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After SCOTUS victory, Monsanto calls it quits

After SCOTUS victory, Monsanto calls it quits

Hours after their victory in the Supreme Court, seed and chemical giant Monsanto filed for bankruptcy citing the enormous cost of “buying everybody off.”

At a hastily called press conference, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant told assembled reporters the company never really thought through their “buying everybody off, scheme .”

“I mean, do you know how many people are in the Nation Academy of Sciences? Something like 2,000. So, a few million to a scientific body here and a few million to every independent scientist in the world there, and it begins to add up.” That’s not even including  having to pay those thousands of keyboard jockeys who defend us on internet comment boards. 

The final straws were the members of the Supreme Court. “Those bastards didn’t come cheap,” Grant sighed.

Anti-gmo activists were left slack jawed. “We just lost our boogeyman,” one activist lamented. “It’s not fair.”

Asked what was next for the bankrupt Monsanto, Grant explained that it was too early to tell, but excitedly suggested they were thinking of getting into the organic farming business.  “Man, do you know what a cash cow that racket is? I was in Whole Foods the other day and they get like 4 bucks for a freakin’ tomato. Sweet. We’ve gotta get in on that action.”

Hours after the announcement, Organic Consumer’s Association honcho Ronnie Cummins and alt-health freak Mike Adams had to be talked down off a Maharishi University rooftop after Jeffrey Smith pleaded with them saying, “Cmon guys. We can still make stuff up about gmos.”

In a related story, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she planned to retire from the Court and buy the Bronx.

Got Typhoid? The raw milk debate.

Got Typhoid? The raw milk debate.

In the early 1900’s, New York State  was ravaged by a typhoid epidemic.  One of the main culprits in spreading the disease was contaminated raw milk. (click on image to enlarge)

nytrawmilk
New York Times 12/08/07

A year earlier in NYC

milktyphoid
New York Times 02/11/06

That second article notes that  out the 1,322 cases in the City, 51% of all typhoid cases were traced to consumption of raw milk.  Due to the epidemic, New York State implemented mandatory pasteurization.

Fast forward to the present. Communities across the country have been enacting local laws under the name of food sovereignty. What’s food sovereignty, besides a hard word to spell?

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.  (The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty)

Apparently, in the United States this translates to mean freedom from state and federal food safety laws, particularly regarding milk and cheese.  There is a movement to exempt milk and cheeses from pasteurization laws, which apparently is an evil tool that only benefits corporations. Yes, these brainiacs want to eat food that is exempt from safety rules.

While these same advocates holler about the safety of gmos, from which not one  illness has ever been found, they champion foods that are known to cause illness and even death…. because they’re natural. These dumbasses truly believe there is no health danger. That is seriously dumbass.

Wait,  did I say dumbass? We’re starting to wade into imbecile territory now.  This is what the Campaign for Real Milk (CFRM) , Missouri has to say

Furthermore, in many children not fortunate enough to have started life on raw milk, raw milk given later in childhood has cured autism, behavior problems, frequent infections, deafness, asthma and allergies and other serious health conditions.

But wait, there’s more

 Raw milk is actually the safest food around (my emphasis) with so much consumer oversight and also with an extremely efficient built-in anti-pathogen mechanism!

In 2012, Missouri raw milk producer,  MooGrass Farms was cited as one of the sources of an  E. coli outbreak which sickened nine people in Missouri. They are listed as one of the raw milk purveyors on the CFRM website.

One raw milk fetishist, Kim Nash quoted in the above link said, “Basically any approach that’s not hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical and big medicine is being attacked.”

According the New York State Department of  Health, since 1993 “over  70 outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk have been reported nationwide, affecting over 1,500 people and causing 185 hospitalizations and 2 deaths.”  There is a proviso regarding those statistics. There is very strong evidence the New York State Department of Health is in the udders of Big Milk.

In 2012, a multi-state campylobacter outbreak was traced to a Pennsylvania farm that sold unpasteurized milk. The contamination resulted in 148 illnesses.

Elsewhere in 2012:

Listeria Found in Pennsylvania Stump Acres Farm Raw Milk

2013:

Salmonella Outbreak Launches Search For Rogue Cheesemaker

Raw Milk May Have Sickened Three in Wisconsin with E. coli

The above are just a few samples of food  illnesses linked to raw milk and cheese. In the last year, hundreds have been sickened.

