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Maureen Dowd gets the front page, so you know it's not going to be because someone has done something good.
On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Kerry Bentivolio, a Michigan congressman, has a dream, too: to impeach the nation’s first black president.

“If I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true,” the freshman Republican told a local G.O.P. club meeting Monday in Birmingham, Mich., in a video posted on YouTube and reported by BuzzFeed.

Bentivolio graciously conceded that he’d have to come up with some grounds first. “I went back to my office and I have had lawyers come in,” he said. “And these are lawyers, well — Ph.D.’s in history — I said, ‘Tell me how I can impeach the president of the United States. What evidence do you have?’ You’ve got to have the evidence.”

The Tea Party congressman, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, hopes to find e-mails linking the White House to the I.R.S. examination of groups with a “Tea Party” label seeking tax-exempt status.

...

Bentivolio is the perfect avatar of the impeachment fever gripping a G.O.P. that’s unmoored from reality, given that he once admitted in a court deposition, “I have a problem figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio.” That’s why he sometimes used the pronoun “we.”

He’s been playing Santa Claus — as part of a business he started 19 years ago called Old Fashion Santa — with his own six reindeer. “To project authenticity, he’s even sought clearance from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens to fly his sleigh in its airspace on Christmas Eve,” Kathleen Gray wrote in The Detroit Free Press.

Yes, I think we all have trouble deciding if we are really imaginary characters, especially when we realize that Kerry Bentivolio was actually elected to Congress.  And hey, he may be Santa-- as seen on Futurama.

Come on in.  Let's see what else is in the toy bag.

Leonard Pitts looks around at dreamland.

Here in tomorrow... the president is black. The business mogul is black. The movie star is black. The sports icon is black. The reporter, the scholar, the lawyer, the teacher, the doctor, all of them are black. And King might think for a moment that he was wrong about tomorrow and its troubles.

It would not take long for [Dr. King] to see the grimy truth beneath the shiny surface, to learn that the perpetual suspect is also black. As are the indigent woman, the dropout, the fatherless child, the suppressed voter, and the boy lying dead in the grass with candy and iced tea in his pocket.

King would see that for all the progress we have made, we live in a time of proud ignorance and moral cowardice wherein some white people — not all — smugly but incorrectly pronounce all racial problems solved. More galling, it is an era of such cognitive incoherence that conservatives — acolytes of the ideology against which King struggled all his life — now routinely claim ownership of his movement and kinship with his cause.

When he was under fire for questioning the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for instance, Sen. Rand Paul wanted it known that he’d have marched with King had he been of age. And he probably believes that.

Rand Paul is not even as accurate as a stopped watch. He's right a lot less than twice a day.

Ross Douthat is also I-have-a-dreaming, but since it's Douthat, you know it's going to be...well.

Three months before the 1963 March on Washington, whose 50th anniversary falls this week, officials in Birmingham, Ala., opened fire hoses and loosed dogs on civil rights protesters. Two months before the march, the civil rights organizer Medgar Evers was murdered outside his home in Jackson, Miss. And a few weeks after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have Dream Speech” echoed down the Washington Mall, a bomb ripped open Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, killing four little girls.

Fifty years later, race is still in the headlines; indeed, the “postracial” presidency of Barack Obama has (predictably) given us more race-related controversy than the last two administrations combined. Some of these debates are essentially trivial, churned up by a “no, you’re the racist” grievance factory that runs day and night on cable news. But others — on voting rights, affirmative action, stop-and-frisk, etc. — are serious and weighty whatever side you take.

Yes, these are weighty matters for both the pro-racist and the anti-racist. Not that Republicans are racist.
Voter ID laws are not Jim Crow come again. And the thread of white identity politics running through Obama-era conservatism is just that — a sense of resentment and grievance, not a supremacist ideology reborn.
See, being resentful and angry toward people of color and passing laws to limit their access to the polls is not racism.  Why? No firehoses, no racism. Nice to have a simple definition.

David Autor and David Dorn look again at that rising worker productivity, and falling worker pay.

In the four years since the Great Recession officially ended, the productivity of American workers — those lucky enough to have jobs — has risen smartly. But the United States still has two million fewer jobs than before the downturn, the unemployment rate is stuck at levels not seen since the early 1990s and the proportion of adults who are working is four percentage points off its peak in 2000.

This job drought has spurred pundits to wonder whether a profound employment sickness has overtaken us. And from there, it’s only a short leap to ask whether that illness isn’t productivity itself. Have we mechanized and computerized ourselves into obsolescence?

...

Of course, anxiety, and even hysteria, about the adverse effects of technological change on employment have a venerable history. In the early 19th century a group of English textile artisans calling themselves the Luddites staged a machine-trashing rebellion. Their brashness earned them a place (rarely positive) in the lexicon, but they had legitimate reasons for concern.

... if technological advances don’t threaten employment, does that mean workers have nothing to fear from “smart machines”? Actually, no — and here’s where the Luddites had a point. Although many 19th-century Britons benefited from the introduction of newer and better automated looms — unskilled laborers were hired as loom operators, and a growing middle class could now afford mass-produced fabrics — it’s unlikely that skilled textile workers benefited on the whole.

Fast-forward to the present. The multi-trillionfold decline in the cost of computing since the 1970s has created enormous incentives for employers to substitute increasingly cheap and capable computers for expensive labor. These rapid advances — which confront us daily as we check in at airports, order books online, pay bills on our banks’ Web sites or consult our smartphones for driving directions — have reawakened fears that workers will be displaced by machinery. Will this time be different?

The answer is yes. Actually, we're living in the great age of hand crafting -- most of the things you own were crafted by hand, predominately the hands of young women in China or south Asia. Which doesn't mean that technology isn't displacing workers, it is. The reason that technology is different this time around, is that it's stretching the space between rich and poor and reducing the opportunities to move from one to the other.
Computerization has therefore fostered a polarization of employment, with job growth concentrated in both the highest- and lowest-paid occupations, while jobs in the middle have declined. Surprisingly, overall employment rates have largely been unaffected in states and cities undergoing this rapid polarization. Rather, as employment in routine jobs has ebbed, employment has risen both in high-wage managerial, professional and technical occupations and in low-wage, in-person service occupations.
Of course, there are many fewer of those managerial roles than there were of the vanishing middle class positions.

Alex Rosenberg and Tyler Curtain ask a question I think we've all had lately: Economics (huh, good God y'all) what is it good for?

The fact that the discipline of economics hasn’t helped us improve our predictive abilities suggests it is still far from being a science, and may never be. Still, the misperceptions persist. A student who graduates with a degree in economics leaves college with a bachelor of science, but possesses nothing so firm as the student of the real world processes of chemistry or even agriculture.

Before the 1970s, the discussion of how to make economics a science was left mostly to economists. But like war, which is too important to be left to the generals, economics was too important to be left to the Nobel-winning members of the University of Chicago faculty.

Well... yes, I certainly agree with that, since the bozos of Chicago school economics were largely responsible for the non-functional conservative economics we have today.  Anyway...
Mr. Friedman argued that false assumptions didn’t matter any more in economics than they did in physics.

Like the “ideal gas,” “frictionless plane” and “center of gravity” in physics, idealizations in economics are both harmless and necessary. They are indispensable calculating devices and approximations that enable the economist to make predictions about markets, industries and economies the way they enable physicists to predict eclipses and tides, or prevent bridge collapses and power failures.

