Daily Archives: June 24, 2011

A Quote for the Evening… the Unions are not quite dead yet (Hooray).

“Today’s union families ought to follow the example of those who came before us. Talk to your children about why some politicians want to use us as scapegoats. Tell them why attending a union meeting at night is important. Make sure they understand the importance of standing up for what’s right.

“Tell everyone from your children to your neighbors to your newspapers that privatization can be stopped and collective bargaining can be restored. Tell them why we must defeat politicians who want to hurt working families. Our union’s political strength — the Green Machine — has long overcome our adversaries and, working together, it will continue to be the force of change. We’ve proved our determination in the past, and we will do so time and again.”

AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee

OK… defeating politicians who want to hurt working families. That means defeating huge corporations and tax-eating billionaires. Are you ready? Can we do it?

Everybody say “Yeah!

Peter Falk – “Columbo” – is dead at 83

After several years suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Actor Peter Falk died yesterday at his home in Beverly Hills.

The idiosyncratic character actor first caught my attention in 1961 in the film A Pocket Full of Miracles, Frank Capra‘s last film and a color version of his 1933 classic Lady for a Day. Falk played a comic underling  gangster to Glenn Ford‘s Dave the Dude.

During his career, Falk made over 50 films, but he will be remembered by audiences for his years on television as the disheveled, cigar smoking Police Lieutenant in the wrinkled raincoat.

He drove a beat up Peugeot and was always polite to the suspect (and this was the only show at the time where the audience knew who did it from the beginning.) The fun was in watching Columbo, in a most distracted and fumbling manner, lead the guilty party to a confession.

Columbo, and, indeed all of Falk’s characters, had a signature squint due to his having a glass eye, which was due to a tumor removal in childhood. After the series’ long run, he came back several times over the years to play the Columbo character in made-for-TV movies.

Suppose you were killing weeds in your garden and producing birth defects, too.

Monsanto‘s Roundup, which has been associated with deformities in a host of laboratory animals, may have a similar impact on humans.. One laboratory study done in France in 2005 found that Roundup and glyphosate caused the death of human placental cells and abnormal embryonic cells. Another study, conducted in 2009, found that Roundup caused total cell death in human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells within 24 hours. Yet researchers have conducted few follow-up studies.

“Obviously there’s a limit to what’s appropriate in terms of testing poison on humans, but if you look at the line of converging evidence, it points to a serious problem. And if you look at the animal feeding studies with genetically modified Roundup ready crops, there’s a consistent theme of reproductive disorders, which we don’t know the cause for because follow-up studies have not been done.

“More independent research is needed to evaluate the toxicity of Roundup and glyphosate and the evidence that has already accumulated is sufficient to raise a red flag.”

– Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology

We have been critical of Monsanto for soft-peddling Roundup, as have members of the scientific community. In 1996 New York State’s Attorney General sued Monsanto for describing Roundup as “environmentally friendly” and “safe as table salt” (although I don’t think anyone from Monsanto would sprinkle Roundup on their spaghetti.) Monsanto, while not admitting any wrongdoing, agreed to stop using the terms for promotional purposes and paid New York state $250,000 to settle the suit.

Roundup Ready seeds are now proliferating 80 % or more of the seed market (if you don’t believe me try purchasing a heritage corn seed at any major supplier like Home Depot or Lowe’s. While they are occasionally there, most products are Monsanto GMO seeds that are Roundup Ready.) Driving by fields and fields of weed-free Roundup Ready corn yesterday, I rolled up my car windows so as not to breathe in any of this crap.

If you want to track the GPA‘s review of glyphosphate, go HERE. BTW, this is the same EPA that the Republicans want to have defunded. I wonder who is getting most of the contributions from Monsanto?