Friday, December 16, 2005

Young Prophet

My brother reminded me of this Matt Damon soliquoy from Good Will Hunting:

(Matt Damon, as Will Hunting, being interviewed for a possible job with the National Security Agency - the spooks who conduct electronic eavesdropping for the U.S. Government)

Why shouldn't I work for the NSA? That's a tough one. But I'll take a shot. Say I’m working at the N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody can break. So I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself ‘cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never had a problem with get killed.

Now the politicians are sayin’ “Send in the marines to secure the area” ‘cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, ‘cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some guy from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ‘cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile my buddy from Southie realizes the only reason he was over there was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish to scare up oil prices so they could turn a quick buck. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two dollars and fifty cents a gallon. And naturally they’re takin’ their sweet time bringing the oil back and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and play slalom with the icebergs and it ain’t too long ‘til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So my buddy’s out of work and can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the job interviews, which sucks ‘cause the shrapnel in his ass is giving him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’ ‘cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State.

So what’d I think? I’m holding out for somethin’ better. I figure I’ll eliminate the middleman. Why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? Christ, I could be elected president.

and do things like this:

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying

Have a Very Chewy Christmas

Can't beat Alvin and the Chipmunks, but funny nonetheless:

Chewbacca Sings!

Joke of the Day

Another over the email transom:

Robot bartender

A man enters a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender.

The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies "150" and the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming factors, quantum physics and spirituality, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities. The customer is very impressed and thinks, "This is really cool."

He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man responds, "about a 100." Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time, about football, NASCAR, supermodels, favorite fast foods, guns, and women's breasts.

Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies, "Er, 50, I think." And the robot says ... real ... slowly, "So ............. ya ....... gonna ....... vote ...... for ...... Bush ........ again?"

Good Riddance to the Mittwit

Have a nice life back there in your true home, Utah, after your Presidential run crashes and burns. Goodbye, our own living, breathing, press-conference holding Ken Doll. Even the Herald, our right-wing Murdoch rag, is sick of his schtick.

Yesterday's Boston Herald editorial:

Hey Mitt, it’s been swell!

OK, so Mitt Romney isn’t running for re-election. Well, we didn’t exactly stop the presses for that one.

The bad news is that Romney pretty much gave up the day job months ago — not a good thing. Legislative leaders have been working on that assumption too, for the most part treating the governor like the little man who isn’t there.

Now, in the wake of last night’s announcement, he really isn’t there — his eyes presumably set on bigger stuff. So it’s time for Romney to do the decent thing and turn over the day job to someone who (1) wants it and (2) is perfectly capable of doing it. That would be Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey.

Being governor of Massachusetts isn’t beanbag. Memo to Mitt: Don’t let the screen door hit you in the backside.

Yesterday's Globe editorial:

Romney exits right

OUR NEW YEAR'S wish: a governor who wouldn't rather be elsewhere.

By thumbing his nose at Massachusetts after less than three-quarters of one term as its chief executive, Mitt Romney, yesterday surrendered his clout and squandered his legitimacy. If, as it appears, his heart and mind are no longer in Massachusetts, he should resign.

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is inexperienced. But the state would be far better off in the hands of someone focused on state problems, rather than someone touring the country ridiculing the people he was elected to serve. Romney has joked in several states that, as a Republican here, he feels like ''a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention."

Today's Globe:

Facing hard realities, Romney accrued modest list of successes

Less than three years into the CEO-style governorship of Mitt Romney the broad reform agenda he promised in the early days has been reduced by the political reality of Beacon Hill to a more modest series of legislative accomplishments.

Horse-trading and patronage, long the currency of the State House, have been anathema to Romney. That reluctance to deal, combined with his uncompromising nature, has meant that many Romney proposals -- even bottom-line, money-saving moves -- were ignored, killed, or gutted by the Democrats who run the Legislature. Close courthouses? Not in our districts. Merge the Highway Department and Turnpike Authority? Forget it.

Even on reinstating the death penalty, a hot-button issue on which polls have indicated that Romney had popular support, the governor lost a vote in the House by nearly 2 to 1. Eight years earlier, a capital punishment bill failed on a tie vote.