... many economists don’t seem troubled when they make predictions that go wrong. Readers of Paul Krugman and other like-minded commentators are familiar with their repeated complaints about the refusal of economists to revise their theories in the face of recalcitrant facts. Philosophers of science are puzzled by the same question. What is economics up to if it isn’t interested enough in predictive success to adjust its theories the way a science does when its predictions go wrong?

Here follows a lot of text explaining that just because Chicago School economics hasn't worked, doesn't mean it's wrong. The real world is just too damn complicated. So economists need to feel their way to solutions and shouldn't be confused by people like Krugman who like ugly old facts.

Apparently it's much easier to pretend that economic theory can't predict anything, than to admit that conservative economics always fail.  Don't worry, I'm sure when we bash our head against the brick wall this time, it won't hurt.

Amy Harmon looks at the protests over genetically modified "Golden Rice."

One bright morning this month, 400 protesters smashed down the high fences surrounding a field in the Bicol region of the Philippines and uprooted the genetically modified rice plants growing inside. ...

The concerns voiced by the participants in the Aug. 8 act of vandalism — that Golden Rice could pose unforeseen risks to human health and the environment, that it would ultimately profit big agrochemical companies — are a familiar refrain in the long-running controversy over the merits of genetically engineered crops.

Only Golden Rice--rice modified to produce vitamin A--is different in at least one respect.
Not owned by any company, Golden Rice is being developed by a nonprofit group called the International Rice Research Institute with the aim of providing a new source of vitamin A to people both in the Philippines, where most households get most of their calories from rice, and eventually in many other places in a world where rice is eaten every day by half the population. Lack of the vital nutrient causes blindness in a quarter-million to a half-million children each year. It affects millions of people in Asia and Africa and so weakens the immune system that some two million die each year of diseases they would otherwise survive.

The destruction of the field trial, and the reasons given for it, touched a nerve among scientists around the world, spurring them to counter assertions of the technology’s health and environmental risks. On a petition supporting Golden Rice circulated among scientists and signed by several thousand, many vented a simmering frustration with activist organizations like Greenpeace, which they see as playing on misplaced fears of genetic engineering in both the developing and the developed worlds. Some took to other channels to convey to American foodies and Filipino farmers alike the broad scientific consensus that G.M.O.’s are not intrinsically more risky than other crops and can be reliably tested.

So here's a question for debate this morning: if progressives are willing to take the word of the scientific majority that human-caused global warming is real, why are many progressives so unwilling to accept the consensus that GMOs are safe?

Kathleen Parker demonstrates that, after delivering a reasonable column last week, she can still be absolutely and completely thick headed.

Obama’s race remarks exacerbate tensions

If I had a son, he would look like Christopher Lane, the 22-year-old Australian baseball player shot dead while jogging in Oklahoma.

...Stepping out from his usual duties of drawing meaningless red lines in the Syrian sand, the president splashed red paint across the American landscape:

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

In so saying, he essentially gave permission for all to identify themselves by race with the victim or the accused. How sad, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the march Martin Luther King Jr. led on Washington, that even the president resorts to judging not by the content of one’s character but by the color of his skin — the antithesis of the great dream King articulated.

No one spent days trying to decide whether to even arrest Lane's killers. No one tried to turn them into heroes. The reason Trayvon's death became a symbol and the case so important was not because another black teenage was killed, but because another black teenager was killed, the police knew exactly who did it, and no one was doing a damn thing about it but sending congratulations. Jesus. I may have to take a break from Parker.  Kathleen, please go talk to Leonard Pitts.

Robert Kaiser tells how, at the actual time of King's speech, the Washington Post was AWOL.

The city of Washington had been on edge for days. Fearing a riot, mayhem or lord knows what, many left town to avoid the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The organizers predicted a crowd of more than 100,000 protesting Negroes, as we called black people then. Just the idea of such a horde seemed to scare the white residents of what was still a southern town.

I was a Post summer intern — a kid reporter on his first big story — and one of 60 staffers the paper deployed that day. This was a tiny fraction of the number of National Guardsmen and police on the streets but a veritable army for what was then still a provincial daily paper. Ben Gilbert, the imperious city editor, had spent weeks planning the coverage. With help from colleagues, he was about to make one of the biggest goofs of his long career. ...

The Post... got embarrassed. The main event that day was what we now call the “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. But on the day it was given, The Post didn’t think so. We nearly failed to mention it at all.

We were poised and ready for a riot, for trouble, for unexpected events — but not for history to be made. Baker’s 1,300-word lead story, which began under a banner headline on the front page and summarized the events of the day, did not mention King’s name or his speech. It did note that the crowd easily exceeded 200,000, the biggest assemblage in Washington “within memory” — and they all remained “orderly.”

Reporters on the scene also thought that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was an embarrassment. So if you wrote what you thought was a really insightful diary this week and it only drew eight comments (as I did), buck up. The verdict of history is not in.  

But really, just be grateful for the eight comments.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A few possibilities (38+ / 0-)
    So here's a question for debate this morning: if progressives are willing to take the word of the scientific majority that human-caused global warming is real, why are many progressives so unwilling to accept the consensus that GMOs are safe?
    A few possibilities:

    (1)  Proving that X is dangerous requires scientists to identify only one way in which that danger can be created.  Proving that Y is safe requires scientists to eliminate all possible ways in which it could be dangerous.  

    The analogy would be proving that a chemical causes cancer, versus proving that a chemical causes no health problems whatsoever.

    (2)  Progressives tend to have a bias in favor of natural vs. artificial.  Anthropogenic climate change and GMO foods are both artificial.

    (3)  Follow the money.  I suspect that most of the research supporting global warming is funded by governmental science agencies (which we, unlike the Right, tend to trust), while deniers' research is funded by oil companies.  On the other hand, I suspect (though I could be wrong) that much of the research showing GMOs to be safe was funded by Monsanto and its ilk.

    •  A significant reason for the distrust of GMOs (30+ / 0-)

      is that they have been developed so that the poison Round Up can be used indiscriminately in production agriculture. There is much more scientific controversy regarding Round Up than the GMO crops themselves. And as riogrande says, follow the money...Monsanto makes the GMO seeds and Round UP.

    •  I would add to this the fact that the term (24+ / 0-)

      GMO covers a lot of ground.

      Is the modification one to make something resistant to pesticide or herbicide?

      Is the modification one to make something drought-resistant?

      Is the modification one to make something "more nutritious" (like the Golden Rice)?

      Is the modification one to increase yield?

      Is the modification one that patents whatever the entity is, and therefore makes it expensive to use and illegal to re-use?

      Will the modification spread to other crops or livestock or wild populations?

      Will the modification harm non-pest plants or insects (BEES!) etc?

      I am personally very suspicious of GMO because in many cases, it is unclear what it means, its safety (to humans and the planet) is untested, or is tested by research that is suspect in its funding if not in its findings, is economically problematic to organic farmers or farmers in the developing economies, or focused on a non-problem that will be solved for great profit, often cutting out or "patenting" something that non-GMO farming has been doing culturally for centuries.

