williambanzai7's picture


Holder is cooking-up slime

To prove solar power is prime

Another dumbshit

Who simply won't quit

That industry can't make a dime!


The Limerick King











Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
hangemhigh77's picture

Please explain to me WHY people won't vote for Ron Paul? I'm stupid and even I know to vote for him.

StychoKiller's picture

He doesn't look like James Bond, while The Romneylan does!

hangemhigh77's picture

Hey Banzai YOU FRIGGIN KILLED IT THIS TIME!!!  I'M laughing so hard my wife called an ambulance because she thought I was having a heart attack!!!!  GREAT STUFF!!!

Careless Whisper's picture

I think you owe Crack Whores an apology.

Jason T's picture

These cartoons better land in my great grandkids history books one day.  

AgShaman's picture

Polly-ticians are not as bad as people think. If they had just resolved the steroid abuse in pro baseball and other professional sports a little bit faster.....they would have alot more credibility with the people....and higher on the list of usefulness.

rlouis's picture

Almost lost it at Linda Green, LMAO

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

The Presidency, in the colloquial, "don't mean shit." A sea cucumber could be President and things would not be any different.  However, I would have more respect for the sea cucumber and it probably would act more "Presidental".

the grateful unemployed's picture

Da Honky es Pink Slime, ya know?

I look more look like a La-Tay, muther. 

though my AG is a brother.

I sell guns to Mexico

Then say it ain't so.

just don't wear a Fro

call Wall street for money

and tell the young suckers

to vote for the donkey.

give em foodstamps, and iphones

and a mortgage they don't have to pay like a loan

when most of its lost between the  mouth and the cup

and no one dare say that somethings corrupt

then you just blame the Honkey


Gully Foyle's picture

Take the time and read these. Alternate take after all the excitement and fear tactics has died down.

She make many excellent points.

March 28, 2012

Want A Little History With That Pink Slime?


UPDATE: For those of you just tuning in, I wrote a second PS blog entry. You can read it here. Also, a kind reader, Travis Arp, corrected a mistake I made in this entry. You can read that in the first comment below.

“Pink Slime” made the headlines of my local newspaper this morning (said paper being the Des Moines Register, that’s not surprising; the Register, even in is current scaled-down version, still covers news of interest to agriculture).

The point of the story, versions of which appeared in most major newspapers, is that pink slime’s days are apparently numbered. Food activists have succeeded in forcing grocery stores and restaurants to stop selling the stuff. As a result, beef prices will likely rise.

Whereever does this historian begin in making sense of the Pink Slime Propaganda campaign? (Maybe the better question is: Where should I end this rant?? There’s so much I can say . . . .)

First a word about PS: It’s beef, people. Plain ol’ beef. It’s created by using a deboning process that removes every last morsel of flesh from beef carcasses. During the cutting, slivers and bits of bone end up with the beef, but those are reduced to mush in the processing that follows.

Second, a bit of history. The Wikipedia entry for PS and most newspaper reports create the impression that PS dates to the 1980s. Wrong.

In the BEEF industry, its use dates back to the mid-1970s, although poultry and fish processors were already using the technique. Beef packers began using in the in mid-seventies because, at the time, all meat prices, but especially beef, were in the stratosphere. A host of factors pushed those prices up (you can read all about this in Chapter Five of my forthcoming --- 2013 --- book Meat: An American History), including a global food famine, inflation, rising fuel costs, unemployment, etc. 

Meatpackers were having a tough time turning out meat products at a price consumers would pay. Consumers were outraged; they organized boycotts; the White House imposed price controls. Etc. (Five years of research for this new book taught me one thing: American consumers demand cheap food, and especially cheap meat, and when they don’t get it, there’s hell to pay.)

So pushed by consumers on one side, and soaring costs on the other, meatpackers asked for, and got, permission from the USDA to use a “mechanical deboning” process that allowed them scrape meat off carcasses so that what had been waste could be eaten. (*1)

I gather from the Wiki entry and other reports that in the 1990s, a guy named Eldon Roth, who also founded Beef Products, Inc., the nasty, evil company that makes the stuff (yes, I’m being sarcastic) developed a method of sterilizing deboned beef. I’m assuming the timing was not a coincidence: In 1993, there was an outbreak of e. coli-related illnesses (and a few deaths) caused by eating fast food burgers. (*2)

Food activists object to PS on two grounds (no pun intended):

First, they argue that this is not real beef but is being passed off as such. They’re wrong. It’s beef. If you’ve eaten a hamburger in the U. S. at anytime since the mid-1970s, you’ve eaten PS.

Second, they object to the use of ammonia to sterilize the meat.

In the words of a couple of critics:

According to Marion Nestle:

“If this is acceptable to people, it essentially means it’s OK to eat the kind of stuff we put into pet food,” she said. “Culturally we don’t eat byproducts of human food production. It’s not in our culture. Other cultures do. We don’t.”

