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Links With Your Coffee - Thursday

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Prince Charles, self-appointed champion of organic farming, has had his carrots rejected by Sainsbury's because they were found to be rotten.

Chomsky: "It's almost unheard of, outside of totalitarian states, for a government to prevent someone from responding to an invitation at a university to give a talk."

I've found when I don't know something it's a good idea to ask people who do know? Give it a read and then tell me do you still think it was a bad idea to engineer BT into plants such as corn, soybeans, cotton etc.

BT ( Bacillus thuringiensis) Is a naturally occuring soil bacterium that is also used in organic farming.

British researchers found that birds such as robins and house sparrows "instinctively" preferred non-organic seeds to the more naturally grown varieties as it appeared to provide them with greater nutritional value through the cold months.

In the same way that theism isn't a religion.

I posted this link a couple of days ago taking the EU to task for being a territorial land grabber. I'm reconsidering my position, that's not to say that I don't think the EU should take a more balanced approach to its agriculture and accept modern approaches where appropriate including GMOs and increase their productivity, but some pointed out that we import all kinds of things we don't raise. In thinking about this it occurred to me that contrary to the organic mantra buy local that buying local is not always a good thing and maybe that's the case here, at least in part. The distance food travels is a poor criteria to use in determining how green it is. There are many more important inputs than just distance to market. Look at it this way, does my local farmer's market sell toilet paper. The point is that if I have to take two trips instead of one I'm wasting a lot more energy than I'm saving by buying locally. In short, if you're travelling miles you wouldn't travel to meet your organic only lifestyle your carbon footprint may be larger than you think.


 

Comments

very interesting interview with chomsky. he sounds totally disjointed, confused, unsure of himself- very out of character. and does he actually use the washington times to back up one of his rambling, repetetive points, calling it "washingtions second newspaper" and "significant"? why, yes he does. how very odd! i mean really-i think the interviewer was fooled into interviewing someone, not chomsky, maybe claiming to be chomsky. it just didn't sound like him at all.

you know, the washington times- sun yung moon's rag. i mean, come on. it couldn't be chomsky.

maybe he's been kidnapped by the jordanians and it's a coded call for help.

So you don't like Chomsky and it shows, but you never addressed the question of why he shouldn't be allowed to accept the invitation to speak.

you mean why he wasn't allowed to cross the bridge? some speculation:. first, our interior minister is known as something of an asshole. this is the guy who managed to offend joe biden- and by extension the whole american gov't- in his recent visit, and presumes to decide for the whole country the question of "who is a jew".

second, entering by the allenby bridge is a breach of protocall for jewish americans like him. jewish americans take airplanes, chomsky was certainly making a statement by trying to cross with a bunch of arabs. the security on that bridge, both on the jordanian side and the israeli side are known to be complete jerk-offs.

third, he really is an israel hater. but i don't dislike him for this, it's very jewish actually. and, as he points out in the interview, he's spoken many times both in israel and the west bank with no problem. his point in the interview is that he thinks that israel objects to him NOT speaking in israel proper but only in the west bank. if this is true it's very strange.

bottom line: i really have no idea why he was refused entry this time. i assume it was personal on some level, and it was, in my opinion and also the opinion of many high israeli gov't officials, a mistake. the attempt on his part to enter this way may have been a mistake for him, too. like i said, he sounds really confused, very out of character.

btw, my girlfriend, who was once a "jewish american" and is now an "american israeli" (like me) once crossed that bridge coming back from a trip to amman. it took her around 3 hours to get through the security interrogation. the difference is, she was expecting this (like any american with their wits about them would be) and was allowed in the end to return (as most americans with their wits about them would be). it's cheaper than flying.

Rachel Maddow demolishes Rand Paul

I don't see where the "demolishing" part comes in. If anything, Paul came out looking like the reasonable one. Don't get me wrong, the teabaggers are a bunch of uneducated loons (as are most protesters in general usually, from any political ideology) but the topic of private business rights is interesting and shouldn't be dismissed with the same emotional appeal as when marriage equality opponents bring up the subject of polygamy as a conversation stopper. On the one hand (and I say this as an ethnic minority) I think private business should be allowed to discriminate, though I can also see the pitfalls in just how much liberty we're willing to grant them until it starts causing potential problems like if gov't didn't order companies like BP to have safe working conditions and regulating environmental saftey. The "leave it to the market" idea applied to this last point seems disasterous to say the least. I haven't really reflected on this issue much so I wouldn't know where I would stand in the balancing act that has to take place here.

