Monday, January 28

A new IncrediMail experience

Well, I finally bit the bullet and installed a new email program: IncrediMail XE, the free version. We used to have the paid-for (premium I guess :) version, several years ago. Can't remember exactly why we stopped using it and un installed it (I think maybe because it kept disappearing messages intermittently, which it has already done today. ) but we did. I've known that my wife really likes it, and some of our e-friends have and love it as well. And I'm pretty sure there are several sites dedicated strictly for IncrediMail. *grin* Anyway, gunna try it again and experience it with high-speed, which we didn't have the last time. Wish us luck! Oh yeah, and I've read (several years ago) that this program is extremely memory-hoarding, but we also have more memory, with plenty of it unused, so we should be okay. In fact, you know what I should do? Then I'll tell you, I should copy/cut the stuff already written in Zoundry, paste it into a new IncrediMail message, and then transfer it back here (to Zoundry). So you too can experience the effects of I.M. YAY!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the "neighbor" up to road stopped by and introduced himself. And if you don't remember, you can read it again, come back here, and you'll remember exactly what I said the last time. Anyway, I rode the bike up there Saturday afternoon and chatted for a while. Had a really nice visit and plan to do it again real soon. That same day, before I went up, I hung out a load of laundry on the clothes line, and helped my wife split some wood. And because it was so neat to meet a neighbor who's lived in the community for 2 years, I went to the house right next door yesterday before my back went out, and met them and their youngest daughter. Of course they were cool (), and I came home. Well, yesterday later in the afternoon while doing some vacuuming in the other room, my back kinked. . I'm OK once it warms-up, but after sitting for too long (5- 10 minutes) in one position, it's really hard to stand straight up because I get tight back muscles and acute pain right around my tail bone area. Oh well, life goes on, and the tingling on the left side of my nostril and just under my left eye will eventually stop, or not, never can tell. ANYway, sorry for the wine. Would you like some cheese to top that off?

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Wednesday, January 23

More cat pictures, cold weather, slow drying clothes and towels


It's kind of hard to tell, but there's a gap between the seat-cushion and the arm of the chair, and she's wedged into that 'ditch'. She was laying there while I was stoking up the fire in the wood stove.


Ruth is also enjoying the warmth that is emanating from the woodstove. He's laying just a few feet away from the green chair above. He's TOTALLY relaxed, and yes... he's alive!

Those were taken last night. It was friggin' cold this morning at 7:30. Thermostat showed 20*F. When my wife was up briefly at 4:30 this morning it was 15*F - too damn cold! :-) Which meant that the clothes I hung on the line yesterday morning STILL weren't dry (but they were this afternoon by 2 p.m). 'course it didn't help that we got light, falling snowflakes yesterday either. Didn't stick to the ground, but what landed on the van and roof turned to thin ice over night. And today we drove into Buffalo and stopped at the Wal-Mart for some cloth so my wife can make me a caftan. Then to the grocery store to get a few things that we just couldn't live without until pay day in a little over a week. Right now I have towels hanging out that I seriously doubt will be dry enough until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. It's supposed to get down to 15-20*F tomorrow morning too. *sigh* I'm ready for Spring!

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Monday, January 21

Cats in boxes and on a sofa. Van, wood, trash and sports

We took these to show Drigger, our smallest cat, fitting (or trying to) into the smallest box yet :-)

(click to enlarge) (click to enlarge)

Next you have Rocky, our biggest cat just lounging on the sofa... again :-)

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As always, we haven't been up to much... sort of. We've been doing the homestead chores that need to be done, but haven't been going anywhere. Stayin' home mostly because we're just not as comfortable driving 'The Dragon Wagon' until we get the new-to-us rear end put on. That's being delayed for now because our friend came down with some stomach virus. Hopefully it's a short-lived one and he'll be better this week.

Did get some things done yesterday. Mostly got a Poplar log that had been sitting on the porch, cut-up into splittable size logs. We even split one of the logs, but stopped after that because it was frozen. It had been sitting on the porch for a few months through the cold, rain, and snow, and was therefore a PITA to split. Took us at least 15 minutes just to do that ONE. Because we have enough wood already split to last a couple to a few days, we set the rest aside to dry and will get back them when the weather says we can.