      •  Totally agree (21+ / 0-)

        GMO as practiced by Monsanto is designed to acomplish three goals:
        1) increase sales of Round up
        2) patent (control the sale of) seed so only Monsanto can sell it to you
        3) increase the profits of Monsanto

        Round-up is a glyophosphate based weed killer (herbicide), the purpose of the genetic modifier is to allow more Round -up to be used on the soil in which the plant grows. I do not want my food soaked in herbicide.  The long term impact of Round-up is highly questionable, there are increasing indications in animal models that the outcomes are not good, there are also "weeds" that are increasingly showing resistance to the product (not a surprise to anyone who looks at Evolutionary Biology) requiring increased use of round-up.  Overall impacting the environment and public health

        The business practices of Monsanto are highly questionable with the need for constant legal action to "protect" their patents.  in a processes of developing a near monopoly of seed production and sales, damaging the farming industry, putting the entire food production chain at risk and increasing the cost of food (more profit for Monsanto).

        Simply to state that Gene modification is bad is a simplistic view point, gene modification happens in nature all the time (plasmids and resistant bacteria come instantly to mind), and humans have been selectively breeding plants and animals for over 5000 years.  The bigger question is which gene modification, what does it do, and why?

        there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

        by Bloke on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:24:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  add (4) keep users dependent... (12+ / 0-)

          ...on the product and distribution chain.

          When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Egalitare on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:57:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Totally agree too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bloke, davehouck

          ...but I'd add a qualifier to your last point.
          Yes, gene modification can be a long-term, natural process.
          But human-directed gene-mod is neither natural nor long-term, and therein lie the dangers -- orders of magnitude greater than those of natural genetic drift, or even that created by inherently long-term selective-breeding projects.
          I know you know.this, but it needs to be stated clearly that the difference between natural genetic change and selective breeding, on the one hand, and lab-manipulated genetic mods on the other, is like the difference between natural, eons-length climate drift, and anthropogenic global warming on the scale of decades.
          In each case, the existence of the former does not render the latter any lower in risks -- and not just.concern, but alarm, is well warranted.

          •  I always think about what is being modified n why (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ohiolibrarian

            Plasimd capture is natural and quick, the observed and recorded outcomes are challenging as we note increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance that can become pandemic in a matter of a few years (NDM-1 is probably the poster child for that)

            Compared to selective breading that may take multiple generations to produce a result (if at all) and that result can often be reversed plasimd capture is a major natural risk.

            when looking at genetically modified organisms one always questions the source of the DNA being spliced and the characteristic one is trying to transfer.  There can be both good and bad in both the source and the modification.

            I have always had a concern that we as people do not fully understand all of the interactions of a complex mechanism when looking at modified genetics, but are all too willing to release those modified organisms into the environment, where they are then subject to additional evolutionary pressure.  

            We have enough concerns with natural mutations causing unpredictable disease (influenza virus as example 1A) without adding to the pool of interesting genetic. modification.

            there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

            by Bloke on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:43:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your concerns as presented are vague (0+ / 0-)

              Is there any way to answer the "unknown consequences" concern? What would satisfy you?

              Additionally, most people in this thread seem to be talking about GMO food, but the general unforeseen consequences concern that you state applies equally to GMOs used for pharmaceuticals.

              For example the yeast that produces a modified human insulin which significantly improves my daughter's quality of life relative to the kids with juvenile diabetes when I was her age.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              So I do have an obvious bias towards this, and I am similarly (though less personally) sympathetic to golden rice.

              That said, I compare your concern as stated with another similar concern -- the use of antibiotics in animals. Even before the popular reporting of superbugs it was obvious that this would be a possible consequence.

              The nearest thing I can come up with as far as GMO foods is allergens. And it seems to me that clinical trials could provide assurances against large-scale problems on that front.

              That might be worth pursuing.

              (Note: I am not talking about the business aspect of GMOs, which are another subject and one that doesn't apply to golden rice.)

              Corollary to Clarke's Third Law: Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

              by krow10 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:58:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry for the late reply busy day (0+ / 0-)

                Ok that is a lot of question:
                Let’s start with the easy stuff as it leads nicely into the more challenging bigger questions; pharmaceutical use of GMO.  Genetically modified organisms can be used with altered metabolic pathways to produce a range of complex molecules, often valuable in pharmaceutical applications.  Of course non-modified organisms can also do this (Penicillium is the prime example) and careful selection of the best producers can increase yields but the range of products is limited, or the production is from an organism that is challenging to grow, or production is from an organisms that has other pathogenicity we do not want. The major consideration in when looking at GMO used in production of pharmaceutical is quality control, specifically the organisms are brewed (contained) in bioreactor vessels.  This is a very tightly controlled environment with an emphasis on 1) keeping our modified organism in the vessel, 2) keeping all other organisms out of the vessel.  
                There have been numerous instances where keeping contaminating organisms out has failed, the two instances that come to mind immediately are the viral contamination of the Genenzyme production of Fabrazyme and the bacterial contamination of the Genentech facility producing Rituxin.  In both instances contamination significantly reduced output and resulted in shutdown of the operation (plus some large fines) due to contamination of the product.  (see International Pharmaceutical Quality)
                Not only does one have to avoid contamination with extraneous species one must also watch for mutation of the inserted genomic material, there has been at least one reported instance of a recombiant Saccharomyces mutating.  The result was that instead of producing insulin like growth hormone a very similar but biologically inert protein was produced.  Hormones and enzymes are very complex molecules with many of the characteristics dependent on tertiary folding of the protein structure.  Minor changes in the positioning of charged atoms in the molecule (even stereo chemical changes) will result in a change in the structure turning a biologically active hormone into an inert protein.  In the instance of the Arg55/56 mutation the minor positional change of one of three disulphide bonds changed the functionality of the hormone produced due to a change in the folding of the protein. Rosenfeld et al J Protein Chem. 1993 Jun;12(3):247-54
                The point of the instances cited above is that there is interaction between organisms (including GMO) that result in changes in output, there is mutation of recombinant GMO resulting in changes in output AND this all occurs in the most controlled environment we can produce.
                Now let us consider the position of GMO released into the natural environment, with almost no control.  First there are multiple mutagens in the natural environment, start with UV from sunlight and work from there.  Then there is natural mutation as part of the cell multiplication process, a low rate but still present.  There are constant interactions between micobes, this includes competition for nutrients and space, swapping genetic material, use of chemicals to kill each other (that Penecillin is produced for a reason) and issues such as quorum sensing that we are just starting to grasp at the most rudimentary level.  The good news is that the system is remarkably robust and self-correcting, the bad news is that the system is incredibly delicate and easy to tip out of balance.  If you want an example look at the reported contamination of the MIR space station with Aspergillus niger, this species has been known for some time to produce citric acid (and is used commercially to so do).  On the MIR increase radiation resulted in a mutated species that produced citric acid at a much higher rate and in much more concentrated form, etching glass and corroding the space stations electronic components.  An extreme example to be sure, but is indicative of what happens when we place an organism outside its natural bounds and how organisms evolve constantly.
                Golden rice sounds like a really great idea, produce vitamins in rice that come from recombinant DNA in the rice.  What happens if the modified gene mutates?  Now instead of producing vitamin A it produces an inert material (that may be ok but we don’t get the health benefit) or even worse it produces a toxin? How long would it be before we noticed?  This is not a controlled environment, and in many instances we are talking about countries that have limited resources to handle food safety, inspections and perform testing.  Considering that it requires three separate gene splices to generate the entire biochemical pathway to produce the β-carotene there are three potential sites for mutation and failure.
                The genome for the modifications (there are three) for the Golden Rice comes from Tomato and Daffodil, the  Daffodil species (Narcosine spp ) also produces two alkaloids, narcissine (lycorine) and galantamine as well as the glycoside scillaine (scillitoxin) the alkaloids found in greatest abundance in the bulbs (but also in the leaf) are considered toxic.  One trusts that the QA/QC is good enough and that the mutation rate has been calculated to several generations to ensure sufficient stability and survivability, however, in the infamous words of Jeff Goldblum “Nature will find a way”.  We are good at splicing genes, we are less good at understanding what they do, only a few years ago we talked about garbage sequences, whole sections of the genome that were thought to do nothing (nearly 90 percent of what is there) then we discovered just how important some of those garbage sequences were, want to guess where we stitch in the exogenous material?
                What does it take to make me confident about GMO?  A full and transparent disclosure of where the original genome came from, including a full description of the other things that organism can produce, where is it being added to the receiving genome, what the anticipated output will be, a full evaluation of the potential outcomes including the impact of mutation over multiple generations, and a monitoring program to evaluate long term impacts such as gene transfer to other species.
                This is a whole lot longer than intended but I hope that you see the challenges and unknowns associated with genetic modification.

