Daily Archives: July 1, 2011

Logan’s Run Carousel-like ritual euthanasia death machine for “dealing with over-population”

“ritual death….”

Euthanasia Coaster

“Euthanasia Coaster is a hypothetical euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely—with elegance and euphoria—take the life of a human being.”

Without the slightest trace of shame….

Carousel Death Ritual From Logan’s Run


Most ready for ‘green sacrifices’

Raw milk advocates fight for right to sell

Organic dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, like many other Wisconsin farmers, has fought with state officials over the right to sell raw milk from his Sauk County farm. Health officials are worried unsuspecting citizens could be exposed to bacteria-causing diseases if a bill is passed legalizing its sale. State Journal archives

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism | Jun 29, 2011


Carrying a cooler of raw milk, Wisconsin vegetable farmer Brian Wickert climbed the steps of the state Capitol on a sunny April day. He was a man on a mission: to lobby for legislative support for a bill to legalize sales of unpasteurized milk.

“It’s real simple,” Wickert, a member of the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association, said in a later interview. “We want the right to choose the food we eat. Why does the government care whether I want to go and drink raw milk?”

For Wickert, the bill is about the freedom to live without interference from the government. But for health officials in America’s Dairyland, it’s about potentially exposing unsuspecting citizens to disease-causing bacteria.

The issue took on increased urgency this month after bacteria in raw milk from an unnamed farm sickened at least 16 fourth-graders and family members at a Racine County event, resulting in one hospitalization. The June 3 after-school party was designed to celebrate Wisconsin food.

“I got very, very sick,” said Melissa Werner, 40, who drank raw milk with her son Nathan, 10. Both later suffered from nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and high fever. Werner was ill for two weeks and lost 12 pounds.

Cheryl Mazmanian, a health officer with the Western Racine County Health Department, said while the incident in Racine County illustrates the dangers of raw milk, it violated no state laws.

“It’s not illegal to drink raw milk, it’s not illegal to give it to people, but it is illegal to sell it,” Mazmanian said.

Its own black market

Wisconsin is one of 11 states that prohibit regular sales of raw milk, according to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a pro-raw milk group.

Raw milk can contain disease-causing bacteria the pasteurization process is designed to kill. Wisconsin law allows “incidental” sales of raw milk products to farm employees or visitors.

Some people ignore the law, creating a type of black market in which consumers and farmers keep their transactions quiet to avoid the scrutiny of regulators, who in recent years have begun to crack down on raw milk sales.

One of the customers is Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, a co-sponsor of the bill introduced in May that would legalize raw milk sales. He gets milk from different farms but will not specify which ones — a common response. “People don’t want to answer those questions because it jeopardizes your farmer. It’s a screwy system,” Wickert says.

The measure co-sponsored by Grothman and Rep. Don Pridemore, R-Hartford, would allow farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers. Pridemore said he’s open to adding testing requirements to the bill, which it currently lacks.

But Dr. Jim Kazmierczak, state public health veterinarian, warns even daily testing cannot detect all contamination. Cows can shed bacteria intermittently, he said, so a negative test in the morning does not guarantee milk collected from the same cow in the afternoon is safe.

Last year, a similar bill with more safeguards was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. At the time, Doyle cited safety concerns about unpasteurized milk, which some consumers drink for its taste and perceived health benefits.

Like many of the roughly 15 farmers and consumers who went with Wickert to lobby, Grothman and Pridemore drink raw milk regularly. “I don’t consider it risky behavior,” Grothman says.

Public health officials disagree. In 2010, raw milk products caused 28 disease outbreaks in the United States that sickened 159 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Wisconsin, raw milk has caused seven disease outbreaks since 1998, including the incident in Racine County, state health officials say, sickening at least 277 people and hospitalizing 28.

Legislative options

A spokesman for Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he would support legislation allowing the limited sale of raw milk directly from farmers, provided sufficient safety provisions are in place.

The raw milk bill introduced in May leaves out many regulations recommended in a 261-page report by the Raw Milk Policy Working Group, which was composed of 22 Wisconsin dairy experts with a variety of opinions on raw milk. The group’s report calls for detailed regulations on storage, testing and sales of raw milk if they are legalized.

