Sunday, July 1, 2012

On the banning of Fois Gras

Now that California has banned the manufacture and sale of fois gras, the pate made by severely overfed ducks or geese, I eagerly await the formation of the Fois Gras Enforcement Agency (FGEA) modeled on the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Think of the army of informers who can spend their time and taxpayer’s money dining at fancy restaurants, while placing “bugs” in the souffle to catch purveyors of of the livers of overfed geese. I look forward to the televised raids. The fois pushers (“Chefs”) must not be tolerated. Police will, of course, occasionally have to use their tasers or other “not-usually-deadly” force on anyone who resists being thrown to the floor and cuffed for serving the product of this fowl crime. With the drug war as our model, we can look forward to law enforcement agencies seizing buildings of those who “innocently” leased to purveyors of finely-ground goose liver, Meanwhile the correctional system and its politically powerful union will happily incarcerate in its cages any traffickers of the greasy paté. Young scofflaws must be stopped. The State will deny scholarships to teenagers caught “dining” on the “goose stuff” on prom night. Likewise, we will have the chance to deport any family that receives a can Fois Gras back to where-ever it was they immigrated from. Every three or four years we will all be entertained when some ambitious prosecutor launches a Grand Jury probe, threatening some celebrity with years in prison for falsely claiming he or she “thought it was liverwurst”. Think of the hundreds of thousands that can be spent for trips of politicians to see what can be done to interdict the supply from France through such smuggling havens as Cannes or St. Tropez. Think of the millions for helicopters to fly over the outskirts of Petaluma looking for illegal Fois Gras farms. Squandering life, liberty, justice, and property is a price we should be willing to pay for such legal bans on activities properly left to informed personal choice. But as they say, what’s good for the goose, is good for the squander.
Experience of Living with Pacemaker for bradycardia Away from my usual subjects: Whenever asked if it is better to consult the head or the heart my answer has long been "both". Very recently, after visiting my physician to ask about some odd sensations like I was briefly light-headed or fatigued, I was attached to various heart monitoring tests after which each technician looked at me with some concern, pronouncing that my heart rate was slower than the test taken a day or two earlier in the week. The slow heart rate goes by the medical name, bradycardia I was advised that I definitely needed a pacemaker to speed things up. I should get it sooner than later. I am an age when this is not an uncommon problem or recommendation. What has perplexed me after a day of web-searching is the virtually complete lack of first hand accounts of people of my age group living with pacemakers. There seem to be multitudes of accounts by the makers of these things of how useful they are medically, how rare the complications, and some stories by people who had pacemakers implanted in their childhood, and so on, but nothing by individuals experiencing it about what it feels like to live with this foreign control speeding one's heart rate. Does it free them, energize them, depress them, scare them? Any comment?

An update on me and Citizen's United

If anyone has been following this, well to say the least it has been left dormant, first by a death in the family and then because it was hard to get back to between working on a case that involved soil contamination from a dry cleaning, and trying to put my rare fee hours into working against the entirely destructive Citizen's United decision. As to the SCOTUS citizen's United Decision, just a week ago and a few days prior to the more watched decision on the Affordable Health Care Act, the court upheld a challenge to Montana's state-based rejection of the decision. The Scalia-Roberts-Thomas-Kennedy-Alito junta refused to consider Montana's argument, that unlike the Supremes, Montana was convinced that unlimited corporate funds funneled to push one view in an election could indeed corrupt the process. One "factual" pillar of the Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission case was that the junta justices just couldn't see any evidence that money corrupts politics. Some 22 states, including California, signed a brief in support of Montana's interpretation. On the other hand the Citizen's United organization itself submitted a friend of the court brief suggesting that Montana's decision would, God forbid, roll back "corporation's first amendment rights". It is almost unimaginable that anyone drafting a constitution, in 1789 or 2012, would conceive of granting corporations the same free speech rights to corporations as to humans with the right to spend unlimited shareholder's funds to saturate the channels of communication with their message. But the SCOTUS junta thinks that corporations will spend money to cement their right-wing agenda into the political structure, and they have the votes. The long term solution will be a constitutional amendment reversing the absurdities of corporate person-hood and the view that unlimited funds cannot overcome virtually all of the intended purposes of free speech, press, and debate. The shorter must be to keep Republicans away from the presidency long enough to appoint a fifth justice who will return some common sense to the court. PHL