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Tuesday, October 17

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Airbags

The Chicago City Council used to be called the Gray Wolves. Now they're more like a squad of Aldernannies, and Ed Burke, once the most vicious wolf of all, has become Head Mistress.

It's cute, Burke's rebirth as Aldernanny extraordinaire, a kindly older gent who is so concerned with Chicagoans' health. He's softened with age, perhaps, or maybe as he moves into his twilight years, he's come to see just how precious life is.

Take for example the helmet law ordinance he proposed, requiring motorcycle riders in Chicago to wear helmets. This was in 2004. Not a bad start, considering some studies indicate up 60 percent of motorcycle accident victims listed a government program as the primary source of payment for their hospital costs. To you and I, wearing a helmet on your head when you're on a small, exposed, two-wheeled vehicle amongst many larger, enclosed, four-wheel vehicles may seem like the apogee of common sense, the lack of which should be punished by head trauma; still, if taxpayers are ultimately footing the bill for those costs, tell'em to wear a damn helmet.

As chair of the powerful Finance Committee in the City Council, Burke, who represents the South Side 14th Ward, is among the two or three most powerful men in the Council. Once a Daley nemesis, Burke has resigned himself to a go-along, get-along attitude and now often helps move the Mayor's agenda through the Council. He certainly helps move his own agenda through the Council, expertly wielding his position on Finance to crush or entice other aldermanic initiatives.

You know, like ethics initiatives. What time did Burke have to support ethics ordinances that would have forced more serious (like, any) financial disclosure requirements for aldermen when he was pushing an ordinance to make sure Chicago did not fall prey to the creeping menace of parasailing, an activity that is rapidly destroying the lives of so many inner city kids, especially in his Back of the Yards-centered ward?

Burke, one of the leaders of the Vrdolyak 29 during the Council Wars — indeed, one of the "Eddies" who ruthlessly whipped votes against then-Mayor Harold Washington in one of the most politically cynical episodes in the history of the country — has a soft spot in his heart for people's health. Burke, whose father died of lung cancer, is a vociferous opponent of smoke, whether it come from cigarettes or power plants; Burke lead the fight to clean up two South Side power plants, Crawford and Fisk, that have been shown to increase asthma rates and hospital visits on the near Southwest Side. But Burke has a softer spot for business, and to date has been unable to effect real reform at those plants.

But he has gone hard after those hookah joints. Burke, after being the primary mover of a smoking ordinance that has no doubt infuriated fashion-plate and chimney Alderman William Beavers (7th), has just recently introduced an ordinance to make sure that people can't eat or drink in a smoking lounge, despite the fact that a smoking lounge would, be definition, really only be inhabited by people who smoke (of whom I am no longer one).

Burke's new legislative tendencies — going after loud ice cream trucks and dogs that bark for more than 10 minutes — must be a pleasant surprise to bleeding hearts like Alderman Joe Moore (49th), a stand-up guy with a faltering ward and definitely to Alderman Burt "Czar of the Ordinance" Natarus, the cuddly alderman of the downtown 42nd Ward known more for his confounding malapropisms and general codgerliness than for anything else — as the mastermind behind diapers for fancy cab horses and rousting street performers, for example.

Banning foie gras. Come on. As Chicago government has gone from a strong council/weak executive model to a weak council/strong executive model, the least they could do is try to stir things up. Even if they don't want to cross the Mayor, as almost no aldermen do, certainly their concern for the taxpayer should pop up.

When Mayor Daley, who loves these scratch-my-belly-feel-good ordinances, reacts negatively, you know something's awry. Even the Mayor couldn't believe the Council was wasting its time on a foie gras ban, saying in the Sun-Times, "We have children getting killed by gang leaders and dope dealers. We have real issues here in this city. And we're dealing with foie gras? Let's get some priorities. Our priorities should be children, the quality of education. It should be seniors. We should worry about the gas price. We should worry about the global economy... I think we have four restaurants that serve foie gras."

Was Alderman Burke busy muzzling barking dogs on July 27th of 2005, when an ordinance was proposed to drop the lawsuit trying to null the Shakman Decrees, which put a stop on political hiring? From his throne atop the mighty Finance Committee, resplendent in gold, couldn't he have shown his concern for people then, including people like Northwest Side city worker Frank Coconate, whose family and livelihood are under threat because of an alleged political firing? Burke voted against this measure.

Ald. Burke, who has also come under fire for the myriad apparent conflicts-of-interest his private, lucrative law firm is involved in — including being co-counsel on a federal case representing the Chicago City Council Finance Committee — may have missed his calling. He should've been a chef.

You see, now Alderman Burke wants to go after the fatty oils used to fry French fries. I agree that Chicagoans, perhaps Americans in general, are too fat. I think our lifestyles and consumer culture, which have commodified food to the point where eating is just an annoyance in our lives, is a big part of that.

But dammit, I don't want Alderman Ed Burke to do a damn thing about that. I don't want anybody on the City Council to do anything about it, not yet. Not while even loyal aldermen, like Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), feel the need to plead for fair housing in Chicago, pointing out to the Mayor that "there are people on your own staff who were hard pressed to find housing they can afford."

I want the City Council to make Chicago work for our families. I want the City Council to go after the lifestyles that push kids into the largest gang network in America, not the lifestyles that push kids to get their Italian beefs dipped. How about patching up streets in all of our neighborhoods? That'd be a nice start. How about using some of his vaunted Finance Committee muscle to get real property tax reform in school funding, rather than just the property tax "reform" he gets the high-profile clients of his law firm? When Alderman Burke is catching the vapors because a Venezuelan subsidiary has some relationship to voting machines used in Chicago, a good number of the residents of his ward are faced with debilitating energy costs because Chicago and Illinois continue their sweetheart deals with the big energy concerns. I like a strong alderman, I prefer one who runs his or her ward well, meeting constituent needs, keeping things clean, and balancing development. That's leadership. Slapping hands that reach for that last cookie, leave that to the mommies.
GB store

Comments

waleeta / June 21, 2006 1:43 PM

What's wrong with foie gras? Other than its gross-ness.

dandelion / June 22, 2006 12:44 AM

waleeta,
foie gras is such an inherently cruel practice that other states and countries are now starting to also ban it.

couloir / June 22, 2006 10:24 AM

Isn’t it hypocritical to be for one form of might-makes-right (foie gras production) and against another form of might-makes-right (gang problems)? It’s all the same…the law of the jungle is the law of the jungle regardless of what individual or group (i.e., sex, race, ethic group, species) is being exploited, dominated, tortured, or killed. If we lived in a society peaceful enough to prohibit torture and slaughter billions of animals annually (i.e., a vegan society), we’d also live in a society without gang problems and drug dealers, or at least with those problems significantly diminished.

dandelion / June 22, 2006 10:46 AM

I agree couloir.
Note: Daley isn't saying he thinks foie gras is great he's saying it's a lower priority. But that's one down now anyway. Why detract from any positive step forward? It may not be important to him but it's important to alot of his citizens AND of course the geese who are suffering such cruelties and can't speak for themselves. If anything i think it adds some awareness to the problems around us. Compassion breeds compassion and we could sure use any we can get. Joe Moore is a pioneer, expect to see more. (pun, get it? heh)

hmmmmmno / June 22, 2006 11:06 AM

Yes, I'm sure the dealers and prostitutes on Morse will close up shop now that Joe Moore has used his time and energy to ban a handful of Chicago restaurants from serving foie gras. It's all about priorities. Joe Moore should know better than to seek publicity by banning a food few if any of his constituents eat.

couloir / June 22, 2006 11:34 AM

No harm, no foul. No fowl, no harm. Go Joe.

Waleeta / June 22, 2006 1:27 PM

I'm sorry, what was that about the geese Dandelion? I was distracted, reading about war ravaged children in the Congo, drug and gang problems in American inner cities, AIDS epidemic in Africa, child sex-trade in South Asia, and soldiers and civilians dying in Iraq...

Come again about the geese?

couloir / June 22, 2006 1:37 PM

Waleeta, you’re a saint for reading about all of the world’s many problems. Why don’t you do what you can to reduce the torture and death of 10 billion animals in the US annually and go vegan? It’s easy! All you have to do is learn about the alternatives (get a vegetarian starter kit at www.tryveg.org) and choose differently at the store. It’s excellent for your health and you don’t have to contribute to our very own Holocaust in modern day US of A!

The point: we may not be able to stop other people’s horrid behavior in our cities and around the world, but we can do something about our own contributions to misery.

Waleeta / June 22, 2006 1:44 PM

LOL

I'd rather eat a burger and do what I do to make the world better for people.

Thanks for the advice though - stay vegan!!

couloir / June 22, 2006 2:50 PM

That’s a cop out, Waleeta.

If I thought like you, I’d say screw the poor, women, and minorities; I’ll just do what I can for white males with good jobs. Same exact mentality. It’s a might-makes-right worldview and animals are a moral blind spot for our society, just like slavery was a blind spot for thousands of years prior to the past 200 years.

Next time you’re eating that animal, think of the misery of which you spare yourself the sight.

Meanwhile, I will stay vegan and help people as much as you. Why? Because being vegan doesn't detract from helping people. If anything, it helps people more.

dandelion / June 22, 2006 3:06 PM

sorry for the doublepost, i originally thought my comment was eaten.
cheers.

Bessy / June 22, 2006 3:09 PM

...but think about the poor innocent vegetables you are torturing!!!!

wleeta / June 22, 2006 3:43 PM

Hey C -

You're right, it's not mutualy exclusive to do both, so go ahead. Animal rights is fine, do your thing. But if it takes killing animals to feed hungry people...:-) Besides, I was a vegetarian for 5 years. Never again!

And "Holocaust"...? Come on. Let't not compare ethnic cleansing of people to eating animals.

wleeta / June 22, 2006 3:45 PM

Hey C -

You're right, it's not mutualy exclusive to do both, so go ahead. Animal rights is fine, do your thing. But if it takes killing animals to feed hungry people...:-) Besides, I was a vegetarian for 5 years. Never again!

And "Holocaust"...? Come on. Let't not compare ethnic cleansing of people to eating animals.

couloir / June 22, 2006 4:00 PM

Waleeta,

That’s the whole point – it doesn’t take killing animals to feed hungry humans. In fact, more people go hungry because of meat-eaters. Why? The animals eat 2 to 13 times the amount of food, which if fed directly to humans, would produce a huge abundance of food for the hungry. Animals consume many times more protein than they supply to humans who eat meat.

So, meat-eating also contributes to world hunger, pollutes the environment (with animal waste runoff and methane), and kills people (heart disease, cancer, diabetes).

And why not compare ethnic cleansing with eating animals in our society? It’s the ethical child of the same parent – egoism and might-makes-right – and it’s horrifically painful and torturous. It’s also widely accepted by a large group of people who are blind to the harm they ignore. Sounds like a perfect comparison.

waleeta / June 22, 2006 4:16 PM

There is currently enough food on the planet to feed the entire world 3 times over - this includes animals. The problem isn't "shortage because animals take up space and eat it all", it is access and global policy priorities. As for "animal waste" and "eating 2-3 times" the amount of food that human would otherwise eat - sounds like we need contain the animal population.

Is our society so bored and elitist that this much time is spent worrying about cows and geese livers? If you habe the stomach to look poverty in the eye and say "eat vegetables!" when all they're surrounded by is un-aerable land and desert, be my guest.

couloir / June 22, 2006 4:44 PM

It’s much easier, less wasteful (meat spoils quickly in the desert heat), and more cost effective to transport plant-based food to areas of the world without an adequate growing season. Feeding humans animals in such areas is even more stupid than feeding humans other animals in lush areas.

So, I’d be glad to offer plant-based food to hungry people and they’d be glad to get it. Your remarks about them not wanting plant-based food are clearly from someone who has never been hungry enough to be glad to eat, period.

I agree with you that we shouldn’t waste time arguing the obvious point. We should just all go vegan. It’s plainly clear that meat-eating contributes to unnecessary and extreme cruelty, environmental pollution, and world hunger. There’s only a couple of self-centered reasons for eating it: bad habit and trivial preference. Both of those ego-centered reasons are easy to overcome after a little effort. Next thing you know, you’ll be disgusted with the very thing you used to prefer, or even crave.

wleeta / June 22, 2006 4:50 PM

Veggies don't spoil in heat?

Again, it is global policy priorities, and access, not eating animals that create the problem. Leave the world be and be vegan. No one is imposing meat-eating on you, don't impose veganism on the world.

couloir / June 22, 2006 5:08 PM

Veggies last many times as long as meat in the heat. Lay some broccoli and meat out for a few days outside in the summer heat and tell me which one you'd prefer - the still-fresh greens or the stentch of death?

I'm not forcing anyone to do anything. I'm just making you think more about this than you feel like it.

Again, think occasionally about the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. Develop compassion and start caring. It's good for your health, too.

dandelion / June 22, 2006 6:56 PM

Waleeta,
It's easy to become distracted by all the world's problems feeling hopeless to do anything about it. Don't let that get you down and force you into despair or apathy. There's something that you can do every day at every meal to reduce suffering in the world. On top of that you can still contribute to solutions for the problems that plague us without compromising the difference you make. It's a win-win situation. Making the world a better place for people does not mean it needs to be a worse place for animals, nor is it an either/or choice. In fact veganism is good for people in so many ways. From the environmental concerns of animal agriculture to the human rights abuse happening in slaughterhouses. Human Rights Watch called it "the most dangerous factory job in America,"...

dandelion / June 22, 2006 6:56 PM

cont...

I'll join you with that burger. Burgers are one of my favorite things to eat. It's easy to find vegan versions of all animal based foods that sacrifice neither taste nor animal.

