By Doug Porter
We interrupt this broadcast…. Restaurateur Mike Hardin passed away yesterday.
Here’s Frank Gormlie at the OB Rag:
One of the most successful businessmen and restaurateurs in OB’s history, has passed away. Mike Hardin, owner of the most famous restaurant in the seaside village, Hodad’s Burgers, on Newport Avenue died in Fresno.
His body was found in a
Fresno hotel Chowchilla hotel room on Thursday, Feb. 5th, after Mike had traveled to Northern California to see his daughter. Cause of death is unknown at this time. Police do not suspect foul play
Hardin’s Hodad’s will be closed today, Friday, to allow his workers and friends some time to take this tragic death in. Ironically, Hodad’s will also be closed on Saturday for a memorial and funeral for one of Mike’s employees, Kyle Witkowski, who died recently in a car accident.
Here’s a great OB Rag profile of Hardin from 2009. Hardin was a great guy who treated his customers and staff well.
There’s plenty more news today.. GMO’s…Hackers…UCSD and right wingers with their underwear in a bunch over something the president said….
Genetically Modified Crops Tied to Decline in Monarch Butterflies
A major study released yesterday concludes that the widespread use of herbicides on corn and soybeans genetically modified to resist their toxic qualities is responsible for the near eradication of the monarch butterfly.
These herbicide resistant crops have fundamentally changed farming in the US. Farmers who used to employ a wide range of methods to control weeds are now exclusively using repeated treatments of Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate.
According to the Center for Food Safety, the disappearance of the iconic butterflies is tied to the eradication of milkweed, a plant common to roadways adjacent to farmland, which serves as the monarch caterpillar’s main food source.
From The Hill:
Monsanto’s product, sold under the name Roundup, is unlike other weed killers in that is moves internally to the root tissue once its absorbed, not only killing but preventing regeneration of the milkweed.
In less than 20 years, the Center for Food Safety said the monarch population has declined by 90 percent.
“This report is a wake-up call. This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system,” Andrew Kimbrell, the executive director at the Center for Food Safety, said in a release.
“To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is simply shameful.”
The relationship between pesticide use and the declining butterfly population has been under scrutiny for years. This latest study goes into great detail, leaving little room for doubt about the connection.
From National Geographic:
“There is so much good energy that has gone into protecting the monarch,” says Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, one of four signatories to the petition to list monarchs as threatened. “But it’s clear when you look at the numbers that what we’ve done up until now is not working.”
One idea is to change how farmers use herbicides. Freese advocates for restrictions on spraying glyphosate late in the growing season, when milkweed is flowering and is more effectively killed by the herbicide. He also supports measures to restore low levels of milkweed to farmland, noting that farmers and weed scientists have not found milkweed to be much of a problem.
Representatives of the Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto disagree. “To a farmer, milkweed is a weed that competes with crops in the field for water, soil, and nutrients,” says Monsanto spokesperson Charla Lord. But she says the company is part of a new coalition to tackle the monarch problem, convened by the Keystone Center in Colorado.
In recent years discussions about crops based on genetically modified seeds has focused on campaigns demanding that products made with those plants be labeled for consumers.
By and large the companies producing these seeds and their companion pesticides have succeeded in blocking these initiatives using massive amounts of cash to defeat mandated labeling.
Part of the problem for anti-GMO campaigners has been the dearth of hard science proving there is any danger in consuming products containing this altered DNA. The evidence just hasn’t been persuasive, leaving plenty of room for corporate campaigns to stimulate doubt and those campaigning against GMOs sometimes sounding like science deniers.
At the heart of the anti-GMO movement has been the argument that say the drive for profitability by the big corporations marketing these products has left unanswered questions about the consequences of their use by humans.
Now it appears the debate should be focusing on the unintended consequences; the genie of genetic modification is already out of the bottle. A goal now should be to make sure that the costs of these type problems are borne by the entities responsible.