And Jamie Oliver:

“I hope the U.S. government is also listening because it’s partly responsible for lying to the public for allowing this cheap, low-quality meat filler to be used for so long without having to legally state its presence on packaging”. (*3)

I’m all for food safety, but in this case, the reaction is irrational. If PS were unsafe, we’d have learned that, oh, about 35 years ago. Really. There’s nothing unsafe about this. The reaction is also simply wrong. This is meat. It’s not “byproduct.” It’s BEEF.

The real problem, as near as I can tell, is that many food activists simply don’t understand how meat is manufactured; don’t understand  how demanding average consumers are (see above about boycotts, etc.), and how difficult it is for meatpackers to make a profit on beef in particular. 

The only reason companies like IBP or Tyson or Cargill earn a profit on beef is that they control the materials from farm to grocery store; they run highly efficient packing plants; they produce in huge volume; and they subsidize FRESH beef by also making “value added” products. (Think microwavable pizzas with beef, or cans of chili con carne.) It’s incredibly difficult to make a profit on FRESH meat in general and beef in particular.

You get my point: Pink Slime isn’t unsafe. You may not like its appearance, but unsafeness (is that a word) does not follow from unpleasant appearance. (LOTS of things in life are unpleasant to look at, but it doesn’t follow that they’re unsafe. Think, oh, I dunno: giving birth? Slaughtering an animal?)

What I find most interesting about the PS uproar is how much, alas, it resembles the prohibitionist movement of a century ago: Fear-mongering. Half truths. Appeals to emotion rather than fact and reason. 

Don’t get me wrong: I agree with the food activists on many points. Many. What I object to is the, how shall I put it? --- tone of hysteria attached to their work. The self-righteous “we don’t like it and therefore it’s bad and screw the truth and facts” tone of their approach. 

Again, I side with the pro-food group more than I don’t. But in this case, they’re engaged in a witch hunt, creating unnecessary fear and alarm, doing an industry a great disservice, and, yes, if the deboning process is banned, beef prices will like go up. It’ll be the equivalent of culling a hell of a lot of cattle from the nation’s herd. 

They sound so much like prohibitionists that it scares the hell out of me. Where, I wonder, will their fear-mongering and disregard for fact and reason lead?


*1. At the time, Ralph Nader and Michael Jacobsen of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (if you’ve read my beer book, you KNOW what a fan I am of MJ and the CSPI...) objected to the process, filing complaints with the USDA and FDA. (I’m being sarcastic about MJ and the CSPI. I do NOT like scolds, food or otherwise.)

*2. The e. coli episode was caused by meat that had not been cooked at a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. The outbreak began when people ate hamburgers from Jack In the Box, a fast food chain in the northwest, and then expanded when primary carriers made contact with others. Sadly, many of the infected were kids, and when they went to daycare, they infected other kids. If I remember right, one child died.

*3. Both quotes from "Pink Slime Maker Suspends Some Plant Operations."

March 29, 2012

Pink Slime and History, Redux


No, I don't plan to blog obsessively about Pink Slime (PS to you and me) --- but I had another thought after I posted yesterday's rant about PS and history.

My brain kept coming back to this comment by Marion Nestle:

If [allowing the use of deboned meat] is acceptable to people, it essentially means it’s OK to eat the kind of stuff we put into pet food." “Culturally we don’t eat byproducts of human food production. It’s not in our culture. Other cultures do. We don’t.”

Where do I start? How about with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years of human history. Think about the stereotype of the "French housewife," making practical use of every bit of food that comes her way.

Think of peasants from prehistory  to, well, now --- also making pracitical use of every bit of food that comes their way. With food always in short supply, and hungry people to feed, humans have, for ages, used up every bit of food.

You know? Like scraping every. last. bit. of meat from the bones of a carcass. Like dumping the bones and their remnants of meat into a pot of water and cooking it until the bones are softened and those last jots of protein have fallen from the bone.

Only someone who has never wanted for food would equate "pink slime" with dog food. Only in the extraordinarily affluent U.S. would people attack an industry for trying to make use of rather than waste food.

As I've noted here before, Marion Nestle is prone to playing fast/loose with facts. (*1)

 In this case, she goes too far. Way too far. To refer to meat as "dog food" simply because she doesn't like where that meat comes from is more than wrong-headed. In this case it borders on immoral.

There is another critcism of PS that's also worth mentioning (along with, yes!, a bit more history):

Some critics argue this: If the stuff is safe to eat, why do its manufacturers use ammonia-based (and other) processes to sterilize it?

Folks, you'd be amazed at how much of your meat gets sterilized these days before it hits the table. In this case, the procedure was added to the deboning process back in the 1990s, presumably after an outbreak of e. coli-related illnesses. (See yesterday's blog entry for that point.)

Here's the thing about e. coli: As I hope most of you know, we all carry this bacteria. It's in us all the time. Cattle also carry it in their digestive tracts.

Critics argue that e. coli has become more common in recent years because meat inspection has become lax.

Maybe. Maybe not. (I favor the "not" side.)

