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Unhappy with State Representative Mary Nolan (representing west Portland)

Just found out my State Representative, Mary Nolan, does not support Senate Bill 861, to stop the cruel and unnecessary force-feeding of birds for foie gras. This even though no Democratic State Senators voted against it, and two Republicans even voted for it.
Just found out my State Representative, Mary Nolan, does not support Senate Bill 861, to stop the cruel and unnecessary force-feeding of birds for foie gras. This even though no Democratic State Senators voted against it, and two Republicans even voted for it.

She represents the west side of Portland - here is a map of her district (36):  http://www.leg.state.or.us/nolan/hd36.jpg
(If you want to find your state senator and representative, not to be confused with your Federal senators or representatives, go to  http://votesmart.org

This makes me wonder what other issues she is basically a Republican on. Anyone have any ideas how to find a better candidate (i.e. a real Democrat) next time around?

golly 29.Apr.2005 20:16

a reader

there are lots of restaurants that serve foie gras in portland. and more all the time. i hear it is very good, though i personally will not eat it.

just for example, i went to Lucy's table a few weeks ago on 21st in NW and they had foie gras offered on the menu. it changes alot, and i hadnt noticed it before but there it was. should i have left?
anyway, a person i was with, who is a consumate foodie type, absolutely insisted that we get it. did i mention this person works in an animal shelter? i found it ironic and said as much. they were chagrined and agreed not to order it (we were all spliting.)
so, should I voice concern with Lucy's table? they are a fine, locally owned restaurant that serves excellent food at a reasonable price and i dont want to stop going there.
shame on mary nolan nonetheless.

ps does anyone know where mary nolan stands on Senate Bill 545? the one on regulating Pay Day loans? i believe she is for the bill. at least i would hope she would at least support people, if she can't a goose. the pay day loan bill is hell a more important anyway.

SB 545. the bastards wont let it happen. i suggest we pay attention to people before geese. in all seriousness. if they force you to make a decision, foie gras should be low on your priorities. in my humble opinion.

I agree 29.Apr.2005 22:26


I agree with you about people before geese, but it's not really an either/or kind of thing. It's passed the Senate, and as I understand it, will come up for a vote in the House. So it's not like I'm asking her to sponsor it, or cheerlead for it, simply to vote yes on it like other Democrats.

As far as Lucy's Table, and restaurants in general, why not inform them how the geese have to suffer for it? I know for veal there are cards you can leave at the table. They probably have the same thing for geese. I'm not one to pass judgement on whole restaurants based on things like this, but it wouldn't hurt to simply let them know how their customers feel.

correction to reader 29.Apr.2005 23:48


actually, there are NOT "lots of restaurants that serve foie gras in portland". there are TWO: The Blue Hour and Navarre, and two grocers: City Market NW and The Pasta Works, according to a Nov. 2004 post here on indymedia, from In Defense of Animals, who you can bet are up-to-speed on this topic. i'd heard Pasta Works was going to drop it actually; they might have already by now.


btw, back in the day, before i thought about such things, i tried foie gras and enjoyed it. knowing what i know now about how it's made, though, i would no longer be able to have any pleasure with it. it's really gross what they do to the geese.

geese, people, priorities 30.Apr.2005 00:11


Now, if I was in a boat with a baby and a kitten and I had to throw one overboard to save the other, I would indeed sacrifice the kitten. Perhaps that makes me a species-ist. However, issues of Animal Rights are VERY important to work on, for a variety of reasons. In the case of using animals for lab-testing, for example, many people have used your same argument, reader, to argue that we shouldn't stop it. Like when OHSU puts up a photo of a person in a wheelchair with the caption, "When you're done saving the whales, can you save me?" That's bullshit reasoning because animal research DOESN'T help find cures or develop therapies for human illnesses. In example after example after example, data from animal research has had no correlation to humans. The figures range from 5-25% for success rates, which means you'd have more accuracy flipping a coin. Any number of very useful medications (including penicillin) came late to human usage because of the adverse affects they had in animals, which didn't apply to humans. Of course there's all the false positives too -- drugs or treatments that are harmless in animals that make humans sick or dead. Look at the drugs that have been pulled off the market in the last year. They "passed" animal testing, but turned out to be harmful to humans.

I bring all that up because, as I said, that's where the "low on your priorities" argument is most often used, and in that case, it's dead wrong. When animal research for human disease is halted, and the money redirected to useful and effective research, many more lives will be saved, and people like you will be grateful that activists like me didn't keep animals low on their priorities.

In the case of foie gras, it's important to look at the extreme cruelty that occurs to geese to make them produce it. What does participating in such cruelty do to a person? To a society? There's a connection between a culture that condones the killing of 800 cows per hour in slaughterhouses and a culture that condones the killing of thousands of brown-skinned civilians overseas. The numbing of our collective senses to cruelty in one area encourages it in others.

Now, if you want to go out to the forest and bring down an elk yourself, and skin it and dress it yourself, and dispose of everything you're not using properly yourself, and make that elk your source of meat, then we can have another discussion. I know a farmer couple who eat that way; they only eat meat that they or someone in their family has personally gone out and brought down. They won't touch supermarket meat. They think it's disgusting and unsanitary and unhealthy. They're right. They're not vegan or vegetarian by a stretch, but they aren't cruel or disconnected either. They're also charming, raise wonderful food, and live satisfying lives on beautiful land.

Reprioritizing our own lives is essential to saving the planet. Creating communities that help us all to make better choices is also necessary. In the case of foie gras, taking a stand, and saying "No More!" -- because of the multiple resonances that the issue embodies, metaphorically and literally -- is vital.

So no, reader, the people seeking to ban foie gras do not need to change their priorities. They are simply fighting one battle in a broad, multi-front war. The machine that oppresses us will only be taken down if it is attacked in many different places at once.

it is for us all 30.Apr.2005 00:58


I agree with your feeling for your farmer friends. At least it is life vs. life, one on one, and not prison/torture chamber type of practice which factory farming is. If they use a hand ax or hand made arrow instead of a gun, that would be perfect (and I am not sarcastic. I mean this.) Derrick Jensen writes of this...I believe it was in his book "language older than words."

But I would like to be, at least would like to aspire to be, someone who would jump off the boat myself before throwing either a kitten or baby off. It would be an easier solution...easier on my consciense anyway.

That aside, what I want to add to the argument here is the environmental impact of making foie gras. They push down SO MUCH corn mush and grains down poor geese's throats, to produce diseased liver that cost $75 per pound, that only rich and spoiled (categorically, most of us who live in the USA fit in this group) can afford. Just in the past 60 years, the world population quadrupled, and we, especially those of us who live in the North America, are consuming so much. We are stressing this planet way beyond its sustainable/renewable capacity. So what are we doing, force feeding corn and grains to geese who don't want to eat like that, and discarding their carcass except for the unusually swollen diseased liver?

One chef I talked with on this issue said: "But it is our (he is French) tradition! And I go to help poor starved children on my days off." FYI he supports local, organic, sustainable (well, so he says) produce. This "tradition" of his is merely a few centuries old. Traditions change, and thank god, we are not chopping each others heads anymore (at least on ritualistic level). And as for his starved children, they would be happy to eat delicate, fluffy polenta or crispy masa cake he could have made, had he not used the corn to gush down poor geese's gullets.

People are addicted to fat. That is why they want to eat foie gras. Another chef I know made a cheap version of foie gras by mixing chicken liver and lots of butter. Even his somelier who prides in his delicate palate was totaly fooled. There are a lot of unnecessary myths around fine foods and gourmandise, but the bottom line is, a lot of Western haute cuisine is based on fat addiction (the secret of Joel Robuchon's world's best mashed potatoes is that it's 60% butter and cream, and 40% potatoes).

