"The blog has made Glab into a hip town crier, commenting on everything from local politics and cultural happenings to national and international events, all rendered in a colorful, intelligent, working-class vernacular that owes some of its style to Glab’s Chicago-hometown heroes Studs Terkel and Mike Royko." — David Brent Johnson in Bloom Magazine
So, if any of you out there has a trace of vim and vigor left after last night’s Richard Thompson show at the Buskirk Chumley Theater you just might be able to, y’know, do another thing or two in Bloomington over the next couple of weeks or so. It’s a long shot, but it may be possible.
1) You may rouse yourself from your post-bliss stupor and take in An Evening with the Creator of Gasland: Josh Fox. He ain’t no R. Thompson but he’s creative, serious, an intellectual, and an activist for all the right causes. His documentary, Gasland, was nominated for an Academy Award® in 2011. It deals with the effects of natural gas drilling and fracking in this holy land. Fox’s film will be shown at 6pm Saturday, October 25th, at the Unitarian Universalist Church. At 8pm Fox himself will discuss all the issues involved with the audience. The cost? Free.
Josh Fox Is Sorta Sexy, Too
2) If you can bear to reenter the Buskirk Chumley Theater so soon after last evening’s rapture, you can catch a mixed-media presentation by Bloomington’s own Tim Bagwell entitled Stop War! An Anti-war Observance of Veterans’ Day. It’s another free dealio that begins at 8pm, Monday, November 10th. Bagwell served as a Marine in the Vietnam War and is now a poet. He has rented out the Buskirk on his own dime to put on this presentation.
Of course, it’s understood that our town’s population of women of a certain age need some time to recuperate from their collective experience last night. That Richard Thompson fellow — I dunno what it is, but he’s got it. I’d pay a few tens of thousands of dollars for a small vial of the stuff.
Marti Crouch On Interchange
Whatever you do, don’t miss tonight’s installment of Doug Storm’s Interchange on WFHB radio. His guest will be former Indiana University instructor and researcher Marti Crouch. They’ll talk about GMOs, natch, among other biotechnology hot topics.
Nobody Ever Learns Nuthin’
Hot shot bassist Gordon Patriarca of Chicago shares a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt. The line is shocking in that it perfectly describes what this holy land has become even though the President said his piece some three quarters of a century ago!
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
Eleanor & Franklin
They had begun to consider the United States as a a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.
Just got some great new links from former Indiana University research biologist and faculty member Martha Crouch.
Marti Crouch Lectures At Franklin College, Fall 2013
If you’ve been following this communications colossus the last couple of weeks, you know that I happened to meet Crouch at the Book Corner and immediately leaned on her to convince me that GMOs are icky. My stance on genetic engineering can be found in various posts in these precincts (see links below).
I hate to be wedded to any particular train of thought, by and large, because there’s always something new I can learn and it just might contradict that which I’ve previously believed. Bertrand Russell’s old line — I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong — fits quite nicely, thank you.
Anyway, Marti, as she’s known to friends and acquaintances, has graciously agreed to set me straight. She wondered why I might be interested in the GMO thang these days and so she wrote in an email she sent me yesterday:
I realize I don’t really know why you are interested in genetically engineered crops. Health reasons? Environmental concerns? Philosophical musings about the relationships between humans and other organisms? And I also don’t know why you are looking for arguments against GMOs. Are you unhappy for some reason with your current position “in favor” (I assume)?
Fair enough. Here’s my response to her, in toto:
Thanks for asking. You might check some of my previous writings on the GMO controversy in the Electron Pencil. In fact, here’s a link to that category.
My overriding motive is to get at some kind of reasonable, informed understanding of genetic engineering. I want to do so because I love science and knowledge, pure and simple. My secondary motive is to try to get people to stop thinking as a group. It’s always been one of my goals as a writer to upend groupthink, to hold the line against hysteria, and to point out that opinions are meaningless unless they’re built upon strong intellectual foundations.
You’ll note, if you delve deeper into my blog, that I poke fun at Bloomington’s food culture a lot. I came here from Chicago in 2009 (after a two-year sidetrack to Louisville) and was amused by how seriously B-towners take their food. It seems everyone’s got some diet or regimen that will ensure fabulous health and happiness for the rest of their lives. It also seems everyone here is certain corporate America is trying to poison us to death simply for the fun of it.
Now I don’t doubt that corporate America doesn’t give a good goddamn about my health or yours, as long as its shareholders are happy at the end of the year, but I also don’t think that scientists employed by the big agribusiness firms are sitting around a conference table and planning to wipe out a percentage of the population.
As I’ve written, for example, Monsanto is a bad guy — we can all agree on that — but that doesn’t mean the company is doing everything in its power to destroy the planet.