Approximately 29 states have laws allowing the sales of raw milk or raw milk products.  But due to the amount of illnesses caused by these products, some states that don’t allow the sales seem to content to keep it that way.

Last month, Indiana legislators allowed two raw milk bills to die without a vote, citing  an Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) report  commissioned by the General Assembly. The report cited the dangers inherent in raw milk but ultimately wrote that it was more of a political decision. 

Even with the known risks associated with consuming unpasteurized milk, some consumers are demanding legal access to raw milk. BOAH cannot quantify this demand.

BOAH believes that pasteurization is a practice that is highly effective in reducing the risk of human illness from pathogens in raw milk. Distributing raw milk for human consumption will increase the risk that someone will become ill from consuming raw milk. But the decision to authorize or not the sale of unpasteurized milk to consumers is ultimately a political decision.

It was nice to see a legislature defer to the experts to decide an issue, unlike what’s been happening with the gmo issue. Although, the fact they let it die and didn’t have a vote speaks volumes. More than likely they didn’t want to have to deal with the shrill noise that would have emanated from the raw milk crowd.

So, while the chance of another typhoid epidemic is slim, the danger of illness due to raw milk still exists.

The Turtles: Can’t You Hear the Cows

Girl Scouts tell anti-gmo activists to buzz off

Girl Scouts tell anti-gmo activists to buzz off

No comment. From the Girl Scout FAQ:

“Our bakers determine whether to use genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors. There are some conventional ingredients, such as sugar, which are most prominently available in the United States as GMO. Our bakers are industry experts and have brought their experience and knowledge to the forefront on this topic, and they actively follow the science. For the time being, we feel confident in the safety of all the ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies, including GMO ingredients.

It’s important to note that there is worldwide scientific support that there are no safety concerns with the currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) on the market—the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population.”

http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/faq.asp

Ancient Sumerians vs. Modern Greens

Ancient Sumerians vs. Modern Greens

One of the mantras of Greens and the Organics is how we have to work in harmony with nature instead of against it.  They also decry the idea of food as a commodity and industrial agriculture.  They would have hated the ancient Sumerians.

The Sumerians invented agriculture around 4,000 B.C.  They mono-cropped. They diverted water needed for  irrigation from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers by means of dams, dykes and canals.  They became, as we learned in school,  the Fertile Crescent.  They had a surplus of food.

The Sumerians practiced what modern day Greens despise,  industrial agriculture.  With this taming of nature, came an abundance of food which the Sumerians used in trade. Yes, they used food as a commodity.

Farmland was considered the private property of the farmer. If a farmer’s crop didn’t yield enough, he might borrow food and seed from a neighbor with the hope that the next year’s yield would be enough that he could pay his neighbor back. If that didn’t happen, the debtor farmer could lose his land to his lender or work for him as a sharecropper.

The large scale farming that led to the surplus of food meant that not everyone had to farm. This allowed time for people to develop new interests and invent new things, like the first written language and the  wheel.  

The modern day Organic/Green, (MGO) mindset is one that is at odds which the Sumerian culture. While the  Sumerians pursued modernization and progress, the MGOs want a return to some imaginary past, when nature was pristine. Nature hasn’t been pristine since humans first climbed from the slime.   They want everyone to farm. They want civilization to remain in a labor intensive pursuit.

With the advent of “modern” farming in the late 1800s to the present,  farmers have eagerly adopted new technology and methods to make their back breaking lives easier and enjoy more of the monetary fruits of their labor.  I’d be willing to bet dollars-to-doughnuts if you took a farmer from the late 1800s and brought him into the present, he would be aghast at the organic movement.  If he saw how organic farmers eschewed modern agricultural technology he couldn’t even have dreamed of in his day, he would think they were nuts.

Hell, even though they still farm by hand, the Amish use GMOs.

Ironically the loss of productivity they have due to farming entirely by hand is compensated for by the increased yield of the crop. The use of GM also allows them to not use pesticides, which they see advantageous. ”I myself like biotechnology,” said Amish farmer Daniel Dienner, “I feel it’s what the farmers will be using in the future.”

When you get “technolapped” by the Amish, as a friend on Twitter mused, it may be time to re-think your strategy.

Look at the history of farming. As modern farming started ramping up in the 1890s  it took 35-40 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels of corn.   By the 1980s it took 2-3/4 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels.