I thought she did come close to demolishing him (or rather, he came close to demolishing himself). In my opinion, she failed to finally force him to commit, which she might have been able to do by saying, "OK, Mr. Paul. You've claimed that you agree with 90% of the text of the Civil Rights Act. Let's suppose that you were a senator and a bill to repeal the 10% you disagree with came up for a vote. Would you vote to repeal?"

[Leave aside the obvious: agreeing with 90% of the text of a bill is not the same as agreeing with 90% of the impact of the law as it was enacted if the 10% had some of the most important effects.]

He's an extremist, and to borrow a phrase, 'extremism in the defense of the freedom to discriminate on the basis of race is no virtue'. Forcing private companies that serve the general public to discriminate only on the basis of critertia that actually affect their business (e.g., no shirt, no shoes, no service) - rather than race or creed - was very important and a lot to do with what Martin Luther King fought for.

Forcing private companies that serve the general public to discriminate only on the basis of critertia that actually affect their business (e.g., no shirt, no shoes, no service) - rather than race or creed - was very important and a lot to do with what Martin Luther King fought for.

I've yet to hear a compelling argument as to why private entities should not have the freedom to be discriminatory (in any sense). I know that statement may seem shocking (Erick! You approve of discrimination?) but I feel it's akin to allowing other people's odious beliefs and opinions to be expressed without necessarily endorsing said beliefs and opinions a la Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Nothing in Voltaire's or Paul's comments suggest any cognitive dissonance in their positions whatsoever.

There is no compelling argument except that it is wrong. People who are discriminated against on the basis of their race can't do anything about that. When it comes to beliefs - well, those are things you can do something about. (And, no - I have no interest in following this down some 'free will' rabbit hole.) You've discovered one of the (many) things that divides a liberal from a libertarian, and in this case you come down on the libertarian side and I come down on the liberal side. I am quite comfortable where I'm standing.

There is no compelling argument except that it is wrong.

There is an arguement that discrimination is counter to a functioning democracy and our government is sworn to protect our democracy.

There is a very real argument that discrimination is a crime by one person against another and it is government is responsible for negotiating a peaceful resolution to the conflict to maintain a civil society.

Play the same game with property rights. Who is the government to define what things belong to what people? my air my water, my airspace/?

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"I've yet to hear a compelling argument as to why private entities should not have the freedom to be discriminatory (in any sense)"

Private companies in order to discriminate as they like need to have their own police force for protection, firemen for emergencies and if they provide social security/medical insurance then an employee fund to draw from for these liabilities. They also need to guarantee their own running water supply, sewage facilities and constant electric supply. If they don't want a chemical or coal plant being run in their immediate vicinity they need to draw independent discussions with the developers for such demands.

Right now all the above is guaranteed by the taxpayers (which also includes the private companies). By taxpayers I mean everyone, black, white, and all others.

It makes no sense since they receive all the above benefits to allow them to continue discrimination as they wish.

If they pay taxes then they should receieve those services. If you want to deny them that then you have to not obligate them to pay.

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Yes, that's right they should receive those benefits if they are paying their taxes.

Everyone probably has a basic understanding as to how taxes work. It's a community pool. No one person can pave his/her own road, ensure clean air and water supply, avoid noise pollution, have constant electricity supply and so on and so forth just by using their own taxes. It's only doable if everyone does it.

So once I start paying my taxes I enter a social contract to follow some basic rules of civil society one of which is that private enterprise cannot discriminate based on races since they get to enjoy the benefits of a community tax pool.

Its really sad that there is no freedom to opt out of the above system.

One would think that what gets upheld in this contract is to have the gov't uphold its First Amendment provision to freely associate with whomever one chooses.

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I have always wondered as to what the libertarian solution is to ending private enterprise discrimination if they have one.

"Free" markets without gov't regulation never seem to provide an answer for it other than saying "oh my freedoms are taken away if you force me not to choose"

I agree I saw no 'demolishing' but I think he didn't come out looking reasonable, just sounded reasonable because of his controlled tone.

