Bette Midler says increase in soybean seed prices has been ‘deadly.’ Or something.!/BetteMidler/status/334116691170697216

The referenced article is primarily about a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding Monsanto’s patent rights. Here is the final paragraph of the article that has Bette Midler so upset:

The report noted that three big companies now control more than half of the global seed market — a position that has sent prices soaring. The report said the average cost of planting an acre of soybeans had risen 325% between 1995 and 2011.

Yes, prices of soybean seeds have soared as genetically-modified seeds, which are more expensive than traditional seeds, have come to dominate the market.

Guess what? No farmer was forced to buy the newer, genetically-modified seeds. According to the New York Times, the farmers chose to do so because they think the new seeds are better than the old ones:

Many farmers have been willing to pay a premium price because the genetically engineered seeds that make up most of the market come with advantages. Genetic modifications for both corn and soybeans make the crops resistant to herbicides, simplifying weed control and saving labor, fuel and machinery costs. Many genetically engineered corn and cotton seeds also resist insect pests, which cuts down on chemical spraying.

That’s right. Farmers have been buying the new, more expensive seeds in order to reduce the amount they spend on weed control and chemical spraying. The horror!

In any case, the price of soybeans themselves (as opposed to the price of soybean seeds) has increased only 7.25 percent during the last 5 years.

That’s lower than the rate of inflation in the economy as a whole.

How, exactly, is any of this “deadly”?  Who exactly has died as a result of rising soybean seed prices?

Or is Midler’s point that genetically-modified soybeans themselves are deadly? If so, where is the evidence for that and what does it have to do with the last paragraph of the article she cited?

Well, it’s Bette Midler. It isn’t supposed to make sense.

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In India, There Is A Gigantic Tree That Is Bigger Than A Walmart Store.

In India, there is a species of tree known as a banyan. These trees have a unique root system that can take up a lot of space. The roots grow out horizontally, spreading the tree out. Near Kolkata, there is a giant banyan tree that uses its roots to stretch out across the land. In fact, it’s so big, it actually takes up more space than an average Walmart store. It’s hard to believe, but when you see the tree for yourself, you’ll understand.

This may look like a forest, but it’s just one tree.

business insider

And that tree is about the size of a Walmart.

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Its aerial roots cover 3.5 square acres.

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That’s about 156,000 square feet.

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Your average Walmart? It is 105,000 square feet.

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That is a LOT of tree to handle.

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(H/T Business Insider) Imagine building a treehouse in a banyan like this. It wouldn’t just be a house, it would be a city. This tree is still alive, with healthy roots. It’s amazing such a large tree could withstand the test of time and not receive too much damage. There is no other tree quite like this one. Click below to share it with your friends.

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This Professor Was Just Doing His Job On Live TV But The Kids Had Other Plans

If you’re a parent and you work from home, you know how hard it can be to get the job done with little ones running around.

Fortunately for you, however, you probably don’t have to deal with any of the fallout on live television. That wasn’t the case for this guy who’s probably too embarrassed to go outside at this point. It all started during a live interview with the BBC as Professor Robert Kelly was outlining the intricacies of South Korea’s current presidential problem. You know, easy stuff.

But these kids? They didn’t give a damn about his nonsense. If he got to be on TV, why shouldn’t they? Wanting to get that promo, an older kiddo sashayed right into the frame and because Murphy’s Law is a thing, a baby quickly followed suit. Watching it all unfold is top-notch comic relief now that it feels like the world is falling apart and whatever.

Prof: “I just want to live my life and do my job.” Kids: “OH HELL NAW.”

Read More: 18 Kids That Prove It’s Dangerous Business Raising Tiny Humans

Be sure to share this with the parents in your life to let them know that the next time their kid embarrasses them at soccer practice, they’ve still got nothing on this. And to Professor Kelly, I’m so sorry the internet exists.

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America rejoices as Twinkies head back to store shelves!/ibeasmart1/status/311594963379040256

If all goes well, Twinkies and Ho-Hos will return to store shelves by summer, as private equity firm Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. submitted a $410 million bid to buy the bankrupt Hostess Brands. The news might disappoint Michael Bloomberg, Michelle Obama and anyone who had stashed boxes of Twinkies in the freezer as an investment, but for the most part, Americans are thrilled that Twinkie-pocalypse wasn’t necessarily the end.

