I Really Don’t Want To Know What Kind of Cheese That Is


Yeah.

Trade House CheesesA Siberian dairy plant was temporarily closed Friday after its workers had been found bathing in milk, a Russian consumer oversight agency reported.

Trade House Cheeses, a dairy producer in Omsk, about 1,600 miles east of Moscow, was closed for 90 days by regional authorities for an urgent inspection after complaints resulting from photographs and a video posted by one of its employees on a Russian social network.

In the photographs and video clips posted on New Year’s Eve by worker Artyom Romanov, a group of undressed employees relax in a container of milk as part of their celebration. While still partly undressed, they then demonstrate cheese making in a clownish manner.

(Loiko)

I … um … didn’t need to read that. But I did. So you get the chance, too.

____________________

Loiko, Sergei L. “Russian dairy plant closed after workers bathe in the milk”. Los Angeles Times. March 28, 2014.

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Fetus Dolls and Candy


Right.Um … how about we just check in with Katie J. M. Baker of Jezebel?

A box of fake fetuses.Want a squishy toy fetus with your corn dog? If you’re visiting the North Dakota State Fair, you’re in luck! Last weekend, local anti-choice advocates slipped soft fetal models into kids’ candy bags without parental permission during the fair’s gigantic parade. “I don’t know exactly where I stand on abortion,” one mother told Jezebel, “but I believe in my rights as a parent.”The North Dakota State Fair boasts a bevy of attractions, including performances by Tim McGraw and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. But Minot Right to Life spent the weekend giving away creepy little fetuses to kids without asking parents’ permission first. “It was really disturbing watching children run around with them,” one recalled. A federal judge recently temporarily blocked enforcement of the state’s highly unconstitutional six-week abortion ban; perhaps appealing to elementary schoolers’ interests is the group’s Plan B?The Precious One” fetal models are manufactured by Heritage House, a “pro-life supply store,” for $1.50 a pop — cheaper if you buy in bulk. “Its beautiful detail, softness and weight can really move hearts and change minds!” the website promises. A customer service representative told Jezebel that the models are most often given to pregnant women at “pregnancy centers” and kids at school presentations. The customer reviews on the site (it’s like Yelp for fetus-lovers instead of foodies) further imply that the doll-like figures are great for kids. “Children especially like to hold them,” one satisfied customer wrote. “No other item that we hand out has the amazing effect that these fetal models have — instant attachment to the unborn!” said another. “So many times, we hear, ‘Awwwww! That’s adorable!’ Or we just see a girl’s tears begin to form and fall.”

Point number one: You know how we hear conservatives complain, from time to time, about how we need to just let children be children, and thus never teach them that gay people or birth control exist? So … er … yeah. This doesn’t fall under that rubric?Point number two:

Devyn Nelson, Executive Director of North Dakota Right to Life, said he hadn’t been contacted by organizers and claimed that the booth ran out of “Precious Ones” because there was such a high demand for the mini fetuses. “Kids like them, but adults like them too,” he said. “They have nothing to do with abortion. You don’t have to bring abortion up at all.”

Uh-huh. Right. Makes perfect sense.Just sayin’. Continue reading

Conservative Irony: Update


“And this is why we might suggest conservatives don’t do irony well. Sometimes it really does seem like a bad joke, when equality means supremacy, and freedom means the power to strip others of their rights.”

B.D.

Just a brief update on the NCLP, a moronic cohort who believe physical fitness is a religion.

They lost:

A San Diego Superior Court judge rejected a claim Monday by parents in the Encinitas elementary school system that teaching yoga in the schools is an improper attempt at religious indoctrination.

The ruling by Judge John Meyer, who heard the case without a jury, means that the Encinitas Union School District can continue to teach yoga as part of a health and exercise curriculum.

NCLP logoDean Broyles, president and attorney for the Escondido-based National Center for Law and Policy, had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a couple with two children in the school system. The suit sought to have the program ousted as a violation of state law prohibiting the teaching of religion in public schools.

Broyles said having yoga in the schools “represents a serious breach of the public trust.”

But Meyer sided with the school district’s explanation that it has taken out any references to Hinduism and its liturgical language, Sanskrit. Yoga, the judge said, is similar to other exercise programs like dodgeball ….

…. “We are not instructing anyone in religious dogma,” Baird said. “Yoga is very mainstream.”

Yoga supporters noted that it is used at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego to help military personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan recover from injuries and regain self-confidence.

But Broyles said he “strongly disagrees with the judge’s ruling on the facts and the law.” During the trial he insisted that yoga poses are integrally linked to religious and spiritual beliefs.

“This case is simply about whether public schools may entangle themselves with religious organizations like the Jois Foundation and use the state’s coercive powers to promote a particular religious orthodoxy or religious agenda to young and impressionable schoolchildren,” Broyles said after Monday’s ruling.

(Perry)

It’s worth noting that Judge Meyer criticized the NCLP suit, noting the inaccurate information that seems to have come from dubious internet sources. “It’s almost like trial by Wikipedia,” Meyer admonished, “which isn’t what this court does.”

