Time for the Popehat Signal: Help A Blogger Sued For Petitioning The Government

The Popehat Signal

It's time, once again, for the Popehat signal, lit to seek help for a blogger threatened with a censorious lawsuit. I'm seeking national First Amendment counsel and local counsel in Nebraska.

The blogger is Bettina Siegel, who writes about kids and food "in school and out" at The Lunch Tray. As part of her blogging, Ms. Siegel wrote about the "pink slime" furor surrounding the beef industry, and started a petition to the USDA. She wasn't named in the industry-driven "pink slime" defamation suit I wrote about in September. However, she — along with ABC and various journalists — have been named in a new pro se suit.

The June Press Release

I first heard of the plaintiff — Bruce Smith — when his wife issued a press release last June announcing his new book "Pink Slime Ate My Job" and his impending lawsuit.

PINK SLIME” Press Release

You are invited to attend:

Former Beef Products (BPI) EHS Director, Bruce Smith, will be holding a press conference on June 26, 2012, commencing at 1:30 pm at Sterling Green Estates Meeting Room, 320 Dakota Dunes Blvd., Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, to announce his filing of a civil lawsuit against a national news broadcasting company and other prominent individuals involved in the “pink slime” ground beef controversy Smith now refers to as March Meat Madness Month 2012 in his new book on the subject entitled Pink Slime Ate My Job, a soon to be released non-fiction account from an insider’s standpoint, published by Rauttnee Publishing Company. Smith is one of nearly 1,000 employees who lost their jobs after BPI was forced to close three of its four lean beef production plants following the ‘viral’ explosion of the “pink slime” news story beginning in March 2012. Copies of the lawsuit will be provided to those attending, along with an introduction to Smith's new book about the “pink slime” saga from the insider's viewpoint.

Lisa K. Smith
Public Relations Manager
Rauttnee Publishing Company

I wrote requesting some information. Ms. Smith wrote back:

Dear Ken ~

Thank you for your inquiry. At this time, no further information will be released until next Tuesday, June 26th, when Mr. Smith will be holding his press conferece with the media invited. After that time, perhaps your questions will be answered.

Lisa K. Smith

But the press conference did not take place, and Mr. Smith did not then file the lawsuit. He did, however, publish his book, apparently through Rauttnee, which is his own company and also publishes his contemporary piano music.

The December Lawsuit

For some time, we heard nothing from Mr. Smith. Ms. Siegel continued to blog, attracting occasional abusive and anti-Semitic comments. Six months later, Mr. Smith — who is an attorney, but is pro se in this case — sued a group of media defendants, including Ms. Siegel, in state court in Nebraska. Mr. Smith announced the suit at a press conference at which his book and posters promoting it were featured prominently; he says that he'll donate $100,000 to help people who lost their jobs, so long as he sells 100,000 books.

The suit seems calculated to harass and maximize the cost of a defense. Mr. Smith, a resident of South Dakota, sued Ms. Siegel, a blogger in Texas, in Nebraska. Mr. Smith offers only one cause of action: negligent infliction of emotional distress. (I usually call the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress "butthurt in the first degree"; I suppose this would have to be butthurt in the second degree.) Mr. Smith's choice of a single cause of action appears part of his plan to keep the case out of federal court; he's claimed his damages do not exceed $70,000, which he expressly admits is to evade federal jurisdiction. Mr. Smith has also stated that he hopes many people file low-dollar lawsuits like his, which would, of course, be costly to defend.

Smith's claim against Ms. Siegel is based expressly on her petitioning activity protected by the First Amendment — he complains that she started a petition to the USDA, that she used the term "pink slime" (which he, like his industry, believes is unprotected by the First Amendment), and that she blogged using a picture to depict pink slime that actually depicted something else.

Smith's claim has numerous patent problems that will be obvious to practitioners. Please consider being part of this defense. Reach out to he at ken at popehat dot etc. Remember: harassment suits work because the legal system is inadequate to address them. As a result, people like Mr. Smith can chill and deter citizens from participating in public debate. You can be part of the fight against such conduct, which is ultimately a fight for everyone's freedom of speech.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. says

    This guy is clearly an ass-clown, and you're going good work by pointing it out and helping to muster a defense.