Just heard a rumor floating around #SXSW that Twinkies are going to be back by summer!!!

— SiteGoals Web Design (@SiteGoals) March 12, 2013

Hopefully they aren’t playing with my emotions….but the twinkies are making a comeback?!!!? #Yes!!

— Rachel McKoy (@MzMcKoy) March 12, 2013

Twinkies are returning.All is well in the world.

— Alan (@cuppingmaster) March 12, 2013

First, the soda ban was overturned. Now, Twinkies are returning.

— EMP_Waldangerous (@waldangerous) March 12, 2013

HALLELUJAH! I may get to finish the Twinkie stash in my office.

— Jigbie Aguirre (@CMPLICATD) March 12, 2013

Twinkies are coming back this summer!!! I repeat, TWINKIES ARE COMIN BACK!!! Lol

— Mr. 100 Bottles (@boobiegotti2) March 12, 2013

So I can start eating my stash? RT @kfyi Twinkies may be back on store shelves by this summer. That’s the word from the new owner of Hostess

— Kristen Jarnagin (@krisjar) March 12, 2013

Twinkies are coming back!!! Thank the good Lord above! :)

— Erik Lyons (@3ML21) March 12, 2013

@moviepastor We serve a great and powerful God…Twinkies are coming back!!!!

— Chris Elrod (@ChrisElrod) March 12, 2013

Hah told my mom twinkies are coming back she felt pretty dumb for freezing 40+ twinkies in our freezer

— Sam Moreno (@Sam_iAM12) March 12, 2013

The news isn’t good for unions either. The New York Post reports that Apollo will outsource production to existing bakeries and distribution to third-party drivers rather than reopen shuttered Hostess plants.

Twinkies are back! The market got rid of one set of entrepreneurs and replaced them with no government bailout!…

— Mark Thornton (@DrMarkThornton) March 12, 2013

Billionaire buys Twinkies; will restart production. Won’t rehire union workers who drove company out of business.

— Brian Faughnan (@BrianFaughnan) March 12, 2013

Twinkies are back, dude.But the unions lost big. Apollo will use third-party groups to bake and…

— Dustin Tate (@dustintate) March 12, 2013

Will Twinkies taste better when they are NOT made by union thugs with pensions that outlast the product? via @nypost

— Georgette Orwell (@Orwell_2012) March 12, 2013

Hostess gets $410M for Twinkies brand and union thugs get pink slips. I love America #p2…

— Nathan Hale (@NathanHale1775) March 12, 2013

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Unreal ‘sycophantitus': NYT ups the boot-licking Obamacare hackery [pic]!/gabrielmalor/status/397370183989624832

The New York Times, ladies and gentleman. Once again, the “hackiest hacks in all of hackdom”:!/gabrielmalor/status/397370636734980096

Unbelievable. And it was fresh on the heels of an epic act of boot-licking by the New York Times on Sunday.!/BecketAdams/status/397377064711380992

That’s right. As Twitchy reported, the New York Times editorial board attempted to spin away (lie about) President Pants on Fire’s “you can keep your plan” lie by saying he “clearly misspoke.” You know, multiples times. Consistently and blatantly. No biggie!

Dana Loesch, Greta Van Susteren, Brit Hume and other Twitter users rightly gave the hacks of record the business.

Evidently, it hasn’t learned its lesson. Take it away, Twitter!!/gabrielmalor/status/397375121725599744!/SKHigginbotham/status/397399702855229440!/TheH2/status/397373934443958272

One with lots of boots to lick?

But wait, what’s this? Here comes Politico’s Glenn Thrush to the sycophantic rescue!!/GlennThrush/status/397372518496874496

Dude. You should grab a boom box and blast “In Your Eyes” outside a White House window. It would be less embarrassing.!/GlennThrush/status/397379390482296832!/gabrielmalor/status/397379546447880192

Hey, he doesn’t play with something as important as a spot as head Obama cheerleader!!/spencerpederson/status/397377815081140224

Ding, ding, ding!!/New0rleansLady/status/397394495777828864


Will the New York Times continue this pathetic and embarrassing trend?!/JammieWF/status/397394649251196929

Double boom.


