Blog Archives

From Mother Jones: A Bayer Pesticide is reducing the population of bees…

Here’s another pesticide controversy… one we can add to the Monsanto Mix… it relates to Bayer (yeah, the people who make the aspirin you take every day.)

Here’s a clip:

3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide

It’s springtime, and farmers throughout the Midwest and South are preparing to plant corn—and lots of it. The USDA projects this year’s corn crop will cover 94 million acres, the most in 68 years. (By comparison, the state of California occupies a land mass of about 101 million acres.) Nearly all of that immense stand of corn will be planted with seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides produced by the German chemical giant Bayer.

And that may be very bad news for honey bees, which remain in a dire state of health, riddled by large annual die-offs that have become known as “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). 

In the past months, three separate studies—two of them just out in the prestigious journal Science—have added to a substantial body of literature linking widespread use of neonicotinoids to CCD. The latest research will renew pressure on the EPA to reconsider its registration of Bayer’s products. The EPA green-lighted Bayer’s products based largely on a study funded by the chemical giant itself—which was later discredited by the EPA’s own scientists, as this leaked memo shows.

When seeds are treated with neonics, the pesticides get absorbed by the plant’s vascular system and then “expressed” in the pollen and nectar, where they attack the nervous systems of insects. Bayer targeted its treatments at the most prolific US crop—corn—and since the late 1990s, corn farmers have been blanketing millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds.

And it’s not just corn. In addition to the vast corn crop mentioned above, Bayer’s neonics have worked their way into substantial portions of the soy, wheat, cotton, sorghum, and peanut seed markets. In 2010, according to research by the Pesticide Action Network of North America, at least 142 million total acres were planted in neonic-treated seeds—a trend that will continue if not increase in  the 2012 growing season. That represents a landmass equal to the footprints of California and Washington State.

But even that’s not all. As I showed in this January post, Bayer’s neonics are also common in home-garden and landscaping products.

Read the rest (and there is a lot) HERE.

Maury Chaykin Dead at 61

Maury Chaykin died in Toronto, where he lived,  on July 27, 2010, from complications of a heart valve infection. It was his 61st Birthday.

I told this to my wife, who had attended the State University of New York at Buffalo with him in the early 70s. “Oh, no!” she said. She had been part of a crowd at UB that Chaykin was in, dated his roommate. She told me that Chaykin had been part of a four person theatre group (along with Dougy, who she dated, the really pretty girl whose name she couldn’t remember and Duffy, the one who everyone thought was going to be the real star.)

This made me think that we are entering a time in  our lives when more and more people that we used to know in college and elsewhere will start dying off… my wife thought it was time to put together her “bucket list” (a phrase I didn’t know… but apparently what she wants to do before she “kicks the bucket”.)

Chaykin had a 35 year career with lots of movies and TV roles (Nero Stout stands out as one of his few leads).

I found this recent photograph of Chaykin in the Toronto obituary… does not look so hot, but I guess he had been somewhat sick for a while. Certainly seems to have lost a lot of weight.

Alexander Haig Dies at 85

Former Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig died today from complications from an infection. The Four Star General served both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who gave him the State Department.

He is remembered for a comment he made to the Press on March 30, 1981, after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Reagan: “I am in control here, in the White House,” bypassing the Vice President and other National Leaders. It was a mistake he had a hard time living down.

Gen. Haig served as chief of staff during the waning days of the Nixon administration, chief military assistant to Henry Kissinger, supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and foreign-policy adviser to campaigning candidate Reagan before being named Secretary of State.

Jennifer Jones is dead at 90…

Not many people think about Jennifer Jones today… although in the 50s she was a big deal. I remember first seeing her with Gregory Peck in “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit”, and, of course, she is probably best known for the lead in “The Song of Bernadette.”

She made 27 films, was married three or four times and had an up and down career, finally getting out of acting when she married Norton Simon, founder of the Norton Simon Museum where she was an emeritus board member.

The Washington Post as a nice obit on her HERE.