His position is conflates free speech with community economic entanglement. Want to say something in our community - say almost anything (no false fire alarms please.) Want to do business in our community - follow the rules of the road or else. Totally different issues. Having a raciest club is just preventing people from hanging out and networking with raciest. Running a raciest business is preventing someone from engaging in finding employment or accessing resources (in the case of food - resources necessary for survival.)

I wanted to be a Libertarian at one time... then I started to think about it.

The video of the interview is available at Crooks and Liars.

Rand Paul (why do I keep thinking "Ru Paul?? :~) ) does have a reasonable tone of voice. He's trying too hard to be consistent with the government messing with private business tact by saying that a private business can't discriminate on the basis of race is a slippery slope. I suppose he could go on to say "let the market decide; businesses that discriminate will not be patronized by most people, blah blah blah." The problem is, there are still businesses that won't cater to people who aren't white. Long story short, there are restaurants in west Texas where they are civil to African Americans, but they won't serve them. Since most places in this country will serve anyone who pays, how is a non-white to discriminate (to turn a term) in terms of which restaurant to dine? Especially if traveling through town? The business may be private, but it's open to the public, thus it should be open to the entire public; law abiding citizens should be allowed to participate in businesses no matter race, gender, gender preference, or physical ability. By participation, I include being employed as well as purchasing a product or service. This is where the younger Dr. Paul has missed the boat.

Thaddeusphoenix, you beat me to the punch with the "fire" commenent. Yes, we allow free speech, but there reasonable limits to that. There are repercussions for yelling "fire" in crowds or saying that you have a bomb in jest. Decisions about this set a precedent to prevent the slippery slope Paul fears.

He does try to play on the concerns of those who don't like open carry of weapons in businesses: See? The slippery slope has allowed this and how do you like your anti-discrimination laws now? My guess is 1. this will either become a non-issue in the future as the popularity of walking around with a gun on your hip will fade and the market place just might help decide this, or 2. someone will use a firearm cavalierly and irresponsibly and politics and legislation will be added to the mix. That being said, i don't equate race - something you can't change - with open carry - a choice that advertises 'tude. As Maddow said, Rand Paul will be dogged by questions until November; he might want to think things through more carefully. And since he's officially running, he might want to read the Civil Rights Act more thoroughly now.

re: Prince Charles' rotten carrots. Even Organic carrots rot in cold storage? What? Organic isn't perfect? I have to take the bait.

"We are not amused."

re: BT. Here's the thing. Insect infestation is not the natural state of plants. Those who want to sell pesticides might pretend different, but it's kinda like saying that type II juvenile Diabetes is the natural state of American children instead of placing the "why" squarely at the door step of our grand Agribusiness success at creating cheap subsidized carbs and sugars then pretending it is the same as cheap food.

I know you want to separate your consideration of GE from "Agribusiness", but you cannot. For GE is just another tool by which to perpetuate an agricultural system that is fundamentally at odds with good health, self sustaining food production, and protection of the biodiversity that keeps the natural world working.

Corn borers can be eliminated without pesticides. In my experience it takes 2 years of NO corn, after which two years of early corn (borers are worse late season) can be grown without borers with NO pesticides or BT spray. This doesn't require "taking the land out of production" for two years. Hell no. Planted Edemame and Winter squash instead for a couple of years. No big deal. Alternative crops abound that have similar or better market value and storage characteristics.

The main excuse for BT corn is that "well, at least it's better than more toxic alternatives." AS IF "it could be worse" is even CLOSE to Good Enough. Biotechnology is not the right answer when the problem is monoculture.

Haven't you noticed that even proponents of BT corn acknowledge that insect resistance development is highly probable, so much so that planting recommendations include leaving 30% of the land NOT planted with BT corn.

On one hand they say "we're doing it for those poor farmers in Africa, Organic won't work for them because they don't have enough land." But we think those subsistence farmers will all be told to set aside 30% of their new BT corn planting to avoid insect resistance development? Of the ones told, how many of them will decide that's not what they will do. Any suggesting that this GE deployment plan might not be ready for prime time is attacked as Politically incorrect Colonial thinking.. Yea right.

