Damn, No Wonder Why the Cows are Mad!

I just saw this news alert: “FDA bans cow blood in livestock feed, part of broader restrictions after mad cow discovery,” which made go looking for more information. My thinking was WTF are they doing feeding blood to cows. If that wasn’t bad enough there’s some other nasty ish in that report:

The first interim final rule will ban the following materials from FDA-regulated human food, (including dietary supplements) and cosmetics:

— Any material from “downer” cattle. (“Downer” cattle are animals that cannot walk.)

— Any material from “dead” cattle. (“Dead” cattle are cattle that die on the farm (i.e. before reaching the slaughter plant);

— Specified Risk Materials (SRMs) that are known to harbor the highest concentrations of the infectious agent for BSE, such as the brain, skull, eyes, and spinal cord of cattle 30 months or older, and a portion of the small intestine and tonsils from all cattle, regardless of their age or health; and

— The product known as mechanically separated beef, a product which may contain SRMs. Meat obtained by Advanced Meat Recovery (an automated system for cutting meat from bones), may be used since USDA regulations do not allow the presence of SRMs in this product.

The ‘no downers’ and ‘no (previously) dead cattle’ rules should have been in existence from day one. That just seems like common sense to me. As for the miscellaneous parts, that’s why I can’t mess with mystery meat like sausage, pepperoni, scrapple, etc.

But it gets even better:

The second interim final rule is designed to lower even further the risk that cattle will be purposefully or inadvertently fed prohibited protein. It was the feeding of such protein to cattle that was the route of disease transmission that led to the BSE epidemic in United Kingdom cattle in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

This interim final rule will implement four specific changes in FDA’s present animal feed rule. First, the rule will eliminate the present exemption in the feed rule that allows mammalian blood and blood products to be fed to other ruminants as a protein source. Recent scientific evidence suggests that blood can carry some infectivity for BSE.

Second, the rule will also ban the use of “poultry litter” as a feed ingredient for ruminant animals. Poultry litter consists of bedding, spilled feed, feathers, and fecal matter that are collected from living quarters where poultry is raised. This material is then used in cattle feed in some areas of the country where cattle and large poultry raising operations are located near each other. Poultry feed may legally contain protein that is prohibited in ruminant feed, such as bovine meat and bone meal. The concern is that spillage of poultry feed in the chicken house occurs and that poultry feed (which may contain protein prohibited in ruminant feed) is then collected as part of the “poultry litter” and added to ruminant feed.

Third, the rule will ban the use of “plate waste” as a feed ingredient for ruminants. Plate waste consists of uneaten meat and other meat scraps that are currently collected from some large restaurant operations and rendered into meat and bone meal for animal feed. The use of “plate waste” confounds FDA’s ability to analyze ruminant feeds for the presence of prohibited proteins, compromising the Agency’s ability to fully enforce the animal feed rule.

The ‘poultry litter’ thing is just nasty! Feathers, bedding and fecal matter?!?!? WTF!?!?! Plate waste? So cows have been used as garbage disposals. Nasty. Why are they feeding all this shit (no pun intended) to animals that are supposed to be herbivores?

It may be time to make that transition to being a vegan.

Who Would Have Thunk it?

I was just checking out this week’s NCAA Men’s Basketball polls and was pleasantly surprised to see Duke and Stanford ranked 1 & 2, respectively, in both polls. I have to give Stanford coach Mike Montgomery much dap on his record at Stanford through the years. He arrived at Stanford after Tom Davis left because he felt the university had too strict of an admissions policy, which was hampering his recruiting. Apparently that hasn’t stopped Montgomery from doing his thing. And I never knew how important a coach was until that season a few years ago when Duke’s coach, Mike Krzyzewski, was sick and the team just fell to pieces. Coach K is clearly the man. This is an impressive showing by both coaching staffs at these two academically demanding schools. (Bring on March Madness!)

