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Your Heart Disease, Courtesy of Big Beef

Posted on October 23rd, 2019

Dave!I was craving French fries when I left the house, so I called in an order at the local drive-thru when they opened.

Best lunch ever.

And yet I saw something disturbing me when I picked up my order.

But first, an interlude...

When I was a kid I LOVED burgers from Rusty's (in my town) and Dusty's (in the neighboring big city). To give you a clue of just how much I loved my local joint, you should know that the last meat I ever ate when I stopped eating it back in 1986 was a Rusty Burger. Yep. When I made the decision to go vegetarian, that's the meat I wanted to go out on.

And it's tough dropping meat from your diet, let me tell you.

For years after I axed meat I would still crave it. I remember driving by Burger King where they blow the smell of flame-broiled beef out into the street and get triggered. Holy crap did I want a Whopper right then. Giving up bacon was also incredibly difficult. Any time I saw a piece, something deep inside me was suddenly willing to kill for it. Pepperoni was the worst though. Going from having an intimate relationship with pepperoni pizza... then downgrading to a cheese pizza... is what nearly broke me. It still might break me one day. Because while there are some pretty great burger and bacon substitutes, I've yet to find a truly great pepperoni substitute.

But I endure.

Partly because the allergies which plagued me as a kid vanished practically overnight when I stopped eating meat. Partly because the meat industry is literally killing our planet. But mostly because I am horrified by the inhumane, cruel, and disgusting conditions under which mass-produced meat is raised. In all honesty, I simply cannot understand how anybody could become aware of the abhorrent treatment of cows, pigs, lambs, chickens, and other animals before they're slaughtered and still eat the stuff. Which is why most people close their eyes to it, I'm sure.

End interlude...

Meanwhile, back at the drive-ins that are in my neck of the woods, Dusty's eventually added a GardenBurger. I was ecstatic at the time, but came to realize that I prefer a Grilled Cheese with Goop (burger sauce and fixin's), so it goes mostly ignored.

Rusty's, on the other hand, always held out. No vegetarian option for you. Fortunately, they have really good fries.

Then today, miracle of miracles, I saw that they are finally adding a GardenBurger to their menu. I was instantly elated because I'm sure it will be fantastic. Until I saw the price... NINE DOLLARS AND TWENTY CENTS?!?? Holy crap! AND THAT'S WITHOUT CHEESE!!! Keep in mind that this is not an "Impossible Burger" which is an expensive meat substitute (but worth it)... it's a frickin' GARDENBURGER! For contrast, a QUADRUPLE MEAT, QUADRUPLE CHEESE meat burger WITH BACON is just $8.75!

Now Serving GardenBurgers! Dressed with Rustys sauce, onion, pickles, lettuce, and of course tomato! ONLY $9.20 after tax.

Jumbo Rusty Burger: Four meat, four cheese, sauce, lettuce, pickles, onion, bacon, tomato.

WHAT THE HELL?!?

Either Rusty's is jacking up the price to an insane degree because they don't want to sell many of them and only have it available because people ask for it all the time...

...or...

...government subsidies to the "Big Meat" industry are so massive that FOUR piece of meat are considerably cheaper than ONE GardenBurger. If that's the case, this is bordering on criminal. Let's check Google here... and... yep. THIRTY-EIGHT BILLION A YEAR props up the meat and dairy industry. This is despite the fact that the meat industry is literally destroying the planet. It's also widely regarded as unhealthy and should only be eaten in moderation. And yet, here we are. I guess Big Pharma is working with Big Beef to push cheap meat so they can sell more pills (eating beef daily makes you TRIPLE more likely to get heart disease). And we (and, more directly, the children) are paying the massive cost with our health and our world.

But that's our government for you. Killing us for the profit they make from being bought off by industries that don't give a shit about us.

I suppose I should be used to it, but the fact that US citizens continue to sign off on this kind of crap never ceases to amaze me. "YES! KILL US SO YOU CAN GET RICH! DESTROY THE ENVIRONMENT TO LINE YOUR POCKETS! BETRAY THE PUBLIC TRUST AT EVERY TURN FOR MONEY! WE SUPPORT YOU!"

Eventually, I'm guessing that I'll cough up the NINE DOLLARS AND TWENTY CENTS that this thing costs just to satisfy my curiosity. I hope it's horrible. I don't have that kind of money to be throwing at a burger. And apparently the government is doing it for me already anyway.