Greta Van Susteren, Brit Hume destroy boot-licking NYT hacks with devastating O-care truth

Obamacare train wreck: Stage IV gallbladder cancer survivor can’t keep her doctors

‘Capt. Renault clearly misspoke’: Mock-tastic quotes, NYT-style

‘Boom!’ Dana Loesch shreds NYT’s Obama ‘misspoke’ lie with simple question

Changed times: New York Times ‘misspoke’ lie in a snark-tastic nutshell

Misspoke? Hey NYT, try being real journalists; Check out this brutal video of Obama’s lies

#ObamaMisspoke: Obama’s lies, NYT hackery spark delicious mockery

Obama lied: Hey, shouldn’t this guy receive an apology? Guess who didn’t ‘misspeak’ [pics]

Boot-licking fail: You won’t believe NYT’s excuse for Obama’s ‘you can keep your plan’ lie

‘He just got owned!’ Brit Hume smacks Juan Williams’ absurd Obamacare spin; Update: Video added

‘You nailed it!’ Brit Hume ‘BOOM’: Notes effect of Obamacare with devastating result; Updated

‘Don’t transition me, bro!’ Obamaspeak: Guys, your insurance is just being ‘transitioned’

‘Period!’ Dear GOP: Here is a simple talking point on Obamacare. Case closed

Truth-ache! Why are Obama’s poll numbers plummeting? Monica Crowley sums it up

Full Twitchy coverage of Politico’s Glenn Thrush

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S&P Settles Mortgage Securities Lawsuits For $1.5 Billion

With no admission of wrongdoing.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Yuri Gripas / Reuters

Almost two years after the Justice Department sued the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s, accusing it of defrauding investors by giving optimistically high ratings to securities based on residential mortgages before the housing crash, the company has resolved the suit to the tune of $1.375 billion. In addition, S&P settled a similar suit with the California public employees pension system Calpers for $125 million.

In the court skirmishes since the suit was filed, Standard and Poor’s claimed in court filings that the suit was retaliation for S&P downgrading United States government debt from AAA in 2011 following the showdown over the debt ceiling.

Today’s resolution included no claims of retaliation nor an admission that S&P violated the law. The payout, however, is unprecedented for a suit against a ratings agency. S&P, alongside Moody’s and Fitch, is one of three large ratings agencies that provides grades to most bonds.

Attorney General Eric Holder said some of the company’s ratings were not “independent” as advertised, but instead were given to increase the company’s business from the issuers of financial products based on mortgages, a booming industry before the financial crisis ground it to a halt.

Holder said the ratings agency “knowingly issued inflated credit ratings for CDOs [complex products based on contracts that pay out when a bond defaults] that misrepresented their credit worthiness and understated their risks.”

Holder also said that the Justice Department’s investigation had uncovered S&P’s employees saying that the company declined to downgrade some financial products because the company was “worried that it would damage S&P’s business.”

McGraw Hill Financial, S&P’s parent company, said in a statement that it had settled the suit “to avoid the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience, and expense of further litigation.” Half of the $1.375 billion will go to the federal government, while the other half will go to 19 states and the District of Columbia, which also filed suits against the ratings agency.

While S&P did not plead guilty, it did agree to a “statement of facts” where S&P admitted to many of the claims that the Justice Department made in its suit filed in February, 2013.

In the run-up to the financial crisis, hundreds of billions worth of bonds and securities based on home mortgages received ratings indicating they were safe investments unlikely to default. When the housing market collapsed, the bonds went into default and ended up causing hundreds of billions of losses for banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and other investors.

The Justice Department claimed in its suit that banks that were insured by the federal government relied on ratings for the securities in deciding to buy them and that S&P had not followed its own ratings criteria in order to win business from the banks issuing the bonds.

Ratings agencies are typically paid by the issuers of bonds even though the ratings are relied upon by purchasers. The Justice Department claimed that S&P had ignored its own data about the housing market and the riskiness of the bonds and other securities in order to win more ratings business.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department lowered its settlement figure and dropped its demand that S&P admit to violating the law, while S&P agreed to take back its claim that it had been retaliated against for the downgrade.

