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Comment Archives: Stories

Re: “The Case for Banning Monsanto's Roundup

I would like to say that the real danger of glyphosate is the effect on the human gut microbiome, the friendly microbes who are a part of our human organism.

My prime concern about glyphosate being in so much of our food is that the effect on the human gut microbiome has not been studied. You would think that for a chemical that is in the daily food of most people on the planet, this would have been studied, but it has not. This is a serious failing. Glyphosate kills plants by blocking their EPSP synthase in the shikimic acid pathway. Monsanto says that because humans don't have the EPSP synthase, this effect does not occur in humans, but this is a serious weasel-type lie because the microbes in the human gut microbiome -- 100 trillion of them -- are indeed affected in this way. Their EPSP synthase molecules get stalled by glyphosate even in very low doses, so this is a serious effect that occurs at levels we see in our food every day. I, for one, want to know the profound health effects that possibly occur as a result. Too subtle to set off alarms, but probably profound in systemic ways. To test for this hypothesis, we need serious and good science done by independent entities, in multiple studies of varied design, testing the actual outcome of humans ingesting glyphosate versus those who do not, and studying the relevant dynamics of the gut microbiome. It's not so hard, and i wonder why it hasn't been done yet. It's hard to claim that a chemical is safe, or that it has no effect on the human body, when this very basic pathway to potential disruption has not been studied adequately.

I personally look to the world with a rational mindset, which includes seeing patterns on many levels, from sociological to psychological to biological, and i see many crazy claims out there, but i also see real reasons for concern on many levels.

As for quantities that we ingest, it's in the tens of micrograms daily, from all i can tell. As you may know, micrograms of some substances are seriously potent to our bodies when they act in a highly amplified way, especially through competitive inhibition.

If the effect of glyphosate on a plant through acting on the plant's somatic cells is any indication, then glyphosate is a strong competitive inhibitor on EPSP synthase against the normal shikimic acid pathway, and seems to have a very low dissociation constant, because the plants die on receiving rather low doses of glyphosate, which is a "feature" that people use to promote how effective glyphosate is and how little needs to be sprayed.

Note that i am not claiming that it *is* going on, for i am an empiricist and would like to see something before believing it.

However, this effect seems very likely to me given the basic science around it and the results from other adjacent areas of study, which by a sort of interpolation point to this likelihood. And it is very surprising to me that the relevant studies have not been done. It seems a failing in due diligence for a chemical that will be ingested by billions of people. This leads me to a sociological interpretation of the conflict between the profit motive and public responsibility. We see the same dynamic repeatedly throughout history.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Sage Rad on 04/16/2015 at 5:42 AM

Re: “A Surprising and Effective Way to Reduce Waste

This is the second best news I've heard all week! (The first is Hillary Clinton echoing Robert Reich's talking points on her "listening tour.")

P.S. I'm booking a reservation at Standard Fare pronto!

Posted by LMorland on 04/16/2015 at 12:52 AM

Re: “First California Marijuana Legalization 2016 Initiative Filed

Legalize it on federal level.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Meghan Nova on 04/16/2015 at 12:40 AM

Re: “Counter-Terrorism Officials Helped Track Black Lives Matter Protesters

Interesting that the CHP and local enforcement personnel are willing to characterize their monitoring of public events as part of anti-terrorism. It is a form of fear mongering gone amok. If these law enforcement people want to make "good" use of intell, send them to gun shows, rabid pro-"exceptionalism" events. It is the radical right that has caused more concern to rational thinking people than concerned citizens with reasonable concerns for over reach of law enforcement to foster fear in those who would otherwise want to express their concerns for true liberty.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Franklin Graham on 04/16/2015 at 12:26 AM

Re: “The Case for Banning Monsanto's Roundup

Also, previous testing on Round-up only were conducted for up to 6 month period of time. This is NOT enough time to see it develop!!