Under the 2011 bill, farmers would be required to post signs indicating they sell unpasteurized milk products, but they would not have to place warning labels on raw milk products, as the previous bill required.

Farmers who milk fewer than 20 cows would not need a license or grade A dairy permit to sell raw milk.

The current bill also would allow farmers to advertise their raw milk products.

Scott Rankin, chairman of the department of food science at UW-Madison and member of the working group, said the latest bill is not based on science.

“It just omits so much of all the concerns around how you handle any food, let alone raw milk,” Rankin says.

Grothman said it will be up to consumers to find trustworthy suppliers.

Vince Hundt, an organic farmer and member of the working group, said he supports the current bill without most of the group’s suggestions.

“A consumer can walk to the store and buy a quart of gin or a carton of cigarettes,” Hundt says, “but you can’t buy a gallon of milk from a farmer.”

Australians must work harder: Treasury head

Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson is warning Australians face declining living standards if they do not work harder.

The debate has resurfaced after a state-controlled Chinese mining company bought 43 farms in northern New South Wales.

abc.net.au | Jun 30, 2011

By Lexi Metherell, staff

Dr Parkinson says Australia cannot rely on the mining boom alone. (AAP: Alan Porritt, file photo)

In a strongly worded speech in Melbourne last night, Dr Parkinson blamed what he called populist media campaigns for undermining bipartisan support for reform.

The Treasury Secretary said Australia could not rely on the mining boom to prop up the economy and if productivity was not improved, incomes would take a dive.

“Our productivity growth, again measured in terms of both labour productivity or multi-factor productivity, has slowed and importantly there’s little reason to believe it will improve in the immediate term,” he said.

“Indeed the rate of improvement in the living standards of Australians, or at least that part that’s captured by income measures, has already begun to deteriorate, even with the sustained and unprecedented rise in the terms of trade.”

Dr Parkinson, one of Australia’s most powerful government officials, has also sounded a note of caution in the growing debate over foreign ownership.

He warns politicians to tread cautiously.

“The issue around whether foreign ownership, whether it’s of the mining sector or of agricultural sector, has to be handled quite carefully,” he said.

“You can see there have been a number of political interventions this week.

“I just hope that they are handled with clear recognition of where Australia’s national interest lies.”

The debate has resurfaced after a state-controlled Chinese mining company bought 43 farms in northern New South Wales.

The Greens, independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce want a review of foreign investment laws.

Senator Joyce says they need to be tightened to guard rich agricultural land for food production.

And independent MP Tony Windsor wants what he calls “sensitive lands” to be protected from mining.

But Dr Parkinson says foreign investment is in Australia’s national interest because there simply is not enough capital domestically to invest in developing assets.

“Once we get into the world of discouraging capital from any source, you know it’s got to be a legitimate source, but once we’re in the world of discouraging capital to come to Australia we are actually making a deliberate decision to lower our own potential wealth,” he said.

But at the same time, Dr Parkinson says Australia needs to get the right price for its valuable non-renewable resources, suggesting there is scope to increase taxes on the mining sector.

“Once sold, those assets cannot yield any further return for Australia’s citizens,” he said.

“This means that it is critical that society receives an appropriate return on the assets rather than the value being captured solely by the Australian and foreign shareholders of the companies that sell the assets.

“Arguably, this is not presently the case.”

Dr Parkinson says economic reforms should make it easier for people to move to rapidly growing mining areas.

He says lower stamp duty – which could encourage people to sell their houses and move – and other reforms that would make it easier for people to transition to new jobs were a sensible approach.

“Tax reforms that improve resource allocation and improve mobility, and especially state taxes such as stamp duty and property tax,” he said.

“Appropriate reforms to tackle climate change at minimum cost also make sense.”

Spring colder than average

Low averages and few days above 20C

piquenewsmagazine.com | Jun 30, 2011

By Andrew Mitchell

This is officially one of the coldest springs and starts to summer on record for Whistler, although that’s not saying much with Environment Canada’s online data for the resort only going back as far as 2005. Still, the average temperatures have been cooler than average and there have been fewer warm days.

“I don’t think we have a good explanation for any of this,” said Environment Canada meteorologist David Jones. “Heading into the winter we had two things loading the dice in favour of colder conditions for winter and spring. It didn’t work out for winter, which was very average for temperatures, but spring has been miserable – almost record-setting cold.”

