Tag Archives: pink slime

Friday Linkage 2/15/2019

It’s not a polar vortex in February, but for some reason I would take the cold temperatures over what we have had the past two weeks.  How does an inch or so of ice that gets topped off with nearly a foot of snow and capped with a little wintry mix?  Add in the drifting from 40 mile per hour winds and temperatures that swing thirty degrees in a twenty four hour period.  That is what February has been like so far in eastern Iowa.

Now you know why I am dreaming of spring.

On to the links…

Uniquely American’: Senate Passes Landmark Bill to Enlarge National Parks—Good things can happen.  This is an unalloyed win for advocates of public lands.  Granted, it still requires a signature from individual number 1 but I have to imagine that even he is inclined to go with the flow on this.

What’s Missing from the Green New Deal—I think that the most important thing is that we are having a conversation about the Green New Deal.  Could you imagine this happening just two years ago following Trump’s “victory” and the ascension of a completely Republican controlled Washington D.C.?  Nope.

Priorities: Where Do You Start with the Green New Deal?—If it were me, I would start with a nationwide reforestation effort focused on degraded lands.  It could be lands impacted by mining in Appalachia, beetle kill in Colorado, and wildfire in California.

Is Renewables’ Production Tax Credit Bullet Proof?—I have to imagine that in this political climate the production tax credit for renewables is going to get renewed past 2020.  Some red state Republicans support the PTC and Democrats are in favor, so the odds are favorable.

Trump Administration will try to Exempt Specialty Bulbs from Energy Efficiency Standards—Of course the Trump administration will try to roll back new energy efficiency standards.  Try is the operative word.  BTW, can we just kill the Edison bulb trend?

USDA says Filler once Known as ‘Pink Slime’ can be Labeled Ground Beef—Of course the USDA would allow pink slime to be labelled as ground beef.  It is like we live in a dystopia where the president feeds visitors to the White House fast food…oh shit, we do live in Idiocracy now.  Damn.

China is polluting California’s air—Pollution is both local and global.  The air may be horrible in China and India, but those same pollutants will impact other countries.  Even countries an ocean away.  Just because we have outsourced our pollution does not mean that we have avoided our pollution.

Coal Developers Take Note: Climate Change Killed This Coal Mine—Climate change is real and people are really starting to take notice.  If a judge uses this as a reason to stop coal development we may have finally turned a corner.

War on Plastics May Stunt Oil Demand Growth Projections—Take a look at the chart:

Plastic Pie Chart.jpg

Thirty six percent of the demand for plastic is for packaging.  Buy less stuff to save money and reduce the demand for disposable plastic.

Another Way To Power Electric Cars: “Refillable Technology”—Flow batteries and related technologies, which this particular article deals with, seem like a great way to get around the problem of quickly charging EVs.  I wonder if there is a way to get the best of both worlds.  Make an EV that you charge at home most days, but have the option of refilling with charged electrolyte when on a trip far from home.

How EV HVAC Use Impacts Range Much More Than Extreme Temps—If there is a negative article about EVs you can bet the press is going to pounce.  Here is the thing, even with reduced range an EV will handle your daily commute.  Why is this even a story anymore?  And another thing, where were the articles about traditional ICE cars not being able to start in the polar vortex?

California to Transition to 100 Percent Electric Buses by 2040—Why can’t we make this a goal for 2030?  If transitioning 12,000 busses is the equivalent of 4 million cars we should be all over this effort.

Bottle Recycling in Oregon Hits 90 Percent Record High—I live in a state with a bottle deposit law and it works.  I imagine that if we adopted a nationwide ten cents per bottle deposit law that recycling rates for cans and bottles would increase accordingly.

How Big-Box Stores Bilk Local Governments—Here is why our governments—local, state, and federal—do not have the money to implement programs people care about: businesses have manipulated the tax code with loopholes to avoid paying any tax.

Solar Jobs Climb in Iowa—Most of the news around solar in the U.S. has been a downer lately as the Trump tariffs have bitten the industry.  However, Iowa solar jobs were up which is a good thing.

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Friday Linkage 6/9/2017

Do you remember when we all woke up on November 9th wondering how bad things could get?  If you thought the first week of the Trump presidency in January was bad, it just kept getting worse.  If you thought “covfefe” was the nadir, it is going to keep getting worse.  We are witness to the single most incompetent president in the history of the United States.

On to the links…

Kansas Republicans End the State’s Failed Tax Reform Experiment—Normally I do not spend a lot of effort on taxes or tax policy.  This is important because it drives a dagger right through the heart of the Republican mantra that tax cuts pay for themselves.  It is over with and the tea party lost.  In Kansas of all places.  I expect Sam Brownback to quickly take a position within the Trump administration now that he realizes Kansas is not his personal playground of Ayn Rand fantasies.