AP Top 25
1. Duke (45)
2. Stanford (24)

1. Duke (25)
2. Stanford (5)

Edit to add: Wow, even more impressive is the fact that the Duke women are ranked #1 in both polls as well. They’re ballin’ over in Durham. (Stanford’s women’s team is #6)

Stir it Up

Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article which explores the current upswing in popularity of Dancehall Reggae and its fusion with other genres in the US and England. Too bad they didn’t mention my man Roots Manuva, who, in my opinion, is one of the best examples of a mixing hip-hop and reggae. (And I’m real surprised that Elephant Man and the guy from Tuff Gong haven’t heard of Dizzee Rascal… go figure)

I’ve archived the complete article below…
Continue reading “Stir it Up”

A Haitian History Lesson

Here’s an excellent article by Randall Robinson about Haiti and its fight for independence 200 years ago. Some highlights:

St. Domingue (as Haiti was then called by the French) was at that time the most prosperous colonial possession of any European power. It created far greater wealth for France than the thirteen American colonies combined. Its massive wealth-generating capacity caused it to be known far and wide as “The Pearl of the Antilles” and its French owners had a clear and proven management strategy for profit maximization: push the slaves to their absolute physical limit, work them literally to death, and then quickly import replacement slaves from Africa who would, in turn, be worked to death. This, St. Domingue’s plantocracy had discovered, controlled operating costs, kept the pace of economic activity at a highly efficient and productive pace, minimized slack and wastage, and produced massive, stupendous profits.

St. Domingue’s policy of working its slaves to death and then quickly importing replacements from Africa proved to be the ultimate karmic boomerang. St. Domingue’s African-born slaves not only were not yet broken psychologically, but they were also in possession of significant military training and experience gained on the other side of the Atlantic. And they combined with brilliant, indefatigable, St. Domingue-born blacks like Toussaint L’Ouverture and Dessalines to create a black revolutionary juggernaut the likes of which Europe and the United States had not seen before – or since.

The Blacks of St. Domingue forced the world to see both them and the millions of other Africans enslaved throughout the Americas with new eyes. No longer could it be assumed that they could forever be brutalized into creating massive fortunes and building sprawling empires for the glory of Europe and America.

On January 1, 1804, hundreds of thousands of slave revolutionaries established an independent republic and named it Haiti in honor of the Amerindian people, long since killed off by European brutality and diseases, who had called the land Ayiti – Land of Many Mountains. They had banished slavery from their land and proclaimed it an official refuge for escaped slaves from anywhere in the world. They had defeated the mightiest of the mighty. They had shattered the myth of European invincibility.

Europe was livid. America, apoplectic. The blacks in St. Domingue had forgotten their place and would be made to pay. Dearly. For the next two hundred years.

The complete article is a great history lesson, especially for those of us who were taught his-story in American schools.

Happy Bicentennial to Haiti and thanks to Kamau for highlighting the article.

My Number Port is Finally Taking Effect

Well all it took was me posting about my number porting woes to get it to work. 🙂 Actually, there’s a fine gentleman and scholar who works at SprintPCS, Curant, who helped me out. He seems to be the only person at Sprint who can get results. I’m so glad I found him over in the NumberPortability.com forums. Sprint needs to put him in charge of number porting and quadruple his salary.

As of today my number rings about 75% of the time on my cell phone and 25% of the time on my home phone. Curant just called me to see how things are going and I told him about this. He says that the change is still propagating through the phone systems and that all calls should hit my cell phone very shortly.

If anybody is having issues with a SprintPCS port, give Curant a shout (His e-mail address is in this thread).

Smells Like Roses, Tastes Like Sugar

As Charles points out, USC (PAC-10!) won the national championship yesterday with their impressive win over Michigan. I don’t give a damn what the BCS computers say about the winner of Oklahoma/LSU. Hopefully this controversy will encourage the NCAA to institute a playoff system for football. I’d also love to see some of the coaches break their BCS contract and vote USC #1 in the coaches poll.

Tavis Smiley’s New TV Show on PBS

I’ve really missed Tavis since BET was dumb enough to send him packing. He’s finally got another TV show, this time on PBS. Check your local listings and set your recorders.

(via the EUR)

‘Mr. Always Working’ is coming back to late-night TV.

*Sometimes we have to ask ourselves is Tavis Smiley man or machine? That’s because the talk show host-author-lecturer is on the move again with a new TV show.

The Tavis Smiley Show will debut this Monday, January 5 in late night on PBS.

Oh yeah, did we mention that he also has three books in the offing for 2004 on his new imprint, Smiley Books as well as a hardback from Doubleday?

But back to the new TV show. It’s being tagged as “Intelligent Entertainment.” The program will be produced at LA’s KCET studios and will be the first West Coast
based talk show of any kind for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Guests for the premiere week already include Bill Cosby, Newt Gingrich, Howard Dean and Magic Johnson.

In Monday’s EUR, Tavis tells us how and why the show happened; he talks about the knock-out set designed by Venus Williams and why he lost over 70 pounds.