                there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

                by Bloke on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:33:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  But "suspect in its funding" IS "suspect in its... (3+ / 0-)

        ...findings."
        At least, it should be if, as is surely possible (and I'd say probable), it's the case with agri-science, as it definitely is with PhaRma-science, that research grants routinely come with gag orders.
        In the bio-med world, the intellectual-property norms hold that research with negative results, belonging to the granters, never gets published.  Researchers don't own their own results, and not only future funding, but actual employment, is at risk if they let word of pessimistic study results out into the world.
        So published drugs-test results are, by definition, misleadingly incomplete, hugely biased toward positive results only, and thus totally unrepresentative of reality.
        (This may.contribute to.famous failures, such as phen-fen, being approved and let loose in.the market, only.to have the shocking -- shocking! -- results of killing some of their users.)
        Now, is there any reason to believe that funders of agri-science, especially controversial and uncertain, leading-edge technologies, such as GMOs, wouldn't require similar reputation-protecting protocols of their farmed-out (heh) research?
        And if they did operate that way, how long would it take for anyone outside the field to hear of it, hmm?

    •  Another reason (9+ / 0-)

      We are forbidden to know which of the foods we eat are one of these great and harmless GMOs. So calling for a high road of reason with a hidden product is perplexing.

    •  For me the reason is Monsanto, full stop (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexasTom, radarlady, rugbymom

      Their monopolistic practices involving patenting their GMOs, letting them spread naturally than sueing into oblivion anybody who has their GMO seeds infecting their crops as "theft" is just plain evil.

      Because a GMO can be patented, I'm against GMO crops.

      Science says that if you make a new plant, it will spread into the wild.  There are no exceptions to this, and lots of examples where new plants were introduced into a new region by explorers and devastated the local ecosystem.

      I think the Greenpeace types are arguing that point, and the evidence shows GMO crops are spreading on their own.  For me though, if INDEPENDENT research shows that, say, Golden Rice behaves pretty much like all the other rice variants in an area, I don't have a big problem with that.  My problem is the damage to the other farmers and landowners in the area who will soon have lawyers knocking at their door and destroying their life over something they had no control over.

      The fact that most "science" on the GMOs is done by the company owning the patent to the GMO pretty much makes anything from such a source suspect as well.  There was "science" that showed Cigarettes were healthy too, back in the day.

      •  You ARE aware that the case you're referring to... (0+ / 0-)

        Was ruled by the courts in Monsanto's favor, right?

        Monsanto did NOT sue that farmer because their seed naturally bred with his. They sued him because he had acquired tons of it and planted it. He didn't pay Monsanto for it to begin with. He lied when he said it was just nature taking course.

        To Monsanto's credit (and before I say it, they're still villainous for several other reasons), they have never sued anyone because of pollination and natural processes.

        My style is impetuous.
        My defense is impregnable.
        YOU'RE NOT ALEXANDER!

        by samfish on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:16:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have to correct you there. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          codairem

          What the farmer did was buy seed from a bulk depot that he reasonably knew would have a high percentage of Monsanto's Roundup-Ready Soybean variety in it since Monsanto dominates that market place. He then planted it and sprayed it with Roundup knowing that the end result would be that the non-roundup-ready seeds would probably be killed and thus he could buy RR seeds at a bulk seed price.

    •  Same as vaccines and electric cars (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, Amber6541

      People of all political stripes have problems wit facts at a variance with their predispositions.

      I find it interesting that vaccination opposition comes from people who otherwise might describe themselves as progressive, while opposition to flouridated water comes from the right. The evidence for both, though, is unimpeachable.

      Electric cars themselves have zero emissions but when you consider that most electricity is produced by coal, the picture changes. When coal is replaced, then electric cars will be a good thing.

      Similarly, buses seem like a good idea, but if nobody will ride them they do less good than stronger emissions and mileage requirements

      Re frankenfood. Lab created food only speeds up the processes associated with millennia of farming. Our domestic cattle or grains look nothing like their in the wild progenitors. Generations of breeding is shortcutted by men and women in white coats. Farming in general, said Karl Menninger, is one of the most destructive and transformative activities of the natural environment. All those forests we see in Vermont and New Hamsphire are not virgin. In the 19th century that land was pasture for sheep. When that industry went bust, we got the trees.

    •  Introducing Vitamin A (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, davehouck

      I just wanted to add the notion of introducing other heirloom plants that provide vitamin A into their diet. Why is a natural way not considered an option.

      Foods that are high in vitamin A: sweet potatoes, paprika, kale, carrots, turnip greens, mustard greens, butternut squash. There also herbs and spices, and other foods with lower percentages.

      Introduce these foods into their diets, and teach them how to tend the crops, and the problem would be solved without the need of any corporate modifications to nature.

      Isn't there some proverb about teaching a man to fish.

      •  This was considered.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Amber6541, highacidity

        Not saying it's wrong. In fact, it's a great solution. However, it has proven very difficult to address nutritional disorders in this way.

        The problem isn't finding a plant that will grow in the environment, it's finding one that is accepted into the diet and the culture. In numerous incidents, well-intentioned scientists have found people reluctant to accept foods or cooking practices that were not traditional in their culture.  If momma and grandma never cooked sweet potatoes, it's very hard to get general acceptance that they need to become a regular part of the diet.

        People regard deliberate attempts to alter the diet for health reasons as a condemnation of their culture. This was even true in the US south where the "pellagra plague" was actually caused by a chronic lack of niacin due to corn processing. Attempts to address the problem were dismissed as meddling by northerners who were attacking "southern cooking."  Even studies showing that small changes in the diet could address the disease were ridiculed for decades.

        •  well-intended reluctance (0+ / 0-)

          Mark, thanks for sharing this info. I'm glad to know they did try this first. Even as I wrote the comment, I knew that our ways are not always welcome, and this includes  tinkering with the rice crop. But I have another question now. Has there always been blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency? If not, what has changed within their culture, crops, and eating habits to cause it now?

