Handle at your own risk.

Sometimes I think I do little more in this space than bitch about something I read someplace else, but I yam what I yam, and having standards isn’t a bad thing. (Is it?)

So I’m reading around this morning and see a Kevin Leininger column on, of all things, raw milk. I worked with Kevin long enough, and know his hobbyhorses well enough, that as soon as I saw the subject, I had a pretty good idea what the story would be, and sure enough, I was right:

Got milk? Mark Grieshop and Troy Fisher do, and thanks to the growing interest in natural and organic foods their “raw milk” business is booming despite government regulations and warnings to the contrary.

Yep, it’s evil big guv’mint holding the little dairy farmer down, when all he wants to do is sell a product that can make you seriously ill. Can you believe it?

I’ve argued with raw-milk people in the past, and I’m willing to leave it at a draw: You can drink raw milk if you like, as long as you’re fully informed about the risks. The problem is, the people who sell it won’t do that, and too often they’re helped along by people who write stuff like this:

“I wouldn’t drink raw milk from an ordinary dairy farm, either,” said Grieshop, who stressed that Pasture’s Delights and other farms that produce raw milk for human consumption are careful to prevent harmful bacteria while preserving the bacteria, enzymes and nutrients that promote good health and can make the product safe even for some people with lactose intolerance.

I’ll take them at their word and assume they’ve vaccinated against brucellosis, but I’d demand a lot more reassurance that they “prevent harmful bacteria,” and as for making a product that contains lactose by its very definition “safe for some people with lactose intolerance,” all I can do is roll my eyes. Of course, Alan points out often that most food allergies are self-diagnosed, so I guess it’s possible.

So let’s move on, eh?

I read this review (nothing much), but it led me via this turn and that to this other thing, just a Deadspin blog post, but something I’ve believed for a while — “It’s not OK to be shitty.”

I bring all this up because I think we’re starting to care more about popularity and financial success than legitimate quality. All right, so that’s hardly news; that’s always been the case, as a general rule, for most of humanity’s reign. But now the smart people are doing it: People who should know better. I’m talking about you, dear reader: You, me, all of us.

You see this everywhere, from box office results to online pageviews to Nielsen ratings to freaking Twitter followers. More people watch the NFL on television than any sport so therefore IT IS THE BEST SPORT. You have fewer Twitter followers than the person you’re criticizing? YOU’RE A HATER. You don’t like that album that went platinum? YOU JUST JEALOUS. BuzzFeed has put a bunch of pictures of kittens together in a way that is easily passed around by idiots? THEY HAVE FIGURED OUT THE INTERNET THEY ARE SUCH BRILLIANT PACKAGERS OF CONTENT THE FUTURE OF MEDIA. We have become a culture that, because we can quantify things in a way we’ve never been able to before, are acting as if those numbers are all that matter.

I dunno, I liked it. I’ve mentioned before that when I first got here, I ran across the Mitch Albom radio show and was pleasantly surprised by it — his regular-guy persona played pretty well on the radio, and I know that might be more of a reflection of the toxic mire of his on-the-air colleagues, but whatever. Nowadays, though, he’s just like what the post describes: “The Newsroom” isn’t a bad show like the critics say, they’re just jealous of Jeff Daniels’ success. “The Bucket List” is a great movie because lots of people liked it. And so on.

Keep your standards. They matter.

Which brings us to the final bit of chat today, a really good Ta-Nehisi Coates piece. I don’t want to give it away, but I’ll say this: I was slow to warm to T-N C when I first started reading him, but once I did, I really did. Also, the ending is great.

So with that, I leave you to your weekend. This week felt long, but I got a lot accomplished. Hope you did too.

Posted at 12:27 am in Media |

79 responses to “Handle at your own risk.”

  1. Dexter said on March 8, 2013 at 12:55 am

    International Women’s Day

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  2. Dexter said on March 8, 2013 at 1:19 am

    When I was a little boy a big treat was the week and some weekends we spent on the dairy/grain/chicken farm my grandparents owned, and my uncle ran when the old folks got old.
    Every night my uncle milked the cows and then brought a pail of fresh-squeezed milk to the house. Grandma poured my brother and I a glass of warm milk before filling up a couple glass milk bottles for the next day’s usage. In the morning, she’d skim off the cream into a pitcher for coffee cups and also for baking. We never got sick once. OK, maybe we were lucky.
    As kids, we sometimes had peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, and we could take raw and roasted peanuts to school. Now if a kid brings a peanut product into a school all hell breaks loose because so many kids start hemorrhaging from the orifices if they breathe a peanut atom in the air. Has anyone ever discovered how peanuts became killers?

