Every year or so the stories briefly get featured on the evening news like a blip on a gloomy green radar screen then are as quickly forgotten. Until the next study is released or, worse, some human bodies are asploded. Now that’s news.
Think of a list of professions where you’d really like people to be fully rested and alert. Airline pilots? Air traffic control? Doctors? Truck drivers?
Nice list. Congratulations. You just came up with a list of people that we fuck the most. Logical, right?
This week, again, the issue of employee fatigue was in the news. The FAA commissioned a study on air traffic controller fatigue. The results are none too surprising. Then the government fought for four years to keep the findings secret.
“Psst. Hey dude. I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. You pay top dollar for me to conduct a study about how I’m fucking you over. Then I keep the results secret from you. Sounds like fun, right?”
What could possibly be going on here? Luckily I got a good night’s sleep.
I’m not going to make any claims here that GMO foods are dangerous. Maybe you believe they are, maybe you don’t. That’s basically the point behind efforts to label foods that contain GMO, isn’t it? We’re supposed to have faith in the ability of free markets to reach sound conclusions. (If not, we’re all doomed.) At least in theory en masse we generally get it right.
Some companies, though, seem to chafe at the bit at the bit when it comes to revealing information about what’s actually in their foods. So many “secret” ingredients and the like. So many euphemisms like “natural flavors” to avoid a detailed accounting of what’s really in there. (And happily stamped “OK” by Uncle Sam, too.)
But without information what possible decision-making can take place? I submit that a free market can’t reach those legendary conclusions in a void of data. Without the ability to weigh facts, the market must simply go where it is led by the powerful few in the know. As a general rule other people making decisions on your behalf don’t turn out all that well.
1913: 100% of corn was farmer owned. By 2013 approx. 95% was owned by corporations.
–A statistic I found all over the Internet which may or may not be real
Today, without attempting to examine real and/or imagined ills that may or may not be associated with GMO, I wish to look at a single debate point offered by those who oppose labeling. What GMO means to you should be something you investigate for yourself. See if you can, somehow, sort through all the noise and determine your own level of comfort.
I look at it like this? If given the choice of no food and dying of starvation or nom nom on some GMO most of us would probably choose the latter and take our chances. Is that the issue in a nutshell? As Earth converts farmland to condominiums and strip malls and the population continues to increase no doubt one day we’ll all be facing a question like that. (And insects. Don’t forget the edibility of insects.)
So, here in Oregon, a lot of us signed a petition and Measure 92 qualified for the ballot. It’s a measure that Oregon voters will decide this November. The aim of the measure is to mandate labeling of GMOs in food.
Naturally, now we’re being subjected to a horrifying barrage of television ads both for and against. One of the arguments against the measure kind of stuck in my craw. Let’s take a look.
Stop Nestle Waters.org – Holding Nestle Waters of North America’s Water Bottling operations accountable
FoodAndWaterWatch.org – Watch a TV Journalist Debunk Nestlé’s Water Rhetoric
The Story of Stuff – Nestlé’s water privatization push
The Story of Stuff – The Story of Bottled Water
Urban Times – Nestlé: The Global Search For Liquid Gold
I was going to include a list of brands owned by Nestlé but (my emphasis added) …
Nestlé has some 8,000 brands, with a wide range of products across a number of markets, including coffee, bottled water, milkshakes and other beverages, breakfast cereals, infant foods, performance and healthcare nutrition, seasonings, soups and sauces, frozen and refrigerated foods, and pet food.
Source: Wikipedia – Nestlé
And, finally, a quotation from Peter Brabeck, the Chairman of Nestle Group:
This is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.
Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.
I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.
But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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TriMet is the public agency that provides transportation services (commuter rail, light rail, bus and streetcar) for most of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area.
That opening line just screams excitement, right? Stay with me, intrepid reader. We are embarking on a torrid journey of governmental lunacy and polishing turds. Remember, it’s important for us lowly idiots to know how things really work.
This organization really got on my radar recently during the naming process for a new bridge spanning the mighty piranha-filled Willamette River that’s currently under construction. Because, as we all know, the most important characteristic about a bridge is its name. This is followed closely by how many years of neglect it takes before it fails with lots of people on it. Let’s face it. Maintenance is not exactly humanity’s strong suit.
The TriMet decided to enlist the public’s help in naming the bridge. And that’s where things decidedly jumped the rails. And I’m here to tell you about it because, amazingly, their own official website has whitewashed the whole thing from history. It’s almost like it never happened…
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The problem with money is that too much of it in one place creates wealth. (It’s easy to imagine if you try.)
Money, an imaginary construct born of the human mind, is better at some things than others. What it may be absolutely worst at, perhaps, is as a yardstick for measuring the worth of human beings.
My personal theory is that the more you have the less likely you are to be deserving of it. And that truly stratospheric acquisition of wealth doesn’t provide enough atmosphere to sustain life. That’s why those with that much wealth have skin that looks like the surface of the moon.
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