   

Shut-Down Smack-Down

Posted on January 15th, 2019

Dave!And... I had to cancel all of my March travel because there's no way to plan for a US Government shutdown that has no end date. If this thing is still going through February, I'm guessing I'll have to cancel my travel for April. This is extraordinarily bad. Both for the charity I'm trying to work with and the people who rely on that charity to, you know, continue living and stuff.

Not to mention all the people who are going to have a tough time surviving right here at home. If they have government jobs (or are in industries linked to the government) I'd imagine that money for things like rent and utilities and gas and food is going to be in short supply soon. It's really tough to see people posting their worries online only to be met with helpful comments like "YOU SHOULD HAVE SAVED MONEY IN CASE THIS HAPPENED! ARE YOU STUPID? Well, if they're like so many people, they're not stupid. They're just having to live paycheck to paycheck and don't have an opportunity to save. I paid $46 for two bags of groceries the other day. That'll cover me for about a week. If I didn't already have cat food, that total would have been higher. I can't imagine how much it costs to feed a family of four for a month.

What's difficult for me to figure is the non-stop political blame game that's currently going on. DEMOCRATS WERE FOR A WALL BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST IT! Well, not really. They were for a "Secure Fence Act"... thirteen years ago... which was attached to a lot of concessions. Needless to say, a lot has fucking happened in thirteen years, so it's not the apples-to-apples comparison it seems. DEMOCRATS ARE WEAK ON BORDER SECURITY! THEY WANT WIDE-OPEN BORDERS! Well, not really. Any Democrat I've heard speak on the subject says that border security is a priority for them... they just want to invest money into something that's actually going to work (and not bankrupt the country over a pathetically inadequate budget projection). THIS IS ALL THE DEMOCRATS' FAULT! Well, not really. According to 2013 Donald J. Trump, weak presidential leadership is at fault for government shutdowns. NO, REALLY, THIS IS ALL ON THE DEMOCRATS! Well, not really. There are Republicans opposed to the stupid-ass wall as well. Enough Republicans that President Trump couldn't get it funded before Democrats took the House earlier this month. If Republicans can't convince Republicans when they are in control of everything, it's the Democrats' fault? Really?

What's even more difficult for me to figure is how people are okay with their very lives being nothing more than bargaining chips over a wall that's not even going to fucking work. I may loathe Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in equal measure, but they've got one thing correct: border security should be debated apart from the livelihood of Americans just trying to get by. But Clownface VonFuckstick doesn't give a shit about people who aren't millionaires, which is all the justification he needs to carry on with his temper tantrum stand-off bullshit. And that's enough for his supporters to taunt, ridicule, and otherwise rip into people wondering how they're going to be able to afford food and shelter if things keep going as they have been.

I'll ponder all that while trying to figure out how I will find space in my calendar to fit the three trips I just canceled. They're going to have to be pushed to Fall where travel dates are already scarce. But since actual lives are at stake, I'll make it work somehow.

Assuming we're not still shut down.

   

Surveillance

Posted on April 7th, 2015

Dave!Completely serious here.

This is essential viewing for every American...


This is what John Oliver does... distill complicated issues that nobody gives a shit about into something you may actually care for deeply.

Or at least have a laugh over.

And, while we're on the subject of John Oliver... holy shit...

Not angry enough? Alrighty then. Here you go...

This could go on a while...

   

Frozen

Posted on February 4th, 2015

Dave!I would have bet one million dollars that the special interest lobbyist pig-fuckers representing AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, and all the other internet provider assholes buying off our corrupt politicians would have killed net neutrality by now.

So imagine my surprise...

Tom Wheeler of the FCC
Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality

Of course, this is not to say that internet freedom has been won... I'm sure pig-fucking lobbyists representing internet conglomerate assholes haven't even begun to explore new ways to buy control of the internet from our corrupt politicians.

Where there's billions of dollars, there's a way, after all.

In the meanwhile, however... surprisingly good news on the net neutrality front. A public utility it is. For now

Not surprisingly, there's still a bunch of politicians with their lips firmly planted on Comcast/AT&T/Time Warner/Cox cock that have escalated their hand-wringing about how net-neutrality is bad for the internet. Remedial Senator and All-Around Dumbass Ted Cruz went so far as to label it "ObamaCare for the Internet." I have no idea what the hell that's supposed to mean... but apparently it's bad.

Bad how?

Well... the arguments seem to go like this...