Speaking of 'things' that need done, we really need to take the trash out to the burn barrel and burn it. However, today it's cold and when the gusting wind does stop or slow down, it's too friggin' cold to stand out there. So I think we can stuff a bit more trash into the trash cans/barrel for one more day. *grin*

As for sports, if you're interested in NFL Football, you probably already know that it's going to be 'The New England Patriots' vs. 'The New York Giants' in the Superbowl on February third. As for NBA basketball, it's still the regular season, but that won't stop me from watching at least one game on TV this afternoon starting at 4:30. There is a triple-header on starting at that time, with the last one that'll be showing 'The Denver Nuggets' (the Colorado team that I like because I was born and raised in Colorado. I live in Missouri now, but still...).

Last thing I'll mention, but it's definitely NOT the least important thing (just last thing to pop into my head), a neighbor who lives just up the road (about a 1/4 mile away) stopped to say, "Thought you were going to stop for a cup of coffee", the other day. Of course I felt bad because I did say we would, but just didn't get around to it. (bad, bad neighbor!). Invited him in, we talked, exchanged email addresses, and have been writing back and forth for a couple of days now. I told him we'd stop by later this week when it's warm enough for us to walk up there. It's kind of cool having an actual really local friend to visit that's only a few minutes walk away. YAY! It would be great if he's a sports fan, but I have my doubts. Mostly because he's SO busy running his home-based business (advertising) that I can't imagine him having time to watch sports on television, but ya never know.

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Saturday, January 19

Kilala and other cats (w/music)

The very first cat you see is Kilala. Then you see a cat running passed him, that is Slash. From there we pan over to Twitch laying in front of the entertainment center, back to Kilala, over to Suicune on the fake leather sofa, and back to Kilala when you see Mai-Mai (?) by the water bowl. After that we're seeing Rocky, the big, orange one on the other sofa. Above him is Drigger doin' some grooming. As we go to the right we see the white one: Ruth. Continuing from there you see Hedwig (aka: Ms. Intensity. She doesn't walk anywhere), then Dragoon, back to Hedders, Ruth and Drigger.

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Monday, January 14

Attempt at an old fashioned ramble

Hello, all! I don't know how in depth this entry is going to be, so just be prepared to throw your hands in the air and close the browser window or delete the email it's in. As I said in my previous post, not a helluvah lot going on 'round here. Today the weather is sunny, but the wind is blowing enough to make it feel colder. Just a little bit ago I was outside hanging clothes on the line, and after only a few minutes it was like, "Man, my hands are freezing, I wonder if I can do this with gloves on?" Then it occurred to me that my gloves are dirty from trimming back that Wisteria tree and later cutting wood with the chainsaw yesterday, plus carrying wood in. So, I couldn't really do it with gloves lest I get the clean clothes dirty, and that just wouldn't be good.

I haven't been blogging or gathering much lately because I am in a severe phase of an inferiority complex. I just don't think what I have to say is important in the grand scheme of things. Sure, my wife, daughter, and other people say that they like whatever I write. But all I can think when I hear that is, "WHY?!" Here I am anyway, making an attempt at creating a meaningful 'ramble'. Don't really want to get into politics because, well, when it comes right down to it, opinions just don't change most of the time, so why argue over them?

I've been fairly busy the last few days. Mostly because my interest level in the on-line world is waining. Basically I'm in the midst of a private pity party, yet getting things that need to be done, done. Like the trimming of the Wisteria tree, cutting-up of wood, getting clear plastic up over the breeziest windows. And wow, that (plastic) really made a big difference in the house's ambient temperature. Meaning that it's more even from one end of the house to the other. Well, 'cept that the room with the wood stove in it is warmer than all the others most of the time. But that's cool, we transfer heat from that room to the living room and beyond using two double-fans pointed in this direction. We also had the kids working yesterday, they cleaned-up the branches I pruned off of the Wisteria and took them to the brush pile. Plus they threw the excess twigs from the log cutting we were doing into the brush pile too. Speaking of wood to burn, I've recently (last couple of months) realized how well log-length tree branches burn (just as hot as a full size log sometimes). Plus, if for some unforeseen reason our chainsaw died, we would be able to heat quite nicely with just branches. Cool, huh?

