Worst Company EVER: Biotech Giant Monsanto is Under Attack, Obama and the FDA are Under the Gun


CREDO Action - Dump Michael Taylor

Via CREDO Action website

By Allison Hibbs

Monsanto, the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation long reviled by organic farmers, environmentalists and conscientious foodies worldwide, has drawn more than the usual amount of rancor in recent months. While assailants are hoping the media blitzkrieg will prove as damaging to the company as they claim that its bioengineering and genetic modification practices are to the planet, that hope may prove optimistic in light of its cozy relationship with the United States federal government. Efforts to diminish that relationship have led to the recent circulation of more than one petition calling for the dismissal of FDA Food Safety Czar, Michael Taylor, a former top Monsanto executive.

One reason for the recent outrage is a perceived “crusade” by the FDA against small raw milk dairy farmers, many of whom are Amish, even as they overlook repeated violations by larger, industrial producers. CREDO, a publication of Working Assets, began a campaign in late January to educate and motivate consumers to sign a pledge beseeching President Obama to expel Taylor from the administration.

"While factory farm operators are getting away with serious food safety violations, raw milk dairy farmers and distributors across the country have been subjected to armed raids and hauled away in handcuffs."

CREDO Action

CREDO believes that the FDA’s efforts would be better spent enforcing food safety regulations at the largest industrial producers, where it claims that “antibiotic resistance has run amuck,” rather than focusing so much of the administration’s efforts on sting operations to arrest small dairy farmers.

"Incredibly, Michael Taylor and FDA inspectors have not arrested or fined the Iowa agribusinessman -- Jack DeCoster -- who was wholly responsible for the more than 500 million eggs that were recalled in 2010 salmonella-tainted egg recall. 3Though this industrial agribusinessman endangered the health of millions, Michael Taylor thinks Amish farmers producing fresh milk are more deserving targets of his FDA enforcement raids with guns drawn."

CREDO Action


The petition had garnered 151,160 signatures as of SuperBowl Sunday, 75 percent of its 200,000 goal.

SignOn.org Petition: Tell Obama to Cease FDA Ties to Monsanto

Another petition circulating on Twitter and Facebook had reached a total of 220,000 signatures by game time, far surpassing its original goal of 75,000. Written and circulated by Frederick Ravid, this petition includes a longer letter to the president, expressing opposition to the his administration’s appointment of Taylor three years ago.

“Taylor is the same person who as a high-ranking official at the FDA in the 1990s promoted allowing genetically modified organisms into the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety or risks,” reads the letter. “This is a travesty.” Pointing out that Taylor was in charge of policy regarding the widely-opposed bovine growth hormone and that he fought against the requirement for disclosures on milk from cows that had been treated with the hormone, Ravid goes on to decry Monsanto as a company directly threatening the health and well-being of US citizens.

Reinforcing these concerns are WikiLeaks documents that surfaced last year implicating the Bush administration in questionable tactics used against countries in Europe to impel them to purchase Monsanto GMO products that they were resisting. Other documents imply that the US government considered putting pressure on the Pope to come out in favor of GMO foods. If any such actions were taken, they have proven largely unsuccessful and Monsanto has been repeatedly thwarted in France, Germany and the UK.


Additionally, lawsuits have been brought against the biotech giant by India and Canada for biopiracy and biocontamination, respectively; and a group of 270,000 American organic farmers are also suing the company for biocontamination. Ironically, the move is intended to protect these farmers against possible patent-infringement lawsuits brought by Monsanto over GMO seeds that have migrated to – and compromised – their lands.

For all of these reasons (and more), Monsanto has been voted Worst Company of 2011 by Natural Society, and the public seems increasingly to agree. As the acrimony grows, it is beginning to look like the corporation’s PR department has some serious damage control to do if it hopes to retain any influence over government activity.  It is, after all, an election year and Obama may not have the luxury of ignoring so many voters crying “Why, O, why?”

Why Tumblr Will Overtake Facebook

written by: Amani Liggett

Tumblr dashboard

A Tumblr Dashboard


Facebook’s glory days are fading. Yes, it’s true. The giant of social media has gotten, well, crowded. Parents are on it, grandparents are on it, and employers use it to decide whether to hire someone.

For the rest of us, it’s time to find a new playground. Many have found this in Tumblr, a blogging and picture based social media website. Tumblr is much more informal, and one can be as secretive or as intimate as you may desire. There is no pressure here to add all of your family members, the kid from math class, or your dentist.

And unfortunately for Facebook, Tumblr is more fun. Users are rarely bombarded by ads, or asked to join groups or play any sort of Farmville-type games.

Members of the Tumblr community often poke fun at each other and themselves, which helps make the website feel nonthreatening. Users often lament their exaggerated bad habit of staying online all day and all night, making anyone who reads the post feel a little better about their own over-use of the computer. You stay up until 4am watching re-runs on Hulu too?

