Daily Archives: April 26, 2007

Chinese acknowledge melamine in plant protein, shrug shoulders. WTF?


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing said in a statement issued Thursday that an investigation found melamine in wheat gluten and rice protein exported to the USA by two Chinese companies.

…Although the Chinese media has avoided reporting America’s pet food recall and its possible Chinese origins, President Hu Jintao this week urged officials to intensify work on food safety, a growing concern among consumers within China where mass poisonings are common. At a senior Communist Party meeting Monday, Hu called on officials to monitor the entire food production process and focus on prevention and resolving problems at their source.

Achieving that will be difficult, said Luo Yunbo, head of the Food Science and Nutrition Engineering Institute at China’s Agricultural University, who briefed China’s leader Monday on how the U.S. FDA controls food safety. “President Hu and the government are very committed to food safety,” Luo said. “But China is such a large country, with such a large population, and agricultural production is by individual farmers on a very small scale. There are so many farmers and food producers that it is a great challenge to inspect all foodstuffs and teach people better agricultural standards.”

Binzhou Futian Bio-Technology Company, one of two firms China now admits exported the melamine-laced products, told its U.S. client Wilbur-Ellis that the contamination occurred through accidental reuse of dirty packaging, according to company president John Thacher. The FDA has said the melamine, a chemical high in nitrogen, might have been added to the grain products to make them appear higher in protein than they were.

Luo said that some Chinese food manufacturers include additives that are inappropriate.

“Sometimes people lack enough knowledge of additives, or even if they do know, they still do it,” Luo said, blaming weak punishment and “blanks” in China’s food legislation. “The current penalties are very small and should be much heavier. Some companies are fined and then move somewhere else and do it again,” Luo said.

Other experts agreed that China faces a stiff test to stamp out abuses.

I would say that we should start imposing inspection taxes on anything that could be food that comes in from China, or consider an outright ban.


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Filed under dogs, food/drink

Petraeus says no overall change in violence in Iraq

in press conference today, on C-SPAN. Sectarian murders down, car bombs up.

More from Petraeus (NY Times):

“….conditions in Iraq may get harder before they get easier and will require ”an enormous commitment” over time by the United States.

Petraeus has been trying to compare the violence in Iraq to the violence in Northern Ireland

“I don’t think you’re ever going to get rid of all the car bombs,” Petraeus said. “Iraq is going to have to learn – as did, say, Northern Ireland, to live with some degree of sensational attacks.”

Today he continued that very flawed analogy, and subtly attempted to rename car bombings and chlorine gas attacks as “spectacular” events, all staged by al-Qaeda, which are somehow not important.

The fact is that in Northern Ireland, over a time frame of over 30 years,  an average of maybe a hundred people a year were killed.   PER YEAR.    In Iraq, it is not unusual to have a hundred people killed in a single day. 

Petraeus believes that propaganda is part of the total war effort, and he either knows no history, or he is deceiving the American people because he thinks he can get away with it. One or the other.  This is the second time he has brought up this Northern Ireland, and again the press did not challenge him. So far, so good, eh, General????

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics

Cubs’ manager fields first sensible lineup: Cubs roll to victory

For the first time this year, Lou Pinella put two guys at the top of the lineup who have on-base percentages of over .300. And guess what happened? The Cubs scored a pantload of runs and won going away, 9-3.
Where was the superstar Alfonso Soriano? on the bench.

Where was the fast runner Felix Pie who can’t steal first base? batting at the bottom of the order. Low and behold, without the pressure, he got two hits.

Well, O-Freakin-K.

Not a fluke, people. The Cubs have a team that can play at least .500 ball if Pinella continues to act rationally. But if he ignores what happened yesterday and sticks Soriano back at the top of the order, they won’t.Take it to the bank. And it looks like he may just do that.

ps: I note that the Cubs are starting to hype Soriano for the All-Star Game. I am not thinking that Cubs fans are stupid. I don’t see Soriano getting many votes, with exactly ONE RBI, three picked-off-base, no home runs, and his usual lack of game, but I suppose I could be wrong. Here is where the pressure on manager Pinella can result in poor baseball: if Pinella sticks Soriano in the no. 7 spot in the lineup, where he belongs, it’s gonna be seen as undercutting the front office. And of course, Alfonso, being Alfonso, will pout.

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Richard Clarke on Bush’s “fantasyland of illogic.”

New York Daily News: 

“[I]n the fantasyland of illogic in which the President dwells, shaped by slogans devised by spin doctors, America can ‘win’ in Iraq. Then, we are to believe, the terrorists will be so demoralized that they will recant their beliefs and cease their terrorist ways.

“In the real world, by choosing unnecessarily to go into Iraq, Bush not only diverted efforts from delivering a death blow to Al Qaeda, he gave that movement both a second chance and the best recruiting tool possible.”

Clarke served as chief counterterrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

Noted Iraqi blogger Riverbend has had it.


You have to read it.

The Great Wall of Segregation…

…Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It’s a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest ‘Sunni’ area in Baghdad- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will ‘protect’ A’adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn’t empty of Sunnis.

I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn’t know what our neighbors were- we didn’t care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.

On a personal note, we’ve finally decided to leave. I guess I’ve known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, blogging, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Middle East, Politics

BYU to award Dick Cheney honorary degree: Doctor of Forged Nigerien Letters

Seriously, they just announced that in addition to letting him speak at graduation, they are gonna give him an honorary doctorate.I would say that puts BYU back in the pack with Regent University and DeVry Institute, but maybe I’m biased.

(and yes, that is the way you spell “Nigerien.”)

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Filed under Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?

Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War”:Powell lied, Howard Kurtz endorses stenographic journalism

This was a terrific report. Transcript here.

For me, there were two parts that really got to me. The first was the section that showed the dishonesty of Colin Powell’s speech to the UN; Powell showed pictures of supposed weapons installations, without disclosing that inspectors were visiting those sites and had found no weapons.

The other disgusting part was the interview with Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, who heartily endorsed “stenographic journalism.”  He as much as said that it is the duty of the Washington Post to put everything the administration says on the front page, and then if there happens to be somebody who says something different it might get put somewhere in the back pages.

Whose payroll is this guy on? Why doesn’t he get it over with and take Tony Snow’s job?

Congratulations to Moyers and the editors of the piece for getting Kurtz to go on record as a Bushtool.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, media, Middle East, Politics