It helps to know some Lonely Island to get the joke in the subject line. -Ed
The citizen initiative in Oregon that would require labeling of GMO foods is polling very tight. It’s still within the margin of error and the undecideds but the nays appear to be holding an ever-so slight lead over the ayes. It is already the most expensive initiative in Oregon’s history. The nay money is pouring in by the millions. Companies like Monsanto, PepsiCo, Mead Johnson and Dow AgroSciences. Isn’t that telling?
As this process is proceeding apace, I thought I’d take a few moments to splice one last point on this important issue.
One thing is being made excruciatingly clear. The people who make food don’t want you to know what the fuck is in there. They don’t want you to know how it’s made. They don’t want you to see how they treat animals. (See so-called Ag Gag laws.) They want to hide unpleasant-sounding ingredients, things they know you decidedly do not want to hear about, behind clever euphemisms like “natural flavors.”
Which would you rather eat? All new fortified Tasty Anus or “natural flavors.” Gosh golly gee willickers. What sounds better in your tummy?
So I thought it over and decided, what if the debate was presented like this?
Suppose I was the food industry and I invited you over to my place for dinner.
I might try to do something nice, assuming I actually gave a shit about you, and find out if you have deadly allergies, like peanuts. After all, I’m not out to kill you, right? I want you to enjoy your meal.
Maybe you tell me that you don’t like yams. Are you allergic? No. Will it kill you? No. You simply don’t like them. That’s all.
How should I react to your humble request? What are my options?
Well, I could honor you as a person and forgo the ingredient. Hahahah! Thanks for the tripe laugh! We all know that’s not gonna fucking happen. Seriously, I didn’t just fall off the pesticide-resistant turnip truck yesterday.
Don’t be so goddamned naive. My dinner is a business. It’s kill or be killed. Nothing matters except profits.
What choices does that leave me?
I could simply say, “I’m not telling. Are there yams in here? You’ll never know!!!” That’s called being a good host.
My other option is lie. Hide it. Distract. Obsfucate.
What would you do? Isn’t this a nice way to treat each other? Doesn’t this sort of attitude help make the world a better place?
I make. You eat. Shut the hell up about it. I’m your host, Mr. GMO. By the way, I can’t believe you ate that. Ha ha ha!
My lies and hate. It’s what’s for dinner.
TriMet is the public agency that provides transportation services (commuter rail, light rail, bus and streetcar) for most of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area.
That opening line just screams excitement, right? Stay with me, intrepid reader. We are embarking on a torrid journey of governmental lunacy and polishing turds. Remember, it’s important for us lowly idiots to know how things really work.
This organization really got on my radar recently during the naming process for a new bridge spanning the mighty piranha-filled Willamette River that’s currently under construction. Because, as we all know, the most important characteristic about a bridge is its name. This is followed closely by how many years of neglect it takes before it fails with lots of people on it. Let’s face it. Maintenance is not exactly humanity’s strong suit.
The TriMet decided to enlist the public’s help in naming the bridge. And that’s where things decidedly jumped the rails. And I’m here to tell you about it because, amazingly, their own official website has whitewashed the whole thing from history. It’s almost like it never happened…
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Friday morning my wife and I were in Portland, Oregon, on our way to the zoo. (More on that later.) We had ridden MAX, the light rail system, into downtown and had to transfer lines in Pioneer Square (AKA Portland’s Living Room).
While there, we saw the new Apple store. It was early in the morning and it wasn’t opened yet.
The architecture was Lego Meets Glass. It was a rectangular building with a long back wall covered with assorted goodies and three other walls consisting of giant panels of glass. The simple design spoke of transparency, projecting an airy, light, sense of come-see-what-we’ve-got. Sleek, clear, simple and white. And, although I didn’t know it at the time, there’s also a lawn on the roof.
I said to my wife, “I’ll bet there’s at least 57 iPads in there.” (Homage to Steve Martin.)
Inside one solitary worker sat at a desk feverishly clicking, thinking and doing about Apple stuff.
In front, slowly traversing the entire length of the store at a leisurely pace, were two security guards. They looked bored out of their minds. I forgot to look to see if they were armed, but we are talking about an Apple store, right? The place was obviously where riches were stored.
There’s not going to be an Oceans 7.1.1 heist here today. Not on my iWatch!
Suddenly a man approached the front of the building. The security guards sniffed him but apparently he checked out. He arrived at the front door and waved at the man inside. He was special. He measured up. He got to go inside.
I’d heard that Apple stores have something called a Genius Bar but I didn’t see a single bottle of booze. Hell if I was going there for a drink.
Unfortunately we couldn’t wait around all day. We had a train to catch. Before we turned away I saw a security guard hock up a loogie the size of an iPod Nano and launch it on the shiny white steps. The guards leisurely turned and began shuffling towards each other again. A vision of the North Korea border suddenly leapt unbidden to my mind.
I felt tingles. This portended good. Suddenly I knew the trip to the zoo was going to be something special. Things were happening. We walked a block and waited for our ride while looking at a Nike swoosh symbol the size of the Titanic.
It turns out that the human stomach isn’t that discriminating. It’s a go-with-the-flow kind of hipster dufus (probably wearing a fedora) who blindly trusts decisions made by the brain and mouth. Ha ha ha! Like they give a shit about downstream organs!
Tom’s Law #42
As one becomes less involved in the production and preparing of one’s own food, the odds of unwanted contaminants, unknown ingredients, lessened nutrition, deception and malice are exponentially increased.
Chew on that!
For example, the average fast food patron eats an average of 12 public hairs per year. And probably in a public place! Some things are meant to be handled in pubic.
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In the spirit of Don’t Be Evil, I’ve got something to say.
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Ever notice that when it comes to government sometimes it seems like they are more interested in information about you than the other way around?
Thanks to Kate over at the Punch It In! blog for the idea for this post. She happened to touch on something that is very important to me the other day in her “Let The Sunlight Shine Through” post.
Transparency. Or, more specifically, she was blogging about an organization know as The Sunlight Foundation. Their goal is “transparency in government.” I couldn’t agree more. Transparency is the lifeblood of a democracy.
At the local level I’ve been a foot soldier for the interests of transparency. I’ve filed public records requests and published the materials on my web site. I’ve attended meetings and spoken publicly about making information available to the citizens in my community. I’ve acted as a journalist and written and published coverage of my local government.
I’m a proponent of a loosely defined concept known as “good governance.” Definitions of the concept may vary; there is no enforced standard. In my opinion the key components are:
- Consensus and consent of the governed: voting, ballot initiatives, recall of elected officials
- Public participation: decision making involvement (committees), communicating with elected officials and staff, the right of the public to speak at open meetings
- Transparency: access to information, the right to observe and participate in decision making (which prohibits policymaking by elected officials in closed sessions)
- Equitable and inclusive: open and fair to all and not discriminatory
By coincidence, this is pretty close to the characteristics that Wikipedia says is shared by the United Nations when it comes to human development.
To me, transparency is the key ingredient that works to make all of the other key components possible.
So, thanks to Kate for spreading awareness, I’m going to be researching The Sunlight Foundation to find out how I can help support efforts to make our government more transparent.
Kate’s blog invited readers to join the blog swarm. Well here I am! I’ve always been told I was swarmy. 🙂