    •  Health risks seem scarier than the economic risks (0+ / 0-)

      Some progressives are simply against anything they see as unnatural. They have been convinced that "organic" is healthier just because it was grown in a more environmentally friendly way (and even that aspect of "organic" is not necessarily true)

      More scientifically literate progressives who have a problem with GMO food I think boils down to the economic risks but they go along with the health risk argument because it is easier to convince people without explaining the economic risks of GMO food.

      1. Patent restrictions raising the cost of food
      2. Increased homogenization of crop varieties, which is already at dangerous levels for some crops.  This is a disease risk but also economic risk in that it commoditizes the most popular items, leading to further vertical integration until basically anyone who wants to grow soybeans is just a sharecropper for Monsanto. Expand that to corn, wheat, rice, etc and now the bottom 3/4 of the population are paying so much for food they can never hope to challenge the power structure they are enslaved by. They are denied even the right to grow their own food on their own land without paying some big multinational a licensing fee.

    •  Online working (0+ / 0-)

      until I saw the check saying $4236, I did not believe that...my... friend was like they say realie earning money parttime on their computer.. there moms best frend has done this less than 9 months and a short time ago repaid the loans on there condo and got a brand new Ariel Atom. go to...>>>     

      http://onlineworking.7.ly/...

  •  Ross Asshat illogic: and denial is not a river (18+ / 0-)
    Voter ID laws are not Jim Crow come again. And the thread of white identity politics running through Obama-era conservatism is just that — a sense of resentment and grievance, not a supremacist ideology reborn.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:43:07 PM PDT

  •  Feelings, nothing more than feelings.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yo Bubba, radarlady
    trying to forget my feelings of love. Teardrops rolling down on my face, trying to forget my feelings of love
    It appears frequently on lists of "the worst songs ever" and was included on the 1998 Rhino Records compilation album '70s Party Killers. Actress and performer Julie Andrews once considered this song too difficult to sing during a lecture at Chautauqua Institution.[6] She explained that the song was too difficult to sing, simply because it had no meaning behind it.
    one functional flaw (predictive power) does not entail the lack of the other (analytic tools)

    Recalling when I once visited Rosenberg in an office hour to discuss working with him on the Cambridge Capital Controversies and finding him clueless, he seems not to have gotten any farther from fallacies of composition and clearly attacks the straw man of neoclassical economics proposing the wisdom of "feelings" without considering that there are a variety of critical methodological issues even in the philosophy of science that are far from orthodox just as economics has always had heterodox research programs

    SO if predictive power is not in the cards for economics, what is it good for?

    Social and political philosophers have helped us answer this question, and so understand what economics is really all about. Since Hobbes, philosophers have been concerned about the design and management of institutions that will protect us from “the knave” within us all, those parts of our selves tempted to opportunism, free riding and generally avoiding the costs of civil life while securing its benefits. Hobbes and, later, Hume — along with modern philosophers like John Rawls and Robert Nozick — recognized that an economic approach had much to contribute to the design and creative management of such institutions. Fixing bad economic and political institutions (concentrations of power, collusions and monopolies), improving good ones (like the Fed’s open-market operations), designing new ones (like electromagnetic bandwidth auctions), in the private and public sectors, are all attainable tasks of economic theory.

    Yes, it is good for those things, but the above are not simply exogenous "institutions" but as a variety of economic theorists have shown point to the core issues foundational to contemporary heterodox economics that by necessity are not identical to the physical sciences.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:15:33 PM PDT

  •  Want to see some interesting photos? (8+ / 0-)

    Then check out this swan song...

    Five Pointz for You

    Also know as "The Institute for Higher Burnin' "

  •  Ross Douthat....GOP apologista. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, skohayes, wintergreen8694
  •  Last diary l did (6+ / 0-)

    Didn't get one comment! :-(

    More than a bit gutted.

    Republicans: People who love The Grinch movie as it gives them a warm feeling in their hearts, Until he turns into a communist and gives all the stuff back!!

    by britobserver on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:59:41 AM PDT

    •  You had tips (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Naniboujou, marykk

      So you know it was read and approved.

      It's easy to be a libertarian if your finances are secure, you have good healthcare and your future is bright.

      by Cecile on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:16:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is too bad. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      htowngenie, marykk

      I read the diary now.  It is well worth the reading.

      "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

      by Naniboujou on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:18:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As an American in The UK durring the Trayvon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      trial, I read with interest the continued quest for justice for Stephen Lawrence after 20 years.  After my return to the US in July, I didn't really have an opinion on the Trayvon case because I had missed the coverage while in the UK.  But that was a lazy person's excuse really.  Jumping back on DKos in August changed my mind...but not because of opinion or reporting.  A poem changed my mind.  And like your diary, it was largely missed.  As you will notice, I don't call it the Zimmerman case, because it's obvious to me he was not the one on trial.  Please check out the poem if you get a chance.

      Thanks for your diary, I'm sorry it didn't get the traction it deserved.

      We are all in this together.

      by htowngenie on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:24:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just read it (0+ / 0-)

      wish I'd seen it sooner.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:56:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But I read your post ! (7+ / 0-)

    I tipped & Rec'd also.

    Guess I should spend more time thanking kossacks for the post they write.

    this APR is another good collection of the pundits
    Thanks for doing this on Sundays Mark.

  •  The biggest problem I have with the evil (7+ / 0-)

    Racist he-man woman RW radicals is their complete lack of respect for anyone who doesn't look like them. To them we are nothing, no body, burdensome, a problem......when this country was created for our near permanent oppression. They remind me that American was created for evil, and it is still manifest today.

    FUCK you evil RW "pundits" no liars; you have made a serious contribution to among America an increasingly rotten place to live.

    We are human beings.
    We are citizens.
    We are taxpayers.
    We have rights that we have fought for.
    We just need enough power so no,one can fuck with us because we will never be white nor do we wanna be white.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:09:10 AM PDT

  •  Economics is called the dismal science, while at (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mstep, Satya1

    the same time is dismally scientific.  It's not that economics is poor at prediction that makes it not scientific, it's that, except for the ultra-microeconomic (nanoeconomics?) behavioral studies, you can't have an appropriate control group and, consequently, an experiment.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:10:36 AM PDT

    •  It is a science (3+ / 0-)

      But you're right the scientific method cannot be employed in the same way. The control group would have to be just as large as and otherwise identical to the economy where you need to predict outcomes. Which is impossible in the modern world.

      But still, correlations can be made, and missing data can be inferred from the surrounding data.

      You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

      by mstep on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:32:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just because you can make correlations (or do (4+ / 0-)

        other statistical, mathematical or logical analyses) does not make it a science.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:37:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My theory is that economists reduce the (2+ / 0-)

        world to a system they can model.  Unfortunately the model needs to be as big as the system in order to be accurate.

        As Yogi Berra said (more or less),

        In theory, things should work out in practice the way they do in theory, but in practice, they don't.  

        Economists are reluctant to admit that their beautiful models don't work, so they cling to them and ignore reality.

        The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

        by MadScientist on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:40:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Modeling can be useful in science too, However, (0+ / 0-)

          the problem with models is that they depend on what parameters and data you put in and that's prone to the bias inherent in your assumptions, which spring from a preexisting theoretical bias.

