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On Thursday Night Talk on KHSU this week my guests will be Bob Froehlich and Julia Minton with whom I’ve done shows on KMUD. It will be the latest installment on a series about critical thinking and this week we will focus on the element of fear in making us vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation. Calls will be welcome as always. 7:00 at 90.5 or online at

Jefferson StateIt will be on the ballot in Lassen and Lake Counties in 2016.

It passed narrowly in Tehama County and failed badly in Del Norte County.  I don’t count Board of Supervisor votes.

I don’t like the idea of a new rural state sending two more white Tea Party Senators to Washington, but as a matter of principle I’m fine with whatever the counties want to do as long as they leave mine out of it.  I will actively campaign against any such proposal in Humboldt County.

By the way, contrary to popular mythology, the rural areas receive much more public money per capita than the urban areas.  Pretty much true of the country as ironically the blue states tend to subsidize the red states in one of the bigger political ironies.  All about economies of scale of course, and urban residents do benefit from rural infrastructure when they travel, but there is considerable misinformation on the issue.  Bottom line is that Jefferson State would be the poorest state in the nation – it would be a economic disaster for those counties and most of these pandering supervisors know it if they’re not deliberately ignorant or just complete idiots.

Photo comes from the movement website.

I don’t have the time to fully analyze this right now, and it’s far from a problem unique to the anti-GMO movement.  But rape and death threats from alleged progressives seem more egregious – perhaps because I expect better.

”I have found that when I go to other pages and try to share science-based information to challenge misinformation, no one is interested. My comments are deleted. I’m banned from pages like Food Babe’s. I’m called names. I’m accused of being a “shill”, getting paid by a company (usually Monsanto) to share accurate information. Fortunately, that has been the extent of my negative experiences. Other members of this pro-science community have been attacked in far more personal ways. They are accused of being bad parents for feeding their children GM and non-organic food. There are death threats, threats of rape, being compared to Nazis. There are even organized attempts to intimidate scientists and science advocates.” — ”In such a hostile environment, there is no room for dialogue and sharing of information. The people who lose in this environment are the people who aren’t scientists and genuinely want accurate information to help them make good decisions for themselves and their families.”

Maybe this will be the one time many of you hit a link to the Genetic Literacy Project.

Thanks to Kevin Hoover for drawing my attention to this.  What the ad leaves out is that dihydrogen monoxide has killed more people than any other chemical compound, perhaps more than all the others combined!


Here is a link to the discussion of the environmental consequences.

I guess the assumption will be that Monsanto bought him off. He joins a slew of progressive scientists including Neil DeGrasse Tyson and E.O. Wilson.  The Union of Concerned Scientists is in very cautious support of the technology, while advocating strict regulation. What I would like to know is if there are any major progressive science figures remaining, excluding those who are selling books or are on speaking tours in opposition to GMOs, who continue to view the technology as inherently dangerous. And just to clarify, I am not necessarily “pro-GMO.”  I believe like any other technology, there are good and bad applications.  But I do believe there is a plethora of misinformation fueling the opposition.

This guy is just asking for it!

Too bad he’s on death row and isn’t an American citizen.  Otherwise he could run for Senate in Missouri.

KHSU show tonight – my guest is Sohaib Awan who serves the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association as the Chairman of its Muslim Writers Guild, working with Muslim youth around the country to encourage them to take to the pen in defense and clarification of Islam.  We’ll be discussing Islamaphobia in light of the recent violence and depressing headlines.  7:00 – call in format as usual.

What I find the most interesting about this debate is the complete disconnect in language between the respective ideologies.  Harrington had written The Other America which is said to have inspired Johnson’s War on Poverty.  It was written at a time when the US was at its wealthiest in terms of an expansive middle class, and Harrington brought to the attention of national politics that there remained a large underclass, not all of it urban and non-white.  Harrington lamented the inadequacy of the Johnson programs for their lack of economic development plans (rejected at the time because in the words of my high school history teacher they “wreaked of socialism.”).  And as industry moved out of the cities, and began to move out of the country entirely, the urban decay became visible due to the influence of a media which actually did try to cover some of the issues, and conservatives no longer denied the existence of poverty, but blamed it on what passed for our social services (nowhere near as extensive as those of Europe, but very extensive compared even to the New Deal).

But this clip comes from a time when poverty was still largely invisible, only made visible by Harrington’s book, which Buckley attempted to dismiss.  He wants to define poverty in spiritual terms, where Harrington focused on modern definitions – income ratios to costs of basic necessities, a science in its infancy at the time, at least in the US.

Here’s a talk he gave about the difference between socialism and liberalism.

And here he is debating Milton Friedman – in a video edited by some right wing group to emphasize where they believe Friedman won debating points, completely unaware that Friedman’s dire prophecies about Medicare never came to fruition, as a friend of mine who just retired noted that he was really happy to be able to abandon his crappy Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan for real care.

Study seems to show that white passengers more are likely to get free ride than black.  I would like to know more about the study – the controls, etc.  But it only confirms what most of us know, even if many of us don’t acknowledge it.

I do remember the Eddie Murphy skit, which was hilarious.  But it would help if the article writer mentioned (if he knew) that it was a play on Black Like Me.

Continuing with the theme of critical thinking, Bob Froehlich and Julia Minton will join Eric Kirk to discuss the mechanics of changing one’s mind on an important issue – at what point should one invest time and effort to research the validity of our premises and the soundness of our arguments?  Join them to discuss the matter tonight at 7:00 on All things Reconsidered.
March 2015
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