While a lot of meteorologists point to La Nina, El Nino, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and other factors in making long-term forecasts, Jones said these things have a small influence at best – maybe 10 or 15 per cent, while the other 80 per cent is the result of at least six other factors.

But while the causes are difficult to explain, Jones said, the effects are obvious from the satellite pictures.

“The direct reason of why it’s been so cold – or has been because things did change at the beginning of June, which is very average… if not busting out with sunshine – is these cold pools of air that keep swinging down from the Gulf of Alaska and the storms are cresting over us (in southwest B.C.) way too frequently,” said Jones.

The average high temperature for the month of June (June 1 to June 26) has been 17.5 C, while the average low is 7.4 C for a mean temperature of 12.4 C.

Comparatively, in June 2010 – also colder than average – the average high was 17.7 C and the average low 7.8 C, with a mean of 12.8 C.

In other words, the average mean temperature this year 0.4 degrees cooler than in 2010.

In 2009, the average high was 21.8 C, the average low 8.4 C and the mean 15.1 C. In 2008, the numbers were 18.4 C, 6.5 C and 12.5 C respectively; in 2007 it was 17.8 C, 7.1 C and 12.5 C; in 2006 it was 21.8 C, 7.5 C and 14.7 C; in 2005 (when daily records were first kept, it was 19.5 C, 8.7 C and 14.2 C respectively.

Some records are incomplete or have errors that skew the average slightly.

Put another way, June 2011 is so far trending to be the coldest in the past seven years.

As for days over 20 degrees, there have been just seven of them between June 1 and June 20, 2011. There were nine in the same period of 2010 and 16 in 2009. There were six days above 20 in the first 27 days of June 2008 but four of the last five days were above 20 C (three of them above 30 C) which we won’t match this year. There were eight days over 20 C in 2007, and 10 in 2006.

May was also a cooler month than we’ve seen in six years of data. In 2011 the average high was 13.4 C, the average low 3.3 C and the mean 8.4 C, with three days above 20 C. In May 2010, averages were 15.0 C, 3.0 C and 9.0 C respectively, with six days over 20 C. In 2009, averages were 16.5 C, 3.4 C and 10.0 C respectively, with nine days over 20 C. In 2008, the averages were 17.4 C, 4.8 C and 11.1 C respectively, with eight days over 20 C. In 2007, the averages were 17.0 C, 2.6 C and 9.8 C with eight days over 20 C. In 2006, the averages were 17.7 C, 3.2 C and 10.5 C respectively with 10 days over 20 C.

According to the Environment Canada Weather Office, the South B.C. Mountains had the highest “cool” rating in Canada this spring with average temperatures 0.9 C below normal.

While it’s cooler than normal it could be worse. There was extensive flooding in the prairies and in Quebec this spring, as well as in the northern U.S. The southern U.S. suffered one of its worst tornado season on record, followed by hotter than average temperatures and drought.

As for the summer forecast, it’s been reported that the summer and early fall will be hotter and drier than average, but Jones is skeptical of any long range forecasts. The good news, however, is in the short-term forecast. “Summer may arrive this weekend for at least three or four days and perhaps longer, and this could be the start of some summer momentum with these ridges of high pressure that persist and persist,” he said.

Darwin chills out in coldest June on record

www.abc.net.au | Jun 30, 2011

By Anna Henderson

The weather bureau says Darwin (Map) residents are experiencing the coldest June on record.

Senior forecaster Graeme King says minimum temperatures have dropped into the teens every day this month.

“It has been a great start to the dry season,” he said.

“It is the coolest June ever recorded in Darwin.

“We have now had 42 nights in a row below 20 degrees Celsius.

“To put that in context, last dry season we only had 20 [nights] for the whole season.”

About 85 per cent of weather stations across the Northern Territory recorded their coldest June on record.

Overnight temperatures north of Alice Springs have been between 4C and 6C below average.

Maximum daytime temperatures have hovered around the 27C to 30C mark.

The next record in weather watchers’ sights still has almost two weeks to go.

The longest big chill-out in the Top End capital is 54 consecutive nights below 20C, set in the 1960s.