          The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

          by accumbens on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:21:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But we DO have experiments, created for us... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, Stude Dude

      ...by the radically different ideologies under which decision-makers in different environments operate.
      And though there are always going to be confounding factors, when the results are consistent over multiple comparisons, and significant in magnitude, the indicators can be reliably predictive.
      That's exactly what we see now in comparisons between the obviously failed austerity protocols in Europe, and the modestly successful modest stimuli here in the US.
      That's.what we have in the results of certain municipalities passing living-wage ordinances, and the ensuing growth -- not the shrinkage loudly predicted by business interests and their captive academics, "think-tank"ers, media mouthpieces, and politicians.
      That's what we have in the workers' paradises wrought in the "deep" south by anti-labor "right to work" laws and regressive taxation -- which Publicans now want to.bring to the north in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and wherever else had been home to a vibrant middle class for over half a century.
      Is it perfectly lab-controlled?  No.
      Is it meaningfully and reliably predictive?  Ask the kids in Spain...  or Texas.

      •  I agree you can evaluate tactics and various (0+ / 0-)

        policy alternatives and come to a conclusion about which works and which don't, but that's not science.  It's history and political science (which, I think, few would argue is really science).

        You should read Karl Popper if you haven't already.  His philosophy of science is based in large part on the falsifiability of theories.  Taking Marx's contention that Marxism is scientific he evaluated it on that basis and came to the conclusion because it was not falsifiable it was not science.  See here.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:18:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  All "social sciences" are a bit squishy (0+ / 0-)

      because predicting human behavior is much more difficult than predicting what molecules and atoms will do. (And in all of them the "control group" isn't some sort of double-blind or placebo experiment; it's other groups of somewhat-unpredictable humans.) That said, refusing to revise your theories when the facts conflict with them is just delusional. At that point it's not economics; it's philosophy or theology or something that's a matter of pure faith, not reasoned and supported argument.

      It reminds me of my 18-year-old students who repeatedly insist that if only we dropped the drinking age to 15, there would be no binge drinking or drunk driving problems. (I no longer allow that as a paper topic, because I got so tired of reading unsupported assertion after unsupported assertion.)

  •  We hate to admit it but we have an anti-science (13+ / 0-)

    contingent of the left too. Many anti-vaxers are on the left. The anti-GMers who are against GM foods not because of worries over allergies (a legit concern for labeling) but because they're really against anything that's not natural. You also find them in people who overestimate what sun and wind power can do, (and the difficulties in storing hydrogen) although these folks are really anti-science per se.

    The right has far more anti-science types because of their commingling with religious fundamentalist, but there are anti-science types on the left too.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:25:52 AM PDT

    •  I have no problem with labeling foods (4+ / 0-)

      Consumers should always be able to make an informed choice, and vote with their feet.
      But the anti-GMO stuff is simply ignoring the science.

      If the rice gains the Philippine government’s approval, it will cost no more than other rice for poor farmers, who will be free to save seeds and replant them, Dr. Barry said. It has no known allergens or toxins, and the new proteins produced by the rice have been shown to break down quickly in simulated gastric fluid, as required by World Health Organization guidelines. A mouse feeding study is under way in a laboratory in the United States. The potential that the Golden Rice would cross-pollinate with other varieties, sometimes called “genetic contamination,” has been studied and found to be limited, because rice is typically self-pollinated. And its production of beta carotene does not appear to provide a competitive advantage — or disadvantage — that could affect the survival of wild varieties with which it might mix.

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:47:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Genetic modification created many common foods (6+ / 0-)

        we eat today. Many crops are the result of genetic manipulation and cross breading by ancient people. Wild wheat and corns look very different than domesticated varieties, in fact wheat is very close to being a hybrid plant (einkorn and rye).

        Broccoli was created completely by breeding mutant cabbage. Same is true of cauliflower

        Bananas in the wild actually have very large black seeds and very little fruity meat. What you eat at the store are clones of a mutant tree that developed without seeds. In fact 99% of the entire bananas eaten in the world come from clones of 4 plants (trees that are spliced are clones genetically identical).

        What people (mostly) object to is this stuff being done in a lab, and not in a field.

        -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

        by dopper0189 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:27:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you ever see any wild corn? (5+ / 0-)

          Corn or maize was totally created by early Americans in a relatively short amount of time. It still amazes me that the Eastern Woodland American Indians had hundreds of thousands of acres planted in corn. That corn was invented in Central America and could not live without humans to take care of it.

          We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

          by PowWowPollock on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:55:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am willing to bet ... (0+ / 0-)

            that corn breeding didn't involve inserting a gene from a fish into a plant. GMO is a whole other level of potential unanticipated consequences.  Being wary of those consequences,  isn't "anti-science".

            Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

            by ohiolibrarian on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:27:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I am less concerned about "naturalness"... (8+ / 0-)

      ...than concentration of power coupled with the inherent destruction of biodiversity that is inextricably woven into global agribusiness.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:53:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  this a thousand time this (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, dopper0189, smartalek, vcmvo2

      I have had to keep my wife from falling into this trap many a time. We are both granola munching hippies when it comes to food, child rearing etc. but I am still very much appreciative of science. When our son was born I had to pull my wife away from the clutches of the antivax morons. She's a smart woman but sometimes she buys into things she reads online that "sound scientific" and "make sense" but aren't backed up by facts.

      •  "antivax morons" (0+ / 0-)

        If you are in a campaign to cure ignorance and want to do something about it....please consider the following...

        By using the term "antivax morons" you are letting how you feel and how strongly you feel about that issue dominate over proper scientific stewardship as thinking and how it relates to advocating your position.

        First, you're assuming too much about your audience to make the assumption that somehow mentioning "antivax morons" means you're talking about the problem of opposition to public health vaccines.   You're using
        a term meant in derision to describe a scientific controversy....in a scientific discussion that is bad manners.

        Next, if you consider what you are doing to be an act of public health stewardship in fighting ignorance about vaccines, you essentially abdicate that leadership and role by turning your advocacy into an insult.   Insults are not suitable as a means of consultation on the steward to steward protocol.

    •  Antiscience (0+ / 0-)

      is when you deny the science in it. If you understand the science of something but reject it, that 's not anti-science.

  •  The fact that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scronk, smartalek
    conservative economics always fail
    is the fault of the conservatism, not the economics. When you let your politics and prejudices influence your science, you are not doing science right.
    Is there a consensus that GMOs are safe? I hate to sound like a climate denier, but it seems to me the jury is still out on GMOs. Not enough research has been done, the products are proliferating faster than the research, much of the information that has been observed is kept secret (it's proprietary)...
    Just one example of an engineered organism: Red Fescue grass has been engineered to host a mold in it's seedheads, that makes it tougher grass. This is a boon for the golf courses and lawns. Scott sells TONS of this seed every year, it literally blows in the wind, spreads itself to places where it was not planted. The problem is that when pregnant mammals, cows, horses, pigs, eat it, it makes them miscarry or spontaneously abort. That is a disaster for animal breeders and for the food industry. And we know this because it HAS been studied. Kinda blows a hole in the "consensus=safe" thing because this is documented and accepted as YES, it IS a danger.
    There is so much still unknown, unexplored in the very new field of GMOs that it's impossible to say that they are safe. It also cannot be argued conclusively that they are unsafe, but because of the nature of nature, turning this stuff loose in mass plantings is wildly irresponsible. What happens if, when Bt corn is properly studied, it turns out to have some negative property, like aggravating an allergic reaction in some percentage of consumers, but the pollen from Bt fields has invaded other cornfields and made eradicating Bt impossible?

