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2010 Midterms

November 1, 2010

Been voting every election for a quarter century now, only to see things get progressively worse for the vast majority of people in this country. Once again the pom pom girls on both sides are trying to claim that this election is the most important election evah, but I’m finding that for the first time I just don’t give –

I’ll show up to the polls to vote for one city council member, one bond issue, and one ballot initiative but I won’t be voting for any of the other candidates listed on the ballot as I’ve haven’t heard a decent idea from anyone in the whole lot.

Lots of write in potential though and I can’t vote for myself for everything ;) Anyone among our vast readership with other suggestions, let me know and they’ll have my vote.

41 Comments leave one →
  1. artemis54 permalink
    November 1, 2010 9:38 am

    I tend to agree, although the thought of Senator Dino Rossi was a preety good motivator to vote for Murray, far from perfect as she is.

    But to your point: one thing on the ballot here is a plan to move the county seat from our sleepy little hamlet to the now big town of Kennewick, where most of the population is. This comes up every year or two and has always been defeated. For one thing, it always guarantees a near 100% turnout here. Then there is the matter of the expense, which I imagine will shoot it down again this year. It’s not as if everyone has to drive the thirty miles up here to, for instance, deliver their property taxes in person.

    Then there is an ill-advised Fire Department measure, spearheaded by someone in whom many of us have absolutely no confidence based on past performance, or maybe one should say antics. He would gain more authority in the new scheme.

    These things are tangible. Fire is no joke in a climate with nine inches of annual precipitation and zero humidity most of the time. And the boarding up of a mostly new courthouse would leave another hole in a little town that just lost 150 factory jobs.

    These are what really matter. The water and sewer that no one pays attention to. The gas lines (well that currently is getting a little attention, after San Bruno). The school levy that is eating us alive, but which I vote for anyway.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 1, 2010 10:29 am

      I don’t blame anybody for voting for one of the few halfway decent Dems scattered around the country. I just don’t happen to have anybody like that to vote for in my district. The state Dems currently have the governor and the state Congress and yet they restructured the tax code here to give even more tax breaks for the wealthy and have done nothing about the tax breaks given to big corporations, basically the same legislation any republican led legislature would pass. So fuck ’em.

      I was talking to a buddy of mine over the weekend who said there’s yet another ballot initiative out your way that would privatize all alcohol sales as well as do away with most or all state taxes on alcohol. Tim Eyman’s idiocy just won’t die. Wouldn’t mind having alcohol sales privatized, especially after having struggled to get a bottle in certain states still clinging to outmoded Blue laws, but to do away with taxes on it is the epitome of foolishness when there is nothing in the initiative that would replace the lost revenue. He did mention that Gates Sr. had sponsored an initiative to institute a state income tax but that doesn’t sound like it will pass.

      And all this lost revenue will only insure the infrastructure decays even more. I’m going to suck it up and vote for the school bond that won’t do me any favors tax-wise either, but the last time they tried to pass this a couple years ago it got shot down 2 or 3 to 1. Not all that sanguine that it will be different this time.

      The school bond probably wouldn’t hit people too hard if the city could find the wisdom to stop bailing out the local developers here, but they haven’t and are looking to spend millions more on turning their last fiasco that resulted in a huge empty building into a new city hall.

      The only guy I’m actually encouraged to vote for is the one council member up for re-election. He’s the type of guy who’s lived here his whole life, knows everybody and every last little corner of the town. There was an ordinance in front of the council recently top ban the carrying and discharge of bows and arrows and slingshots within city limits even though there hasn’t exactly been a rash of people playing David and Goliath lately. He publicly mocked the idea, asking if we we’re going to arrest all the kids in Robin Hood costumes walking the streets on Halloween, and was the only council member to oppose the ordinance, basically on the grounds it was a stupid waste of time trying to solve a non-problem. That was more than enough to win me over although him being against wasting millions on a new city hall is a big plus too.

      • artemis54 permalink
        November 1, 2010 11:57 am

        For once it wasn’t Eyman. I don’t think he has any of his shit on the ballot, for the first time in a long time. The legislature created this alcohol mess by refusing to address the issue itself.

        There are two measures on the ballot, both would take the state out of the business but one would allow stores etc to negotiate prices and maintin the sales tax. The other would limit store to a a third party distributor – uniform price everywhere – and eliminate the state tax. But local B&O taxes, etc could kick in.