Alternatively, some groups are working in E. Africa to help farmers rotate into conventional Pigeon Peas - a strong crop, high in nutrition, readily stored, that fixes nitrogen improves the soil, and might break pest and weed cycles in Maize.

This assumption that food can only be grown with Herbicides and Pesticides, deployed indiscriminately by either spray or GE, irrespective of whether a pest problem is little, big, or just "potential" pisses me off. Prophylactic insect killing. The assumption that it is better to try to poison EVERY PEST, than to grow in a fashion that makes the plant healthy and hence able to thrive and stave off that bug or two.

We KNOW that biodiversity (interplanting different crops, and crop rotation (changing what you plant in the same place each year) are proven, effective and sustainable ways to produce food. We KNOW that birds and beneficial insects consume VAST quantities of insect pests.

The questions are always "is (xyz) new agricultural gizmo safe for human consumption? As if soil micro-organisms, insects, birds, other mammals, plankton in the ocean are somehow not important, and have no impact on our food supply, and have not evolved over thousands of years to have some bio chemical expectations of their own, most of which we know NOTHING ABOUT. We don't know why the bee population is crashing. Not saying it's cuz of GE, I'm saying WE DON'T KNOW WHY, and it is a serious issue to every food crop that depends on bees for pollination. The birds that eat the corn (with or without borers), were they evolved to consume "benign to us" BT soil microorganisms? How can we be so filled with Hubris to think we understand this science so well that we can readily discount concern for the impact of transgenic food introduction to the world (and every creature in it)

re: buying local: "contrary to the organic mantra buy local buying local is not always a good thing."

Buying local is an excellent though not the only important criteria for food choice. Buying locally produced herbicide and pesticide laced produce is obviously not as green as buying local organic. However buying locally produced food supports the re-creation of local food production which is pretty important.

My point about the GE and Food Imports was that they are probably not related. There are so many reasons for imports of food and bio-fuel ingredients. I suppose it's one measure of an area's self sufficiency, but lack of sufficiency might be as much a choice (US and EU) as a necessity (E. Africa) issue.

Going to town once a month for supplies and a movie, and to farmer's market once a week for fresh food isn't a bad deal for the environment.

re: Prince Charles' rotten carrots. Even Organic carrots rot in cold storage? What? Organic isn't perfect? I have to take the bait.

"We are not amused."

[Nor is anyone amused when the organic crowd says lets take 20 years instead of 10 to develop a better drought resistant crop because we use GE instead of traditional breeding techniques. Both reach the same place one is faster and less prone to error than the other. Particularly since they already have enough to eat and have the luxury of using only traditional methods. ]

re: BT. Here's the thing. Insect infestation is not the natural state of plants. Those who want to sell pesticides might pretend different, but it's kinda like saying that type II juvenile Diabetes is the natural state of American children instead of placing the "why" squarely at the door step of our grand Agribusiness success at creating cheap subsidized carbs and sugars then pretending it is the same as cheap food.

[I'm no apologist for big agribusiness, but everyone benefits from technological innovation. The ringspot virus that attacked the papaya crop in Hawaii is natural, would you like to tell me what the organic method for getting rid of it is. I'll tell you burn down all the plants and start over, and then burn them down again and start over when they're attacked a second time. There is no organic solution to the pest, but lets be pure and oppose GE on principle. "Insect infestation is not the natural state of plants." In a natural state there would be none of the plants you grow. In the true natural state there was a balance between insects and plants and animals. A balance man upset when when agriculture began, and it takes human intervention to control that imbalance. Without human intervention in the breeding of plants whether GM or "natural" we wouldn't have any of the crops we have to day, what's natural about that? GE is just the next step in long step of humans trying to improve plants for our own benefit, its just another method.]

I know you want to separate your consideration of GE from "Agribusiness", but you cannot. For GE is just another tool by which to perpetuate an agricultural system that is fundamentally at odds with good health, self sustaining food production, and protection of the biodiversity that keeps the natural world working.

