business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's piece about pasture-raised animals that result in better meats, MNB user Ben Ball wrote:

I have to chuckle every time our society rediscovers the virtues of doing something the way it was done seven ‘improvements’ back. Our not-so-agri-aware society forgets that we considered grain feeding a way to get rid of the “wild” taste in pasture fed beef and to add the desirable characteristics of more marbling and meat per steer. Or that pasteurization was originally embraced as a way to eliminate “unpleasantries” from raw milk – like the taste when the cows had gotten into some wild onions in the pasture. Yuck! And as for the health benefits – well, duh! There is a reason that venison and bison have less fat and cholesterol per pound than skinless chicken or salmon. If you really want to eat healthy meat, break out your bow and head to the woods this fall!

And MNB user Bruce Christiansen had some thoughts…and a request:

With all of these food-related stories these days, it would be very helpful for your readers (including me) to get a more complete treatise on how “typical” food actually is raised and gets to market, and then host a well-rounded discussion on the merits and facts.

As an example: I’m no expert but I grew up in and continue to live in a region that still has a vibrant agricultural segment. Here’s how most (but not all) of the cattle that I am aware of are handled: They are born, fed by their mothers for a short time, are weaned from their mother, and then graze in pastureland and/or BLM/Forest Service land for the spring and summer. In the late fall, when the grass stops growing and the weather starts to get nasty they are brought home to holding pens to be fed over the winter. That cycle continues until they are ready for market, when they are returned to a feedlot for “finishing” and receive a higher protein diet to allow them to “bulk up” (that’s what we consumers like to see), then slaughtered.

So here’s the question: are these pasture fed? Feedlot raised? How does one label them? The same questions apply to grain crops that are adapted both with assistance from humans and natural selection to do things like improve yields per acre, be more disease resistant, one variety to make better bread, another to make better cakes, a third to make better pasta, etc. etc. Are these genetically modified because they’ve been selected for the characteristics we consumers desire?

Someone with a lot more knowledge than me can better respond, but yours seems like a good forum for us readers to get more information (but NOT more stories from the media) about these important issues.

Got a number of emails responding to yesterday's brief comments about Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) in the wake of the diagnosis that he has a malignant brain tumor.

MNB user Mike Parker wrote:

I know where I was when JFK was assassinated. You may be too young to know. The Kennedy family gave us hope for a better future. I never agreed with their social policies but I have always wanted a champion of the underdog. With Teddy’s demise, I feel a great sense of loss for a champion for the poor, the underprivileged and the undereducated. We need a new liberal hero, perhaps Obama will be our new Kennedy.

Not so young, I'm afraid. I was in 4th grade...Sts. John & Paul School...we got sent home early from school...I woke up my mom from her nap to tell her the news...and she yelled at me for telling a terrible lie. I remember it well.

I noted yesterday that I vividly remember Kennedy's concession speech at the 1980 Democratic convention, which led MNB user Robert J. Wheaton to write:

His concession speech, oratory, cadence, style, etc., magnificent.

In my opinion, nothing however compares to the eulogy he delivered for his brother, Bobby. Many years after, I still don't understand how brother Ted was able to deliver the way he did.

In part:

".....This is the way he lived. My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."


Most politicians never give a single speech worth remembering. Kennedy gave at least two. And, I'd guess, there will be at least one more in the next six months.
KC's View: