Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seeking Donations, Popularity, Abattoirs, and Death

1. Listened once again to Sally Seltmann's Heart That's Pounding.  I'm so in the mood for that song.  

2. Watched a video from Triple J's Like A Version. It's Darren Hanlon singing Together in Electric Dreams.  It's really nice.

3. Dreamed about an Australian friend.  I see they have posted something on their blog.   It's about a recent feast they had. They talk about how they donated all their leftover food to charity.   I'm very impressed with this.  I think of commenting, but I'm insecure about our friendship.   I don't know if they want to hear from me. We haven't talked in a long time.  I feel weird about commenting; so I don't.  

4. Saw from Statcounter that there were some morbid people on my blog early this morning. One person wanted to know how William Charles Wentworth died.  Then soon after, someone wanted to know how David Gulpilil died.

I think David Gulpilil is still alive. Although I don't think it's the first time someone's come to my blog about his death.

5. Checked with Lord Wiki.  As far as he knows, Gulpilil is still among the living.  

6. Read an article on the Australian Greens website about Bob Brown and Christine Milne meeting with the Dalai Lama.  What annoys me is that instead of talking about the meeting and what was gained from it, what's emphasised is that Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd didn't meet with him. Now I agree that the snub is annoying.  I complained about it myself yesterday.  But I hope that Brown and Milne gained something from this meeting besides thinking to themselves we're better than the others because we met with the Dalai Lama.  

Well, hopefully we'll hear more about the meeting later.  

7. Read article about flooding in the mid-north coast of New South Wales.  There's been evacuations.

Roads have been closed and some communities are now isolated.   I hope they have enough food and all that.

8. Looked up the flooded area on Google Maps.   One of the towns affected is called Kempsey; then I think there's other places around there that are flooded as well.  The area is about an hour north of Port Macquarie.   Well, I mention that because I've heard of Port Macquarie.   It's the closest thing to Kempsey that's familiar to me.

9. Read article that says Nicola Roxon wrote to Phillip Morris executives in 2005 inviting them to make a donation and come to a fundraising event.  At first I thought maybe it was a charity event.    I would have conflicting feelings about that.   If we don't like a corporation because of their product or business practices, should we not want their charitable donations?   Or should we think to ourselves, the money is needed.  Does it matter where it comes from?  What if a wealthy man is convicted of child molesting; and while in prison, he has his financial adviser donate a million dollars to a cancer charity.  Should the donation be refused?

I think the money should be taken.

But that's besides the point. If I'm understanding things correctly, this donation request wasn't for charity.  I think it was for the Labor Party.

That's a bit...wrong.   It doesn't seem right to speak out against a type of business, but then ask them for donations for your political party.

The article says,  Ms Roxon is accusing tobacco companies of deliberately leaking the information.
She says they are targeting her personally in an attempt to defeat the Government's proposed plain packaging laws. 

Roxon is probably correct. But as much as I don't like the tobacco companies, I can't blame them for leaking that information.    

It makes me wonder. If Phillip Morris had accepted the invitation and donated money to the Labor Party, would the government be working as hard to introduce the plain packaging?  It was way back in 2005, and they hadn't asked for a huge donation.    I doubt they would have felt obligated to kiss the ass of the tobacco company.  But what if the tobacco companies kept on making donations?    Would the Labor Party be strong enough to stick to their principles?

10 . Found an article that doesn't add to my dislike of the Labor Party.   

Joe Ludwig, the Agricultural Minister, is going to force Meat and Livestock Australia to pay five million dollars to the Aussie cows in limbo.  These are the cows that didn't have to go off to Indonesia.

He tried asking Meat and Livestock Australia to pay the money without being forced. They said no.  That makes me want to scream.

Meat and Livestock Australia were the ones who were supposed to be making sure foreign abattoirs were treating the animals okay.  They completely failed at their job, and are not showing any interest in making amends.

