Dependable Erection

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fuck you, Virginia Foxx

I mean, just, fuck you.
“The hate-crimes bill that’s called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that the young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay,” Foxx (R-NC 5) said during Wednesday’s House debate of hate-crimes legislation.

Shepard, a 21-year-old gay student at the University of Wyoming who was murdered in 1998, is often linked to hate-crimes legislation since his widely publicized killing was viewed as an anti-gay attack.

But Foxx said it is “a hoax” to use Shepard’s name for today’s hate-crimes bill, which includes new protections for gays and lesbians. She argued Democrats are only using it “as an excuse for passing these bills.”

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Continue reading Fuck you, Virginia Foxx


With all my bitching about irresponsible pet owners and the obvious frustrations attendant with the problems they cause to the community, especially during times of budget shortfalls, it's time to recognize groups that working to solve the problem.

AnimalKind offers the $20 fix. In their words,
Research indicates that 80% of pet overpopulation comes from as few as 3% of pet owners who can't afford the cost of spay/neuter surgery.

In direct response to this reality, AnimalKind launched THE $20 FIX Program, a targeted financial assistance program serving low-income pet owners. Over 6000 pets have already been spayed or neutered for a client copay of $20 or less, and hundreds more have been approved for surgeries.

OK, i just sent them $50. I don't think i've ever done this before, but i'm going to ask my readers to join me in contributing to this cause. Just click here to donate. Want more info? Send an email to BethL AT animalkind DOT org.

And i thank you in advance.


Continue reading Spay/neuter

Who knew?

From the HS:
DURHAM -- Durham County hosted the second of two Solid Waste Plan Management meetings Wednesday evening at Durham's East Regional Library.

Problem was, nobody came.

County officials called the meeting to gain input from residents on revising their current waste management plan, but no one besides a county and city representative, both of whom work within waste management, came to the meeting.

"I think that sometimes solid waste, although it's an important issue, it sometimes gets forgotten," said county waste reduction specialist Brian Haynesworth. "I think people just trust the government to take care of it."

The 10-year plan details how the county will deal with solid waste issues including waste reduction and disposal, recycling and littering.

I've looked through my inbox, and i'm just not seeing any announcements from the city about this meeting. Don't know that i would have made it last night anyway, but without knowing about it, there was no chance i was going to be there.

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Continue reading Who knew?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


North Carolina's pork lobby swings into action, following reports that poor management practices on hog farms in Mexico may have been a contributing factor in the spread of swine flu this spring:
The N.C. Pork Council would prefer you not call it "swine flu."

The industry association for pork producers thinks the colloquial name for the virus being closely monitored by global health officials is inaccurate.

Following the lead of their national organization, they have suggested "North American influenza" — a variant on the other alternative name, "Mexican flu," which has upset some officials from that country.

Officially, the virus is known as H1N1, after two of its proteins, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase.

In an e-mail to Dome, N.C. Pork Council spokeswoman Deborah Johnson said the linkage between pigs and the flu "should have never been made."

Fortunately, the virus does not appear to be as contagious as creeping veganism. (FYI - i had the barbecue at Charlie's on Ninth St. for lunch today. No ill effects so far.)

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Continue reading Priorities

Dog story

Posted on my neighborhood listserv last night:
My husband XXXXX just found a dog on Leon St in our neighborhood. It's a white female and she appears to be pregnant. My neighbors report that she's been hanging out under a neighbor's house today and acting a little snarly. We have no experience with pregnant dogs but my husband thinks she may be very close to whelping. He is taking her to the animal hospital. If you know anything about this dog please email me. XXXXX asked me not to give any other identifying information as he fears someone might claim her to get the puppies. But the opposite is just as likely--that someone dumped her because they did not want the puppies. She has a collar but no tags. If she is microchipped the hospital will figure that out.

The followup email shared the info that the animal hospital wanted $1000 to deliver the puppies, which are due in the next 1-2 days. Which of course the good Samaritans who found the dog aren't in a position to pay. (Who is these days?)

But the real key is the highlighted sentence above. This is almost certainly another of Durham's abundance of unregistered dogs. We've got pretty much no money in the county budget for dealing with the thousands of dogs that make their way to the shelter each year, about 400 of which end up being euthanized, which is a polite way of saying killed.

But do any of our politicians think we need to come up with a better way of ensuring that the thousands of irresponsible dog owners bear the burden of the their irresponsibility and pay the full cost that they are currently making the rest of us bear?


: I stand corrected. Here's the latest email:
The pregnant stray we brought home last night successfully birthed eight
pups overnight and this morning. All are alive and healthy (and
completely adorable). We located the owner through the Durham animal
Owner, dog, and pups were reunited this afternoon. I send my
heartfelt thanks to my neighbors who sent well wishes and offers of
money, food, crates, and other kinds of help. It was very much
appreciated. Our next-door neighbors XXXXX and XXXXXX were a huge help,
and their friend XXXX, who used to be a vet tech, was generous with her
time as well.

The owner intends to sell the puppies; in fact, six are spoken for
already. She has no plans to spay the dog, which we both found
distressing. But that's another (long) story and definitely another
post. We were happy to see the dog happy, and she was indeed overjoyed
to see her human companion today.

Don't know if that means the owner simply contacted the animal shelter looking for their dog, and they were able to be hooked up with the people who found her, or if the dog was in fact registered. I sincerely hope it was the latter. But of course, the unanswered question remains, how do we incentivize spaying or neutering? Wouldn't it be reasonable to require anyone whose intact dog winds up at the shelter to neuter it as a condition of it being released? Wouldn't that save the rest of us a bunch of money in the long run?


Continue reading Dog story

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How 'bout those 'Canes?

What a comeback!

Lord Stanley's coming back to Carolina.


Continue reading How 'bout those 'Canes?

Followup on N&O post

Just wanted to note this article in the Guardian, especially in light of yesterday's post about the N&O's execrable reporting on animal issues. The significance of the N&O's failure to actually investigate issues of animal production is heightened, i think, by all this swine flu stuff.
Since its identification during the Great Depression, H1N1 swine flu had only drifted slightly from its original genome. Then in 1998 a highly pathogenic strain began to decimate sows on a farm in North Carolina and new, more virulent versions began to appear almost yearly, including a variant of H1N1 that contained the internal genes of H3N2 (the other type-A flu circulating among humans).

Researchers interviewed by Science worried that one of these hybrids might become a human flu (both the 1957 and 1968 pandemics are believed to have originated from the mixing of bird and human viruses inside pigs), and urged the creation of an official surveillance system for swine flu: an admonition, of course, that went unheeded in a Washington prepared to throw away billions on bioterrorism fantasies.

But what caused this acceleration of swine flu evolution? Virologists have long believed that the intensive agricultural system of southern China is the principal engine of influenza mutation: both seasonal "drift" and episodic genomic "shift". But the corporate industrialisation of livestock production has broken China's natural monopoly on influenza evolution. Animal husbandry in recent decades has been transformed into something that more closely resembles the petrochemical industry than the happy family farm depicted in school readers.

In 1965, for instance, there were 53m US hogs on more than 1m farms; today, 65m hogs are concentrated in 65,000 facilities. This has been a transition from old-fashioned pig pens to vast excremental hells, containing tens of thousands of animals with weakened immune systems suffocating in heat and manure while exchanging pathogens at blinding velocity with their fellow inmates.

Last year a commission convened by the Pew Research Center issued a report on "industrial farm animal production" that underscored the acute danger that "the continual cycling of viruses … in large herds or flocks [will] increase opportunities for the generation of novel virus through mutation or recombinant events that could result in more efficient human to human transmission." The commission also warned that promiscuous antibiotic use in hog factories (cheaper than humane environments) was sponsoring the rise of resistant staph infections, while sewage spills were producing outbreaks of E coli and pfiesteria (the protozoan that has killed 1bn fish in Carolina estuaries and made ill dozens of fishermen).

Any amelioration of this new pathogen ecology would have to confront the monstrous power of livestock conglomerates such as Smithfield Farms (pork and beef) and Tyson (chickens). The commission reported systemic obstruction of their investigation by corporations, including blatant threats to withhold funding from cooperative researchers.

Emphasis added.

The N&O may have been inadvertently correct. Meat eating "as we know it" may be undergoing some profound changes in the future. But it will come about as a result of the failures of the meat production industry itself, not because a bunch of dirty fucking hippie vegans started lobbying the legislature.

Adding, this story is worth reading too. All the way to the end.

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Continue reading Followup on N&O post

Monday, April 27, 2009

One day . . .

An item like this won't make a headline in a national news feed.


Continue reading One day . . .

2009 Beaver Queen Pageant!

Were you waiting for an engraved invitation?

June 6, 2009, in the Duke Park Meadow. Pre-show activities begin at 5, the Pageant gets underway at 6. New contestants! Celebrity judges! The Magical Mystery Beaver Band!

Missed last year's pageant? Watch it here.


Continue reading 2009 Beaver Queen Pageant!