But, as usual, the idea of facts don’t matter to Christian fanatics like Dean Broyles.

Ignorance of History


“Does the House Report say that? Of course, the House Report says that.”

Paul Clement

Chief Justice John RobertsThere really is no point in gloating, fretting, or prognosticating about what we’ve heard from the Supreme Court this week. Indeed, even Justice Scalia—the Great Grumpus Cat of the Supreme Court—can still surprise, and when weighing his homophobia in a tax fight, it’s hard to figure which way he’ll go.

Still, though, Chief Justice John Roberts provided an interesting, tangential branch in the discussion that some have noted.

Ryan Grim summarizes, for Huffington Post:

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday reacted incredulously to the notion that members of the Senate or the U.S. president may have been motivated to pass the Defense of Marriage Act by animus or moral objection to gay and lesbian couples. It was a window into his apparent belief that the U.S. is simply not a place burdened by such things as bigotry or racism.

When I read about Roberts’ remarks, I thought of a conservative associate who has a similar argumentative style; it is almost as if history doesn’t exist. It is a problem in our public discourse. Two people who are reasonably educated about history can have a thoughtful discussion about historical issues; it’s not the same, though, if one has to spend the whole time reminding the other of what is actually in the historical record. Obviously, the Chief Justice isn’t the only one; listen to how many educated pundits and analysts can’t seem to think back to recent history.

Continue reading

Cancer: Binding the monster


T-cells binding to beadsWith the occasional exception of wars and disasters, most big, exciting headlines eventually prove disappointing. This is, of course, because readers grant the headline or lede too much credit and, when the detail mitigates the happy rush, well, we are disappointed.

Bearing that in mind, the browser title reads, “Clinical trial raises hope for cancer treatment”, which is certainly good news. The headline, however, for Eryn Brown’s Los Angeles Times story is a bit more demanding: “‘Huge’ results raise hope for cancer breakthrough“.

Even accounting for the expected disappointment, it’s still really good news:

In a potential breakthrough in cancer research, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have genetically engineered patients’ T cells—a type of white blood cell—to attack cancer cells in advanced cases of a common type of leukemia.

Two of the three patients who received doses of the designer T cells in a clinical trial have remained cancer-free for more than a year, the researchers said.

Experts not connected with the trial said the feat was important because it suggested that T cells could be tweaked to kill a range of cancers, including ones of the blood, breast and colon.

“This is a huge accomplishment—huge,” said Dr. Lee M. Nadler, dean for clinical and translational research at Harvard Medical School, who discovered the molecule on cancer cells that the Pennsylvania team’s engineered T cells target.

Findings of the trial were reported Wednesday in two journals.

Continue reading

Not quite the Christmas spirit


Because Christmas isn’t complete without its depressing tragedies:

A pastor fatally shot one of his eight children on Christmas Day during a dispute at the family home, where more than a dozen relatives had gathered to celebrate the holiday, police said.

Kirk Caldwell killed 21-year-old Jordan Caldwell after intervening in a violent confrontation between the son and a woman at around 2 p.m. at their home in suburban Philadelphia, Darby Borough police said Friday.

Kirk Caldwell fired a single shot, striking his son in the chest, police Chief Robert Smythe said. Jordan Caldwell died at a hospital shortly afterward, police said ….

…. As a pastor at End Times Harvest Mission for Christ in Philadelphia, Kirk Caldwell had spoken against violence at a vigil for a slain teen in Darby last summer.

“Retaliation is never the answer. Retaliation is only going to make it worse,” Caldwell said, according to the Daily Times of Delaware County.

According to the Associated Press, no charges had been filed against the forty-four year-old preacher as of Friday.

Still, it will probably make for some awkward family gatherings in the future.

(Thanks, of course, to Dan Savage for brightening my holiday.)

Sci-Fi writer vs. U.S. government … hmm ….


A not so fun little story to keep an eye on. Carolyn Kellogg explains that earlier this month,

Peter Watts; photo by Dan BrooksHugo Award-nominated Canadian author Peter Watts was returning home from a trip to Nebraska when he encountered U.S. customs agents at the border between Michigan and Ontario. His rental car was stopped, and then something happened — Watts says he was pepper-sprayed and attacked, while agents say he became aggressive. Watts was arrested and charged with assault.

Turns out that even a former marine biologist turned science fiction writer can have friends in the right places. Cory Doctorow, who writes science fiction in addition to contributing to BoingBoing, and science fiction writer John Scalzi, who maintains the popular blog Whatever, blogged about Watts’ troubles, encouraging people to contribute to Watts’ legal defense fund.

Canadian publishing magazine Quill & Quire notes that Doctorow is not the only one in Watts’ corner. Toronto bookstore Bakka-Phoenix is not only accepting contributions on the author’s behalf, it’s selling out of his books. And author David Nickle was integral to spreading the word and bailing Watts out of jail.

Certainly there is more to come of this sad tale.