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  3. Linda said on March 8, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Nut allergies have become more common, with some controversy about whether there’s a psychological element involved. But they are more common than they used to be, and unlike many food allergies, they tend not to be outgrown A short summary here.

    The thing that makes them so dramatic is that you can, in a dramatic way, drop dead from the allergy. For a first-person take, there’s Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl by Sandra Beasley on growing up with severe allergies.

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  4. Danny said on March 8, 2013 at 6:59 am

    The Coates piece is depressing for me. With all the fine examples of idiocy that he points out, I don’t know if our country will ever move beyond. I’m tired of paying for what is largely the sins of the past generations, but it’s hard to not sympathize with Coates point of view.

    In other news, this is not going to be a good day for me. Yesterday, I worked from 4 AM to 6 PM before I’d had enough and today I started at 2 AM. I’m trying to get to the bottom of what seems to be a particularly intractable design or manufacturing issue that is hiding itself from the obvious. I’m honored that some of my colleagues have taken to calling me “The Wolf”* because I always get called in on these kind of problems, but it is exhausting.

    * The Wolf is a reference to Harvey Keitel’s “cleaner” character in Pulp Fiction who was called in to clean up messy crime scenes where things had gone terribly awry.

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  5. Danny said on March 8, 2013 at 7:02 am

    what are .. not what is. started to type something else then changed it and didn’t get it right. I’m about cross-eyed right now. Coffeeeeeee…. It’s me, Danny. Are you there?

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  6. coozledad said on March 8, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Organically produced milk is safe and healthier to drink than the stuff treated with BGH, antibiotics, and where the cows have been fed on grass treated with various petrochemical fertilizers and herbicides.
    I can’t see how you can manufacture raw milk on a scale that justifies the expense of meticulously washing and culling staph or strep or brucellosis infected cattle, and if you’re trusting an individual farmer to keep bugs out of your milk, well, good luck. There are a lot of places in the US where soil contamination with bacteria that produce mastitis is endemic. Chances are your raw milk will at the very least be loaded with neutrophils and assorted antibodies. You are importing a full blown immune response unless you pasteurize. The tits on a cow get shit on them, because they are located beneath its arse.

    Since I’ve milked cows, I’d be reluctant to drink any raw milk that has had to sit around any length of time, or travel.

    Actually, milk a cow or two, and you’ll know vegans are onto something.

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  7. beb said on March 8, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Speaking of bitching, here’s Maureen Dowd on a documentary on Dick Cheney

    As with Mitt Romney, the more you know about him the less people like him.

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  8. Kristen said on March 8, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I read the Coates piece as well, but I was left feeling somewhat frustrated. I would venture to guess that most readers of the NYT op-ed pages already get it – that discrimination and prejudice against blacks (in particular black youth/men) is alive and well. And yes, I am saddened too that Forest Whitaker (can’t believe Coates listed some of Whitaker’s films and left out Bird!) was subjected to that treatment in the deli. What columns like this usually don’t do, however, is address what we can DO about this seemingly intractable issue. Is it up to all non-African Americans to do something? Is it up to the black community to do something? What can both sides do to bring about change other than keep pointing out the current situation? Time and again we read about the deplorable statistics regarding black males – see for example http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/tsr/too-important-to-fail/fact-sheet-outcomes-for-young-black-men/. I think many people hear about or read about these statistics and then hold conscious or unconscious prejudices against black males. Are we stuck now in a Catch-22 situation where until these statistics change, people will continue to often view black males with suspicion?

    As an early literacy reading teacher, I often note references to the connection between early literacy and school success/dropout rates. I work in a priority school district (predominantly African-American and Hispanic student population, large percentage of students receiving free/reduced meals, low test scores). I can tell you from daily experience that I encounter many students – including black males – who are already struggling academically in kindergarten. Whatever oral language/exposure to books etc. experiences happening in the home between birth and age 4/5 when they enter kindergarten are often not sufficient to prepare these children for current academic expectations. Teachers and tutors work very hard to make up these deficits in areas such as phonemic awareness and vocabulary knowledge, but it can be an uphill battle. I also see plenty of behavior that would seem to indicate a lack of seriousness or interest in learning for the sake of learning. I see a lack of parent interest and involvement in education. I guess my point is: how do we halt the cycle of low academic achievement and lack of interest in school if the seeds for that seem to already be in place by kindergarten? How can we change attitudes about school and education in communities? If greater academic success among black males is viewed as a key to better lives for black males, then I wish columnists like Coates would spend more time looking very carefully at some of these issues.

