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Plans foiled

CALIFORNIA

Never at a loss for novel ideas, the animal rights folks at PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, want the mayor of San Francisco and other city leaders to change the name of the city’s Tenderloin District to the “Tempeh District.” Tempeh, for those who prefer hamburgers and are unfamiliar with it, is a “cruelty-free” meat substitute made from fermented and firmed-up soybeans. Other suggestions from PETA, according to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, were “Granola Flats” or “Seitan’s Lair,” the latter a wheat product. PETA spokeswoman Ashley Gonzalez argued that a vegan name would better reflect the philosophies of locals, but while that might be the case, there’s a historical problem, reports The New York Times. The Tenderloin doesn’t allude to an expensive cut of meat or even the sleek muscle on the leg of a lady of the evening; it refers instead to the bribes given to unscrupulous cops by the operators of bordellos and other illicit businesses. “It wasn’t like they were giving them steaks,” said Randy Shaw, who hopes to open a museum in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. “They were giving (the police) cash.” So PETA unveiled another initiative, promising to pay for any man’s vasectomy if he would also agree to neuter his cat or dog.

COLORADO

It’s always a treat to read a newspaper columnist when she or he comes unglued, and if you were reading the Telluride Watch lately, you had the pleasure of either sympathizing with Rob Schultheis’s outrage or chortling at his discomfort. What sent Schultheis over the edge? Mentally lazy Americans “who don’t bother to read, write or think.” His first example: Over half of Princeton students polled recently believed that the quote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” came from the Communist Manifesto. And one student at a different college hilariously thought that the civil rights movement got a big boost from Martin Luther King’s speech, “If I had a hammer.” This is exactly the kind of ignorance, he says, that led to the election of “fanatics and sleazoids” to Congress, and now these congressional representatives are busily cutting school lunches for poor kids, among other destructive acts, all of which led the columnist — using all caps, though he apologizes for the indulgence — to demand of Tea Party adherents: “JUST HOW STUPID ARE YOU PEOPLE?”

CALIFORNIA

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HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor