A Journal of the Irrepressible

Archive for April, 2009

PBS Video Portal

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PBS has just launched a video portal featuring full-length PBS programs for online viewing, all in one place. More than 150 hours of full-length episodes, from iconic PBS programs, are currently available, with more content being added every week. The new portal was officially launched at midnight last night. It looks pretty cool, with an iTunes-like cover flow interface. I don’t watch TV, but love Nova, so am eager to spend some time catching up on episodes I’ve missed. While ironing (the new “in bed.”) (Thanks to Shawn for the tip!)

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Written by Brian

April 22nd, 2009 at 8:20 am

Posted in film

Stand By Me

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My sister just sent a link to this fabulous video of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” played and sung by musicians from all over the world. Awesome song! Awesome video. When the African women’s chorus kicked in, me and KJ fell into each other’s arms, tears streaming. Beauty, ey! And check out the source of this fine piece o’ work, Playing for Change: Peace through Music — this is true peace research!

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Written by Brian

April 16th, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Posted in film, music

Food Bills Coming Due


A couple weeks ago I wrote about a couple pieces of federal legislation that folks were getting up in arms about, saying they would “ban organic farming.” As I pointed out, the bloggers writing about the bills were, at best, misreading and perhaps deliberately using scare tactics in order to stir up trouble, comments and links. The bills in question have spawned a netroots fever of apocalyptic (non)thinking which, as the Ethicurean points out, distract from the truly bad legislation floating around the Hill. Snip:

Perhaps the worst of the lot is HR 1332, Rep. Costa’s Safe FEAST Act of 2009, which is backed by the Big Ag group Western Growers. It would create a HACCP system for produce. (HACCP is the set of burdensome recordkeeping requirements credited with hastening the demise of many small-scale slaughter facilities.) It doesn’t take the size of operations into account. It would pay for inspections by charging fees to farms and processors and would hand the duty of inspection over to third-party certifiers. Because yeah, that’s worked so well for us to date.

Then there’s Rep. DeGette’s H.R. 814, which actually does mandate a National Animal Identification System, which we and lots of other people have major concerns about. And there’s H.R. 759, offered by Rep. Dingell, which requires traceability of food from farm to restaurants and requires that the recordkeeping be done electronically. It also charges fees to processors — small or large — for inspections.

None of these bills are good for small farmers, and I hope we might agree that they would all be worse than H.R. 875.

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Written by Brian

April 3rd, 2009 at 10:04 am

Posted in agriculture, food, politics