[And you can't separate seed breeding of any kind from "Agribusiness," but I don't hear a call to stop breeding seeds. In fact if we had never messed with "natural plants" You wouldn't have anything useful to plant in your garden, no corn . . . Besides you don't need GE to perpetuate an agricultural system that is fundamentally at odds with good health. 60-80% of the corn cropit doesn't matter if the corn is grown from GE seeds or any other seeds it is grown for animal feed, it would seem a better argument would be for vegetarianism that would get rid of one of the the biggest existing reason we have monocultures. Do I hear a right on, for vegetarianism? Should we ban all beef because some produce it irresponsibly. You can't separate meat eating from big agri-business any more than you can separate growing corn. A good argument can be made for no beef at all, its not a very productive use of resources though a setup like yours comes the closest, but I'm not sure we can have a farm like yours in every neighborhood, and meet all our needs.]

Corn borers can be eliminated without pesticides. In my experience it takes 2 years of NO corn, after which two years of early corn (borers are worse late season) can be grown without borers with NO pesticides or BT spray. This doesn't require "taking the land out of production" for two years. Hell no. Planted Edemame and Winter squash instead for a couple of years. No big deal. Alternative crops abound that have similar or better market value and storage characteristics.

[Do I have this right you don't use anything but crop rotation. Do you till the fields, do you do your weeding by hand, do you use a hoe, remember every time you break the soil it releases CO2, is your farming no till. Do all organic farms follow a no till model? ]

The main excuse for BT corn is that "well, at least it's better than more toxic alternatives."AS IF "it could be worse" is even CLOSE to Good Enough. Biotechnology is not the right answer when the problem is monoculture.

[Are you condemning all organic farming that uses BT as a spray. And how are you going to get rid of monoculture without getting rid of meat eating. It's not going to happen so Bt seems like a bargain. It's not toxic to humans or animals like other pesticides are, but knowing that the status quo is not going to change for a long time if ever, you'd rather oppose anything that acts as a pesticide. Biotechnology has no more to do with monoculture than traditional breeding. You're comparing apples and oranges here. Biotechnology and traditional plant breeding are methods not products either can be used in a polyculture and either can be used in a monoculture. ]

Haven't you noticed that even proponents of BT corn acknowledge that insect resistance development is highly probable, so much so that planting recommendations include leaving 30% of the land NOT planted with BT corn.

[What, insects don't evolve resistance on organic farms? ]

On one hand they say "we're doing it for those poor farmers in Africa, Organic won't work for them because they don't have enough land." But we think those subsistence farmers will all be told to set aside 30% of their new BT corn planting to avoid insect resistance development? Of the ones told, how many of them will decide that's not what they will do. Any suggesting that this GE deployment plan might not be ready for prime time is attacked as Politically incorrect Colonial thinking.. Yea right.

[No one is claiming that organic farming techniques can't be useful for africans, that's just a straw man argument. It's not an either or question except for an arbitrary definition of what qualifies as organic. Do you oppose a drought resistant plant developed using traditional breeding and if not then why one developed using GE techniques, one that is faster at getting to the optimum plant than traditional methods.]

Alternatively, some groups are working in E. Africa to help farmers rotate into conventional Pigeon Peas - a strong crop, high in nutrition, readily stored, that fixes nitrogen improves the soil, and might break pest and weed cycles in Maize.

[It's not either or]

This assumption that food can only be grown with Herbicides and Pesticides, deployed indiscriminately by either spray or GE, irrespective of whether a pest problem is little, big, or just "potential" pisses me off. Prophylactic insect killing. The assumption that it is better to try to poison EVERY PEST, than to grow in a fashion that makes the plant healthy and hence able to thrive and stave off that bug or two.

[BT gene in a plant isn't indiscriminate it doesn't target every pest only those that eat the plant, that is an advantage over spraying. ]

We KNOW that biodiversity (interplanting different crops, and crop rotation (changing what you plant in the same place each year) are proven, effective and sustainable ways to produce food. We KNOW that birds and beneficial insects consume VAST quantities of insect pests.

