Response to Sen. Al Franken’s begging letter “Happy Deadline Day!” 20140131

What the hell’s the matter w you Al ?? For god’s sake make some news so
your supporters think you’re something other that a damn rice bowl.

We’re getting the shit gouged out of us by the gas cos. and not one peep
outta you – get w Sherrod or Baldwin and start raising hell so people who’re
getting constantly shafted by these goddamned rethuglicans might occasionally
think there’s somebody in a high place that cares about us. THEN ASK ME

logo frankenl al ogo


That’s right, folks — it’s Deadline Day! Which means we only have until midnight tonight to reach our $200,000 goal.

Citizens United is letting special interest cash overwhelm our electoral system. And since the press is already calling our race competitive, some of that cash is bound to make its way to Minnesota.

Hitting our goals is how we can afford to organize our campaign. Which is how we effectively fight back against special interest spending. And we only have about 9 hours left to hit this one.

Only you can make this a successful Deadline Day. Contribute $5 or more right now to get us to our $200,000 goal before midnight tonight.

Thank you for all of your work.


So proud !! WooHoo…

Aren’t you too ? Incarceration Rates. YAY!! WE WIN !!

un-fkn believable…Schneier on Security: Another Credit-Card-as-Authentication Hack

my head hurts…
you’d expect shit like that from GoDaddy, but paypal too furchristsakes…

This is a pretty impressive social engineering story: an attacker compromised someone’s GoDaddy domain registration in order to change his e-mail address and steal his Twitter handle. It’s a complicated attack.

My claim was refused because I am not the “current registrant.” GoDaddy asked the attacker if it was ok to change account information, while they didn’t bother asking me if it was ok when the attacker did it. […]

It’s hard to decide what’s more shocking, the fact that PayPal gave the attacker the last four digits of my credit card number over the phone, or that GoDaddy accepted it as verification.

The misuse of credit card numbers as authentication is also how Matt Honan got hacked.”

Bruce Schneier


There could be a wee problem here…

but no doubt our overlords are on it…

[NYTimes] Thomas Pikettys new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, described by one French newspaper as a a political and theoretical bulldozer, defies left and right orthodoxy by arguing that worsening inequality is an inevitable outcome of free market capitalism.

Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, does not stop there. He contends that capitalisms inherent dynamic propels powerful forces that threaten democratic societies.

things that make you go incandescent… from The Pump Handle

[[WHAT COULD GO WRONG… those pushing this
are evil fools…]

Reality check on USDAs claims about its plan to privatize poultry inspection

Posted by Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH of George Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services on January 28, 2014

Several recent newspaper editorials have gotten under USDAs skin. Editors at the Charlotte Observer, , Bellingham (WA) Herald and are skeptical that the USDAs plan to modernize the poultry slaughter inspection process is a wise move.

In Feds proposed shift in poultry rules troubling, the Charlotte Observers editorial board wrote this on January 20:

Warning horns should blast full force around the Obama administration approving a change in federal law to replace most federal inspectors on poultry processing lines with company workers who would watch for problems. Worker advocates concerns that such a change would be a risk to both food and worker safety have considerable merit. A 2008 Observer series about working conditions in the poultry industry highlighted the problems of allowing companies to self-report on injuries at their plants. Our series found employers failing to report injuries that they should, and workers afraid theyd be fired if they reported such injuries. This change could have both following the same pattern with troubling consequences for all of us.

On Janaury 24 in Dont let poultry-processing industry police itself, Bellinghams editors wrote:

Somewhere in that proposal is a joke about letting foxes guard henhouses. Well leave that to the Jon Stewarts of the world, but theres nothing funny about what the proposed changes could mean for American consumers. Many workers in the industry suffer from repetitive-motion conditions and other work-related injuries but often are reluctant to report them because they need the job so badly. Speeding up processing lines is likely to exacerbate that problem.

The acting Under Secretary for Food Safety, Brian Ronholm, quickly responded with a letter to the editor. Each of his statements appear below, broken up by my offering of a reality check.

Ronholm: The Observer falsely asserts that USDAs proposal to modernize poultry inspection would reduce federal oversight of food safety at the expense of consumers and workers.

Reality check: For the last several years, the Obama Administrations proposed budget for USDA would eliminate 800 poultry inspectors. How does that not reduce federal oversight of food safety?

Ronholm: A 15-year pilot program demonstrates that the proposal would enhance oversight, prevent at least 5,000 food-borne illnesses per year, and not adversely impact worker safety.

Reality check: In August 2013, the Government Accountability Office chastised USDA for asserting that its pilot project demonstrates its proposed changes will be more effective than the current system. GAO found that USDA didnt even collect and analyze its data to draw such a conclusion. GAO launched the same criticism at USDA in a 2001 report.


Reality check: USDA ignores the evidence about the harsh and dangerous conditions experienced by poultry plant workers. Musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, plague poultry workers, and line speeds in the plants are a key contributor for these injuries. USDAs proposal will allow production line speeds to increase from 140 to 175 birds per minute.

Ronholm: It would require industry to prevent contamination and conduct testing at two points to ensure pathogens such as Salmonella are being controlled; currently there are no such requirements.

Reality check: USDAs plan is for the poultry industry to come up with its own standards for testing pathogens. The industry will even make the decision on how much salmonella is acceptable. On top of that because the standards will be voluntaryUSDA would have no authority to enforce them.

Ronholm: This enhanced inspection process would allow USDA inspectors to focus on critical food safety tasks that would result in lower prevalence of contamination and greater compliance with sanitation requirements.

Reality check: USDA still has not explained how this enhanced inspection process is going to occur. How many more sanitation checks will occur per eight hour shift? How many more samples will be taken for food borne pathogens? How many USDA inspectors will be assigned in each plant per shift to perform these additional tasks? Will USDA have the authority to take action against the plant for violating voluntary food safety and wholesomeness standards?

I know the views of newspaper editors may not sway the White House into telling the USDA to ditch its plan. But perhaps the Obama Administration will be convinced by such calls from the Congressional Black Caucus. The groups chair, Marcia Fudge (D-OH), made clear their position on USDAs plan. Quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Fudge said:

Most of the people who work in these plants are women, and they are primarily women of color. We care most about the health of the employees. Right now, it is bad. It will just get worse if they increase the line speed.


Drought Map for 20140128

Boyo, is California ever in trouble. Keeps up all our veggies are comin’ outta
cans for the duration. Better get your seed catalogues out and plan on tilling
up the entire yard, huh?

We only approve of 7% Buttefat Milk from Ayrshire-Highland Shorthorns

not that synthetic spawn-of-the-devil-tastes-like-sandpaper soyshit… so there !!

[Pictured: Ragnarsdottir, age 4 1/2, 1st Prize at
Skasketdalh’s Cow Contest 1987. She was a sweet girl]

Today’s snow brought to us by…

Horses vs. Stuck Truck in PA Snowstorm 20140129

Interesting sight on the way to work in Central Pennsylvania.
Video by Joel Appleman, Susquehanna River Valley

Gene McCarthy Talks To Marc Chagall

When I met Marc Chagall
I asked him first of all
whether he had ever seen
in life or in a dream
a cow just sitting down
He said that he had seen
cows both blue and green
and also that he knew
cows that danced and cows that flew
but that he had never seen
in life of in a dream
a cow just sitting down

(Gene McCarthy, at his 1780’s farmhouse Rappahannock Co. Virginia)

Gene McCarthy, Selected Poems p.20
Lone Oak Press, 1997