Sweltering Heat Worldwide as U.S. House Tacks Anti-Environmental Riders to Budget Bills.

Headlines from around the globe show nothing but sweltering heat.

 From the NOAA website:

 Heatwave sweeps across the U.S.

http://www.noaa.gov/heat/index.html

Europe’s heat wave hit earlier in June this year:

Heat wave has Europe Sweltering

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/heatwave-has-europe-sweltering

 Europe hit record highs just last year along with Russia!

 Record-Breaking 2010 Eastern European/Russian Heatwave

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110318091141.htm

As of today an estimated 10 million people already need humanitarian aid in eastern Africa but extreme drought conditions along the borders of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia are exacerbating the situation.

Somalia drought forces more people into displacement camps

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2011/jun/28/somalia-drought-appeal-in-pictures

After suffering a tsunami, Japan hasn’t been spared. The final days of June in Japan were 6 degrees higher than the 30 year average:

Japan struggles to cope with heatwave, with 26 dead of heatstroke

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8645326/Japan-struggles-to-cope-with-heatwave-with-26-dead-of-heatstroke.html

Drought continues in SW Australia where rainfall in some places is at all time record lows:

Long-term dry conditions continue in southwest WA

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/drought.shtml

 And the cool weather of Northern Canada—not so much:

Heat scorches Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/17/cda-weather-heat.html

But instead of posting headline after headline across the earth, the Union of Concerned Scientists has a worldwide heat map:

http://www.climatehotmap.org/

One would think that in light of what the world is experiencing as far as climate change that our government would heed Mother Nature but new corporate lackeys in the House persist in adding anti-environmental riders to budget bills.

Most Anti-Environment House of Representatives in History Tries to Do More Damage

According to Frances Beinecke, of NRDC, and a barrage of email from my environmental charities our new U.S. House of Representatives is the worst on record for assaulting clean air, water, and our public lands.

Tea Party leaders in the House have dramatically stepped up their assault on America’s environmental and public health safeguards. Last week alone they used about 50 floor votes and more than 30 policy riders on spending bills to undermine the protections that keep our air safe, our water clean, and our public lands intact.

Another barrage of anti-environment bills is on its way. The upcoming debate in the full House on funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will likely feature votes on even more policy riders designed to prevent the government from upholding basic environmental standards.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fbeinecke/most_anti-environment_house_of.html

Clean water is specifically under attack by new house member (R) Ohio, Bob Gibbs according to the NY Times. He thinks there may be too many clean water regulations. Bob is a former hog farmer. An enlightening read from a former post of mine relative to the hog industry, particularly CAFOS, applies here. Smithfield Foods polluted waterways clear to the ocean with runoff from their hog industry. So we see where Bob the former hog farmer might be coming from. And reading what Bob had to say in an excerpt in the NY Times, it’s all about money first, pollution later.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2006/12/spreading-pig-poo-who-knew/

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/03/03greenwire-anti-environmental-house-freshman-leads-charge-98149.html

The problem is that Bob isn’t alone. It looks like there may be complicity among state’s leaders with the idea that water has too many regulations. Just the other morning I caught that little ticker on GMA that stated several states have failed to report clean water violations? Hmmm. Found the story by the AP on Yahoo.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Feds-in-dark-about-some-apf-2889953000.html?x=0&.v=1

My guess is that some of the under-reporting by states is due to problems with fracking for natural gas. Fracking is a drilling process that wastes millions of gallons of clean water to blast each well with enough pressure  to fracture dense shale to release natural gas. The water mixes with gases and chemicals and is toxic. This practice has been blamed for spoiling residential water wells due to leaching from the fractures. The process pollutes nearby streams and water areas also. Exxon claims they recycle some of the water but “some” isn’t all and when we’re dealing with millions of gallons of water in exchange for a fossil gas—it’s unconscienceable. Children die from lack of water everyday.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13353997

Besides compromising or possibly depleting our clean water supplies, fracking and drilling are costing us our public lands leased to the oil/gas industry. The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for leases for drilling/fracking.

