Archive for November 8th, 2010

Our anti-consumer USDA

| November 8, 2010 | Reply
Our anti-consumer USDA

The USDA is funding a smear campaign against the Environmental Working Groups efforts to educate consumers about pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. As reported by Mother Jones, our federal government is once again siding with well-monied corporate interests and not with the People.

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Susan Blackmore: religion is not a virus

| November 8, 2010 | 4 Replies
Susan Blackmore: religion is not a virus

Susan Blackmore recently announced that evidence regarding the higher birth rates among religious believers has convinced her that religion is not a virus.

Data from 82 countries showed almost a straight line plot of the number of children against the frequency of religious worship, with those who worship more than once a week averaging 2.5 children and those who never worship only 1.7 – again below replacement rate.

Blackmore has thus renounced her previous view that religions are maladaptive:

All this suggests that religious memes are adaptive rather than viral from the point of view of human genes, but could they still be viral from our individual or societal point of view? Apparently not, given data suggesting that religious people are happier and possibly even healthier than secularists. . . . So it seems I was wrong and the idea of religions as “viruses of the mind” may have had its day . . . unless we twist the concept of a “virus” to include something helpful and adaptive to its host as well as something harmful, it simply does not apply.

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Society’s most dangerous drug

| November 8, 2010 | Reply
Society’s most dangerous drug

The results are in at Lancet. The all-round most dangerous drug is [drum roll] . . . Alcohol!

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Tea Party: Emerging Force, or Farce?

| November 8, 2010 | 1 Reply
Tea Party: Emerging Force, or Farce?

I stumbled onto this new book, Underdogma. Reviewers say

“Underdogma is the first great Tea Party book. All Tea Party Patriots should read Underdogma.”

and

“Underdogma is the Rosetta Stone for our time’s most portentous puzzle: Why do so many in this country — including some in leadership positions — abhor our national greatness and seek to diminish it at every turn?”

The premise is basically that America is doomed by naysayers, and the roots go back the the Garden of Eden. As long as those wacko liberals insist on not-bullying the rest of the world, and allowing the have-nots to have a say in policy, we are doomed.

So I wonder if this is truly the way those people think, or is this a political version of Poe’s Law? Will they soon declare a political party of tea? Or will they simply continue to subvert conservatism with this toxic pablum, as they did in the recent election?

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Republicans must think Latino voters are stupid.

| November 8, 2010 | 2 Replies
Republicans must think Latino voters are stupid.

As we come out of the Mid-Term Elections of 2010, one thing is absolutely crystal clear: Republicans think Latino voters are stupid . . . really stupid.

In state after state Republicans are running ads featuring Latino-looking figures going under, over and around fences which are or are meant to depict our Southern border. Other Republican ads make false and misleading claims about the dangers of illegal immigrants to America. We are urged to be afraid, very afraid of the Republicans’ opponents. Such appeals have even been used by Republican Senate candidate Roy Blunt in Missouri, even though Missouri was a “border state” only during the Civil War. I’ll collected quite a few links illustrating this nonsense:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU6Xq56CaCE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qP3DBLUOeQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uvp0Jljh6U&feature=related

http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2010/10/roy_blunt_looking_for_illegals.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLgZ1LWLlko

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzDlN7VLmXQ&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVheLuooLUw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE6De4VqFfg

Republican US Senate nominee Sharon Angle even used pictures of Mexican nationals in Mexico to try to make her point, and she used the images without the permission of the photographer.

Republican jingoism and anti-immigrant distortions have been around for a long time, but now we have another far more sinister effort by Republicans to use immigration and immigrant status as a political tool. A recently minted organization calling itself “Latinos for Reform” sought to air TV ads to urge Latinos not to vote in the Mid Term elections.

In Nevada, some 25% of voters are Latinos. The Tea Party, Republicans and their supporters claim that because of Republican obstructionism, which requires 60 votes to pass any bill, a comprehensive immigration bill is good reason to punish Democrats in 2010. The man who put this effort together formerly worked for the Republican National Committee and his treasurer is a Republican lobbyist. The Post Office Box of “Latinos for Reform” is the same as that of the group that gave us the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” in 2004.

These efforts by Republicans and their Tea Party supporters may have borne fruit in the 2010 elections but, with some one third of the US population projected to be of Hispanic descent by the end of the century, such short-sighted efforts will only serve to alienate the Hispanic voters and encourage their voting patterns to tend toward those of the African-American community, which approach 90% Democratic support. Republicans may politically profit by their xenophobic racism, but in the long run they will likely only do themselves extreme long-lasting damage among Latino voters.

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Good questions for Bank of America

| November 8, 2010 | 1 Reply
Good questions for Bank of America

Dan Froomkin summarizes the antics of Bank of America. William K. Black has a lot of unanswered questions for Bank of America.

Black, writing alone, also corrected President Obama’s assertion during his interview with Jon Stewart, that chief economic adviser Larry Summers had done a “heckuva job.” Summers did not resolve the financial crisis, Black wrote, he just papered over the problem. In another solo effort, Black warned that papering over the problem will actually increase the total cost of the crisis in the long run, and he concluded that “the administration’s banking policies have attained the terrible trifecta: terrible economics, terrible ethics, and terrible politics.”

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