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Clea SanDiego on 04/15/2015 at 10:35 PM

Re: “The Case for Banning Monsanto's Roundup

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer MSDS # 7008
9 of 10 9/21/04 4:15 PM
In Section 16 Manufacturer Disclaimer (text) Section 16 Footnotes
MANUFACTURER SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES: EPA FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act) Toxicity Categories: The EPA toxicity categories are based on the results of the acute toxicology studies. The toxicology findings are compared to the FIFRA criteria to determine the product label signal word, precautionary and first aid statements. The EPA FIFRA toxicity category summary: EPA FIFRA Product Label Toxicity Rating Toxicity Category Signal Word I DANGER Most toxic and irritating II WARNING III CAUTION IV CAUTION Least toxic and irritating COMMENTS: For additional information concerning this product, call the Helpline at 800-225-2883. MANUFACTURER DISCLAIMER: This Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) contains health, safety and environmental information for you and your employees. It does not replace the precautionary language, use directions, or the storage and disposal information found on the product label. Information contained in this MSDS will help you to prepare for emergency response and to meet community right-to-know, emergency response and reporting requirements under SARA Title III and many other laws. Emergency response agencies and health care providers will also find this additional information useful. Use of this product is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the approved label copy. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. Although the information and recommendations set forth herein (herinafter "Information") are presented in good faith and believed to be correct as of the date hereof, Monsanto Company makes no representations as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Information is supplied upon the condition that the persons receiving same will make their own determinations as to its suitability for their purposes prior to use. In no event will Monsanto Company be responsible for damages of any nature whatsoever resulting from the use of or reliance upon Information. NO REPRESENTATIONS OR
Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer MSDS # 7008
10 of 10 9/21/04 4:15 PM
If you have come to this page from an outside location click here to get back to
It says it right here in the MSDS Form. Monsanto was given the "green light" from the EPA. The company we think is supposed to "protect" us! NOT!! Monsanto has a strong hold on our politicians and on our EPA!! :(

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Clea SanDiego on 04/15/2015 at 10:33 PM

Re: “The Case for Banning Monsanto's Roundup

I don't believe what Peter Kleiss is saying. He's distorting things. For example, he stated that more than half the food tested contains toxins. As if toxins are only a man made thing. Many plants produce their own pesticides. The plants that evolved to produce toxins were less likely to be desired and eaten by animals and insects. Those plants in turn became more prevalent. We and other animals have evolved to tolerate toxins in small doses. It won't poison us. We had no choice because toxins have always been part of our environment. It is my understanding that glyphosate is less toxic than the traditional alternatives. European farmers have to deal with more toxic chemicals because of their ban of glyphosate. Peter omits much.

3 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Vincent Sauve on 04/15/2015 at 10:18 PM
Posted by Jake Decker on 04/15/2015 at 8:54 PM

Re: “First California Marijuana Legalization 2016 Initiative Filed

I agree that a major stumbling block to get initiatives passed that benefit society as a whole, often face a challenge acquiring funding. Fortunately the compassionate and sensible access act is already well funded!
Donna Lambert Freedom Fighter 420 (on Facebook). Stay tuned for regular updates!

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by DonnaJeanLambert on 04/15/2015 at 8:23 PM

Re: “First California Marijuana Legalization 2016 Initiative Filed

I am a proponent of the Sensible California Iniative.
I would like to correct a mild mistatement.
SENSIBLE CALIFORNIA is an iniative which adds constitutional ammendment.
Sensible California will co-exist any other initiatives that makes the ballot as long as that initiative does not try to create a restrictive permitting pot monopoly to benefit only a few people while continuing to criminalize Californians across the state.
the way it is written in this article it appears that we are blocking regulation which is absolutely not the case.
What this initiative does is to protect the rights of the individual patients and prevents governments from using legislation to create
restrictive permitting pot monopoly by groups which purport to represent cannabis but truly only represent themselves.
SENSIBLE CALIFORNIA IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT INDIVIDUALS AS BIG MONEY WILL BE HEAVILY FUNDING "PRO-MARIJUANA" GROUPS whose real goal is to corner the market by throwing every Californian under the bus with the continued criminalization of marijuana for everybody but themselves.
the purpose of their action is to keep prohibition prices and prohibition profit eliminating competition.
Sensible California will ensure that human beings have the right to live free from fear.

18 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by DonnaJeanLambert on 04/15/2015 at 8:14 PM

Re: “An Innovative Solution to Soaring Housing Costs

Shipping container houses aren't new and Iseman and Stewart's design and construction is amateur at best. Plus if you watch the video you'll see they were renting substandard homes with no sewer connection to other people. There's a word for people who do that: Slumlord.

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Jackson on 04/15/2015 at 7:07 PM

Re: “Denny’s to Emeryville: Increasing the Minimum Wage Increases Crime

As an ex Denny's employee who happened to get a very large settlement payment from them due to disability discrimination I feel this man Woods is very ignorant and will be fired in the coming months

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Malika Sanders on 04/15/2015 at 6:13 PM

Re: “An Innovative Solution to Soaring Housing Costs

I just saw a great blog by a Realtor in the Bay Area on this topic:

The soaring housing costs in CA are really pushing us to do what many Europeans (and other cultures) have done forever.

Posted by Katharine Hankus on 04/15/2015 at 3:03 PM

Re: “As President, Governor Chris Christie Will Escalate War on Pot

This is frequently brought up so over the years I have collected much information on the subject.

If prohibition has any effect, it makes cannabis a gateway to other illicit drugs.

The gateway drug theory, that a unique pharmacological effect of cannabis causes the use of hard drugs, has been discredited by the many peer reviewed studies which have examined it.[1,2,3,4,5,6,14,15,16,19]

If the gateway theory were to have any merit, then alcohol and tobacco would be the gateway drugs as nearly all have tried these before cannabis.[1,6] There are many factors that determine which illicit substance will be used first, including availability and culture. In Japan, where cannabis use is not popular and largely frowned upon, 83% of illicit drug users did not use illicit cannabis first.[19] In the U.S., since cannabis is by far the most popular and available illegal recreational substance, it is unlikely that you would find many illicit hard drug users who did not encounter and use illicit cannabis first.[1] This does not mean cannabis caused their hard drug use. Rather it was their pre-existing interest in recreational substances combined with their willingness to try illicit substances and cannabis was simply, and predictably, the first encountered.[3,14,19] On a related note, studies have shown that cannabinoids can help treat those addicted to hard drugs and alcohol.[4,7,18]

If anything, the prohibition of cannabis makes the hard drug problem worse. Once someone breaks the law to try the very popular and relatively safe drug cannabis, their reluctance to try another illegal substance diminishes. This is both because of their increased doubts of government honesty regarding the harmful effects of those substances as well, and their newly reduced respect for the laws against them. Cannabis prohibition also connects cannabis consumers to the hard drug market. Imagine if beer merchants also sold heroin, cocaine and meth. This is the situation that the prohibition of cannabis creates for its consumers. It places a very popular substance into these otherwise unpopular markets, strengthening them and expanding their reach. Also, with no legal recourse to resolve disputes, cannabis prohibition increases the crime associated with these markets. The promotion of the erroneous gateway theory ultimately does the public a disservice, including the hindering of intervention.[19]

Regardless, one major concern is that relaxed laws will lead to significantly increased teen usage, but this has not been the case. Legalizing medical cannabis in the U.S. has not increased cannabis usage in teens.[8,9,10,11] Even decriminalization does not result in increased cannabis consumption for all ages except for a small, temporary increase during the first few years.[12,13] Portugal even saw reduced adolescent cannabis use after decriminalizing all drugs in 2001.[17]


1. Joy et al. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Institute of Medicine. 1999.
2. Morral et al. Reassessing the marijuana gateway effect. Drug Policy Research Center, RAND. Addiction. 2002.
3. Cleveland HH & Wiebe RP. Understanding the association between adolescent marijuana use and later serious drug use: gateway effect or developmental trajectory? Dev Psychopathol. 2008.
4. O'Connell TJ & Bou-Matar CB. Long term marijuana users seeking medical cannabis in California (2001–2007): demographics, social characteristics, patterns of cannabis and other drug use of 4117 applicants. Harm Reduction Journal. 2007.
5. Wen et al. The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Marijuana, Alcohol, and Hard Drug Use. The National Bureau of Economic Research. 2014.
6. Tristan et al. Alcohol as a Gateway Drug: A Study of US 12th Graders. Journal of School Health. 2012.
7. Oliere et al. Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System: Vulnerability Factor and New Treatment Target for Stimulant Addiction. Front Psychiatry. 2013. Review.
8. Choo et al. The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Legislation on Adolescent Marijuana Use. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2014.
9. Lynne-Landsman et al. Effects of state medical marijuana laws on adolescent marijuana use. Am J Public Health. 2013.
10. Harper et al. Do medical marijuana laws increase marijuana use? Replication study and extension. Ann Epidemiol. 2012.
11. Anderson et al. Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use. IZA 2012.
12. Williams J, Bretteville-Jensen AL. Does liberalizing cannabis laws increase cannabis use? J Health Econ. 2014.
13. Single EW. The impact of marijuana decriminalization: an update. J Public Health Policy. 1989.
14. Tarter et al. Predictors of Marijuana Use in Adolescents Before and After Licit Drug Use: Examination of the Gateway Hypothesis. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2006.
15. Van Gundy K & Rebellon CJ. A Life-course Perspective on the "Gateway Hypothesis". J Health Soc Behav. 2010.
16. Tarter et al. Predictors of marijuana use in adolescents before and after licit drug use: examination of the gateway hypothesis. Am J Psychiatry. 2006.
17. Hughes C E and Stevens A. What Can We Learn From The Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?. Brit J Criminol. 2010.
18. Reiman A. Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs. Harm Reduct J. 2009.
19. Vanyukov et al. Common liability to addiction and "gateway hypothesis": theoretical, empirical and evolutionary perspective. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012. Review.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Herb Reason on 04/15/2015 at 2:25 PM