Thanks for the inquiry of foie gras though. Many people are still unaware of the realities of factory farming.
Rock out.

dandelion / June 22, 2006 7:01 PM

ps- imposing is the exact thing we're trying to combat here. Forcing animals to suffer and die for simply a preference is quite an imposition. Would you say the smoking ban is an example of non-smokers imposing upon smokers?

Lordy / June 22, 2006 11:26 PM

Pardon me for interrupting, but exactly what does your vegan agenda have to do with Chicago politics? You surely can't be saying that banning foie gras is somehow helping reduce crime and find people jobs.

"I'm not forcing anyone to do anything. I'm just making you think more about this than you feel like it."

No, you've hijacked the comments on a column about City Council politics to champion a point of view that has bare tangential relation to the topic of the column to be discussed. Shut up about your precious veggies and address the issues at hand.

And Waleeta, quit arguing with the militant vegans. You're never going to win, because they're not listening.

couloir / June 23, 2006 9:28 AM

Perhaps if Mr. Carnahan hadn’t dismissed the foie gras ban so flippantly, thus inviting “militant” (LOL @ militant) vegans to speak up for the ban and animals in general, you could have your precious discussion about Chicago’s crime and politics. As it was, I was perfectly content to let it rest on my first or second post, but Waleeta had to be equally flippant and offer up bullsh*t reasons why we should dismiss animals as no more important than rocks and trees.

And now, lordy lordy, we’ve got another one who “doesn’t want to hear about the animals being tortured” throwing gas on the fire. LMAO! Why don’t you set an example for us all, lordy, and stuff a sock in your cake hole?

Greg / June 23, 2006 9:31 AM

I'm with Lordy on this one. What exactly would going vegan do to reduce gang membership and drug dealing? I really doubt that Chicagoans are selling smack because they eat too much red meat.

a / June 23, 2006 9:58 AM

um. i don't think waleeta said animals were no more important than rocks and trees. i think she said-- and i'm paraphrasing-- stopping the world from eating chickens is less important than addressing the problems of world hunger, aids, gang violence, child sex trade, etc. and that-- incidentally-- is true.
and it's insane to act like eating a vegan diet means you're doing anything to address any significant world problem other than make yourself feel good.
which isn't to say you shouldn't make yourself feel good by eating whatever the fck you want... but your minor lifestyle choice is just that. a minor, insignificant lifestyle choice.

couloir / June 23, 2006 10:02 AM

Greg,

There is a crime theory that NYC swears by. It’s called the Broken Window theory. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows . Basically, NYC reduced its crime by a surprising amount merely by stopping “squeegee men”, subway fare dodging, cleaning graffiti, public drinking, and fixing broken windows, among other “small” things.

Some may consider it a stretch to say that the horrific violence done to animals that we intentionally ignore actually contributes to the violence-mentality in our society, but if you think about it carefully, it may not be so far fetched. After all, if we care enough about animals to treat them decently, that caring and compassion may well influence the way we look at other people. Like Dandelion said, compassion breeds compassion. Expanding compassion to all beings as a general societal attitude is very likely to cause more compassion toward to poor; more compassion toward the poor is likely to bring about more relief for them; and more relief for them, including educational opportunities, is likely to reduce crime.

It may sound trite, but violence breeds violence and compassion breeds compassion. If we treat animals better (the foie gras ban, etc.), maybe in the long run we’ll treat each other better.

b / June 23, 2006 10:12 AM

but wouldn't it be easier to just treat humans better? that would definately lead to humans beging treated better... whereas treating animals better may or may not lead to improved conidtions for humans.

couloir / June 23, 2006 10:19 AM

B,

Are they mutually exclusive? No. If you generally can’t make heads or tails of my last post, there’s not much more I can say.


BTW, don’t you guys think that if a reporter and a few others started laughing off issues like civil rights, women’s advancement, and equal opportunity for gays in a crime piece that you might attract some irritated members of those groups to derail a discussion about crime? Animal advocates are like anyone else: if you don’t rattle their cage, they usually won’t rattle yours.

Some advice (if I may be so bold): if you want animal advocates to STFU, don’t urinate on their cause by dismissing it as trivial. If the foie gras ban doesn’t make a difference to crime, why would Mr. Carnahan mention it in the first place?

Richard F Carnahan / June 23, 2006 2:52 PM

Readers,

Don't use "LOL" in comments to my column.

Otherwise, carry on your mildly batshit debate about carrots or whatever.

Kevin / June 23, 2006 3:16 PM

I'm glad we are quoting the wiki now...lord knows its the authorative source on everything...if plants are the way to go then what about the carnivorous plants?

Everytime I hear militant vegans spouting their self appointed cr*p I want to round them all up and put them in a field of triffids. At the very least you'd make some rather nice fertilizer.

Really I'd much rather the Alderman take care of thier wards. Between the parking situation, drugs, rapes, gangs, litter, the CTA and all the other problems we have, lets get off on a totally irrelevant topic.

Oh, wait didn't Bush just do that by proposing a gay marriage ban. Just another Red Herring thrown into the mix...oh, wait again, fish are meat too...argh. I just can't win. I might as well curl up and eat my tofu.


couloir / June 23, 2006 4:51 PM

L*L @ RFC.

And, by golly, thanks for the permission to discuss a stupid paragraph about foie gras your mildly batshit column. :D

(Okay, I suppose the mods can ban my disrespectful vegan ass now.)

Keep us posted on Chicago’s problems too! You’ve got about as much of a chance of eliminating those problems as I have turning the world vegan. Humans haven’t even evolved enough to stop killing over 10 billion animals annually in the US without a thought, and as long as that’s the case, they’ll always be killin’ kids, smokin’ rock, starving to death, and doing the genocide thing.

I suppose asking the anti-animal crowd here to go vegan is a little like politely asking gang members and crack dealers to stop killing and dealing. They’re just not at that level yet and will just dismiss your naïve comments as mild batshit. Got it.

Bastian / June 23, 2006 6:46 PM

@Kevin - If the best rhetorical techniques you can find for opposing a foie gras ban come down to threatening/joking about violence toward vegans and giving a laundry list of other issues, I'd suggest you spend some more time thinking about the issue.

If you agree that force-feeding ducks and geese, often until their livers burst, for the sake of a trite luxury is bad, I don't see what your problem with this ban is. If you don't agree that it's bad, I'd like to hear an actual explanation of why you think it's OK.

If you're really so concerned about Chicago's other problems that you feel that the time involved in producing this foie gras ban was a huge waste and is making Chicago's problems worse, by all means, continue to share your opinion, but also get out and do something. It's better to light one candle than curse the darkness. I cook at a soup kitchen sometimes - not often enough, but sometimes. Maybe I'm being presumptuous, maybe you already are involved, but if you aren't I could certainly do some leg work and try to get you in contact with people who need a hand. I'm not sure most the problems you listed can be legislated out of existence, anyway. (Certainly not while Daley's in the mayor's chair continuting to make life hard for halfway houses and such.)