[I'm not arguing that biodiversity crop rotation etc are not a good thing. Monoculture is every bit the evil that you claim, but that has nothing to do with GE other than how it is used by some to aid in monoculture, BUT THAT IS TRUE OF NON-GE PLANTS AS WELL. ]

The questions are always "is (xyz) new agricultural gizmo safe for human consumption? As if soil micro-organisms, insects, birds, other mammals, plankton in the ocean are somehow not important, and have no impact on our food supply, and have not evolved over thousands of years to have some bio chemical expectations of their own, most of which we know NOTHING ABOUT. We don't know why the bee population is crashing. Not saying it's cuz of GE, I'm saying WE DON'T KNOW WHY, and it is a serious issue to every food crop that depends on bees for pollination. The birds that eat the corn (with or without borers), were they evolved to consume "benign to us" BT soil microorganisms?

[Do you think every new plant that occurs naturally is safe? Do you think every plant that is created using traditional breeding is safe? There are numerous examples of some pretty nasty toxins found in natural plants, and yes BT is also benign to birds and other animals.]

re: buying local: "contrary to the organic mantra buy local buying local is not always a good thing."

Buying local is an excellent though not the only important criteria for food choice. Buying locally produced herbicide and pesticide laced produce is obviously not as green as buying local organic. However buying locally produced food supports the re-creation of local food production which is pretty important.

[Is buying local crops that are not suited to a particular area a good idea. Local food production is important if the land is suited to the production If it's not it's stupid. In cases where it's not transportation costs pale compared to other inputs. Not every area is suitable for growing some plants.]

My point about the GE and Food Imports was that they are probably not related. There are so many reasons for imports of food and bio-fuel ingredients. I suppose it's one measure of an area's self sufficiency, but lack of sufficiency might be as much a choice (US and EU) as a necessity (E. Africa) issue.

[I'm not sure what you point is here.]

Going to town once a month for supplies and a movie, and to farmer's market once a week for fresh food isn't a bad deal for the environment.

[It depends how far away the farmer's market is and if the food there was raised without excessive inputs it's not automatically good You claim that you can't separate GE from monoculture but neither can you separate anything else from a monoculture.

Of course you can separate GE from monoculture and from big-agribusiness, but it doesn't happen because the organic movement is not above conflating methods with products and playing the fear card over and over again. GE is not about a single product, Roundup Ready or even Bt, it's a method. Discuss the products if you like and provide evidence that you believe supports the idea that those products shouldn't have been developed, but don't condemn the method, because you don't like how it's sometimes used. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.]

And how are you going to get rid of monoculture without getting rid of meat eating.

Norm, I understand your perspective for your other arguments, and have read many of them before, but I'm not sure of your connection between monoculture and raising livestock.

If done well, livestock is part of breaking up the monoculture. I should go back and read all of BettyJo's posts as well, but Joel Salatin (polyface, made famous by Pollan) has a system set up where he rotates his animals on a daily basis as well as raising various crops. His system is based on other systems that are used in various parts of the world, but it is not identical to them. There are many ways to farm with variety in a variety of climates and geographies; the farmers adapt their systems to them. For Salatin, the cows graze one area of pasture on day A; they are moved elsewhere on day B, when the chickens move through that area and pick the bugs out of the cowpies. Pigs serve another function. Salatin sells more than livestock, and more than corn, although his philosophy revolves around grass.

In terms of insects, their presence is one thing; infestation is another. Wise planting of various crops can keep this down to a minimum. Certainly climate and global warming are factors in what insects will do and how they will manifest themselves in a given area. Anyone farming has to consider the effect of all animals (livestock and unwanteds such as foxes), now just insects.

From one meat eater to another:

The goal is sustainability. Different foods have different inputs to produce. Plants are very efficient in terms of energy expended. They don't waste energy walking around the farm and more of the plant is usable as food than a cow. Meat eating is a quite inefficient way of getting the nutrients we need. Fish are a better source of protein from an energy input view. They expend very little energy feeding and a higher percentage of their body weight is flesh. Check out Auqaponics as a good way to produce food. Raising cattle takes huge amounts of space you can mitigate the problems, and responsible meat providers do, but the bottom line is that meat is a high input and comparatively low output source of food. We will never feed the world raising cattle, the relatively small systems that do it well are not scalable and you can never get beyond the relative energy input differences. We need to view meat as a luxury that we eat only occasionally if our concern is feeding the world.