        Confused yet?

        As you can imagine, there are many pro and con arguments re
        the greatly increased availability of alcohol (basically, we will be like Cali) and many other things. Many in the hinterlands and even in Seattle will vote for one or the other out of the convenience factor. In some places the state stores are few and far between, and their hours are very limited. But because of the potential lost revenue and other complicated matters, this is a matter that the leg should heve done itself.

        It is also entirely possible that both measures will pass, in which case no one – no one at all – has the slightest clue what will happen except that a few dozen legal firms will have a very good year. To give you some notion of how stuid it all is, it is being seriously proposed that the one with the most votes should be the one that goes into effect. Right.

        • cometman permalink*
          November 1, 2010 12:47 pm

          What a complete clusterfuck. I couldn’t keep track of all the options when my buddy was telling me about it and I still can’t.

          You’re right – the legislature should have dealt with this. For somewhat selfish reasons I was always in favor of lowering the various sales taxes, sin taxes, and fees and instituting a state income tax. At the time about 90+% of my disposable income went to beer and cigarettes and I was paying taxes out the wazoo. I’d have paid a lot less with an income tax. Compared to other states I’ve lived in, all of those taxes and fees were charged at a much higher rate in WA state. The vehicle registration used to really piss me off even though I didn’t have a car. In VT it used to be and still is a flat $35 or so to register your car no matter what year and model it is. Sales tax still is somewhere around 5% in VT. But they had a state income tax.

          Living in Maine I now get the worst of both – ridiculously high vehicle registration fees and and ever higher sin taxes and high state income tax and yet the state is still about to go broke. Maybe one of these days they’ll figure out that regressive fees and taxes combined with tax cuts for the wealthy isn’t really a good combination if you’re trying to actually generate revenue.

    • triv33 permalink
      November 2, 2010 6:11 am

      Yup, yup, yup! Pat Toomey! I’m just racing my ass out to vote for Joe Sestak, it can’t be helped. Still, I’ll probably be stuck having to come up with a definition for Toomey’s name that rivals the Savage definition for Santorum…ugh!

      • cometman permalink*
        November 2, 2010 9:28 am

        Heh. Just got done voting myself. My cats are going to be very surprised later this evening if my write in campaign to put them in the state legislature turns out to be successful.

        • artemis54 permalink
          November 2, 2010 11:55 am

          Sweeten it with an appointment to the Fisheries Committee.

  2. cometman permalink*
    November 1, 2010 12:59 pm

    Some unrelated links –

    Encouraging news – Dilma wins in Brazil.

    Earlier we were talking about the latest biodiversity summit. The UK is so very serious about this issue it’s about to sell off half of its national forests.

    Right before the elections we conveniently get a new report impossible to substantiate that the US had blocked some Yemen based terrorists from blowing up some synagogues in Chicago. Nice excuse to carpet bomb another country. I am also very skeptical as to these reports’ veracity.

    And the rot given the OK by the US government continues to spread as some douchebag waterboards his girlfriend to find out if she’d been cheating. Wonder where he got the idea doing something like that wasn’t really so bad?

    • artemis54 permalink
      November 1, 2010 3:43 pm

      Forestry is “a devolved matter” and both the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish government have already declared the forest selloff doa in their jurisdictions, so effectively it is Little England’s forests we are talking about.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 2, 2010 12:35 pm

      George Monbiot with more on why the biodiveristy summit in japan was a complete sham.

      ‘Countries join forces to save life on Earth”, the front page of the Independent told us. “Historic”, “a landmark”, a “much-needed morale booster”, the other papers chorused. The declaration agreed last week at the summit in Japan to protect the world’s wild species and places was proclaimed by almost everyone a great success. There is one problem: none of the journalists who made these claims has seen it.

      I checked with as many of them as I could reach by phone: all they had read was a press release which, though three pages long, is almost content-free. The reporters can’t be blamed for this – it was approved on Friday but the declaration has still not been published. I’ve pursued people on three continents to try to obtain it, without success. Having secured the headlines it wanted, the entire senior staff of the convention on biological diversity has gone to ground, and my calls and emails remain unanswered. The British government, which lavishly praised the declaration, tells me it has no printed copies. I’ve never seen this situation before. Every other international agreement I’ve followed was published as soon as it was approved.

