James Coolidge Carter on The Rapaciousness of Humanity

David Cassuto

James Coolidge Carter was arguably the preeminent appellate advocate of his time (he lived from 1828-1905 and was at the height of his fame at the end of the 19th century.  A Mugwump, he had strong principled views on the human condition and a tenacious belief in the beauty of the economic order.  The system’s fucntioning required the best of human traits to prevail in the never-ending battle between good and evil.  Yet, Coolidge was remarkably skeptical of the innate goodness of humanity, writing:

The brute cares only for the wants of his body, and when these are satisfied he lies down contented . . . . But the desires of man have no such limitations.  However much he may acquire, he is still greedy for more, and is never satisfied.

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Compassionate Children’s Literature

From the email:

For immediate release:

A Morning of Compassionate Children’s Literature
with Farm Sanctuary
at the Community Bookstore of Park Slope
BROOKLYN, NY (October 9, 2010)—The Community Bookstore of Park Slope is pleased to host “A Morning of Compassionate Children’s Literature with Farm Sanctuary.” The event takes place Sunday, October 17th at 11am and is free and open to the public. (Address: 143 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, NY—between Carroll Street and Garfield Street).    Continue reading

Football, Pit Bulls, and Regaining Trust: A book review of Jim Gorant’s The Lost Dogs

Stephen Iannacone

In July of 2007, after months of investigating, Michael Vick and three others were charged with the federal crime of operating an interstate dog fighting ring known as “Bad Newz Kennels.”  Initially, Vick maintained that he only funded the dog fighting ring.  However, as further details were released over the course of the investigation, he eventually confessed and publicly apologized for his actions.  Every sports fan, animal advocate, and legal aficionado knows the result of this case.  However, very few of us know the amount of effort that went into building a case against Vick, collecting the evidence, attempting to rehabilitate the pit bulls that authorities were able to rescue, and finding these pit bulls new and loving homes.

Jim Gorant, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated, does a remarkable job of presenting these facts in his book The Lost Dogs.  The book leaves you feeling sickened that a man like Vick could be playing football again after a mere 19 months in prison, but also feeling revitalized to learn that so many of the pit bulls have survived what they were forced to endure.  Gorant pays credit where it is due: to the investigators who managed to obtain a near impossible warrant and eventually indicted Vick; to the shelters that helped care for the pit bulls after they were rescued; to the many people who assisted in rehabilitating the pit bulls; and to the pit bulls themselves.  Gorant reveals the true side of not only the Vick dogs, but also an entire breed.  Plainly stated, pit bulls are discriminated against, especially in the media.  This book takes a step in the right direction, clearing the name of a misunderstood and mislabeled breed.   Continue reading

Humans, Animals, Theology, Books

David Cassuto

Looking for a 10 Best list of books on the Theology of Human/Animal Relationships?  Look no further.  It’s here.

A Battle Won, Perhaps

Gillian Lyons

Following up on last week’s post, on Monday, September 27th Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced legislation, an amendment to H.R. 5566, which will prohibit the sale of crush videos, meaning any film, video, or recording that depicts live animals being crushed, drowned, suffocated or impaled in a manner that would violate a criminal prohibition under Federal or State law. The good news is that a day later, on September 28th, this legislation was met with unanimous approval by the entire Senate.  While the legislation will now need to be reapproved by the House (which is very likely, due to the original H.R. 5566’s 416 Ayes to 3 Nays), this is a big step in infusing strength back into 18 U.S.C. § 48 after the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Stevens.  Continue reading

Mmmm, Meat Paste

David Cassuto

Whoa!  So this is what becomes Slim Jims, McNuggets, hot dogs, etc.  Get the full 411 here.

Mechanically Separated Chicken, from Fooducate, via Early Onset of Night

Dietary Guidelines — The Politics of Health

David Cassuto

From the Cynicism Desk:

The USDA is preparing to unveil  its most recent revision of its much maligned dietary guidelines.  Come December, we’ll see to what new levels of obfuscation and avoidance the good folks at USDA can aspire.  The lobbying is already ferocious.  According to the WaPo:

In public comments, the meat lobby has opposed strict warnings on sodium that could cast a negative light on lunch meats. The milk lobby has expressed concerns about warnings to cut back on added sugars, lest chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milks fall from favor. Several members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation also weighed in against added-sugar restrictions in defense of the cranberry.

Of course, amid all this self-interested carrying-on it’s hard to place the blame for the ever more incoherent guidelines solely on the Agency.  Elected officials are terrified of demanding anything that might be considered anti-meat or processed food.  Indeed, George McGovern arguably lost his job (as a senator) for recommending that Americans consume less red meat.  His comments generated a mad frenzy within in the cattle industry and he lost his seat in 1980 (he represented South Dakota). Traumatized by McGovernGate, the guidelines set what at the time was the gold standard for doublespeak by recommending that we eat “meat, poultry and fish that will reduce saturated-fat intake.”   Continue reading