I find it easy to believe that they care nothing for the welfare of cattle and very little for the welfare of cattle farmers.

11. Read article that says recent polls show that only 34% of Australians are happy with Julia Gillard's performance.   However, 47% prefer her over Tony Abbott.  You know what that says to me?  The Labor Party might have a chance if they put someone else up as leader.  Who?  I don't know.  Or the Liberal Party could make a move by picking a new leader as well.

It seems both Gillard and Abbott aren't doing a good job of impressing people.

12. Read article that says the Dalai Lama didn't know Julia Gillard was a woman.  I would think someone, visiting the government of a country, would take a few minutes out of their time to do some brief background reading.  

Oh well.

The article says the Australia Tibet council wasn't pleased with the lack of meetings between Gillard and the Dalai Lama. They say, Strangely, the Prime Minister can find time to fly to Sydney to meet Oprah Winfrey and meets regularly with Chinese officials and heads of industry, yet cannot find 10 minutes to meet the Dalai Lama in Parliament House.

Yeah. That's an interesting point.

Really. Is Gillard that busy that she couldn't take 20 minutes out of her time for a meeting?

Tony Abbott met with the Dalai Lama. It's kind of hard to believe he did it for other reasons besides making himself look better than Gillard.

I'm probably being very unfair. 

I don't understand Gillard though. Sometimes it seems she WANTS to be very unpopular. Maybe she has one of those fears of success?    

13. Started reading Fruitcake's blog about racism in Australia.   It's a book published in blog form.   So far, it's pretty interesting.  I have a feeling I won't agree with everything she says.   But I think I'll agree with some stuff.   And it's definitely interesting to read.  I like Fruitcake's style of writing. It's easy to get through...not at all boring.   

14. Read very interesting article about the Indonesian response to the ban on live animal exports. While some Australian spokespeople (against the ban) are saying Indonesia NEEDS these animals so they can get their protein, the Agricultural Minister of Indonesia is saying something different. He says that Indonesian cattle farmers are enjoying the sudden lack of competition.   And they get butchered beef from other countries.  Butchered beef?  Really? I got the impression that Indonesians only wanted live cows so they could butcher them themselves. 

The Agricultural Minster says Indonesia has enough cows and meat.  After Ramadan, this status might change.  If needed then, they will get some more meat from New Zealand?   Live animals?   No.  According to the article, New Zealand ships only frozen meat.

Now maybe Indonesia is trying to save face here.  It could be like the kids who respond to, I'm not inviting you to my birthday party with, Well, I didn't really want to go in the first place.  In fact, I had plans to go to another party that's better than your party.  

But then again, why would Indonesia do that?   If they really needed these live animals, wouldn't they plead a bit more?  Wouldn't they appeal to the Australian public.  Please!  Please!  We need your animals to survive.   We need the protein.  We don't have refrigerators so please don't send us animals that are already dead.  We want to kill them ourselves.  

15. Searched for information to confirm that New Zealand no longer does the live export thing.  I found something on the PETA site.  They say the ban was put in place in 2007.  

16. Read article that says the Labor Party is now somewhat backing down from the Indonesia ban.   The party voted to release the ban when Indonesia abattoirs agreed to follow the less strict international standards of animal slaughter.     

I'm not sure what the less strict standards exclude except for the one thing the article mentions—stunning the animal before killing them.  

Lord Wiki says that in Kashrut and Halal law, stunning is not permitted.   The animals should be conscious at the point of death.  Why?   Is there any excuses for this besides what's written in the Torah and Koran?

I remember hearing claims from the Jewish community that kosher slaughter is more humane than other types.  But I've heard from animal rights groups that this is not true.

17. Disgusted after reading about slaughterhouses/abattoirs from Lord Wiki and this Orthodox Jewish website.  I'm very glad I'm vegetarian.  I usually feel conflicted about it, because my feelings have been everything dies, and the important thing is the animal has had a nice life.   So I felt it was somewhat meaningless to be vegetarian, if you weren't also vegan.  But from what I'm reading, there really is no easy way to be slaughtered.  Dying is one thing.  Having your artery severed is another. 

