Is racism or ignorance behind recent school incidents, PTSD and the padre from Canada, who owns the news, should there be a military draft, and the ice musician.
The great horse meat controversy of 2013 is growing with word today that Swedish meatballs sold by Ikea were found to contain horse meat in the Czech Republic.
Is this a health issue or a cultural issue? Yes.
In her essential guide to the horsemeat scandal, Felicity Lawrence of The Guardian says one problem is the drugs used in some horses:
Horses are routinely treated with an anti-inflammatory drug called phenylbutazone, or "bute". Bute is banned from the human food chain, because it can in rare cases cause a potentially life threatening illness, aplastic anaemia, or bone marrow failure. Since it is not known what triggers the illness, it has not been possible to set any safe level for bute residues in human food. Doses from horsemeat are likely to be very low. Horse passports are supposed to record any bute administered so that animals can be excluded from going for food, but with large numbers of fake passports in circulation, some horses containing bute have been eaten.
And Marion Nestle, who writes the Food Politics blog, calls the scandal the politics of cultural identity. That is to say: We don't eat horses.
Most Americans say they won't eat horsemeat, are appalled by the very idea, and oppose raising horses for food, selling their meat, and slaughtering horses for any reason.
These attitudes have created dilemmas. Since Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006, roughly 140,000 horses a year have been transported to Canada and Mexico to be killed. Whether this is better or worse for the horses is arguable. Some--perhaps most--of that meat will be exported as food.
And when Americans turn to horse meat, it means -- usually -- that we are in times of desperation. Oh yes, America, you've turned to horse meat before, Business Insider says:
There's ample evidence that when food ran out during the Civil War and even World War II, eating horse meat became a common (and cheap) solution. In fact, it became so popular that by 1951, Time Magazine was reporting it was an important meat in Oregon cuisine, with recipes included at the end of the article for horse meat fillets.
In 1973, a similar food shortage occurred that sent butcher shops reaching once more for the horse meat. That same year, however, a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania sponsored a bill to ban the sale of horse meat and make it illegal for horse slaughter houses to operate. It was the first time eating horse meat was legally questioned on a federal level in America.
Horse meat was effectively banned in the United States in 2007, when Congress stripped financing for federal inspections of horse slaughter, but this was reversed by Congress under Obama in 2011. (Though many states continue to have their own specific laws regarding horse slaughter and the sale of horse meat.)
But when any food scandal breaks, the real story isn't so much what's in the food, but why a system of inspection and monitoring wasn't able to prevent it from reaching the dinner plate.
Asian seafood raised on pig feces, anyone?
The Minnesota Court of Appeals today overturned a Minnesota law that bans people who care for immediate family members as personal care attendants (PCA) from seeking unemployment benefits.
The court ruled in the case of James Weir, who began taking care of his mother in 2010 as a personal care assistant employed through ACCRA Care, Inc.
When she died in 2011, Weir applied for unemployment benefits, but the state Department of Employment and Economic Development denied his claim because the Legislature amended the state's unemployment-insurance statutes to include "employment of an individual who provides direct care to an immediate family member funded through the personal care assistance program" under employment that is considered "uncovered" by unemployment benefits.
But the court today overturned the ruling, saying it violates Minnesota's equal protection clause because it treats people differently.
Judge Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks cited a previous Supreme Court ruling that threw out laws providing for different penalties for cocaine possession, depending on whether it was in powder form or crack form. In that case, the court said, there was no real proof that someone possessing crack was more likely to be a street dealer, and the law can't treat people differently based only on a supposition.
The court said the Legislature amended the law on PCAs in the belief that someone caring for a family member would be more inclined to commit fraud.
Here is what the court said DEED claimed:
... applicants would front-load all of the approved hours during any given six-month period, claiming that they worked extraordinarily high hours during the early weeks or months, and then collect unemployment benefits during the remainder of the time period. . . . These PCAs then collected both wages and unemployment benefits every year, which required the complicity of their family member clients. . . .