So far, S&P is the only ratings agency to face a major Justice Department suit over its behavior in the financial crisis, despite the fact that all three agencies turned out to be grievously wrong about the quality of many of the mortgage-based products they were rating. Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery wouldn’t comment on whether the Justice Department was investigating the other two major ratings agencies, when asked in a press conference, but did say the Justice Department was still looking into cases connected with the financial crisis.

In a court filing, the chairman of McGraw Hill, Harold W. McGraw III, claimed that then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told him after the August 2011 downgrade that S&P’s behavior would be “looked at very carefully.” Justice Department lawyers argued in court that the investigation had started almost two years before the downgrade and that there was no connection between the two. Geithner denied he had ever threatened S&P with retaliation. Delery said S&P’s claim that it was the victim of retaliation was part of a “fishing expedition” and that S&P would withdraw that claim in a legal filing.


This piece has been updated with comments from Justice Department officials. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_update_time_4837067″).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2015-02-03 10:48:59 -0500′, ‘update’); });

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This Heartwarming Dolphin Rescue Would Be Way Cuter If The Dolphin Wasn’t A Shark

If you asked me right now if I, even as an animal lover, would yank a 12-foot shark back to safety with my bare hands, I’d probably say no.

The way I see it, if I can barely make it down the steps without it turning into an emergency situation, I have no business trying to manhandle a predator. If you asked me if I’d do that for a dolphin, however, I’d most likely give it the old college try.

Judging by this footage, Nicolas Andre, 49, seems to feel the same way. While he was taking in some seriously beautiful weather with his wife in Cornwall, England, earlier this week, he came across a man struggling with what appeared to be a dolphin stranded on the shore.

Being the lovely gent he is, Andre decided to help the guy out.

They quickly discovered that the animal’s skin was too abrasive to lug it back into the water with their bare hands, so they tied their shirts around their palms for protection.

When the shirts come off, you know it’s about to get real.

Fortunately, the whole thing went off without a hitch.

Just kidding. There was a hitch, since their new dolphin friend happened to be a shark.

It was a 12-foot basking shark, to be exact.

Fortunately, the do-gooders left the beach that day with all of their limbs intact. What these guys did was inadvertently reckless, but they ended up saving a life in the process. They did their best, and when it comes down to it, that’s all we really can do.

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Obama says he’ll spend ‘every minute of every day’ rebuilding economy!/BetsyMTP/status/361221495617355777

Is the president finally wrapping up his 2012 campaign and getting down to business? In a 40-minute interview conducted with the New York Times and published online today, a sometimes feisty President Obama said that he would not “sit around and twiddle [his] thumbs for the next 1,200 days” waiting for the GOP to get on board with his agenda.!/shearm/status/361223979828117505

What, then, is the president planning to do? In his weekly address, he assured the nation that his laser-like focus on jobs and the economy is for real this time, and he’ll spend every minute of every day doing everything he can to jump start the economy. With 1,200 days left, that’s nearly 2 million minutes dedicated to recovery.

Just to get it on the record one more time:!/AHMalcolm/status/361257238138064896!/MPeper/status/361135538662682625

Something tells us the weather might factor into the president’s commitment to work every minute of every day.!/markknoller/status/361232109312020480


Snap-tastic! Obama has 1,200 days left in office; Monica Crowley has idea

Editor’s note: This post has been amended to remove a tweet that was inadvertently included.

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‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ pushed back to March 2013 for 3D conversion!/SplashPageFilms/status/205406575567966209

It’s hard not to get hyped about an action sequel featuring new cast members like The Rock and Bruce Willis; even if the original didn’t do much to wet our anticipation for the next one.

That’s just how it is with action legends, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation is proof. The sequel was originally slated for release on June 29th, 2012, and was all set to be this summer’s blockbuster. Fans loved the addition of the face of sports entertainment, Dwayne Johnson, and the face of the Die Hard franchise and many other action classics, Bruce Willis. With those names in mind, it’s not hard to wonder why the sequel stood tall as one of the most anticipated action flicks of the year.

