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Virtually Speaking tonight

Tonight Dec 29, Thursday Double Header
5pm/8pm – Virtually Speaking A to Z. Jay Ackroyd and Stuart Zechman on competing economic theories and economic recovery.

6pm/9pm – Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. Jay hosts Eve Gittelson. Reviewing 2011 in health care policy. Listen Live and Later.

Once again

What Digby said.

New reason to ‘unlike’ Facebook

Any corporation running a venue that prompts you to “like” something is looking to violate your privacy, probably in order to make money but possibly for more sinister reasons. Only the truly naive will be shocked by Facebook’s latest transgression:


What do you suppose are the odds of substantial charges being brought? And this pisses me off, anyway, because you know that these guys are given the unreasonable standards (low budget, short deadline) and told “do what needs to be done.” Of course, the people at the top never pay:

U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, said people familiar with the matter.
Prosecutors are focused on several Houston-based engineers and at least one of their supervisors at the British oil company, though the breadth of the investigation isn’t known. The prosecutors assert the employees may have provided false information to regulators about the risks associated with the Gulf of Mexico well while its drilling was in progress, these people said.

The felony charges-which might be disclosed early in 2012, if they are brought-could involve providing false information in federal documents, these people said. A conviction on such a charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison as well as a fine.

The Department of Justice still could decide not to bring charges against the individuals, people familiar with the situation said. It’s not unusual for prosecutors to use the threat of charges to pressure people to cooperate in investigations.

I’m eating a chicken breast for lunch. It tastes like heaven. Welcome back, real food.



(AP) One of the nation’s most widely planted crops — a genetically engineered corn plant that makes its own insecticide — may be losing its effectiveness because a major pest appears to be developing resistance more quickly than scientists expected.

The U.S. food supply is not in any immediate danger because the problem remains isolated. But scientists fear potentially risky farming practices could be blunting the hybrid’s sophisticated weaponry.

When it was introduced in 2003, so-called Bt corn seemed like the answer to farmers’ dreams: It would allow growers to bring in bountiful harvests using fewer chemicals because the corn naturally produces a toxin that poisons western corn rootworms. The hybrid was such a swift success that it and similar varieties now account for 65 percent of all U.S. corn acres — grain that ends up in thousands of everyday foods such as cereal, sweeteners and cooking oil.

But over the last few summers, rootworms have feasted on the roots of Bt corn in parts of four Midwestern states, suggesting that some of the insects are becoming resistant to the crop’s pest-fighting powers.

Scientists say the problem could be partly the result of farmers who’ve planted Bt corn year after year in the same fields.

Most farmers rotate corn with other crops in a practice long used to curb the spread of pests, but some have abandoned rotation because they need extra grain for livestock or because they have grain contracts with ethanol producers. Other farmers have eschewed the practice to cash in on high corn prices, which hit a record in June.

O’Donnell: Fire ‘outlaw’ cops

It’s about time somebody on TV other than Keith Olbermann expressed outrage about the NYPD’s good-squad tactics regarding Occupy Wall Street members and reporters:

On the “Rewrite” segment of his show Wednesday night, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said the only way for the New York Police Department to remain respectable was for the department to terminate officers who prevent reporters from covering protests.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly had ordered officers to avoid interfering with media access. But in December police officers prevented the New York Times from photographing arrests at an Occupy Wall Street protest.

O’Donnell said officers that violated the non-interference policy should be fired, not just disciplined.

“Firing them is the only way to demonstrate that the NYPD respects the Constitution of the United States of America,” he remarked.

The video is here.

‘Any Major Dude Will Tell You’

Perry waves (Confederate) flag

This time Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t making vague threats about secession. He’s merely threatening to ignore a possible Supreme Court ruling:

At a radio forum sponsored by the anti-abortion and anti-birth control group Personhood USA, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that he would refuse to obey a Supreme Court decision striking down the group’s signature anti-choice proposal:

QUESTION: You have agreed to “endorse legislation making clear that Fourteenth Amendment protections apply to unborn children” . . . . What happens if the U.S. Supreme Court attempts to strike down this legislation, and replace it with one of its own edict denying the inalienable right to life for all persons born or unborn? Would you enforce the inalienable right to life or the Court’s opinion as the law?

PERRY: Well, obviously you enforce the right to life opinion.

Perry’s promise to openly defy the Supreme Court is disturbing, but it is also far from original. Fellow candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have also pledged to treat binding Supreme Court opinions as if they were merely optional, and Gingrich even supports legitimizing his radical view of the Constitution through a campaign of intimidation against judges who disagree with him.

Nevertheless, the GOP’s burgeoning love affair with Jim Crowesque defiance of the judiciary is very strange, considering that activist judging is the backbone of their policy agenda.

More here.

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