Re: “An Innovative Solution to Soaring Housing Costs

Instead of high-density high-rise blight, put tiny houses on the land and let people live at a human scale.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mary Eisenhart on 04/15/2015 at 1:45 PM

Re: “An Innovative Solution to Soaring Housing Costs

Good article Anna Pulley!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Theresa Geary on 04/15/2015 at 10:05 AM

Re: “Denny’s to Emeryville: Increasing the Minimum Wage Increases Crime

The large national chain Dennys bought several Sambos locations in 1983, after the Sambos chain declared bankruptcy in the early 80s.

Dennys did not start out as Sambos.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Joe Morgan on 04/15/2015 at 9:54 AM

Re: “The Case for Banning Monsanto's Roundup

Four months ago (Dec 2014), the USDA reported that our food was safe from pesticide residue. More than half the food tested contained toxins, but were within "tolerance levels" set forth by the EPA. But the report also admitted that like in past analyses, they did not test for glyphosate - the world's most widely used herbicide - citing cost restraints. Not only do our GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) run regulators fail to even test for the glyphosate toxin, but last year Monsanto requested and received EPA approval for increased tolerance levels for glyphosate. This was due to the fact that the average American was already poisoned with more glyphosate than the previous EPA established tolerance level. Oh, and by the way, Americans and Canadians have 10 times the glyphosate in their urine as Europeans who have (mostly) banned Roundup ready GMOs. Also, a recent California study showed that breast feeding mothers who lived within a mile of Roundup sprayed crops had 600-1100 times the tolerance levels for glyphosate in their breast milk and had three times the occurrence of children with autism.

Roundup - a great product, have a glass on me Monsanto.

13 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Peter Kleiss on 04/15/2015 at 6:28 AM

Re: “These Comedians Are Shaking Up the Stand-Up Scene

This is such an important piece of work that these females are producing. Comedy is a fantastic avenue to bring attention to social issues as so many male comics - the better ones - have done. When George Carlin and Richard Pryor tackled tough subjects for their audiences, they were equally shunned and applauded, but they were noticed. Their routines are legendary now and revered. These females should be given the same attention by critiquing and gaining a lot of press whenever they present their work. They are cutting-edge wonderful and deserve a lot more focus on larger stages and arenas (dare I say a regular spot on Comedy Central?) There's hella more room on tv than simply having Mindy Kalling's presence and the constant self deprecation that has become the common landscape for female comics. (Note: Don't get me wrong: I love me some Mindy, but she's only as 'cutting-edge' as mainstream tv allows her to be. It's not that long ago that Margaret Cho tried similar topics and was quickly booted from this male dominated avenue - so I applaud the shit out of her work).
There's this ridiculous standard of half-glass-emptiness about female comics and what the public either desires or can tolerate. Comedy clubs won't book more than like one female comic on the same bill or allow them to be hired more than one time a month - or year. The club owners claim that they won't fill the seats like male comics do. It's the same old boy's mentality that keeps the culture as small minded as Lakshminarayanan makes fun of when she dares to cover the topic of attending M.I.T. The culture-at-large will not heal without allowing their type of brave material to shake things up. It's kinda that simple. 'The Formula' is one cure for this ill we all suffer from: misogyny. It is the leading cause of death for all of us socially, psychically, and for many females - literally.
Thank you for writing this piece Sam Levin! Good on you for taking notice as well as *getting it*.

Posted by Joey Brite on 04/15/2015 at 6:00 AM

Re: “The Case for Banning Monsanto's Roundup

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 04/15/2015 at 3:50 AM

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