      He also makes a point regarding well-intentioned groups who try to put a price on the environment in efforts to prove that environmental destruction costs more in the long run. We’ve discussed this here before but it bears repeating –

      I understand why this approach is felt to be necessary. I understand that if something can’t be measured, governments and businesses don’t value it. I accept TEEB’s reasoning that the rural poor, many of whom survive exclusively on what the ecosystem has to offer, are treated harshly by an economic system which doesn’t recognise its value. Even so, this exercise disturbs me.

      As soon as something is measurable it becomes negotiable. Subject the natural world to cost-benefit analysis and accountants and statisticians will decide which parts of it we can do without. All that now needs to be done to demonstrate that an ecosystem can be junked is to show that the money to be made from trashing it exceeds the money to be made from preserving it. That, in the weird world of environmental economics, isn’t hard: ask the right statistician and he’ll give you any number you want.

      • artemis54 permalink
        November 2, 2010 1:42 pm

        Yes. I stopped searching for the alleged “Nagoya Protocol” when it turned out that Monbiot can’t find it anywhere either. What a farce.

        More than ever convinced that commodification is the wrong road. The right road is reintegration, recognition that the natural world is part of the circle of us. A bigger us. Notice the indigenous at the bleeding edge of the battle, from Papua to BC. Without going squishy it is fair to say their normal human relationship to the world has not come unravelled and deteriorated, whether due to Xtianity, capitalism, our unearned ennui, whatever.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    November 2, 2010 1:06 am

    Blast from the past

    Genius GOP analyst Ari Fleischer, just now on Larry King:

    There is so much history yet to be written.

    Such wit! Such condecension! No wonder he deserves the big fees for his offhand remarks, while you and I have to think about how we’re going to get through the next year.

  4. cometman permalink*
    November 2, 2010 12:54 pm

    Besides the old South Park episode I watched last night depicting an election where the choice was between a giant douche and a turd sandwich, here are a couple of articles which also made me feel justified in voting for my cats today.

    Bill Moyers on the ungodly amounts of money poisoning what’s left of our democracy. He does offer some possible solutions about how to turn the tables on the oligarchy but interestingly enough voting was not one of them.

    And Tom Englehardt – Ballot Box Blues The Most Dispiriting Election of a Lifetime (Mine) .

  5. cometman permalink*
    November 2, 2010 1:11 pm

    A little contrast between the coverage of the bombing plot originating in Yemen and the one in Greece today.

    Glenn Greenwald calls bullshit on coverage of the Yemen bombs

    I read in the NYT on Sunday that “evidence was mounting that the top leadership of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was behind the attempted attacks.” Today, however, in that very same paper, I learn that “American and Yemeni officials still have little hard evidence about who was involved in the thwarted attack” and “evidence is elusive.” How can evidence of the culprits simultaneously be “mounting” and “elusive”?

    The reality, as today’s version of the NYT makes clear, is that the U.S. has no idea who is responsible for sending these bombs. So in the dark are they that Homeland Security actually blamed two Yemeni schools that don’t even seem to exist, with the only one remotely similar to it being one sponsored by the State Department. But no matter: within a very short time of the attempted attack’s becoming public, U.S. government officials fanned out to anonymously pin the blame on Anwar Awlaki as the Mastermind, and newspapers then dutifully printed what they were told, even though nobody had any idea whether that was actually true.

    And all this on top of the fact that we’re left to take the government’s word for it that there were any bombs whatsoever since there was no kaboom. Maybe there were and maybe there weren’t but this government has cried wolf far too many times to take anything they say at face value.

    Here are a few reports on the Greek bombing –

    The BBC has the basic facts.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy was among the intended recipients of four parcel bombs found in Athens on Monday, Greek police have said.

    One of the bombs, addressed to the Mexican embassy in Athens, exploded in the offices of a private courier company, slightly injuring an employee.

    The other two parcels were addressed to the Belgian and Dutch embassies in the city.

    Two men, aged 22 and 24, have been arrested over the attack.

    Al Jazeera has a similar report.

    One with more details from the AP.

    Parts of the city center were cordoned off for more than an hour around midday as the three unexploded bombs, found at a different delivery service and in the suspects’ backpacks, were defused in a series of controlled explosions.

    So, there was a bomb that actually went off, it wasn’t immediately attributed to Al Qaeda, and suspects were apprehended with more bombs in their backpacks and are believed to be part of a domestic radical group.

    I suppose this could all be a trumped up story to serve some purpose I’m not remotely aware of, but considering that this kind of thing is fairly common in Greece it sure sounds like a story reported with actual facts rather than idle speculation that serves the purposes of a government that wants to keep its war machine rolling along smoothly.

  6. cometman permalink*
    November 2, 2010 3:02 pm

    If you haven’t already seen it at Pharyngula, check this one out. Very nice.

    • artemis54 permalink
      November 2, 2010 4:19 pm

      Pure dead brilliant, as they say in Glescha.

      Science is at the core merely close observation, presence in the real here and now.

      Fairy tales like Xtianity are meant to make one feel warm and fuzzy inside, to put children to sleep secure in the knowledge that all is right, that Mommy and Daddy or some reasonable substitute will be there in the morning and for all time to tuck you in and wipe your bottom. Fatuous childish fantasies.

      You can go to Florida and see Disneyland, or you can go to Florida and see sea turtles laying their eggs in a million year old cycle and new banana species arising along the canals and the panther making its doomed, defiant last stand.

      The Florida panther will soon be gone, and we never really knew it. But while it was here, it roared and tenderly nursed its young and killed whatever it had to to feed them. It was not a Disney character.

      I am a pagan because I stand in awe and reverence contemplating the mysteries of the real. The real is endless and incomprehensible and it is more than enough.

  7. artemis54 permalink
    November 3, 2010 12:20 am

    Both those alcohol measures went down to defeat. Virtually everyone I’ve talked to felt that it should be privatized, but that this was a fucked up way to do it and the leg should step up and work for its pay.

    Barring some ugly surprise out of Spokane county maybe, it looks like Murray hung on. That’s three losses in three elections for the hopeless turkey Rossi. You’d think he’d get the hint one of these days.

    I think the horribly nasty ads against Murray that were everywhere in the last week may actually have backfired. I’ve heard a number of Republicans bitching about both the number and the over the top nastiness.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 3, 2010 6:24 am

      Good to hear that some common sense was used on the booze initiatives. Did Gates Sr.’s income tax initiative even come close?

      My town managed to pass the school bond by a pretty wide margin – I was a bit surprised by that considering it got trounced heartily trounced the last time. Looks like I won’t have to abandon my home due to cratering property values after all!

      The Dem candidate for governor here got trounced but the final tally between the assclown teabagger and an independent is too close to call, with the assclown currently holding a slight lead. The state casino initiative did not get trounced again as proponents outspent opponents 6-1 this time around. Currently too close to call but the proponents have a slim lead. Not sure how this works but there was a racino that was approved down the road in Biddeford, so we’re getting some gambling one way or the other. Not only that, but leaving the polls yesterday there was some jackass collecting signatures for two more casino ballot initiatives. I had a few words with that guy on the way out.

      If the two close races stay as they are, I can hardly wait for our new foul mouthed governor to tell the old ladies who can’t pay their heating bills to quit bitching and take what’s left of their social security checks down to the fucking casino and win enough to pay their utilities. Because it’s America goddamit, the land of opportunity!

      • artemis54 permalink
        November 3, 2010 7:02 am

        No the vote on the income tax was 65% no, because of an ad campaign pointing out – correctly – that once it was in the legislature would be free to alter it and apply it to people earning much less than the proposed quarter mil. People are quite right to fear our freak show of a legislature. They typically fuck up everything they touch and leave the governor holding the bag.

        There is an established habit of just saying no on anything that sounds the least bit fishy or confusing. In general, it is a good thing.

        • cometman permalink*
          November 3, 2010 7:19 am

          That’s right, my buddy in Seattle told me but I’d forgotten that it wasn’t proposed as an across the board income tax. That really is a matter for the legislature to handle as well.

          Also, in a shocker my cats went down in a stunning defeat in their bid for the state legislature. There will be no Senator Achilles or congressman Ajax.

          • artemis54 permalink
            November 3, 2010 7:29 am

            It may be for the best. There’s more money in the analyst positions at Fox News and they’re as well qualified as most of the current crop.

  8. cometman permalink*
    November 3, 2010 12:41 pm

    Reading the post mortems today, I think you may be on to something regarding setting my cats up with a pundit job.