I'm sure there are less awful ways of dying.  Maybe stunning helps.  But does it help that much? Is it pain-free?  Stress-free?

Some claim the stunning prevents pain. Others claim that cutting the carotid artery prevents pain.   Does anyone know anything for sure?  

18. Looked at the RSPCA's view on kosher slaughter.   They're against it.    They say it's more distressing to the animals because of increased restraint, injury caused by the slaughter methods, and subsequent bleeding out.  

I guess the question is whether the animal really does go completely unconscious once the cut is made.  Does the pain end there?  And the other question is how much pain is caused when the cut is actually made.   Yes, it might be only a few seconds of pain.  But unbearable pain can make seconds feel like minutes.   

19. Read a response from a rabbi about kosher slaughter on Judaism.com.   He says Jews have tried to kill animals in the most humane way possible using knowledge from the science of the time period.  Based on new information, they've made some changes.    Some Jewish slaughterers are no longer using the hoist and shackling method. Instead they're using a pen.  

What if science shows that the most humane way to kill an animal is to stun them first?   Would the kosher slaughterers make adjustments?

I do like what the rabbi says here.  The ultimate question is whether it is possible to kill an animal without causing some pain and fear? Given the answer is not definitely positive, Judaism has endorsed vegetarianism - which does not require killing an animal - as a "higher" form of eating.

20. Read article from Islamic Halal magazine.  They give a whole different viewpoint, citing from a study done in Germany.    

The study used EKG readings.   According to the article, the animals felt no pain with their neck being cut.  The EKG readings for the stunning showed severe pain. 

Lord Wiki says that the German study indicated that there results were not conclusive, and more studies needed to be done.

Have more studies been done? 

21. Considered spending hours and hours more researching this, but I don't think I'm going to find anything conclusive.  And I need to get ready for our trip.  

I think the general answer is that no type of slaughter is ideal.  It's best not to slaughter animals, period.

If slitting the throat and stunning are pain free, why don't vets use those methods to euthanize are dogs and cats?  Why do human supporters of euthanasia hand out pill cocktails? Why don't they just slit each other's throat or destroy their brains with a stunning device? 

22. Cleaned out my backpack, and found an old package of barbecue flavored Shapes. I think we got them in London, at the Australia store. 

23. Found out my Australian of the day is Joseph Allport.   He was a solicitor from England. 

Joseph's parents ran a school for women.  Joseph ended up marrying one of the students.   That's kind of cute. I can kind of imagine a novel surrounding that type of story. 

When Joseph was around 30, he emigrated to Australia with his wife, son, two cousins, and two friends.   They found themselves a farm near Hobart. I guess they all shared it. But that didn't work out.   They realised the land couldn't support all of them.  It was decided that Joseph should go to Hobart and do the solicitor thing.  He had been a solicitor in England.  I wonder why he didn't immediately choose that path in Australia?

Maybe he hated being a solicitor, and that's why he wanted to escape to Australia in the first place.   I imagine him as being one of those career-changing people.  They decide they need something new and different.

I wonder if he was reluctant to go back to being a solicitor.   

Joseph joined a firm and did very well in his career.  He was very busy, but in his spare time he devoted interest to flowers.  He was into the whole gardening thing.

24. Went to Tallygarunga   

25. Decided to return to the story of Camryn Adiarte buying a wand from Fendareniel, the free elf.  

This story thread takes place in the Solvarnon Wandcraft shop which is located in the Murrigal Bushlands.  According to this page, the Murrigal Bushlands lie between Tallygarunga (the school) and Narragyambie, the town. 

26. Realised I'm not 100% sure where I left off last. I'm pretty sure I read at least one post from Camryn and one post from Fendareniel.   So I think I'll start with post #3. 

