Are you going to eat that?

I just realized how to personally solve the argument about large-farm safety regulations being applied to small farms.

There’s a small farm here whose beef I once looked forward to, when it appeared in our town co-op.  It was clean, the animals were raised in large, open pens, they were content and well-fed.  There were no hormones or additives involved.  They were grass fed.

Then one day, as I was picking up some chicken feed from their small feed-sale shed, the owner told me he’d caught three young wandering cougars on this land, and with the advice of a forest ranger, shot them and buried them.  True?  I don’t know — but he told me so.

Another person from here is making and selling a beer in western Washington state.  But before he took off to do this, he left his cat in our care.  The cat was left out in all weathers, with access to water from the fishpond or the river, but with nothing left for us but a bag of food, that quickly became moldy in the feed area.  The two weeks I was supposed to care for the cat stretched into a month and a half.  It became clear the cat was always treated this way, and this was a former beloved pet, begging for affection.  Even farm cats get treated better, and this had been a member of a family.

So here’s my question:  if the producer of something I might put in my mouth takes shortcuts with other animals — what else might they do — or put in the food products — to maintain or raise profit?  Out of nothing more than care for my own health, if I find out there’s any sort of animal cruelty or laziness about animal welfare involved, including with wildlife, that’s the end of my doing business with the producer.  If they don’t care about their cat or a young wild animal, they don’t care about me.  I’m not here for them to make money off of, regardless of the replacement of the concept of “customer” with “consumer.”  Sorry about the GNP.

And it’s a pity, because that was damn good beef, and I was one of their best customers.

We ended up adopting the cat, by the way, and he us.  He knows who loves him and will care for him, now.


What “BIA” really means

(click on images for closeups).

From our friends in Neah Bay, I suspect (disclaimer:  but not an official council t-shirt).   There’s nothing funnier — and more appalling — than the truth.  Comedy starts in trauma.

We better hope all these people don’t start drumming for Holocaust Memorials — that’s a LOT of tribes to be building expensive mea culpa for.  You think they’d let us get away with 40 acres and a mule?

Anybody up for computing how many people we and our ancestors drove off their land, killed, infected, neglected, and otherwise persecuted by government policy?  And multiplying that by monies owed?  In terms of modern currencies?

If Israel can come back, then there’s no statute of limitations on national genocide and land theft.

And you thought the bailout would be expensive.  Pray all they want to do is build a nice, clean, art-supporting casino next door.

Maybe we can get training running the blackjack tables?

(By the way, the shirt flew out the door.)

Take my neighbor’s goat!

A friend sent me a link to one of those men’s-rights films.   So just assume the original points from the film (which I know my readers can):

The film reminded me of the old Russian joke about the peasant who, rather than praying to God to have a goat like his neighbor, prayed to have his neighbor’s goat killed.

The film says war kils 98% of men.  War mostly kills women and kids in a war zone.  Which it did during our civil war and Indian wars.  The 98% war percentage quoted in the film refers to the US, which doesn’t go to war — it sends troops overseas.

The film says only men get drafted – but it’s men do the drafting.  Women didn’t set up the selective service — which originally excluded us as part of the effort to keep us from voting.  I’d be happy to see it change to include everybody — or, even better, to include nobody, and to make the military completely voluntary.  However, the military would have to address the problem of assault and rape on female soldiers, and assault on gay soldiers. Which I don’t understand — can’t these people obey orders?  WE had to.

“Listen up, you slimeballs!  No means no!  Keep your hands off each other unless somebody said YES — or end up burning shit until the end of the police action!  THAT’S AN ORDER!  This is like fucking dealing with fucking high school kids. Dis-fucking-smissed!”

The film says women have a lot of health-care organizations working for them.  There are a lot of off-side women’s health-care systems because within the regular system, women have to fight harder for care.  They’re correcting an original bad system, which, admittedly, can become extreme.  But rather than less health care for women — how about more health care for EVERYBODY?

The film acts as though the face there is domestic assault on men means women still don’t need protection from the majority of assaults.  There IS domestic violence against men — but rather than denying assault on women, shouldn’t we be preventing assault on everybody?  Home assault and rape is the reason so many kids end up on the street — and gays get scapegoated.

Re paternity tests and the claim that 38% of mothers are lying:  lying or testing most likely candidate?  We should health-care all paternity testing, so the real fathers can’t run and leave somebody else with it.  Or better child care (or extended families).  There’s a real soap-opera in that mess someplace.  And probably too much beer or whisky.  I don’t think I want to know ANY of the people in THIS mix.

Abortion and the father’s rights:  should anyone force anyone else to bear a child?  What do we do — institute paid surrogates?  More sex education so kids know how to use a frigging condom?  And why would a woman abort rather than carry his kid?  They must be part of the gang from the last paragraph.  Why is this beginning to sound like a Jerry Springer episode?

The film shows film and advertising of males getting it in the crotch:  of course that’s not funny.  So why do men keep MAKING ads and films like that?  Taking out the other guy’s balls is funny??  It’s not women making these films.

As for political correctness:  can I call you a testicle, and all that entails?  Or white boy?  Do you want me to?