Spies Like US

From today's New York Times:

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts

This article could also have been entitled "Bush Violates Several US Laws", but that would a real journalist's headline.

How pathetic is the New York Times, that they have to include this paragraph in their story:

The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.

"All the News The Bush Administration Tells Us Is Fit to Print"

Time for another panel on blogging ethics.

Journalism is dead. Long live the embedded corporate media.

Why There Will Be Frogmarching

Murray Waas in National Journal gives a little more background about the Plame outing:

Why Novak Called Rove

Ironically, the materials prepared for Rove in advance of the conversation had nothing to do with Valerie Plame, the CIA officer whom Novak would identify -- using Rove as one of his sources -- as an "agency operative" in a July 14, 2003, column.

Instead, the voluminous material on Rove's desk
-- including talking points, related briefing materials, and information culled from confidential government personnel files -- involved a different woman: Frances Fragos Townsend, a former senior attorney in the Clinton administration's Justice Department whom President Bush had recently named to be his deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.

Bush had personally assigned Rove to help counter what the president believed to be a "rearguard" effort within his own administration, by persons unknown, to discredit Townsend and derail her appointment, according to White House documents and accounts given by former and current officials.

Nativity Scene 2005

I received this in an email today:

Nazareth Carpenter Being Held On Charges Involving Underage motherr

Bethlehem, Judea - Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Family Protective Services personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth.

During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police.

Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these who may be in the country illegally. A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.

The owner of the barn is also being held for questioning. The manager of the Bethlehem Inn faces possible revocation of his license for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable. Civil authorities are also investigating the zoning violations involved in maintaining livestock in a commercially-zoned district.

The location of the minor child will not be released, and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful. Asked about when Jesus would be returned to his mother, a Child Protective Service spokesperson said, "The father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage. We are checking with officials in Nazareth to determine what their legal relationship is.

Joseph has admitted taking Mary from her home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. However, because she was obviously pregnant when they left, investigators are looking into other reasons for their departure. Joseph is being held without bond on charges of molestation, kidnapping, child endangerment, and statutory rape.

Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors. Charges may also be filed against her for endangerment. She will also undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God.

The director of the psychiatric wing said, "I don't profess to have the right to tell people what to believe, but when their beliefs adversely affect the safety and well-being of others - in this case her child - we must consider her a danger to others. The unidentified drugs at the scene didn't help her case, but I'm confident that with the proper therapy regiment we can get her back on her feet."

A spokesperson for the governor's office said, "Who knows what was going through their heads? But regardless, their treatment of the child was inexcusable, and the involvement of these others frightening. There is much we don't know about this case, but for the sake of the child and the public, you can be assured that we will pursue this matter to the end."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The True Patriot

Believes in freedom and limited government.

Thank you Senator Russ Feingold for fighting the so-called "Patriot Act" from day one. He was the only senator to vote against its passage in October of 2001. Word on the Hill is that he has the votes to prevent its renewal. You go, Russ.

Feingold Now Has Numbers on His Side

WASHINGTON - In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold.

He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote against the USA Patriot Act in the traumatic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The law, he said then, gave government too much power to investigate its citizens. Ninety-nine senators disagreed.

Now add more than two dozen senators to Feingold's side, including the leaders of his party and some of the chamber's most conservative Republicans, and the balance of power shifts.

The new Senate arithmetic that emerged this week is enough to place the renewal of major portions of the law in doubt. It was enough to inspire Senate Republican leaders to consider a backup plan in case Feingold's filibuster threat succeeded. Enough to prompt President Bush to dispatch Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Capitol Hill twice in two days to lobby on the accord's behalf.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I Just Want a Little Frogmarching for Christmas

Byron York in National Review today:

Will Rove be Indicted?
As rumors fly, here is what is known at this point.