I speak in hyperbole here because 1) that’s part of my style and voice and 2) because I feel as though the food fetishists (as I describe them) do so themselves. By shopping at Kroger, I’m not going to die any earlier than I would were I to shop at Bloomingfoods. The argument often is couched in those life and death terms.
I might also point out that I spent five years teaching the public and my fellow employees about natural and organic foods as a member of the Whole Foods Market education department. I learned and taught that individuals’ health and that of the planet can be enhanced by striving for a natural way of eating. I also learned that a huge number of folks within the natural foods community hold apocalyptic views that have little to do with reality.
For all the wonders of natural and organic ways of eating and food production that WFM’s customer base subscribes to, I’ve never seen a more ailment-wracked bunch of people in my life. People who shop at other natural grocers, both national chain and local, in my experience, also have been equally Camille-like. Are they canaries in a coal mine or are they simply obsessed with themselves? Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between.
In any case, I want the goods on GMOs, which are today’s bête noire among the natural foods crowd. I’ve been told you’re the real thing when it comes to that topic so that’s why I want to tap your knowledge. I’ll either buy your arguments or I won’t but if I don’t I’ll be able to say I heard all you have to say. Whichever way I go, my opinion will be based on a strong intellectual foundation.
Marti recommends I read the book, The GMO Deception, a compendium of articles and essays edited by Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber and issued in June by Skyhorse Publishing. She says some of her trusted colleagues have essays in the book. That’ll take some time so I’ll report back on that later this summer. She also sent along a copy of one of her seminal works on biotech, a chapter she’d contributed to the 2001 book, Redesigning Life?, edited by Brian Tokar. Her piece is titled “From Golden Rice to Terminator Technology: Agricultural Biotechnology Will Not Feed the World or Save the Environment.”
Can’t get a much clearer position than that. I’m eager to delve into the chapter. Again, it’ll take time but I’ll give you my impressions as soon as I can.
Looks like the dialogue is in full swing. Stay tuned.
Loyal Pencillistas know I’m a defender of Genetically Modified Organisms, AKA GMOs. That puts me in a distinct minority in this food fetishist town. People here know me as a liberal-bordering-on-radical and so are aghast when they discover I don’t see GMOs as the tools of the devil.
They say: But what about Monsanto? To which I reply: Sure, Monsanto’s about as evil as, say, Halliburton or Academi (the former Blackwater.) Monsanto makes tons of dough on its patented GMO seeds and uses the most bullying tactics possible to make certain every farmer, every gardener, hell, every kid who plays in the dirt buys its product. Plus, Monsanto actively squashes competition, infringes on free speech, impedes investigations, harasses critics, and literally writes laws that legislators on its payroll can then obediently introduce and pass.
Monsanto is, in short, a bad guy.
A Monsanto Corn Sprout [photo by Peter Newcomb/Reuters]
The ways Monsanto is forcing GMOs upon the world may be despicable but that that doesn’t mean their new species per se necessarily spell the end of civilization. That’s my position.
That said, it was my good fortune to meet Dr. Martha Crouch, better known as Marti, at the Book Corner Monday. “Hey,” I nearly shouted as I read the name on her credit card, “you’re you!”
“Indeed I am,” she replied, smartly.
Marti Crouch, Surrounded By Green, Naturally
I explained how I’ve heard about her through countless folks who’ve taken me to task for defending GMOs. I then asked her to educate me. “I’d be more than happy,” I said, “to change my mind if you’d take the trouble to persuade me — and I buy your argument.”
Martha Crouch, a biology professor at Indiana University in Bloomington and once a pioneering biotechnologist, studied her entire life to reach the pinnacle of her profession. She earned a Ph.D. in developmental biology at Yale before landing at Indiana University, where she teaches and once ran a lab dedicated to cutting edge plant research. In 1990, her lab made the cover of The Plant Cell, the leading journal in the field of plant molecular biology. Instead of launching Crouch into professional nirvana, however, the article marked the end of her research career.
Crouch had tenure and was well-known in her field. But she had awakened one day to the realization that her research was being co-opted by corporations which hoped to apply the science for profit. Further, the manner in which those firms used her discoveries was destroying the natural processes that attracted Crouch to the study of biology in the first place.
In the piece, Crouch is quoted as saying, “You are basically treating the agricultural environment as if it was a factory where you are making televisions or VCRs.”
She’s no longer teaching science because she stopped doing research (IU looked askance at her public denigration of the commercial exploitation of her research.) If anyone can sway me, she’ll be the one.
Marti Crouch has sent me the first of what promises to be a long series of info-packed articles and tracts. It’s an excellent introduction to GMOs from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Consider it GMOs 101. Here it is.