Kevin / June 26, 2006 9:50 AM

Bastian:

Really, on my scale of things to care about since I can't bear the entire weight of the worlds problems on my shoulders, geese are just not even making the top 10,000.

I do try to help. I volunteer with some local groups who try to help people. I donate money when I can, where I think it will do the most good.

I try to be a better consumer, I recycle for what its worth in the Chicagoland area, I bring my grocery bags with me instead of paper or plastic.

Like the alderman, if the vegan nazis spent all that effort on things that really mattered in the grand sceme of things, the would be a different and hopefully better place. I'm more of a pragmatist. I want my streets to be pothole free, I want the CTA to run on time, be clean. I want the cops to ticket people who park or stand in bus stops. I want to be able to park my motorcyle on the street without worrying about a parking ticket. I don't have a car, I use public transportation for the most part.


If you really want to make a difference I'd suggest spending less time promoting the "vegan agenda" and more time realizing that you just make people angry by trying to make them feel bad about what they eat.

I'm a proud omnivore. I am a proud member of P.E.T.A. (People Eating Tasty Animals) and the thought of a nice juicy steak just gets those salivary glands in overdrive. Somehow a nice Salad just doesn't do the same.

I see you volunteer at a soup kitchen...I just hope there isn't any meat in that soup or does that make you a hypocrite?

I really never understood this whole people over animals thing. Really, if its a choice between and animal or a person, there really is no choice. Its the people that count.

Daley is not the one making trouble for the halfway houses. Its the people around them that are making the trouble...and sometimes it's actually for good reason. No one wants to have people urinating and tearing up around where they live. Its nothing to do with the place, but just with downright unacceptable behavior whereever you are. Its not ok to piss on the sidewak, nor is it ok to do the same thing on a CTA platform or train.....

I acutally had a chance to take a 36 broadway bus a couple weeks ago home later in the evening when it was raining. I actually had to get off the bus. It had essentially been turned into a rolling homeless shelter. There were at least 8 homeless people on the bus with all their posessions. The phsycial stink was so bad that people were leaving the bus including me. I've been down and out myself several times during my life, but still managed to keep myself reasonably clean and did not presume that the public transit system was my urinal or homeless shelter.


It's about using the available resources to fix your problems and like the man said we have a new breed of "aldernannies" more concerned about things that should be nowhere near the top of any priority list of any man of good conscience.

Kevin

couloir / June 26, 2006 10:37 AM

Kevin,

Judging only by what you wrote, you sound like a typical future vegan to me. If someone had asked me 10 years ago what I thought about going vegan, I would have laughed and said it was impossible – no way I could even go part-time vegetarian much less vegan.

I can’t really say what made me open up to the idea that maybe I had a lot to learn about the issue, but open up to the idea I did. I learned about the mind-numbing number of animals that go through our factory farms and slaughterhouses along with the gruesome details that make it an unimaginable horror show (see www.factoryfarming.com for more info). I also learned about a world of food that I knew nothing about, but is just as tasty and more healthy than the animal-based counterparts.

I’ll just say this to you and to anyone who hasn’t seriously researched the issue and tried the many alternatives: read some of the better books on the topic, in both vegan options and health and in moral theory. One of two things will happen as a result: 1) you’ll agree and try going vegan, or 2) you’ll disagree, but you’ll have better reasons for disagreeing than you do now.

Finally, this is the third time I’ve said it in this comment section, but it bears repeating again: being vegan and doing things to help people is not mutually exclusive, not is it a matter of priorities, anymore than recycling grocery bags is mutually exclusive or a matter of priorities.

dandelion / June 26, 2006 12:52 PM

I think Alderman Joe Moore has alotta guts to champion the foie gras ban. Judging by reactions here alone can you imagine how he might have been scoffed at by abuncha his hardened peer public servants?!

How about Alderman Mary Ann Smith who also championed the Elephant Protection Ordinance? Are these the actions of aldermen who are looking for easy "scratch-my-belly-feel-good ordinances" that don't cross the mayor? I don't think so.

These issues may not be important to some of you but they are for us, and there are more of us than you think. Our aldermen are listening. Anytime peace and compassion can be promoted is never time wasted imho.

Kevin / June 26, 2006 2:44 PM

I think Alderman Moore has a lotta something....free time on his hands. Time that he is not spending on solving the bigger problems. I don't see him sponsoring "fix the CTA" ordinance. Now thats something I'd give him credit for and would show that his liver, err heart is in the right place.

Its so easy to "save the elephants" and I'm sure that Alderman Smith did it out of the goodness of her heart or was it a "see what I did for the elephants-vote for me " moment.

Again, big picture is this is fluff politics. This is "kiss the baby legistation"... like someone is actually going to come out against protecting Elephants? In the grand scheme of things did it really do anything? I've always wonder if you PETA loving folks thought that people in the zoos actually think that the zoo staff want the animals to die? I knew someone whos heart almost broke when one of the animals in her care died. Do you think she wanted that to happen?


I've got a good idea...how about a "protect the people" ordinance? God knows its time for one of those.

SAVE THE PEOPLE!

couloir / June 26, 2006 3:10 PM

What is wrong with the foie gras ban, Kevin? How is it preventing or detracting from other improvements to the city? I never heard you or anyone say exactly what is wrong with the foie gras ban. I think I know why, too. Because there is nothing wrong with the foie gras ban. The ban harms absolutely nobody, helps reduce suffering, and brings public attention to the cruelty inflicted on others.

dandelion / June 26, 2006 4:19 PM

couloir,
we've been accused of "not listening" after addressing every concern and here we are repeating ourselves that these ordinances do not detract, hinder or are mutually exclusive. i agree that Kevin is a future vegan candidate. :)

Kevin,
You'd be surprised to find actually there is alotta opposition to the Elephant Protection Ordinance. I think now i see what's happening here. People aren't really educated on these issues and are assuming they're "fluff" because perhaps knowing any more might make them uncomfortable.

'Who cares about these insignificant geese?! We need cheaper gas damnit!' Um how about NO gas?! Crazy idea eh? Or is such an ordinance gonna get me labeled a militant enviro-hippie terrorist who's a hypocrite for riding a bike with a plastic reflector?

Also actually alotta vegans are also human right / local / environmental activists. I'd say veganism is a gateway issue that brings people to empathize with fellow humans more. It astounds me that this myth is still perpetuated. Animals are voiceless and under the care of humans which is why they require protection. Protect the people ordinances are being worked on all the time. (ex. smoking ban) I totally support ordinances to save the people.

I swear i've been trying to keep this on topic.

Richard F Carnahan / June 26, 2006 4:25 PM

No you haven't. You're a moron.

