Should the National Horse Slaughter Ban of 2006 be Repealed?

horse slaughter ban The National Horse Slaughter Ban of 2006 was essentially instituted after The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2005-2006 was signed into law. This law included a clause that removed funding for the inspection of horse slaughterhouses, closing the slaughter houses and the practices all together.

The ban was lifted in 2011 when permits were issued by the Department of Agriculture to construct horse slaughterhouses, renewing the debate and the controversy. After careful analysis, I contend that the national horse slaughter ban of 2006 should be repealed, and here are the three reasons why:

There's No Good Reason to Exempt Horses, but Not Pigs, Cattle, Chickens Etc.

If you're going to be against the horse slaughter, then you have to be against cow slaughter, chicken slaughter, pig slaughter etc. There are many practices that would be part of horse slaughter, but are also already part of the slaughter of other animals, even though those practices aren't receiving the same attention. The problems of factory farms and animal slaughter have been documented many times over by a variety of credible sources, yet the issue is still relegated as something only those radical vegans and animal-rights activists care about. Yet, somehow, horse slaughter is a much more mainstream issue and horses are much more deserving than pigs, cattle, chickens, ducks etc. of humane treatment and of avoiding the processes that are a part of turning animals into food products.

“Horse slaughter has no place in our culture,” Redford said in a statement last week to the Associated Press in announcing formation of a foundation that has joined the fight. “It is cruel, inhumane, and perpetuates abuse and neglect of these beloved animals. We must oppose it with all of our might. We need to ensure horses have safe and kind treatment during their lives and are afforded the peaceful and dignified end they deserve.”

Although Redford's stance is admirable, there's nothing distinctive about it that shows why horses don't deserve cruel, inhuman abuse and neglect but other animals do. Redford's statement could be applied to any other animal and still hold up as logical and compassionate. Pigs, cattle, chickens etc. also go to slaughterhouses for the preparation of human consumption. It would also seem that everything would be fine if horses were bred, from birth, for human consumption and not as a companion animal. I have a tough time seeing how that treatment is humane and okay for those animals, but not for horses. It's either cruel and inhumane for all animals or no animals at all.

Companion Animals Face Early Death Also

Part of those who support the repeal are Native American tribes who need help controlling their horse populations. The Navajo and Yakama nations said in USA Today that the exploding horse populations on their reservations "are trampling and overgrazing rangelands, decimating forage resources for cattle and causing widespread environmental damage." Although an out-of-control horse population poses unique threats to the land, the idea of population control is applied to companion animals such as cats and dogs. The Humane Society notes that 2.7 million healthy cats and dogs are euthanized every year at shelters simply because they haven't been adopted and they no longer have the room for them.

No, those animals aren't being sent to slaughterhouses for possible human consumption, but the idea that there should be a ban on horses because we don't want horses to die before their time or because they are companion animals isn't all the strong. This is especially since cats and dogs don't have this same fervor. It is also presumed that if the horses were euthanized instead of sent to slaughterhouses, then everything would be fine. Once again, it comes down to the reasoning behind exempting horses but not other animals. If cats and dogs are forcefully put down as part of population control, then why is that practice okay for them but not for horses? Either do it for all or do it for none.

Laws Can Be Put in Place to Assuage Other Concerns

One of the major arguments against repealing the ban is the use of over 100 medications in horses that aren't fit for human consumption. These medications are unregulated, toxic to humans, and aren't used with other feed animals. However, this concern can be assuaged in two ways: instituting laws and regulations on those medications, and/or begin breeding and raising horses specifically for human consumption. Repealing this ban and constructing these horse slaughterhouses isn't going to happen overnight, so there is time to address concerns such as these medications. There's also no law or mandate that says that the horses that are slaughtered have to be used for human consumption in the United States. If the meat is used toward zoo feed, for example, then the concern about these medications and human consumption is mute.

In conclusion, I couldn't find a good reason to justify a slaughter ban on horses that shows why horses are more special or precious than the other animals that are slaughtered every day. I don't understand why slaughtering the other animals is perfectly fine, and doesn't merit the same outcry, especially when many of the same conditions that apply to these animals would also apply to the horses.

