The World According to Monsanto


h/t monkeyfister and thanks to jurassicpork for reminding me

Update: If this video has disappeared, Todd Green has found replacements.

Update 2: Ellroon has found another replacement.

The corporate media speaks for the corporations

It’s crashing, and it won’t boot up!



(h/t Charles @ Mercury Rising)

Big Oil, incorporated

In this case, the reality is considerably worse than the satire.

Lee Raymond

(h/t Monkeyfister)

Whither Microsoft

I’m too sexy for this plane, too sexy for this plane

Southwest should explain.

Hat-tip Melissa McEwan (in comments).

The name may change but the song remains the same

Diebold Premier Logos

While we were distracted by war and terror

Let me see if I can explain the current financial meltdown as I think it is happening. My perceptions are based on reading only public information and there is certainly a great deal that I am unaware of. I’m not a current market trader, just an interested observer. I have no professional qualifications and I’m not your financial adviser. Just so we’re clear, and if you think I need to be corrected on anything feel free to do so in the comments.

Mortgage lending corporations (what used to be called S&L’s) have been making bad loans on bad credit for homes by giving some percentage against the entire value of the home, on the expectation that a default would likely occur and they would acquire the real estate at a substantial discount.

Now the loans themselves are not valuable, they are just paper which they don’t expect repayment on.

But the mortgage lenders have taken this paper and labeled it subprime, and sold it.

Somewhere along the line, they are going to expect you to bail them out.

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) — The risk of owning corporate bonds rose after a Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst said Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, may have to file for bankruptcy.

Credit-default swaps on Countrywide widened after Merrill Lynch analyst Kenneth Bruce raised the possibility that a loss of access to short-term loan markets could force Countrywide into bankruptcy. Contract prices for mortgage lender Residential Capital LLC and for home-loan insurer Radian Group Inc. are also trading as if investors see a high probability of default.

“This market is feeling awfully similar to the fall of 1998” when Russia defaulted on its debt and banks had to bail out hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, said Bruce, who is based in San Francisco. Bruce downgraded Countrywide’s stock to “sell” from “buy” in a research note today.

Hat-tip Monkeyfister.

CNBC anchor Erin Burnett says Wal-Mart sells children’s toys with lead paint and poisonous food as if it’s a good thing

Keeping prices low, every day.

Hat-tip Logan Murphy @ Crooks and Liars.

Update: Chris Matthews leers:

Hat-tip Melissa McEwan @ Shakesville.

“[T]he court concludes that Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights.”

PJ @ Groklaw is eating chocolates.

Looks harmless? Was it made in China?

Big Bird Fisher-Price Toy

MSNBC (hat-tip Bryan @ Why Now?):

WASHINGTON – Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

The worldwide recall being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.

The recall is the first for Fisher-Price Inc. and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from toy stores.

Poisoning Big Bird is not nice. Boo.

How many children have been exposed?

Related post:

The Simpsons v. the Faux Noise machine

Len Hart has much more.

“Corporate personhood”

Len Hart:

Why do corporate polluters buy politicians like Bush? It’s cheaper to pony up for crooks than it is to respect the law and the environment. I’ve often wondered how big corporations could make a credible moral distinction between paying off the mob and paying off the GOP, a Bush, a Harding, a DeLay!

In Texas, it is all systemized. It’s the way things are done. Election laws in the “Lone Star” state allow unlimited personal or political action committee contributions to elected officials. It’s a licence to buy yourself a politician. Every fascist fat cat has one or several. As braggin’ rights, it beats a four car garage, a membership at the River Oaks Country Club, or the Enclave. Best of all, it’s a hedge against having to act responsibly. It’s license to act like an asshole.

Corporations get away with it because they claim the right of free speech. It’s called “corporate personhood” i.e., corporations have the same rights as do individuals. Clearly, however, corporations do not have the same responsibilities. I submit to this forum that if corporations have the same rights as people, then, when corporations break the laws, then the President, the Chairman of the board, the entire board of directors and every large stockholder should be rounded up and brought to trial. They are, after all, “persons” in the eyes of the law. Do the crime. Do the time!

Recommended reading:

Do you pledge allegiance to the flag of the Corporate States of America?

Hat-tip Tengrain.

Saturday afternoon movie

Do you like milk?

Recommended viewing:

News from the future that might-have-been

Tuesday night movie

Hat-tip Monkeyfister.

Witness, receive and transmit.

Tuesday night movie

Why did CBS fire John Batiste?

Faiz at Think Progress:

To recap, here are the previous faulty rationales offered by CBS for firing [Gen. John] Batiste:

Reason #1: Batiste was engaging in ‘advocacy.’ CBS VP Linda Mason said Friday, “We ask that people not be involved in advocacy.” But Greg Sargent revealed instances in which CBS News military consultant Michael O’Hanlon has engaged in advocacy for the Iraq escalation.

Reason #2: Batiste was ‘raising money’ for VoteVets. Mason later amended her statement, saying “It isn’t just that he took an advocacy position. … General Batiste took part in a commercial that’s being shown on television to raise money for veterans against the war.” But the VoteVets ad that Batiste appears is not a fundraising ad.

Reason #3: Batiste was taking part in the ‘partisan political process.’ In fact, Batiste consciously avoided engaging in partisanship. Newsweek reports, “Batiste says he remains a ‘diehard Republican’ and has no intention of wading directly into the presidential campaign. … He took part in the campaign, he says, because it’s a ‘nonpartisan group.’

Were CBS truly concerned about not allowing its consultants to engage in the partisan political process, it would not have a McCain presidential campaign aide currently on staff.

Related posts:

Saturday night movie

Saturday night movie

Pirates are the ones that steal the gold, not the kids listening to the music

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) are a bunch of music pirates that extort money to line their own pockets from people who cannot afford to defend themselves from barratry and who are accused of the awful sin of unauthorized listening to music.

Not that I have a strong opinion about them or anything.

Chuck Dupree has more.

Update: Xeni Jardin writes about the RIAA going after a ten-year-old girl (seven when she’s alleged to have done the dirty downloading deed).

4:20 of Woodstock ’99

Climate control

Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, have a certain “half-life” in the atmosphere before they are eliminated by natural processes, such as by plant respiration. When the production of new greenhouse gases has equilibrium with the elimination of circulating greenhouse gases, the climate is kept in balance.

Much discussion of reducing and controlling global warming has focused on how we may regulate the production of new greenhouse gases, and we must do so or we could never eliminate them quickly enough to prevent their building without limit and turning the earth into a place uninhabitable to humans.

It would also be helpful to begin encouraging the reduction of circulating greenhouse gases by broad based home agriculture. One green plant can reduce the carbon footprint of one person by a significant amount. If climate science has taught us anything, it’s that small changes over a large population make a huge difference.

What kind of shameful regime puts an innocent 9-year old child in a prison for two years?

First they hurt our children, then deny them medicine

Yesterday, Shakes wrote,

I missed it last night, but watched the whole thing in six pieces on ABC’s website: In an Instant: The IED Explosion, Bob Woodruff’s 36-Day Coma, Wounded Warriors, Are We Ready for Our Injured?, The Human Cost of War, and Woodruff’s Closing Thoughts. It’s absolutely staggering, and I highly recommend it, with the warning that it is deeply upsetting, so be prepared. But it’s a must-see. Truly.

I finally finished watching it today, and recommend you watch the whole thing from beginning to end.

Incidentally, I read that veterans overwhelmingly support medical marijuana. For the pain and suffering that it can relieve those suffering traumatic brain injuries, nothing else in the world would help more.