Aldermen: focus on issues that effect human Chicagoans. That is why 99.99999999% of the people who voted for you voted for you. There are likely only a few thousand vegans in Chicago, tops. There are millions of people who need your help and attention. If you spent more than 0.00000001% of your time on the foie gras ordinance, you are failing your duty to your constituents.

couloir / June 26, 2006 4:55 PM

No, dandelion is a pretty smart guy. Perhaps you, RFC, are the moron, at least from your perspective, for bitching about the foie gras ban in your column and thereby generating a huge discussion (by Gapers Block standards) about how we treat animals in our society. And you know what? Your anti-animal readers are just as much to blame for this being supposedly off-topic. As long as they want to offer every thoughtless objection and non-objection to animal rights in general, I’ll keep taking about it until the cows and geese are left alone or until you or one of your friends disable my participation here (in which case I’ll have a good laugh).

Anyway, I just want to thank you and the other folks commenting in this thread for helping to promote a discussion on animal treatment and going vegan. Please mention animals in your column again sometime so we can have another discussion like this one.

dandelion / June 26, 2006 4:55 PM

aww man, name calling again?

i do think ordinances based upon compassion AFFECT humans more than you would care to admit.

Like Mahatma Gandhi said:
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

dandelion / June 26, 2006 5:05 PM

couloir,
thanks for stickin' up for me. no worries, i've been called worse. somebody will probably come along and tell me to "get a job" soon enough. :)

oh wait umm...ALDERMAN ARES LAMORZ AND NEED TO FIX MY PROBLEMS :madface:... etcetera...

Richard F Carnahan / June 26, 2006 5:16 PM

No, none of what you said is the case. You're a moron.

The issue here is that an overwhelming percentage, which is to say a nearly unanimous majority, of Chicagoans don't care about the foie gras issue, much less elect their aldermen to tackle such issues.

Contrarily, they elect them to address a variety of more pressing issues such as development, housing, quality of life, taxes, etcetera, etcetera. No matter what you say, almost no Chicagoans care about the foie gras ban. The percentage of voters who care about it as an issue would likely be within the margin of error.

Therefore, the opinion that it is in fact a very pressing issue is your and not shared by Chicagoans. Of course, to your mind, what you think matters trumps what the aldermens' actual constituents think matters. But that's because you've appointed yourself as some hyper-enlightened being who knows whats good for all the masses of mudpeople out there too ignorant to subsist on a diet of bee pollen or whatever.

Chicagoans don't care about this issue. They don't elect their aldermen to address this issue. The amount of time dedicated to it, therefore, is not rightly justifiable.

But perhaps I should defer to you, oh my saviour, who is so wise when telling me and my fellow Chicagoans what issued SHOULD matter to us.

Lets say that the total manhours spent by Aldermanic staff in drafting, debating, and moving this legislation was 200 hours, in the aggregate (e.g., for all aldermen involved). Those are 200 hours that could have been spent working on legislation that constituents actually care about. That is what we mean when we say "wasted time."

couloir / June 26, 2006 6:05 PM

RFC,

Have you taken a poll about whether Chicagoans are for or against the ban? I think most are probably for it, even though they’re not vegan or vegetarian. Most people are against obvious, egregious cruelty, especially for something as stupid and trivial as foie gras. So, the aldermen are doing something in this regard that most Chicagoans are for. It also makes Chicago look good to the rest of the country, potentially increasing visitors to the city and therefore, city revenue.

Unless the foie gras ban was debated at length, it’s doubtful that it took 200 hours to draft and pass it, even in the aggregate. If it was debated for hours, then apparently it is a hot political topic that is cared about by more constituents than you think. The nation seems to care about it quite a bit more than you do. I’ve seen a few articles about Chicago’s ban in the NY Times and LA Times. Philadelphia is currently considering a ban on it. Other cities may follow Chicago’s progressive lead.

I think you’re a little wrapped up in your own personal view of what’s important and that legal protections for animals are an up and coming issue, not only in Chicago, but throughout the US. Granted, I doubt I’ll live to see the day when animals are protected as much as they deserve to be, but issues like this evolve over time, just like the abolition of slavery, which most people thought would never happen about 200 years ago in American history.

BTW, thanks for the sarcastic compliments. I’m sure there were a few southern abolitionists back in 1820 who heard the same kind of stuff. I do get a certain satisfaction out of being at least a couple of decades ahead of my time in ethical thought.

Richard F Carnahan / June 26, 2006 6:13 PM

Oh, please please keep up with comments like these:

"I’m sure there were a few southern abolitionists back in 1820 who heard the same kind of stuff. I do get a certain satisfaction out of being at least a couple of decades ahead of my time in ethical thought."

They're really endearing you to people, I'm sure. You are exactly like William Lloyd Garrison.

couloir / June 26, 2006 6:28 PM

You’re right. Regardless of whether wide-spread animal protection comes to pass in the next 100 years or so, comments like that don’t win people over. My bad. That’s about the first legitimate point you’ve scored in this comment section.

We’ve made our points and if all you can say is “you’re a moron” and complain that this discussion is not what your column is about, then I’d say we’ve come out pretty victorious here. I’d encourage anyone who considers themselves remotely compassionate toward animals or even interested in a healthier way of life to read from the beginning. There are a lot of good links and information.

Thanks RFC and please do write some more about foie gras and animals.

Richard F Carnahan / June 26, 2006 7:10 PM

Oh please. Your effort to bait me into a pissing contest won't work. You "emerged victorious"? Are you serious? What are you, a Centurion?

I have not polled Chicagoans. But if asked to list their top ten priorities when voting for Alderman, how many Chicagoans would you postulate would put "cruelty to animals" in there? And not if you polled your friends at the Bikram Yoga class you take. Think Bungalow Belt.

Our City Council has very serious issues to solve. Housing, poverty, crime that kills little kids; public schools that perpetuate a lopsided economic class system. How many hours were spent working on a ban of geese liver?

A piece of legislation has to be properly researched, drafted, and then sent to a committee, where other staffers read it, and offer suggestions. There have to be hearings, witnesses called, new drafts produced. Committee votes. In this case, restaurants resisted the regulation, some for purely ideological reasons.

The legislation was debated before committee and then on the floor of the Council.

All told, I would not be surprised if over several dozens, if not more, hours were spent by staffers and aldermen on this piece of legislation. Now proper regulations with the proper agency have to be put into place.

Time is money, especially in government. Given that this issue would not appear anywhere on the radar screen of the vast, vast majority of Chicagoans as being of any importance, those are hours wasted.

I don't see how you can possibly dispute that, except by arguing that you have a higher moral and ethical consciousness that is more important than those of most Chicagoans; in other words, you are in the vanguard of public policy, a morally superior creature, and given your heightened clarity you deem meanness to geese to be a very important issue, whether Chicagoans like it or not.

The only way you are even remotely correct in all of your assertions here is if we accept this superiority of yours as a premise.

I do not accept it. I think you're just a monomaniacal elitest with no conception of the wideness of the world and depth of its problems.

Therefore, your arguments fall flat: simply stated, the people who give the aldermen their power by electing them do not place importance to any significant degree, in this issue. Therefore, time spent on it is essentially time wasted.