And of course, they make fun of Facebook, mainly for the previously mentioned reasons. Its too boring, too old, too frumpy, too packed-full of a million different things happening on the sidebar.

Tumblr is also full of rants on every topic available. Users write essay-length comments and responses on topics ranging from the seriousness of abortion to the silliness of different Hogwarts house characteristics. It certainly is a fun and easy way to find other fans of books, movies, and TV shows. Finding someone on Facebook who also happens to like Green Day, Shakespeare jokes, and Sherlock Holmes would be far more challenging than on Tumblr.

There is a sense of community on Tumblr that Facebook does not have and probably will never be able to attain at this point. Facebook got very big, very fast, so there is no sense of a unique space because everyone is already there. Tumblr is the new alternative.


That is the way of social media, for a while, Myspace was king, and then fell to Facebook, which itself is now going downhill. Facebook is clearly going to have to step-up its game to stay on top. With the uprising of Tumblr and other less-well-knowns, as well as dissenters complaining of Facebook’s frequent changes (the new Timeline feature is not going over well) and controversial privacy rules, the giant is in trouble.

Tumblr logo





Facebook Incorrectly Mimics Real Life


By:Liana Fahie

I never quite understood the entire appeal of online social networking. It always seemed to appeal to peoples’ vain side, often times promoting relentless self promotion. Some people swear by the notion that once we aren’t Facebook friends we’re no longer friends in real life. Ian Bogost presented some convincing arguments about the way structure of Facebook’s network and how it leads to a mesh of different relationship hierarchies that should be separated. The only current remedy for this is privacy settings that enable you to show select bits of information to certain people; but a finer granularity is needed now that the user base has exponentially grown and anyone is allowed to sign up. Professors are interacting with students, colleagues, family, and friends all at the same time and the politics involved in who can see aspects of your life not only about you but extending to others that you know is a tremendous balancing act.

The problem is that it lumps everyone that you know under a single category;the “friend,” whether you met this person at a party last night, went to elementary school with them, or you have known them pretty much your whole life. Today with the Internet and the explosion of smart phones, people are able to carry Facebook everywhere they go. This leads to the depersonalization of the relationships and interactions with people. For example, you can probably change your birthday to occur once every 3 months and people will tell you happy birthday every time. As they don’t remember when your birthday is, they just digest the information that the site is showing them.

Ian’s notion of a collapsed sense of time is accurate, as Facebook does not allow you to specify a time period on the relationships that you have. The example that he gave of a guy posting that he was engaged and receiving congratulations as if it just happened is very true and is similar to my birthday example from above. However this sense of time can play into the strategy that the owners of Facebook want. They want you to update your profile and status right away when things happen, as if your Facebook profile is an extension of your physical self. In this way updating Facebook and letting people know of important changes in your life, products you like, etc., contributes to their overarching goal of Facebook being your second life.

Features of the New Facebook Timeline

Written By: Jessica Mangiameli

While there are many mixed emotions toward the new Facebook Timeline feature, one thing is certain, everyone’s Facebook will soon be switched over to the new timeline whether one wants it or not.

It does take a while getting used to the new Facebook timeline which was launched on October 6, 2011.  Even if one hasn’t switched to the new timeline, they can still see the new timeline if their friends have it, which may scare and worry some Facebookers about what they’re getting themselves into.

The New Facebook Timeline

The New Facebook Timeline

The new design is laid out like an actual timeline with every year since the year you were born, displayed on the right hand side of the timeline.  One can click on any year and it will go back to that year on that person’s wall, bringing up previous posts from the past.  This feature worries many Facebookers because of old, embarrassing posts that might appear from when you were say, 16 years old. Some Facebookers say it is taking away any sort of privacy control there was for Facebook and ideally makes it easier for friends and family to “creep” through Facebook.

A new feature that some Facebookers like is the new cover photo displayed at the top of the timeline. It’s almost like a banner.  Facebookers can display their favorite pictures or a cool pattern or design that they found online as their cover photo.

If you’re ready for change and want to switch to the new timeline on Facebook it is very simple. Visit the facebook timeline page at http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline and click the “Get Timeline” link located at the bottom of the page.

Once a user decides they want the timeline, there is a seven day review period in which the user can edit their timeline and set it up the way they want before it goes public. During this seven day period, a user is able to launch their timeline so it goes live at any point. If the user waits, it will automatically go public in one week.

While this new change may have some users concerned, Facebook will always contain privacy settings where a user can set an option to “Only Me” meaning that you’re the only one who can see that specific content.

A lot of Facebookers really enjoy the new timeline and its organization. Facebook has come a long way since its debut in 2004. It’s mind boggling to try and think of what Mark Zuckerberg is going to change next.


