because fewer children would suffer from juvenile diabetes, heart disease and other conditions linked to obesity.

Troy Hadrick of Advocates for Agriculture remarks:

Withholding meat and milk from our children is certainly not going to make them healthier. If we want our kids to be healthier we have to get back to the basics. They need to eat a balanced diet that includes meat and diary products, get plenty of exercise and cut down on the junk food. This congressman’s proposal is as ridiculous as it sounds. Besides that, I wonder if the parents and the congressman realize that the vegetarian option of macaroni and cheese they are promoting uses cheese which is made from milk, they very same milk that they want removed from the lunch program. Our kids do need to eat healthier, but telling them not to eat meat or drink milk won’t accomplish anything.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Judge's ruling is 'powerful, excellent'

The Pacific Legal Foundation hails today's decision on the side of farmers in the Delta water lawsuit:

SACRAMENTO, May 18, 2010 --- Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys applauded Federal Judge Oliver Wanger’s issuance today of a preliminary injunction against a federal regulatory action that has contributed to devastating water cutbacks for farms and communities in Central and Southern California.

PLF is the nation’s leading legal watchdog for property rights, and has been participating in the legal challenges to the Endangered Species Act biological opinions (or "biops") that have triggered these dramatic cuts in water pumping. PLF has been representing some San Joaquin Valley farmers who have been hard-hit by the federally imposed water cutbacks.

Today’s preliminary injunction, issued by Federal Judge Oliver Wanger, targets the "biop" relating to chinook salmon and steelhead, among other species.

PLF STATEMENT: "Judge Wanger recognized that federal regulators had not taken account of how water cutoffs could damage the human environment, and they did not use the best available science," said PLF attorney Brandon Middleton.

"This is a powerful, excellent ruling," said Middleton. "The judge is telling the feds that they can’t ignore the harsh human and environmental impacts of cutting off water to farms, workers, businesses and communities. The judge is also saying the feds can’t get away with using slippery science to justify envrionmental restrictions that rob communities of their lifeblood – water."

A hearing tomorrow in Judge Wanger's Fresno courtroom will address the exact nature of the injunctive relief and how much more water pumping must be permitted.

The ruling is linked at PLF’s Liberty Blog:

Monday, May 17, 2010

A towering incongruity

That's an expression that was used by a county supervisor I used to cover, and it applies to this question I have.

I thought feminists and other garden-variety liberals despised beauty pageants because they were degrading to women (a sentiment that, I might add, has a great deal of merit).

So why does it seem like they've taken one over?

Is your computer keeping you awake?

From CNN:

J.D. Moyer decided recently to conduct a little experiment with artificial light and his sleep cycle.

The sleep-deprived Oakland, California, resident had read that strong light -- whether it's beaming down from the sun or up from the screens of personal electronics -- can reset a person's internal sleep clock.

So, for one month, whenever the sun set, he turned off all the gadgets and lights in his house -- from the bulb hidden in his refrigerator to his laptop computer.

It worked. Instead of falling asleep at midnight, Moyer's head was hitting the pillow as early as 9 p.m. He felt so well-rested during the test, he said, that friends remarked on his unexpected morning perkiness.

"I had the experience, a number of times, just feeling kind of unreasonably happy for no reason. And it was the sleep," he said. "Sure, you can get by with six or seven hours, but sleeping eight or nine hours -- it's a different state of mind."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Now we know: Cronkite collaborated with war protesters

The man widely credited for turning American opinion against the Vietnam War ... was working behind the scenes to do just that.

From Yahoo News:

Legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite allegedly collaborated with anti-Vietnam War activists in the 1960s, going so far as to offer advice on how to raise the public profile of protests and even pledging CBS News resources to help pull off events, according to FBI documents obtained by Yahoo! News.

The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, say that in November 1969, Cronkite encouraged students at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., to invite Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie to address a protest they were planning near Cape Kennedy (now known as Cape Canaveral). Cronkite told the group's leader that Muskie would be nearby for a fundraiser on the day of the protest, and said that "CBS would rent [a] helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally," according to the documents.

The claims are contained in an FBI memo recounting a confidential informant's report on a November 1969 meeting of a Rollins College protest group called Youth for New America. The group was planning rallies near Cape Kennedy on Nov. 13 and 14 — the latter being day of the Apollo 12 launch from Cape Kennedy, which President Nixon would be attending — as part of a nationwide Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. That protest action culminated in a huge march on Washington on Nov. 15.

One would like to think this sort of thing just doesn't happen in journalism, but of course that would be untrue. In fact, I've seen it with my own eyes, although thankfully not recently.

Stewardship in the Scott Valley

Here are a few more photos of Scott Valley, Calif. rancher Gareth Plank, who spent two hours last Friday showing me how his gravity-based irrigation system and filtration pond conserve water and replenish the Scott River.

He makes the point that he's hardly one who's out to ravage the resources.

'Phew! Good grief, honey'

We hear a lot about reducing the impact from methane emissions from cows, but from humans?

Check this out. (Hat tip: Gary Andresen.)