While activists may be organizing for labeling of food items, the companies are likely shifting the cost of any resolution –if one exists–of these ecology problems to taxpayers. It’s a grand American tradition.
Hackers Steal Data on 80 million Americans
The Wall Street Journal broke a story on Wednesday about a massive security breach against Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurer.
While the company says that no transactional financial data was taken from the unencrypted database, there is plenty of reason for concern.
From CBS News:
Not all data breaches are created equal, and the Anthem health insurance hack is about as bad as they get for consumers.
Why? This time the crooks got Social Security numbers. For identity thieves, the Social Security number is the key that unlocks the vault, and they now have millions of them.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The attack on the nation’s second-largest health insurer could be one of the largest data breaches in the healthcare industry, experts said. Anthem said hackers infiltrated a database containing records on as many as 80 million people.
Hackers appear to have accessed customers’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, member ID numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information, Anthem said. Some of the customer data may also include details on their income.
At this point, it appears that the data stolen do not include medical information or credit card numbers, according to the company.
Anthem has established a website, www.anthemfacts.com, where members can access information about the situation. Current and former members can also call a dedicated toll-free number (877) 263-7995.
NSA Chief Visits UCSD
The guy whose agency might know more than most about the nature of the current waves of corporate hacks–since they all appear to have come from beyond our borders– was at UC San Diego yesterday doing damage control for the National Security Agency.
From UT San Diego:
National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers said Thursday that the nation needs to debate security versus privacy concerns in the wake of revelations of expansive government surveillance revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
In a wide-ranging speech at UC San Diego, which operates one of the nation’s largest computer-science programs and is a leader in cybersecurity, Rogers contended that the Snowden revelations have hurt the NSA’s counterterrorism efforts….
…Rogers has been speaking at events and campuses recently in part to repair the NSA’s reputation among its potential future workforce….
“…And his job pitch for students: “We are going to let you do some amazing things, and some of those things you quite frankly can’t legally do anywhere else.”
An Inconvenient History
President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday and–while he didn’t admit to being the anti-Christ–stirred up the Fox news set by daring to mention killings in the name of religion not carried out by Muslims.
Charles P. Pierce at Esquire nails it:
If we have to have a National Prayer Breakfast — and, by Christ, I don’t think we do — we might as well have a damned interesting one. (When Dr. Ben Carson got all up in the president’s face a few years ago, a performance that launched Doctor Ben as a national figure, what he said was arrant nutbaggery, but nobody dozed off over their salads.) On Thursday, the president took advantage of his appearance at the event to deliver some unremarkable remarks about the bloody things that have been done down through the centuries in the name of the various Abrahamic monotheisms.
“We have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, profess to stand up for Islam, but in fact are betraying it…We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious, death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism, terrorizing religious minorities like the Yazidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.” ISIL is one of several acronyms for the Islamic State…Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history…And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
How unremarkable were these remarks? If the president had left out the Crusades and the Inquisition, even sweaty old Bill Donohue says he would have been cool with it.
“I’m saying this, had he said just said that, that people have killed in the name of their God and it’s not unique to one religion, who could argue with that? But he didn’t do that, did he? He spoke with specificity. He singled out the Crusades and the Inquisition.”
Which, of course, set off cranial detonations all over the conservative shut-in community and the media that serves it. As near as I can tell, it began in the Orc factories run by Michelle Malkin and then spread generally. Never one to miss an opportunity to impress us all with his chewable erudition, Jonah Goldberg rode in on his most recent hobby-horse — that the Crusades and the Inquisition were both the victims of liberal media bias going back centuries.
On This Day: 1919 – The Seattle General Strike begans. The city was run by a General Strike Committee for six days as tens of thousands of union members stopped work in support of 32,000 striking longshoremen. 1971 – NASA Astronaut Alan B. Shepard used a six-iron that he had brought inside his spacecraft and swung at three golf balls on the surface of the moon. 1987 – Sonny Bono declared his candidacy for mayor of Palm Springs.
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