    Barry is already talking about cooperating with the republicans again. The same old tired losers are calling for the Dems to turn even further to the right. Of course the Dems who had their asses handed to them most frequently were Rahm Emmanuel’s crowd who’d been pretending to be republicans for years. But let’s blame it on that lefty Grayson and ignore the fact that he was lucky to get elected in a heavily republican district in the first place.

    These jerkoffs seem to forget the fact that neither party has a plurality of voters in this country, much less a majority. Most voters are independent and just want somebody who’s going to represent the people of this country, something Obama and the Democrats simply did not do. Not only did they not produce results, they didn’t even really try as the bent over backwards to accommodate the republicans for four years now. And that’s why they lost. It really isn’t that complicated. They were elected to do a job and they failed miserably.

    But half the Blue Dog caucus is gone, and good riddance.

    Greenwald had a pretty good take on the usual suspects’ idiocy here.

    …for slothful pundits who want to derive sweeping meaning from individual races in order to blame the Left and claim that last night was a repudiation of liberalism, the far more rational conclusion — given the eradication of 50% of the Blue Dog caucus — is that the worst possible choice Democrats can make is to run as GOP-replicating corporatists devoted above all else to serving corporate interests in order to perpetuate their own power: what Washington calls “centrists” and “conservative Democrats.” That is who bore the bulk of the brunt of last night’s Democratic bloodbath — not liberals.

  9. cometman permalink*
    November 3, 2010 12:50 pm

    Couple of points of interest from the world of science.

    Regarding one of our potential new overlords in the animal kingdom, researchers have found that among the same species of ant, the Spaniard ants are strict monarchists while UK ants like a little democracy.

    The four-year study reveals that Spanish ant societies are composed of single family units where only one queen rules the roost -but UK ant societies are a more complex mixture of family units where lots of queens are having offspring.

    And the sci fi writers prove prescient again as working retinal implants become a reality.

    German doctors on Wednesday announced a breakthrough in retinal implants, the fledgling technology that aims to restore sight in people cursed by a form of inherited blindness.

    Three patients fitted with the new device were able to see shapes and objects, and one was able to walk around a room by himself, approach people, read a clock face and distinguish between seven shades of grey.

    My neural shunt can’t be too far behind.

  10. artemis54 permalink
    November 3, 2010 3:48 pm

    Just cool: the hardwring in bats.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 4, 2010 7:58 am


  11. cometman permalink*
    November 4, 2010 8:02 am

    Bill Black – Throw the bankers in the slammer!

    Joseph Stiglitz – Put the crooks in the hoosegow!

    W and Barry’s man Bernanke – What’s another $600 billion among friends?


    • cometman permalink*
      November 4, 2010 8:10 am

      Nice rundown of the endemic fraud and who’s responsible with links from Washington’s blog.

  12. cometman permalink*
    November 4, 2010 11:26 am

    Well it’s official! Maine now has a teabagger governor and republicans controlling both houses of the state legislature. So surely there can be no excuses for not fixing the enormous budget shortfall and myriad other problems facing the state now. The casino also passed by a slim margin of about 7000 votes but it may face some challenges as a recount is likely and the wording on the initiative is legally dubious at best. Better get it built quick cause grandma has bills to pay!

    Looked at the local paper and the op-ed page was filled with the likes of Cal Thomas, George Will and various dumbass letter writers trumpeting how the election results mean we must have even lower taxes yesterday and all our problems will be solved.

    I can hardly wait to see how this turns out but I suspect it will be something like this –

  13. cometman permalink*
    November 4, 2010 11:30 am

    Here’s a handy time saver! – Twitter Bot Auto-Debates Climate Change Critics.

    At least one developer has found a way to answer his would-be debaters without having to engage in a tiring, dead-end debate himself.

    When it comes to climate change, many people find themselves at odds with certain facts to the point of disputing the validity of said facts.

    The developer in question (that would be Australian systems architect and entrepreneur Nigel Leck) got tired of arguing on Twitter with people who believe climate change is not occurring, so he built a bot that scrapes Twitter for certain strings of words and then responds to the author of the offending tweet with a pre-packaged link containing a science-based counter-argument.

    But it only does one issue and there’s all kinds of stupidity out there. A generic “Go fuck yourself” bot would come in very handy. Can I get a patent on that?