I think my wife would approve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Obama nominee: Health care 'must redistribute wealth'

From RedState:

"Any health care funding plan that is just equitable civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional." - Donald Berwick

President Obama's nomination of Donald Berwick as the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is a gathering far less attention than a certain other nominee - but it will be getting more attention in the weeks to come, given his particularly radical agenda when it comes to health policy.

Barwick also said the best system would be single-payer and would ration care. Sure glad President Obama said he doesn't want either. (Wink.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You mean the HSUS had to hire a reporter?

Blogger Troy Hadrick at Advocates for Agriculture is appalled that the Humane Society of the United States apparently hired an "independent investigative reporter" to do a hit piece on lobbyist Richard Berman, whose Center for Consumer Freedom advocates protecting consumer choices.

The group's essay, "7 Things You Didn't Know About HSUS," led the animal-rights group to employ freelance writer Ian T. Shearn to characterize Berman as a rich hack whose first daily decision is "whether to drive the Bentley or the Ferrari to work." Not surprisingly, Shearn accuses the CCF of attacking "the animal welfare charity that has grown significantly in recent years" and credits the seven-points essay as the reason that Yellow Tail Wines withdrew their financial support of HSUS.

Hadrick asserts:

The HSUS has hired a reporter to attack people that disagree with them. I guess that’s what you have to do when you can’t refute the stories being told about you. They even went so far as to blame Rick Berman for Yellow Tail stopping their donations to the HSUS. That statement alone shows the lack of “investigative reporting” that was done here. This is obviously a desperate attempt to slow the bleeding that’s happening at the HSUS. More people are learning that they are a vegan animal rights group that does more harm than good for our local community pet shelters. More than likely, what they paid this reporter and the lawyers to file a lawsuit against Rick Berman will add up to way more than they give to pet shelters every year. But that’s what you have to do when you are a professional fundraising organization and the story you are selling will no longer hold water.

What surprises me is that HSUS would have to hire an ex-reporter to do its advocacy work, when just a strategic phone call to any number of working MSMers would do the trick. Heck, where was Jane Velez-Mitchell when they needed her?

Cattle group: Restore our border

From the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America:

R-CALF USA fully supports an 18-point plan titled “Restore Our Border (ROB) Security Plan” created by the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association (ACGA) and Southern Arizona Ranchers that requests the “immediate attention and implementation by Local, State and Federal Authorities charged with securing our border with Mexico and the security of the citizens of Arizona.”

According to ACGA, this report is the culmination of over 18 months of meetings, research, fact-finding and interviews regarding potential solutions to the current border crisis, and the basis for the report is to provide concrete actions which have been vetted as viable and needed along with measureable results regarding the implementation of these needed actions directly adjacent to the U.S./Mexico border.

The report states:

* We call for the politicians and government officials to take the necessary steps to enforce our laws and protect our fellow Arizonans.
* We must put the necessary manpower directly on the border to stop the foreign invasion.
* We must give law enforcement and the judicial system the ability to enforce every immigration law.

“R-CALF USA fully supports the ‘Restore Our Border Plan’,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. “We implore both Congress and the Administration to act quickly and decisively to implement the ROB plan to protect U.S. ranch families along our southern border whose lives and property are continually threatened by drug trafficking and other unlawful border-crossing activities.

“Additionally, we encourage both our members and U.S. beef consumers to offer their endorsement of this plan that recognizes it is the responsibility of our government to protect U.S. ranch families whose lives and property are threatened by a foreign source,” he added.

Persons who wish to offer their support for this plan can give their endorsement at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Obama: 'Information' a threat to 'democracy'

Along the same lines as my previous post, one person who thinks certain speech should be "disappeared" apparently is President Obama.

Like any authoritarian leader would, Obama sees an abundance of information in society as a threat -- but only information from certain sources.

From one of the president's favorite whipping posts, Fox News:

The class of 2010 is "coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter," the president said, earning an honorary doctorate of laws degree during the ceremony.

"And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy," he said. [...]

"With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, and on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all -- to know what to believe, to figure out who's telling the truth and who's not. Let's face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I've had some experience in that regard," he said.

So only blogs, cable TV and talk radio are capable of having trouble with the truth. I notice that conspicuously absent from Obama's rant were broadcast news and legacy newspapers and magazines, not to mention all the agenda-driven TV dramas and feature films coming out of Hollywood. I guess everything in those venues is gospel.

As these things continue to come out, it's not a pretty picture that's developing with regard to this administration's approach to speech. When the people in power view the First Amendment as an impediment, all defenders of the First Amendment and those who hold it dear should take notice.

Should the government suppress speech?

From WorldNetDaily:

President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, argued certain forms of speech that promote "racial or gender inequality" could be "disappeared."

In her few academic papers, Kagan evidences strong beliefs for court intervention in speech, going so far as to posit First Amendment speech should be weighed against "societal costs.” [...]

In a 1996 paper, "Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine," Kagan argued it may be proper to suppress speech because it is offensive to society or to the government.

Suppress speech offensive to the government?

Look, a nominee's personal life -- or the speculation thereof -- is neither here nor there. But when a person's pet cause inspires her to set aside the Constitution, or even when that cause alone is what prompts her to bar military recruiters from a college campus, that suggests to me a rather dangerous blind spot, and one that I think would be fair game for exploring in the Senate confirmation process.

