Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quote of the day:
It is not dependence per se, which is a universal fact of human life, but dependence without mutual obligation, that corrupts the soul. Such technocratic provision enables precisely the illusion of independence from the people around us and from the requirements of any moral code they might uphold. It is corrosive not because it instills a true sense of dependence but because it inspires a false sense of independence and so frees us from the sorts of moral habits of mutual obligation that alone can make us free.
-Yuval Levin

Friday, April 5, 2013

There is broad scientific consensus that genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat. After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops (Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Environmental Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants, National Research Council and Division on Earth and Life Studies 2002). Both the U.S. National Research Council and the Joint Research Centre (the European Union’s scientific and technical research laboratory and an integral part of the European Commission) have concluded that there is a comprehensive body of knowledge that adequately addresses the food safety issue of genetically engineered crops (Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health and National Research Council 2004; European Commission Joint Research Centre 2008).

These and other recent reports conclude that the processes of genetic engineering and conventional breeding are no different in terms of unintended consequences to human health and the environment (European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation 2010)...

Still, to date, compounds with harmful effects on humans or animals have been documented only in foods developed through conventional breeding approaches. For example, conventional breeders selected a celery variety with relatively high amounts of psoralens to deter insect predators that damage the plant. Some farm workers who harvested such celery developed a severe skin rash—an unintended consequence of this breeding strategy (Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health and National Research Council 2004).
-Scientific American (online), Aug, 2011.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Economist is changing its tune, "The climate may be heating up less in response to greenhouse-gas emissions than was once thought."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Realpolitik in the Middle East:
This is one of the reasons conspiracy theories are popular in the Middle East. Bizarre conspiracies actually happen in this part of the world. It’s “normal.” The Syrian regime has been pulling stunts like that one for decades.

The liberal Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid recently highlighted similar shenanigans in NOW Lebanon: “The campaign by the Assad regime included releasing known jihadist and terrorist elements from state prisons at the same time nonviolent protest leaders were imprisoned. This tactic is sometimes called ‘tailoring your enemies.’ It is inherently a risky approach, but can serve to divide enemy ranks by creating a more radical camp in their midst, and in this case, undermining the advocates of nonviolence. This tactic had been repeatedly used by the Assad regime during the Lebanese civil war, allowing it to emerge as the main power broker there.”

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Every time we look at them, they want more money. Like pigs, you know. Here we’re slaving, and we’re starving and the goddamn workers don’t give a s--- about anything.”
-Cesar Chavez, man of the people
A Washington Post op-ed claims:
Nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years — not just Newtown, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson and Columbine — have been committed by white men and boys.
However, that's not what the facts say:
Whites are under-represented by race in mass shootings, as are Hispanics, when you look at percentage of total population. Don’t take my word for it, either; look at the stats kept by über-left-wing Mother Jones.

Over-represented are Asians, like Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, One L. Goh, Jeong Soo Paek, Jiverly Wong, Byran Koji Uyesugi and Gang Lu who are all East Asian, and West Asian/Arabs, such as Nidal Hassan, and Abdelkrim Belachheb, whom the sisters dishonestly label “white.”

Also over-represented are black mass murders like Omar S. Thornton, Maurice Clemmons, Charles Lee Thornton, William D. Baker, Arthur Wise, Clifton McCree, Nathan Dunlap, Colin Ferguson, and we’re not even including the DC Snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, because they are arguably serial killers instead.
There are some problems with the Mother Jones data, but, this is basically right.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Woody Guthrie, Liberal Fascist:
In a 1941 version of the song, “Talking Columbia,” Guthrie sang:

“Well, the folks need houses and stuff to eat,

And the folks need metals and the folks need wheat.

Folks need water and power dams,

And folks need people and the people need the land”.

But by “circa 1947,” after the war, Guthrie had substituted “folks” with “Uncle Sam,” shifting the focus from the needs of the people to the needs of the state, and effectively blurring the distinction between the two. This was an expression of Popular Front politics just as much as it was a result of Guthrie’s own changing views, but it gets to the heart of his full-throated support for the war effort, even in its most cruel and violent expressions.
Copyright © Swing Right Rudie
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