Facebook’s Timeline Dissappoints

Written by: Michael Arnold

In late September of 2011, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the website’s most significant change since its inception – the Timeline. In a press release Zuckerberg defined Facebook’s new layout as “the story of your life, and it has three pieces, all your stories, all your apps, in a new way to express who you are.”

Sounds intriguing. However, Facebook’s new layout has received some terrible reviews by users. On a Mashable Social Media Poll posted in mid-December, roughly half of the 3,000 Facebook users polled expressed their discontentment with the Timeline. Many users are resisting the change from the original profile all together after seeing the confusing and cumbersome Timeline page.

So what’s with all of the feet dragging?

The Los Angeles Times likens the Timeline to “an obsessive compulsive’s digital scrapbook, collecting every detail, no matter how trivial, in chronological order.” Sound creepy? That’s because it is.

Timeline tracks your “birth” – or rather your first time using Facebook – to the present moment. It incessantly surfaces photos, likes, tags, places you’ve been and notes to effectively capture  the essence of any given Facebook user on one page.

Zuckerberg’s move to Timeline drifts from the website’s initial purpose: to help people connect and share with the people in their lives. Instead, the focus of Facebook will become the chronological “life story” of the person whose page it is.

Not only are Timeline pages revealing more about people’s pasts, they’re promoting constant moment-by-moment updates every day. Facebook’s new partnerships with Spotify and Hulu have already begun allowing users to bombard news feeds with interminable and automatic updates on songs that they’re listening to and shows that they’re watching.  Clearly this change is much less about communication, and more about voyeurism.

Timeline makes it easier than ever to get complete access to a person’s photos and interests. And with the page’s built-in archive, it is simple and easy to see what a person was doing at any particular point in her life on Facebook.

Since the change took effect Facebook has been encouraging users, in a multitude of ways, to add more information to their profile’s. Zuckerberg has not shied away from this. In fact, upon unveiling the Timeline at Facebook’s F8 Conference, he concluded that “life’s biggest moments” should be made more public since this is the overall purpose of the new layout.

Perhaps Facebook’s dramatic changes will deter some of its 800 million members from using the site as often. As this is unlikely, Facebook users should prepare to get to know a whole lot more about their “friends” in the coming months.

Facebook Logo

The Facebook logo

What Does Facebook Timeline Mean for Facebook Stalking?

Facebook Timeline includes new customization features.

Facebook Timelines offers a new look-- and possibly less privacy.


Written by: Vanessa Formato


We’ve all done it: one minute, we’re looking at an acquaintance’s Facebook status, the next we’ve perused 500 photographs of said acquaintance dating back to the early 2000s. “Facebook stalking”—secretly viewing large amounts of a person’s online profile—is relatively common in this age of connectivity, but that isn’t to say it’s exactly desirable. With some major changes coming to Facebook in the form of Timeline, the biggest question on users’ minds may be how the new layout will effect stalking—and with good reason.

Facebook Timeline is a new kind of profile that not only displays personal information and mementos, but displays nearly all types of updates—from status to photographs to “likes”— chronologically on users’ main profiles. The idea is to create a profile that will allow you to “tell your life story” according to Timeline’s Facebook page.

As Sarah Love wrote for March Communications, Timeline is “complete repositioning of the purpose of Facebook,” which may be the most significant aspect of the change that could manage to fly under the radar at first. Love, like many users, starting using Facebook as a method to connect with her peers, but with Timeline the focus is shifted away from connection to observation: it turns profiles into “scrapbook[s],” more suited to online stalking than ever before.

The traditional Facebook set-up required potential stalkers to work for their information: photos and certain updates were hidden in separate tabs, but Timeline sets everything out in the open. One can click to view updates from certain time periods (even one labeled “born”) as well as access important “life events” and personal information with unprecedented ease, and this is what has some users concerned.

All things considered, Timeline so far seems almost less invasive than some of the other features Facebook rolled out late in 2011. The live news ticker that now appears on the homepage shows activity between one’s friends and non-mutual friends with surprising thoroughness. Couple the ability to see complete strangers’ activities at any time with the new profile set-up and you have a stage set perfectly for invading others’ privacy.

Thankfully, Timeline does include potential solutions to the Facebook stalking problem, the most important of which may be that it allows users to sift through their profiles before they go live. Currently, users are given seven days to edit their Timeline—more than enough time to delete drunken status updates or unflattering duck-faced photos from high school. Plus, privacy settings can always be altered to keep strangers and co-workers from knowing too much.

Timeline is a lesson in managing one’s online presence: will users be willing to take the time and suffer the potential embarrassment of engaging in enough navel-gazing to make their Timelines secure? Only time will tell.


