When I say, “I love you,” it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are.
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So, evidently, Mexico is going to allow the legal introduction of genetically-modified corn into its borders. Mexico is the birthplace of corn, and contains even today contains more than 200 native corn species. Granted that the Mexican government has stated that this will be a test project for study, Mexico has reversed course on its outright ban of GM corn. This may be too much of a concession already.
What is the problem with this development, you ask? Well, let us begin with safety. To my mind, there is nothing wrong with the idea of genetically-modified crops, in principle. In practice, however, it must be demonstrated that the introdction of transgenes foreign crops does not render these crops unsafe or less safe to eat. To this point, this has not been done. In fact, the U.S. government - the USDA and the FDA under the Bush Administration, the Clinton Administration and the second Bush Administration - have largely abdicated their role of rigorous testing of these foods, and have in fact lessened regulatory restrictions in an effort to increase (or at least not decrease) foreign trade and promote the biotechnology industry. Furthermore, it has been detemined that the genes from GM crops tend to cross over into the progeny of native species, so if it turns out that the GM foods are in fact unhealthy in and of themselves, this will affect the fitness for human consumption of many other crops. As an example, genes from GM corn has already been found in number of non-modified species, some of which were a great distance from the original trans-genic crops. Check this out. Not only do we have to wonder if the process of introducing a transgene in a food species results in unhealthy characteristics of that food plan, but there is the uncertainty of whether there are undesirable sideeffects produced by resultant transgene. The only way to settle this question is rigorous laboratory testing, which should be done before the crop is placed outdoors in a field.
Also, there is the problem of biodiversity: With genetic drift that occurs among plant species, there is the risk that GM crops will dominte those of native species. This would result in fewer and fewer food species in the world and fewer options if the GM crops proved to be problematic for some reason (suceptibility to some strain of infection or infestation for which older, native species have evolved a more robust protection, is but one example). We already have much evidence for what happens when we as humans selectively overbreed food species for certain traits (usually uniformity, and scalability) without regard to traits that are being lost: The most commonly grown turkey in this country, the one kind that more than 90% of us eat on Thanksgving, can no longer fly, or even reproduce on its own without human effort, due to human breeding for selective traits; The vast majority of the corn that we produce in this country - in Iowa and much of the Midwest - is genetically modified and grown for uniformity, selected for dense use of land, and resistance to pesticides - is completely unpalatable to humans. The corn we crow cannot even be used for food. It is grown as a comidity crop, and must be processed before we can eat it, and is processed into components of most of the food that eat (corn, in one form or another, is nearly ubiquitous in food products). We grow fewer and fewer crops in this country, and therefore or food comes from fewer and fewer sources, making them more susceptible to natural disturbances and politcal ones (the amount of our foood that we import is steadily increasing). The resiliency of our food supply is at risk. We do not want to allow genetic modification of crops to tempt us to breed food crops for indidual traits, with the sole purpose or commodification in mind.
The pantenting of food: GM crops also have the potential to allow large agri-businesses the potential to actually patent food. More than 90% of the soybeans and corn grown in this country are genetically-modified, and most of the world’s GM crops are owned by one company, Monsanto. The ability for one or even a handful of companies to own and/or patent the rights to food crops is a very dangerous position, indeed. I urge you to check out the documentary, The World According to Monsanto.
Until and unless these problem areas are adequately addressed, I will vehemently resist the increasing encroachment of GM crops.
p.s. I originally meant for this post to be much more consice and to-the-point, but it has ended up as a bit of a rant. (So many of the issues related to food safety and health and agricultural policy are inter-related. I promise the next one will be more on topic.
Homemade Pop Tarts
For Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp. cold water
Jam (your choice)
1 cup powdered sugar
milk to thin
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening and butter and blend with a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands. Blend until mixture is fairly coarse. Add water, 1 tbsp. at a time, gently mixing dough after each addiction until dough forms a ball.
2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a square/rectangle. To about 1/8 thickness. Cut out long strips about 2 inches wide and 3 inches long. Repeat until dough runs out.
3. Take one pie crust rectangle and lace 1 tsp. of jam on top. Cover with another piece of pie crust and crimp all four edges. Repeat with the rest of dough. Place Pop-tarts on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake for 7-8 minutes.
4. While pop-tarts are baking, make glaze. Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Pour milk slowing until it has a consistancy of really thick syrup. 1/2 a tbsp. to 1 tbsp. might be enough.
5. Once pop-tarts are done and cooled, top with glaze. Sprinkle and decorate with colorful sprinkle.
I am SOOOOOO making this!
This was a fabulous speech, by a thirteen-year-old girl on what Martin Luther King, Jr. would say about current events if he were alive today. From the mouth of babes …
Truy inspiring; I can understand why she won the competition. You have to watch it!
The End Of Empathy
We’re all canaries in the coal mines now, like Josh Harris was back in the ’90s. We’re harvesting our lives and putting them online. We’re addicted to gaining followers and friends (or email subscribers, as the case may be), and reading comments we get in return. As we look for validation and our daily 15 minutes of fame, we do so at the cost of our humanity.
Today, we’re destroying each other with words, but teaching ourselves to objectify individuals and to identify with aggressors will result in more than psychological violence. This behavior will find its way into the real world, like it did when Wayne Forrester murdered his wife Emma over a change in herFacebook status, from married to single.
It’s only a matter of time, sadly, until this loss of empathy will hit the real world. We’re training ourselves to destroy other people, and there’s a generation growing up with this in their DNA. They don’t remember a world when communications were primarily in the real world.