Iowa’s Push Toward Renewable Energy not Likely to Change with Paris Climate Accord Decision—Iowa could be doing more, but the state already gets more than 35% of its electricity from the wind with plans to get north of 40% in the next two years as planned wind farms come online.  We can keep moving forward despite what the flaccid cantaloupe in Washington D.C. decides to do when he eats some beautiful chocolate cake and fires up his Twitter account.

Trump’s Answer to Paying for U.S.-Mexico Border Wall: Install Solar Panels—I thought Mexico was going to pay for it?  This is what happens when you cannot tell the difference between reality, parody, and satire.  Nothing is funny and everything is horrific.

California Plan for 100% Renewable Energy by 2045 Clears Key Hurdle—Leadership will come from states and cities.

Coal Bows to Natural Gas, as Consumption Falls to Lowest since 1984—Lowest level since 1984.  Not because of the Clean Power Plan.  Not because of Barack Obama.  Because of cheap natural gas.  Try saving coal from cheap natural gas el Trumpo.

The War On Coal Is Over—This is not coming from Treehugger or Grist.org.  This is coming from a website dedicated to following the fossil fuels markets.

India, Once a Coal Goliath, Is Fast Turning Green—Good luck exporting coal to India.

What Pittsburghers Know About the Environment That Trump Still Needs to Learn—Trump is ignorant of so many things.  When he claims to represent the people of Pittsburgh as opposed to Paris he is really saying that he is in the White House to line his pockets.  Every decision he makes needs to be seen through the lens of how it lines his or his family’s pockets with filthy lucre.

11 Ways to Build a Paris Climate Change Accord—Again, leadership will not come from above.  We need to create our own Paris climate agreement and execute on our own goals.

Colorado Blazes Low-Emissions, High-Employment Energy Pathway—Deploying clean energy means lots of jobs.  Jobs installing solar panels, maintaining wind turbines, building the infrastructure necessary to handle distributed power sources, and so on and so forth.  Why can’t people like Donald Trump and his Republican cronies see the potential?  Oh right, fossil fuel dollars flow through their veins.

Company Behind DAPL Used Paramilitary Security to Track Activists—How soon before these companies are conducting their own raids to target activists “in support” of law enforcement?  Your rights are under assault by the corporate class in a way never before in American history.  Is anyone paying attention?

Walmart’s ‘Ah Ha’ Moment on Climate Change—Walmart has zero credibility in my eyes, but when outlets like CNBC are reporting on the corporation’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions something is happening.  Can’t sell cheap shit from China if everyone is too busy bailing out their homes because of climate change.

The Truth About Meal-Kit Freezer Packs—Can someone finally kill the whole meal kit idea?  The kits are not less expensive than buying stuff locally unless you compare one scallion to a bunch.  The kits are an environmental disaster with all the packaging and transportation costs.  Now we discover the freezer packs are little plastic bags of death.  Just learn to use a knife, shop at the grocery store, and really cook.

“Pink Slime” or Lean Finely Textured Beef? Food Defamation Trial Set to Begin—This has all the hallmarks of the McLibel case from long ago when a trial brought out all sorts of evidence that condemned the defendants but destroyed the credibility of McDonald’s relative to its food quality.  My whole defense would be, “The product coming out of the machine is pink, right?  The product coming out of the machine resembles a gelatinous blob, right?  Thus pink slime your honor.  Defense rests.”

Being Healthy Isn’t a Contest, So Stop Trying to Win It—If you are vegetarian, you need to vegan.  If you are working out, you need to be doing HIIT.  If you aren’t into yoga and juice cleanses you are just not doing enough.  Stop people.

Friday Linkage 8/22/2014

Taking a different job within the same company is a surreal experience. I work at the same company, but due to the company’s size and building footprint it is a totally different experience in my new job. I do not want to make excuses for why I have not been posting lately, but I am too swamped to even come up with a better reason.

On to the links…

Pink Slime Is Making A Major Comeback—You knew it would happen. The furor would die down and industry would be waiting to swoop back in to offer their nasty products. This crap is nasty and we should not be feeding it to our children.

False Facts and the Conservative Distortion Machine: It’s Much More than just Fox News—There is a concerted effort, funded by big business, to muddy the waters on every important issue of the day. Books have been written, exposes aired, and no one seems to really care that one political party is making a conscious effort to use bad information in crafting policy.

Where We Came From and Where We Went, State by State—This series of interactive graphs showing how the populations of states evolved is a massively fun time waster.

Why the Scientific Case Against Fracking Keeps Getting Stronger—Is there a good story about fracking? Sure, our energy prices have remained low because of new domestic supplies, but doesn’t that just delay the inevitable price shocks that will come later?

This Is Where Your Electricity Comes From—I just love data visualization.

At Ford Headquarters, Electric Cars To Be Charged By Solar Canopy Parking Lot—The United States is covered in parking lots. Between roads and parking lots we have paved over an area the size of Georgia. Why isn’t more of this area covered in some type of solar canopy?

Power Surge in Minnesota’s Solar Industry—Minnesota, like Germany, does not strike me as a place where solar would be a big deal but the Land of 10,000 Lakes and Michele Bachmann is a surprising place sometimes. Now, will someone please explain hot dish to me?

Explosive US Solar Power Growth & Jobs—So, despite a hostile regulatory environment and Congress that cannot get out of its own way solar is kicking ass. Yep, solar is kicking ass.

Rooftop Solar May Reach Grid Parity In 25+ States By 2017—I would not want to be a power industry exec imagining what the demand destruction will look like when more than half of the states can generate clean power on their roofs for the same cost as dirty coal power. I can’t wait to listen to those investor calls.

Wind Energy Prices at an All Time Low—Wind power is cheap and it is generating almost 5% of the total electricity in the U.S. Wow!

Spain Met More than a Third of July’s Electricity Demand with Wind and Solar Power—Sure, Spain’s economy is in the toilet but the country is a renewables leader. It’s not correlated by the way.

NYC Has More Food Waste-To-Energy Tricks Up Its Sleeve—It amazes me how much energy we just throw away each year. Think about all the waste, both from our kitchens and our bodies, that just gets thrown in the trash or down the sewer drain. What if we could harness that waste to create energy? Imagine…

How To Make Marinara Sauce—This is one of those skills that every child should be taught before leaving the house. It is a lifesaver when you need to make a meal.

Friday Linkage 6/20/2014

Kind of an odd week. I was busy, kids activities on three of five weekdays, but I cannot really point to anything else that sucked up my time. Yet, I am sitting here on Friday wondering where the time went. Interesting.

On to the links…

Obama To Dramatically Increase Pacific Ocean Marine Sanctuary—Hell yes. The U.S. may be maligned for many things, but our system of national parks and monuments is second to none. This one move will more than double the area protected oceans across the globe. At times liberals and progressives are frustrated with President Obama because he appears to be cool to their concerns. However, when the final accounting of history is done I believe that his presidency will be looked upon favorably by the left.

Power Plant Limits Prompt War Of Stats As States Prepare To Take On Clean Up—Like Obamacare before it, the new power plant regulations set down by the EPA at the president’s direction are going to get a lot of attention from publicity seeking Republican officials in red states. Count on it.

Obama’s New Emission Rules: Will They Survive Challenges?—The irony to any legal challenge will be that the Supreme Court set the stage for the regulations by saying that the EPA had the authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. In some ways the legal challenge has already been made and it failed.

Coal’s Share of Energy Market at Highest Level since 1970—Here is why the emissions rules are important. Without any action nations will continue to burn coal willy nilly until the planet is fried.

Despite Heat, Low Electricity Prices In Texas Show How Wind Is Good For Consumers—Wind generation peaked with the heat and offset the increased demand for electricity. Huh, seems like a pretty compelling case for expanding wind power.

Texas Utility Doubles Large-Scale Solar, Says It Will Be Coal-Free By 2016—Solar has to be hitting its stride when even Texas is getting in on the game. Granted, going coal free is not the same as going carbon neutral as a lot of the coal capacity is being taken up by natural gas. Baby steps.

Germany Breaks 3 Solar Power Records in 2 Weeks—Just reading about how much solar is deployed in Germany makes me wonder what the U.S. would be like if Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and California deployed solar to the same degree.

5 Unexpected Countries that are Leading the Way on Renewable Energy—Sometimes we forget that there are a lot of other countries out there making a lot of progress on renewable energy that might not get the attention of the U.S. or Germany or Japan.

Cable TV Boxes Become 2nd Biggest Energy Users in Many Homes—As if we needed another reason to cancel our television subscriptions and call it a day. Just sitting there all day long these shelf trolls are sucking down electricity at a rate that rivals any other electronic device in our home save for the refrigerator.

From Untended Farmland, Reserve Tries to Recreate Wilderness from Long Ago—With so much of our landscape affected by humans it is time to restore some of that landscape to a more natural state. I always think of the idea of the “Buffalo Commons” when I read about efforts like this in Europe.