Click Image For Full Article
Even if you think you know all you need to know about GMOs, you should read these pieces. Hey, you may learn something! I know I’m hoping to.
Let the conversation begin.
h/t to both Chuck Rogers and Jerry Boyle for this one:
Click Image For Full Story
Need I even tell you how much this disgusts me?
Wahoo, Drew & Cool Kat
Congrats to Drew Daudelin, the new news reader/producer over at WFIU.
Daudelin (r) With Teller of Penn & Teller
I met Drew at WFHB where he volunteered five days a week to edit each Daily Local News script. The kid was good, I’m telling’ ya. He brought the writing level up dramatically while he was there.
Now, apparently, he’s making real dough. Good for him.
You may also have caught Kat Carlton reading the news during local breaks on Morning Edition the last few months as well. She, too, prepped at WFHB, in fact writing up news stories right next to me on several occasions. Just watching the way she carried herself, I could tell she was going places.
That Alycin Bektesh, WFHB’s redoubtable News Director, she’s got a nose for talent, no? A thought: Maybe WFIU should become a major contributor to WFHB, considering the latter is now the talent pool for the former.
Remember the teenaged girl in Texas who survived the massacre of her family a few weeks ago? The one who gave a heartfelt speech at her family’s memorial? The latest poster child for gun sanity?
Cassidy Stay (center) At Her Family’s Funeral
Her name was (and is) Cassidy Stay. The shooter, if you don’t recall, was searching for his ex-wife and held her sister’s family hostage until they told him where she was. They refused to and as a result were executed, Nazi-style, with bullets to the backs of their heads. Cassidy survived the carnage.
At the memorial Cassidy (who played dead during the gunman’s rampage) said:
I really like Harry Potter. In “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” Dumbledore says, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.” I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca and Zach are in a much better place and that I’ll be able to see them again one day. Thank you all for coming and for showing support for me and my family. Stay strong.
Gun control advocates, naturally, lauded Cassidy to the skies and asked, for the zillionth time, why we have to endure yet another firearms atrocity.
Just as naturally, gun nuts on the far end of that particular spectrum didn’t look as kindly upon the teen girl and those who hero-ized her. In fact, a certain number of people believe Cassidy never was shot at all and that her family was killed in that old reliable trick of the jack-booted gov’t, the false flag job. Not only that, the gun control crowd, acc’d’g to this train of “thought,” works hand in hand with purported “victims” of gun crimes merely to make money. Want detail? Check this vid out. It just may be the most cynical thing you’ve ever seen or heard:
A reminder, kids: There aren’t two sides to every question.
The they, of course, are the House of Representatives Republicans who’ve been tumescent over impeaching Barack Obama and, for that matter, prob. lynching him as well ever since he false-birth-certificated his way into the White House. The it is Benghazi which, if you listen to the most hysterical of the Republicans enough, you’ll come away convinced was a terrorist operation conceived of and coordinated by the Phony Prez himself.
Two reports on the September, 2012, attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, have been released by Congressional panels recently. Each destroys the Tea Party-led GOP move to make hay out of the tragedy. Neither really has gotten much press play, natch.
Barack Obama Poses For A Photo During The Benghazi Attack
The online arm of the San Francisco Chronicle, sfgate.com, Friday revealed that the House Intelligence Committee has completed its inquiry into the mob violence around the embassy that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and it will soon release its report. Mike Thompson, a Dem member of the Intel Committee from California, told the Chronicle the report “confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.”
All three charges had been leveled against the Obama White House by Republicans who’ve been dying to nail BHO on something, anything. Republican Mike Rogers of Alabama chairs the Committee.
An earlier report was issued by the House Armed Services Committee in February of this year. It said no one at the White House issued any stand down orders to military units in the region which many in the far end of the sanity spectrum of the GOP believe Obama himself did because, naturally, he wants the US to be toppled. The Armed Services Committee report did, though, criticize the readiness of everyone from the State Dept. to the Army in regard to the attack. That makes sense. Nothing else charged does.
So, y’got nuffin’, kids. Personal to the wingnutty branch of the Republican Party: Chill out. BHO’ll be gone by January, 2017. Be patient. And start sharpening tour knives now for Prez Hillary.
My Newfound Spirituality
I don’t believe in god but I may be inclined to believe in the Devil.
That’s because Satan may walk among us. His name is Donald Trump. And he says (oops, Tweets) things like this:
Those dopes, helping people in strange, dark lands. They must suffer the consequences!
I just met noted anti-GMO biologist Marti Crouch this morning.
I told her I’d be delighted to change my mind on GMOs (I don’t see the problem with them as yet) if she’ll take the trouble to convince me. (And if I buy her arguments.) So, she took my card and promised to send me material she’s written on the topic.