Also, we have taken a bit of a turn with the kids' home education. We're still pretty much unschooling, but we've decided to give them a bit of direction, now that they're older. We told them that each month they have to pick a country in the world, research all about it for a month, and at the end of each month they have to write a report about what they've learned. Won't have to be a long one, just a couple hundred words or so. Now that our DD is 15, she may want to take the GED test next year, and being able to write an essay is one of the requirements in passing the test. As for our DS (12), he just needs to get into something other than video games and on-line videos. Needs to expand his horizons, so to speak.

Well, that's all I've got. See ya next time, unless you see me first. *grin*

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Sunday, January 13

Sunset time and vehicle maintanence

(click to enlarge)

I took this picture last evening. My wife pointed out how beautiful it was, so I took a picture, that turned-put better than I thought it would.

As for other happenings in our life, not much is going on. The van had it's manifold gasket replaced (took 6 hours, including breaks). Unfortunately it needs a new rear end. It's making a lot of noise, but we hope to have that fixed this coming week sometime. So, we can now get to the store when we *need* to, but aren't comfortable making long trips anywhere if we don't have to.

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Tuesday, January 8

The Jefferson of Our Time by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Reposted with permission

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

American politicians, from Lincoln to FDR and even Bill Clinton, have tried to claim the political mantle of Thomas Jefferson. Lincoln was truly the anti-Jefferson who nevertheless mouthed Jefferson's words of "all men are created equal" to try to win the support of Jeffersonians in the North in the 1864 election. FDR even more ludicrously tried to paint the New Deal as a Jeffersonian program for similar reasons; and political junkies may recall that President William Jefferson Clinton made a point of stopping off at Jefferson's home, Monticello, on the way to his first inauguration. (He then turned around and proposed to nationalize the health care sector of the economy, funded by the largest tax increases in history - decidedly anti-Jeffersonian positions.)

American politicians understand that there are - and always have been - a great many Americans who believe in the Jeffersonian philosophy that "that government is best which governs least." They may want minimal government, as called for by the Constitution, but by and large they want to be left alone to live their own lives within the rule of law and the norms of civilized society. They distrust centralized political power and hold the commonsense view that government is always easier to control the closer it is to the people.

That's why politicians from Lincoln to Clinton have mouthed Jeffersonian slogans. They want the votes, but have no intention of adopting any of Jefferson's political beliefs and policies based on them. (For his part, George W. Bush is probably more familiar with "The Jeffersons" television show of the 1970s than the political ideas of our third president.)

In reality, Grover Cleveland was the last American president who actually believed in Jeffersonian principles of government and was even moderately successful in implementing them (he vetoed literally hundreds of pieces of legislation). It's been almost 120 years since a genuine Jeffersonian has been a major candidate for the highest office in the land, but we finally have in our midst the genuine item - the real deal - in the person of Ron Paul.

Unlike all other candidates for the presidency, Ron Paul does not attempt to dupe the public into believing that he is in favor of fiscal responsibility, limited and decentralized government, and individual liberty. He has spent the past three decades demonstrating that he is single-mindedly devoted to these principles, and sincerely believes that he can succeed in returning them to the American polity.

When Ron Paul proposes abolishing the Federal Reserve Board and returning to the gold standard, he is taking Jefferson's position in his great debate with Hamilton over the propriety of a government-run bank. As explained in my forthcoming book, Hamilton's Curse, Hamilton wanted a big, expansive and intrusive central government that would centrally plan the economy and pursue "imperial glory" in foreign affairs. He wanted America to imitate the British empire. In order to achieve this, he knew that a government-run bank would be necessary. Jefferson, on the other hand, believed that the sole purpose of government was to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, and that such a bank would be a danger to liberty. The two men debated the issue in long essays submitted to President George Washington, who eventually adopted the position of his fellow Federalist, Hamilton. (The Federalists in Congress played a role by passing legislation that enlarged the District of Columbia so that it would be adjacent to Washington's property on the Potomac River. They had blocked Washington's request for this until he signed the bank bill.)

It was a Jeffersonian Democrat, President Andrew Jackson, who would de-fund Hamilton's Bank of the United States some forty years later, after it had fueled decades of political corruption and economic instability. Hamiltonian central banking was subsequently revived by one of his political heirs - Lincoln - and then cemented into place by the Federal Reserve Act in 1913.

Ron Paul also calls for a dramatic reduction in government debt by abolishing unnecessary and harmful government bureaucracies, such as the U.S. Department of Education, as well as a foreign policy that defends America instead of attempting to centrally plan and police the entire planet. It was Jefferson who argued that the federal government's debt was only legitimate in emergencies, such as a defensive war, and even then it should never exist for more than 19 years. He believed it was immoral for one generation to incur debt - even in a defensive war - that would financially burden future generations. "I consider the fortunes of our republic," he wrote, "as depending, in an eminent degree, on the extinguishment of the public debt." As president, his party abolished all of Hamilton's (and the Federalists') excise taxes and reduced the government debt from $83 million to $57 million.

Hamilton, on the other hand, wanted a large national debt because it would tie the affluent of the country to the government, just as welfare ties the poor to the government today. The affluent would be the government bondholders, he argued, and would therefore provide political support for all the tax increases he had in mind to assure that they would be paid their principal and interest. He called the national debt a "blessing." The Jeffersonian view of government debt prevailed, more or less, until the Woodrow Wilson administration, after which Hamiltonian Keynesianism became the order of the day. Today the U.S. government is in debt to the tune of some $70 trillion if one includes all the unfunded Social Security, Medicare, and government pension liabilities. Ron Paul wants to reverse the economically devastating and immoral policy of rampant government debt accumulation.

The income tax has centralized all political power in Washington, D.C., eviscerated the independence of the states, and has made tax slaves out of millions of Americans. Once again, Ron Paul's call for the abolition of income taxation is a genuine Jeffersonian sentiment. How inspirational and revolutionary would it be to hear President Ron Paul quote Jefferson's first inaugural address at his first inaugural: "[A] wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government . . ." (emphasis added).

Jefferson was of course a strict constructionist in regard to the Constitution, as is Ron Paul. This was the key to Jefferson's debate with Hamilton over a national bank, with Jefferson arguing that the Constitution did not provide for such a function, and Hamilton inventing the subversive notion of "implied powers" of the Constitution to defend his proposal. The Hamiltonian position has prevailed for several generations now, making a complete mockery of the Constitution itself. Ron Paul wants to reverse the damage done by the political heirs of Hamilton.

Along with his strict constructionist views of the Constitution, Jefferson believed that the keystone of the entire document was the Tenth Amendment. After delegating a few express powers to the central government, the citizens of the states reserved all others to themselves, and to the states respectively. The Tenth Amendment announced, essentially, that the citizens of the free and independent states were sovereign. They were the masters, not the servants, of the federal government which they had created by ratifying the Constitution in state political conventions. In his first inaugural he announced his support of "the State governments, in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies . . ." This is how government was to be consistent with the protection of individual liberty in Jefferson's opinion. It is also Ron Paul's opinion.

Jefferson advocated a modest foreign policy, unlike his nemesis Hamilton, the original Neocon, who wanted to invade France and become an imperialistic power. "[P]eace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none," was his foreign policy philosophy (from the first inaugural).