While such manipulation would also theoretically be possible in non-family settings, it is substantially less likely. Non-family clients would have no motivation to seek unemployment benefits for unrelated PCAs, nor would they be likely to report that all of their care hours had been used up early in the six-month period, risking that the non-relative PCA would not follow through on the bargain, and continue showing up to provide care even after the hours were reported and the wages were paid.
But the Court of Appeals said there is no proof to DEED's theory, and said legislators relied purely on assumptions rather than facts. And, the court said, there are already penalties for committing fraud in unemployment claims and there's no indication they are insufficient.
To deny unemployment benefits to everyone caring for a family member in the belief that they're more likely to commit fraud is unconstitutional, the judge said.7 Comments)
If a website known for biting satire issues an apology, should it be taken seriously? Or is it satire too?
Live by it, die by it, The Onion is learning.
In its Oscars tweetfest last night, The Onion used a vulgar term to describe 9-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis. She was nominated for her role in "Beast of the Southern Wild."
JessicaLaShawn, a blogger at Chicago Now, saw racial overtones.
Why is this socially acceptable on social media? Are we "OK" with belittling minorities in such a fashion. I am aware that 'The Onion' is used to making headlines because of its humorous take on real life situations but where should we draw the line. What is the logic behind this type of language and what type of respect do we have and or are missing to refer to a child in such a fashion. This child's night will be haunted by this tweet. I am sure her publicist and family have been made aware already.
Lets be clear, I am speaking from the perspective of a motivational speaker that attempts to teach young girls like Quvenzhane to love who they are, embrace their talents and be strong no matter what. When you see adults acting in such a disrespectful way how can you teach wrong from right? How can this girls mother let her know that this is just ignorance at its best? How can Ms. Wallis not be upset even if she doesn't fully understand the debate brewing over this? You cant. You just have to know better and maybe, one day, understand but someone should be held accountable for this! I want every last person that vowed to boycott Kanye West when he cut Taylor Swift off to be as passionate about this little girl being disrespected. I know the two aren't associated but they are equal in my eyes. Her moment was stolen too!
Today, The Onion apologized. We think.
Feb. 25, 2013
On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive--not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting.
No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.
The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.
In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.
Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.
On The Onion's Facebook page, many commenters seemed bewildered by the need for an apology.15 Comments)
"People who haven't gone through this heartbreak don't understand the helplessness you feel, the loss."
That's Callie Mitchell, a 25-year-old photographer for the University of Iowa's Daily Iowan, talking about giving up a child for adoption.
Her story -- a diary, really -- covering the time from when she discovered she was pregnant last March, to yesterday, when she most recently talked with the adoptive parents, is featured today in the Daily Iowan.
At first, I thought I had made a mistake and that I should have my son with me. I cried a lot for the first month he was gone. Even now, I cry every once in a while because I miss him. In all honesty, this is the best thing I could have done for my son, and I did it completely out of love for him. He now has the perfect parents that give him so much love. I have no doubt they will raise him to be the best person he can be, and they will also be able to provide him with every opportunity to reach any goal he has for his life. I'll always be there. I'll always be involved and always be cheering him on and loving him from a distance.
It's an incredible online project, which you can find here.
(h/t: Romenesko)(4 Comments)
There are no molecules in space, being a vacuum and all, so sound can't travel. Now scientists have created a satellite out of a smartphone to see if that's really true.
The engineers at the University of Surrey's Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology made the satellite out of a Google Nexus phone. It was launched, along with six other satellites, in India today.
And, again, we see the new face of space pioneers in this live feed from the Strand-1 mission control center.
The satellite, err, phone, will take pictures and post them on this Facebook page.
It will also scream in space. Or, more accurately, play the scream of terrestrials, who uploaded them via the Internet.
Like this one from a sixth-grade class...
Or this from science teacher Richard Barrington of California.
Mr. Barrington, by the way, died not long after being one of the winning entries in the "scream in space" contest.
