the state

-of the news by jgrimsrud
Wednesday, 15 April 2009, 11:36
Filed under: -of harrisonburg, -of jgrimsrud, -of localism, -of politik

i’ve been an infrequent blogger lately (too much music & preaching, w/ more to come).

but a few items have caught my eye–may i share?

first, right here in harrisonburg, folks have been starting the conversation about chickens.  now, a predictable response coming down the pike from the poultry industry (as reported by andrew jenner @ rocktown weekly):

“Allowing backyard poultry to be kept in the city could pose a disease risk to the commercial poultry industry,” said Hobey Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation, which represents the state’s commercial poultry industry.

Bauhan said that raising backyard flocks without the strict biosecurity precautions taken by commercial poultry farmers could increase the risk of outbreaks of avian influenza and other diseases.

“We are concerned about this issue from a biosecurity standpoint,” Bauhan said. “We are in the process of learning the details of the proposal and hope to have input as this issue is considered by the city.”

my knee-jerk reaction is to try to bring together resources and research to counter bauhan’s points (i.e., industrialization and centralization of the food supply has made american eaters more vulnerable to disease & attack).  but after taking five breaths & thinking it over, the bottom line seems more about personal freedom & industry marketing–and bauhan would rather explore distracting arguments & scare tactics than talk about whether people have the right to raise for themselves (or just to buy from his employers).

anyway, check out our dear friend matt’s chicken musings over at chicken diction.

in farm-related news (as we discussed back here), the white house announced plans a couple months back to install an organic garden.  great idea, right?

well, it made the folks over at MACA (the mid atlantic crop life association, a lobbying group for industry names like monsanto & dupont) “shudder.” evidently, michelle’s effort to revive & update the victory garden (a la michael pollan’s prescient letter before the election) opens a new front in this culture-war hot zone: technology vs. the hippies.  & just look at those child soldiers:

and finally, in a blast from the 10-year-old past, it turns out marilyn manson wasn’t to blame for columbine.  i saw this piece in yesterday’s usa today on the wall over the cally’s urinal:

They weren’t goths or loners.

The two teenagers who killed 13 people and themselves at suburban Denver’s Columbine High School 10 years ago next week weren’t in the “Trenchcoat Mafia,” disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters. The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn’t been bullied — in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and “fags.”. . .

Contrary to early reports, Harris and Klebold weren’t on antidepressant medication and didn’t target jocks, blacks or Christians, police now say, citing the killers’ journals and witness accounts. That story about a student being shot in the head after she said she believed in God? Never happened, the FBI says now.

so i can’t believe everything they told me in chapel at eastern mennonite high school?!

this story, sobering & interesting as it is, would be more novel & distant if not for the recent spate of gun violence across the country (see democracy now!’s report on 60 deaths since march 10).  it also reminded me of this classic michael moore clip (guest-starring joe leiberman!):


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