Anyway, re: restaurants, it would be a good idea to let the restaurants know how you feel.

may the geese pray for her 30.Apr.2005 10:08


Even those involved in systemic violence such as the govt.
of Israel and Schwarzenegger..have voted to ban foie gras.

I would encourage everyone to write their State House member 30.Apr.2005 12:14


I really have no idea how other House Democrats are going to vote on this, but it wouldn't hurt to drop your Representative an email to let them know how you feel.

Go to  http://www.vote-smart.org (note the hyphen - I typed it wrong before), type in your 9-digit zip code (they have a link to get it if you don't know it), and look for "State Representative." The general URL for the Oregon House is  http://www.leg.state.or.us/house

Glad to see others care about this issue (and that the local Portland area is so close to being foie gras free).

to clarify 30.Apr.2005 15:39

a reader again

i think it is great people are getting behind SB 861 and i never implied otherwise. however, doing a quick search of portland indymedia shows that not a single post has centered on SB 545 or Pay Day loans while there are dozens of posts relating to foie gras.

now, let me be very clear to those who will criticize my statement: i believe foie gras production should be stopped, the bill should be supported and Mary Nolan should be chastised, but i also think that the lack of discussion at this site on Pay Day loan legislation shows a fundamental lack of not only ability to prioritize issues, but a reflection upon the regular posters and their political ideology and what they consider to be important. i simply believe one issue is more important than other. it appears portland indymedia and its posters do as well. this is not an evil thing, it is a fact. it isnt even as if SB 545 has ever come up in this forum from my research. though i am not a regular reader, so before someone tells me to go and post something, dont worry, i will. but like it or not, it does not reflect well upon posters here that they are so much more concerend with geese. but i'm sure people bash animal rights activists all the time in a similar manner to that stated by posters here. that is not at all my intention. everyone has an agenda and they are most certainly entitled to it. the single thing i find remarkable is the total lack of conversation on pay day loans.

why has nothing been posted about pay day loans? i think because the general reader here does not have much experience with them and so they are outside thier frame of reference. this stinks like elitism. a duck being force fed is seen as having a more immediate impact upon the local community than a loan sharking operation next door to the restaurant serivng duck liver. and in my opinion this is a horrible perversion of justice.

and to the researcher who managed to do just enough research to post a link that was already posted on the opening page, i just say: there ARE many restaurants defense of animals is apparently unaware of that serve foie gras. are you saying i am incorrect about Lucy's Table? i mean, you say "there are two." this is FALSE, researcher, as i have pointed out. if i ran into one without even trying, you can be certain there are others.

i suggest defense of animals contact Lucy's Table 503-226-6126 and see if they are still serving foie gras. i know i will be. but i am an equal opportunity activist, injustice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere.

Also, be sure and call your senators and reps and make them support SB 545. right now, it does not look good. but you wouldnt know, because you are busy worrying about SB 861. like it or not, that reflects priorities.

Thanks 30.Apr.2005 17:13


I will look into SB 545. I suspect there are people like me who care about a lot of issues, but who happen to be on animal rights mailing lists but not any lists that would alert us to SB 545. The foie gras ties into a national movement, whereas 545 is an Oregon-specific issue.

reply to "a reader again" who posted comment titled, "to clarify" 01.May.2005 01:32

researcher, again

payday loan subject on pdx indymedia:

Santa protests Rapid Cash payday loan store
(entertaining single-person protest reported to pdx indymedia last december and featured to the center column)

Busting short-term loan sharks: ACORN holding lending fair Saturday
(posted nov. 2003 and also featured)

that's what's been featured. a few other posts mention payday loans peripherally.