This part is hilarious:

Still, it's possible Fitzgerald will forge ahead, in part because his much-publicized, two-year investigation has so far produced relatively meager results. After intense probing, and working with virtually unlimited power and discretion, the hard-charging prosecutor has succeeded in indicting one person, Libby, although not for an underlying offense, and disrupting or marring the careers of journalists Judith Miller, Cooper, Woodward, and, most recently, Time's Viveca Novak. Some Fitzgerald watchers find it difficult to believe that he will close up shop and go home with a record like that.

Now, how exactly has Fitzgerald "disrupt[ed] or marr[ed]" the careers of Judith Miller (who went to jail to protect a source she ... couldn't remember, after royally screwing up the WMD/Iraq story), Cooper (what, it screwed up his life to get subpoenaed?), Woodward (revealed for the Bushco court stenographer he is) or Novak (revealed confidential information to a source then lied to her editors about it).

Oh, that's right, he hasn't.

And Byron? When a prosecutor indicts someone for obstruction of justice, it's because they've obstructed investigation into the underlying offenses. If there hadn't been obstruction, the prosecutor would have been able to indict on the underlying offenses. Duh.

Frogmarching, soon, I think.

You Go, Girl

Lady Bears Grow by Leaps and Bounds

As a player at Hammond (La.) High School, her teams went 136-5 and won four state titles as she scored 4,075 points, then a national record. As the point guard at Louisiana Tech, she led the Lady Techsters to two national titles and a 130-6 record before becoming a member of the 1984 gold-medal-winning Olympic team.

During her 15 years as an assistant at Louisiana Tech, the team went 430-68 and won another national title. In fact, she would never have thought to venture to Baylor if Louisiana Tech had not tried to engage in some horse trading that Mulkey-Robertson found insulting.

When the coach she played for and assisted, Leon Barmore, retired in 2000, Mulkey-Robertson was designated his successor. University officials, however, refused to offer her a five-year contract, which is not only the industry standard, but would have also ensured that Mulkey-Robertson had 20 years at Louisiana Tech and would have qualified for a full pension.

I remember watching Kim Mulkey play in college. She is tiny and always played with her hair in two long braids. Tough as nails, though. She was the leader of those two national championship teams.

La. Tech refused to give her a long-term contract when Barmore retired. Women coaches in general have much less job security than male coaches. Most ADs are men and they are far more likely to give men long-term deals. Remember when Bob Marcum signed Bruiser Flint to a 5-year contract after John Calipari left UMass? Flint had been an assistant for 7 years, and to be honest, no one had ever heard of him. They even had to buy out the last year of his contract. In his 5 years he compiled an 86-72 record. If he was a woman, he would have had a one year deal & probably fired after two.

Kim Mulkey is women's basketball royalty, and La. Tech threw her away without a backward glance. And where is La Tech today? Not ranked, not even a vote in the AP coaches poll. Well, they earned it. Stupid is as stupid does. I wonder if the AD who decided to play hardball with Kim Mulkey kept his job? (runs to google). Oh yeah, that fool is still there. Jim Oakes, La. Tech athletic director since 1994.

Revenge is a dish best eaten cold. Enjoy your Baylor national championship, Kim.

1000 Days of War in Iraq

From the Independent (UK):

The war in numbers: From WMD to the victims

$204.4billion The cost to the US of the war so far. The UK's bill up until March 2005 was £3.1 billion

2,339 Allied troops killed

98 UK troops killed

30,000 Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths

0 Number of WMDs found

8 per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition

$35,819m World Bank estimated cost of reconstruction

53,470 Iraqi insurgents killed

67 per cent
Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation

$343 Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier. Average monthly salary for an American soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75

66 journalists killed in Iraq. Journalists killed during Vietnam war: 63

5 foreign civilians kidnapped per month

47 per cent
Iraqis who never have enough electricity

20 casualties per month from unexploded mines

20 per cent Inflation rate 2005

25-40 per cent
Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005

251 Foreigners kidnapped

70 per cent of Iraqi's whose sewage system rarely works

183,000 British and American troops are still in action in Iraq. There are 162,000 US troops and 8,000 British with 13,000 from other nations

90 Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov '05. In Jun '03: 8

82 per centIraqis who are "strongly opposed" to presence of coalition troops

15,955 US troops wounded in action

Blog Post Title of the Day

Teacher Says Every Time A Republican’s Subpoenaed, An Angel Gets His Wings

That's right, Clarence!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Real Evildoers

From alternet:

The 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers

Dow Chemical
Ford Motor Company
KBR (Kellogg, Brown and Root): A Subsidiary of Halliburton Corporation
Lockheed Martin
Nestle USA
Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International (a.k.a. The Altria Group Inc.)
Suez-Lyonnaise Des Eaux (SLDE)

WalMart's Christmas Spirit

From the Middletown (New York) Record:

Police: Wal-Mart Santa arrested for exposing self to boy

Newburgh - A Wal-Mart Santa Claus was arrested Monday for allegedly exposing himself to a 15-year-old boy and attempting to have the boy engage in oral sex with him at his home on Dec. 9, according to a City of Newburgh police press release.

Ransford George Perry, 57, of Newburgh, has acted as an advocate for numerous children around Newburgh through a business called the Association Against Biased Educators. He is also a promoter for "talented children," and a Santa Claus at the Wal-Mart on Route 300 in the Town of Newburgh, police said.

From the Metrowest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.)

Kids shooed away

FRAMINGHAM -- Police escorted a group of fifth-grade protesters from the Rte. 9 Wal-Mart yesterday after the youngsters decried what they say is the retail giant’s use of sweatshop labor.

"Wal-Mart, instead of letting in what we’re telling them, they’re not listening," said Newton 10-year-old Owen Weitzman. "We’re not going to stop until they listen."

Armed with colorful balloons, the fifth-graders from the Workmen’s Circle Jewish Sunday school in Brookline protested the superstore’s wage and employee practices.

The students made up a crowd of more than 100 children and adults protesting at the store’s snowy entrance at about 1:30.

Weitzman said Wal-Mart employs sweatshop labor, most of whom are underpaid, work long shifts and don’t receive health care.


After students gave speeches on low Wal-Mart employee wages and the history of Jewish sweatshop labor in the United States, about a dozen fifth-graders marched into the store, accompanied by adults and photographers. They asked the store manager to give a letter they wrote to company CEO Lee Scott.

The store manager Nicky, who wouldn’t give her last name, asked the group to leave the store, and spoke with them outside the main entrance. She said she couldn’t accept the letter due to company policy, but gave the group an address where they could mail it.

She asked the group to leave store property. A second store manager came outside and told the kids she would call the police if she had to.

The children refused to leave the property until their letter was accepted, and young Weitzman read the letter despite the warning. The letter called the company’s use of sweatshops overseas "outrageous," and made six requests of the company, including, adhering to living wages and allowing "workers to go to the bathroom whenever they need."

A few minutes later, a Framingham Police car pulled up, and the officer asked the protesters to move along. They walked back to the shopping plaza entranceway, with the adults and students grumbling, and rejoined the rest of the group.

He Feels Nothing

Bush in Philadelphia yesterday. From the White House website:

Q Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.

THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.


Q Mr. President, thank you --

THE PRESIDENT: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up. (Laughter and applause.)

Ha Ha Ha Ha, Bush says, after saying 30,000 dead. Just stunning in its coldness. The real number is probably much higher, since the Guardian (UK) reported over a year ago that the number of civilian dead was 100,000.

100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, says study

George Bush is one sick fuck.

Frogmarching Expected Momentarily


Fitzgerald was long suspicious Rove had hidden evidence; Not swayed by last minute testimony, lawyers say

Fitzgerald still looking to indict Rove

Short of a last minute intervention by Rove’s attorney, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to ask a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove for making false statements to the FBI and Justice Department investigators in October 2003, lawyers close to the case say.

I'll be having a little Fitzmas cocktail that happy day!

Facts, Schmacts

Yesterday on Chris Matthews' show Hardball, Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei said that Stephen Hadley was the person who told Karl Rove who Valerie Plame was.

This sent left blogtopia into a tizzy, since (a) Rove has maintained all along that he learned of her identity from a journalist; and (b) no one had ever tied Hadley to the leak before.