  • HOLY FUCKBALLS! WE'VE JUST HANDED OVER CONTROL OF THE INTERNET TO THE GOVERNMENT! Except... not really. This is not so much the government "controlling" anything as it is them making sure data is kept free. Since all data is going to be treated equally from here on out, control of the internet resides with the American people using it. THEY get to decide what is a priority to them. Without net neutrality, control would reside with companies like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox... all of whom would be able to dictate which data has priority, which data is worth more money to access, and even if certain data could be accessed at all.
  • NET NEUTRALITY IS UNFAIR! BANDWIDTH-HOGGING USERS PAY THE SAME AS REGULAR USERS! This is about the stupidest thing I've heard in a long while. Show of hands... who honestly thinks that AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox would lower prices for customers who use less bandwidth? Anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so. Remember... these are the same assholes who won't let you pay for only the channels you want to watch when it comes to cable television. They bundle bunches of channels together so they can suck the most money possible out of their customers. These are the same assholes who charge outrageous fees for cellular text messages, even though the cost of delivering them is practically negligible. These are the same assholes who are eliminating unlimited data plans as a way of getting more money out of their data users... bit by bit. Make no mistake... no mistake... the only thing that would change if net-neutrality were defeated is that prices for some (most?) users would go up. Sure they'd undoubtedly offer a token "low bandwidth" plan... but anybody thinking it would serve their average user is seriously deluded.
  • IT'S ANTI-COMPETITION! IF EVERYBODY HAS TO OFFER THE SAME DEAL, THEN WHERE IS THE INCENTIVE TO INNOVATE AND COMPETE? Crazy talk. Just because all data has to be treated the same, who says that internet providers can't charge more money for higher internet access speeds to that data? Oh... wait a second... MOST OF THEM ALREADY DO! ISP competition is offering more for your money versus other ISPs. When I walk into my local cable company, there's huge posters splashed everywhere saying "OUR INTERNET IS 20 TIMES FASTER THAN DSL!" How in the hell is net neutrality going to threaten that? Assuming you have a choice where you live, the company offering the best access speed for the best price has an advantage over your other choices. Net neutrality isn't going to change that.
  • NOW BIG COMPANIES HAVE A STRONGER MONOPOLY AND NEW ISPs CAN'T BREAK INTO THE MARKET! I actually had to have somebody explain this to me, it made so little sense. The idea is that some brilliant company comes along with a new and innovative ways of accessing the internet for less money... but their method involves charging more for some services than others. Since net neutrality forbids this, they never get to open their doors and their brilliant internet access technology is denied to people forever. Well, okay, it still makes no sense to me, but I'll give it a shot. The only way that current ISPs could possibly be a bigger monopoly than they already are would be if AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox merged into one company. Period. No little company is ever going to have a chance because the stakes are too high for the big guys to ever allow a loss. Otherwise we'd have new cable companies popping up which allow their customers to pay for television channels ala carte. How do I know? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT EVERYBODY WANTS! It would take a massively huge company... like Apple or Facebook or Google... to break up what we have now. Net neutrality ain't changing that either. Unfortunately.
  • BANDWIDTH IS A FINITE RESOURCE. IF YOU CAN'T REGULATE BANDWIDTH BY BEING ABLE TO CHARGE MORE FOR THOSE WHO USE IT THE MOST, THE INTERNET WILL FAIL, AND CRITICAL SERVICES LIKE EMAIL WILL BE IMPACTED. Yes. That's a terrific reason to create a two-tiered internet where only those who can pay for heavy bandwidth get the luxury of being able to use it! Or... not. You know what's killing email right now? Spam. You know what's going to be killing email after net neutrality is implemented? Spam. And you know what's going to still be killing email once we reach peak bandwidth and emails are delayed or fail to get through? Spam. So when do we fix that problem? You know what's killing the web right now? Viruses. You know what's going to be killing the web after net neutrality is implemented? Viruses. And you know what's going to still be killing the web once we reach peak bandwidth and website pages are delayed or fail to get through? Viruses. So when do we fix that problem? And what about transactions? Fraud. And what about security? Cyberterrorism. Etc. Etc. Etc. So when do we fix those problems? Companies are increasing their bandwidth speed all the time. They have to, or else their customers will go somewhere else. So, yes, if everything stays the same with the internet and nothing is changed or updated, we're headed for a problem. But does anybody actually think that's the case? No. Infrastructure is constantly being improved for the internet just like it's constantly being improved for cellular phones. This is not to say that we won't run into problems... it's technology, after all... but saying net neutrality is going to be the death of the internet is silly when there are even bigger problems with the internet facing us. Like spam. And viruses. And fraud. And cyberterrorism. Etc. Etc. Etc.

And now we come to the NET NEUTRALITY DOESN'T LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD... JUST THE OPPOSITE... IT MAKES IT MORE EXPENSIVE FOR SMALLER COMPANIES USING LESS BANDWIDTH THAN BIG COMPANIES LIKE NETFLIX AND FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE! part of our blog entry...