Holy shit! Is someone asleep at the switch over at the Old Reliable? How else to explain the sheer idiocy of Ruth Sheehan's paean to irresponsible driving in today's edition?

Here's a clue - your car is only your private property when it's sitting on your driveway. Once you take it onto a public roadway, where its 3000 pounds moving at 40+ miles per hour is more than capable of killing and maiming, the rest of us have the right to tell you what you can and can't do when you're behind the wheel.

Yeah, i know. N&O columnists get paid to generate controversy. It pulls in eyeballs. I didn't realize that they got paid to write Teh Stupid.

Meanwhile, my friend (and former N&O editor RH) alerts me to this story, which is almost a text book case of irresponsible journalism.
North Carolina's meat industries are battling a bill the Humane Society of the United States and its vegan president say is meant to protect puppies, warning instead that it is the first step toward ending meat eating as we know it.

First, here's the one piece of factual information presented in the article.
The House agriculture committee is expected soon to hear a bill pushed by the national Humane Society that regulates and imposes licensing for commercial dog breeding. Some dog enthusiasts oppose the bill but its proponents portray it as a crackdown on puppy mills, such as the one that was raided in Goldsboro in February because of unsanitary conditions. Officials from both Wayne County and the Humane Society of the United States removed about 300 dogs and puppies.

Somehow, from this and the fact that the director of HSUS is a vegan, the pork lobby is convinced that "(t)he public is very unaware that the Humane Society of the United States has a very direct agenda to eliminate the use of animals for food."
(emphasis added)

Well, actually, the reason why we're unaware of this, is that it's not true. But that doesn't stop staff writer Mark Johnson from making it the top quote in his article. He also misses completely when he writes "(Amanda) Arrington's arrival last year signaled the group's elevated interest in the state." Actually, Amanda's been here for a number of years, putting her money where her mouth is by founding and leading the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, a group we've been highly supportive of at DE. Her work in the local community far predates her position as director of the Humane society for North Carolina. But why let some facts get in the way of a good fear mongering session?

Finally, what the fuck does it even mean to say, "ending meat eating as we know it?" Does Johnson expect that we'll start growing synthetic protein in backyard fermenters? Or maybe he thinks that Soylent Green is going to be the next big thing.

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Where's Mr. Dependable?

Auditioning for a role in the touring production of the upcoming musical "Fargo."


Continue reading Where's Mr. Dependable?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cross country

A few quick thoughts on a 1750 mile trip.

Durham - Don't loosen your billboard restrictions. I hear Memphis is a beautiful city, but you'd never know it from the freeway. And those animated video billboards that our friends at Fairway want to bring to town? Hell, one of the billboards i passed was showing full motion video of dog racing in an ad for a greyhound track. Try keeping your eyes off that while your driving.

Speeding - Holy Cow! The speed limit on I-40 is 70 mph almost the whole length of the road, excepting some urban areas. From Albuquerque to the Mississippi River, i set the cruise at 70, and sat in with the flow of traffic. I don't think half a dozen cars passed me the whole 750 or so miles, and certainly all of the truckers were at the speed limit as well. As soon as we hit Memphis, aggressive driving became the norm. Even with a more visible police presence. Being passed by cars doing 85 or better, and weaving through multiple lanes of traffic seems to be an east of the river phenomenon. We also saw our only accident on the trip in western NC - someone had plowed into the car ahead of them at a pretty high rate of speed.

Barbecue - This wasn't a food excursion, and we didn't have too many opportunities to appreciate the regional barbecue variations along the way. But it's hard to imagine anyone does it any better than the Pig Out Palace in Henryetta OK. Even the sweet potatoes were delicious, and i am not a fan of the yam. Worth seeking out if you're passing through Oklahoma. If they only served beer. . .


Continue reading Cross country

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Deep thought

This country is too big to drive across in 3 days.

Continue reading Deep thought

Friday, April 17, 2009

Best sports paragraph. Ever.

From the Guardian:
Folk with a mental age of four will be amused to know that Chelsea are going to sign CSKA Moscow genius Yuri Zhirkov. They are also eyeing up Stefan Kuntz, Bernt Haas, Brian Pinas, Danny Shittu and Uwe Fuchs. Oh, and Emmanuel Adebayor.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

What the hell is Joe Bowser smoking?

Asked about board cooperation, Bowser said: "As far as working with Ellen and Becky, I'm not going to work with them in their underhanded dirt-slinging. I'm not going to do that."

Christ, it's going to be a long four years. Hopefully we can minimize the damage he can do by keeping him outvoted, as Monday's vote on the 751 development points the way. harder to predict is the effect that his poisonous utterings will have on the greater political discourse in Durham while he sits in office and beyond.

