Saturday, March 31, 2007

Obama gets the order of events wrong for Iraq

This is what Barack Obama said this afternoon in Council Bluffs, Iowa:

Our starting point has to be bringing our occupation in Iraq to a close and to stabilize Iraq.

No. Our starting point in Iraq has to be stabilizing the country, and then bringing our occupation to a close.

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Top Iranian cleric calls for release of female sailor

In the on again, off again talk of the Iranians releasing the female hostage among the 15 sailors behind held by the mullahs, a top cleric is calling for her release.

From Mehr News:

Hojatoleslam Mohammad Ali Rahmani, the representative of Supreme Leader in Iran’s police force, called on Friday for a quick release of a British woman sailor as a “goodwill” gesture which would show Iran’s respect to women.

Did Rahmani have say that with a straight face?

Odd thing about Ms. Tunney: Was her decision to wear a veil voluntary? Or did the Iranians offer that to her as a sign of "respect."

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Horses reprieve from slaughterhouse only temporary: UPDATED

Let me it clear that I don't celebrate the slaughter of horses. However, I view horses as animals, not as furry people with hooves.

Commenter Mark in the earlier horse post perfectly sums up my opinion on the issue of the killing of horses for human consumption:

This is all animal rights activism. It has nothing to do with the claims that horsemeat is unfit for consumption or any claim of barbarism. Horses are animals that some people like to eat. So are cows, pigs, and chickens. Yes, horses are cute and friendly and all that. I grew up around them and I love horses too. But the fact remains, they are animals. They can be sold or given for slaughter at the owners wishes just as a cow or pig.

Yesterday, America's last horse slaughterhouse closed down, pretty much due to the efforts of some well-meaning activists. However, the horses they "saved" face a new date at a Canadian meat processing plant.

From the Chicago Tribune, free registration required:

Colleen O'Keefe, the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Division manager of Food Safety and Animal Protection, said she could not be certain where the horses that won a reprieve this week would end up. But they likely would be trucked to other slaughterhouses in Canada now that court rulings have indefinitely shut down the last three horse slaughterhouses in the United States, she said.


If would-be rescuers still want to help other horses, they should contact horse shelters that operate just like rescue organizations serving dogs and cats, O'Keefe suggested. "There are plenty of horses in Illinois that need homes."

The Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock was one organization that scrambled Thursday to line up 100 stalls offered by area horse-lovers. However, the five-barn facility has about 30 horses already awaiting adoption, many of them victims of abuse or neglect.

As I stated earlier today, nature abhors a vacuum. And do does a free market.

And I'm sorry to say, the animal shelters can't absorb over a 1,000 equines a week.


Here's another story on unwanted horses straight from the source, Kentucky, the Shelbyville Sentinel News:

"That market's (horse meat) basically gone," said Shelby County Animal Shelter Director Monica Robinson. "They're not going to make back what they need to, to cover the cost of feeding those animals and the expense of hauling them."

Robinson said the overpopulation of horses has become a problem statewide. Horse retirement homes are full, leaving no place to go for some of the animals.

The local shelter is seeking a home for one horse that was recently picked up on an abuse case. She added that Boone County has spent the past year searching for a rescue group to take in two elderly horses.

Along with overpopulation, horse prices have taken a nosedive in recent years. Statewide, stories have surfaced of packed auction houses, as well as ballooning numbers of horses either starving or being set into the wild.

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Kennedy hypocrisy to be on display soon as wind farm project moves forward

A self-professed friend on the environment, Sen. Ted Kennedy, is opposed to a non-polluting wind-farm. Why? Well, the wind farm will be in sight of the Kennedy family's storied Hyannis Port compound off of Nantucket Sound.

The family's most prominent environmentalist is Teddy's nephew, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He's opposed to it too, citing recreational boating concerns (I wish I could afford a boat) among others for opposing the proposed clean-power source for Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe is reporting today that the project, known as Cape Wind, cleared an important state regulatory hurdle.

Cape Wind Associates has touted its project as a safe, clean way to create renewable energy, a safer environment and new jobs.

But opponents fear the environmental and economic effects on Cape Cod's tourist and fishing industries. They warn the turbines would pose navigational and radar hazards. They also say the turbines could hurt the views of some multimillion-dollar oceanfront homes.

Ian Bowles, the state's secretary of energy and environmental affairs, approved the environmental report in a ruling announced Friday. He said it "adequately and properly complies" with state environmental laws.

Cape Wind Associates have produced computer simulations to counter criticism that the project will be an eyesore on the pristine Cape Cod coast.

Expect the Kennedy family to be set on spin-cycle for a long time.

Related post: FAA sucks air out of wind farms

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Iranians extract another "apology" from British sailor

The chicken-buggerers in Iran, having so sense of international law, aired another "apology" from a British sailor, who expressed his "remorse" in crossing into Iranian waters last week.

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Obama as a South Side community organizer

The Chicago Tribune series on the rise of Sen. Barack Obama continues today, with a rundown on Obama's stint as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side in the mid-1980s. Politically it was a wild time in Chicago, the local scene was dominated by the ongoing struggle between Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, and his City Council foe, Ed Vrdolyak.

Obama came to the city to work for a Saul Alinsky. A few years later he moved on to Harvard University's law school.

Free registration is required for the Chicago Tribune link.

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Last US horse slaughterhouse shut down, unwanted horse problem will worsen

Here's a story that serves as a reminder that good intentions can have some awful consequences.From AP last week:

Kentucky, the horse capital of the world, famous for its sleek thoroughbreds, is being overrun with thousands of horses no one wants. Some of them are perfectly healthy, but many of them starving, broken-down nags. Other parts of the country are overwhelmed, too.

The reason: growing opposition in the U.S. to the slaughter of horses for human consumption overseas.

And that was the situation before the nation's last horse slaughterhouse, a facility in DeKalb, Illinois, shut down yesterday. About 1,000 horses per week were processed to produce meat for human consumption--all of it was shipped overseas. Although Congress has been considering a ban on horse-slaughter, a court ruling on agricultural inspections closed up the Illinois plant.

More from AP:

It is legal in all states for owners to shoot their unwanted horses, and some Web sites offer instructions on doing it with little pain. But some horse owners do not have the stomach for that.

At the same time, it can cost as much as $150 for a veterinarian to put a horse down. And disposing of the carcass can be costly, too. Some counties in Kentucky, relying on a mix of private and public funding, will pick up and dispose of a dead horse for a nominal fee.

But some jurisdictions, because of fears of pollution, ban it. Glue factory? Dead horses aren't used for glue anymore. Shelters? They're overwhelmed with unwanted horses.

Old strip mine areas of Kentucky are seeing growing heards of now-wild horses.

However, in other parts of the country, say where I live, it's not practical to release a horse to live off the land.

What's going to happen to all of these unwanted horses? Some pollyannas think the market will sort itself out. Possibly. However, the way I see it, criminals, whether they are a part of organized crime, or perhaps a group of goofy meth-heads, will offer up there services to "take care" of the problem of unwanted equines. Those horses will be buried (maybe), burned, or dumped in ponds.

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does a free market.

As for the workers at the horse-meat processing plant in Illinois, unless an appeals court steps in quickly to reverse the lower court's decision, they'll lose their jobs.

But the people behind the horse slaughter ban mean well, and to them, that's all that matters.

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