Jefferson understood that war is the mother of the state, and did everything he could to avoid it. When the British began confiscating American ships and kidnapping American sailors, he imposed an economically destructive trade embargo rather than risk an even more economically destructive war with England. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate in memory to espouse the wisdom of Jefferson and Washington when it comes to foreign policy.

unmasked.jpgWhen Ron Paul sounds the alarm about how the current regime has attacked civil liberties, including the freedom of speech, with its totalitarian "PATRIOT Act," its lust to suspend habeas corpus, and even calls by the likes of Newt Gingrich to "rethink" the First Amendment, it is reminiscent of Jefferson's great confrontation with the enemies of civil liberty during his time - the Adams administration and the Federalist Party. One of the first things the Federalist Party did upon assuming power was to make criticism of the government illegal with its Sedition Act. Jefferson orchestrated nationwide opposition to this totalitarian policy, and authored his famous Kentucky Resolve of 1798: "Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers [such as the abolition of free speech], its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." This would also be an appropriate quote for President Ron Paul's first inaugural address.

tom3.jpgThe dominance of the Hamiltonian, Big Government philosophy, and the marginalization of Jefferson and his ideas, is the fundamental source of America's biggest problems, including a foreign policy that has run amok; a tax system that treats citizens like medieval serfs; an arrogant and unresponsive central government; the evisceration of the states as independent political sovereignties; the economic boom-and-bust cycle that is generated by "the Fed"; the eagerness of Washington politicians to strip away more and more of our civil liberties; and the infantilization of America that has been created by a gargantuan welfare state. Ron Paul is the only national politician who is devoted to reversing all of these dangerous trends. All other candidates propose either minor tinkering at the margins, or an expansion of the same failed policies. He is the Jefferson of our time, and our true hope of returning to the guiding principles of the founding fathers. We can take this road, or we can continue along on the road to serfdom.

January 7, 2008

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, (Three Rivers Press/Random House). His latest book is Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe (Crown Forum/Random House).

Copyright © 2008

Thomas DiLorenzo Archives at LRC

Thomas DiLorenzo Archives at

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Monday, January 7

A Lawyer Farmer's View of NASS

The 2006 Agricultural Identification Survey and the NASS/NAIS Identity

by Mary Zanoni, Ph.D., J.D.

Like many small-farm advocates, I have been fielding questions over the  past few weeks about the above survey being sent out by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Many people ask if there is any relationship between the survey and the data being collected (often without the knowledge or consent of farmers) for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). As we shall see, although USDA personnel won't admit it, NASS data is the foundation of the USDA's aggressive pursuit of NAIS.

To my great surprise, in this morning's mail I myself received a 2006  Agricultural Identification Survey (2006 AIS). I say to my great surprise because I am not and never have been engaged in any type of commercial agriculture whatsoever. I have never before received any type of communication from NASS.

The envelope states in very large letters, "YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW." The envelope further states that the due date is January 29, 2007. As explained below, it is clear that many people receiving this form are not in fact "REQUIRED BY LAW" to answer it. Further, a recipient has only a couple of weeks between the receipt of the form and the purported deadline, and it would be impossible for the average non-lawyer to do enough research within that time to figure out whether he/she is or isn't actually required to respond.

The form itself begins with several general questions, such as *Do you own or rent any land? *Do you grow vegetables, hay or nursery stock? *Do you receive government payments? The questions appear deliberately designed to imply that anyone who would answer 'yes' is among those REQUIRED BY LAW to fill out this form. The USDA is thus casting a very wide net in this particular intrusion into the lives of American citizens, because, frankly, just about everyone who is not homeless owns or rents real estate; some 75 million people in the United States grow vegetables and some 60 million people receive government payments. (See 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 1226 (vegetable gardening); Table 528 (government transfer payments).

Now, perhaps it is possible that this wide net might not be as intrusive as it appears. After all, maybe NASS has only sent this form to people reasonably assumed to be farmers. But in fact it was distressingly easy to confirm that intrusiveness and deliberate over-inclusiveness are the hallmarks of the NASS approach. This morning, I called the information number listed on the form and spoke to a woman at the USDA's Helena, Montana call center. According to her, the call center is being swamped with calls from people who live in cities and have nothing to do with agriculture. She stated that the call center employees really have no idea of why or how all these people have been sent the 2006 AIS. When asked for some conjecture as to how so many unnecessary people could have been included in the mailings, the woman explained that, for example, anyone who had ever subscribed to a horse magazine might have been included in the database.