Let's hope Michael Page comes to his senses and realizes that allying himself with someone like Bowser is not good for either Page or Durham.

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Continue reading What the hell is Joe Bowser smoking?

Unintentionally honest headlines

Alaska's Palin polarizes even as she prevaricates

Reading the article it's clear that they meant to use the word procrastinates, as in, she hasn't made up her mind whether she's running for reelection in 2010 as Alaska's governor, or seeking the GOP nomination for president in 2012.

Sabotage or ignorance?

You be the judge.

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Continue reading Unintentionally honest headlines

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Going Galt!

I'm enjoying a lovely cup of tea this morning as i contemplate withholding my overpriced services from the poor masses.


Continue reading Going Galt!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


From my neighborhood listserv:

I don't know the details except that there are 2 Animal Control truck around the greenway searching and warning folks about a rabid pit bull. FYI!!!


Rabid dogs in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. And Durham still doesn't have a plan to bring the majority of dog owners into compliance with the simple requirement to register your dog with the county and vaccinate it against rabies.

Last i checked it's 2009, not 1909.

UPDATED: Latest email:
I just spoke with Lt Duarte at Animal Control. Apparently there was a sighting of a loose red pit bull (thought to be the same one involved in the tragic incident a few weeks ago) around Ruffin St. earlier today. I saw the officers shortly after noon warning people on the green way. The rabid part may have been commentary, not actual circumstance. Sorry to cause extra alarm bells. I was just reporting what was told to me. The officers sent out did not see the dog, but they have asked us to be vigilant in calling with information about this particular dog.

The rabid part may have been commentary, not actual circumstance"?

Let me try to understand this. Two dogs attacked and killed another dog on the greenway several weeks ago. One was taken to the shelter where, as far as i've been able to learn, it was kept long enough to determine whether or not it may have been infected with rabies. I have not heard that anyone ever came to claim that dog. Now, a potential sighting of the second dog (which was an intact male) draws AC officers out to the site, and they make a casual comment about the dog having rabies? What could possibly have caused that?

I mean, it's probably safe to assume that neither of these dogs were vaccinated, but if we know that the dog that was captured was rabid, shouldn't we be doing a little bit more to find the second dog? And if we don't know that, shouldn't we be a little more careful about saying something like this?

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Continue reading Lovely

Monday, April 13, 2009

Obscure holidays

As far as second tier holidays go, i think Dyngus Day totally kicks Boxing Day's ass.


Continue reading Obscure holidays

Friday, April 10, 2009

This made me laugh

A New York Times article on the practice of "doga," or yoga classes that people are taking with their dogs, included this:
Kari Harendorf, 38, teaches doga in Manhattan. “Jobs are disappearing,” she said. “Mortgage payments are looming. Change is everywhere, but your dog remains steadfast. So, why not spend time together?”

Ms. Harendorf links yoga to reductions in stress hormones, like cortisol, and blood pressure. “People always ask me, ‘Do dogs need yoga?’ ” she said. “I say, ‘No, you need yoga. But your dog needs your attention, and bonding with your pet is good for your health.’ ”

She is saying something many dog owners already know: Were it not for their pets, many people would never take daily walks in the park. By extension, it’s easy to see how taking your dog to doga may be a surefire way to make certain you do yoga yourself.

So, what does it mean for those folks who think that the appropriate way to bond with their dog is to tie it to the nearest tree and splash some water in its dish every other day or so?


Continue reading This made me laugh

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Deep thought

So, where the hell was Biggles, when you needed him last Saturday?


Continue reading Deep thought

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I don't really have an opinion as to whether the Mayor's proposal to come up with a budget that doesn't change the property tax rate is a good thing or not. Like many of you, i'm interested in seeing just what services get cut in the name of holding taxes steady, and hoping that federal stimulus money picks up some of the slack.

On the other hand, i'm sure Patrick Baker wishes that the mayor had been more up front and public about what he was willing to see the tax rate go to during last year's budget cycle. As you'll recall, Patrick Baker, then the city manager, put forth a pretty decent budget to the public, only to have Mayor Bell ride in on his white horse to save us from a larger tax hike.

I wondered then if Bell would be willing to treat his new hire the same way.

Guess not.

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Continue reading Budget

Monday, April 06, 2009


So these guys were doing the community a good deed by picking up just about anything that was recyclable once a month.

So, where'd they go?

Bueller? Anybody have a clue?

I've got a carful of styrofoam that needs a new home.


