GM foods neither safe nor needed, say genetic engineers

Science on the Land

Today Earth Open Source (‘Collaborative approaches for sustainable food’) promotes the second edition of GMO Myths and Truths. Here’s the press release. Genetic engineers Dr John Fagan and Dr Michael Antoniou, and researcher Claire Robinson, talk good sense in my opinion.

I’m grateful to GM Watch for drawing attention to this.

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Obamacare Update: The Numbers are Undeniable

Reblogged from The Secular Jurist:

By Robert A. Vella

Today is the last day of the Affordable Care Act’s initial open enrollment period.  People who log-in before April 1, 2014 will be granted an additional grace period to complete the process.  Despite the botched website roll-out on October 1st, a generally uninformed public, and systematic sabotage efforts by Republicans, Obamacare enrollment numbers are poised to meet or exceed the original projections.

The Los Angeles Times has reported the following:

  • Individual enrollments through the various private health insurance exchanges will at least come close to the 7 million figure forecast by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • The Rand Corporation has estimated that 4.5 million people have signed up for the Medicaid expansion, and an additional 3 million adults under the age of 27 have received coverage through their parents’ health plans (a provision of the ACA).

Those figures represent a minimum of 14 million Americans now enrolled in Obamacare.  Even considering that some of these enrollments were just switching to better plans, that still leaves roughly 10 million more people with health care coverage who didn’t have it before implementation of the ACA (myself included).  In 2009, the United States Census Bureau listed 48.6 million people in the U.S. (15.7% of the population) who were without health insurance.  Extrapolating that percentage of uninsured to 2014 (the U.S. population has increased by approximately 12 million since 2009 from 305 million to 317 million), there would have been an additional 1.2 million (49.8 million total) uninsured Americans today under the previous system.  Therefore, Obamacare has reduced the uninsured rate by about 3% to 12.7% overall (based on 9.5 million newly insured).

The Times article also responded to criticism from conservatives who insist these enrollment numbers don’t address:

  • The number of new enrollments which remain unpaid.
  • How many of the new enrollments already had health insurance.
  • How many of the new enrollments are “young invincibles” (aged 18-34).
  • How many individuals with existing plans were cancelled without recourse (a factual inaccuracy).
  • The White House arbitrarily manufactured the enrollment numbers for political gain (a factual absurdity).

U.S. F.D.A. Questions Safety of Antibacterial Soaps (FINALLY)



In December of last year it was reported that triclosan and triclocarban, the main ingredients in anti-bacterial products such as hand sanitizers, is suspected of being dangerous to human health by the US FDA.

After years of mounting concerns that the antibacterial chemicals that go into everyday items like soap and toothpaste are doing more harm than good, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that it was requiring soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or to take them out of the products altogether (NY Times).    

After a bit of my own research, I found that the term “mounting concerns” is putting it lightly.

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A tale of two drugs: “Do you want the $50 cure? or the $2000 cure? Both work the same.”

Later On

Read Kevin Drum’s post—and note how the GOP made it illegal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices. That GOP! Always up to something!

From the link:

And here’s the most ironic part: Avastin continues to be widely used for cancer treatment, where it’s extraordinarily costly and of only modest benefit, but isn’t used for AMD, where it’s quite cheap and works well. This is lovely for Genentech, but not so much for the rest of us. Isn’t American health care great?

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Overview Effect Offers Awesome Perspective Of Oasis Earth

UNIQUE PICTURE: Earth as seen from the outer S...

UNIQUE PICTURE: Earth as seen from the outer Solar System (Photo credit: Icarus Kuwait)

This documentary film, “The Overview Effect“, offers the viewer a profoundly spiritual experience where he/she will perhaps acquire a totally new way of thinking about this planet called Earth.

As there is probably no chance that men and women will have the opportunity to actually travel into space as the astronauts in the film, this production offers spectacular video imagery which is the closest any of us will ever come.

Viewers of this superb short film cannot but be moved in very significant ways from the images of Earth from space as well as the words used by both astronauts and philosophers during the film. The documentary is one of those rare ones that, after viewing it, people have no choice but to recommend and share with others.

I think you will agree that “The Overview Effect” is one of the most powerful and profound films ever produced.

For more information from those who collaborated to produce “The Overview Effect” please visit the following:


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My personal experience with Obamacare enrollment

As an uninsured individual, I’ve been following the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) pretty closely since its inception.  Even though I’m probably more knowledgeable of the law than most people, it became evident during the enrollment process that I still had much to learn.  Without doubt, the ACA is complicated and it will take time for the public to become familiar with it.  But when they do, I think most people will be as pleasantly surprised with it as I am now.

First off, I had assumed that I wouldn’t be eligible for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provision due to my financial assets (I’m close to retirement age living off savings and investment earnings).  So, I was anticipating purchasing a low cost private insurance plan through the new health care exchanges.  However, that assumption proved incorrect.  The ACA removed the existing asset limitation, and Medicaid eligibility is now based on the following requirements:

  • Age must be 19-65.
  • Income must be below 138% of the federal poverty level ($1322/month or $15864/year).
  • Must not be entitled to Medicare.
  • Must not be incarcerated.
  • Must meet citizenship requirements.
  • Must be a resident of the state you’re applying in.

I had this experience with the online application process:

Day 1 – I couldn’t access the website because the shear volume of users had crashed their servers.

Day 2 – I filled out the reasonably-sized questionnaire in short order, but couldn’t submit the application due to a software glitch.

Day 3 – I submitted the application, and it was approved later that same day.

One of the many faces of Obamacare

One of the many faces of Obamacare

The Medicaid expansion plan I’m enrolled in is called Washington Apple Health – No Cost Adult Coverage.  There are no monthly premiums associated with this plan, although I’m not sure yet about co-pays and other potential costs.  Also, I won’t know the exact spectrum of benefits until I receive the official documentation in the mail.

In any event, this is a huge load off my shoulders.  No longer will I have to worry about an illness or injury wiping out my financial resources.  In 2009, I supported Congressman Alan Grayson’s (D-FL) Medicare Buy-In plan and the widely debated Public Option.  Both of those legislative options failed to pass Congress, but the now enacted ACA still appears to be a very beneficial law for millions of Americans.  And, I’m one of them.