Google’s YouTube Connects To Facebook With Leanback

YouTube Leanback will soon offers its videos to television

YouTube, which is a part of the Google Empire, has just released an exciting new service called Leanback. Viewers will be able to live stream programs on YouTube right to their television sets and connect and share watch they are watching with their Facebook friends.

Leanback is still in its infancy as a beta version and only functions with a computer right now. Google has high hopes that the new service will be as prolific as Facebook. This is just one more way the company is breaking into social media, in addition to Google Buzz and rumored Google Me.

In order to get started, you need to be registered with YouTube and login.  Unlike a computer, you will not need a mouse to navigate the channels.  All of this is done through the arrows on a standard keyboard and the enter or return key.  Similar to a dvr, you can pause and play the video that is being viewed.

YouTube will also be offering a paid rental service that can be customized. Videos that are on the website already will remain free. Leanback not only gives people a greater choice of programming, but also allows full control of what to watch.  The connection to Facebook should also give this new service a big boost in popularity.

Google Me Could Take On Facebook

Google Me is rumored to be the a direct competitor of Facebook

The rumors could be true.  Google Me is supposedly the latest project being hammered out by a large staff of tech elves soon to be in direct competition with Facebook, the largest and most popular social media website today.

Lately Google has been pumping up Google Buzz, adding new apps and allowing users to be more easily connected.  Google Me, however; could take their venture into the social media world a lot further.

There will be a few things for Google to overcome if it wants to be a large competitor of Facebook, which currently has 450 million users and growing.  It is thriving far more than MySpace, and the interface is user friendly and well connected to other social network sites like Twitter and Digg.

The new information about Google Me originated from Adam D’Angelo, a former Facebook CTO and owner of the website, Quora.  D’Angelo seems confident in his predictions, but Google is still keeping it under wraps for the most part.

Google Me, if it is true, would add healthy competition to the social media landscape, which has been so saturated that only a few remain on top like Facebook and Twitter.  Google has had great success with its other online ventures that it will be interesting to watch as the company ventures further out into the social media arena.

Seattle adds Facebook to it’s Résumé

Sign-up for Facebook

Facebook is known worldwide and takes only a few minutes and an email address to sign-up!

Seattle has particularly strong information technology and a higher percentage of college graduates than any other major American city, with approximately 53.8% of residents aged 25 and older holding a bachelor degree or higher. I think it’s safe to say that Facebook made a pretty good move opening a new engineering office to the great city of Seattle. The talent that the area has proven to produce could only keep Facebook at the top of the social networking phenomenon, where it seems to be comfortably sitting followed by Myspace (who coincidentally have an office in Seattle already).

It might just seem like a new office, but this marks the first engineering office for Facebook in the U.S. besides the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. Vice President of Engineering at Facebook, Mike Schroepfer, is use to recruiting engineers from the emerald city to join the social networking site in Palo Alto, California. Now his excitement is finding those to fill out the new spot. Move-in date for their Northwest location is looking to be July although no office location has been chosen. They are looking for space to fit roughly 30 employees and have yet to decide where to be in the big city. A cozy spot on the eastside in the BelRed (Bellevue/Redmond) area near their partner Microsoft is an option or also in the heart of the city near technology giants such as Amazon.

Facebookis not the only one to benefit. This will potentially give a few engineering and tech geniuses the opportunity to work for a great company. Maybe Facebook will like Seattle so much they add an even bigger office in the future! After all it is known as one of our nation’s top software engineering hubs. Seattle is the birth place for much of today’s technology master minds and it’s great to see more companies taking advantage of the young tech junkies, eager for work at a well respected and fast on the move company.


Creating Groups With Facebook!

Facebook is a wonderful tool for keeping track of your friends and family. It can also be helpful in developing professional and social contacts. But did you know that Facebook makes it easy to create and manage groups?

Folks manage groups on FB for all kinds of reasons, from social to political to work-related. Being a group administrator is not a difficult task, and the time committment depends on the level of  involvement you decide on. Here’s how you create a group:

1) On the left side of your homepage, find the link that says “Groups” and click on it.

2) On your groups page, you’ll see a grey box that says “Create a Group”. Click that box!

3) Now you should be on a page that asks for your group information. Fill in as much as you want to. The big decision is whether you want the group to be available to everyone on Facebook, or only people in your local network. Facebook Group Page

4) Once you’ve filled in all the blanks, click the “Create Group” button at the bottom of the screen.

5) This next page is about security and access options. Now is the time to figure out how much approval people will need to access your group. FB Security page

6) After you save that, Facebook will take you to the Invites page. Congratulations! You’re ready to invite your friends to join your group and let the fun (or work) begin!

The best part? If at any point you feel overwhelmed and need to stop being administrator of the group, just tell Facebook. FB will pick a new administrator  from among your group members. You can walk away without worrying about your group dying!