Sarah Palin and turkeys

Amy the French professor is originally from Minnesota. She thought the 1996 movie, Fargo, was a linguistics masterpiece, what with its ‘Yah, you betchas’ and ‘you don’t says’ and demonstration of the ‘Minnesota nice’ conversational style.

Fargo seems like a distant memory, now that Sarah Palin has appropriated all the best lines.

Former VP candidate and current Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was in Wasilla today to do the traditional pardoning a local turkey ahead of Thanksgiving. Minutes later, a farm worker began slaughtering another turkey just a few feet behind her … plainly visible in the background of the video (below).

Governor Palin was told by the photographer what was going on behind her and allowed the interview to continue.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) could sign Governor Palin up as an undercover slaughterhouse worker. As the N.Y. Times reported Wednesday, PETA is asking for prosecution of workers at the Aviagen Turkeys plant in Lewisburg, W.Va., in a complaint filed with the local sheriff’s office under state laws regarding cruelty to animals. …

The Aviagen video can be seen at The scenes show stomach-turning brutality. Workers are seen smashing birds into loading cages like basketballs, stomping heads and breaking necks, apparently for fun, even pretending to rape one. …

Bernard E. Rollin, a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, said the workers’ actions were “totally unacceptable” and suggested that they be removed from working with animals and prosecuted.

Confirmed: birds poop on peas in field, sicken 99 with campylobacter in Alaska

Sarah Palin, look at what is going on in your own backyard while you’re getting people all excited with your Katie Couric interviews.

New molecular laboratory findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide a firm link between an outbreak of Campylobacter diarrhea that occurred in Southcentral Alaska this summer and eating uncooked peas grown in Alaska.

"Molecular studies demonstrated that there was a match between Campylobacter bacteria obtained from sick people and those obtained from pea and Sandhill Crane samples taken from the farm in Palmer," said Dr. Tracie Gardner, an epidemiologist with the Alaska Division of Public Health.

To date, the investigation has identified 99 people sickened by the bacteria who reported eating raw peas within 10 days of illness onset. Fifty-four had laboratory confirmation of illness. Five were hospitalized. None have died.

Investigation revealed a lack of chlorine in the water used to wash the peas at the farm. State officials are working with the farm to implement future control measures.

Yes, chlorinated water could be part of the economic bailout to boost health-care reform. Over to you, Sarah.

Sarah Palin: what will you do about sandhill cranes pooping on peas and giving Alaskans campylobacter?

We can’t kill all the birds. That’s my usual response when talking about the practicality of on-farm food safety systems for fresh produce. Yes, birds are salmonella and campylobacter factories. But, as a farmer, you do what you can to reduce risk.

It now appears that the 18 people in Alaska sick with campylobacter got it from eating raw peas from a farm, where apparently sandhill cranes were crapping all over the peas.

The Anchorage Daily News says that Joe McLaughlin, state epidemiologist with the state health department, said Thursday afternoon the likely culprits in spreading the illness in Mat-Su are sandhill cranes.

Apparently the migratory birds love the peas in Mat-Valley Peas’ fields. And what geese can do to a sidewalk, cranes do to a field.

"The farmer thinks that’s the likely scenario," McLaughlin said. "He has another field with cattle nearby, but it’s highly plausible that the cranes’ poop is the cause."

Duane Clark, who markets the peas for longtime grower John Hett, said, "They don’t have proof we’re the ones, and we don’t have proof we’re not."

"I’ve been farming for over 30 years," Hett said, "and never had a problem."

Shayne Herr, Hett’s son-in-law and manager of the farm, said, "If DEC’s concerned, we’re concerned." He said his family eats raw peas all the time, "and we never get diarrhea. We wash them and we’re fine. If we don’t like them, we don’t sell them."

It’s a new marketing slogan: our food is fine cause we don’t get diahhrea.

What would Sarah Palin do? Peas in Alaska source of campylobacter, 18 sickened

My mom was a hockey mom. She and dad drove me all around Ontario to play hockey. I still remember the brawl between some of the hockey moms when we played Galt (before it was Cambridge). The cops were called. I may have been 13. My mom wasn’t involved (at least she won’t admit she was involved).

I coached and helped out with my four girls playing hockey, so I guess I was a hockey dad. I’m not a pit bull and don’t wear lipstick.

Sarah Palin may be a hockey mom who thinks the Flintstones are an accurate representation of human-dinosaur co-habitation and is open to war with Russia, but what I’d really like to hear about is how the vice-presidential candidate responds to foodborne illness in her own backyard.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that a farm in the Matanuska Valley has been called the focal point of a campylobacter outbreak that has sickened at least 18 people in Southcentral Alaska after they ate raw peas.

Mat-Valley Peas in Palmer sells the peas in 5- and 10-pound bags with cooking instructions that would have prevented the outbreak, but some retailers and sellers at farmers markets have repackaged the peas in smaller quantities and left out the cooking instructions, said Joe McLaughlin, state epidemiologist with the health department.

The first of the 18 cases, including one person who was hospitalized, occurred Aug. 1.

And my mom, she never had to brag about being a hockey mom. She was the real deal.