Ah, so now it’s clear why all those pesky WILD MUSTANG HORSES had to go. Thirty year-old laws protecting those horses were just brushed aside while helicopters were used for roundups into overcrowded conditions.  We were told wild mustangs were too numerous and destroying precious grasslands. But the BLM is leasing our public lands right from under us while we’re occupied with the economy. That land will never be the same.

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2011/march/energy_publiclands_teleconf.html

http://wilderness.org/content/wild-lands-under-attack-budget-2011

The idea that it’s OK to keep forging ahead with filthy fossil fuel  as long as the fuel is our own is ludicrous and at least a decade old, a decade out of touch with the environment. By using fossil fuel we’re affecting other natural resources in the worst way.  We’re invading areas that we hold dear, tainting both water and land, and destroying animal/plant life in the process. We can’t drink natural gas or oil and that’s basically the tradeoff.  Without water we die. Without gas/oil –we’re inconvenienced. The U.S. House doesn’t have life’s best interests at all.

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Gulf Oil Leak to be Plugged but Corexit is an Ongoing Problem

The leaking well in the Gulf may get plugged for good this week but there may be a bigger problem emerging with the massive use of the dispersant Corexit. An unprecedented amount literally millions of gallons was used. Now there is a problem with crop damage after rain in the Mississippi area that many believe is linked to the dispersant in the air and therefore the rain. Well, I did some digging.

Corexit EC9527A is 30-60% 2-Butoxyethanol by weight and an ingredient in many things from paint thinner to soap to weed killer. It has side effects.

http://emergency.cdc.gov/gulfoilspill2010/dispersants_hcp_info.asp.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry or ATSDR:

Exposure to 2-butoxyethanol and butoxyethanol acetate occurs mainly from breathing air or having skin contact with household products containing them. Breathing in large amounts of 2-butoxyethanol or 2-butoxyethanol acetate may result in irritation of the nose and eyes, headache, and vomiting. 2-Butoxyethanol has been found in at least 20 of the 1,430 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts118.html

Maybe it isn’t a big deal for humans but sea life continuously swimming in the stuff will suffer more adverse side effects like a huge drop in red blood cells and hypoxia. According to the National Institute for Health:

2-BE is a hemolytic agent that induces hemangiosarcomas in mice. We hypothesized that the hemolysis induced by 2-BE would result in local tissue hypoxia, a well-documented trigger for endothelial cell proliferation leading to hemangiosarcoma.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2794330/.

Hemangiosarcoma is a form of cancer which originates in the endothelium, which is the lining of blood vessels and spleen. Another word that pops up in the NIH article more than once is “Hypoxia” or an inadequate oxygen supply to the cells and tissues of the body.

Oxygen depletion is a serious threat to the gulf that was already battling an ever-growing dead zone from runoff of fertilizer via the Mississippi thanks to Big Ag. I did blogs about the dead zone. Any environmental site will have a feature on the growing dead zone. Fishermen know when their boat travels into it because the water is black to the bottom. There is nothing alive there at all.

Watch the latest video on the mysterious Mississippi crop damage after a recent rain:

Russian scientists even weighed in on the use of dispersant especially Corexit. Russia’s report is a lot more alarming and considering it’s from Russia tends to be apocalyptic in nature, dramatic as they can be, and of course they have to include propaganda, but interesting nevertheless:

I hope it isn’t so but there is far too much secrecy about dispersants to include Corexit. Besides that, it is correct that oil can also be highly toxic:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;302/5653/2082?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=the+science+of+the+

oil+spill&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT.

To say science doesn’t know about the long term affects of oil spills is nonsense. This link is from 1980!

http://publicfiles.dep.state.fl.us/DEAR/Labs/biology/miscpubs/dyefry80.pdf.

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Detroit, the Great American Experiment

I don’t know if anyone else caught a segment about Detroit on ABC News World News Tonight the end of last week. I caught it. It was short and fast, but yet I was excited by the quick glimpse of what I did see. It was about plans to clear the blight and rebuild Detroit. So I dug around more and found an article on money.cnn.com about plans in the making for Detroit that’s being called the Great American Experiment and that it beats anything going on anywhere else in the country. It would include 1200 new businesses collectively.

Everyone in Michigan probably knows by now that there are plans to tear down the empty buildings in Detroit beginning with vacant homes. That’s quite a feat because Detroit in square miles is huge compared to its population, (900,000 down from 2 million at one time). Detroit is so big San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan could fit inside of it. Once they are gone the amount of empty acreage provides an unusual oppotunity for Detroit with endless possibilites, one of which is to become the country’s greenest city.

Watch the video.

The article on money.cnn.com went on to talk about some of the plans for Detroit and all that bare acreage, “Detroit is particularly well suited to become a pioneer in urban agriculture at a commercial scale.” That’s where a businessman named John Hantz comes in. He has plans for Detroit that would include pods of farms around the city complete with lakes, 7 lakes. This isn’t your grandpa’s farm either. The urban farm would be the latest technology with the help of Michigan State University, and a futuristic wonder to behold. There would be nothing like it in the world. The local farms would provide clean jobs, and fresh produce to local markets and restaurants in a city currently devoid of decent super markets of any type. Imagine the restaurants that would accumulate around those lakes drawing more and more business and entertainment. People would be drawn to see it:

Detroit, the Great American Experiment

http://money.cnn.com/2009/12/29/news/economy/farming_detroit.
fortune/index.htm
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I believe Detroit will have its urban farming at some level, since there are already around 900 small gardens, (1/4 acre), strewn about. We know the will is there. To the extent Hantz wants to do it—we’ll see. Detroit demographer Kurt Metzger sees small communities connected by bike and walking paths with parks along the way. Detroit has a habit of getting embroiled in arguments whenever big developments are in the plans.

In any event there will be plenty of land to develop in the near future as progress to tear down 3,000 decrepit homes is set to start soon. Watch the whole ABC news segment about Detroit.

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Put Down That Soft Drink; High Fructose Corn Syrup NOT Like Sugar

According to an article this week on Science Daily’s website, “A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain.” Rats with access to HFCS gained much more weight than those with access to table sugar even though caloric intake was the same. There was also an abnormal increase in body fat especially the abdomen, and more circulating blood fats or triglycerides.

Psychology professor Bart Hoebel, a specialist in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction said that all the rats that drank the HFCS got obese “across the board,” more so than the rats fed high fat diets where not all gained weight. This should be of major concern because there is an effort to push HFCS to be the same as sugar. I caught an ad the other day that conveyed that very message.

Watch the ads that are circulating.

Did you catch the end of the second one? The woman said “in moderation” HFCS is fine.
It’s hard to moderate HFCS in the U.S. when it’s in all types of products. I found some in canned chili—chili?

The results of a study involving two experiments between HFCS and its link to obesity was published online March 18 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior also. The experiments show not just weight gain but traits of obesity characterized by excess belly fat and higher levels of triglycerides.

There is a paragraph in this Science Daily article that shows the difference in chemical composition between HFCS and sucrose or table sugars. It’s validated by the website of the Corn Refiner’s Association called SweetSurprise.com. However, SweetSurprise website suggests, “Once the combination of glucose and fructose found in high fructose corn syrup and sugar are absorbed into the blood stream, the two sweeteners appear to be metabolized similarly in the body,” while Science Daily’s article reveals that it may not and the chemical composition of HFCS and the manufacturing process may be the culprit of quick obesity.

Something cause the rats to get obese and fast. The rats were fed the same amount and type of rat chow along with water sweetened with either HFCS or regular sugar. The scary part, “The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.”

I think SweetSurprise.com needs to revise the info on its website so as not to MISLEAD the public and pull the commercials above.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322121115.htm.

http://www.sweetsurprise.com/myths-and-facts/faqs-high-fructose-corn-syrup?.

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Heart Wrenching True Essay About Death of the Calico Colt

I just read a heart-wrenching essay that gets to the center of the BLM’s inhumane and dogged treatment of our heritage, the wild mustang horses of our west. These horses were once protected by federal law, the 1971 Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Unfortunately that law was loosed during the Bush/Cheney regime. Our horses have been under merciless attack every since to the point they’ve been killed in droves in the most heinous way.

THE ESSAY by Ginger Kathrens is posted on the Cloud Foundation’s website.