Regardless of your higher consciousness, mahatma.

couloir / June 26, 2006 7:46 PM

RFC,

Why don’t you face up to the fact that the ban made Chicago and our society less cruel – the kind of cruelty that is extreme and completely unnecessary? The ban also made national news, generating a good discussion on animal welfare that this country desperately needs. Whether you like it or not, other places are considering such bans and think it far more important than you do.

Also, how many times do I have to say that this ban does NOTHING to hurt other problems and issues? It is only because of your callousness and those outspoken against the ban that it is even an issue at all. Quit trying to place yourself in the position of the average person. The average person cares about cruelty a hell of a lot more than you do. You are unusually callous – not in the norm at all.

The argument we’ve presented here has nothing to do with me. Since you can’t dispute the argument that animals suffer horrifically in our factory farms and that we should care, you just attack me personally. It’s so typical of anti-animal rhetoric to attack the person without addressing the issue they’re bringing up. So, do you know anything about factory farms? Do you think factory farms are a-okay? Do you think we should slaughter animals by the billions annually with or without regard to their welfare? Or do you think animals are worth no more than rocks and trees? Why? Have you ever even thought about these issues? Why doesn’t animal torture matter AT ALL to you? Are you THAT callous!!

Sure, there are lots of problems in the world and you know what? There is no government body that will ever legislate them away. The best we can do is to examine our own thoughts and behavior and stick up for justice and compassion where ever it is needed and for whomever is the victim of its lack, including animals.

ALL I’m trying to do here is alert people to an issue that if they gave a little more consideration to, they might care deeply about. I know it might be a lot to ask considering the way the world is, but it is something that people can make a personal choice about (unlike Chicago politics except for when they vote), and that is why it is so important to inform. It does NOT take anything away from other equally important issues.

J / June 26, 2006 8:37 PM

A simple google search told me that Zogby international did a poll and said that 79% of "likely voters" were for the ban of fois gras in Illinois. Richard, you seem to think it's the opposite - in all sincerity - am I missing something?
At any rate, there is no way I'll believe that 80% of Chicago would go so far as to actively participate in making sure a ban on fois gras is passed. Still, I think an alderman can assume that the amount of time it takes to pass said ban doesn't bother a whole lot of voters.
Another search told me that in New York state a 16-page petition was produced in an effort to get a ban going. I think it's safe to say that this is a hot topic in the animal rights community. If these animal rights activists are working that hard - signing petitions, protesting in front of restaurants, and probably calling up their local officials to let them know how to keep their vote - why are we not doing the same thing? Animal rights activists are doing a really good job at making this seem like a big deal. I think it's logical to be pissed at aldermen wasting their time, but what about the rest of us? For all we know - vegans have been banging down their doors for a while. Why arent' the rest of us banging down doors in protest of time-wasting? Maybe we are - did anyone here called their alderman back in April to bitch about the stupidity of this bill?

wleeta / June 26, 2006 8:45 PM

Are you guys still talking about this?

You're right Couloir, this DID bring the issue a lot of attention. Actually, it made me so hungry, I actually bought foie gras for the first time this morning from a specialty store just to see what the big effin' deal was. I plan on serving at my World Cup Party - that sh*t is gooooooooood!!!!

Naw I'm just kidding. But you keep going on & on how it's not mutually exclusive to care about animals AND people, and you're right. Our aldermen can CARE about both. They should spend time on ONLY one......people, that is. That's why Chicago aldermen worrying about geese is perfectly legitimate domain for criticism. Animal cruelty is not as important as any other issue facing inner cities.
You're a bored, self-important elitist who has this ridiculous idea that the "average person" cares about animal cruelty. But the average person is not, contrary to your belief, an upper-income, white suburban or urban pseudo-intellectual or wanna be hipster who is so morally and ethnically lazy that instead of doing anything constructive with their time on earth they go "vegan" in hopes people will think they have a social conscience.

People may think about animal cruelty, sure - but priority? No, not in the least. It has made our society look ridiculous, and yes, MORE cruel - as we dare put time spent on saving geese more important than improving the state of our schools, facing gang and drug problems, making housing and food more affordable, protecting jobs, etc.

So go play "compassionate world lover" in your fantasy world and leave prioritizing world problems to people who eat meat and therefore likely have more brain mass.

Richard F Carnahan / June 26, 2006 9:55 PM

You know what, J, your argument is seductive but wrong-headed.

80% of Chicagoans supporting a ban does not speak to my argument at all, which was that working to ban foie gras--a bill that faced opposition, mind you--is not a priority when we have other pressing problems.

If we lived in, say, Ashland, Oregon, I would have no problem with our aldermen banning foie gras. It does seem like a cruel practice.

But recall what my argument was: that almost no Chicagoans would place animal cruelty, or any tangential issue, in their list of top ten issues on their mind when they elect their alderman .

This is an important distinction: a "simple google search," to use your condescending phrase, would also indicate to you that nearly as many Americans (roughly 70% or so) support stricter environmental regulations.

Does our government reflect this number? Hardly. Quite the opposite in fact. Why? Because Americans don't care about the environment when they vote. Thus, our government doesn't care about the environment when they legislate.

Our City Council is not our moral guardian. They are not our nannies, who teach us how to behave. They are an expression of the will of their constituents. And their constituents don't care about this issue. They just don't. Maybe when asked, "Do you think the city should ban this cruel practice," they'll answer, "yeah, sure." But that hardly counters my argument; to do that, the question would be: "Should the City Council spend between 1 and 100 hours on legislation to alleviate the regressive tax code, or banning foie gras?" What do you think the tilt would be? I'm guessing about 99% to 1% in favor of tax code.

This wasn't one of those, "Ald. Smith wants to congratulate the kids softball team, all in favor say yay," ordinances. This was fought over and debated.

The fact is, Ald. Moore made foie gras an issue--his support of a ban, wherever he got the idea, is what put it in people's consciousness.

What, do you think Zogby did that poll because he randomly polls major cities on their feelings about goose liver? Of course not.

Besides, the thrust of this column, lest we forget, was not just the foie gras ban, but a number of ordinances that reflect a recent tendency for our City Council to act like your mommies--telling us what is good and bad--rather than our proxies, making our will be done.

So no, J, your argument here does not fly.

And Coulio-whatever, "Why doesn’t animal torture matter AT ALL to you? Are you THAT callous!!"

As long as I know for a fact that little babies in this city get their toes gnawed on by rats as they sleep in tenement housing and women on the West Side are being raped at a breathtaking clip, and working families are being drive out of the city into depressed suburbs by thousands every year, then, yes, I am THAT CALLOUS. When we got all that stuff wrapped up, let's get to the goose-savin'.

Don't say it doesn't distract, because it does. One hour spent on it distracts; the fact that the media covered it, instead of other pressing, concurrent issues, distracts; and the fact that of all the things in this column, we have been haggling over this? that distracts.