Except, when someone asked VandeHei about his comment, it turns out he misspoke. VandeHei meant to say, it was Scooter Libby who gave the info to Rove. Scooter Libby Rove's source? Another "fact" VandeHei had not previously reported. True? Not true? Who knows. Oops.

In the spirit of that weird moment, here's Regret The Error blog's list of the worst MSM errors of 2005. While I am reposting the Correction of the Year, read the whole thing. The list is full of Errors and Nofacts.

Crunks '05: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections
The Crunks ’05

Correction of the Year
Last year’s winner in this category was a remarkable correction, albeit a very late one. It was a clear winner, an easy choice. This year was more difficult. There were many funny corrections, and many terrible errors. Our choice this year is a correction that combines many elements that are indicative of the correction format: it is very short, the error is very bad and also very funny, and the correction is entirely inadequate. Ladies and Gentleman, the Correction of the Year for 2005, as published in the Denver Daily News on July 27:

The Denver Daily News would like to offer a sincere apology for a typo in Wednesday's Town Talk regarding New Jersey's proposal to ban smoking in automobiles. It was not the author's intention to call New Jersey 'Jew Jersey.'

Yes, it’s a terrible error. Offensive, even. And the resulting correction is hilarious. But another reason we singled this baby out is that, like so many corrections, it begs for much more detail and a more complete explanation. The News offends an entire state and a major religion and all it can muster is 39 words? Only a newspaper could get away with that.

Democrats Must Fight Rigged Elections

From thesmirkingchimp:

'Dear Howard Dean: Why bother?'

Dear Dr. Dean,

Every week I get dozens of solicitations from the Democratic National Committee, from the Democratic Senate and Congressional Campaign Committees, or from various Democratic candidates and office-holders, each of them asking for contributions. "You can help us achieve victory next November," I am told.

If by "victory" is meant a majority vote cast at the polls, then the Democrats achieved "victory" in 2000, 2002 and 2004. And yet, the Republicans remain in control of the Congress and the White House.

Small wonder! Republicans build the voting machines, Republicans write the secret software, Republicans count and compile the totals. The Republican machines allow no auditing of the vote totals they report. So Republicans have the ability to "win" elections, regardless of the will of the voters. There is compelling evidence that they have done just that.

And so, if nothing is done to end the privatization of our elections and to introduce reliable verification, the Republicans will "win" again in November 2006 and then in 2008. Today, eleven months before the mid-term election, the outcome is fore-ordained - as certain as Soviet elections under Stalin, and Iraqi elections under Saddam. For, as Stalin said, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything."

He's absolutely right. And if the Democrats don't fight back we will continue to be marginalized.

The #1 voting machine rigger in the country is Diebold. Their CEO just resigned:

Wally O'Dell, Diebold CEO, resigns!

But not because they got nailed for vote rigging. No, Wally committed securities fraud, and some other dyed-in-the-wool Re-thug lover, Thomas Swidarski, has taken the reins at Diebold.

North Carolina required a little bit of transparency and accountability in the electronic voting machines, so Diebold pulled out the state entirely. Tells you that they are crookeder than a barrel of fishhooks.

Now That's a Ringing Endorsement

"Jeanine Pirro is not dead,"

state GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik assured the Associated Press. "She's living and breathing."

As quoted in the Washington Post: Pirro's Challenge to Sen. Clinton Falters

Can we put a fork in trout-lips Pirro? She's toast. Collagen on toast, but toast nonetheless. Clinton is not going to be beaten in New York unless Elliot (Ness) Spitzer decides he wants to be in the Senate.

United States of Generica (2)

Yesterday while driving through Bolton I noticed that the sign for "Hebert's Candies" had changed. It's a wonderful old-fashioned candy store, been there for 88 years according to the website. Just bought out by some corporate LLC.

Now it's called "Colonial Candy".

You could be anywhere.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mercury Rising

On my way home tonight, I heard a piece on AM radio about a high school in Pittfield, Massachusetts being closed tomorrow because a mercury thermometer had been broken in the classroom. They are still cleaning up the mercury, a neurotoxin. I thought of my high school science class where the teacher put a bead of mercury on a piece of glass and let us see and touch it.