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  9. nancy said on March 8, 2013 at 8:10 am

    This is one reason my employer is lobbying so hard for more early-childhood education funding. When you’re behind the day you start kindergarten, it’s pretty damn hard to catch up.

    Of course, some people have questions.

    A friend of mine is a psychologist treating poor people, and says the rate of sexual abuse among her clients is simply jaw-dropping.

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  10. Basset said on March 8, 2013 at 8:28 am

    You may have heard that there’s a panic- and rumor-driven ammunition shortage going on… right now I am standing outside a big-box sports store in suburban Nashville waiting to buy some rimfire 22, place doesn’t open for another 35 minutes and there are already 20 of us in line, just on the off chance the store might have gotten a delivery last night.

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  11. Basset said on March 8, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Overheard right behind me: “Herman Cain was on the news last night, I forget whether he was on Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck…”

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  12. alex said on March 8, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Wow, Michigan’s state legislators sound even dumber than Indiana’s. Whooda thunkit?

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  13. alex said on March 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Just read the Coates piece. Funny, I recall Barack Obama saying that he’d been ignored by taxi cabs in Chicago, which is pretty much how they do things there. Chicago passed an ordinance prohibiting cab drivers from taking a pass on any customer but I doubt it’s observed much.

    I remember one night attending a concert with a friend at the Empty Bottle on Western. (We saw a band that went on to the big time though for the life of me I can’t remember which one.) We had taken a cab to get there but couldn’t get one to stop and pick us up on the way home. Finally, a guy pulled over and checked us out closely and then rolled down the window to interview us. Then he let us in. When I told him what he just did was illegal he said maybe so but at least he was sure he wasn’t going to die that night. Couldn’t argue with that.

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  14. MarkH said on March 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

    For whatever reason, the shortage is legit, as you have seen, basset. My buddy, the local pawn shop gun dealer can’t get anything, even .22s. He is such a small player, the distributors of weapons and ammo are all but ignoring him and his ilk. Fortunately for me, I haven’t fired any of my .22s in so long I have plenty.

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  15. BigHank53 said on March 8, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Not too long ago I read that the military was expending something like 80,000 rounds per insurgent/hostile killed in Afghanistan. If you were an ammunition maker would you be producing stuff for the commercial market, of would you be trying to get your paws on a sweet cost-plus military contract?

    You’d think that people who blat about their precious “free market” all the time would be able to recognize one when it bit them in the ass–or the wallet.

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  16. Cathy D. said on March 8, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Kevin Leininger columns are one of many reasons I quit getting the NS after you left. I sleep better now.

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  17. brian stouder said on March 8, 2013 at 9:31 am

    The TNC piece was very good; contemplative and honest, and with a powerful close (as Nance said).

    Basset – you couldn’t possibly parody Oxy-Rush’s glomming onto the notion of “low-information voters” as his all-purpose analysis of why Mitt Romney (et al) got their asses handed to them last November.

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  18. Jolene said on March 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

    What Coates is getting at is the idea that, for blacks, nothing is ever enough. It’s not enough to be an excellent, well-paid writer. It’s not enough to be an Oscar-winning actor. There is nothing you can do that lifts you above suspicion.

    This is so clear in the way people speak about the president. He is, as an individual, both as accomplished and as “normal” as you could want a person to be. He has degrees from America’s most prominent universities, he has created an obviously strong, loving family, and there is no hint of scandal or corruption in his political life. He is a sports fan, a golf player, a cool guy who follows popular culture, likes an occasional beer, plays poker, and has a good sense of humor. Even if you hate his ideas on healthcare, taxation, and solar energy, how could you not think he is essentially a good guy? Yet he has to put up with outrageous levels of disrespect, and many Americans continue to believe that he is “not one of us”. There is no end to the insults and disparaging remarks, and they are, in my view, qualitatively different than the disrespect directed at GWB, which was more about his policies and personal qualities.

    When you experience rejection and suspicion everyday–and think how much more of it you experience if you are not Forest Whitaker or Barack Obama–it must be pretty hard to keep striving, to hold on to the belief that you can make it if you try. But there is really no alternative, however (justifiably) tired of the racism of “good people” TNC is. Whatever trouble we have in getting along with each other, we can’t avoid each other. So the struggle–to overcome our biases and to help people who’ve been left behind–simply has to go on.

