Archive for June 15th, 2011


“Last week, Brother Julian and Brother Adrian Riester were returned to St. Bonaventure for a memorial service and a side-by-side burial. Their coffins were carried by, among others, a few of the dozen or so Franciscans still on campus; their brothers.

The solemn and joyful day encouraged more stories about the twins. How they adorned the friary trees with birdhouses. How they toured the campus on identical bicycles, one with a pinwheel on its handlebars. And how they often sat in prayer in the chapel, so still that you might not know they were there.”

A fine article/obituary from the Times, on the twin Franciscans who died on the same day:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/us/15land.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&sq=dan%20barry&st=cse&scp=2

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“Militarists see war as productive, as offering solutions rather than posing problems. They see it as heroic. (President Bush famously waxed poetic about the “exciting” and “romantic” nature of fighting in Afghanistan.) When wars are romanticized as action-packed tests of a nation’s warriors, cuts to war spending are naturally seen as perfidiously unpatriotic — as kneecapping those same heroes. Hence our ever-growing “defense” budgets, even as a sledgehammer of a national debt hobbles America’s economic vitality and social security.”

Read the rest: http://www.counterpunch.org/astore06142011.html

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Food Crimes

When I first moved to Ohio I lived south of here, in the middle of the largest Amish community in the world. I became friends with an Amish farmer and bought raw milk from him (which is not legal in Ohio).

When you walked into his barn it smelled sweet, a mix of fresh hay, straw and grain. Everything was clean and well-maintained. I never felt like I was risking my health at all, and the milk was delicious.

I cannot help but compare that farm with the large dairy operations I pass on my way to work every day; they are run by Mennonites, cousins of the Amish who do not object to either farm machinery or the industrial model of agriculture. Cows stand in feedlots, up to their shins in their own shit, and the stench is unbearable. You would be crazy to drink raw milk from such a place; certainly that milk should be pasteurized.

I am reminiscing about this because of recent events, most notably an armed raid by federal agents on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. The farmer is accused of transporting raw milk over state lines (it is legal to sell it in Pennsylvania). Why anyone thinks they needed to be armed to arrest a man who would not use force to defend himself is beyond me.

Nor is this an isolated instance.

Advocates of raw milk argue that pasteurization destroys much of the nutritional value of milk, and that homogenization breaks down fat molecules, which clogs arteries. Their opponents say that raw milk can contain dangerous pathogens.  Questions of health are like questions of religion; there are a million opinions. But on health there is no magisterium. But certainly the federal government should not pretend to be that authority, and certainly people ought to be free to make their own decisions. And if those big dairy operations can stink up the neighborhood and treat their cows like milk machines, my friend ought to be able to sell milk from his sweet-smelling farm.

This is a trailer to a film about these issues, and thanks to Serge at the Conservative Blog for Peace for posting it. The young very blonde woman who is first to speak is named Liz, the daughter of my friends Michael and Becky Duncan, and I have been fond of her since she was very small.

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