I looked for the same statistics for organic, but they were hard to come by. I did come across this article Economics of Organic Production.  The article admits that labor costs are higher, and yields lower, but those things are offset by the price commanded by the crops.

The study was done by an organization called SARE, Sutainable Agriculture Research & Education. They make a claim, which I doubt, that claims organic farming’s yields can be 90-95% of conventional farming.  An analysis of  USDA statistics by plant pathologist Steve Savage belies this claim. Anyway, the article is interesting since it looks strictly at the economics of organic farming.  Their conclusion is that although organic farming crop yields are lower than conventional, that deficit is made up in the prices organic crops command.

Yup. There it is. Organic agriculture may produce less, but the profits make up for it. So much for feeding the world.

So, back to the Sumerians.  What happened?  Until recently, the common thought was that it was their industrial agriculture methods that sealed their doom; that it created all kinds of bad environmental problems. It wasn’t. It was a drought; a drought that lasted 200 years.

Several geological records point to a long period of drier weather in the Middle East around 4,200 years ago, Konfirst said. The Red Sea and the Dead Sea had increased evaporation; water levels dropped at Lake Van in Turkey, and cores from marine sediments around that period indicate increased dust in the environment.

http://www.livescience.com/25221-drought-killed-sumerian-language.html

If the green/organic crowd had been in charge back then, we’d still be drawing pictures instead of having a written language. Oh, and no cars or the favorite of the Greens, bicycles, because there wouldn’t have been enough free time to invent the wheel.

From the archives: Bloomberg to ban alcohol in NYC bars

From the archives: Bloomberg to ban alcohol in NYC bars

The bombings at the Boston Marathon today has left everyone in shock. With that in mind, I decided to post an old column I did when I was writing about local NYC issues for…Ack! examiner.com. I thought we could use a chuckle. This is from 2011.

___________________________________

Fresh on the heels of his latest victory to ban smoking outside, Bloomberg has set his sights on bars. He is proposing that alcohol be banned from bars.

At a press conference in front of a large poster of Carrie Nation, he said that children walking by these bars may look inside and see people drinking alcohol which would turn them into alcoholics in addition to being morbidly obese chain smokers who drink too much soda. He said that along with the alcohol ban, he is instituting a ban on signs that say “Bar” or “Tavern” as this might induce children to ask their parents what those words mean which would, again, turn them into alcoholics, in addition to being morbidly obese chain smokers who drink too much soda.

Flanked by his health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, the mayor warned of the dangers of second-hand alcohol smell on children. Farley, a prominent buzz killer, nodded in agreement.

He also announced that he would order the Parks Department to confiscate any beverage being consumed from a paper bag as it may contain harmful soda.

Bloomberg was supported in his efforts by a coalition of miserable people who can’t stand the idea that someone, somewhere in New York is enjoying themselves.

There are too many people enjoying themselves in New York City,” the mayor said. “And they are not the type we want in our city. They aren’t rich enough or obnoxious enough. Our public spaces aren’t for the average New Yorker to enjoy a cold beer on a hot summer day, they’re for tourists.

Although the press conference was called to specifically announce these new initiatives, Bloomberg took questions on a variety of issues.

Asked about his support of gay marriage, he said that it was “Okay to be gay as long as you’re not too gay, like me. Get married to a person of the opposite sex, have children, divorce and then be gay.”

The mayor also responded to a question about the idea of spending hundreds of millions on pedestrian plazas and bike lanes when firehouses were closing and teachers were being laid off.

Let me say this about that,” the mayor snipped. “The 0.6% of the population of our city that want to make a statement by commuting with children’s toys should be applauded, not scorned. Firefighters and teachers are common people who don’t have the same vision for New York. He also noted that the only people who have fires are poor and not every child is entitled to a quality education if they can’t afford it.

If they want to learn to read, get a job and pay to learn. We can’t be held hostage to everybody that wants an education. Where will our minimum wage workers of the future come from?”

The press conference ended with an announcement by DOT commissioner, Janette-Sadik “Genghis” Khan who enthusiastically said the City’s plan to rid New York City of its antiquated urban ethos was on track. She noted that within 10 years New York City would be the suburban oasis it can be.

She then climbed into the back of a limousine rather than hopping on her bike and utilizing one of the hundreds of miles of bike lanes.