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  19. dull_old_man said on March 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

    My mother got brucellosis (undulant fever, she called it) from drinking raw milk on her parents’ farm in the 1920s. She was sick off and on for 30 years. Certainly the risk of raw milk is great; me, I have never understood the perceived benefit to be worth it.

    I worked in the state’s public health department 10 years ago. I was surprised when I found out that the passion of the raw milk zealots was greater than that of the anti-vaccine parents; the raw milk folks were in the same league as the motorcycle riders who hated helmets.

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  20. brian stouder said on March 8, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Abe Lincoln’s mom, for one, suffered a particularly unpleasant death due to “the milk sick”, as did a few others in the extended family

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  21. nancy said on March 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I had a college boyfriend who had an apartment out in the country, next to a dairy farm. He would buy their milk in one-gallon jugs; as a New York City boy, he loved the experience of skimming cream off the top, etc. I drank it with him for a while. One day I mentioned it to my mom, and she flipped out. She’d had a grade-school classmate who nearly died of brucellosis, and made me promise to never touch it again. And that is but one of the illnesses you can pick up from raw milk.

    And this is how Kevin handles that little problem:

    People owe it to themselves and their children to be informed consumers, especially where food is concerned, and government oversight was a response to real abuses. But it’s just as true that everybody was drinking raw milk not all that long ago, and that no amount of bureaucracy can protect all foods from all dangers all the time.

    Translation: I don’t know anyone who got sick from it, so it must not be much of a problem. Besides: Bureaucracy = bad.

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  22. nancy said on March 8, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Also, I have to say this: I get uncomfortable when lefties jeer about the right’s science ignorance, when so many of them have practices that are just as dumb, vaccine refusal being only one of them.

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  23. MarkH said on March 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Big Hank 53 – The spending on military ammo has most likely been a constant. The new wrinkle is the panic buying by the public, and shortage of .22s is the best indicator. Even when you have shortages of the larger calibers, ther have always been .22s available. The other wrinkle that bears scrutiny, that is not being publicized at all, is the apparent recent stockpiling of ammo by no-military federal agencies, like homeland security, social security administration and the IRS. These rumors are swirling around the right wing fringe websites, and no doubt encouraging private hoarding, but something is fueling this.

    This is the only legit news story I could find on the matter. The ATF spokesman says it’s all a fantasy, natch.

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  24. MarkH said on March 8, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Oops, here’s the link.


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  25. Basset said on March 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I was allowed to buy one box of 22LR, and they had my preferred brand… Out of 30-30, though.

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  26. Basset said on March 8, 2013 at 10:55 am

    22’s definitely the survivalist round… and panic buying is indeed out there. Next level is the casual shooter like me who just wants to have some around. Didn’t notice the shortage till I went to Walmart just after Christmas and thought they were changing out stock or something, shelves were bare.

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  27. adrianne said on March 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

    What Jolene said – the amount of virulent racist b.s. directed at Barack Obama is unbelievable. What’s particularly shameless is that many of these racists have a mainstream media platform. Maybe I’m naive, but I didn’t think that we as a society tolerated that crap anymore.

    On another note: When I got this news release from the National Repubs, I thought it was a joke. Then I realized it was serious:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Reverend A.R. Bernard, and New York State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox will hold a media availability Monday, March 11th at 2pm, at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York.

    The media availability will immediately follow an African-American engagement and listening session with African American business, political and governmental leaders. The listening session is one in a series of meetings held by the Republican National Committee as part of the Growth and Opportunity Project to gather input from different communities across the country to help grow and renew the GOP.

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  28. Peter said on March 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Nancy, you’re right about science ignorance. I never understand some people’s paranoia; fluoride, raw milk (and raw chicken), vaccines…it just floors me when people think that the government is trying to poison people by vaccination – yeah, little kids are just dropping like flies because of them shots.

    On the other hand, that Maureen Dowd column provides plenty of ammo for that crowd. Really, is there anything you can imagine that Dick Cheney wouldn’t do? I have to give him credit for one thing. A close friend of mine said that his goal in life was to get one of his friends to be rich and famous – that way he can leach off of him for the rest of his life. You can say that Dick won that lotto.

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  29. Kristen said on March 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I don’t know that this story would have caught my attention before NN’s link yesterday to the story about the woman who tried to hide a gun, ah, on her person, but apparently drug stashing in your plumber’s crack is de rigueur. http://www.courant.com/community/middletown/hc-middletown-buttocks-crack-0309-20130308,0,5961176.story

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  30. Julie Robinson said on March 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

    When we visited my grandparents we drank raw milk, which I despised because of the huge fat globules. Grandpa was meticulous about cleanliness and dipped the cows’ teats in some sort of solution right before they were milked. I wonder what chemicals were in that.

    The raw milk, no vaccines people remind me of a former acquaintance who talked endlessly about the different herbal supplements I should be taking. It didn’t matter what malady one might mention, she knew an herbal solution. No medical or pharmacology degree, no recognition of the dangers, no discussion of the lack of government oversight concerning strength or cleanliness of the manufacturing process. Sheesh.

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  31. Charlotte said on March 8, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I bought raw milk for a couple of years from my rancher friend — I didn’t worry about brucellosis since the authorities and the cattle people are so paranoid about the bison and losing the state’s “brucellosis-free” status. Isabelle has two jersey cows, and she’s slightly OCD so I trusted her on cleanliness. And, since I couldn’t drink a gallon of milk a week, I mostly made yogurt and fairly good little camemberts out of it — the yogurt was really great. But it got too expensive, especially once I got laid off, so I gave it up. I was never a zealot, and I didn’t experience any miraculous health cures. Also, my beloved dear-departed grandmother gave me food poisoning so many times as a kid that I have a pretty sturdy system by now …

    Dexter — there’s a good article in the upcoming NY Times Sunday Magazine about food allergies and kids — a doctor at Stanford who seems to be curing kids by applying incrementally-larger doses of what they’re allergic to. Heartbreaking — it’s easy to make fun of my yuppie women friends claiming to be “allergic” to food, but it’s hard to argue with an anaphylactyc child: http://nyti.ms/YHCtTb

    Someone linked to this on my Facebook feed this morning — the Marina Abramovic project at MOMA — the one where she sat with all those people. Unbeknownst to her, one of her great loves, who she hadn’t seen in decades came to sit. It’s beautiful, even if it does give me a squidgy feeling watching such a private moment played out as “art” : http://zengarage.com.au/2013/03/marina-abramovic-and-ulay/

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  32. brian stouder said on March 8, 2013 at 11:28 am

    The media availability will immediately follow an African-American engagement and listening session with African American business, political and governmental leaders

    I attended a “listening session” – aka “public hearing” – just a week ago on Rudisill Blvd, conducted by the Indiana State Charter board. I think that board displayed just about as much “hearing” of what the assembled public had to say, as this group of uber-Republicans ostentatiously “listening” to the uppity…errr, assembled speakers at their deal.

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  33. brian stouder said on March 8, 2013 at 11:33 am

    (please append the word “will” at the end of the last sentence above. Thank you, and carry on)

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  34. Sherri said on March 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

    One difference between the left science-deniers and the right science-deniers is that the left science-deniers don’t have seats on the House Science and Technology Committee.

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  35. LAMary said on March 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I have one weird food belief. I don’t like heating food up in plastic containers. If I bring leftovers for lunch it’s in a glass container. Maybe it was growing up near a plastic factory in NJ that did it. Either the smell of hot plastic or the damage smelling hot plastic did to my brain cells led me to believe it’s not a good idea to heat food in those containers.

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  36. Jeff Borden said on March 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I’m with Jolene. Far from highlighting a “post-racial” America, the election of President Obama instead shone a spotlight on just how far down the road we still need to travel. As she noted, when you have the kind of family and credentials he brought to the White House and you are still called out as lazy. . .foreign. . .polarizing. . .inept. . .it is enough to make you scream. It’s pretty dispiriting.

    I teach public speaking and each semester we compare and contrast Malcolm X’s “Bullets or Ballots” with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speeches, so I hear them both several times per year. It’s a hard slap in the face to realize how much of what King called for remains unchanged 50 years since that justly famous address.

    And now the Voting Rights Act is under assault? Republicans in some states are looking to change how electoral votes are applied to presidential elections in an attempt to weaken urban aka minority voting power?

    I suspect Coates’ column can be rerun in, say, 50 years and it will still ring true.

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  37. Charlotte said on March 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

    LA Mary — I’m with you on that one. I threw out all the plastic a couple of years ago. I bought a whole bunch of those old-fashioned pyrex refrigerator containers on eBay — between those and my vast collection of wide-mouth pint and quart jars I’ve managed to avoid plastic. And in the microwave — I just put a plate or a saucer over the bowl in which I’m heating up lunch, works just fine.

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  38. coozledad said on March 8, 2013 at 11:48 am

    LA Mary: A friend of mine who works in a lab says plastics even present problems with assays-these can be corrected for, however, and you’re not eating them. Plastimers mimic molecular structures found in a lot of biochemical processes.
    Biphenyl A was long considered safe-but the yardstick is these polymers have to be proven unsafe.

    The amounts are small, says Laura Vandenberg, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in biology at Tufts University in Boston. “But almost any plastic container can be expected to leach trace amounts of plastics into food,” she says.

    Heating food in plastic seems to increase the amount that’s transferred to food. Migration also increases when plastic touches fatty, salty, or acidic foods. How much actually gets into our bodies? Vandenberg says that to her knowledge, there’s no research that can answer that question.

    Although most of the chemicals making the culinary crossing are considered “safe,” Jacob tells WebMD that’s generally not because they’ve been proved safe, but rather they haven’t been proven to be unsafe.

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  39. brian stouder said on March 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

    But what about the stray radiation from the microwave?

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  40. Catherine said on March 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Clicking the non-existent Like button on Kristen @8.

    Julie @30, yes! The fat globules in the supposedly delicious fresh milk just made me gag. My cousins laughed and marked as a city kid for eternity. Oh, the shame.

    And what is it with rejecting the technologies that are so beneficial to public health — vaccines, pasteurization and so forth? It reminds me of the women who opt for unmedicated birth, to the utter bewilderment of their grandmothers, who would have given anything for modern anesthesia. There are plenty of technologies that are more clearly mixed blessings, but I will gladly pass on getting polio and I want my damn epidural.

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  41. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    TheBucket List is a crappy version of Secondhand Lions, which is nearly a great movie, with two stars of equal weight to Jack and Morgan, and an excellent performance by Haley Osment.

    I dislike milk of any sort, so I’ve got no dog in the raw milk fight, although I’m all for unpasteurized mother’s milk for infinks. That’s a no-brainer.

    I’ll give it to Rand Paul for actually filibustering. But II heard the highlights on O’Donnell’s show last night and the guy is flaming nuts. Killing Awlaki with a drone means American survivalists are in danger in the USA? Young “Libertarian” Lochinvar sounded like somebody in need of men in white with nets and straitjackets. Nucking futs, for sure:


    There’s a guy that should not be able to pass a gun background check. Can’t his daddy get him some professional care via professional courtesy. No, no said the queen. What the hell?

    I believe that Dickless Cheney is the closest thing to a truly evil man Americans ever sort of elected to national office. In fact, I believe CS Lewis wrote a predictive biography of Cheney before Dickless even started getting people killed for his violent fantasies while collecting draft deferments.

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  42. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    CPAC, Whitopias and scientific racism. Right here in “post-racial” America.

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  43. crinoidgirl said on March 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Brian, milk sickness is caused by milk that has been poisoned due to the cow eating white snakeroot.

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  44. crinoidgirl said on March 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    (I’ve been reading “Herndon’s Informants”, and had to look it up.)

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  45. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Bob Woodward, the diva has no clothes.

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  46. crinoidgirl said on March 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm


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  47. brian stouder said on March 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Crinoidgirl, in Herndon’s Informants, have you gotten to the one – which I think was somewhere in the first third of the book, where the guy recounted a story AL shared with him from his surveying days; something about spending a night in a farmer’s house alongside the farmer’s daughter? He goes on about tickling the young lady’s feet, and then her legs, and the girl giggles and giggles….and the informant concludes it by saying something like “I never did hear how that came out”

    Charlotte – while I was home for lunch I watched your link, and indeed the word “squidgy” captures it! Once again, though, it made my eyes water. (I’m gonna be a weak old man!)

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  48. brian stouder said on March 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Crionoidgirl – if you ever get the chance to visit the Lincoln boyhood home in southern Indiana – do so! It’s a very beautiful place, and you can visit Nancy’s resting place, and Sarah’s; and you can see white snake root (and pawpaws – another element of AL’s jokes) growing here and there

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  49. crinoidgirl said on March 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Yeah, Brian, I swear that story made me blush, and I’m not a blusher!

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  50. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Beautiful photo gallery.

    Trick shot kicker.

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  51. Deborah said on March 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    For some reason haven’t been able to access nn.c for a couple of hours, going through withdrawal.

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  52. LAMary said on March 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I’m not keen on the glass refrigerator containers that have glass lids. When I managed a gourmet shop in NYC we had glass jars with glass lids for bulk tea, cornichons, dried mushrooms. I started to notice small chipped spots on the inside of the glass lids. This probably meant that the little glass chips were going into the tea, cornichons and dried mushrooms. The jars look pretty but um, no.