Continue reading Philco?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

OK, i'm back

Haven't quite finished the revamping of the visual aspects, but that's coming. We did manage to finish the kitchen redo, i've yanked most of the invasive Chinese privet out of the back, cleaned out the garage (bad news? Philco Recycling Services, the guys who used to be in the Whole Foods parking lot recycling everything one Saturday a month, seem to have bailed, and i've got a car full of styrofoam and plastic that needs a new home) we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do with a deck in the back yard, and i got all of the Steely Dan vinyl re-digitized with the new turntable, and it sounds great.

I was kinda hoping that Durham would get its shit together while i was gone, so i wouldn't feel any pressure to come back, if you know what i mean. That detoxing can get kinda addictive in its own right.

But, no such luck.

Kevin's already been writing about the earlier this week about noting that Durham has $1.2 million in unpaid fines that it isn;t collecting. These fines have been levied against landlords for various code violations. The city isn't collecting the money because it can't use it to balance the budget, but instead has to turn it over to Durham Public Schools. So collecting it hasn't been a high priority.

Here's a clue for our elected and appointed officials.

Most of us don't know the difference between the various branches of local government. It's all "Durham" to us. And those of us who do understand the difference? We don't give a fuck. The fines aren't to help the school system pay for after-school programs, although that's a nice benefit. The fines are to discourage rotten landlord behavior. And for those of us who live next to houses that are owned by rotten landlords, you can't fine them fast enough to start changing their behavior. Hopefully Tom Bonfield gets it, and rather quickly, how bad this makes the city look.

Meanwhile, some moron with a couple of pit bulls let them run loose on the greenway between the Duke Park and Trinity Park neighborhoods about 2 weeks ago, where they attacked and killed another dog being walked by a 10 year old.


Even lovelier?

The County Animal Control Deparatment managed to take one of the dogs into custody, but not the other one. As of last week, the second dog was still considered to be at-large. I've talked to a number of people who use the greenway regularly who have stopped using it. The county is pretty lucky that only a dog was killed.

No one has claimed the dog that was picked up, so there is apparently no way to find out who owned the dog that is still loose. In fact, when i attended the meeting of the Animal Control Advisory Board last Tuesday night, the director of the shelter said that she could not be certain that the dog had not been turned in by its owner to be euthanized.

I asked that, since the shelter puts down approximately 80 dogs per week, how many pit bulls matching that description might have been put down over the past week. She couldn't tell me that, only that about 60% of the dogs euthanized at the shelter were pit bulls.

I was kinda surprised that almost all of the discussion at the ACAB centered around the 911 response to the emergency callas placed during the dog attack. Yes, clearly there's some protocols that need to be changed at 911 when it comes to dangerous animal issues. The county only has one Animal Control officer on duty during the hours of 5pm to 8am, and on the weekends. That's a lot of hours to have that minimal coverage, and it makes sense to me to have the police brought into the picture more readily when AC officers might be otherwise occupied, as apparently the officer on duty two Mondays ago was.

But that's not the only problem here. There's was lots of heated discussion on various local listservs about potential solutions, but pretty much everybody agreed that there's an abundance of "irresponsible" pet owners in Durham. (Personally, i think irresponsible to too gentle a word for a great many of those folks, but i'll use it for this discussion.) There's a lot more that needs to be done in that area. Moving the animal license fee over to the tax people is a very small first step that will, hopefully, get the number of unregistered pets in Durham county down from the 60% or so level (you read that right - Cindy Bailey at Animal Control estimates the number of unlicensed dogs and cats in Durham at around 60% of the total population). But then what?

What penalties accrue to not registering your animal? Or not getting it vaccinated? Or letting it run around, intact, making more unwanted puppies? Or worse, breeding your dog for fighting? Let's not pretend that isn't a huge problem in Durham.

Here's another thing. I don't know how detailed the minutes of the ACAB get, or even if they get published on the county website. Last i looked i couldn't find them.

The director of the animal shelter raised a concern during the discussion about 911 that getting the police involved in potentially dangerous animal situations is going to lead to more innocent animals being shot by poorly trained officers.

Physician, heal thyself. Apparently, you already knew about this incident at the time you were complaining about the police being involved in dangerous animal situations because it might lead to innocent animals being killed. Personally, i'm willing to take that risk, if it means that the likelihood of some kid getting mauled by someone's fighting dogs is minimized. But really, the irony of the animal shelter director, who's just suspended an employee for putting down the wrong dog, complaining about the risk that the police might get trigger happy is just too delicious.

Let's fix the real damn problems first, then we can worry about the hypotheticals.

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Continue reading OK, i'm back