Monday, May 10, 2010

How do you define racist and bigoted?'s Bruce Ross, who attended Karl Rove's press event this morning, laments on his blog that Rove "complained that the president had attacked Arizona's immigration law as racist and bigoted."

Bruce continues:

Now, to be sure, lots of people on the left have attacked Arizona's law and the people who support is bigots and racists. I've never heard Obama join them, in those words. But did I just miss that report?

I'm wondering because this morning I got a letter to the editor asserting the same thing: "Obama has recently taken the position that Arizona's new law cracking down on Illegal Immigration was largely prompted by 'racism.' "

Frankly, even if he might think it, it just doesn't like the sort of thing President Obama would say publicly. But again, did I miss the news?

Obama said this about the Arizona law during a Cinco de Mayo event, according to Fox News: "We can't start singling out people because of who they look like, or how they talk, or how they dress."

So I have a question: Isn't singling somebody out because of their looks or accent a form of racism or bigotry? And so if you accuse a group of lawmakers or police officers of singling people out on those bases, aren't you attacking them as racist and bigoted?

Rove: Farmers have 'moral authority'

Former presidential advisor Karl Rove was in Redding, Calif. this morning to promote his new book, "Courage and Consequence," and he had plenty of things to say to the media before headlining a fund-raising breakfast for a local politician.

Among his assertions:

-- The outcome of the War on Terror will shape the next century.

-- Perhaps his biggest regret as part of the Bush administration was not responding more forcefully when the Democrats accused the president of lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

-- The tea party is a popular movement that will have staying power in American politics, and has already shaped the fall elections.

-- The recently passed health care bill "is going to bankrupt the country."

On an ag front, Rove said that although farmers' numbers are small when compared to the population as a whole, they have "moral authority" when it comes to political advocacy and that their recent efforts to get their messages out through social media will pay dividends.

He also said he doesn't expect immigration reform or cap and trade to pass this year.

For more details, check back soon at

Friday, May 7, 2010

As the EU goes, so goes the USA?

From Jeff Cox at CNBC (hat tip: Brian Hearden):

The current European debt crisis likely will not end until the euro collapses as a currency and takes the entire European Union with it, said Dennis Gartman, hedge fund manager and author of "The Gartman Letter."

"I think the whole thing will go down to defeat, the whole thing will eventually unravel," Gartman said in an interview with

Gartman said he doesn't have a specific timetable for how long it will take for the collapse of the 17-year-old EU, but said, "it doesn't look good."

The debt problems continued to escalate Wednesday as Greek citizens rioted in the streets over proposed austerity measures that would be required for any rescue plan to gain approval.

At the same time, Moody's warned that it might downgrade the debt for Portugal, accelerating worries that Greece's unremitting debt worries could spread across the continent.

The thing is, with U.S. banks having major holdings in EU countries, if the EU sneezes, America could catch the cold. And if that's the case, so much for the budding recovery.

If a few rioters in Greece are enough to send the stock market on a near 1,000-point dive, I have a feeling it's going to be a long, hot summer.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Are you a shameless, heartless capitalist pig?

Roaming around the radio dial last night I landed on AM 620, a liberal radio station out of Portland, just as their late-night yakker was saying "every capitalist in America" is a shameless, heartless SOB who "couldn't care less about human life."

I don't know what the issue was, but if your farm or business makes money or aspires to, he's talking about you.

The thing is, because capitalism is what defines American society and its relationship to government (as opposed to communism or theocracy), to slander "every Capitalist in America" with blanket assertions of heartlessness is to essentially slander America itself. There was a time not so long ago that a radio jock who did such a thing would be considered seditious and yanked off the air, and not by the government. Public outrage would have caused advertisers to demand that the offender be pulled.

Unfortunately in some circles, anti-Americanism is the "in" thing these days.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In the New Amerika, Big Brothers are everywhere

Welcome to the New Amerika, where government entities aren't at all shy about making threats to get your money.

From Fox News:

A threatening TV commercial appearing in Pennsylvania has residents of the state spooked by its "Orwellian" overtones, and critics are calling it a government attempt to scare delinquent citizens into paying back taxes.

In the 30-second ad, ominous mechanical sounds whir in the background as a satellite camera zooms in through the clouds and locks onto an average Pennsylvania home. The narrator begins her cold and calculating message:

Your name is Tom ... You live just off of 5th Street ... Nice car, Tom — nice house. What's not so nice is you owe Pennsylvania $4,212 in back taxes. Listen Tom, we can make this easy. Pay online by June 18th and we'll skip your penalty and take half off your interest because Tom, we do know who you are.

The satellite snares its target — Tom's house — and the screen flashes another menacing line as the ad peters out:


Actually, a similar thing is happening to ranchers in Northern California's Siskiyou County, except it's not over taxes but regulatory fees. The state's Department of Fish and Game is basically telling ranchers to buy their water-diversion permits now or face prosecution later.

For more, check soon -- maybe late next week.

In the meantime, don't turn around -- the commisar's in town.