stAllio!'s way
Tuesday, December 30, 2003 
wow! today john ashcroft proved that he does still have a shread of integrity left today, & stepped down from the probe into who leaked the cia agent's name to the press. it's not often you'll hear me say anything positive about ashcroft, so pay attention: ashcroft did the right thing this time.

from the you too might be a terrorist department: the fbi has issued an alert concerning the extreme dangers of people carrying almanacs! that's right, if the police pull you over & you happen to have an almanac with you, the gig will be up! the police will know you're a terrorist because why else would someone carry maps if they aren't going to bomb the shit out of some innocents?!?! the lesson is that you should be sure to hide all you almanacs before going out, preferably somewhere where it will never be found, like wherever saddam hid all his WMD...

there's so much spin going around about mad cow right now... the US insists that other countries shouldn't be boycotting US beef (even though we we stopped buying canadian beef the very second word got out about a canadian mad cow case back in may)... and the usda was quick to mention that it thinks the american mad cow was probably born in canada, as though that makes any difference.

the usda simultaneously (in the same article) says it "stands by" its mad cow procedures and that it will be "beefing up" its safety procedures.... but if you stand by them, why do they need to be improved?

pretty much every article mentions that because the infected cow's nervous system was separated from its muscle, nobody is at risk from eating the meat (muscle). now the evidence suggests that's true (assuming they did a good job separating the nervous system). & you're probably less at risk eating a big cut of meat like a steak than you are eating ground beef, sausage, or anything where you can't be totally sure there aren't ground up brains inside. but even as they talk about finding the feed that this cow was given, nobody dares to suggest the obvious conclusion that if one cow was infected, chances are pretty good that there are more infected cows out there who also ate the same feed... maybe just a handful, maybe thousands.

and right now the big mad cow angle is that the sick cow was born before the "feed ban" was implemented. this sounds good because it gives the impression that the feed ban (supposedly to stop animals from being forced to cannibalize) might actually be working. but not so many stories mention that the US feed ban is totally riddled with holes (for example, you can't just feed a steak to a cow, but calves are fed formula made of cattle blood & nerve cells... & while cattle feed can't contain beef, chicken feed can, & excess chicken feed can be sold as cattle feed.

ooh, and upi reports that they have been trying to get mad cow testing info from the usda for six months (according to federal FOI regulations they should've gotten the info within 30 days)... there are other goodies in the upi article, too, like the fact that we don't use the same tests europe does, as well as this juicy rumor:

He noted he had been informed that approximately six months ago a cow displaying symptoms suggestive of mad cow disease showed up at the X-cel slaughtering plant in Ft. Morgan.

Once cows are unloaded off the truck they are required to be inspected by USDA veterinarians. However, the cow was spotted by plant employees before USDA officials saw it and "it went back out on a special truck and they called the guys in the office and said don't say anything about this," Schwochert said.

Monday, December 29, 2003 
my blog now has user comments! or more accurately, it has an empty hole where comments should be. after a little prodding from paul, i signed up with a haloscan account & now all three of my readers can offer their public feedback!

this could get ugly.

so i acquired a copy of an old 60 minutes segment from october called pirates of the internet.

how does this kind of irresponsible garbage pass for journalism? this piece was nothing but a mouthpiece for the industry. it is totally one-sided: lesley stahl begins the segment by pounding home the point that piracy is stealing. she states it herself as an appetizer, then for extra effect we're treated to several courses of industry hacks who repeat the point over & over again. once lesley (& producer rome hartman) have properly framed the debate by stating the industry's view as fact, it's time to dig up scary (& questionable) details.

at one point stahl basically confesses that she is absolutely clueless about the subject (she says "sometimes i think i'm the only person in the world who's never downloaded anything." well congratulations on being a luddite, but what the fuck are you doing reporting on internet issues? they might as well have brought in jack valenti to do the segment). then right when you think they aren't even going to attempt to show an opposing view, former grokster prez wayne rosso is brought in only to be demonized, then cut off before he can make his argument. they are nice enough to let rosso give his opinions of spoofing attacks on p2p networks, but they clearly have no intention of letting him defend the legitimacy of his business, let alone make any statement on the overall piracy issue any deeper than "it's stealing". i mean, this is textbook work here: bring in someone from the other side, to give off the illusion of objectivity, just don't let them actually say anything of substance.

it should make for nice sampling material, though, since stahl does say "pirates of the internet"...

i realized that if you do a google search for snuggles, you don't get to the correct info page for the snuggles list until page 3! in contrast, old pages on srn & turn up on page one of a snuggles search (but those pages won't get you to the correct snuggles page). this needs to be corrected. i'm a little hesitant to even call this a google bomb because it's not a prank; i just want people to get to the correct information...

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