News You Can Use: November, 2013

The Good

GMO Labeling — Finally. By the time you read this, four days hence, fate will be sealed for GMOs. November 5 is voting day in Washington State. On the ballot is Initiative 522, requiring food producers to identify genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered food in what you buy at the store in Washington. Despite polls showing that the public overwhelmingly wants to know if a recombinant gene from some fish is showing up in their ice cream or a toxin-causing corn gene is in their Oreos, it remains to be seen whether Monsanto and the other GMO Giants will confuse voters enough to vote down the measure. The voting is still in question. The public’s right to know isn’t.

Congress pulls the plug on Monsanto Protection Act. On October 16, organic farmer, U.S. Senator from Montana and American hero Jon Tester managed to pull a rider from a Congressional bill that gave Monsanto and GMO corporations more power than a federal judge and impunity to plant genetically modified seeds wherever they wanted. It was one of the most bizarre kowtows to corporate American ever but fortunately, Tester got it pulled.

Ban the bag. Los Angeles banned plastic bags. Grocery shopping will never be the same. Pretty courageously, LA banished something we really don’t need and is virulently damaging to the environment. On January 1, Big Box stores like Wal-Mart and Target will no longer be able to offer plastic. Smaller stores will follow by July. Whatever will we do when Nebraska evolves that much by, say, 2030? Actually, when Target, Wal-Mart and others figure out how much moolah they save by leaving shoppers holding the bag, it may come sooner.

Kerry passes gas. A global watchdog group confirmed destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons facilities, beating the deadline. Western saber-rattlers’ rationale for bombing yet another Middle East country dissipated when US Secretary of State John Kerry made a smart-ass comment about how Syria could avoid a US attack, saying they could destroy their nerve gas and chemical weapons. Oops. Guess what? Syria agreed and pulled it off under the wire. Warhawks will have to manufacture another excuse to fatten the wallets of the US military-industrial complex. Keep talkin’, Kerry. Nincompoop nuggets like that help procure peace and end up the smartest things you can say.

Cannabis kills cancer. The good news on dope doesn’t stop. New research shows that compounds in cannabis kill cancer cells found in leukemia patients. Most pharmaceutical drugs derive from plants anyway so it’s no surprise when researchers find out something like this. Other research has shown cannabis effective against lung, breast, prostate, brain, liver, blood and pancreatic cancer cells.

McCain says, “Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.” Regarding pot, Republican Senator John McCain recently said, “Well, maybe we should legalize it. We are certainly moving that way… I will respect the will of the people.”

The Bad

Ambien bad. Trouble sleeping? New investigations suggest the prescription drug Ambien isn’t the way to get snooze time. Not unless you want to deal with nasty side effects. Dangerous sleepwalking (or sleep-driving!) is one. Then amnesia is another. Most disturbing is a study of 10,000 users finding that pill takers are 35 percent more likely to develop cancers like lymphoma and lung and are 4.5 times more likely to die of any cause than non pill-takers. Plus, Ambien users only get about 15 minutes more sleep a night. Try counting sheep.

Techno-farmers. Bad idea. It’s been going on for the past decade or so. Farmers of row crops like cow corn and soybeans use tractors guided by GPS to plant seeds and apply poisons. But it’s getting out of hand — or rather, in hand. iPads, iPhone apps and more are becoming techno tools of the trade, telling “farmers” when to plant, when to water, when to fertilize. That’s stupid. Techno-farmers are becoming expert at operating computer software while forgetting everything they ever knew about actually growing food. True story: A real farmer friend of mine told me his neighbor bragged, “I haven’t touched dirt in three years.” How the hell does that work? A farmer who spends all his time watching a touchscreen inside an air conditioned tractor? They aren’t farmers. They’re IT experts. Might as well be playing video games.

Chicken poop. We knew it all along: Chicken nuggets are truly junk food. Now it comes to light that they may not even be food. Research published in the American Journal of Medicine indicated that scientists at the University of Mississippi found a chicken nugget is only about 40 percent meat. The rest is bone pieces, fat, cartilage, epithelium and mystery substances. Dang. Wonder what’s in the dippin’ sauce.

Oreo addiction. It might seem light-hearted but shouldn’t in a country that is dying from diabetes and obesity. College researchers proved that Oreos are addictive like cocaine. Of course it’s not Oreos, per se, but the salt, sugar and fat combo that is actually more dangerous than heroin or cocaine. Look out, munchies.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit HeartlandHealing.com for more information.

posted at 05:23 pm
on Monday, November 04th, 2013

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