The Death of the Calico Colt January 2010

He was wild and free, roaming the vast expanses of the rugged Calico Mountains with his mother and father and the other members of his family. This would be his first winter, a time when life slowed down for all the wild ones—the elegant pronghorn he watched on the distant horizon, the tiny pygmy rabbits that foraged in the sage brush undergrowth and darted into their dens when he tried to touch them, the fat sage grouse that were some of his favorites. When he was just days old, he heard their strange, booming sounds and saw the males strutting and displaying for a mate. When he wandered toward them, it was his father who gently guided him home. His mother softly nickered to him. She smelled of sweet sage and invited him to nurse.

Then, one day while his mother and father and the others in his family were quietly foraging, conserving their energy in the growing cold, he saw his father jerk his head up. Ears forward, the stallion watched and listened and the colt did too, mimicking his father. The colt could hear a rumbling drone. In the distance, he could see something flying toward them. It was even bigger than the majestic golden eagles that soared over his home. It came closer and closer, dropping low over the sage. The drone grew into an ear-shattering roar. His family began to run and he followed, galloping beside his mother where he would be safe. Mile after mile the menacing, giant bird chased them. His legs ached and he wanted to rest, but he could not leave his mother. He kept running, struggling to keep up. Fear gripped the Calico colt.

Then he saw a horse in front of his father and it too began to run. Safety must be ahead. His family followed the stranger and suddenly they were trapped inside walls of steel. His father tried to jump over the wall but it was too high. There were two legged animals running at them with long sticks and something white that fluttered madly. Suddenly, he was separated from his mother when a two-legged moved between them, striking out at him with the frightening stick and the fluttering bag. He was driven into another corral. When he whinnied for his mother, she answered. He raced around the corral calling for her, but found his feet were too sore to run anymore and he stopped. He could hear his father calling and he knew the proud stallion had been separated too. The colt answered him. He could see his mother through the bars of his cage and this gave him strength and hope.

Days passed. It was cold and there was no place to get out of the wind. In his home, his mother would have led the band below a rocky outcrop that blocked the wind. The colt began to fear he would never again smell the sweet sage of her breath or taste the warm milk she offered to him. His feet, so sore, became worse. Shooting pains darted through his whole body when he tried to walk so he moved as little as possible, hobbling a few steps to eat the plants the two-leggeds had thrown on the ground for them. One frigid morning, the two leggeds came and drove him into a truck with others that were his age. The pain was constant now and when the truck moved out, he stayed on his feet but the pain riveted him with every jolt and bump. He called for his mother, but there was no answer. Would he ever see his parents again?

Hours passed and the truck moved onto smoother ground and it turned into a place where he could hear the calls of his kind. He whinnied as loud as he could, but the answering voices were unfamiliar. The two-leggeds drove the colt from the truck into a bigger cage and he struggled to keep up with the other foals. Some of them were limping too. His eyes scanned the horizon, looking for something familiar but the flat horizon looked nothing like the land of his birth. Days went by and he spent hours laying in the dirt, the pain growing. He could feel something happening to his feet. His once strong, dark hooves were beginning to separate from the bone designed to hold them fast. He laid flat and closed his eyes, imagining the home and family he feared he would never see again. The two leggeds walked toward him. He wanted to jump up and dash away but he could not. Over the next few days he grew too tired to move at all. The wind howled and as it began to snow, he closed his eyes for the last time and dreamed of his family. Then two leggeds came again and killed the Calico Colt.

In death, the lively spirit of the Calico Colt was released to roam free once more. He has returned home to his family and the land of his dreams. He is not just a statistic. Neither he nor what he symbolizes will ever be forgotten.

(Ginger Kathrens is a filmmaker, author, and founder of The Cloud Foundation, dedicated to preserving our mustangs on public lands. The Foundation is calling for a stop to the roundups that are robbing public lands of our legendary, native wild equids—the very embodiment of freedom for many Americans. The Calico colt is only one of many who have died as a result of the ongoing roundups this year alone. Find out what
you can do at www.thecloudfoundation.org.