And before somebody brings it up:  just WHO is more likely to follow you or me into the dark and assault or kill either of us?  If you have to guard yourself at night or on an empty street, it’s not against women.  Anybody who acts otherwise – man or woman — is going to be a statistic.

Of course now there are roving gangs of kids of BOTH sexes.  This just keeps getting prettier.

Do rural people hate gays?

I have to admit something I did from ignorance, as a local freelance reporter.

I covered the Assembly of God’s Teacher Appreciation Day, and noted that they were showing a film from James Dobson’s Focus On The Family Organization.

It was a very funny film, about a very good teacher.  Toward the end of the film, the man touched upon his own religious beliefs, but it was not heavily emphasized.  He mentioned the apostle Paul, which made my hackles go up, but I don’t suppose the man was thinking about the things Paul said about women.  At least I hope not.

I’m sure the congregation meant nothing kindness toward our local teachers, who work so very hard, with so few resources.  The congregation runs the local food bank (I helped them write grants for funding).  They are kind, open-hearted, decent people.  I am also sure — or at least I hope — that they don’t know about James Dobson’s horrible attitude toward gay people (That link goes to his own words, or his ghostwriter’s).

All I can say is that I apologize for mentioning the film in the article.  I do not support these attitudes toward gay people, and the horrible things they can lead to.  But as a journalist, I do my best to cover the local scene.  I didn’t cover the meeting to support Dobson.  I covered it because some very kind people wanted to reach out to our teachers and say “thank you.”

I’m not a professional reporter.  I fill in around here because this community is so far from just about anyplace else, including its neighboring hamlets — there is no other word, except perhaps (literally) bend-in-the-road — of Neah Bay, Joyce, and the ghostly Pysht (no, it’s not pronounced like that).

I refuse to accept thanks from the local folks for, as one reader said, putting them on the map.  The papers pay me to get these photos and articles.  Would a fiction writer voluntarily write mind-numbing articles about block-watches and the process of grant-writing to get a roof on the grocery story — complete with boring stacks of population percentages and funding-dollars numbers — if she wasn’t being paid for it?

I don’t believe the rural people up here hate gays, or would try to hurt them, at least not directly.  It’s not because there are not gay people here, or coming through as tourists.  People are polite, and they’re not mean.

But I’ve heard their kids yell “faggot” at boys, and one father told his girl who wanted art classes that, “Art is for sissies.”

Racism crawls under the surface.  People blame the Indians for everything, and will drag it into any discussion about facing our (you know whom I mean by “our”) shortcomings.  Dealing with flooding locally, I shook my head and said, “What kind of idiot builds below ground in a floodplain in a tidal area?”

A member of the Emergency Operations Center team immediately hinted that the people in New Orleans were at fault for building below sea-level, and earned their own suffering. I think we all know New Orleans was originally positioned by whites for war, who brought in blacks as slaves.

Do rural people hate gay people?  I don’t know about around here.  Everybody up here knows I won’t put up with anybody saying anything bad about gay people.  They soon find out I won’t put up with racism, and stop trying it.

They know it’s wrong — but are they thinking and acting upon it?

Time to beach it!

Clallam Bay bridge installation

The Clallam Bay State Park bridge extension was installed for the summer near the mouth of the Clallam River, Wednesday, June 18.  The extension was donated by the port of Port Angeles.  A 1200-lb aluminum extension that had been designed for the river proved too short for this summer’s conditions, and is stored at the Clallam Bay treatment plant.  The bridge extension will stay in place for the summer and be removed after October 1st for the winter.  Bridge crew included Cliff Echternkamp of Port Angeles Maintanance,Morgan Rathjen and back-hoe driver Steve Rathjen.

Cure For The Common Homophobe

Americans too often teach their children to despise those who hold unpopular opinions. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place – the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else’s keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan. — Mark Twain

The Olympic Peninsula, especially the rural parts of the area, are not unusual in the presence of racial and religious prejudice and homophobia.  The best people will blurt out antiquated prejudices, from comments on Hemingway’s biography to just who is shooting at a whale.

But help may be on the way!

Twilight, a series of vampire genre novels for young adults, is set in the western peninsula town of Forks.  A movie may be filmed there, using local characters.

Now Forks is no worse in the presence of homophobia than any other rural American town.  All across this country, homosexual kids always need to watch their backs; being called “gay” has been proven in American towns and the military to being the preparation for a death sentence.  There is no evidence it is that bad in any way at Forks — in so many ways, it’s Live and Let Live out here.  But it’s in the atmosphere.

If a movie is made in the area, Hollywood will be in town.  That’s an industry that can’t afford to excercise prejudice toward anyone with any artistic ability, because it takes a lot of people to film, act, choreograph, costume, edit, compose, advertise, and just move stuff around.  

Arts and media are a refuge and a livelyhood for many in the gay community, mostly because the GBLT community honors and appreciates education, the humanities and the arts.  Arts and music are never despised, ignored, or lost because the funding for the local high school went to the football program (the community up here that let this happen knows which one it is; we don’t need to go into personalilties).

If the smart, hard-working members of the gay community who work in film show up, working with local people, dining in local restaurants, relaxing in local bars, it’s going to do a lot of good.  These people can be role models for smart, artistic or musical kids who have never had the support they deserve in the area. 

It’s hard to practice homophobia when the local kids find out what good people gay people are.

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