I’m very happy for Bob Woodruff and his family, and glad that he received the best quality medical care in the world. But people not so visible in the public eye are more likely to fall through the cracks, and those with internal brain damage are hard to treat with any technique; often the risks in trying to correct it with surgery are higher than the damage could possibly justify if we even had the diagnostic capability to know precisely what was wrong in all cases. Cannabis helps the neurons in the brain that still work.

Democracy in California

Debra Bowen,

“As Secretary of State, I intend to begin a thorough review of all voting systems currently certified for use in the State of California.”

Hat-tip Brad Friedman, and if I haven’t written about the voting machine issue in awhile, BradBlog has remained on top of it and I know they could use your support.

The problem with current voting machines is they are proprietary and inherently untrustworthy. There is a strong political incentive to cheat, so there must be every protection against cheating. The consequences of a stolen election are dire indeed, as most people may realize. This is a matter of not merely life and death for one person, but potentially for the whole world, all of humanity. So if machines are used, they cannot be a black box that “does something” which cannot be audited publicly. No count which is stored in electronic form should ever be trusted if it cannot be checked against paper ballots, and such checks should be performable without cost to a candidate. It should never be the case that democracy is held hostage by the lack of financial resources on the part of outsider candidates to get a fair counting.

I’m pleased that Debra Bowen is doing her job, she is an exceptional human being in politics.

Pass it on

Hat-tip Cory Doctorow.

Web two point oh


I’ve been sharply critical of Google being involved in supporting Republicans, as controversial in its way as when they assisted China in limiting search results for that country. Now Google is doing something to change their fundamental search algorithm, by reducing the impact of links (which can be abused to create a false popularity rating) they will be putting more emphasis on the PageRank algorithm. This is to say, users of Google will determine page ranking in a form of direct democracy.

That is all a good thing if we want to try the democratic experiment, and apparently we do, but some attention must be paid to the counters of the votes. For that is what Google is presenting to us, as a gatekeeper to our network, will they practice censorship?

Yes. They will. You will not find terrorist manuals on Google. You will not find instructions on how to make a nuclear weapon. Google will take steps to reduce the ranking of pages that encourage violence.

All of that may be non-controversial, but this also means that Google will have the ability to circumscribe the limits of acceptable communication, and they are asking us to trust them in having that much authority. Once again, consider what they did on behalf of China, and ask if they will not do the same if under pressure here. Will this site be censored for discussing issues of cannabis?

I would like to think that we could trust them, but I think it is past time to consider ways of indexing a web and distributing the counting in an open source way, and that’s been going on for awhile already. We call one form of organization a blogosphere.

“Please don’t sue me. I’m just a fan.”


Via skippy.

Please read

Wasser Krankheit

KCBS in San Francisco reports a woman killed of hyponatremia, while participating in a spectacularly ill-considered water drinking contest by radio station KDND 107.9 in Sacramento.

Water is very capable of causing toxicity and death when consumed in too much quantity over too short a period, due to a drop in salt levels in your blood stream, also called electrolyte imbalance.

Thanks to Pete, and as he says, water can be overdosed to death, but cannabis cannot.

A letter to an editor

Copied. Public domain asserted to all letters to editors of commonly circulated publication. Hat-tip.

History repeats itself

The recent spate of Democrat-bashing by disgruntled Republicans-in-denial prompts a long overdue response. First, let me say that I think President Ford, in my opinion, was a decent enough fellow who just fell in with the wrong crowd and trusted evil, twisted men. Ford’s presidency set into motion a series of events that have led to the “mess we find ourselves in,” to paraphrase G.W. Bush.

First, when Ford’s secretary of defense, Don Rumsfeld, was playing footsie with Saddam Hussein (remember the hearty handshake?), Iran was the boogie man du jour for Republicans, and they subsequently supplied him with arms, chemicals, money and buyers for Iraqi oil.

Then, Americans upset about President Ford’s pardon of “tricky Dick” Nixon voted in probably the most devout Christian president since Lincoln—Jimmy Carter.