The helicopters of the BLM literally ran the hooves off this little colt exposing nothing but bone. Taxpayers paid for this action! I couldn’t sleep last night for having read this and have already contacted everyone screaming about the injustice and am signing petitions wherever I can find them. One of the petitions from Front Range Equine Rescue calling for an investigation of these murders by Senators Jeff Bingaman, Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Representative Nick Rahall, Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee was too far too kind and civil. I signed the petitions, but I also wrote a hateful letter to the BLM because they don’t deserve decorum after what they’ve done. They deserve to be treated as criminals. Congress knows perfectly well what’s up with this issue because they are scrambling to get the ROAM, Restore Our American Mustangs ACT through and signed, while we still have horses left.

Everyone involved in this BLM movement to rid America of horses so cattle can take over the land should be dismissed. I just did a blog whereby the Center for Biological Diversity named and commented on Earth’s life support systems of which one of them was LAND USE. It stated, “Half the world’s tropical rainforests are gone and large areas of grasslands once open to wildlife are now fenced in for livestock ranching. According to Rockström, the expansion of agriculture is the major driver behind loss of ecosystem services and threatens to both exacerbate climate change and damage the freshwater cycle.” Cattle is the culprit for overgrazing. Where’s the science at the BLM that allows fencing across our plains for cattle in extreme numbers?

The BLM has been heinously inhumane and are operating under the guise of their own brand of science. The claim that these horses are overgrazing the plains when the cattle outnumber them 200 to 1 is the biggest crock, and absolute lie I’ve heard yet! A dimwit can see what’s overgrazing our plains and the Rancher’s and Cattlemen Association should be held equally accountable as the BLM for these actions since it’s pretty clear from whom the BLM gets their direction.

After reading the essay yourself and understanding the villitude of the BLM’s crimes please call, write, or email the following for an investigation of the BLM immediately and to stop all roundups in the interim.

Senator Jeff Bingaman: http://bingaman.senate.gov/contact/.

Representative Nick Rahall: http://www.rahall.house.gov/.

Contact Senator’s Levin and Stabenow to quickly pass S1579, the ROAM Act to protect what remains of our stately equine heritage, and back any investigation of the BLM relative to our horses.

http://levin.senate.gov/contact/.
http://stabenow.senate.gov/email.cfm.

Goto: http://www.frontrangeequinerescue.org/ and sign the petition for an investigation of the BLM. The horses need a voice!

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Mercury Filtered from Fish Oil Supplements, but What About PCB’s?

We’re told about taking care of our health, eat more fish, eat more fish. I’ve blogged about mercury in fish caught in the wild, and PCB’s in the food fed to farm raised fish. Our choice is mercury or PCB’s.

But lately, I’ve been hearing about the benefits of fish oil for the heart. OK, so I did
the research and found that many of the top brands filter the oil to get rid of mercury.
http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/heart-attacks-among-young-women-on-the-rise-take-your-fish-oil-supplements/
One would think that if mercury can be filtered out surely the PCB’s go with it.
But an attorney filed a new lawsuit claiming fish oil supplements contain cancer-causing chemicals, i.e., PCB’s.

OK. Here we go again. According to Good Morning America this morning, the amount of PCB’s for human consumption should be limited to 90 nanograms per day. Very few tests were done as evidence that there is cancer causing agents above the limits in most fish oils.

And I noticed that many of the fish oils sighted in the report were in the form of cod liver oil pills not fish oil. The labels on both my bottles of fish oil supplements list herring, mackerel, anchovy, sardines, and tuna, nothing about PCB’s, though some brands will label PCB content. Is this a case of lumping all fish oil together as the culprit?

Meanwhile, both labels on my Sundown and Nature Made brands stated, “Mercury Free.” Of course the FDA doesn’t check the disclaimers on these products either, but independent reports confirmed most major brands filter their oil. Now and Nature Made brands claim to process their fish oil supplements under strict guidelines. I would say that these are among the biggest brands in the market, Now, Sundown, Nature Made, and Nature’s Bounty and would hope their mercury filtering process gets rid of PCB’s too. I’m still taking them.

The news segment went on to say the fish caught for use in fish oils are small fish that are bottom feeders. And where the fish are caught affects the amount of PCB’s. Fish caught in the Chesapeake Bay area would ingest plenty of PCB’s from pollution from electrical plants along that waterway. I would imagine size of the fish makes a difference in the amount of PCB’s. It does with mercury.

