Monthly Archives: May 2013

I’m finding that I’m being guided less and less by ideology and more and more by what makes sense.

We Need More Republicans Like This

Dan points out yet another article today that I can’t help but repeat. I find a complete lack of logic in members of both political parties but lately it seems that the Republicans make the more obviously illogical moves. Oklahoma  State Rep. Doug Cox is one Republican very willing to call his colleagues out on their lack of logic.

Yet I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception. A recent attempt by my fellow lawmakers to prevent Medicaid dollars from covering the “morning after” pill is a case in point. Denying access to this important contraceptive is a sure way to increase legal and back-alley abortions. Moreover, such a law would discriminate against low-income women who depend on Medicaid for their health care.

via State Rep. Doug Cox: The GOP and abortion legislation | News OK.

Seriously, we need more and more Republicans willing to do just what Rep. Cox has done here.

So You Say We Need GMOs To Feed the World?

Small scale farmers in Russia are showing us that it doesn’t take a huge, industrial farm to produce the food required to feed mass quantities of people. These small scale, organic Russian family farms, usually less than an acre in size, are providing the bulk of fruits and vegetables to the country.

According to some statistics, they grow 92% of the entire countries’ potatoes, 77% of its vegetables, 87% of its fruit, and feed 71% of the entire population from privately owned, organic farms or house gardens all across the country.

via The Russians Prove Small Scale Organic CAN Feed the World.

This is reportedly being done without pesticides, without herbicides and without genetically modified, patented seeds.

Monsanto GMO wheat threatens US exports

Remember that report I gave you yesterday about GMO wheat appearing on an Oregon farm? Fall out from that report was quick. Japan is suspending certain wheat purchases until we sort this mess out.

Japanese authorities have already opted to cancel part of a tender offer to buy US western white wheat and have suspended imports of both that variety and feed wheat, Reuters reported on Thursday.”We will refrain from buying western white and feed wheat effective today,” Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of wheat trading, told the agency.

via Discovery of Monsanto GMO wheat threatens US exports — RT News.

This is not good news for the American wheat farmer. Japan is the largest exporter of our wheat behind Mexico so that’s a big sector of our market just disappearing. Other Asian buyers of our wheat are considering the same course of action.

How’d That Get There?

A farmer in Oregon finds some weeds growing where they shouldn’t be so he hit ’em with Roundup®. They didn’t die. Finding that to be very peculiar he takes those weeds to Oregon State University where they test them where they find that this is wheat containing the Monsanto® Roundup Ready® gene.

This is disturbing in that GMO wheat has not been approved for commercial use. Monsanto hasn’t field tested Roundup Ready® wheat since 2005 and there have been no field tests of Roundup Ready® wheat in Oregon since 2001! Where did this come from? Where else could it be? Is it going to show up on an organic farm next?

The Agriculture Department attempted to allay our fears with this statement:

The department said it was not known yet whether any of the wheat got into the food supply or into grain shipments. Even if it did, officials said, it would pose no threat to health. The Food and Drug Administration reviewed the wheat and found no safety problems with it in 2004.

via Modified Wheat Is Discovered in Oregon – NYTimes.com. via Flutterby

I may have an argument with them over whether or not any GMO crop is truly safe and poses no health problems but there is no arguing over the fact that free range GMO wheat just popping up where it isn’t planted poses a very clear and imminent economic threat to our wheat farmers.

China’s Shuanghui buys US pork icon Smithfield

China’s Shuanghui is buying Smithfield. Smithfield uses feedlot pigs. Feedlot pigs have their own problems. They are crammed together with little room for exercise, shot full of antibiotics and fed the cheapest feed available but I’ve always considered the processing of Smithfield products to be of higher quality than most. That’s why I’m a little anxious about this buy out. However maybe the Chinese won’t pull down the quality of Smithfield products and maybe the quality of Shuanghui’s products will improve from this move.

“Shuanghui will gain access to high-quality, competitively-priced and safe US products, as well as Smithfields best practices and operational expertise,” he said.

via AFP: China’s Shuanghui buys US pork icon Smithfield.

Now let’s just hope that production isn’t moved to China.

Did Lois Lerner waive her right to invoke the Fifth Amendment?

I am as aghast of the antics of the IRS as the next person, may be more so, but I’m also a very adamant defender of one’s right not to incriminate one’s self. If I suspect you are questioning me in order to gain evidence to prosecute me I am shutting up and that appears to be exactly what Lois Lerner did after making a statement that she had done nothing wrong.

However, Darrell Issa seems to think that claiming one’s innocence is a waiver of that right.

But the fact that she reiterated some of the same answers she gave the inspector general during his investigation prompted the panel’s chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to remark, “At this point, I believe you have not asserted your rights, but have effectively waived your rights.”

via Did Lois Lerner waive her right to invoke the Fifth Amendment?.

Mr. Issa, you are a dumbass and a very un American one at that. She has an absolute right to keep her mouth shut when being asked questions intended to incriminate her and that is exactly what your hearing was set up to do.

Girl Apologizes for Tweeting About Her Hit and Run With Cyclist

I don’t think an apology was necessary for the tweet but she ought to be bending over backwards in apologizing to the cyclist she hit. It sounds like she may just be sorry she got caught.

A young driver at the centre of a storm after she boasted on Twitter about colliding with a cyclist has apologised for what she calls a “stupid tweet”.

via Cycle tweet girl breaks her silence | Anglia – ITV News.

URL: http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2013-05-22/cycle-tweet-girl-breaks-her-silence/

Newegg nukes “corporate troll” Alcatel in third patent appeal win this year

The French telephone conglomerate bought Lucent Technologies back in 2006 acquiring a vast portfolio of patents, many originally obtained by the old Bell Labs.

With all of these patents now there’s you would think that they would start showcasing new products. Right?

Nope, they start issuing licenses demands on their patents. However, they made the mistake of sending their licensure demand to Newegg. Newegg viewed this as patent trolling. Newegg doesn’t settle with patent trolls, ever.

The jury found the patents invalid.

The appeals court found the patents invalid.

Newegg Chief Legal Officer, Lee Cheng, talks about Lucent’s corporate representatives testimony:

“Successful defendants have their litigation managed by people who care,” said Cheng. “For me, it’s easy. I believe in Newegg, I care about Newegg. Alcatel Lucent, meanwhile, they drag out some random VP—who happens to be a decorated Navy veteran, who happens to be handsome and has a beautiful wife and kids—but the guy didn’t know what patents were being asserted. What a joke.”

via Newegg nukes “corporate troll” Alcatel in third patent appeal win this year | Ars Technica. via Flutterby

I think I want to put a framed and autographed 8×10 glossy photograph of Mr. Cheng on my desk.

URL: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/05/newegg-nukes-corporate-troll-alcatel-in-third-patent-appeal-win-this-year/