Republicans hungry for power, hated Carter enough to orchestrate what came to be known as the original “October surprise” that resulted in the election of an actor named Reagan and CIA spook George H. W. Bush as his vice president. This October surprise deal gave Iran lots of weapons to be used against Iraq, and lots of weapons for terrorists in Central America, (a “neat idea,” according to Oliver North, but also an idea against U.S. Congress’ orders and an idea that at any other time would have been called treason).

Understandably this action ticked off Saddam Hussein and turned an ally into an enemy. Soon afterwards the Soviet Union went bankrupt fighting against a U.S.-backed, Bush family friend named Osama Bin-Laden in Afghanistan, and the rest is history.

History is, indeed, repeating itself because fools didn’t learn from it, and it’s only a matter of time before we all pay the price for their foolishness. The aforementioned evil men control the oil, and God only knows who is in control of the former U.S.S.R nuclear arsenal, but I fear we’re all going to find out the hard way. I have grave concerns that the mushroom cloud scenario will prove to be much more than just a lie that Republican speechwriters invented to get us into a war that should have never begun.

Tommy Holeman/Boulder

Breakdown tonight

If the man on the television tonight who calls himself the president goes for his surge, remember: the media may back him up. Fox “news” surely will. The consciousness of the American people is being divided and the minds of those who are still faithful to the Republican order are going to be snapped to one side very harshly by this propaganda wave.

Are we prepared to endure this and how do we bring them back to reality? (If you could get them to watch Jon Stewart, they would think he was unfunny because he would be mocking their beliefs.)

Soon they will be given a new word for some impressment, a draft by any other name. There is no surge without the increase of “voluntary” enlistment, and while most current enlistees were only forced into the service by economic circumstances, the ability of brownshirts to press people is a well established historical phenomenon.

Of course it is absurd and insane that they think they can do this, in the face of reality. Today we have ways of communicating, through the internet. Too much depends upon the internet for them to cut it off, or prevent us from having conversations. Yes, of course the administration reads our mail, we write it out in public and put it on our blogs.

And there are not one or two of us, or hundreds, but literally hundreds of thousands of bloggers. In every city and part of the country, and in every country that has internet, we have a free press. If we can keep it.

Oh, but most of you cannot talk about the benefits of cannabis without confessing to something you might be persecuted for. That’s part of why cannabis prohibition has to end, people need to be able to be honest about who they are and what they do if we’re going to have a real discussion about how to fix this country.

Weapons of mass deception

Debra Bowen

Concentration camp

Watch it, and don’t miss seeing the children behind barbed wire.

Hat-tip cookie jill.


Hope writes,

Some plants, if not all, contain some amazing healing properties for human beings and animals. There are discoveries to be made…horizons to reach.

Imagine if a chemical company, like Dow or Monsanto, could “engineer” a plant that could actually treat and cure some illness, ease pain and inflammation, and make a person feel better. Talk about money growing on trees…or bushes or grasses! Would that not be the discovery of the age? A plant that prevents, eases, and cures some of the misery of human kind! That is so exciting!

Mankind has already been given this plant and others. This amazing plant has already been discovered, although somewhat barely. Yet….and this is the big question….Why won’t the authorities and the powers that be let you have it?


Why this great insult and injustice to humanity? Why is it kept from us, the people, and even scientists are hard pressed to even consider studying it?

Why exactly is this prohibition being done and on such a large and dramatic scale?


Mickey lied

One, two, seven

Deus ex machina — for Syd

Movie time

What’s going on in Madrid?

How do virus writers win cash prizes?

Wouldn’t you like to know?

You might consider running GNU/Linux and/or using a Mac anyhow. They are safer than Windows.

Is NutraSweet safe?

Don’t miss Part III, below…

Read the rest of this entry »

“Henny Penny”

American whistleblower tortured

Seriously. This has to stop. Five days ’til Christmas. Click the link.