Thinking beyond Argumentum ad Monsantum.

Thinking beyond Argumentum ad Monsantum.

I wish Monsanto would go away. The anti-GMO activist obsession with them has queered the genetic technology discussion. It has clouded their thinking.

Common Dreams has a link to a pdf, which I won’t link to here, that is a history of Monsanto’s evil chemicals.  The logic is since they created or helped create such poisons as Agent Orange, the fact they use GE technology means  because of past work, this must be bad as well. It’s their main argument against GMOs. Argumentum ad Monsantum.

But even if they have invented some gnarly compounds, does that mean everything they do is bad? They were the first producer of bulk aspirin. They developed  chiral hydrogenation catalysts. That made possible  L-dopa, a breakthrough drug used  in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Somehow the anti-GMO crowd (hereinafter referred to as “the crowd”) has to get by their hatred of Monsanto and look objectively at the technology itself. Instead, they look for any industry connection to a study to discredit it. They spend more time looking for industry connections than they do learning about the technology

It baffles me how people who consider themselves progressive can be so regressive when it comes to this issue. Again, it goes back to their hatred of corporations.  It’s really blinkered thinking.

A big misconception of the crowd is that GMO is the answer. In a way, I can’t really blame them since there are companies and people out there who oversell  GM as a silver bullet. It’s not. It’s just another tool. But companies are going to pimp their product no matter what it is.  How many products are New and Improved!  The crowd should be able to see beyond that.

But here’s where not thinking things through raises its ugly head. The technology of GE is safe and proven, or as safe as anything can be.  It is a technology that can provide benefits if only the crowd would stop focusing on Monsanto. They didn’t invent it. They only use it.

At present, the only real benefit is to the farmer who uses the technology. They get better yields, crops that are more resilient and they don’t have to use as much herbicide/pesticide. Yet there are biotech seeds out there that are literally sitting in the refrigerators of universities and small companies, languishing due to the high cost and red tape of getting a crop approved. That is where the future of GMOs lie.

Anti-GMO site, GMWatch recently linked to a story from Cornell regarding  the development of a disease resistant tomato. They used it to promote the idea that GM isn’t needed; that the same result can come from conventional breeding. Cornell plant breeder Martha Mutschler-Chu did come up with a solution, but that solution took ten years.

What if you don’t have the luxury of ten years? What if the threat is imminent?  That’s one area where GM can be beneficial.

The Hawaiian papaya industry was on the verge of collapse due to a virulent disease, papaya ring spot virus. Nothing could eliminate or contain it. Enter Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, retired Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Cornell and at the time, director of the USDA’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Center. He developed a genetically modified disease resistant papaya and gave it to the growers.  It is now sold to them at cost. They didn’t have the luxury of ten years.

How big of a deal was it? The Governor of Hawaii. Neil Abercrombie declared April 6th of this year as  Dr. Dennis Gonsalves Day

Dr. Gonsalves served for 10 years as PBARC’s director and recently retired. He is most noted for his efforts that saved Hawaii’s papaya industry from the ringspot virus. The transgenic “Rainbow Papaya” that he and his team developed and released to growers in 1998 helped to bring the industry back after ringspot virus had reduced Hawaii’s papaya production by 50 percent.

A few years ago, a plum pox virus was devastating the plum crops in the Adams County, Pa. In order to contain the virus and keep if from spreading across the U.S. the only method to stop it was to pull up the trees and bulldoze them before the disease spread.  Then in 2010, through government research, they came up with the GM Honeysweet, a disease resistant plum that solved the problem.  Should they have waited ten years for a more “natural” method while the disease spread and threatened the entire plum industry?

Then you have the idea that future GMOs can have increased nutrients, like Golden Rice or other beneficial health aspects. That is going to come,  more than likely from smaller companies, universities and government research, not big corporations.  But in order for that to happen, the crowd has to look past Monsanto. It has to allow a faster and less costly approval process.

Toss argumentum ad Monsantum to the sidelines, where it belongs.

GMO Labeling Poll

GMO Labeling Poll

The dark side of the anti-GMO movement

The dark side of the anti-GMO movement

greenpeacerice

Each year in Third World countries, millions of children go blind or die from the lack of Vitamin A. Wouldn’t it be great if scientists could come up with an easy solution to this human disaster? Well, they did.

Professor Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg in Germany found a solution. They created something called Golden Rice. It is rice genetically modified to produce higher amounts of vitamin A.

Given that rice is a staple in Asia and elsewhere, this was an easy way to help poor children get the nutrients they need. This beneficial creation didn’t go unnoticed by the anti-GMO/Organic activists and they wasted no time in attacking it. They have spread all kinds of unfounded rumors and lies about Golden Rice.

When MIT researchers conducted a trial with children in China, not to determine if they rice was safe, (it is) but to see if the rice did indeed deliver adequate amounts of Vitamin A, Greenpeace launched a propaganda campaign, accusing the researchers all kinds of ethical violations and using the kids, unwittingly as guinea pigs. They made such a racket that the Chinese Government freaked out and fired the Chinese researchers involved and paid compensation to families.

Greenpeace and others have continued their assault, holding up approval of this modern life saving measure. In the meantime, millions of kids are going blind and dying.  It is unconscionable and cruel, but that’s what the anti-GMO movement has become.

Greenpeace, a $300 million a year enterprise, full of well-fed, healthy, sighted westerners is advocating denying a life saving measure to poor children because their worldview disagrees with GMOs. It’s grotesque. There should be some way to haul them into the European Court of Human Rights.  That may sound like hyperbole, but considering they are campaigning to thwart life saving measures for millions of children, they should be held accountable.

But they aren’t the only ones waging a murderous campaign. Other groups and activists like Vandana Shiva also oppose saving children and starving people because the food may be GMO. As I wrote back in January,

Needless to say she hates GMOs.  This is where her rhetoric becomes dangerous. She hates them so much that she attacked OXFAM on their GMO stance when they were engaged in cyclone relief efforts in Orissa, a state on the southeast coast of India. She tried to persuade them to not supply GMO foods writing in an open letter that “We hope your food aid will be G.E. free.”  Shiva’s groupWomen for Diversity demanded the Indian government “immediately withdraw the corn-soya blend from Orissa.” Apparently it was better for people to starve rather than eat GMO food.

She hates “golden rice,” a non-commercially developed GMO rice with higher levels of Vitamin A which can prevent blindness in children. Millions of Third World children go blind each year due to lack of Vitamin A, yet Shiva would deny these children because GM is evil bad and golden rice is a“myth” and negates, “nature’s diverse gifts and women’s knowledge of how to use diversity to feed their children and families.” 

This descent into  cruelty can be traced back to 2002 in Zambia. At the time, the country faced food shortages and people were starving. The U.S sent food to help alleviate the disaster. Then, in waltzed foreign activist groups who convinced the Zambian Government that the food was “poison.” Zambia then warehoused all the food aid and refused to distribute it to their starving people.

The president of Zambia said today that his country, which is inching toward famine, would continue to refuse relief food that may be genetically modified, calling such food ”poison” and saying it is ”intrinsically dangerous.” ”I’m not prepared to accept that we should use our people as guinea pigs,” Mr. Mwanawasa said.

“Poison.”  “Dangerous.” “Guinea pigs.” Sound familiar?

The anti-GMO movement has decided the ends justify the means. They blatantly and without remorse, peddle dangerous nonsense.  When they aren’t peddling the imagined dangers of GMOs, they are vociferously defending and trying to rehabilitate the reputation of  the anti-GMO Gilles-Eric Seralini,  whose widely discredited RoundUp studies on rats was widely condemned by the scientific community.

In his quest to prove harm, he chose rats prone to tumors and allowed them to live longer than ethically acceptable in order to be able to show hideous pictures of rats with gigantic tumors. Science ethics experts, having seen the disturbing images could tell that Seralini had crossed ethical parameters in the use of animals in experiments.

A recent report by experts in medicine, pathology, food regulation and plant science found that Seralini’s study showed a “regrettable example of failures at multiple levels during the execution and communication of research.

The study appeared to sweep aside all known benchmarks of scientific good practice and, more importantly, to ignore the minimal standards of scientific and ethical conduct in particular concerning the humane treatment of experimental animals.

The report also says that there was an “abject failure” to “treat the experimental animals in a humane manner within standards of regulatory authorities, with the aim of “propagandising”.

The ends justify the means.