This is Why It's Awesome to be a Night Owl!

i'm a night owlI have been so excited for my new niche this weekend! I've been wanting to get started so badly that I kept going to the site looking for the new questions, but new questions are released every Monday. I didn't want to prepare a question for last week for this week. I want to keep this week for this week and next week for next week etc. So, I sighed and distracted myself with other things (like Rogue Legacy). Only then did it occur to me that the questions came out a midnight! This means I can start planning now if I want to, and I really do, and maybe even get my first question out on Tuesday. I've only looked at the international questions, and there's already a few that I'm interested in. This is why it's awesome to be a night owl! You get the first crack at things! You could think of it as the earliest bird getting the worm!

What Do I Want to Tackle This Week?

Of the 20 possible questions, I can only settle on three for four. I don't have the time, or the interest, to do all 20. To get me a little head start, I've narrowed down the 20 to these possible 10 questions. I don't want to give away too much, after all. There still needs to be some element of surprise!

  1. Does Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leave office with a positive legacy?
  2. Why is South Africa supporting Robert Mugabe?
  3. Is an Egyptian government led by its military better for the West than a government led by the Muslim Brotherhood?
  4. Is nuclear power the key to China’s economic future?
  5. Are Afghanistan’s security forces strong enough to contain the Taliban?
  6. Would a government shutdown over funding Obamacare hurt the GOP in the 2014 midterms?
  7. How should the U.S. respond to Russia’s sheltering of Edward Snowden?
  8. Should the national horse slaughter ban of 2006 be repealed?
  9. What changes should be made to America’s food stamp program?
  10. How can President Obama get his economic agenda through Congress?

I Might Even Be More Excited Tomorrow

It is getting late, so I'll probably be heading to bed in an hour or so (maybe, that's a very big maybe).  I don't know, I did find last week's questions much more interesting than this week's questions. However, I do think once I get some rest, have a productive Monday, and get started on my very first question, I'll be much more excited. I'll be taking the time to learn about current events of the day, to sort through the partisan spin and come down on the arguments and truths that answer the question. These are the questions that ought to be answered on cable news shows and in commentary, something beyond a simple reporting of the facts and providing that liberal/conservative perspective that the audience is seeking. It's questions like these that really get the discussion going and really determine what the next steps should be for these different issues.

I'm Going to Have to Reorganize My Categories

I just realized that nearly all of the categories I have now won't be applicable to this new niche, meaning that I'll have to redo all of them. Or, I'll at least have to create a whole bunch of new ones and fiddle around with the widget so that only the categories related to current affairs show up on the home page and such. I'm pretty sure it's possible to delete categories. I know you can simply change the names. I'm not sure if you can pick and choose the categories that you want to feature in the widget. Perhaps I'll find all this out in the coming weeks as I write these new posts and create these new categories.

I Figured Out a Niche

I figured it out! I know I've gone through this whole charade before (and I totally did when thinking about my news show and before settling on identity capital), but I've figured out a niche for real this time. After thinking about my niche, I've come to a decision and I think it's a good one. I'm going to cover current affairs as a whole.

After thinking about that niche and outlining my ideas, I realized that they all fell under the category of current affairs. Even identity theft and credit reports are current affairs topics, since they keep coming up in the news and they are changing enough to merit constant attention.

Here's the Plan

My plan is to pull my blog post ideas from Extemp Central. They do a good job of posting questions every week, but I do notice the site lacks in original issue analysis (perhaps that's what the strategy briefs are about, but you have to pay for those. Not everyone wants to pay for those.) It also lacks answers to the questions it posts, although it does share and forward useful articles every week, sometimes those articles don't line up with any of the question it's posted. So, I plan to fill in what's missing by answering questions three to four times a week. It will take some time to do the necessary research, but I also do want to do personal, off-the-wall blog posts from time to time, so there's room for that as well.

Have I said all this before? I feel like I have since it all sounds so familiar in my head.

Blog Post Topic Examples Include:

  1. Should the U.S. cut off military aid to Egypt?
  2. Are Common Core standards bad for American education?
  3. Should Google Glass be banned from public places? (I've actually answered this question before on another blog, but nothing too extensive).
  4. Is Elizabeth Warren a potential Democratic presidential nominee in 2016?
  5. Should secular corporations be exempted from Obamacare’s contraception requirement on religious grounds?
  6. How should states deal with their looming pension crisis?
  7. Is it in Pakistan’s best interest to improve ties with Afghanistan?
  8. What steps does the Libyan government need to take to restore stability?
  9. Is al Qaeda making a comeback in Iraq?
  10. How should the international community police money-transfer agencies to insure that they are not funding terrorism?
  11. Would the construction of an inter-oceanic canal solve Nicaragua’s poverty problem?


I originally got into international extemporaneous speaking almost 10 years ago (it's been that long since sophomore year of high school! Whoa!) because I was learning so many things that I didn't even know were going on. On top of that, these were issues that weren't talked about on the news but were very important for people to know and understand. With what the American media covers and what the pundits talk about, this situation hasn't improved. If anything, it's gotten worse since the mainstream media is much more partisan than ever and it completely ignores foreign events unless it somehow relates to the United States (or when someone of royalty is born, as that's very important). It's tough to find world news on the mainstream channels and websites. You have to know where to look.

At the very least, I'm working to prevent what happens in this video from happening to other people. I mean, the family was so darn excited to play too. Apparently, they didn't have a clause that said, "Pass when we don't have any answers." The other family didn't have clause that said, "When I can't think of an answer, I should probably listen to the rest of my family."

I Need a Good Name for a News Show

good name for a news showOne of my ideas for my budding YouTube broadcasting empire is a news show. I've finally crystallized this idea with topics and a format, and I might shoot my first show as early as tomorrow. But, one that's hindering me here is a name for this news show. I know I could just put up a video of me talking, but since I want to build a brand and develop some real content and programming here, I do think a name and something reminiscent of structure is good. I think a video of me talking is going to make it look like I am a political vlogger, which is not what I am and not what I want to be.

Topics and Format

So, my idea for the news show is to utilize my previous experience in international extemporaneous speaking and provide analysis of current events while answering questions that could come up in actual coming rounds during speech and debate tournaments. I will pull my questions from Extemp Central, which does a good job of regularly posting relevant questions on a weekly basis. In each episode, I will answer one question to the best of my ability, doing research and practicing what I'm going to say before I shoot the video. It's newsy without becoming 'entertainment', it's something I can do by myself, and it's something that I think can be of value beyond the speech community. Below are some of the most recent questions that I want to tackle:

  • Is Benghazi the next Watergate?*
  • Will the U.S. launch a manned mission to Mars by 2030?
  • Will Mark Sanford’s victory assist the Democrats in enhancing their appeal to female voters in 2014?
  • Can Jeb Bush escape his brother’s shadow and win the presidency in 2016?
  • How should the Department of Defense handle new allegations of sexual assault in the military?
  • Will the U.S. Senate approve the UN arms trade treaty?
  • In regards to the Middle East peace process, can China succeed where the United States has failed?
  • What steps does Pope Francis need to take to enhance Catholicism’s reputation in Europe?
  • Is natural gas the global energy source of the future?
  • What can the international community do to encourage more corporate responsibility in areas of the developing world?

*Definitely tackling this one for my first episode, even though it probably is the most controversial of the selected topics.

What About "All is On with Allison?"

This name, which is the name of the blog if you haven't noticed, was what my fiancee suggested I name the news show. Although it's good, and the name was originally for a political radio show, I really don't think it's a good fit. I don't like that it positions me as the star as the show, which is not what I want because I do want to have the flexibility to expand it to include a panel of experts in the future to discuss these issues. I also don't think "all is on" fits either. I don't think all is on, at least with this show.

Actually, after all this. I think I just thought of a great name for my news show: "Fresh Interpretations." That's what I hope to provide with these videos, and I believe that I am doing something that at least the mainstream media isn't doing. With some of the proposed topics, I don't think the main news sources are asking those questions and providing that specific insight. It also reflects on what I do best: offering a new perspective and doing something better than the rest.

Okay, so after all that, I might not have needed any of your help at all. I just needed to listen to the first few bars of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" and I just came up with it all on my own. Who knew jazz was so inspiration and so good at getting the juice flowing?

How About a Newspaper Comprised Entirely of Business Blog Posts?

Huffington Post of business blogsThink of It as the Huffington Post of Business Blogs

I applied for an Arch Grant toward the end of last year. I didn't get it, but if I did, I would have put that money into a brilliant idea I have called The Stirring Standard. This idea is essentially an online newspaper that syndicates all of its content from business blogs. Nothing like it exists, at least not yet. I'd like to see the Stirring Standard live and thrive, and perhaps be a game changer for news and content marketing.

Why Is This Needed?

As someone in the content marketing industry, more and more businesses are buying into the idea of content marketing, starting business blogs and venturing into other types of content. This is great, however, businesses lack channels to get this content in front of consumers. Companies currently have their own website, search engines, social media, and co-marketing/guest posting opportunities. The first three are great, and there's nothing wrong with them. However, it's incredibly difficult to find and to build guest posting relationships (co-marketing isn't as difficult, but you don't want to co-market all the time, or co-market with just one or two folks all the time). Businesses want to get their content in front of more people, build their audiences, and to build backlinks, but all that is tough to accomplish with the channels that are currently available. The Stirring Standard is designed to be that additional channel, something that accomplishes those three goals but rewards great content that is of value to the audience.

Rewarding Great Content is Key

With content marketing on the rise, it's going to be tough for companies to have content that stands out from the competition. It'll come down to more than optimizing it right, and covering the right topic for your audience. Those methods will work for those who started creating content early, but it won't be enough for those who start this year. The Stirring Standard will be an entity that will set the standard for great content, and will make an effort to have that great content rise above the mediocre stuff. It'll also level the playing field between those who've been in this awhile and those who are just starting. As an online publication, there will also be additional opportunities to feature content that isn't a blog post. Calls-to-action will appear in the sidebars and at the bottoms of posts, leading to eBooks, whitepapers, webinars and other long forms of content. It also forces content creators to think about the audience, instead of writing about company announcements, products, and services.

What Do You Think?

If you have any thoughts on this idea, please let me know in the comments. Since I didn't get the grant, I am strongly considering getting this done on my own. I already have two separate companies submit their business blogs for consideration, and this is through no advertising and no action on the site since September 2012. Something must have caught their attention to submit their blogs, despite five months of inactivity on the website. I believe that businesses have a story to tell, and have stories that consumer would be interested in. I believe that businesses are some of the best experts in their field, and aren't driven to create sensational content or false content, which has plagued online and print publications in the past. That is my vision, and I think there's a lot of merit to this vision. I think a lot of businesses would be interested in this opportunity, and would be willing to pay money to be syndicated. So, please, let me know your thoughts here.

How I Would Change Newspapers

How I Would Change NewspapersNewspapers may be a dying breed of mass media, but I have one certainty about newspapers: they aren't dying because people don't want the news anymore. The journalism industry may be falling apart because the world has changed and it's now the older folks who are reading the morning paper with their cup of coffee.

Steer Away from Advertising

The biggest reason newspapers are failing is because advertising revenues are down. People are no longer paying for classified ads when Craigslist is available for free. Businesses are no longer paying for ads when everyone is hopping online for their news. If advertising revenues are down, then newspapers need to find a new source of revenue. My suggestion would be advertorials, articles from businesses that relate to their products and services while offering something of value to readers of the newspaper. No, these things won't be press releases, but simply informative and feature articles that happen to be written by companies instead of freelance writers or journalists.

Do More Multimedia

I would suggest that newspapers engage in some of the content marketing techniques that businesses are using, such as infographics, videos, slideshows, ebooks, and whitepapers. No, this content wouldn't be promoting the newspaper, but would be supplemental content to the journalistic article we are used to. For example, coverage of President Obama's inauguration could be accompanies by an infographic outlining what he's accomplished in his first term. An article on the latest in Syria or Israel/Palestine could come with an e-book or whitepaper that goes into the history of the situation or the two countries. I'm not necessarily saying the coverage of the Super Bowl or the State of the Union should be in a slideshow. I'm simply suggesting that newspapers can get a little more creative here in order to draw readers in.

Granted, they are already trying with online techniques such as video and social media, but newspapers need to do more than to promote their own content. They ought to create content no one else is creating, utilizing the knowledge that their reporters have built up over the years.

Hold Government Accountable

As the only industry protected by the Constitution, newspapers have the responsibility to hold government and its officials accountable. For newspapers, this would primarily be local government and state government, since national government would be of the purview of national newspapers and perhaps the newspapers in Washington D.C. It's tough work, and not everyone wants the press or a journalist talking and asking questions, but that's the job of the press and a journalist. This is an incredibly responsibility because if newspapers don't do it, it's hard to figure out who will.

Put the Feature Stuff Elsewhere

Okay, I grant that sports, editorials, opinion and what not are more popular than the hard news stories. Because they are more popular, I think these sections shouldn't go into the main newspaper but be given their own platform, whether that's strictly online or as an insert or even as a smaller tabloid that could be purchased separately. This would give both the hard news and the fun stuff more column inches, increasing the coverage of both topics. This would also make the hard news less reliant on advertising. Folks are advertising to be seen next to the report on what President Obama is doing or on what's happening halfway across the world.  Folks are advertising to be seen next to the sports or arts sections, which might have stories more relevant to what's being advertised.

Perform More Investigative Journalism

With the budget cuts, newspapers don't do this as much as they used to, although newspapers are one of the few institutions that can be trusted to do investigative journalism well. This may be easier to do once the feature stuff is moved around and maybe more revenue is coming in and all of that good stuff. Or, perhaps a newspaper could go change things entirely and only do investigative journalism. After all, there's tons of other people and publications covering much of the other stuff.

10 Stories Fox News Falsely Reported as News

media mattersIt should be noted that I originally wrote this article in early 2011 for a site called The site ended up getting infected with malware, and was taken offline and all its articles with it. It was a great site, and this article actually went viral the month it was published. It is being republished here, as it was published way back when, since it fits the bill of what this blog is all about. Late last week, Media Matters for America spoke with a Fox News “insider”, who said that things are made up all the time at the organization. This “insider” also said that it is the M.O of Fox News to “undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats.”

Whether or not this insider is actually an insider, or whether or not Fox News has such an M.O. or not is another story. This story should make us question how valid the statement is about Fox News making things up, or reporting stories that just aren’t true. Have they ever reported something that was just plain false? Well, here are 10 stories for you:

The Shirley Sherrod “Scandal”

In July 2010, Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign from her post as Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture. Blogger and conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart first posted a video on his website that “shows” Sherrod telling a story of how she discriminated against a white farmer, and how that action was approved up by the audience to whom she was speaking. The problem was that the video was actually one small snippet of a 45-minute video, where Sherrod ends up helping that white farmer and fostering a friendship with him.

But the full video, and full story, was not what circulated the mainstream media, including Fox News. As of this week, Sherrod has sued Breitbart, with no more comment from either party.

Watch the snippet

Watch the full speech

The Nuclear Security Summit Logo

Also in the summer of 2010, made a lot of fuss about the “resemblance” between the Islam crescent and the logo of the Nuclear Security Summit. Not only is this one of least newsworthy things in the whole world, but also it was a similarity first interpreted by right-wing bloggers, who are always looking for a conspiracy theory. Besides a bunch of pictures, there was nothing substantial that proved that the Islam crescent served as the inspiration for that logo.

Fox’s Coverage of the “Conspiracy”

Where the idea really came from

A Ban on the Declaration of Independence

For two weeks toward the end of 2004, Fox News falsely reported that an elementary school in Cupertino, Calif. banned the Declaration of Independence because it mentioned God. The idea came from an erroneous headline of a Reuters article covering the same story, but the story specifies that the school was banning handouts from fifth grade teacher Stephen Williams, who had selected only the certain parts of the Declaration of Independence that make reference to God. The school was not banning the document itself, nor was it imposing any sort of ban on the entire school, but just the handouts from Williams, which happened to contain words from the Declaration. Though Williams, and Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence, also said on Hannity & Colmes and the school was banning the Declaration of Independence, Hannity and Colmes were not the only pundits to cover this story. The other pundits didn’t necessarily have Williams and Lorence either. On top of that, it took a correction from the school itself to straighten the matter out.

See who else failed to check the facts on this one

Paul Begala and the Clinton Campaign

In January 2008, Fox News reported several times that CNN political commentator Paul Begala was joining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Only was that false, and that Begala told at least 11 news organizations (including Fox News) that the rumor wasn’t true. Yet, Fox News continued to report it anyway, and to also report (falsely) that Begala had made conference calls with the campaign. Not sure if this every got rectified.

Read the full discourse between Begala and Fox’s Major Garrett

The LAPD Gets Jetpacks

In October 2010, Fox & Friends reported that the Los Angeles Police Department had purchased 10,000 new jetpacks, at $100,000 a piece. Except that the entire thing is false, as corroborated by the Los Angeles Times. Fox & Friends retracted the story about 40 minutes later.

Watch their hilarious coverage

Where the story really came from

How Many People Attended that Rally?

That’s a good question, especially when you are asking Fox News. There have been a few instances where the number, or footage, that Fox News syndicates reported on a crowd or rally was disputed, such as the crowds for Sarah Palin’s new book, the 9/12 protest, or the Tea Party protests against Barack Obama.

Watch Sean Hannity admit yet another footage error by the network

No One Covered the Washington Tea Party

In the Washington Post of Sept. 18, 2009, Fox News took out a full-page ad that said, "How did, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN miss this story?" The ad refers to the 9/12 protests and insinuates (or at least can logically be interpreted to insinuate) that these other networks didn’t cover the march at all. However, this is not the case, and there’s numerous evidence to show otherwise. In fact, here’s a report card grading how EACH NETWORK covered the march.

View the misleading ad

A sample of CNN’s coverage

Terrorists Just Loved it When the Dems Took Over Congress

Keith Olbermann in November of 2006 got his hands on some documents from Fox News officials that tell reporters and producers to talk about how the War on Terror is still going, and how Muslim extremists love the fact that the Democrats took over Congress in this midterm election. Granted, this is Keith Olbermann, but it’s definitely food for thought.

Watch Olbermann in action

Felons Vote, Troops Don’t

Just before the November midterm elections, our good ole pals over at Fox & Friends reported that Cook County, Illinois hand delivered ballots to inmates, while it sent the absentee ballots for soldiers serving overseas a little bit late. There were just a few problems with this one:

  • Cook County did not send their absentee ballots late. In fact, the county had sent them almost two weeks ahead of schedule
  • Inmates are not hand delivered ballots, but must request them just like anybody else.
  • An inmate only gets a ballot if they are not yet convicted in a court of law. An inmate also doesn’t get a ballot if they are convicted any time between the day they request and Election Day.

Watch the full Fox News report

Read a little bit more about the truth

“We’re not making this up!”

This one led to a lawsuit of Fox News, when Fox & Friends reported a fake news story and repeated false information. The story involved a middle school prank in Lewiston, Maine, when a student tossed a slab of ham onto a table of Somali Muslim students, knowing they would be offended. Fox & Friends reported a parody of the prank, where quotes attributed to superintendent Leon Levesque were repeated, such as teaching the students that “ham is not a toy,” and that the district is developing an “anti-ham” response plan.

To clarify, the story about the prank is completely true. The quotes attributed to superintendent Leon Levesque, were completely falsified.

To report on the story and to those quotes once before a retraction may be excusable, but to do it twice in a before realizing the mistake is simply poor journalism. On top of that, the mistake wasn’t acknowledged until three weeks later! In their defense, Fox & Friends did tell the truth in that they were not making it up. The problem was, somebody else made it all up. But is that really any excuse?

Hate crime, or just a ham sandwich?

Read how Fox & Friends escaped the guilty verdict