  14. cometman permalink*
    November 4, 2010 12:07 pm

    Plenty of stupidity to go around in the midterm analysis. Besides the bleating of the usual suspects that the results mean people really want more republican stupidity, we have the left calling for a progressive primary the next time around, supposedly because it works!

    In our current media environment, it’s extremely difficult for progressive voices to break through into the center of national debate and remain there. A progressive primary has a good shot of breaking through. If you think back to the last time that progressive voices had a sustained presence on a range of issues at the national microphone, it was the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. That primary put the Employee Free Choice Act on center stage; that primary changed the national conversation about NAFTA and trade policy; that primary helped bring about the agreement for a timetable for military withdrawal from Iraq; that primary changed the national conversation about US policy towards Iran away from the threat of war. In our electoral cycle, a Democratic presidential primary is generally the apex of progressive influence.

    Wow, this guy must have fallen off the gullible truck heading into Creduloustown. Ever heard of the Citizen’s United decision? Voting didn’t matter much before that and it matters a hell of a lot less now. Not to mention the fact that all those issues that were brought up on the campaign were quickly forgotten, nothing was done about them when the Dems had the chance, and now they no longer have control.

    The only thing that will make a difference is people finally getting pissed off enough to get off their asses and hit the streets. Defy the authorities. Throw some shoes. Shut some shit down.

    Regarding that Employee Free Choice Act in that first link, here’s a much better assessment of how that played out – Take That You Smug Bastards.

    Union households couldn’t be roused to go out and do the door-to-door campaigning legwork or the evening phone-bank calling after having done so two years ago on the promise of passage of an Employee Free Choice Act to make union organizing fair, only to have the Obama administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership walk away from the issue, saying they’d save it for “later.”

    “Later” never came, of course.

    Every progressive, every liberal, every union member, every African-American dissed by Obama and his potty-mouth advisers, or ignored by his Wall-Street enamored economic team, or his medical industry obsessed health bill advisers, was not just a vote lost. It was a persuasive vote-getter lost.

    That’s why the Democratic Party was crushed on Tuesday.

    It was a fully deserved trouncing.

    They didn’t do what they promised and they didn’t even try. That’s why they lost.

    • artemis54 permalink
      November 5, 2010 6:53 am

      I would only add, every GLBT and every environmentalist left a tad unenthusiastic by the backsliding horrors on every hand. And as with the rest of the list, we are talking about people that know how to work a phone tree – if only there were some reason. To describe the situation in these two communities as an enthusiasm gap is more than an understatement. There is active hostility to Obama and all his works at this point, so much so that it is counterproductive for everyone.

      • cometman permalink*
        November 5, 2010 8:05 am

        Ran across this article earlier showing that nearly 1/3 who identified themselves as gay voted republican. The poll size is very small so again, salt shaker needed. But I think it’s safe to say there was a huge lack of enthusiasm as those who came out to support the Dems in 2008 like young voters, blacks, gays, etc all stayed home this time in much greater numbers. Looks like the only ones enthused last Tuesday were old white people.

  15. cometman permalink*
    November 5, 2010 6:27 am

    Lions 1, Tourist 0.

  16. cometman permalink*
    November 5, 2010 7:59 am

    Good representation of how bad things are economically when David Stockman starts to make sense. Even he is against extending the Bush tax cuts. If Barry wants a republican to compromise with so badly….

    Note: Another misrepresentation of what Keynsian economic policies really are in that video. Watch it with a salt shaker handy.

  17. cometman permalink*
    November 5, 2010 8:10 am

    New report on GE salmon from Food & Water Europe that may be of interest – GE Salmon will not feed the world.

    Haven’t read the whole thing in detail but their conclusions sound about right –

    AquaBounty has heralded that its GE salmon will be effective in meeting the growing global demand for food. Increased production costs, lower nutritional values, higher inputs of small prey fish, questionable growth rates, plus likely negative impacts on wild salmon and the environment all outweigh any benefit offered by GE salmon. AquaBounty is likely to be the largest beneficiary from the introduction of GE salmon into our food system — not hungry people around the world. Better options exist, in the form of non-GE fish produced in closed recirculating aquaculture systems and responsible shellfish aquaculture. These can provide food with lower input levels and higher nutritional values to local populations.

