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August 29, 2014
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Ear to the Ground

Kansas Farmer Sues Monsanto, Glenn Beck’s Bizarre Interview, and More

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Posted on Jun 4, 2013

Growing Discontent: A farmer from southwestern Kansas filed a lawsuit in federal court against biotech giant Monsanto on Monday after last week’s discovery of a genetically modified experimental crop of wheat growing in an 80-acre field in Oregon. Ernest Barnes is accusing Monsanto of “gross negligence,” claiming that the discovery has put U.S. wheat export sales at risk and financially hurts farmers like himself. He is seeking unspecified damages, although the lawsuit says the amount of the dispute is in excess of $75,000. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, more lawsuits are likely to follow. (Read more)

Christie’s Call: As far as Republicans are concerned, it seems New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can’t do anything right. The latest disagreement between the GOP governor and his party is over the state’s U.S. Senate seat that needs to be filled after the death of five-term Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg. On Tuesday, Christie announced that a special election for the seat would be held in October, two weeks earlier than the statewide election in November. Republicans in Washington are complaining that the earlier election gives GOP candidates little time to declare, organize a campaign and raise money to compete against a big-name Democratic challenger such as Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Christie explained his decision: “There’s no political purpose. The political purpose is to give the people a voice. The issues facing the United States Senate are too important not to have an elected representative making those decisions.” Maybe what Republicans should criticize Christie for is wasting millions of taxpayer dollars to hold a special election that’s so close to the state’s regular election. (Read more)

On the Mark: In another special election—this one to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by Democrat John Kerry when he became secretary of state—Congressman Ed Markey, the Democratic candidate, has opened up a double-digit lead over Republican Gabriel Gomez in the latest poll. According to the New England College survey released Tuesday, Markey is up 12 points, 52 to 40 percent. “The only way a Republican can win a statewide race in Massachusetts is by having heavy Republican support and heavy margins among independents,” said Ben Tafoya, director of New England College’s Polling Center. “Now we’re only seeing a tiny margin among independents for Gomez.” The special election will take place June 25.  (Read more)

House Mother: Good to see the Republican Party is still clueless when it comes to women. On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, claimed that the problems in America’s educational system stem from moms working outside the home. When asked why he thought education in the U.S. was so “mediocre,” Bryant responded: I think both parents started working. And the mom is in the workplace.” The Republican governor made the comment during a Washington Post Live event on early childhood literacy Tuesday. No word yet whether Fox News has offered him work as a contributor alongside fellow sexists Lou Dobbs and Erick Erickson. (Read more)

Porn Scorn: And in other news regarding dumb comments made by Republican politicians—Sen. Jeff Sessions. R-Ala., raised concerns during a Senate hearing Tuesday on sexual assaults in the military about a possible connection between the availability of pornography on and around military bases and sexual attacks. During a line of questioning, Sessions brought up a letter from Morality in the Media’s Pat Truman. “He points out that, a picture here of a newsstand and an Air Force base exchange with, you know, sexually explicit magazines being sold. So, we live in a culture that’s awash in sexual activity. If it’s not sold on base, it’s right off base. There are videos and so forth that can be obtained, and it creates some problems, I think,” Sessions said. As Think Progress noted however, while some studies show porn makes men sexually aggressive, many others have been unable to establish causation between watching pornography and carrying out sexual assaults. Sessions’ comment came after an earlier meeting in which Sen. Saxby Chambliss made an equally dubious claim, suggesting that hormones may play a role in sexual attacks. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Look closely at this video. Although at first it appears right-wing commentator Glenn Beck is conducting an actual interview on his program, the person he’s talking to is ... himself, complete with a fake mustache, wig and an accent that Mediaite said resembled something of a cross between “the Eastern European bear from ‘The Cleveland Show,’ video game hero Mario, and Andy Kaufman‘s Latka Gravas character.” Beck was trying to make a point about the IRS scandal involving the targeting of tea party groups, but it’s difficult to discern what exactly he’s talking about when he’s being this ridiculous. If it weren’t official before, it’s official now: Beck has completely lost it.

 

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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