Saturday, September 29, 2012

Laughter is the best medicine

Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon (1987) Norm Crosby

No embed but a very funny take on the politics of that time. (click on title) Norm was known for his alliterations like Mugs Mcginnis of the Eastside gang before him.

Dean Martin & Norm Crosby 

this one has an embed,  enjoy:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Weakening of the U.S.: Why Americans Won’t Face Reality

We mythologize ourselves as clear-eyed dwellers
of a shining city on a hill, but the fact is: we can’t
handle the truth.
The least salubrious aspect of the American character is the susceptibility to self-deception. We mythologize ourselves as clear-eyed dwellers of a shining city on a hill, but the fact is: we can’t handle the truth. Because we cannot make peace with our eroding stat­us as the world’s sole remaining superpower—one whose economic dominance is now far from unrivaled in an age of globalization—we retreat to cherished notions of American exceptionalism and ignore all the ways, from educational achievement to social well-being to wise stewardship of resources, in which we are not so super at all.

We fight two far-flung wars while, for the first time in history, cutting taxes in the same breath, and then wonder why we’re having a rough go of it. We know at some level that our deficit is unsustainable but can’t agree on what is abundantly clear: that reducing it requires some combination of budget cuts and greater revenues. Meanwhile, the planet is lashed by extreme weather events of singular ferocity (including one that left parts of Washington, D.C., itself blacked out for nearly a week this summer), and yet we debate climate change as if it were a contested theory.

It goes on. Because white births are no longer the majority in a citizenry with deep Anglo-Saxon roots, and because many Americans recoil from this reality, we resist any sensible solution to the problem of the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants living among us and instead build high-tech barriers in a futile effort to stem the flow. Indeed, we are further away from any such solution than we were just six or eight years ago, when George W. Bush and some of his more enlightened Republican allies tried to think seriously about the question but were shot down by conservatives in their own party. The advent of Barack Obama has meant that alarming numbers among us cling not just to God and guns (as Obama once infelicitously put it) but to the conviction that the president must be a foreigner or a Marxist or a Muslim or even the Antichrist, and not merely cool, cerebral, and—oh, yes—black. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that the percentage of conservative Republicans who think Obama is a Muslim has more than doubled over the past four years, from 16 percent in 2008 to 34 percent now. READ MORE

Study finds tumors in rats fed on Monsanto's GM corn

Would He Oppose GM Foods?
French scientists said on [September 19] that rats fed on Monsanto's genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller suffered tumors and multiple organ damage. Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed variety made tolerant to dousings of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. 
 The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. 
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and presented at a news conference in London.  
The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group. 
 GMOs are deeply unpopular in Europe and many other countries, but dominate key crops in the United States after Monsanto in 1996 introduced a soybean genetically altered to tolerate Monsanto's Roundup weed killer. Seralini was part of a team that has voiced previous safety concerns based on a shorter rat study 
in a scientific paper published in 2009. This new study takes things a step further by tracking the animals throughout their two-year lifespan. Seralini believes his latest lifetime rat tests give a more realistic and authoritative view of risks than the 90-day feeding trials that form the basis of GM crop approvals, since three months is only the equivalent of early adulthood in rats.
Note: For disturbing photos and more from the above long-term study on the dangers of GM food, click here. For an excellent article and a great two-minute video clearly explaining the major dangers of GM food, click here. For a powerful summary of the health risks from GM foods, click here.

NYPD Footage of Zuccotti Park Raid Leaked

NYPD beats Occupy protester with fist in Zuccotti Park, 11/15/11. (photo: AP/SA)
By Natasha Lennard, Salon
26 September 12

he presence of NYPD TARU (Technical Assistance Response Unit) officers at Occupy protests has long been a source of contention among occupiers and legal observers. The precise role and remit of the camera-wielding officers is ill-defined; the end product of their constant filming usually goes unseen by those featured in it.

However, on Sunday a group claiming Anonymous affiliation released 60 hours of TARU footage from the night of the Zuccotti Park eviction on Nov. 15. The footage is considered particularly relevant in fleshing out the NYPD versus Occupy narrative, since both mainstream and citizen journalists and videographers were forcibly kept away from the park as officers dismantled the encampment and rounded up protesters that night.

A release introducing the footage dump notes, “The NYPD denied freedom of the press the night of the Zuccotti raid by kicking out media and keeping them two blocks away … Much of the video being released is edited by the NYPD, and at times edits are quite blatant, probably trying to cover up their brutality.”

The release urges that readers share the TARU footage and take note of any glitches or time stamp changes, which might suggest selective editing. “We ask for an unedited version of the tapes,” it notes.

New Yorkers Plaster 'Racist' Stickers Over Islamophobic Subway Ads

Stickers appeared on ads paid for by the American
Freedom Defense Initiative. (photo: IMEU)
By Ben Armbruster, Think Progress
26 September 12

fter the anti-American protests erupted in the Middle East earlier this month, Pam Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) decided to re-up its anti-Muslim ad campaign in New York’s subway system. The ad, borrowing from an Ayn Rand quote, is meant to imply that Muslims are savages.

New York City transit authorities did not want to display the ads but a federal court said refusing the ads would violate AFDI’s First Amendment rights. But now that the ads are up, New Yorkers are taking matters into their own hands, writing “RACIST” and “HATE SPEECH” over the ads in certain subway stations:

AFDI is trying to run a similar campaign in the Washington DC Metro but authorities there have so far been successful at blocking the campaign “out of a concern for public safety.” READ MORE

Russia Suspends Import of Monsanto Corn on Health Concerns

California voters will decide on mandatory labeling
of GMOs in November. (photo: California Right to Know)
By Anne Sewell, Digital Journal

26 September 12

ollowing the recent rat study on NK603 GMO corn, Russia has suspended imports of Monsanto corn, while France continues investigations into the possible dangers of GMOs to human health.
On Tuesday this week, Russia suspended the import and use of Monsanto's genetically engineered corn, following the scientific study released on September 19 on rats fed with this corn, which caused serious health problems, including tumors and organ failure.

The study was run over a period of two years, which is the lifetime of the rats being studied and was the first animal feeding trial, set up to study the lifetime effects of exposure to NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize, and also to Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide and weedkiller.

This Presidential Race Should Never Have Been This Close

By Matt Taibbi,
Rolling Stone Magazine
 26 September 12

The press everywhere is buzzing this week with premature obituaries of the Romney campaign.

New polls are out suggesting that Mitt Romney's electoral path to the presidency is all but blocked. Unless someone snags an iPhone video of Obama taking a leak on Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye, or stealing pain meds from a Tampa retiree and sharing them with a bunch of Japanese carmakers, the game looks pretty much up – Obama's widening leads in three battleground states, Virginia, Ohio and Florida, seem to have sealed the deal.

That's left the media to speculate, with a palpable air of sadness, over where the system went wrong. Whatever you believe, many of these articles say, wherever you rest on the ideological spectrum, you should be disappointed that Obama ultimately had to run against such an incompetent challenger.

Weirdly, there seems to be an expectation that presidential races should be closer, and that if one doesn't come down to the wire in an exciting photo finish, we've all missed out somehow. Frank Bruni of The New York Times wrote a thoughtful, insightful editorial today that blames the painful, repetitive and vacuous campaign process for thinning the electoral herd and leaving us with only automatons and demented narcissists willing to climb the mountain: READ MORE

The 5 Most Terrifying Supreme Court Decisions

In the United States, the Supreme Court has final say over whether any law is constitutional. So in a way it's the final barrier that prevents any legislators from getting too crazy or racist in the laws they pass.
But the Supreme Court itself is not made up of gods or wizards. They are just people, with agendas. And sometimes they have rendered opinions that make you wonder if the whole legal system isn't just full of crazy people from the top down. For instance, the court has ruled ...

#5. A Business Can Kick You Out of Your House if It Wants to Build There

#4. Scientists Can Create Life (And Corporations Can Own It)

#3. You Can Imprison an Entire Race, if You Have a Good Reason

#2. Mining Companies Can Go "Scorched Earth" on the Environment, if They Get Permission


#1. The Government Can Sterilize You in the Name of Eugenics


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Discovery Channel Crashes a Passenger Jet… for Science!

Jason Robey
By Jason Robey
Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:28 PM ET 
This past weekend, Discovery Channel orchestrated the crash of a Boeing 727 passenger jet in a remote and uninhabited Mexican desert as part of a scientific experiment for an unprecedented international television documentary for Discovery Channel, Channel 4 in the UK and Pro Sieben in Germany.

The pilot evacuated the 170-seat aircraft (via parachute) just minutes before the collision after setting it on a crash course. It was then flown remotely from a chase plane. The crash went according to plan and there were no injuries or damage to property.

The plane was packed with scientific experiments, including crash test dummies in lieu of passengers. Dozens of cameras recorded the crash from inside the aircraft, on the ground, in chase planes and even on the ejecting pilot’s helmet.

An international team of experts will use the data to study the crash-worthiness of the aircraft’s airframe and cabin, as well as the impact of crashes on the human body, with the goal of finding new ways to help increase passenger survivability. The experiment will also help them evaluate new “black box” crash-recording technology.

PHOTOS: See more pictures of Discovery Channel’s Boeing 727 plane crash.

The plane was crashed in a remote and unpopulated part of the Sonoran Desert of Baja California, Mexico. The location was chosen after an extensive international search to find a suitable location offering the perfect conditions for this groundbreaking scientific project. READ MORE