I saved this for last, because it's just so outrageously stupid. It costs me $12.70 a month to have this blog hosted on the internet. If I wanted to turn it into a business website, it would still cost me $12.70 a month to get it hosted. Yes, if it became a hugely successful business website that got tons of traffic, I'd have to pay more than $12.70 a month to get it hosted because a successful business costs more to run... such is the price of success, but still... $12.70 a month to start.

I assure you that Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube cost more than $12.70 a month to get hosted. But back to the point...

For $12.70 a month, I have a blog that's every bit as accessible to people on the internet as Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube.

And no matter how many billions of dollars Facebook has, net neutrality ensures that they can't use that money to shut me out. They can't pay to have Facebook load faster than Blogography. They can't pay to have Blogography be unaccessible. It doesn't matter how big of a threat to their bottom line Blogography is, Facebook can't use their massive bankroll to manipulate the internet to make me go away*.

If that's not a level playing field, I don't know what is.

Thanks to the internet and net neutrality, a small startup company can take on companies millions of times their size... starting out at $12.70 a month. And there's nothing those massive companies can do to stop them from being on the internet.

Seriously... if that's not a level playing field, what the fuck is?

I can't for the life of me understand how people like Iris Somberg can sit there with a straight face telling me that it's the opposite of a level playing field. Something tells me her lips must be firmly planted on Comcast/AT&T/Time Warner/Cox cock, because this is so obvious as to be painful.

Yet net neutrality became a reality anyway.

I know. It shocked the hell out of me too.

   

*Of course, if Facebook wanted to pay me millions of dollars directly to make Blogography go away... well... my email address is at the top of the sidebar on every page here.

   

Shutdown!

Posted on October 3rd, 2013

Dave!Well poop on a biscuit.

Nothing quite like needing to research something, finding out that the information you have to have is on a government-funded site, then going to the site only to find THIS staring back at you...

   

Government Lapse

   

So... to sum up...

I need to make sure something is in compliance with government standards.

The government standards are made available from government-funded entities.

Now that the government is shut down, those government-funded entities are no longer available.

But I still have to comply with the government standards, even though I have no way of knowing what they are.

Just when I think things can't get any more fucked-up than they already are, the government has to come along and prove me wrong.

Alrighty then.

   

Ownership

Posted on March 28th, 2013

Dave!"With the president's signature, agriculture giants that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds are given the go-ahead to continue to plant and sell man-made crops, even as questions remain largely unanswered about the health risks these types of products pose to consumers."RT.com

So much for transparency in government decision-making... and transpareceny with the food you buy. I can only guess that Barack Obama will be taking a job at Monsanto at the end of his term. This is hard to see as anything less than a government conspiring against its citizens so that they are uninformed about the foods they eat.

I once again have to wonder what it's going to take for Americans to finally get fed up with a government that is BOUGHT AND PAID FOR by increasingly powerful corporations. No longer are we a government of the people, for the people, by the people... we're just up for the highest bidder. Republican... Democrat... whatever... political parties are just a tool to keep Americans at each other's throats while the real people in charge continue to shape the country to serve their interests.

And that does not include us.

This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about just three days ago... politicians being bought-off in plain sight without consequence. Pieces of shit like Senator Roy Blunt who worked overtime to fuck the American people get to keep smiling and keep getting paid with taxpayer money with no mark of shame for the massive betrayal he's party to.

If it were up to me? I'd tattoo that shit on his fucking forehead...

Fuck Roy Blunt
I DON'T GIVE A FUCK BECAUSE I'M RICH, BITCH!!!

Seriously... go read that article on Blunt... it is far worse than you're thinking. He's sucked so much special-interest dick that I have to wonder how much Photoshop it took to erase the scabs from his lips. This shit-stain is neck-deep in special interest money that fucking BOUGHT AND PAID FOR HIS SORRY ASS. He doesn't work for the people of Missouri or American citizens... he works for the bio-tech industry and just happens to be a Senator on the side so he can be more effective at his real job.

What does it take to be hung for treason in this country any more? This worthless piece of garbage CONSPIRED AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS AND THE US GOVERNMENT! All with -zero- consequences, because that's how we roll in this pathetic joke of a "democracy."

I wish this bullshit could surprise me anymore.

But I digress...

Many happy congratulations to President Obama and Congress for once again fucking over the country and selling out its citizens! I wish there was some kind of award we could give all of you to recognize this unprecedented level of caving to the special interest lobby... but, apparently, you're just doing your job. I wouldn't want to embarrass you.

   

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