The Whole City of Florence can Fit in One Atlanta Cloverleaf—If you want to be amazed by the amount of sprawl in America just look at this comparison. Damn.

What’s Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse—So, our solution to traffic congestion for the last sixty years or so has been to build more and wider roads, Guess what? Those roads are just going to be as clogged as the roads that preceded them. WTF.

The Green Lawn: American Staple or Water Waster?—Let me save you the trouble of the argument…it’s a waste. Lawns suck up water, chemicals, fertilizer, gas to mow, and not to mention our time to create an artificial green carpet. Ugh.

Greenpeace Loses $5.2 Million On Rogue Employee Trading—A total WTF moment. Why is Greenpeace messing around in currency trading? I am glad my dollars were not donated to these folks.

Can One Of The World’s Most Ubiquitous Products Clean Up Its Act?—Palm oil is ubiquitous. The production of palm oil is also an environmental disaster. I think the question is less how we clean up palm oil and more how do we use less palm oil.

‘Pink Slime’ Is Making A Comeback. Do You Have A Beef With That?—You just knew that the makers of pink slime…err, lean, finely textured beef were just waiting for the furor to die down and prices to go up so that they could shovel some more of this slop into our food supply.

How Food Companies Trick You Into Thinking You’re Buying Something Healthy—The moral of the story is that if it is in a package it is probably doing something misleading. If you start off with that assumption you will be a lot healthier in the long run.

These Popular Plastic Bottles May Be Messing With Your Hormones—Great, so BPA was bad but the replacement may be just as bad. I should just stick to stainless steel and glass. Safer that way.

12 Sea Turtle Facts That Prove How Cool They Are—People just love sea turtles. Nothing gets a group of snorkelers excited quite like a sea turtle swimming amongst them. You can spend an hour easily watching these graceful swimmers laze about the water.

Shame on You Governor Branstad

In the state of Iowa we are “blessed” with some real quality politicians.  There is ol’ Chuck Grassley of the U.S. Senate trotting out tired rhetoric and, in general, trying to be as incoherent as possible.  Representative Steve King deserves his own diorama in the Wingnut Hall of Fame.  His latest diatribe about illegal immigrants primarily being marijuana mules is a loving tribute to his insanity.

However, my “favorite” politician in the state has to be Governor Terry Branstad.  After leaving office in 1999 after 16 years of service he returned like a villain in a bad movie to resume being the governor of the state in 2011 following the “Tea Party revolution” in the 2010 mid-term elections.

Essentially, the man is a shill for big industry and big agriculture.  If you are a large business interest than Governor Branstad has some tax incentives for you.  If you are large agribusiness and do not want people to expose the conditions in your facilities than Governor Branstad would be happy to shepherd am ag-gag bill through to his signature.

Lately, it’s gotten even more transparent about how in bed with big agriculture’s interests that the governor has become.  At issue is the enforcement of the Clean Water Act by state officials or, rather, the lack of enforcement of the Clean Water Act by state officials.  Branstad, along with Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, have bypassed the regional EPA office in Kansas City that had been negotiating with state officials in order to make an appeal directly to the top officials in Washington according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.

In essence, the governor and his supporters would like the EPA to continue to ignore the impaired nature of Iowa’s waterways so that industrial scale agriculture operations can continue to pollute with impunity.  There is some Orwellian marketing copy about the governor “ensuring the quality of Iowa’s waterways” and “ensuring that the EPA does not overreach the scope of its authority” but this is purely a rhetorical smokescreen.  It translates to “let the fox guard the hen house” for a few more years.

How bad is the situation in Iowa? In 2012 the EPA said that Iowa had almost 500 impaired waterways.  According to some estimates, there are over 20 million hogs, primarily housed in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), throughout the state producing a mind boggling amount of waste that has to be dealt with.  But dealing with that waste is expensive and big ag wants the status quo to continue.  So, in rides Governor Branstad to the rescue on the side of industry over the people of the state.

Don’t believe that this guy is in the pocket of agri-business?  Remember “pink slime?”  Well, it was produced by a company, Beef Products Inc, owned by Eldon and Regina Roth of Sioux City, Iowa.  The Roths personally contributed $152,000 to Governor Branstad’s election coffers making them the third largest donor overall and the second largest individual.  What was the Governor’s response to the entire debacle surrounding pink slime?  He went to the mattresses for pink slime.  He went so far as to don a t-shirt proclaiming “Dude, it’s beef.”  If you say so Gov.

Wonder why he is so vociferous in his defense of agri-business to continue polluting our waterways?  Look at some of his biggest contributors.  Debra Hansen of Iowa Select Farms gave $52,000.  Iowa Select Farms is a CAFO operator.  You can peruse the entire list of agricultural industry contributors at Follow the Money.