Camryn sees Fendareniel for the first time.  She's a bit shocked and scared because she's never seen an elf before.  But she recovers quickly, and is then polite. 

27. Liked that Fendareniel didn't take offense at Camryn's initial reaction.  He's understanding that this is the first time she's seen an elf and it's a bit shocking. 

I think this is very different from Reade's attitude toward the waiter at the burger restaurant.   He's much less tolerant than Fendareniel.  The thing is people do not always know how to react when they encounter something they've never encountered before.  This doesn't mean they're hateful or cruel.   It just means they're new to the situation, and therefore ignorant.  What really matters is how the person responds once they understand the situation.  If Camryn kept screaming, ran out of the store, and refused to do business with Fendareniel, then she wouldn't be that nice of a little girl.   If Reade wrote his food order on a piece of paper, showed it to the waiter, and the waiter continued to ask questions of Arti instead of Reade, then he would have been very rude.  Well, the exception would be if the waiter couldn't read.  Then I'd have to be understanding of him ignoring Reade's writing.   Although if Reade could admit to being mute, it would be nice in turn if the waiter could admit to not being able to read. It would be a fair exchange of confessions.

28. Learned that Camryn's dad likes Lord of the Ring movies.

29. Learned that before Camryn officially knew she was magic, she got angry and made her brothers hair grow longer.

30. Decided to organize my Tallygarunga experience.   I'm subscribing to various storylines.   Then it might be easier for me to keep track of things.  Hopefully.  I'm subscribing to stories I've already started reading, and a few new ones.   I came across something called A Little Hot Chocolate.   It's featuring a character named Benjamin Lawson. Unfortunately, Lawson's role-player is sick.  There's a message about it on the top of the page.  Hopefully, he or she feels better soon.  

No one has responded to the story yet.  Maybe they're waiting for Lawson's player to feel better.   I'm going to subscribe to the story, mainly because it involves chocolate.  Also, I read the first post; and I enjoyed it. 

I'm guessing Ben is gay because his dad invites him to bring a date, and asks if there's anyone handsome at work.  Handsome usually applies to men, right? 

31. Did a quick glance at Benjamin Lawson's biography to see if I'm right or not.

Yep.  He's gay.  

I love when parents are open-minded and accepting of their child being gay or transgender.   For me, it makes the world feel a lot less ugly.

32. Disturbed (greatly) by the fact that there's been no story threads in the Krowan Confectionary since August 2010.  That's ten months ago!    How could they let a candy store be neglected like this?   And the last time there was a storyline in the chocolate shop was March 2010.  

This is an atrocity!   If I ever bring my characters to Tallygarunga, they're going to be visiting the candy stores very frequently.  

33. Looked at profile form on Tallygarunga.   I ended up there because I'm trying to figure out how to easily get to my subscriptions.  I haven't found that. But I did find something exciting.   Where it says "Face Claim" it says it's not required.   If that's true, I'll be so happy.  That's the main thing stopping me from joining Tallygarunga as a character. 

34. Found my Tallygarunga subscriptions. Finally.  It took me forever.  I don't blame Tally. I blame myself.  Sometimes, I'm slow at figuring things out. 

35.  Saw from Statcounter that someone else thinks David Gulpilil is dead.  What's the deal with that?  

36. Read that Rupert Murdoch's Mum signed an open letter supporting the price on carbon.  She's on the same team on Cate Blanchett. I'm probably on that team too, although I understand how it might be a financial stress for some people.

Anyway, I know this is superficial but I think Mrs. Murdoch is beautiful. I like seeing pretty old ladies. It makes me feel better about getting older. 

37. Learned from Lord Wiki that Elisabeth Murdoch is 102 years-old.  Holy crap!   That's amazing.   I figured she was in her eighties. 

She looks good.  I mean in an old lady way, of course. She has a lot of wrinkles.