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Sunday Song Lyric:
The other big ballot proposition news from California this year was the passage of Proposition 2, requiring more humane confinement conditions for farm animals, particularly chickens, pregnant pigs, and calves raised for veal. The full impact of the measure is a bit unclear, but could be quite significant, and not just for chickens.


One VC reader suggests a song lyric in honor of Prop 2's passage: "Animals" by Talking Heads. It's a great choice -- a characteristically quirky David Byrne composition from Fear of Music, one of the Heads' pre-Stop Making Sense, Eno-produced albums. Here's a taste:

They're never there when you need them
They never come when you call them
They're never there when you need them
They never come when you call them down down down down.

I know the animals . . . are laughing at us
They don't even know . . . what a joke is
I won't follow . . . animal's advice
I don't care . . . if they're laughing at us.
The full lyrics are here.
Hoosier:
And we don't have to worry about Prop. 2, according to the Talking Heads:

I see the states, across this big nation

I see the laws made in Washington, D.C.

I think of the ones I consider my favorites

I think of the people that are working for me



Some civil servants are just like my loved ones

They work so hard and they try to be strong

I'm a lucky guy to live in my building

They own the buildings to help them along



So we have that going for us. Which is nice.
11.16.2008 11:39am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
One night farmer Brown,
Was takin' the air,
Locked up the barnyard
With the greatest of care
Down in the henhouse
Somethin' stirred
When he shouted "Who's there?"
This is what he heard:

There ain't nobody here but us chickens
There ain't nobody here at all
So calm yourself,
And stop your fuss
There ain't nobody here but us
We chickens tryin' to sleep,
And you butt in
And hobble, hobble hobble hobble
With your chin

There ain't nobody here but us chickens
There ain't nobody here at all
You're stompin' around
And shakin' the ground,
You're kickin' up an awful dust
We chicken's tryin' to sleep
And you butt in
And hobble, hobble hobble hobble
It's a sin

Tomorrow
Is a busy day
We got things to do
We got eggs to lay
We got ground to dig
And worms to scratch
It takes a lot of settin'
Gettin' chicks to hatch

There ain't nobody here but us chickens
There ain't nobody here at all
So quiet yourself,
And stop your fuss
There ain't nobody here but us
Kindly point that gun,
The other way
And hobble, hobble hobble off and
Hit the hay

Tomorrow
Is a busy day
We got things to do
We got eggs to lay
We got ground to dig
And worms to scratch
It takes a lot of settin'
Gettin' chicks to hatch

There ain't nobody here but us chickens
There ain't nobody here at all
So quiet yourself,
And stop your fuss
There ain't nobody here but us
Kindly point that gun,
The other way
And hobble, hobble hobble of and
Hit the hay

"Hey boss man
What do ya say?"

It's easy pickens,
Ain't nobody here but us chickens
11.16.2008 11:47am
guest890:
The other big ballot proposition news from California this year was the passage of Proposition 2

Not the incredibly expensive, narrowly-passed Prop 1A?
11.16.2008 1:52pm
ARCraig (mail):
While on the one hand, I hate the omnipotent democratic majority of the California system, I do have to say I appreciate that California continues to be one of the fews states that really puts into effect the idea of Federalism letting each state be a "laboratory". And as much as I hate Prop 8 and the like, I think Calfornian's tendency for popular referendum needs to be view in light of the fact that they have a legislature that is by its own design uncompetitive and stagnant and therefore rarely particularly representative on any given issue.

As for the leg-room-for-chickens prop, I think it's rather silly and will no doubt be harmful to California industry. As much as I love my two pugs, and as much as I know they love me, at the end of the day "animal rights" is an oxymoron. We don't have rights because we feel, we have rights because we think. Because we are capable of understanding and respecting not just "mine", but also "yours". Regardless of your personal scruples about animal cruelty (and I assure you I probably share them), from a libertarian perspective animals must be treated as property.

I like something Penn Jillette pointed out once (he was no doubt not the first): If animals did have rights, they'd all be in prison!
11.16.2008 2:22pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
We don't have rights because we feel, we have rights because we think.

Really? So a retarded person has less of a claim to rights than a smart person? And a person with severe brain damage, presumably, has no claim at all? Do fetuses think? What about newborns?

I would say you are 180 degrees off the mark. I agree with Jeremy Bentham: "The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"
11.16.2008 2:39pm
Thales (mail) (www):
In the same vein, I have to recommend the latest efforts of David Byrne and Brian Eno, Everything that Happens will Happen Today. It's an uplifting and quirky, gospel and electronica (weird combo, but it works) inspired album. I had the pleasure of seeing Byrne play live recently in Chicago, and he's still an outstanding performer. In addition to the new stuff, he played some great stuff from Fear of Music and Remain in Light (one of the best rock albums ever, IMHO).
11.16.2008 3:17pm
Pendulum (mail):
Who was born in a house full of pain,
Who was trained not to spit in the fan,
Who was told what to do by the man,
Who was broken by trained personnel,
Who was fitted with collar and chain,
Who was given a pat on the back,
Who was breaking away from the pack,
Who was only a stranger at home,
Who was ground down in the end,
Who was found dead on the phone,
Who was dragged down by the stone,
Who was dragged down by the stone.
11.16.2008 5:46pm
eyesay:
ARCraig: "... at the end of the day "animal rights" is an oxymoron. We don't have rights because we feel, we have rights because we think. Because we are capable of understanding and respecting not just "mine", but also "yours". Regardless of your personal scruples about animal cruelty (and I assure you I probably share them), from a libertarian perspective animals must be treated as property."

The citizens of California are sovereign, and can pass any law that is constitutional. If a requisite majority of the voters believe that farm animals are entitled to leg room, and if such a law is constitutional, the requisite majority of the voters are entitled to have their way.

Then, opponents of mandatory leg room for animals are entitled to put up a repeal initiative on the ballot and attempt to convince a requisite majority of the voters to vote to repeal. Welcome to democracy. Get used to it. California is a constitutional democracy, not a libertocracy.

As for rights: religious people believe, as JFK said in his inaugural, "the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God." This makes great oratory, but in reality, rights exist because we declare and agree that they exist. Numerous Supreme Court cases declared rights into existence. Legislation can declare rights into or out of existence. So can ballot initiatives in states such as California that have them. As a result of Prop 2, California farm animals now have leg room rights. Get used to it.
11.16.2008 11:12pm
mojo (mail):
Oingo-Boingo: No Spill Blood

(What is the law)
No spill blood
What is the law
(No spill blood)

(Who makes the rules)
Someone else
Who makes the rules
(Someone else)

The rules are written in the stone
Break the rules and you get no bones
All you get is ridicule, laughter
And a trip to the house of pain!
11.17.2008 1:22pm
Bad (mail) (www):
Animal rights is not any sort of oxymoron. Not all rights require the exact same underlying basis: just because it makes no sense to grant a one year old a right to vote does not mean that it's senseless to grant it a right against being abused. We grant rights based on consideration of moral interests. And, essentially, only those who simply refuse to consider the subject or make up elaborate nonsensical theologies can deny that animals have some moral interests. Exactly what those are, and how those interests are best served by this or that right is a matter of legitimate debate. But I don't think mild laws that demand mildly humane improvements are really a big deal, even if they raise the cost of meat. Laws against you dumping factory runoff into my drinking water raises the cost of factory operation. But sometimes its a good thing when the actual costs of something are reflected in the price.
11.18.2008 12:01am