The recent report coming out of Cinema Blend says you’re going to have to wait a little longer. The news has burst over Twitter, confirming the push of the release date:

Par is moving G.I. JOE: RETALIATION from June 29 all the way back to March 29, 2013. Why? The studio is converting it to 3D.

— Andrew Stewart (@Stew2MAX) May 23, 2012

Breaking: Paramount has put back the release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation by nine months, to add 3D

— Den Of Geek (@denofgeek) May 23, 2012

News Update: Yes it is true – G.I. Joe: Retaliation pushed back NINE months to March, 2013

— GeneralsJoes | YoJoe (@GeneralsJoes) May 23, 2012

All for the sake of 3-D? You shouldn’t have to wonder why that might be. We’ve all seen the prices of 3-d films, with most theaters carrying a $2-3, if not higher, cost on tickets. With enough people willing to shell over a few extra bucks to wear those funky glasses and see images stick a few inches out from the screen, it’s no surprise Paramount is hopping on the train, and re-formatting G.I. Joe: Retaliation, so that it too might rake in those dollars.

With ‘G.I. Joe 2′ trending on Twitter, everyone’s putting their own two cents in:

How massive is the Avengers? Where did G.I.Joe 2 go?….next March. #ouch

— Corey Mann (@mynameiscorey) May 23, 2012

*reads up on the current reason G.I. Joe 2 is trending worldwide* …… Oh wow, that kinds sucks.

— fossilized tree sap (@MiraiBaby) May 23, 2012

G.I. Joe 2..I've been waiting for so I have to wait till 2013?! Better be worth the wait..

— Vale † Byn (@twimore) May 23, 2012

Business-wise, G.I. JOE 2's shift may make sense… but creatively, it sucks…

— Billy Donnelly (@infamouskidd) May 23, 2012

The change doesn’t affect everyone, however:

I guess G.I. Joe 2 is adding 3D to make it watchable.

— Earl Sinclair (@CallMeRudeSir) May 23, 2012

Will the wait be worth it? Only time will tell, and now we got a lot of it. However, some of us are easier to please than others:

While it’s a strategical move that will most likely bring Paramount some extra millions, that doesn’t mean we can’t slam our fists on the table and have a hissy fit until then. So go on, get a little mad, lose yourself!

Then just go see the Avengers again. You’ll be alright.

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Someone Said Twitter’s CEO Is Going To Lose His Job, And The Stock Is Soaring

The rumor mill that Dick Costolo’s time is running out continues to churn.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo with Cameron Diaz Stephen Lam / Reuters

Another week, another rumor that Dick Costolo is losing his job.

This time, the mention comes from Robert Peck, an analyst at SunTrust who said, “There’s a good chance he’s not there in a year.” Peck made the call on CNBC earlier today.

Indeed, the whispers that Costolo’s time is running out have been getting louder. Twitter has gone through three heads of product in a year, not to mention the ouster of COO Ali Rowghani. In recent weeks, the rumor mill turned to Costolo, suggesting he may be the next one to be shown the door. Shortly after Peck made the call on CNBC, Twitter’s shares rose by around 3%.

While Twitter’s business continues to churn along — monetizing the service has never been Twitter’s big problem — the company hasn’t yet found a way to reignite user growth. Earlier, BuzzFeed News reported that after Rowghani’s ouster, Twitter’s growth team was reorganized into a central unit. Meanwhile, Daniel Graf — a Google alumni — was given the job as head of product. He promptly lost his job, with Kevin Weil, a longtime Twitter employee, getting the role.

Many observers and people close to the company attribute the shortfall to Costolo, who is seen largely as an operational CEO and not a product visionary — hence the revolving door at the product role. Costolo, however, is savvy and thus far has been able to navigate turmoil at the company. Still, investor patience is waning: Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal wrote a scathing story that demonstrated some of the community’s frustration with Costolo, which sources close to the company described as “spot on.”

Costolo is beloved by a segment of employees at the company, and it’s possible that his upper-management changes have bought him enough time to see the company through the Super Bowl — an event where Twitter will no doubt see a frenzy of activity.

Still, as is often the case in technology, rumors have some element of truth behind them, and the truth seems clear to both observers and investors: Costolo is running out of time.

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