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:33:00 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure where you're getting this (0+ / 0-)

      but fescue fungus issues in cattle and horses have been around for decades, and began down in Kentucky with the development of Kentucky 31, a forage grass devleoped in 1943:

      First, in 1931, Dr. E.N. Fergus of the University of Kentucky visited the W.M. Suiter farm in Menifee County, Kentucky and observed a tall fescue ecotype growing on a mountainside pasture. Being impressed with it, Dr. Fergus collected seed, and the ecotype was subsequently tested at many locations in Kentucky. This led to the release of 'Kentucky 31' in 1943 (the "31" referring to 1931). This variety occupies the bulk of the tall fescue acreage in the United States.

      The new fescue variety was vigorously promoted by University of Kentucky Extension Agronomist William C. Johnstone, and was quickly accepted by Kentucky farmers. During the 1940's and 1950's there was phenomenal interest in, and widespread planting of, this grass throughout the lower Midwest and a large portion of the South. In much of the South, fescue filled a void where no other cool season perennial forage grass was adapted.

      http://www.caf.wvu.edu/...

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:00:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my comment in the times this morning about GMO (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, tobendaro, smartalek, demway

      Golden Rice: Lifesaver?

      People are malnourished because they are poor; because their traditional farming practices have been disrupted by colonialism and "free trade" practices that force farmers to grow for export. There's plenty of vitamin A in other crops. Dandelions for example are one of the most nutritious plants around. The arrogance of modern science to think they know better than the cultural knowledge of a hundred thousand years of humanity is horrific. So we try to solve the problems we create by creating more, because we are looking at the problem through a reductionist lens. Science has to isolate factors to build empirical cause and effect models. So we look for ''silver bullet" solutions, when the answers lie in restoring ecological balance so that people can sustain themselves naturally. Naive? Solving problems by creating more problems is suicidal. Take your choice.
      Not to mention the profit motive, meaning money comes first, and is much too frequently the only motive considered relevant in business. Anything a company says to the contrary is marketing propaganda.
  •  Economics is the Set of Excuses for Why We Must (5+ / 0-)

    allow more wealth and opportunity to flow to the top than they have at any arbitrary moment.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:33:33 AM PDT

  •  Economics IS a hard science (6+ / 0-)

    At least parts of it are -- the parts that are little more than statistics, probability and modeling. We have decades of accurate statistical gathering and even accurate predictions.

    The problem is that economics is politicized and there are major political groupings who simply don't want to believe the scientific aspects of it and spout counter theories.

    Saying economics isn't a science is like saying paleontology isn't a science simply because there are creationists, or that climatology isn't a science simply because there are global warming deniers.

    The irony is that almost all factions (except maybe Ron Paul's lunatic fringe) accepts the basic truth of John Maynard Keynes's equation:

    GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)

    Even the Republicans despite denying it, are Keynesians. When they try to destroy the economy under Democrats, especially Obama, by catastrophically cutting spending while spending like drunken sailors when Republicans are in office, they are proving they are Keynesians even as they deny that they are. Even their mantra of tax cuts is Keynesian -- the effect of tax cuts are included in sub equations for C, I and G -- although a liberal like Keynes didn't prefer them for distributional reasons and differences in effectiveness.

    •  There's the rub: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude
      At least parts of it are
      IMHO, economics is part philosophy, sociology, accounting and statistics.  And that doesn't necessarily make it a science.  The random elements of human activity make for the imprecision and messy, dismal bits of "controversy" within the field.

      There is a high proportion of climate scientists (over 95% to 97%) that say warming is being caused by humans.  They've done the monitoring and testing.  They've evaluated the data.  The prescriptions for reducing the problem logically follow that understanding of the problem.  Numerous scientific associations make announcements about this to try to get people to take action.  There is a small minority that disagree of course.  There always is.  There are minorities in many scientific fields that disagree with the majority viewpoints for a number of reasons.  Some have higher requirements for certainty.  Some are shills.  Some are nutjobs.

      What do economic "scientists" have to say about the ongoing economic slowness and unemployment in the US.  What caused it?  What prescriptive advice is there for getting out of it.  What danger does wealth/income inequality pose and how is it to be fixed?

      I could be wrong if I've missed something in the journals, but at least to this lay reader there is nothing like a 95% majority that are defining the same problem and proposing the same solution.  The economics "scientists" are all over the map.  There is no clear consensus to the lay person and so the political power to push needed changes can't form.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:30:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There probably is 95% agreement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Van Buren, Stude Dude

        on what caused the current economic crisis. Based on the history of the great depression, banking crises lead to catastrophic decreases in consumer and business demand.

        It's pretty much simple algebra, and most economists agree on algebra.

        I should say my guess is that would be the consensus of 95% of academic, university based economists. That would not include talking heads on TV, economic conspiracy theory bloggers, etc., etc., etc.  The main debate in 2009 was political -- everyone knew there needed to be a government (G) stimulus, there was some disagreement on the size, but worst of all, there was trust (especially from Larry Summers) that if they passed one that was too small, the Republicans would be reasonable and let them come back and enact another.

        But the Republican Keynesians don't want the Democrats to get credit for a recovery.

      •  but there are "parties" in economics, just as... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Satya1, Stude Dude

        ...there are in politics.
        There are the free-market fundamentalists -- the Chicago school, the Austrians / austerians, like Friedman and Feldstein, the Randroids, such as Greenspan.
        And there are Keynesians and neo-Keynesians, like Krugman, de Long, Roubini.
        By rights, the abysmal and utter failure of the theories and worldview of the former, as implemented by the Publican and DLC-type Democrats (whom we're seriously supposed to be supporting in '16?! -- apparently, Publicans aren't the only ones susceptible to cults of personality, or failures to learn from experience), should have eradicated them from consideration as anything except examples of suicidally ruinous wrongheadedness. They should, properly, be as dead and buried as communism now is.
        But because of corporate ownership of our entire polity -- that is, the entire mass-media universe and, of course, all three branches of government -- this reality hasn't occurred, and far too many of our citizens are still under the sway of objectively refuted but faith-based economic myths and fairy-tales.
        And "socialism" is still the dirty word, rather than "free-market fantasies."

        •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

          which I think helps make the case that economics is not a science.  

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:21:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's the fundamental problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude

          It's not that the equations cannot give reliable answers. It's that those answers keep showing that Chicago School / Austrian solutions are wrong.

          And there are a lot of rich, powerful people heavily invested in using the Chicago School for cover.

          They'd much rather discredit all of economics that admit that what the believe in is like Intelligent Design vs.evolution.

  •  Sad news for Democrats :) (6+ / 0-)
    AMES, Iowa — On the surface, Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses seem healthier than ever: would-be candidates are flocking here mere months after the last White House race ended, drawing sizable crowds and ample news coverage. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania were in this central Iowa college town for a Christian conservative conference this month, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has come to the state twice since May.

    But Iowa’s political leaders, always looking ahead to the next campaign, worry that looks can be deceiving and that the prized role of the Republican caucuses is in jeopardy. Establishment Republicans fear that conservatives have become such a dominant force in the nominating process here that they may drive mainstream presidential candidates away.

    That would relegate the caucuses to little more than a test of the party’s right-wing sentiment, and would do little to identify and propel the eventual nominee.

    Iowa’s G.O.P. Fears Its Role in Presidential Selection Is Diminishing

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:03:59 AM PDT

  •  I doubt that the killers of Mr. Lane (6+ / 0-)

    will be offered a tour of the plant where the gun was made.

    On to other things. The BR Advocate reports on the Bush Library's whitewashing of the administration's role in the aftermath of the federal flood. Doug Brinkley minces no words--"It's a gloss job."

    Bush Library Rewrites Katrina Role

    Then again, it was Obama's fault, right?

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:32:54 AM PDT

  •  GMO *can* be tested != safe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo

    Scientists are correct, of course. GMO can be tested safely. Furthermore, if scientific trials with open access to both the genetic information and results had been done with the now-discontinued in the USA bovine growth hormone or the Monsanto Round-Up Ready crops, the scientific consensus would have been -- as it was in the UK -- "Holy crap!"

    However, people have learned not to trust GMO's the hard way. After myriad companies that turn out to be one corporation advertise with Fido digging up a bone in the yard sprayed with Round Up (and fine print below says that the product may be toxic to pets), after the control of trials, after the lawsuits on scientists who looked at the sample data, folks don't believe.

    In this case, they have a better cause for mistrusting science in ignorance than those who don't believe science with global warming. At the same time, I agree that Golden Rice should be tested, should be assessed, and should go forward if it is safe for several generations in the field.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:34:30 AM PDT

  •  Scott Brown on Fox Nooz...'GOP needs room for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, vcmvo2

    people with good ideas like me and Rand Paul.'.....Bwahahahahaha.....Broadway needs to make room for you Scottie.

  •  Monsanto shill attacks 14 yr old (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, wintergreen8694

    Monsanto has to control the conversation

    Who's the shill here? And what a nerve this bought-and-paid-for Monsanto shill has  to try to shut this this girl up by accusing her of shilling for fringe "environmentalists" like she's being used or paid off and doesn't know her own mind. Incredible.

  •  I found myself ambivalent (3+ / 0-)

    about President Obama speaking at the March commemoration. And I wasn't alone in that.
    Dave Zirin from The Nation had this:

    Based upon the speeches during the main portion of today’s events there can be little doubt that the Dr. King who was murdered in Memphis in 1968 would not have been allowed to speak at this fiftieth-anniversary commemoration of his life. There was no discussion of the “evil triplets.” Instead, we had far too many speakers pay homage to the narrowest possible liberal agenda in broad abstractions with none of the searing material truths that make Dr. King’s speeches so bracing even today.

    ...Dr. King called the “evil triplets of militarism, materialism and racism.”

    Hi NSA. I am doing constitutionally protected stuff - like free speech. Too bad you are not!

    by glitterscale on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:28:33 AM PDT

  •  If the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    King Jr, were alive today, Fox News and the entire right wing media infrastructure would treat him just like they treat Reverend Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and President Obama.

    Just like the (N-word) they believe in the evilness of their hearts they are. Dr. King conveniently for them, just happens to be dead so it's safe to embrace a phony version of him because he's not here to contradict them.

    I ask him if he was warm enough? "Warm," he growled, "I haven't been warm since Bastogne."

    by Unrepentant Liberal on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:38:34 AM PDT

  •  would Bombing Syria NOT merit impeachment? (0+ / 0-)

    ???? Just wondering...

    Can we stick to the issues? Please!

    by AnthonyMason2k6 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:43:26 AM PDT

    •  NATO/US bombing Serbia/Kosovo didn't (0+ / 0-)

      and was widely hailed as essential to humanitarian protection of civilian lives.

      There are no easy answers on what to do about Syria. Or Egypt, for that matter.

      If invading Iraq and Afghanistan and overthrowing their governments, without even the fig leaf of a UN resolution, didn't warrant impeachment, I hardly think any foreign military venture would. "Crimes against humanity," perhaps, but apparently not "high crimes and misdemeanors" on a par with lying about extramarital kanoodling.

  •  Anti-GMOism is anti-science (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    It may be other things, it may ultimately be right or wrong, but it has a great deal in common with human-produced global warming denial, anti-vaccine activism, creationism, and so on.

    I think that anti-science, coupled with anti-authority, is an enormous trend that is affecting everyone, of every political stripe, every age group, and every economic level. It's hard to see sometimes, especially when you are part of it, but I believe that the trend is undeniably present.

  •  One Possible Answer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy
    if progressives are willing to take the word of the scientific majority that human-caused global warming is real, why are many progressives so unwilling to accept the consensus that GMOs are safe?
    So I'm not the best person to answer - I'm skeptical of GMO's but by no means in the reflexive "anti" camp - but I really don't think the comparison is valid.   The scientific consensus on climate change is based on voluminous affirmative evidence.    

    By contrast, it seems to me that the consensus on GMO's is primarily based on a LACK of affirmative indicting evidence and an assumption that the burden of proof should be on those preferring restrictions rather than those asserting safety.

    I could be wrong....but I'm not aware of a lot of open, transparent studies designed to show the safety of designed genetic modifications.  In fact I'd go further and say one CAN'T assure the safety generally of GMO because GMO is a "method", not a result.  The best one can do is run experiments to show that ANY SINGLE modification is safe.

    That would be my answer to the question.  I may very well be wrong, but I perceive fundamental relevant differences in the two scientific consensuses.

  •  I can answer this one: (0+ / 0-)
    So here's a question for debate this morning: if progressives are willing to take the word of the scientific majority that human-caused global warming is real, why are many progressives so unwilling to accept the consensus that GMOs are safe?
    Because the test cycle for these foods is multiple decades, if not multiple lifetimes.

    Testing that has been done looks good so far. But: (1) it is a far cry from full testing, (2) many of those doing the testing (e.g. Monsanto) have a history of distorting test results.

    Finally, the level of testing should always reflect the level of risk. If this were just a toothpaste, current levels of testing would be fine. But this is about replacing entire sectors of the food chain. If GMOs become the norm and problems do occur, the damage could well be on the scale of uncontrolled climate change. Generational testing is sensible purely from a point of risk management.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:09:52 AM PDT

  •  Economics isn't dead...nor the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Stude Dude

    As to what Rosenberg and Curtain wrote, I have to add a little bit. It's not that simple.

    The reason Economics isn't predicting these calamities isn't because our models are so off. It's that businessmen in our economy are just so darn good at abusing the system to rip it off. We have so many people scamming the system that it throws everything off. We expect some amount of graft and corruption, but Wall Street has turned into a full blown marketplace. Thus your model no longer matches reality.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:22:52 AM PDT

  •  there are some in economics who's approach to (0+ / 0-)

    science more closely approximates christian scientists
    it's all about the faith baby!

  •  Verdict first, charges later. (0+ / 0-)

    Although every president since Reagan has committed multiple impeachable offenses.

    Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

    by happymisanthropy on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:11:44 AM PDT

  •  All these responses and not one Xmas song? (0+ / 0-)

    Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

    by rbird on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:39:49 AM PDT

  •  Because, as the child of a plant geneticist (0+ / 0-)

    I know that not all GMOs are created equally, any more than all pharmaceutical drugs are.  Some GMOs are safe, some aren't, some have yet to be fully tested.  And some GMOs that may be "safe" for humans to eat may not be entirely "safe" for the environment in the long term.

    if progressives are willing to take the word of the scientific majority that human-caused global warming is real, why are many progressives so unwilling to accept the consensus that GMOs are safe?

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:35:12 PM PDT

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