Internet is a medium. It’s all still very real, whether we individually recognize that or not. The behavior you’re citing is not a product of online social tools, it’s a product of poor socialization, poor environmental or familial conditions, and/or poor biology; but most importantly it’s the result of a lack of personal and community responsibility. The internet/these social constructs that you’re looking to for cause or as warning indicators can actually be very healthy facilitators for individuals to creatively, safely, constructively outlet their insecurities/questions/curiosities. We can be in touch with each other/people we’d otherwise likely never cross in our lifetimes, and, if we choose to, we can build or exercise deep empathy for the world and individuals around us. We can also experience others empathizing with us, which is something that is sorely missing in our cultures, long before and apart from the internet.
The lack of empathy isn’t coming from Facebook statuses or Tumblr reblogs, it’s part of the real world. Internet does not equal a lack of empathy; more likely, apathetic individuals on the internet equal a more noticeable/observable lack of empathy and possibly prevalent shallowness that persists all over the real world. Maybe I’m experiencing different sites, or maybe I’ve just been able to empathize with other people online who, whether they’re seeking validation online or venting shallow thoughts, are deeply thoughtful and empathic individuals. We’re here; feeling, loving, hurting all the more for being exposed to so much more that was never so accessible before the internet.
Empathy’s an internal thing. We can encourage and cultivate others to pay attention to and nurture it within themselves, but the natural inclinations / sense of personal and community responsibility are still very much individual.
However, we can strive to be more conscious and empathic ourselves, and, more ambitiously, we can build a better consciousness and healthier online or real world environments to foster more empathic individuals and communities. It’s a vague call to action, but there it is.
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Many people are asking: Will the Obama/Holder Justice Department prosecute Bush Administration officials for their willful breaking of domestic and international law and their corrupt abuses of power? Most conspicuously, will the investigate allegations of torture, and if abuses are found, will the follow the evidence where it leads, will they prosecute?
It is one thing to believe that the other side will accuse the Administration of playing partisan politics, of inciting witch hunts, or will proffer the supposed fact that the American public will tire of such investigations and will come to view Obama negatively for pursuing them … all of these things may even be likely. But it is quite another thing to wax poetic about “no one is above the law” and do nothing to back up the statements.
The fear may be that if prosecutions were to occur they would consume the nation’s attention and that of Congress, and nothing else would be done during Obama’s tenure (and it goes without saying that if Obama accomplishes little or nothing of what he promised within 4 years, it will be difficult for him to be re-elected to another term. But then again, we did re-elect Bush … ) If Obama feels that he has to choose between going looking forward and trying to make up for the past by actually accomplishing something positive and prosecuting past abuses while making no additional progress, he may well choose the former over the latter.
But I wonder if that is not a false dichotomy: I wonder whether that need be a choice at all. Obama has huge political capital at the moment, and he is working with great majorities in both houses of Congress. So, it can be done. But this begs the question of whether Democrats in Congress, especially those that were there throughout the Bush years, want to see investigations into who knew/planned/authorized/oversaw what and when.
But that is only one side. That is the side that ignores the fact that the Bush Administration set an incredibly bad precedent. What happens when the next time an American president wants to torture, or employ extraordinary rendition, or otherwise flagrantly disregard an entire corpus of law (our Constitution, even!) because s/he finds it inconvenient? What happens in such a case, if guilty Bush officials were never prosecuted? What becomes of our supposed ideals and values? And what happens when a foreign power - using the Bush administration as its example - decides to effect the same policies, on Americans? Talk about credibility … we barely have any now, and we will have less than none if that day ever comes, for, unlike most Americans, the rest of the world tends to have a pretty lengthy political memory.
We need a government whose view of American and her ideals are worth significantly more than platitudes to be uttered when convenient. I hope the Obama administration is this wish come true.
Exchange between Senator Jon Kyl and Attorney General nominee Eric Holder:
Kyl: …in your view, if a government agent has reasonably and in good faith relied on Justice Department assurances that his actions are lawful, do you believe that it would be inappropriate for the Justice Department to commence a criminal investigation of that individual? Or do you instead believe that it is appropriate to investigate such an individual and force him to incur legal fees, but that the Justice Department is unlikely to bring a prosecution because obtaining a conviction would be “exceedingly difficult?”
Holder: Prosecutorial and investigative judgments must depend on the facts, and no one is above the law. But where it is clear that a government agent has acted in ‘reasonable and good-faith reliance on Justice Department legal opinions’ authoritatively permitting his conduct, I would find it difficult to justify commencing a full-blown criminal investigation, let alone a prosecution.
Hopefully, my fears will turn out to be misplaced. We shall see …
This is Awesome! Where is Leslie to see this when I need her to see it?i love this ad.
This photo came from felinedelirium. I love this picture, for so many reasons.
The obvious one is that is recalls one of the most influential video games of the last several years: Grand Theft Auto. But to me, the importance of the message of this photo is not just that a mode of eating that involves copious amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables is healthy, but also that it is COOL. Eating locally and sustainably grown food (and more plant than animal) is beneficial for our environment, local economies, and international politics, not to mention human health. And these ideas are becoming increasingly popular among Americans, not to mention the rest of the world.
For more information, check this out.
“A Thousand Words”
via Philxxxxx via Jerxxx
For the Romantic parts of the Soul …
Yup, Click on the link below for more Starcraft unbelievable-ness … .
So cool, you’re eyes will melt!
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