Mike / June 27, 2006 9:26 AM

I was going to have a pizza with fresh basil and garlic for dinner this eve, but after reading coloir's smug, condescending and completely wackjob agenda-goon commentary, I have decided to cook up some flank steak instead.

couloir / June 27, 2006 9:38 AM

For the record, I’m not saying that animal cruelty is or should be Chicago’s or anyone else’s priority over other serious issues in an inner city. On that, I agree with Waleeta and RFC. My point is that the ban wasn’t a bad thing; it reduced cruelty and suffering, got a good discussion going, both in Chicago and nationwide, on foie gras and animal cruelty in general, and was worth the city government’s effort. If there is a problem that is easily solved, do it.

Banning foie gras was very easy; eliminating the deeper social ills of Chicago or any large city is a gigantic task that will take more than the aldermen passing a few ordinances. The mayor and all of the city’s management and employees will have to do their jobs excellently. Solving those problems takes a huge community effort. Also, the poverty and crime in our major cities is symptomatic of larger structural issues in our social and economic system. It’s not that local governments can’t also affect these issues by their ordinances and policies, but they won’t eliminate them unless we pour more of our nation’s resources (like the budget going to the Iraq war) into our large cities. So, I’m all for the aldermen addressing these issues and making Chicago a better place. I’m also for our nation doing more for our large cities. And I’m for simple, easy ordinances reducing cruelty toward animals.

Well, judging by the constant barrage of personal attacks (instead of constructive discussion and debate), it seems some featherless bipeds have had their cages rattled here and further productive discussion on reducing animal cruelty will be impossible. I still encourage anyone to go back and read the discussion from the top. You’ll notice lots of good links and information among the ad hominem comments. And, unlike solving Chicago’s or the world’s problems, animal cruelty is something every person can do something about by not contributing to it, if they choose.

Oh, and Mike, it’s your choice, dude; don’t blame me for your own personal actions. ;)

Kevin / June 27, 2006 9:57 AM

I'm still boggling over the fact that I'm going to be a future vegan...I'd say the three banned letters but somehow it wouldn't do the thought justice. I like meat. In fact, most of my meals at this point are meat. In the morning I have about 8 slices of bacon, and a couple unborn offspring of a chicken. For lunch I have a couple chicken sandwiches or a couple double cheeseburgers and for dinner I have a nice juicy steak and maybe some green beans...


I can have a genuine concen for the environment and surroundings, a social conscience and I eat meat. They aren't mutally exclusive.

To use your logic, if someone is for gay rights, does that make them gay?

Its pretty well the same thing, politicians trying to legislate what people do, eat, who they have sex with and many other things that the government should stay the heck out of. So far, other than a war that I didn't want, I'm not getting a good return on my investment in the government.

You should be able to choose what you eat, just like you choose who you sleep with, what you say, where you live and all those other things that the consitution says I get to have (at least the ones that haven't been overturned by the current administration).

Again, I don't need an "aldernanny" to tell me exactly what I can and cannot eat and as far as I'm concerned if even one of their staffers spent only ONE hour on the geese ban, then its too much until the more pressing problems are solved.

When our schools are safe and actually teach kids what they need to learn, then more power to the geese.

Kevin


Wleeta / June 27, 2006 10:02 AM

Oh good, Couloir has agreed with us. Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to outlaw foie gras. Having a City Council in a city like Chicago take time to do it is stupid.

And one thing you DO disagree with is that, yes, it makes our society more cruel indeed, that while people are waiting for problems to be discussed, debated, and put on the front burner of the legislative process, we're talking about geese.

So cruel. So stupid. But at least it makes the 0.00000001% of Chicagoans who are vegan feel warm and fuzzy inside.
But not warm and fuzzy like a goose - you would be so lucky to be born a goose in Chicago these days.

As for personal attacks - yeah, some people need to be called out on their ridiculousness. Before you judge the world into "examining their own thoughts and behaviour", think about how useless your moral code is.

couloir / June 27, 2006 10:56 AM

For any reader who may be considering cutting back on their animal-based food consumption or going vegetarian, don’t let the hostile crowd here deter you. The people in 2006 who voluntarily go against the societal norm of eating a lot of meat and dairy and do so for ethical reasons are letting their own conscience be their guide instead of arbitrary social custom. That evaluation of and personal control over one’s choices is something to aspire to, not belittle.

Of course, I’m going to get attacked yet again for sounding self-righteous and all that, but I don’t really care what some militant, overly defensive meat-eaters say about me any more than they care what I say about them.

wleeta / June 27, 2006 11:29 AM

C - you can be confident in the fact that your, as you said, self-righteous comments are probably scaring people away from anything that you deem "a good idea". No one is belitting vegetarianism. I am, however, gladly belittling its ridiculous imposition and the idea that it, in any way, should be a topic of discussion for the Chicago City Council.

I bet the people who eat red meat in India are championed for going against the societal norm there too. You guys are awesome. Way to be revolutionary.

Imposing a trite, meaningless lifestyle choice, trying to disguise it as an "effective way of saving humanity" fools no one. It's a "pretend" way of having a social conscience.

Meanwhile, Chicago Alderman, focus, focus, focus. Focus.

a / June 27, 2006 12:00 PM

I actually don't eat meat. But I think I might start. All this talk about comparing animal activists to abolitionists makes me want to puke. I do kind of agree with J though that the alderman vote on what people get in front of them, and we people lovers have to do a lot more work to get important issues that matter to us in front of them. So if there are any people lovers out there, feel free to write to your alderman about the big box living wage, which is an important ordinace before them or volunteer to help get it passed. More importantly, come february, we all have an important opportunity to vote out the majority of worthless alderman in this city. (joe moore actually isn't one of them despite the foie gras ban)

dandelion / June 27, 2006 3:22 PM

it's been a slice, really yall.

i feel like i've been nothing but respectful and considerate during the course of this exchange yet i've been called names, belittled and stereotyped. one doesn't even have to take my word for it but just read this transcript as testimony.

when you start out by calling somebody a name do you really think that gets them listening to you? 'cause for future reference everything after an unwarranted disrespectful personal attack probably will garner little sympathy. obviously a nerve was touched or maybe hammered but whatever the case i hope next time you can pry open your mind a bit and say: 'i don't agree with you but i can see where you may be coming from' or something of that nature. why are you "people lovers" (which tries to paint me misanthropic) so mean when it comes to me who's a person? where do our problems come from you think, eh?

i don't see animal protection ordinances as a waste of time and some of you do. your concerns are valid but so are mine.

Richard F Carnahan / June 27, 2006 6:05 PM

Because I can't see where you're coming from. Your position, as repeatedly demonstrated through our arguments, is wrongheaded and indefensible.

I'm sorry we hurt your feelings. Would you like a plush toy?

couloir / June 27, 2006 6:36 PM

“..as repeatedly demonstrated through our arguments, is wrongheaded and indefensible.”

LOL! You are delusional.

Geese, for their entire lives, get metal tubes shoved down their throats and force fed until their livers are ready to burst (and sometimes do burst) and you think banning the trivial, luxury product from such a disgustingly cruel practice is “wrongheaded and indefensible”? Further, you think that you have even remotely shown that? You really are a moron.

And you know what? The cruelty to geese in that way is just the tip of the iceberg of animal cruelty in the food industry in this country. Regularly, cattle get their hides ripped off in the slaughter process while they’re still alive. They often literally die piece by piece.

The electric shocks that are supposed to stun chickens prior to getting their throats slit are often, even usually, ineffective. About 10-20%, depending on the slaughterhouse, of the billions of chickens slaughtered every year die by being boiled alive during the de-feathering process – that includes “free-range”, which is more of a marketing gimmick than a fact about how the chickens live.

These are all instances that would garner felony cruelty charges if done to a dog in this country, but because these are “food animals”, the industry is able to hide it from the general public – out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

Anybody who thinks this kind of cruelty is all trivial is a psychopath.

dandelion / June 27, 2006 7:25 PM

RFC, see, how hard was that? it's a start, keep working on it.
btw, my feelings aren't hurt at all. i mean maybe if i was in fifth grade the name-calling would have hurt my feelings. i'm just disappointed and embarrassed for yall on so many levels.

wleeta / June 27, 2006 9:19 PM

Couloir, please. It is soooo trivial. Nothing is more psycho than trying to convince people your meaningless, small life choice is doing this "big thinig" for the world.

Dandy-man, nice try. You being "embarassed for people" is obvious, we get it, you're trying to be laissez faire "bigger" than the rest of us, gotcha. Learn a new trick. People like you and Couloir make humanity roll its eyes at the complete lack of level-headedness in priority for how to solve real world problems. And want to be omnivores forever.

Now stop taking everything so personally and go chew on your respective lawns.

Jewdor / June 27, 2006 9:31 PM

Let's put this in biological terms folks:

Humans are hardwired to be omnivores. Shortly after our ancestors became bipedal, six million years ago with Sahelanthropus tchadensis, their hands were freed to gather and hunt. While, nearly 70% of our ancestors' diet was indeed veggies and fruit, the 30% intake of meat allowed our body to produce more oxygen and protein (yes, vegans, fruit and veggies take more oxygen to digest), which directly influenced our ancestor's evolutionary capacity to grow bigger brains. Simply, omnivore mammals inherently have the capacity to evolve bigger brains and thus the potential for further intelligence.

--Vegans would be better to argue for more "humanistic" farming methods, instead of policing the fact that we eat meat to begin with. It is a problem of policy not idealism.

-
---On a personal note,
My great-grandparents, and grandparents were farmers in the Andes mountains; most of their farming was veggies and grain; however, the llamas and goats that they raised and killed often fed hundreds of starving Indian and farming children during bad farming seasons. To prioritize vegan philosophy when millions of people from third world countries (and are own American big city back yards) are still starving is indeed "wrongheaded"; to assume that your white upper middle class $ and grain relief is all that feeds them is ridiculous and elitist.


jewdor / June 27, 2006 9:34 PM

Also, hippies and vegans---stop ruining the democratic party.

that's all.

mike

jewdor / June 27, 2006 9:35 PM

also hipsters...

ok, i'm done.


couloir / June 28, 2006 9:17 AM

Wleeta – I’m a little tired of your dumb ass, so I’m going to say what’s on my mind. If you are being honest in this discussion, one of two things is true about you: 1) you have absolutely no clue about the immensity of suffering that goes on in our factory farms, or 2) you are a cruel, stupid Gaper hag with a moral capacity no greater than the animals you have such apparent distain for. You are not a people lover; you are a semi-literate blowhard on the Internet. Personally, I like people a lot; but I have no time for, nor do I like anybody who trivializes other misfortunes like you do, regardless of the victim’s ethnic group, gender, race, or species.

Jewdor – nice try on the biology front. Too bad for you that it’s all completely irrelevant, even if true. But the truth is, it’s just a fickle theory that has no good evidence whatsoever. If meat made brains big, lions and tigers would be geniuses. Also, the evidence when one looks at our digestive tract (very long and vegetarian-built), teeth (not fangs and skin rippers), and nails (not claws), and compares us to our 98.7% cousin, the chimpanzee (a 99.9% vegetarian), very much suggests that we evolved primarily as herbivores until perhaps the hunter-gatherer and herder era (very recent in our evolution).

Also, look at the health problems moderate to heavy meat and dairy consumption have caused us: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure. The majority of those issues are from a poor diet high in animal fat.

I’m not saying a little animal fat will kill anyone, but the way people in this country mow down chicken sandwiches and cheeseburgers, it’s no wonder we have the extreme health problems we do.

BTW, I’m NOT a democrat, nor am I a hippie, nor am I a hipster, not am I a peacenik, nor am I even politically liberal. I’m politically moderate, leaning “left” or “right”, depending on the ISSUE being discussed. In other words, I think about issues only, not ideologies or political platforms. Animal protection is just one ISSUE that I strongly disagree with the status quo on. I think it is a gigantic moral blind spot in our current society; a moral blind spot that will make future generations shutter the same way we shutter when we think about the tortures in the Inquisition or the horrors of slavery or the horrors of genocide.

couloir / June 28, 2006 9:43 AM

There’s an interesting and relevant article in yesterday’s NY Times entitled, “On Special at Your Local Supermarket: Moral Choices”. Perhaps some of you posting your comments here should log on to the Times website and read it.

Richard F Carnahan / June 28, 2006 9:44 AM

Didn't take you long to turn hypocrite on the name-calling, did it? I wonder if your buddy Dandelion will tell you disappointed they are in you.

Last shred of your credibility--"funtoosh!" as the Indians say.

wleeta / June 28, 2006 9:57 AM

Couloir -

I think you meant "shudder", not "shutter".

But what does my "dumbass" know.

PS - Imposing veganism to solve the world's health/hunger problems is still stupid, and not anywhere within the domain of the CHICAGO city Council to worry about, discuss, or legislate.

PPS - you're an elitist hipster.

couloir / June 28, 2006 10:21 AM

Yeah, Dandelion is one of the most peace-lovin’ guys I know. My hat is off to him for his patience and moral courage. Maybe someday we’ll all pick up his good way, but I kinda doubt most of us will even try.

As for me, I usually go with the flow, and won’t really start returning the insults for a while, but I will eventually return ‘em, just for the fun of it.

The things is, you guys can easily assassinate my character. After all, I insult just like you. But you can’t assassinate Dandelion’s character, nor can you shoot down what he stands for. In the end, Dandelion wins this whole pissing match.

Wleeta,

I figured you’d pull a typo or misspelling or two to score a point. Good job.

wleeta / June 28, 2006 10:29 AM

;-)

Thanks. I wasn't really keeping track of "points" though. What's the score? Does dandy-lion get a trophy?

No matter what you may say, time spent by the Chicago City Council on banning foie gras is time wasted. WASTED. On geese. Dirty, filthy, mean little geese.

 

About the Author(s)

Richard F. Carnahan is a true South Side Sox fan who's played a bit part in Chicago politics more than once over the years. Contact him at rfc@gapersblock.com.

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