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  53. MichaelG said on March 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I use Mason/Ball jars for storing stuff. They come in several sizes and shapes and you can get a dozen anywhere for $8 to $10 bucks. I don’t heat stuff in the microwave. I put it in a pan and heat it on the stove. My microwave is basically a popcorn popper.

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  54. LAMary said on March 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I use the microwave at home to soften butter when I’m baking and I haven’t planned ahead, reheat cold coffee, and sometimes for lunch I make a baked potato for myself.

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  55. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Here’s where the immediate cuts re coming from, you wizards of wall street. These people do really try to do the opposite of WJWD at all times.

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  56. Deborah said on March 8, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Seems like only those of us on the west coast are commenting. Is there a technical problem with the nn.c server. I wasn’t able to access for awhile this afternoon????

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  57. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I use the microwave to warm up a bowl of pasta.

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  58. Deborah said on March 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    OK never mind about the West if Prospero is commenting, he is on the east coast. So probably the problem was /is on my end. We are having rain/wind so much that I have never seen before in this part of the country.

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  59. Dexter said on March 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Alex, my last ride in a Checker cab, the old Checker cabs with the flip-down extra seat in the back, was in Chicago, 1983. My brother had just received an insurance settlement check and he wanted to go goof around in Chicago for a day, so we did, along with a work-buddy of mine. This seems so crude today it’s unimaginable, but the cabbie began telling AIDS jokes.
    “What’s the worst thing about getting AIDS?…..trying to convince your parents you’re a Haitian.” And all the children laughed. 🙁

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  60. Deborah said on March 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I don’t know why I find this so fascinating but there’s a cool interactive site via The Guardian that shows every meteorite that is known to have landed on earth. It tells you when and where it was found, the kind of meteorite etc. I went to see the Santa FE expert on meteorites today to ask him about something I found about them in the area, mainly that there is a crater somewhere nearby that I want to go see. I found out where it is, about 5 miles from here, not exactly a crater and very ancient. Here’s the link to the site: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2013/feb/15/meteorite-fall-map.

    By the way expert that I spoke with had not yet seen the site so I felt pretty good about pointing it out to him.

    Have you all been reading about the comet that is supposed to be visible to the naked eye in North America soon. Hopefully I can see it but bad weather in our area will probably rule that out.

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  61. Jolene said on March 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Deborah, the server was apparently down for several hours this afternoon. I wasn’t able to get on either. It wasn’t just you.

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  62. Dorothy said on March 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Ditto what Jolene said. I was unable to read/comment as well for quite awhile. Welcome back now to everyone!

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  63. Basset said on March 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Brian@48, the Lincoln family farm site in Kentucky is worth visiting too… Not much there but that’s the best part, you can walk back into the hollow and vibe on how it might have been.
    Milk… Didn’t undulant fever kill Edsel Ford? Or maybe that was just te story they put out. We used to buy whole milk from the Amish near Odon in Daviess County, the state shut them down by requiring electrical rather than springhouse refrigeration so it kinda went underground there for awhile. Been over forty years now but I still remember glass half-gallon bottles and about an inch of cream at the top.
    Got to work this morning and was talking about waiting for the store door to open, now our dept. secretary wants to go with me next week & see if they have 40-caliber for her Glock. Flower of Southern womanhood right there…

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  64. alex said on March 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Dex, having spent twenty years there I have all kinds of weird cab driver stories, and it’s really not all that uncommon to get cabbies who are certifiably insane. As most of them are self-employed there’s no firing someone who thinks nothing of telling the vilest of jokes without any regard for others’ sensibilities. I’ve heard cabbies go on diatribes of all sorts—racist, anti-semitic, misogynistic, homophobic, you name it. There was some 9/11 trutherism on more than one occasion and plenty of other wacked-out shit no doubt gleaned from talk radio, which of course would be blaring in some instances. There were some with such insufferable B.O. that it was hard not to retch. One time there was a fat dude who lit up a fat doob and shared it. One time there was a cabbie who told me and others I was with that a black pimp had just been tooting snow out of a plastic baggie and was so high he spilled most of it in the back seat in case we wanted to snort it up before sitting down. One time I lightly touched bumpers with a cab in front of me in traffic as I was trying to scoot out of an intersection where I had gotten stuck when the light changed. Things were moving like molasses that day. The cab driver got out and was enraged and wanted to fight me over contact that didn’t even cause a scuff on either vehicle. He was flipping out as if I’d just murdered his first born or something. He was also holding up traffic and putting on such a show that there was a rear-ender with damage in the opposite lane, only complicating things further. Finally, a very big and burly truck driver from several vehicles behind me got out and smacked the sonofabitch around and made him get his car out of the way.

    Tonight I just came face to face with the closest, brightest shooting star I’ve ever seen. It’s a beautiful clear sky tonight and as I was exiting my vehicle and walking to the house there was this bright, blinding flash like lightning and then high in the eastern sky I saw a bright orb with an aura and a tail traveling in a downward arc. I’ve only seen a few previously and they were tiny and looked quite remote.

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  65. Dexter said on March 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Yep, basset, you’re right. Old man Edsel Ford died from undulant fever, or Brucellosis. What a horrible way to go, especially since he was weak from stomach cancer surgery at the time…he’d been quite sick for a long time.

    Edsel was father to “Hank the Deuce”, one of the most dynamic Fords.
    The Deuce’s son, Edsel, ran Ford Australia for a few years but is mostly known as a philanthropist around Detroit, serving as a board member of many organizations, hospitals, etc. Edsel Ford , son of Hank the Deuce, will be 65 this year.

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  66. Dexter said on March 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Alex, thanks for telling your cab stories. I love reading that kind of stuff.
    The shooting star means you will hit Mega Millions tonight. Enjoy . 🙂

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  67. alex said on March 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Aw, I didn’t play the lotto today. Shit.

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  68. Crazycatlady said on March 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Thank goodness the government is protecting me from raw milk! I don’t want to get sick when I could be out buying an unlimited amount of guns, magazines and ammo like a Real American! After all, you can’t kill people reliably with raw milk. Why take chances?

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  69. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    GOPer schizophrenia on ACA. Crazycatlady: They’ll get you with drones before the milk kicks in, and you’ll be glad to pass on the cramps.

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  70. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Sorry, but that AquaBuddha is fracking nuts.

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  71. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Are these mofos nuts?

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  72. Prospero said on March 8, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    These aholes are kidding, right?


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  73. Dexter said on March 9, 2013 at 1:59 am

    I check the San Francisco paper online, and I see that today is WNBR. NSFW, and if nudity offends, do not click this link.


    I see that new nudity laws went into effect there last month. More power to them. 100% nude exposure of yourself while pedalling a bicycle through San Francisco? I just cannot understand the desire to do this. I have, however, always desired to live there in The Bay Area; I am thinking I wouldn’t always fit in. 🙂 Maybe I’d feel more at home in the East Bay part of the area. My clunky bikes and me would fit in there. And, Berkeley is a fun place to ride bicycles anyway.

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  74. David C. said on March 9, 2013 at 6:39 am

    We are fortunate that so many of the maladies that scared the bejesus out or our parents and grandparents are so rare now. My grandparents would no more have served us raw milk from their own farm than they would have served us shit sandwiches from their own farm. It just wasn’t safe and they bought pasteurized milk from the dairy. I remember as a 4 or 5 year old standing in line for what seemed like hours to get a sugar cube with Sabin polio vaccine. I remember riding the bus to school with older kids in leg braces because of polio. Our collective memories of the dangers of the past are dying away and many have no clue of the literal damn hard science and figurative miracles that made that possible.

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  75. Connie said on March 9, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Alex, there was supposed to have been a comet visible sometime in the last few days, maybe that is what you saw.

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  76. alex said on March 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Dex, those World Naked Bike Ride events happen in places that have much tougher laws against public nudity than San Francisco’s. Law enforcement is pretty much helpless to do anything about them simply because of their enormity, both in terms of participants and spectators. The crowds lining the streets fairly well obscure the view of anyone who is averse to seeing it anyway. I’m not sure how exhibitionism/voyeurism serves the cause of environmentalism, but I suppose it’s a great pretext for a nude-in if that’s what you’re into.

    Crazycatlady at 68: LMFAO so hard there’s milk coming out my nostrils. Pasteurized, of course.

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  77. Connie said on March 9, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Comet visible in the west last night, tonight, tomorrow night, with best viewing in the hour after sunset. I bet that was what you saw Alex.

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  78. Dexter said on March 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    alex: The nudity is supposed to illustrate the fragile-ness of the human body on a bicycle, navigating roadways alongside behemoth SUVs and such. But…it is also a great way to show off all that hard work in the gym. 🙂

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  79. brian stouder said on March 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    And as we learned yesterday, some folks could still be packin’ heat! (Would one need to have a “Concealed-Carry” permit?)

    just sayin;…

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