the issue of payday loans hasn't been posted to pdx indymedia much, it's true. but "not a single post" is incorrect. this research inspired by your snippy comment. :)

as for SB 545, it has gotten a few, again peripheral, mentions. i googled it, and found that i had indeed heard of it myself more than once (coulda sworn i read about it here, but maybe not), and definitely support it. i just couldn't identify it by its "SB" number, no surprise. honestly, i think that particular piece of information (the number) is a bit arcane, and if you had added the description "the bill in the Oregon legislature intended to address payday loans" that it would have rung a bell for other people, too.

but to really address your points:

i've been following this site for over four years, and i've noticed that the content on it has deepened and broadened incredibly over that time. i surf the other IMCs sometimes, and while there is some real stand-out, excellent reporting happening everywhere, the number of topics covered doesn't compare to portland indymedia. as you know, the way that new issues get addressed is when people like yourself post them. an alert about SB 545 would be awesome. there seems to be enough info out there to put something together pretty easily.

i have personally seen topics that someone introduced as new become regular topics on the site. that's great because it helps expand the readership, and then more issues get posted, which increases the readership, and then, etc.

what i have definitely noticed, though, and which you hint at without coming out and saying it, is that the economic class of the readers seems to be revealed by what's covered and what's not. that's definitely true. i myself personally depended on a payday loan place for about a year when i was living in a different city. yeah, they took out a flat percentage, but i figured it was about what i would lose in overdraft fees if i had a checking account (which i've never been able to handle responsibly, so i am cash only to this day). fortunately, i can now cash my checks at my place of work, and i never stop being grateful for that. i realize that many people don't have that option. but to tell you the truth, i only think about it for a minute or two every two weeks, and then i forget it again. therefore, even though i don't make much money (my annual income hovers at the non-taxable level it's so low), i understand that the priviledge of this situation puts me in a different position than other people in that wage-level.

that is to say, class is not defined merely by how much you make, but by what systems are available to you to support you. a lot of white activists are broke a lot (and even houseless) but don't have it as bad as someone who is homeless or someone who is a person-of-color in this same town who makes more. i realize all of that. and that's part of what you're seeing on this site, re. content. i've done a lot of work personally attempting to attract different people/issues/causes to the site, and it's not for everyone, actually. also, it's on the internet, and we all know that's going to filter out many people and their concerns.

on this site you're also seeing a lot of topics raised by people who don't live in the area, are not typical leftist-activists (i'm thinking specifically of the libertarian-leaning readership that is obvious here, bless 'em) and who don't fall into the category of what you could call a "typical" animal rights activist (if such a thing even exists).

re. Lucy's Table -- i honestly wasn't sure whether to believe you when i read it. there's definitely disinfo and lies posted to this site with great frequency. people who want to disrupt things here are not afraid to make shit up. your second comment has put you on more legitimate ground. your assertion that "you can be certain there are others", btw, is exactly the type of under-researched statement you criticized me for! i'll let it go this time... :)

P.S. -- my source inside PastaWorks, who identified himself -- somewhat grotesquely considering the subject -- as "Deep Throat", told me today that they stopped carrying foie gras as soon as In Defense of Animals contacted them. Yay, IDA!

the honest truth 01.May.2005 11:50

a reader

i can easily apologize for being such an ass about your research if you can mine :)

frankly, i was extrememly upset on friday for 2 reasons:
1. the pay day loan bill, SB 545 went through Senate conference and was GUTTED. they took out the most important provisions, such as the right to a loan length of 31 versus 14 days.
2. the AP and of course, the whoregoian that corporate vessel, got the story WRONG. they all reported that the provision had been inculded. i felt this was definite disinformation and a goddamn conspiracy of the first degree. then i saw the comments about nolan and SB 861 and i tripped out that people were freaking about geese and didnt even seem to know about the gutting of protections for usury right down the street. so i flipped and posted what i did in a bad mood.

i am still pulling together a post on the bill. hopefully by today.

thanks for keeping the dialogue going researcher, i appreciate everything you have to say and share.