The high demands for beef require incredible amounts of feed, and hence lend themselves to an industrial model. It is one of the reasons there is so much opposition to GM because it allows higher yields and more production. It is unfortunate that those opposed to GM can't see past the problems with industrial farming to the benefits GMOs can provide. There was industrial farming long before GMOs arrived, traditional bred seeds also provided larger yields and yet you don't see calls to get rid of those because they facilitate industrial farming. Industrial farming is a result of a lot of factors, unwise subsidies, high demands for beef etc.

Thanks for your reply. I agree that humans in general need to consume less beef and less meat in general. reduced consumption could eliminate the viability of CAFOs, although that would take awhile. And yes, fish is a great alternative, although concerns with water pollution (fisteria in the Chesapeake Bay, fertilizer run-off in lakes, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico, and of course oil contamination in the gulf and other water areas) give one pause before consuming fish these days.

So again: less meat=good idea. I'm not sure you answered my question about equating raising livestock with monoculture. Less livestock gives the farmer an opportunity to grow more plant foods. Maybe in a way you're agreeing with me.

I was speaking of fish in terms of Auqaponics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics

As to monoculture, the huge demand for corn to feed cattle tends to exacerbate the tendency to mono crops in this case corn. I think we probably agree, I sometimes fail to explain myself well.

Yes, aquaponics is a help in raising more fish in a clean environment. I should have myself clear there.

At this point, there needs to be some pressure on the worldview of environments that yield food sources. Lessee, aquaponics as a system is healthy and efficient. Why do we (nothing personal - "we" as a society) allow the continuation of unhealthy situations in our larger water system? Why do we allow the continuation of unhealthy practices in land masses? Why do we not recognize that the health of land is tied to the health of water? Why don't we find some viable way to marry these 2 concepts? have we lessened out intellect to the point that we can't come up with solutions? Or have we poisoned our brains with the focus on money so much that creativity that favors out environment, our host, is stifled?

NORM!!! YOU FORGOT TODAY WAY "EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMED DAY." WHERE'S YOUR PICTURE?

Here's a good drawing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78RKJD5XJAI

I am a libertarian, but am kind of cautious about Rand Paul. I wish he was more straightforward like his dad - whether or not you agree with Ron Paul you know exactly where he stands. I don't think he was demolished at all, although I wish he would have explained himself better to those people that play the "feelings" card like Rachel Maddow did. I totally understand and agree with what Rand was saying. I also agree with you Erick. It seems as if anyone stands for someone's right to free speech then you adhere and believe in what they're saying. People jump to conclusions and don't really think of what the other is saying. "What?! He doesn't agree with 100% of the Civil Rights Act? He's a fucking racist and probably a Grand Wizard of the KKK!" Just Google Rand Paul and look at all the headlines that pop up regarding his statements. It's insane. It's unfortunate when people hear speech they dislike they immediately plug their ears and then interpret their own ideas to what the person is saying, which is what Rachel seemed to be doing. I thought it was a shame to see her act like that because she's one of the smarter and more rational of the TV pundits out there I think. Not to say she has to agree with him, but she didn't seem to understand what he was trying to get across because her feelings, and not her mind, got in the way.

Speaking strictly for myself, if I thought Rand Paul were acting like a racist, I'd have called him a racist. I think he's an extremist. The Civil Rights Act worked - it is as simple as that. People who were no longer allowed to discriminate on the basis of pure bigotry. Was their freedoms abridged to some extent? Yes - I suppose it was. I can think of a lot of freedoms I have to endure the curtailment of in order to live in this society; I think that thaddeusphoenix put it well: "Want to do business in our community - follow the rules of the road or else." I have no problem with one of the rules of doing business in this country is that you have a right to ask a price for your goods and services, but for the most part you don't have a right to demand from your customers something that they can't possibly do - change the color of their skin.

I still wish we could edit these posts...geez.

I also don't think there was anything wrong with Maddow exposing his views on this matter - my only complaint is that she could have done it just a bit more effectively.

I get the libertarian thing, and think it's probably healthy to have a few of them in congress just for diversity of perspective in their debates, but going on MSNBC has got to be one of the dumbest things he could possibly do. I doubt he'll win the general election.

I get the libertarian thing, and think it's probably healthy to have a few of them in congress just for diversity of perspective in their debates, but going on MSNBC has got to be one of the dumbest things he could possibly do. I doubt he'll win the general election.

doh! sorry guys.

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