Dr. Richard Besser who reports on ABC News, said the lawsuit is probably an overreaction. The tests done showed levels that were above the PCB threshold for CA law, but not the World Health Organization. If a person is at risk of heart disease, the benefits of the supplements outweigh the risks and shouldn’t pose a problem. However healthy people can simply choose to eat one to two servings of fish like salmon or tuna per week and get the same benefit of taking supplements.

OK so we’re back to the “mercury, it’s in there,” issue. For now I’ll just alternate filtered fish pills with the real deal and hope things balance out.

abcnews.go.com/GMA/ConsumerNews/truth-fish-oil-concerns/story?id=9994049

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Whitehouse Turkey Pardoned Again; First Thankgiving Dished Up Deer

There is a short lived tradition that’s been going on since President George H. W. Bush officially pardoned or gave a reprieve to the turkey donated to the Whitehouse for Thanksgiving. And President Obama is no different. Today he pardoned a huuuuuuuge turkey presented to him and his family named “Courage” and sent it off to a petting zoo.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgturkey2.html.

I hope President Obama realized the docile, sitting turkey he was petting was doing so because he probably couldn’t walk well due to size. So the turkey stint at a petting farm somewhere probably won’t pan out.  As an article in Newsweek explains:

“99 percent of turkeys sold in America come from the roughly 270 million raised on factory farms each year. These birds are bred to be so literally broad-breasted that by the time they are 8 weeks old, they can’t walk.”  This year’s Whitehouse turkey from the National Turkey Federation was pretty large, and didn’t get a chance to walk around. Someone carried it in and set it down. Hmmm. It’s a shame that industrialized farming has not only done this to the turkey, but also taken most of the natural flavor out of it in the process. As the article went on to say: “The result is bland, mushy meat that we have come to equate with tenderness, but in reality processors inject the dressed birds with saline solutions and vegetable oils to improve “mouth feel” and keep the oversize breasts from drying out.” Nice real nice.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/224068/page/2.

The good thing is there is a growing number of breeders out there going back to the traditional “heritage” turkey that is free range and full of flavor. Two of these breeders with online stores is Local Harvest and Dartagnan.com. I know someone commented on one of my blogs that she had a hard time finding a free range turkey. I’m eating at a relatives but my husband did bring home a fresh turkey from a farm in Huron Township, on the corner of Sibley and Merriman I believe, as a thank you for a welding job. It’s not an industrial farm by any means so the turkey should be tasty, although I didn’t like the thought of the turkey getting the thumbs down because of us.

Thanksgiving is not about the chow for me anyway. It’s about getting together with family. But for those that look forward to traditional fare at Thanksgiving and immediately think turkey, think again. This should be of interest to Michiganders. The first Thanksgiving dished up deer not turkey. Some more actual facts:
 

1. The first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration in 1621 that lasted for three days.

2. The feast most likely occurred between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11.

3. Approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians and 52 colonists – the latter mostly women and children – participated.

4. The Wampanoag, led by Chief Massasoit, contributed at least five deer to the feast.

5. Cranberry sauce, potatoes – white or sweet – and pies were not on the menu.

6. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag communicated through Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe, who knew English because he had associated with earlier explorers.

7. Besides meals, the event included recreation and entertainment.

8. There are only two surviving descriptions of the first Thanksgiving. One is in a letter by colonist Edward Winslow. He mentions some of the food and activities. The second description was in a book written by William Bradford 20 years afterward. His account was lost for almost 100 years.

9. Abraham Lincoln named Thanksgiving an annual holiday in 1863.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1127/p13s02-lign.html.

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Michigan HR Bills 5127- 5128 Stopped; Revised Bills Provide Help for Farm Animals

About a month ago I wrote a blog about stopping two Michigan House Bills (HR 5127 and 5128) that would condemn farm animals to the status quo for several years more. http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/07/michigan-house-bills-5127-and-5128-need-to-be-stopped/. By status quo I mean the same inhumane animal care decided by the USDA that has turned a blind eye on the suffering of food animals for years. But according to an article on the Democracy in Action page of the Sierra Club’s publication “The Mackinac” those two bills were stopped.