Then I got home and found this article on mercury contamination in commercially sold fish, from the Chicago Tribune (via, via

Toxic risk on your plate
Seafood for sale in area stores is contaminated with mercury, Tribune testing shows. Government and industry fail to protect consumers, even as Americans buy more fish than ever.

Supermarkets throughout the Chicago area are routinely selling seafood highly contaminated with mercury, a toxic metal that can cause learning disabilities in children and neurological problems in adults, a Tribune investigation has found.

In one of the nation's most comprehensive studies of mercury in commercial fish, testing by the newspaper showed that a variety of popular seafood was so tainted that federal regulators could confiscate the fish for violating food safety rules.


The Tribune's investigation reveals a decades-long pattern of the U.S. government knowingly allowing millions of Americans to eat seafood with unsafe levels of mercury.

Regulators have repeatedly downplayed the hazards, failed to take basic steps to protect public health and misled consumers about the true dangers, documents and interviews show.

The government does not seize high-mercury fish that violate U.S. limits. Regulators do not even inspect seafood for mercury--not in ports, processing plants or supermarkets.

In fact, federal officials have tested so few fish that they have only a limited idea of how much mercury many species contain, government data show. For example, the government has tested just four walleye and 24 shrimp samples since 1978. The newspaper tested more samples of commercial walleye than the government has in the last quarter-century.

So, to amend my previous post, while I don't worry too much about eating organic food, I do make some simple choices. I don't eat swordfish or tuna from the fish case. I only eat canned tuna fish about once a month, and after reading this article, I may reduce that!

Here's what the authors recommend to limit your mercury exposure:

How to minimize risks of mercury

A lack of government guidance makes it difficult to avoid mercury in seafood. But consumers can take steps to reduce the likelihood of eating tainted fish.

While it makes no difference where you shop--supermarkets, health food stores and gourmet fish shops often use the same suppliers--consumers can choose to buy certain kinds of seafood.

Small or short-lived species, such as sardines, shrimp, crab and tilapia, generally have low amounts of mercury. Wild salmon, which eat plankton and small fish, are low in mercury, as are farm-raised salmon, which are fed fish meal containing little mercury.

Large predator fish, such as swordfish and shark, generally have the most mercury.

Better Living (?) Through Chemistry

From, this article summarizes my feelings about eating organic food. Nice idea, but when you get down to it, does it make much of a difference?

Don't eat this, don't eat that!

Our world is totally contaminated.

Our foods -- all of them -- have toxins in them on them. Even the organic foods are contaminated, because the soil is contaminated, and the water. Organic veggies have antibiotics in them, and how do you think it got there? Fertilizer from cows with growth hormones and antibiotics produces plants with antibiotics in them. Even if the farmer gets organic raised cow poop for his garden, farms upstream have runoff, rivers have sewer dumps, and the rain falls on farms and cities, and the runoff from chemical-contaminated rains fill the rivers and water the fields.

The food containers, air, water, all these are infused with chemicals and pollutants and they are inside us too. Each of us carries a heavy "chemical load" before we are even born. None of us are "pure" and chemical free.

You can try to eliminate some of the toxins from your life, but it's futile. For poor folks it's almost impossible. Stress kills, bad food, sugar, sucrose, mercury in vaccines ... We are seeing three-headed toads and other animal mutations, fish are changing sex. I know the wild animals eat organic foods and don't shop at supermarkets or drink Coke, yet they are mutating. What happens to them is going to be happening to us.


For me the answer is to not fret every waking moment over what I eat or don't eat. As for "food safety," in this age that is a relative term, so be reasonable but not phobic.

I will die. My quality of life will go downhill, because decay, entropy, and dissolution is the pattern of what life over time becomes in this world.

I can preoccupy myself endlessly questioning which additives, allergens, foods, or chemicals hurt me the most, and avoid them. You can find out what hurts you the most, and avoid that. When it changes avoid the new irritants. It's endless paranoia for you and endless profits for certain markets.