America's Last Journalist, Greg Palast, claims the Republicans took the Senate mainly because of the voter roll purging system used in many Republican states known as "Crosscheck." Crosscheck purports to identify voters who vote illegally in two different states, but mainly it's a database of voters with similar names -- a database that has not only convicted precisely no one of voter fraud, but seems to have the names of a lot of non-white voters on it. Now, you may have noticed that "Crosscheck" hardly put a dent in the numerous progressive ballot initiatives that passed on Election Day 2014. You'd think there'd be a message for Democrats in that -- that they can, as Phil Jackson would say, play above the referees.
Bruce Bartlett writes (in this month's cover story at The American Conservative) that President Obama has governed rather like a Republican. He makes a thorough case, but he also confuses the words "Republican" and "conservative" (i.e., when he conflates conservatism with "hawkishness" or a "harsh anti-drug policy," both of which we might more accurately describe as "reactionary"). And his hope that "conservatives" will one day realize Mr. Obama wasn't so bad might be a vain one. Right-wingers have been spending decades letting their mouths write checks their asses can't cash. What can they do from there but double down?
Study links crops modified genetically to withstand the herbicide glyphosate to 22 diseases, including "infertility, immune dysregulation," and "accelerated aging." We'll see if others can reproduce the study's results, but I do wish the pro-GMO crowd -- that is, the folks who insist that opposing GMOs is like denying climate change -- would acknowledge that engineering food merely to withstand more and more dangerous pesticides is a terrible way to feed the world, even if it is a very good way to redistribute wealth upward from small farmers to big corporate ones.
Chemical leak at a Texas DuPont plant kills four employees -- and the state has cited the plant for environmental violations over two dozen times. This plant has been fined plenty of times, too, though the fines hardly rate a blip against the parent corporation's profits; perhaps a pair of lawsuits filed by two family members will show up in DuPont's budget. Personal to those who oppose large fines because of TEH SMALL BIZNIZZIZ!!!!!: how many small businesses kill people like this?
Study finds link between homosexuality and two areas of the human genome in 409 pairs of gay brothers, lending the strongest scientific support yet to the notion that folks are born gay. Anyone who thinks of the crap kids put up with when they come out would know people don't "choose" to be gay, but it's still nice to have some science behind it.
Finally, Stanford University scientists develop hand-pads that help you climb glass walls. The pads may actually outclass the geckos that inspired them -- and they likely also outclass the Department of Defense's much larger hand pads. Stanford's researchers hope to use them in outer space, where intricate maneuvering, as you might expect, is a little dicey. I wish them the best.