To paraphrase a memorable line from Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, there is shit in the water.

I urge EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and her department to cease allowing the Branstad administration to delay implementing enforcement of the Clean Water Act in the state of Iowa.  Our waterways have become too degraded by the practices of industrial agriculture to allow for current practices to continue.

Sign This Petition

Like “pink slime” and brominated vegetable oil, the food world has been taken hold by another round of “what the f#ck is in my food” craziness.

Now the issue is with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, that staple of so many children’s dinner requests and the late night kitchen escapades of drunkards, and the dyes contained within its unnaturally yellow “cheese” sauce.  In the U.S. that bright canary hue is the result of yellow dye #5 and #6.

Two food bloggers, Van Hari of Food Babe and Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food, started a petition on Change.org to have Kraft remove these dyes because of potential harmful effects and match the formulation of non-North American macaroni & cheese.  Picture pretty much sums it up:

Kraft_Yellow_Petition

On March 6th, representatives from Kraft sent a letter to Hari and Leake with typical corporate speak that missed the core of the issue.  There is no reason for these dyes to be in a product that is marketed at children—the whole marketing to children is another issue for another time—and so widely available.

Hari and Leake nail it in their response:

If Kraft’s “safety and quality” of their products is their “highest priority” and they “take consumer concerns very seriously,” then why have they continued to use a questionable ingredient that requires a warning label in Europe? Don’t they have a responsibility to be proactive and do the right thing for their own country’s citizens?

So far the petition has garnered over 200,000 signatures but more cannot hurt.  Please take a moment and sign it here.

But remember, the U.K. does not have it so easy.  Apparently it’s easy to confuse a horse for a cow when loading the slaughterhouse.

Friday Linkage 10/5/2012

October is here!  It’s really not a lot different than the last week of September, but the turning of another calendar page makes it seem different.  Casseroles in the oven, apple pie scents wafting through the house, my daughter sneaking an extra marshmallow for her hot cocoa…

The next couple of nights are supposed to bring temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for eastern Iowa.  Yippee!  A lot of people do not appreciate the changing of the seasons—hoping for the mind numbingly consistent weather of the sunbelt.  There is something about the change of the seasons that is revitalizing to the soul.  Break out the fleece!

On to the links…

Debunking the Supposed Decline in Clean Energy—Republicans and their media minions—yes, I am looking at you Fox News—have never let the facts about clean energy get in the way of a good sound bite.  It’s all Solyndra, all the time.

Solyndra Hypocrisy Illustrated—Speaking of Solyndra, just take a look at the relative magnitude of the loss that the loan program endured:

Clean Energy Showdown in Arizona—Why Arizona has not whole heartedly embraced solar photovoltaics is beyond me.  Why it is even a discussion is beyond me.

How CAFE Killed Compact Pickups and Station Wagons—The guys over at The Truth About Cars have done an excellent job showing how the complicated mechanics behind the CAFE rules have killed entire classes of vehicles.

Mississippi River at its Healthiest in a Generation—Success stories like this need to get more publicity.  When I was a small child growing up near the Mississippi River we treated it like it was a Superfund site.  You did not swim near the river.  You did not eat fish from the river.  Heck, you felt scared to even look at the river for fear of some toxic river monster leaping out to grab you.  Not so much anymore.

How Food Justice Starts at Home—The intersection of environmental and social justice is best exemplified in any movement to improve our food—including the quality of the food and the conditions under which it is produced.

“Pink Slime” Lawsuit May be Frivolous, but it Could Chill Speech—The people behind everyone’s favorite gross meat additive are suing ABC News for airing a story about pink slime.  Never mind that the specifics had been in the press for years and it was just a moment of cultural zeitgeist that propelled the issue to the forefront.  Nope, these guys are going to court.  Good luck.

New Breed of Hunter Shoots, Eats, and Tells—It’s funny that this is a new trend because I knew people growing up in southeastern Minnesota who had freezers full of meat that they had personally “harvested” from the woods.  I guess if Mark Zuckerberg does it, it’s a trend.

Repair Still Rules in India, Can America Bring it Back?—Repairing things in the U.S. is a non-starter.  You can barely find parts to repair something, let alone find someone to actually do the repair if you are not so inclined.  When my stove broke a few years ago all it took to complete the repair was a new heating element, a Phillips screwdriver, and about fifteen minutes of time, most of which was spent unscrewing the plate that hid the heating element.  Cost?  $50.  Friends were shocked that I did the repair rather than looking for a new stove.  Huh?

Greenest College Campuses—Because I cannot get enough of infographics: