Norway bound

In a few weeks, my friend and her Norwegian husband are leaving the U.S. and moving to Norway. I’m so jealous.

She’s pregnant with twins, and was talking to me several months back about how her health insurance doesn’t kick in until a month before her delivery. I asked her why she didn’t just move to Norway. I said that with twins, and because of her age, she was a high-risk pregnancy and could deliver prematurely. What then? I said. “You could go bankrupt with what it costs here for a premature birth.”

She seemed to think that because Norway’s hospitals aren’t as shiny and new as ours that they weren’t as good. “Hell no,” I told her. “Their healthcare statistics are a lot better than ours.” I told her since she liked her in-laws and could get work there, she’d be crazy not to move.

So they’re going. I’m going to miss her, but damn, she’s going to be a lot better off than here, with all the crazy right wing nuts and their legislative enablers.

Just my luck

This song makes me laugh, because every time I feel really happy being alone, some man comes along and ruins it. Kim Richey:

Why we love GMO

Because who would think that throwing together genetically-modified strains of various strange things with the food supply would be a problem?

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas – A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he’s been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. “A lot of leaf, it’s good grass, tested high for protein – it should have been perfect,” he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

The grass is a genetically-modified form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel’s 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

“When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that,” said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

“When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something,” said Abel. “But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions.”

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

“That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying,” said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

“Coming off the drought that we had the last two years … we’re concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this,” Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

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