The same articled reported that The Sierra Club led the effort to stop these bills with the Humane Society of the U.S., “exerting significant pressure on the legislature” to revise the bills for real change. There was a threat of a ballot initiative. A ballot initiative or popular or citizen’s initiative “provides a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote.” Evidently the CAFO industry in Michigan wanted none of that because a public vote means a heck of a lot more public scrutiny, an expose of the horrific lifestyle of CAFO animals is more like it.

The combined effort resulted in a new bill that gives”three species of confined animals more room to move.” That would be pigs, egg-laying chickens, and calves. Although the ag industry has 10 years to adopt this bill, it’s a victory over corporate agriculture and I hope a trend for more animal rights within the ag industry that have been non-existent for far too long.

I believe farm animal rights is directly connected to tainted food. Poorly treated animals equal sick animals. That’s why they were given antibiotics for years. If live animals are treated horrendously than the facilities that process the dead carcasses can hardly be any better. The latest recall of half a million pounds of ground beef was a wake up call for many. For a couple of people it was a death toll.

When we have to rush to our freezers to throw out food that may make us ill or even kill us reform is needed big time. Every little step counts. Thanks to those that took the time to contact their reps too. Between organizations like Michigan’s Sierra Club, The Humane Society of the U.S., and hundreds of other organizations that work tirelessly behind the scenes and involved citizens that bother to let their reps know what they want great things can be accomplished one step at a time.

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Algae the New Green Crude

Algae is promising as a 100% carbon neutral alternative to gas so much so it is being dubbed “Green Crude.” Its chemical composition is the same as gas. I wrote a blog about algae a year ago that it did indeed look like the way of the future. http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2008/09/the-need-for-crude-may-disappear-within-a-decade/. The future is here already. An algae fueled Prius (there is gasoline in the engine too) just crossed 3750 miles of America this month with fantastic mpg.

I saw the car on Good Morning America today and was happy to see how quickly algae is being adopted as a viable fuel. I recently wrote about the U.S. military’s testing algae as jet fuel but figured it would be a long while before we saw anything like this. http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/08/u-s-navy-jets-to-use-biofuels/.

Many people know about algae, but so many more do not and will be totally surprised by it. I was recently shopping for a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and asked if the one I was test-driving could use biofuel, which is available for this model. The sales person said no that the biofuel business is pretty much dying out blah, blah, blah. I said corn for sure but what about algae? I got that look from him. Even I wondered why I blurted out that particular and peculiar type of fuel as an example. I hadn’t heard much about it lately except the blog about the military’s interest in it. But then algae as fuel appeared on a segment of Good Morning America today. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/JustOneThing/algaeus-car-fueled-algae/story?id=8666116.

According to GMA’s website, “Josh Tickell is the creator of the Veggie Van Organization and director of “Fuel,” which was honored as best documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.” He also created the “Algaeus,” the Prius that just crossed America on green crude. With very little modification, “he added a nickel metal hydride battery and a plug [],” the Algaeus got 147 miles per gallon in the city, and 52 mpg with a mix of algae and gas. The biggest thing is that the car only refueled 6 times during the 10-day trip. The Algaeus is capable of running on approximately 25 gallons of gas coast to coast.

So where do we get all this algae? Algae growth occurs naturally in bogs and swamps. Uh um, we could be tapping the methane emitted there too. There are also algae farms already in business. Sapphire Farms in New Mexico is one of them. Check out their website: http://www.sapphireenergy.com/. People have asked me about green investments. Look around. If we unleash new technology instead of stifling it there will be plenty of new investment opportunities, more jobs, more avenues to explore, like algae farms. Who knew?

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More Contamination from Agricultural Community Kills Thousands of Fish in Black River

According to an article on MLive, just two days ago state officials reported, “Tens of thousands of fish have been killed in the Black River in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, possibly because of an improper manure discharge from a farm. Nearly all the fish in a 15-mile stretch of the river in Sanilac and St. Clair counties, along with other aquatic life, were wiped out.” http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/national-46/1250096472134250.xml&storylist=newsmichigan.

I just wrote a blog about unprotected groundwater, an unregulated agricultural industry relative to groundwater, and Michigan’s Senate. See what’s happening?

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