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The appearance of impropriety

"Good morning, Anita Hill, it's Ginny Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."

Thomas recently founded a right-wing activist group called Liberty Central, and there has been chatter about the impropriety of her activities with that organization given that the tea party-like group's funding sources are unclear and there may be conflicts of interests with cases that come before her husband.

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GMO: friend or foe

I prefer to err on the side of caution, but who, as a layman, can judge how much caution is really adequate?
On the one hand there's this:
"This study was just routine," said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry.

After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.

And if this isn't shocking enough, some in the third generation even had hair growing inside their mouths—a phenomenon rarely seen, but apparently more prevalent among hamsters eating GM soy.

On the other hand there's that:

Below is a (non-comprehensive) bibliography of 57 publications regarding the safety of GM food crops. The first 12 are published in peer-reviewed journals and I have supplied excerpts from the abstracts. These definitely report experimental data to back up their results. Eight more are meeting abstracts reporting data or are agricultural extension reports which also appear to be reporting data.

The rest of the bibliography is to show that the problem of the safety of GM foods has been considered by a large group of diverse organizations - many of which do not have a direct financial interest in GM foods. The consensus of these independent reviews of the data is that there is nothing about the making of GM crops that makes them inherently more dangerous than crops produced by conventional breeding.

I do take issue with this paragraph;

The only practical way to test this is food is to use the model currently in place -- the company developing the product must pay for testing it and the data must be reviewed by an independent regulatory authority. This is the only feasible way. When asked for another feasible model the activists are suddenly silent.

I'm going to see if I can find out if the businesses get to choose who does the testing; that'd be a pretty big conflict of interest right there.

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Changes in the wind

Has the U.S. supreme court stepped into the limelight as the new power in American "democracy"?

How can fascism be stopped? How can we get the right wing masses to unify with the progressives so we have the footsoldiers on the side of the people? Anyway... I will keep dreaming.

Here's an interesting article with the headline Bin Laden claims airline bomb attempt on Christmas; funny how they even bother to mention "There was no way to verify the voice on the audio message was actually bin Laden"

Open thread, welcome to it.

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Alleged terror plot suspect arrested at Colorado home

Just a few questions I have about this one. It'd be great to read WP's take on this...
Zazi and his father, Muhammad Zazi, were handcuffed without incident as authorities raided Zazi's home in the Denver suburb of Aurora, CNN's Jim Spellman reported from the scene. There is no word on what charges both men face.
Why not? Were they even charged?

Two more arrests are expected in New York City, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

One of the individuals interviewed several times by authorities is cooperating, the source said.
Did the "interviews" happen to consist of any "enhanced" interrogation?

Zazi's arrest comes after three days of questioning by the FBI. Zazi declined to attend a fourth day of interviews, his attorney's publicist said.
Could this be the reason he was hauled away in cuffs?

Zazi has admitted to having ties to al Qaeda, an administration official familiar with the matter told CNN on Friday.
Exactly what this means we are left to guess. Was he acquainted with an alleged Al Qaeda member? Could this be an outright lie? Does Al Qaeda even exist, other than as a construct of western media?

The alleged terrorist plot, which came to light this week after raids in New York, may have been targeting a major transportation center, like a large railroad or subway station, sources close to the investigation told CNN on Thursday.
Be afraid, be very afraid.

There were plans for an attack, presumably in the New York area, where crowds are large and security screening for nonairport travelers is lax, the sources said.
As we've seen so often in the recent past, might the plans have been proposed by an informant?

On Wednesday, federal agents searched Zazi's apartment in Denver and another home in a Denver suburb in connection with the investigation.

A law enforcement official told CNN that diagrams showing how to make bombs were found on the computer that Zazi had with him when he was stopped in New York during a recent visit, but his lawyer, Arthur Folsom, denied that was true.
who to believe...?

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Scratch That! > Wiped from the pages of history

update 6/25: OK I've moved the whole site to a different server where it has a longer life expectancy. so if you are into such things, please post / comment / repeat / enjoy!

<--- I was informed today that this blog has only about a week to live, if that. Apparently the server space is needed for something newer, shinier, and more important. I doubt anyone will miss it, although I've been enjoying the convenience of the blogroll links. Ah well, such is life... --->

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Drums of War II

Trouble to the south... another copy / paste; but hey, i'm trying and it's a start!

Chávez sends troops, tanks to Venezuela's border with Colombia
Strike against rebel commander 'cowardly,' he says
By Juan Forero
Washington Post / March 3, 2008

Calling a Colombian military strike against a guerrilla commander "a cowardly assassination," President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela yesterday closed his country's embassy in Colombia and ordered tanks, planes, and thousands of troops to the 1,300-mile border the two countries share.

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador also recalled his ambassador to Colombia in protest over the assault just inside Ecuador on Saturday that killed 17 guerrillas, including Luis Edgar Devia, a top commander in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Ecuador and Venezuela are allies.

Speaking on his nationally televised show, Chávez lauded Devia and ordered his defense minister to mobilize troops to Venezuela's western border. He also blamed the United States, a staunch ally of President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia, for fueling the conflict in Colombia.

"Move 10 battalions to the Colombian frontier immediately, tank battalions, military aviation," Chávez said. "We are not going to permit the North American empire, which is the ruler, to allow his lapdog, President Uribe and the Colombian oligarchy, to divide or weaken us. We will not permit it."

Another Venezuelan ally, Nicaragua, which is disputing Colombian sovereignty over two islands in the Caribbean, also criticized Colombia. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, a Cold War foe of the United States, called the strike against Devia "an act of total provocation" that reduces the chances of peacefully settling Colombia's conflict.

Although celebrated in Colombia as a major blow against the FARC, the attack has triggered the most serious regional crisis in recent years. Venezuela, Ecuador, and Nicaragua frequently criticize Colombia's military activities in the region and are detached from the United States, which provides billions of dollars in military aid to Colombia.

Billions of dollars? With the United States deep in debt and deficit, its citizens (and so-called elected representatives?) might question the wisdom of such "aid"

"This is a political, not a military reaction," said Adrian Bonilla, a professor of international relations at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, a university in Quito, Ecuador. "What is clear is that military, police, intelligence, and security cooperation between Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela are completely fractured at this moment."

The Colombian government said Saturday that Devia was killed in heavy combat between rebels on the Ecuadoran side of the frontier and Colombian troops on the other side.

Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said fighters were then called in to bomb the rebels and that after they were killed, Colombian troops crossed the frontier to recover the bodies of Devia and another rebel commander, Guillermo Torres, better known as the writer of revolutionary ballads.

The Colombian government said Uribe called Correa to brief him about the attack.

Yesterday, Correa called the incursion into Ecuador "the worst aggression Ecuador has suffered on the part of Colombia." In a news conference in Quito, he said that although Uribe had told him the attack took place in battle, an Ecuadoran army patrol that examined the camp had determined otherwise.

"They were bombed and massacred while they slept, using pinpoint technology that found them at night, in the jungle, for sure with the collaboration of foreign powers," he said.

Myles Frechette, a former ambassador to Colombia who works as a consultant in Washington, said the Colombians probably weighed the strike on Devia against the potential fallout from going into Ecuador. But he said repairing the diplomatic damage would be a challenge.

"Uribe has got to go down there, meet with Correa, calm him down, and he's going to have Chávez fuming at the border," Frechette said. Uribe is "in a pickle, in the sense that diplomatically he's got to get himself out of this corner that he's got himself in."

How does Frechette know Uribe got himself into the pickle; isn't he contradicting Correa's statement re: collaboration with foreign powers? Maybe the newspaper doesn't provide enough space to delve into such topics...
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