    • artemis54 permalink
      November 5, 2010 9:57 am

      Then there is always the option of Morton & Co: stop fucking up what is already there, remove the blocks that would allow fish runs to return to preindustrial levels. Why do people always think they can destroy 90% of something that was there for free and make up the difference with some Rube Goldberg scheme?

      • cometman permalink*
        November 5, 2010 10:28 am

        Morton’s solution would be my preferred choice too. I really don’t get the claims that salmon are necessary to feed the world’s hungry. I may be way off base here, but salmon isn’t exactly a staple item for the vast majority of people. I’d bet the the majority of all salmon these days whether wild or farmed is served in restaurants, and more upscale restaurants at that, rather than on anybody’s dining room table. And when you’re shipping a perishable item half way around the world, how much of that salmon coming from Alaska or Scotland gets wasted before it even makes it to a restaurant in New york or LA?

        Half the fun of visiting a new place is trying the local food that you can’t get anywhere else. But these days you can get anything anywhere. Why go to Alaska for king crab when it’s on the menu everywhere? Why come to Maine for a lobster when they are shipped all around the world? Maine lobster used to be readily available at the QFC when I lived in Seattle. I’d much rather see the practice of shipping perishable food all over the place just stop. No idea how to do that though now that the genie’s been let out of the bottle over the last few decades with the advent of overnight shipping anywhere.

  18. artemis54 permalink
    November 5, 2010 10:00 am


    NASA’s EPOXI craft’s close encounter with comet Hartley 2 – and by close we mean 435 miles.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 5, 2010 10:33 am

      Nice video they had in there. One thing I’ve always been curious about is how do comets last so long when they are constantly losing matter on their flights through space? I think they only shed matter when they are close to the sun which is only a small part of their orbit. But they also aren’t that big and after millions of years you’d think they’d eventually erode away to nothing. One of these days I’ll have to do some research on that.

  19. cometman permalink*
    November 5, 2010 11:02 am

    Not sure what to make of this one, but evidently Timmeh the Elf met with Jon Stewart to discuss economic policy back in April. If he was asking Stewart to tone down his criticism of the financial industry bailout, that didn’t work out so hot.

    Hadn’t realized this before, but Stewart’s brother is the COO of the New York Stock Exchange. Perhaps that’s how Timmeh got Stewart’s number.

    Been seeing a lot of criticism of Stewart’s recent rally from those on the left claiming he wasn’t hard enough on one issue or another.

    Here’s a reminder to Geithner and Stewart’s lefty critics. Jon Stewart is not elected to anything not is he a government employee. He isn’t going to fix the nation’s problems, economic or otherwise. He’s a comedian ferchrissakes and the only reason he looks like a journalist or a politician or anything else is because those who are supposed to be performing those other jobs have failed so miserably.

  20. cometman permalink*
    November 5, 2010 12:22 pm

    Some links –

    In his new book, W is now trumpeting the fact that he approved torture, saying he’d do it again. Maybe Barry will regret that he decided to look forward instead of prosecuting these bastards about the time the new republican Congress decides to impeach his sorry ass.

    More skepticism regarding the Yemeni toner bomb story.

    And this likely will not turn out well – Consumers’ right to file class actions is in danger.

    It hasn’t gotten a lot of press, but a case involving AT&T that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court next week has sweeping ramifications for potentially millions of consumers.

    If a majority of the nine justices vote the telecom giant’s way, any business that issues a contract to customers — such as for credit cards, cellphones or cable TV — would be able to prevent them from joining class-action lawsuits.


    William B. Gould IV, a professor emeritus at Stanford Law School and former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board under President Clinton, said the high court was clearly interested in extending the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act.

    “This is a very important issue,” he said. “And this Supreme Court has indicated a measure of hostility toward class actions.”

    Matthew Kaufman, a Los Angeles attorney who focuses on arbitration law, agreed with that perspective.

    “This is a very conservative court that’s pro-business, and class actions are not good for business,” he said.

    On top of how unfair the Supremes’ likely ruling will be regarding class action suits, I still can’t figure out why these companies are allowed to use contracts at all. How in the hell does it make any sense to have to sign a two year contract with a company to provide service when you don’t know until you’ve used the service whether it’s any good or not? Don’t like it after a month and you get charged out the wazoo to get out of the stupid contract. And when all the players in a given industry do it, you really don’t have much choice. How the hell is this in any way a free market when you aren’t free to switch service without paying a big penalty?

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