Anyway, during the mission, the screams will be played by the phone and monitor whether anything comes out of the onboard speaker.2 Comments)
Here's a picture that's picking up steam around the Internet today. A picture of five aircraft carriers in port in Norfolk, Virginia. The chances are pretty good it's going to show up in your Facebook feed soon.
The accompanying message is only partially correct:
What is wrong with this picture?
The picture is of the five nuclear carriers.
Just like Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
This picture was taken the other day in Norfolk. The Obama Administration ordered 5 nuclear carriers into harbor for "routine" (?) inspections. Heads of the Navy were flabbergasted by the directive.
NORFOLK, VA. (February 8, 2013). The first time since WWII that five (*) aircraft carriers were docked together.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are all in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., the world's largest naval station.
Sources stated that this breached a long standing military protocol in the Navy meant to avoid massive enemy strike on major US forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan J. Courtade/Released)
What's the real story? Welcome to the sequester.
First, the picture was actually taken in mid-December, not this month. Second, none was ordered into port for "routine maintenance."
The USS Enterprise was retired from the Navy in January. It's being dismantled.
The USS Eisenhower deployed on Thursday and is on its way to the Middle East to relieve the USS Stennis, which will return to its home port on the West Coast. The Eisenhower was in port for two months to get its flight deck resurfaced.
The USS Harry Truman was to depart on a mission to the Central Command in early February, but Navy officials asked the secretary of defense to cancel that mission, which presumably was to the Persian Gulf where the U.S. has had two aircraft carriers. Now it will have one -- the Eisenhower.
The USS Bush was not ordered into port for "routine inspections." It had been undergoing tests of its ability to have aircraft, which it does not presently have. Its cruise was canceled because of the sequester.
The USS Lincoln also was not ordered into port for routine maintenance. It was in port for a two-year refueling mission, which the Navy has now canceled because of the sequester cuts.
The Truman's situation is particularly interesting. WTVR TV in Richmond described what happens to people when a deployment is canceled.
Families depend on deployment money to pay bills. Many move home for family support. They are already gone.
Single sailors with children already sent their kids to caretakers.
Many sailors moved out of apartments or homes, have cars in storage and already set up mortgage and phones and bills. This will be a tough adjustment.
Since they are now cancelled, only delayed indefinitely, they could have to leave suddenly if the budget impasse is solved.
The Navy is asking for community help for these 5,000 sailors, giving leniency on bills.
Living arrangements, help with temporary storage, temporary transportation...many of them do not have local family or a support system.
But back to the photo: It originally was paired with a U.S. Navy story about sailors coming home for Christmas:
Home for Christmas: 9 Flattops at Norfolk naval base, December 20, 2012.
With the returns from deployment of the carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER on Dec. 19, and the amphibious ships IWO JIMA and NEW YORK on Dec. 20, the piers at Norfolk's naval base are about as full up as they'll ever be.
Five aircraft carriers, four big-deck amphibious assault ships, a full cast of "small boy" surface warships, along with nuclear submarines and support ships, are crowding the base, giving a comfortably snug feeling to the waterfront. Similar scenes -- although not with the gathering of flattops seen here -- are taking place at other fleet concentration areas like San Diego and Pearl Harbor.
The Navy makes a point of trying to gives its shipboard crews a chance to spend Christmas with their families, and for a few days the percentage of ships underway drops to the lowest point it will be all year. But many of these ships will be gone in two weeks as the pace of operations picks up again.
In a decade or so, scenes such as this at Norfolk could become quite rare, as the fleet is in the midst of a gradual shift from the Atlantic to Pacific. Within a few years, about sixty percent of the U.S. Navy's ships will be homeported at a Pacific base - virtually a mirror image of the Cold War emphasis on the Atlantic.
The Navy also says the story about this being the first time so many carriers were moored together since Pearl Harbor is untrue.
Not surprisingly, the story was changed, the picture was attached, and the Internet did its thing.(35 Comments)