Archive for March 5th, 2006

Chickens Across America Getting Nervous

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PHILADELPHIA — From his poultry shop in Philadelphia’s low-income
Kensington neighborhood, Tony Tranh sells about 300 live birds each week,
mainly to poor Asian and Hispanic immigrants.

He used to sell 600 live chickens, guinea hens, ducks, and pigeons a week,
but that was before the avian flu scare.

”The people are scared," said Tranh, the owner of Mac’s Poultry.

Not without reason. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture temporarily
closed two of Philadelphia’s five live-bird markets last year after mild
strains of the avian flu virus were detected during routine inspections.
Those strains were different from the lethal H5N1 strain, and posed no
threat to humans, the agency said.

US chicken sales haven’t been affected by the flu scare, but a recent
survey by the Harvard School of Public Health suggested that 46 percent
of people would stop eating chicken if bird flu hits the American poultry
industry.

from the Boston Globe

Don’t know about you guys, but we have been eating
a lot of chicken lately at the Dowbrigade Ranch: Coq a vin, baked chicken,
roast chicken,
chicken marsala, chicken alfredo, pollo guisado, caldo de gallina, chicarones
de pollo. After all, we may not be able to get it much longer.

And, coincidentally,
all of the stores seem to be having big sales on poultry. How strange.
Boneless chicken breast for 88 cents a pound. Thinning the flock in
anticipation of the mass exterminations which will follow the first
confrmed cases of H5N1 in the lower 48?

As we type these words, the TV in the background, set to a news
channel, plays a commercial for Subway featuring their Buffalo Chicken
Sandwiches.
For a limited time only….

Sam Allis Gets It – Sorta

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Today’s
Sam
Allis column
in the Globe opens with a maudlin and meandering discourse
on the changing meaning of the word "neighborhood". Finally, by the seventh
paragraph, he gets to the point:

Which brings me to a meeting of a nascent group called Boston Media
Makers last Sunday morning at Sweet Finnish, a bakery in Jamaica Plain.

Steve Garfield, an independent video producer, dreamed up the name and
the idea of assembling video bloggers on a regular basis to palaver about
their passion. Michael Oh, the WiFi wizard from Tech Superpowers, was
also on hand to field technical questions.

Welcome to the ‘hood circa 2006.

Actually, Allis is
one of the better writers over at the Boston Globe. He goes on to profile
old buddy and uber-vlogger Steve Garfield who
has been organizing meetups of vloggers, wannabe vloggers and just
plain weird, cinemagraphic people for
a while now.  Sam, meanwhile, has had his journalistic spider-sense
tingling for a while. He knows there is something happening here,
but what it is ain’t exactly clear. Give the guy points for trying to figure
it out.

from the Boston Globe

“Miracle Brigade” Saving Face in Iraq

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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that
the Pentagon is reviewing its practice of paying to plant stories in
the Iraqi news media, withdrawing his earlier claim that it had been
stopped.

Rumsfeld told reporters he was mistaken in the earlier assertion.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, speaks to the media during
a press briefing at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006, in Washington.
Rumsfeld said Tuesday that the Pentagon is reviewing its practice of
paying to plant stories in the Iraqi news media, withdrawing his earlier
claim that it had been stopped.

"I don’t have knowledge as to whether it’s been stopped. I do have
knowledge it was put under review. I was correctly informed. And I just
misstated the facts," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news briefing.

from the Washington Post

We don’t know about the rest of you, but we have a hard time understanding
Rummy sometimes, which is curious considering his reputation as a blunt
straight-shooter. Near as we can tell, the about quote means that the
US government is still paying journalists for favorable stories on and
in Iraq.

We certainly hope this is the case, as we have just finished a terrific
contribution to the genre. It is designed to win the hearts and minds
of the local population, as well as to make US forces look good to supporters
and critics alike, around the globe. Please forward the check to our
favorite charity, the Dowbrigade Retirement Fund, at the address sent
in separate email. And if you like this one, there’s plenty more where
that came from….

IRAQ – According to a growing legion of local legends, members of a
mysterious "Miracle Brigade" have been appearing in different
cities and regions of Iraq to do good deeds, save people in peril, and
in some cases,  undo
damage done by sectarian violence and attacks on American Forces.

"We don’t know who they are." according to Walid Wazeen, a village leader in northeastern Iraq, "but
they come when people are most desperate. They wear American uniforms,
but with the insignia covered, and they are always smiling."

At least some of the group are doctors, as their field actions include
removing shrapnel, restorative cosmetic surgery and emergency gender
reassignment surgery. They also often leave behind much needed medicines
and medical supplies.

Among the other actions attributed to the "Miracle Brigade" are rescuing
civilians trapped in rubble, delivering books and study materials to
bombed out schools, repairing broken-down generators and small appliances,
finding lost pets and organizing local lotteries and raffles.

"They arrive from the heavens like Saints," said 11-year-old Abdul Masool,
clutching the baseball glove they left him, about the soldiers, who
arrive by helicopter, often at night, with blinding floodlights and symphonic
music
playing on a powerful PA system aboard the choppers,
"Every
night
we pray
that they will come back."