A recent USDA employee newsletter suggested going meatless on Mondays to help the environment. Apparently, this wasn't good for the environment of the USDA.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association issued a strongly worded denunciation and Rep. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, started tweeting about all the meat he was eating. That got the folks at PETA going, launching attacks of its own on the attackers. Ah yes, the USDA employee newsletter — it's required reading for people in the know.

Grassley, who perhaps is considering changing his name to Meatley, said he would increase his meat intake on Mondays. Then he started tweeting about every piece of meat he was eating. For his sake, we're just glad the USDA didn't advocate going without alcohol.

Don't try to tell us how to improve the health of USDA workers. If we want them fat and heart-attack prone, by gum that's our right.

NASA successfully landed a spacecraft called "Curiosity" on Mars last week. If they find intelligent life, they will quickly ship it to Washington so it can figure out how to keep funding NASA.

Unfortunately, Washington is a hostile environment for intelligent life, so the plan may not work.

Somewhere on Mars, there's a microbe staggering out of a bar and screaming, "ALIENS!" (Submitted by James Hofheins of Salt Lake City)

A Utah woman won a court case in Utah last week allowing her to get paid for braiding hair without 2,000 hours of classroom work and a professional license. Good heavens, what's next? Will we have to allow the kid down the street to mow our lawn without a Ph.D?

The cosmetology establishment argued that if you braid hair incorrectly, it can lead to permanent hair loss. That explains why you see so many bald little girls running around school yards.

There was only one problem with this argument: The 2,000 hours of required classroom work had little to do with braiding. They did, however, have a lot to do with stifling competition.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said July was the hottest month ever recorded in U.S. history. The previous record was 1936. Given the bad economy and the relentless heat, all we need is to pull Shirley Temple out of retirement to do some movies, close our eyes and it will be 1936 again.

No, if it were 1936 we would be facing an election between a charismatic liberal president and a staid, buttoned-up governor accusing him of subverting the Constitution.

Jay Evensen is the associate editor of the Deseret News editorial page. Follow him on Twitter @jayevensen. For more Second Thoughts, and to submit some of your own, visit his web site at jayevensen.com/second-thoughts.html