    This bit, thought:

    > He did, however, publish his book, apparently through Rauttnee, which is his own company and also publishes his contemporary piano music.

    seems a bit mean. So he owns a small company that he uses to self-publish a variety of stuff. So what?

    I admit that I'm a bit sensitive (OK, fine – OVER sensitive) here because (a) I'm a small business owner, and (b) I intend to self publish a novel at some point, but I see a trope in the media where invisible scare quotes are often applied to a person's career or opinions, discounting one or both, by raising an eyebrow at the person's self-employment or off-beat job.

    This was used most egregiously when the MSM got butthurt that "Joe the Plumber" might have an opinion on the government he was paying for, but once one is condition to see it, it's everywhere – the poker faced delivery by a news anchor saying "…criticism of the national budget by a self-employed auto painter…", the newspaper editorial that coyly notes "…former sandwhich shop owner…", etc.

    I suppose one thing that galls me about this is that I used to be complicit in the nod-and-sneer: I'd see an article like this and get the joke – I'd laugh along with the journalist about the cobbled-together livelihood of some garage door installer / gutter specialist, and chuckle at his pretensions to know anything about anything.

    I'm embarrassed by that behavior now. Having become friends with some goofball who tutors people in how to repair their guitars (and also happens to have a PhD in physics from Caltech, and holds patents on a variety of mechanical devices), another goofball who teaches blacksmithing (and has a sculpture degree from CMU and can repair anything from a Swiss watch to a 100 year old vise to a MySQL database query), I've realized that I've got a lot MORE respect for these people with irons in multiple fires than I do for the typical office worker who cashes his biweekly paycheck and never has to – or chooses to – scramble for other action on the side.

    So, this guy wrote a book, writes piano music, AND is a lawyer? Awesome. Good for him.

    Too bad he's an asshat for this SLAPP BS. Nail him for that, please.

    OK, my fragile little 13-year-old girl ego is done venting.

  2. Dan Weber says

    The pink slime hysteria was nonsense, but suing people for using the term is an even higher level of nonsense.

    I feel for the meat industry a little in that the public can so easily be worked into a lather and decide the thing that you've been publicly doing for decades is now horrible. But that's a call for a calmer society, not to sue people who happen to find themselves at ground zero of the latest media-quake.

  3. Roger Gustav says

    Frivolous bar complaints are the public's counterpart to frivolous lawsuits. Non-frivolous bar complaints are an even bigger pain in a lawyer's ass.

  4. says

    "…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to and to be sued into oblivion when they petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Fixed it. Since this wasn't dismissed with prejudice — and Smith laughed out of court by the judge already — I now have to add the Constitution to list of happy myths like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

    I'll give Smith credit for one thing: Being smart enough to use the Streisand Effect for book marketing.

    (FWIW, I think the whole so-called "pink slime" thing was overblown by people who don't understand what it is and how it's produced, or in some cases did appear to deliberately misrepresent it to advance a more general anti-meat agenda. If you don't like safe, affordable meat products, the answer is to not eat them.)

  5. Nicholas Weaver says

    I love it that a big deal is made of the misuse of the pink ground chicken slime mistakeningly labeling it as the beef slime photo that was going all around the Internet.

    Its not like photos of the proper meat paste frankenfood byproduct is not equally disgusting. I especially like the frozen extruded dog-kibble photos myself.

  6. Nicholas Weaver says

    Hey, question. Once his case gets laughed out of court, could Mr Smith be sued for "Attempted ButtHurt in the First Degree", since he's attempting to generate other abusive, censorous suits?

  7. Kevin Horner says

    But 'small business owner' wasn't the criticism of 'Joe the Plumber'. The issue was that 'Joe the Plumber' was a political party-funded creation used to try to bolster support among 'common folk' that that same party actually despises because they're not wealthy…. the same common folk that a certain Presidental candidate wrote off as being worthless and lazy.
    TJIC wrote:
    "This was used most egregiously when the MSM got butthurt that "Joe the Plumber" might have an opinion on the government he was paying for, but once one is condition to see it, it's everywhere – the poker faced delivery by a news anchor saying "…criticism of the national budget by a self-employed auto painter…", the newspaper editorial that coyly notes "…former sandwhich shop owner…", etc."

  8. Connie says

    We really need some kind of overhaul of our legal system when people are suing so very often. Can we get more SLAPP laws in place, please?

  9. Graham Martin says

    TJIC: Please explain how the following sentence is "mean"…

    "He did, however, publish his book, apparently through Rauttnee, which is his own company and also publishes his contemporary piano music."

    I see nothing other factual statements. No opinion. No innuendo. nothing but the facts, all of which seem to be very relevant to the issue at hand.

    Unless you intended to say that the sentence was "mean"as in "average" in which case I agree with you. It may even be slightly below average, or to put it in your terms, "below mean."

  10. says

    I see TJIC's point.

    What distinguishes this situation to me, and what prompted the references, is that Smith used his publishing company — which is publishing his book — to promote his lawsuit, and similarly combined book and lawsuit publicity.

    If Smith had just filed it, without using the lawsuit as a vector to promote the book, I doubt I would have mentioned it.

  11. says

    @Sarah :

    > TJIC: You're over-sensitive.

    Sarah, did you read the part where I wrote "I'm sensitive (OK, fine – OVER sensitive)" ? I ask because you seem to think that you're making a novel observation.

  12. says


    > What distinguishes this situation to me, and what prompted the references, is that Smith used his publishing company — which is publishing his book — to promote his lawsuit, and similarly combined book and lawsuit publicity.

    Good point; that makes sense.

    Thanks for the expansion.

  13. eddie says


    Autistics are often unable to apprehend the subjective intent behind objective statements of fact.

    Contentious, bad-faith arguers on the Internet often deliberately ignore the subjective intent behind objective statements of fact in a misguided effort to score cheap points.

  14. says

    I saw Sarah's observation as a clear reiteration of your point. Kind of like "Call me oversensitive but…" "You're oversensitive!"

    At this point, I'd add Defensive to the list.

  15. says

    Ken, you're right. And so TJIC doesn't have to leave my comment unresponded-to, I'd like to apologize for the slight at the end and attempt to justify this last entry by stating I thought Pink Slime got a bum rap. As an omnivore, I say if we're going to kill a cow, we should put every last bit to good use.

  16. Andrew Roth says


    I agree. I don't particularly want that shit in my meat, by any name or no name. I gladly eat a lot of inadvisable meatish products, mostly at Burger King and 7-Eleven, and I generally try not to think about the ingredients, although I don't object when others raise the subject, even at mealtime. Gnarliness in the food supply puts me off more on a rational level than a visceral one, and it's something of a point of honor for me since I was seriously considering pursuing an RN degree and haven't written that off entirely. Still, there are reasons that Hebrew National hot dogs are pretty much the only ones that taste wholesome.

    As far as shilling for garbage like pink slime in our food supply, whether in the nominal interest of laid-off BPI employees or libertarian dogma: ewwww! It's one thing to be stoical about eating that crap and keep the health risks in perspective, but quite another to insist that its incorporation into our meat supply is wholesome and proper. The former is adult and dignified; the latter is merely scummy. Given that people had to go mad and die before the authorities in a number of Western countries restricted the use of contaminated bottom-grade residual meat scraps as animal feed, I'd say that caution about reground, sterilized meat scraps is warranted.

    Without a doubt the public deserves to be informed when its meat has been adulterated in that fashion. If surreptitiously putting cane sugar into maple syrup is adulteration, then damn straight sterilizing God-only-knows-what leftovers and extruding them into hamburger meat is adulteration. If people happily eat garbage meat knowing that it's garbage, that's their decision (it's certainly my decision often enough), but trying to deceive one's customers into eating garbage meat by omission and with specious claims that it somehow isn't garbage is a reprehensible fraud.

    A much more serious, and underreported, problem is that we allow farm animals to be fed prophylactic antibiotics. If I'm not mistaken, that's how we got MRSA. Frankly, I have no respect for anyone who uses political dogma to excuse that sort of reckless, greed-driven threat to the public health.

  17. says

    Side Note for Perspective: The "pink slime" technique (mechanically separated meat) has been used in hotdog manufacture for decades. So too macnuggets and such. Most meat packing is disgusting. It always has been. So it's not hard to make this process look all disgusting as well. But its just how we make food out of animals.

    This whole thing has left me stuck with a 12 year old girl who will not eat _steak_ because it "looks like pink slime" and so will insist on corn-dogs instead. Since we are fighting proto-anorexia in the house, this is not funny.

    Oh the bitter irony.

    So nobody deserves to get sued over the whole thing, but some people with too much time on their hands (like the girls hippie teacher) need to be slapped for making something huge out of nothing at all and torturing the guardians of "picky eater" children.

  18. Jess says

    @Ken – assuming for the moment that Ms. Siegel obtains pro bono assistance and emerges victorious in this suit, can she leverage Texas anti-SLAPP?

  19. says

    P.S. (I eat a lot of meat. I have never gone hunting, I don't work for the meat industry, nor do I farm…) If you don't like the way the meat industry prepares meat, but you've never gone out and butchered anything yourself and then ate it, your complaints needs must be filed as "uninformed".

    We "age" meat (e.g. let it decay a little) to make it more edible. We do lots of terrible things. We also grow our food in the open dirt where animals can interact with it. Then we rinse it off and eat it.

    The entire process of turning sunlight into the belly-fat that is accreting about us as we pursue the internet is, frankly, grossly biological. And so is what happens when we eat that food. (Did you know you _make_ formaldehyde in your very own cells as a natural process?).

    Tiny little factoids, taken in a vacuum, are dangerous for being stripped of their factual context.

    Whenever you see something on the news or the internet, if your first reaction isn't to figure out if the story is really just someone "going off half cocked" about a plain fact of life, you are doing yourself a disservice.

  20. desconhecido says

    "Hence those Anus Burgers I see advertised."

    Ha, ha, yes. Jack in the Box made fun of those other fast food companies selling "angus" burgers and Carl's Jr, threatened to file suit for some sort of defamation. The inherent admission in the Jr's threat was that Jr's customers are too damned stupid to know that angus is a breed of cattle and not a cut of meat; the very fact that the Boxes were making fun of. I found the original commercials to be clever and rather humorous. I think Jack caved.

  21. says

    This whole ridiculous kerfuffle has driven me beyond nuts. There are worse things for you than the "pink slime" in soap, shampoo, and all sorts of other problems. I've worked in the chemical industry for pretty much my entire adult life (barring some stints at a movie theater and scout camp in high school/early college), and the things that we handle on a daily basis make this stuff look like water by comparison.

    Robert White is absolutely correct that facts, taken in a vacuum and devoid of context, can be incredibly frightening. Of course, the press doesn't see the need for context in the vast majority of cases, because that would mitigate the scare factor they're going for to drum up ratings. While I have seen some journalists do actual good reporting on various chemical incidents, the vast majority are, shall we say, moronic.

    Would most people still drink wine if they knew that almost all commercially produced wines these days contain sodium or potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate? Who knows. The fact they those two chemicals are what give wine its shelf life and are only present in parts-per-million levels (even less for the sulfites, as those turn into sulfur dioxide gas which diffuses out of the wine over a day or two, anyways) wouldn't matter to many people. The fact that chemicals were used would be enough for some.

    Are most people like that? No. But the few that are often are the most vocal in their opposition to such things, and are unwilling to even consider that chemistry can be beneficial. Those people make me rage.

    But you know who makes me rage even more? Censorious asshats. That's who. /rant

  22. says

    Ack! First paragraph should be "products," not "problems." The third paragraph should be "The fact that" and not "The fact they."

    *Epic double facepalm*

    Ken, you really need to see about getting an edit button on here in your copious free time.

  23. says

    The pope-hat signal itself kind of reminds me of a shark swimming up from the depths (with an iron-cross tattoo on its head). Sort of like a messerschmitt…

    So its a Messershark…

  24. says

    Don't you see the smile? It's a happy Messershark…

    It does have it's own spotlight, so it would be really hard for it to aim. You can't see squat when you are in a spotlight.

    Not that I am against frickin' lasers… ever…

  25. says

    Uh oh… I anthropomorphized an underwater creature of fantasy… Disney is sure to sue my ass, or this blog, for misuse of something they may one day want to copyright or trademark now that someone has finally thought it up.

  26. perlhaqr says

    I found the whole "pink slime" hysteria remarkably elitist and arrogant. All those Whole Food shopping neo-yuppie hipsters in their Volvo and Mercedes manufactured Mommy-tanks, sneering at food because it isn't pretty cuts of whole flesh, but rather the leftovers from when their steaks were made. It's the same mentality that sneers at the poor people they claim to be so protective of for needing to shop somewhere as declasse as Wal-Mart (*shudder*) to make ends meet.

    People used to praise "The Indians" for using every part of the deer or the buffalo or whatever they were hunting. The meat processors who make pink slime make the Native Americans of old look like complete amateurs on that front, and the same people who swooned at the rustic nobility of it all turn up their noses.

  27. John David Galt says

    Ever since PETA invented the un-called-for, derogatory scare-term "pink slime" for lean ground beef, I've been waiting for the company(ies) that make it to sue for defamation. I'm no lawyer but if they don't have a good case, then the law needs fixing.

    Bettina Siegel, of course, does not deserve to be liable for petitioning the government per se, but she does for spreading the scare among the public, if she's been doing that.

    Why are we still allowing these vicious liars to destroy people's livelihoods and get away with it?

  28. says

    The law needs fixing to allow people to sue for "un-called for" "derogatory" "scare terms?" Well, to be fair, you'd find allies with the "ban hate speech" and "end cyber bullying" campaigns.

  29. Scott Jacobs says

    Uh oh… I anthropomorphized an underwater creature of fantasy… Disney is sure to sue my ass, or this blog, for misuse of something they may one day want to copyright or trademark now that someone has finally thought it up.

    Wrong thread, dude. The GW thread is across the hall. :)

  30. AlphaCentauri says

    The food industry has backed itself into a corner by choosing the strategy of trying to hide the origins of food in an attempt to make it more appetizing. With the internet, that's coming back to bite them.

    People are only turned off by pink slime because it never occurred to them to wonder why the meat in hot dogs has the texture it does, or to wonder why making laws in congress is compared with making sausage. The pork industry used to be proud of using "everything but the oink." People in China are proud they are not fussy about their foods ("anything on four legs except a table, anything on two legs except a man, anything that flies except an airplane.) "Appetizing" depends on what you've been raised to expect to eat.

  31. princessartemis says

    Gotta agree with a lot of people here. Seems like this product of cows ought to be on the labels. Let people make their own decision on if they want to eat it or not; so long as it's up-front, there wouldn't be as much of a controversy.

    @Robert White, I don't hunt either, but I do fish sometimes. As soon as I was old enough, my dad told me if I wanted to eat the fish, I needed to clean them. I'm glad he did that; can't say I enjoy cleaning fish but turns out I haven't an issue doing it, so I don't feel bad enjoying fishing and enjoying eating them either. It's a bit tangential, but stated as a round about way of saying I agree with you, if someone's only involvement in their meat is buying it at a store, they can't really be informed.

    Alas I don't live where I could fish for salmon…I'd eat them any day over cows.

  32. AlphaCentauri says

    It's interesting to see people who have visceral disdain for vultures and hyenas when they are first presented with the idea of humans as scavengers. It's fun to see the look on their faces when you ask them, "When was the last time you killed your own meat?"

  33. James Pollock says

    Jack in the Box used to run ads that had Jack holding a chicken, talking to a scientist-looking dude. He hands the chicken over and asks "show me the nuggets."

    That was years ago. Today, Jack in the Box has nuggets on the menu.

  34. Sheriff Fatman says

    Back in the '80s, the Butter Marketing Board (or whatever the relevant body was) took out a full-page advert in British newspapers illustrating the process for manufacturing margarine, full of words like "industrial", "render", and "extrude". At the bottom, in big bold capitals, it read "YUM YUM".

    In response, a parody advert, supposedly by the Margarine Marketing Board, had the tagline "Butter is the Devil's sp**k", with an illustration of Satan pleasuring himself on to a pat of the creamy, creamy dairy product.

  35. Cephas Q. Atheos says

    Oh, lordy, I love the fact that I grew up in the bush. We didn't have to kill our cows (heifers), but it sure made me aware that what was on the plate came from something living and breathing and pooping, just like me. Best thing dad ever did, getting me to kill and learn how to butcher "Tom" ("Dick" and "Harry" were much easier, not to mention tastier, a fact my sister still loathes me for to this day – 45 years later!!).

    Now, I look forward to lungs, stomach, kidneys, liver, and 'specially potted tongue… mmmm, tongue…. My wife is squeamish as hell, brought up in the city, but although she doesn't want to watch it being "made", she's learned to appreciate every last bit of everything that comes from a food animal.

    We can buy pink slime over here, we call it 'sausage meat'. Makes the best sausage rolls, bar none. But if even our local dairy community children saw how that was made, I think there'd be a few more 'veggies' in the suburbs than there are now. And these are kids who know where the stuff originated! Imagine how a real city slicker would squeal!

    Speaking of fat mammals making inappropriate noises, I loved the marketing genius of "everything but the 'oink'"! My Dutch grandmother would be so proud.

  36. Scott Smith says

    Yet another prospector looking to strike it rich in America's rich gold veins of legal flim-flap, corruption and shake-down.

  37. AlphaCentauri says

    There was a children's program in England that showed the children how pink slime was turned into chicken nuggets by putting chicken parts in a blender and pressing the slurry through a seive, They then battered and fried them, and all the children turned up their noses. Success! They repeated the process for American TV and were surprised to see the American kids gung ho to eat the chicken nuggets despite intimate knowledge of their origins:

  38. says

    Several points that should be clarified:

    1) PETA didn't "invent" the term 'pink slime'. It was first used to describe LFTB (the product that BPI makes) in a memo written by a pair of (now former) USDA scientists, which IIRC urged the USDA to reject the application to allow LFTB to be put into ground meat meant for human consumption. (Those scientists, btw, are among the defendents in the suit file by BPI.)

    2) The petition started by Ms. Siegel asked that the Fed govt stop purchasing LFTB for the school lunch program. This was after she discovered that, contrary to what she had been told, purchases of LFTB for the school lunch program were continuing.

    3) While it is true she did (briefly) use a picture of the stuff that makes chicken nuggets and caption it as "pink slime", she put up a corrected image when she was informed of the error, and IIRC she got the original image via a Google search in which it was mis-identified (this seems to be more common than some might imagine.)

    4) Last, but not least, she has been critical of Jamie Oliver in the past – one time specifically, when she called him out for his hyperbolic "'pink slime' making "re-enactment".

    I for one am grateful for her following this story. When I heard that LFTB was already in 70% of the ground beef supply, and that BPI had plans to ensure it was put in 100% of the ground beef supply, I immediately quit purchasing ground beef, and became a vocal advocate for (a) labeling of ground beef containing LFTB, and (b) efforts at the retailer level to ensure that LFTB-free ground meat would continue to be available. As someone with too many health problems whose cause is still "unknown", I don't want to take any unnecessary chances.

    BTW, while I am not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV), I have offered what help I can give to Ms. Siegel in her battle against this outrageous abuse of the legal system.


  39. Kevin says

    @James Pollock

    Jack in the Box used to run ads that had Jack holding a chicken, talking to a scientist-looking dude. He hands the chicken over and asks "show me the nuggets."

    That was years ago. Today, Jack in the Box has nuggets on the menu.

    I'm pretty sure they don't. They have chicken STRIPS, i.e. whole pieces of actual chicken, rather than extruded nuggets. Not that there's anything WRONG with nuggets (other than that they taste like crap).

  40. Nicholas Weaver says

    That Jamie Oliver video is not only an Epic Fail, but its that exact nasty carcass bit that he would chop into large hunks to make a good chicken stock with. In fact, throwing the carcass in the blender for a few seconds might be good for making a fast-stock, so you don't need to wait three hours to boil out all the goodness.

    I don't like Pink Slime, but I don't like modern mass-processed hamburger in general. At least Pink Slime is sterilized.

    My rules are "Your burger should be from only a single cow or two" and "it must be from recognizable pieces of meat ground within a day of consumption". This is simply necessary for food safety issues, given I don't like overcooked burgers and I dislike E coli O157:H7 even more.

    Fortunately, I'm in a position where I have both the resources and availability to get real ground beef when making my burgers.

  41. princessartemis says

    I wonder if he left the heart and the gizzard intact, since he was busy showing the children the choice cuts. I didn't see them being taken out, but when I was that age, they were my favorite parts.

    I'm shocked he didn't see that coming. Once the kids are oohing, ahhing, and remarking on how awesome what one is doing is, one has truly lost the opportunity to shock them out of replicating your behavior.

  42. Kevin says

    @James Pollock … huh… they're not on the menu at my local Jack in the Box… must be a regional thing.

  43. RosalinldJ says

    @Kevin Horner • Dec 17, 2012 @9:35 am

    But 'small business owner' wasn't the criticism of 'Joe the Plumber'. The issue was that 'Joe the Plumber' was a political party-funded creation..

    Is that an opinion, or do can you corroborate that assertion with credibility? Thanks in advance.

  44. says

    According to 30 seconds of research, the initial encounter was unplanned and unscripted. There was, however, and immediate promotion from "guy with one question" to "media personality" that was pretty much engineered by leveraging a useful sound-byte.

    It's also worth noting that he wasn't quite the everyman he was painted as, since he was involved with telecom "global crossing" and then went back into plumbing for personal reasons.

    So he was a business man in the plumbing business, which is nowhere near the good-old-boy just-one-of-us personae that he was held up to credulous america as a prototype.

    To be clear, he was some guy who was invented on the spot, but he was not initially a plant engineered before hand.

    So which part are each of you arguing? He was genuine in asking one question once. Then he was re-manufactured as a media commodity and pundit and political brick.

    So less Will Rodgers and more Real World™ when the question of his genesis and circumstantial veracity is followed all the way down.


  45. ctulthu says

    Fortunately, he was still dumb enough to sue in an anti-SLAPP jurisdiction, so there should be some fun sanctions coming his way soon.

  46. John David Galt says

    @Ken: I'm not proposing a "hate speech" type law. What I'm asserting is that defamation is a type of fraud, and just as with other types of fraud, words that deliberately give a false impression should be actionable even if they cleverly avoid literal lying.

  47. Goober says

    I grew up killing nearly everything that I ate, or at a bare minimum, when I didn't pull the trigger, I was certainly a part of processing whatever it was into food. I think I was 10 before I ate my first store-bought chicken because we did a pretty good job keeping ourselves in chicken and pheasant between raising them on the farm and shooting them on the hunt. This included making our own sausage (and sausage casings – ugh!)

    Because of time and property restrictions, I am not nearly as involved with the processing of my own food – I'd say 99% of the fish that I eat I catch myself, 20% of the poultry I eat I killed myself, and 15% of the red meat that I eat I kill myself.

    I said all that to say this – it is a gross, nasty process that most people would use as a very good excuse to never eat meat again if they were involved in it. It doesn't look appetizing. Stuff a sausage sometime, and unless you're used to it, it will be the last sausage you eat for a while.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with pink slime – it's just ground beef, also known as hamburger – that is ground very finely due tot he process of reclaiming it. Back int he day, we used to call that a "vienna" grind, and it was used for millenia in fine-ground sausages like frankfurters and knockwurst…

    All I can say is that I remember back in the day, as a kid, looking at all the meat left on the bones of the animals we slaughtered, that was just un-practical to try and save, and wondering how many pounds of good hamburger we were wasting. So even as a kid I was envious of the modern meat-packer's ability to salvage all of this good meat. And it is good meat – there isn't anything wrong with it at all, so long as they don't put any spinal or brain material in it (which they don't, and can't, by law) because of mad cow disease.