Now, that raises interesting questions. How is the USDA/NASS getting the subscription lists of horse magazines. Why and how are horse magazines or, for that matter, any rural-life publication, any breed association, feed store, or private or public livestock or horticultural enterprise whatsoever, giving their member/subscriber/customer lists to the government without telling their members, subscribers, or customers?

Or, worse yet, how is the government accessing such lists or databases without the awareness of the businesses or organizations in question? During times when the Executive Branch of the United States Government
has secretly gathered the records of most people's incoming and outgoing
phone calls, and the President asserts a right to open your mail and my mail without a warrant, this is not a trivial question.

Returning to the first page of the form, we see the wide net growing ever wider. The form states: Many people who don't consider themselves farmers or ranchers actually meet the definition of a farm or ranch and are important to agriculture. We need your completed form even though you may not be actively farming, ranching, or conducting any other type of agricultural activity. Finally, the first page of the form reinforces the threat of the REQUIRED BY LAW language of the envelope: ~Response to this survey is legally required by Title 7, U.S. Code. (Emphasis in original.) (Note the single-double quotation marks,  the threat actually is in quotation marks, employing that common tenth-grade stylistic conceit of quoting something to make it appear extra-important.) One senses evasions aplenty here. The form has referred to the definition of a farm or ranch, but nowhere tells us that definition. It suggests that anyone receiving a form has a legal obligation to answer it, even though their enterprise may not meet the definition of a farm.

Given the foregoing ambiguities, I had further questions about the definition of a farm and the possible legal penalties for not responding to the 2006 AIS. Specifically, I asked if my understanding of the definition of  "farm" as an operation with at least $1000 in sales from agriculture was correct. (See 2002 Census of Agriculture, FAQ's, HYPERLINK:
Further, having found the penalty listed in 7 USC 2204 (d) (2), namely, that a person . . . who refuses or willfully neglects to answer a question . . . . shall be fined not more than $100, I noted that, insofar as the 2006 AIS actually contains 42 separate questions, it could be important to know whether there was a separate $100 fine for each unanswered question, or just a single $100 fine for not answering the entire 2006 AIS. These questions were beyond the purview of the call-center woman, so she made a note of the questions, referred them to a member of the NASS professional staff, and promised that the NASS staff member would call me with the answers.

The next day, January 12, 2007, I received a call from Jody Sprague, a NASS statistician. First we addressed the question of the farm definition. Ms. Sprague conceded that someone whose property or operation did not meet the farm definition would have no obligation to answer the 2006 AIS. She also conceded that the basic definition of a farm as an operation with at least $1000 in agricultural sales was correct, but explained that in addition to the gross sales figures, NASS also assigns certain point values for particular agricultural activities. If the points add up to 1000, your operation would meet the definition of a farm. When asked for an example of how the point values work, Ms. Sprague explained that 5 equines would equal a farm but 4 would not. (Subsequently, she explained that each equine equals 200 points.) When asked how many cattle equal a farm, Ms. Sprague said she did not know. At one point Ms. Sprague said that NASS wanted, through the 2006 AIS, to determine if they could delete people who should not be on their mailing list. But for the most part she contended the opposite, e.g., that she would advise anyone who had received the form to fill it out; and that even a person with one horse should complete the questionnaire, although she previously had conceded that someone with fewer than 5 horses would not meet the definition of a farm and therefore would not be required to fill out the survey.

We next turned to the issue of how NASS may have compiled its mailing list for the 2006 AIS. First Ms. Sprague maintained that the sources of the NASS mailing list are confidential. I noted the call-center woman's reference to a subscription to a horse magazine as a source of names, and asked for some other possible sources. Ms. Sprague said that growers associations, such as the Wheat Growers Association and Barley Growers Association, were examples of sources. I asked for more examples but she was reluctant to give any, claiming that some are 'confidential' and some are not confidential? She explained the overall process of list building thus: as NASS comes across lists where there are possibilities of agricultural activity, NASS incorporates those names into its mailing list.

We returned to the subject of 'point values' for different livestock. Explaining that many people were likely to have questions about this, I asked if Ms. Sprague could find out for me the point values of cattle or other non-equine livestock. She put me on hold for a long while.

Subsequently, she gave me the following point values: beef cattle, 310 points per head; dairy cattle, 2000 points per head; goats and sheep, 50 points per head. (I wanted to ask about chickens, but I was getting the distinct sense that I might be pushing my luck.)

Ms. Sprague stressed that she did not want people to be concentrating on the point values. For example, she noted that people should not say they have 4 horses if they really have 5 horses, because it wouldn't be ethical. (But apparently under the NASS moral code, rummaging through some of those Choicepoint-type consumer profiles to track your reading habits is perfectly 'ethical'? And, as we shall see, the NASS moral code also permits forking over your data to states that are in hot pursuit of the NAIS premises-registration quotas imposed as a condition for the state's continued receipt of federal NAIS grant money.)

We went on to the question of the $100 non-compliance fine. Ms. Sprague assured me that a farmers failure to answer any or all of the 42 total questions on the 2006 AIS would only result in a single $100 fine. She also said that the fine is 'rarely enforced' and that if any 'producer' 'chooses' not to report, no one from NASS would seek them out.

Finally, I asked Ms. Sprague if there were any relationships between NASS and the APHIS NAIS program, and she said, "Absolutely none." I asked her if any other agency, state or federal, would ever be allowed to use NASS's database to solicit premises IDs for NAIS, and she said, "Absolutely not." And indeed, pursuant to 7 U.S.C. § 2204g (f) (3), "Information obtained [for NASS surveys] may not be used for any purpose
other than the statistical purposes for which the information is supplied."

Several weeks ago, Missouri antiNAIS activist Doreen Hannes sent a series of questions about Missouri's solicitation of NAIS premises IDs to Steve Goff, DVM, the Animal ID Administrator of the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA). Dr. Goff provided written answers on December 20, 2006. When asked where the MDA had obtained addresses for its solicitation of NAIS premises IDs, Dr. Goff stated: "the mailing was done through a contract with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service."

I won't answer my 2006 Agricultural Information Survey. Instead, I will send a copy of this article to my Congressman and my two United States Senators. I will ask them to have the House and Senate Agriculture Committees investigate the rampant and shameful abuses of federal law and common morality inherent in NASS's compilation of its mailing lists and use of those lists to promote the APHIS National Animal Identification System. Why will I do this? Because I don't live by the USDA's false code of ethics; I answer to a higher authority.

Copyright 2007 by Mary Zanoni. The following article may be distributed solely for personal and non-commercial use without prior permission from the author. Non-commercial distribution and posting to assist in disseminating information about NAIS is, in fact, encouraged, so long as proper credit is given and the article is reproduced without changes or deletions. Any other distribution or republication requires the author's permission in writing and requests for such permission should be directed to the author at the address/phone/e-mail address below.

Mary Zanoni, Ph.D., J.D.
P.O. Box 501
Canton, NY 13617

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*Article* Why I Believe Bush Must Go. Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.

By George McGovern

Sunday, January 6, 2008; B01

As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.

After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.

Today I have made a different choice.

Please read the entire article

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Thursday, January 3

Exposing the engine on a 1994 Chevy van

I took these pictures last Saturday when our friend was taking the van apart to find where the radiator fluid leak was coming from. I've had them on my camera for almost a week now, but just hadn't been motivated to "work" with them. Today's your lucky day! LOL.


This is the engine that I had no idea where the room to work on was going to come from. As I soon found out, you have to take apart the inside of the van-console to get to the engine.


This is the first thing you have to take out - the console.

console and engine cover

The second thing is the engine cover (right) under the console.

engine inside the van

Once you've got the cover and the console off and out, you can now see the engine. I should mention that to get the cover out of the van, you need to take the passenger seat out so there's room. With any luck at all, the van should be all fixed, put back together and drivable this Saturday (1-5-08).

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