UPDATE:  At a recent Academia Europaea conference at Cambridge University, the co-inventor of Golden Rice said,

“If our society will not be able to “de-demonise” transgenic technology soon, history will hold it responsible for death and suffering of millions: people in the poor world, not in overfed and privileged Europe, the home of the anti-GMO hysteria.”

Send in the anti-GMO clowns

Send in the anti-GMO clowns

Every once in a while you read something that fires on all cylinders. That most recent something is an analysis on a Canadian website Troy Media. The junk science clowns behind the GMO scare is the last  installment of a four-part series  Quacks and Conspiracies.

The author, Alan McHughen systematically demolishes all the nonsense peddled by the anti-GMO crowd.

GMO technologies have been around since the early 1970s and have given us many useful products, from human insulin to safer crops grown with fewer pesticides. Moreover, in over 30 years of experience, according to authoritative sources such as the U.S. National Academies and the American Medical Association, there is not one documented case of harm to humans, animals or the environment from GM products.

That is an impressive track record, considering the extent of GM products in pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food and industrial applications. So why are so many still fearful of this technology? One simple answer is junk science and its carefully crafted use as a weapon of mass fear.

That’s it in a nutshell. McHughen goes on to take apart the nonsense peddlers like  Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the U.K.’s Soil Association, accusing them of  “fear-mongering,” and deploying “their considerable media-manipulating machinery to spread more scare stories.”

I wish he would have included the Organic Consumers Association, headed by anti-vaccine and professional activist. Ronnie Cummins, but hey, you can’t have everything. But all in all it’s a great piece and he even includes a video from Penn and Teller who castigate the activist groups and publicize Norman Borlaug who most people have probably never heard of.

In the video, P&T relate how in the early 2,000s, Greenpeace and other activists went to Zambia and urged the government to refuse the GM corn that was donated to help with a famine by saying it was “poison.”

According to the article,

As reported by the BBC, Mwanawasa duly locked up the food in the warehouses – the same GM corn eaten without incident by millions of Americans – and then watched his subjects die, insisting such a fate was preferable to eating “poison.” That is, until the starving Zambians broke into the warehouses and gorged themselves healthy on the allegedly poisonous corn.

Readers of this blog know that I can be harsh on anti-GMO activists and actions like they took in Zambia is why I do take a hardline. I think it’s criminal that well-fed westerners would deny starving people food because they have a problem with it.

I feel the same way about the Golden Rice issue. Here we have a solution to the problem that would prevent the deaths and blindness of millions of Third World children due to lack of Vitamin A. Activists, led by Greenpeace promote all kinds of bogus information about the rice and lobby governments to reject it. I’m sorry, I think that is advocating mass murder, pure and simple.

In a private email, a reader of this blog suggested I should tone it down so I don’t alienate the people I am trying to reach.  But I am not against the well-meaning people who are taken in by these groups. They think they are doing the right thing.

What I try to do is alert them to the fact they are being used by extremists and charlatans.  The downside of that is no one wants to think they’re a rube. I know whereof I speak. I used to fall for every bit of nonsense that came down the pike because it fit in with my worldview. Then I found out I was being a rube. Psychic Ouch.  So, I dusted off my ego and became the progressive contrarian. 

Since I started this blog, I’ve come to realize that maybe I’m not so much a contrarian in the strictest sense of the word. I think I defined myself by the rules of my tribe which makes me a contrarian. I look for the facts and evidence and if the facts and evidence  take me to different place, I have to go with it.

I hope that my posts are well-reasoned and evidence based, despite the sometimes strident tone.

Oh, of course I digressed once again from my original point. So let’s finish this one off with another quote from the article. It has to do with my bete noire, Jeffrey Smith.

 Meanwhile, the New World spawned another popular junk scientist in the person of Jeffrey Smith, who has penned several books decrying his perceived hazards of modern agriculture, saving the most potent venom for genetically modified crops and foods. Smith’s self-published, non-peer-reviewed Genetic Roulette, for example, expounds upon already questionable reports – almost all from non-peer-reviewed sources – in a confident, technical voice that suggests that he actually has some scientific or medical credentials. However, closer inspection of Smith’s CV reveals that the closest he has come to scientific credentials is working as a ballroom dance instructor and a flying carpet yogi. Genetic Roulette is so packed with scientific misunderstanding and misinformation that a group of actual scientific experts established a Web site to counter and explain, point by point, some 65 false claims.

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