But here's another point that most people don't know (because only a nerdish history-head like me would know stuff like this):

e. coli first became problematic back in the early 1980s. At the time, that puzzled scientists --- but eventually they pinpointed the likely reason why e. coli had suddenly become a problem:

For more than a century, one of the main missions of the US Department of Agriculture has been to eradicate livestock diseases, whether "Texas fever," pleuro-pneumonia, bruccelosis (I probably spelled that wrong) or the dozens of respiratory diseases that afflict poultry. The USDA combatted livestock disease because those cause high mortality rates among livestock, reduce herd and flock sizes, and drive up the cost of food.

(As I said yesterday, it's impossible to overestimate the impact of Americans' demands for cheap food.)

By the middle of the twentieth century, the USDA had succeeded in eliminating and controlling most livestock diseases. The department's campaigns were so effective, in fact, that cattle grazers and feeders reduced the number of vaccinations they gave their livestock, or abandoned the shots altogether.

The unexpected consequence was that, for the first time in a century, the e. coli that cattle naturally carry had a chance to flourish unimpeded, and rather quickly became a problem for humans. (We have a much harder time with e. coli than do cattle.)

Meatpackers have always used various materials and substances to "preserve" meats --- meaning to prevent the growth of bacteria in those meats. The method used to sterilize PS is just one of those methods.

Any chance we can all just step back from the witch hunt hysteria and think about this matter? Fearmongering, whether by politicians or food activists, is bad policy because instilling fear becomes a convenient way to prevent otherwise rational people from thinking a problem through. 

So. How 'bout a little reason and a few facts with that Pink Slime?


*1. Just so we're all clear: I've got nothing personal against Nestle. I don't know her. Have never met her. It's unlikely I ever will meet her. My point is that she commands attention and it's unfortunate that she chooses to abuse her power by playing so fast/loose with facts.

tongue.stan's picture

I had an ammonia margarita last night. I have loved them since the 70's and 80's, and I am still quite alive, and very clean on the inside, so, you know, there's that... Plus, I've read history books that said the barbeque was invented by the chinese, who as everyone knows are the healthiest people on the planet. I tend to err on the side of our trustworthy and bone afide experts in this field of pink substances. Its beef if people who know and have studied say so. In fact, I would think it is reasonable for everything to be cleaned in ammonia: babies, politicians, teeth, cars, dogs, etc. because it is only one of many ways to kill those pesky coli.

I just wish there were a reality show about the meat production industry so I could see how remarkable and modern the meat production industy is. I think that would really put to rest this hysteria about P.S.


the grateful unemployed's picture

me thinks we bin takin crap for alotta years since before Nixon, is that the reason we should keep on filling our plate?

erumisato's picture

Imagine my shock when the first three links gave me 503 service errors!

a growing concern's picture

+1000 for Ministry of Silly Walks

Tailwind's picture


Is that a Fukishima cow? NOW I know where they get that pink slime....

williambanzai7's picture

What troubles me is my affinity for street vender hotdogs. I know it's a big mistake.

Joebloinvestor's picture

Pink slime dumbshit.

If the slime had been black, they would call you a racist.

williambanzai7's picture

We pedaled down the let's call WB7 a racist road long ago. Not much to it.

Joebloinvestor's picture

I wouldn't, I would have called you correct, but with Holder in the pic, I would have said two slimes.

williambanzai7's picture

Actually Holder is the real shit. And a useless shit at that. ;-)

Golden monkey's picture

From her. To you, Banzai7.

"On a ouvert le feu" = We opened fire...

Lost Wages's picture

Hungry for some meat slurry nuggets.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

US Grade F - US Dumbshit - not suitable for human thought - we are so "fooked"....

Wakanda's picture

I empathize with the confused cow.

WTF is in that US dumbshit box?

rosiescenario's picture

WB.....Bernanke's sole looks like it was taken from Adlai Stevenson's campaign??????

MonkeySmoke's picture

I am surprised you gave the MSM a positive rating. Linda Green, positive!! I love it. She should be appointed Timmay's replacement. Oh, that's right, she just happens to be traveling in disguise, as Timmay.

Nobody For President's picture

Oh Jesus, Banzai - the Public Trust chart had me laughing out loud and hard by the end - it starts with a chuckle, moves to a laugh, then somewhere around 'Bisexual Proctologists" I just lost it...

A Banzai top 100.


williambanzai7's picture

I could drill much further into it. Basically who can you trust these days? This is a long and ponderous question.

Arnold Ziffel's picture

The Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pa., is a prime example of taxpayer spending that refuses to die. Representative John Murtha steered some 150 million of taxpayer dollars to this eponymous airport over the last decade and despite the fact he died more than a year ago, the money keeps on coming.

Three years ago, we first visited the tiny airport, and found a monument to pork barrel spending: An airport with a $7 million air traffic control tower, $14 million hanger, and $18 million runway big enough to land any airplane in North America. For most of the day, the only thing this airport doesn't have is airplanes.

We flew there on one of three flights that arrive there daily, all of them from Washington D.C. About half the cost of every ticket, $100, is paid by American taxpayers, a subsidy Congress voted to renew just this past February.

Pigs at the trough.... these parasitic pigs are NOT relatives of mine...

israhole's picture

Nice pic of little Timmy G., you're genius with a camera!

WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

Check out the Band "Battles" with the Pink Slime in the video for the Song "Ice cream"