Dave Stancliff 2009-03-15 blogarama.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good grief Charlie Brown! The Great Pumpkin has gone crazy!

image via www.davesdaily.com

Welwitschia Mirabilis: This plant is really a one-of-a-kind...

  

It's not pretty to look at, but Namibia's plant Welwitschia Mirabilis can truly claim to be one of a kind. There really is nothing like it. Welwitschia plant consists of only two leaves and a sturdy stem with roots. That's all! Two leaves continue to grow until they resemble the shaggy mane of some sci-fi alien. The stem thickens, rather than gains in height , and can grow to be almost 2 meters high and 8 meters wide. Their estimated lifespan is 400 to 1500 years.

(image on left thanks to: via)

(Image on right thanks to: Botanik-Fotos.de, photo by Karlheinz Knoch)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pat Buchanan says President Obama is 'too familiar' with 'common citizens'

   I took a few minutes and was watching Hardball on MSNBC (around 4:10 p.m.) and wasn't surprised by Buchanan's take on the president's familiarity with the general public.

   He thinks Obama should act more dignified (can you say aloof?) and not do such shocking things as taking his coat off in the White House!

Conservative guru Buchanan, tried running for the presidency twice; in 1992, 1996, and 2000 and lost every time. Now he thinks he's an expert on presidential demeanor. Just look at his hang-dog face and tell me that Pat is an inspiration to anyone!

   I know there are still some desperate conservatives crawling around in the political wasteland of the Republican Party trying to find someone to rally around.

  If GOP adherents plan to get out of their quagmire they better stop listening to elitists like Buchanan who secretly wishes we had a King and not a president for the people.

I suppose I should be questioning MSNBC for having him as a mainstay and calling him the nation's leading conservative voice. Don't MSNBC executives understand that Buchanan is a dinosaur who thinks women's place is in the home (barefoot and pregnant by the only accepted sex position - the missionary position!)?

The idea that we now have a president who doesn't claim to be doing the will of God, but instead that of the people, is unnerving to Republican acolytes. After all, they enjoy wielding power from an ivory tower! Perhaps I shouldn't be concerned that Buchanan is still influencing ideological blank minds.

He can serve as another splinter of the fractured GOP. That, in itself, is probably the best thing I can think about Buchanan being called a "leading conservative." As long as the Elephant heads want to argue among themselves, they won't be a challenge to the Democrats in 2012. So bring on more demigods and liven up the GOP Party!

As It Stands, Obama is doing all the right things, and it's pissing off his detractors (the majority of the Republican Party), but is playing well with the American people.

photo via Wikipedia

Public Outrage: The Latest Revelation about AIG and Some History

Thanks to Talking Points Memo, here are some great links to understand what's happening with this whole AIG scandal.

The Rise and Costly Fall of AIG's Cowboy Division

Is Former AIGFP Chief Cassano Vulnerable To Fraud Charges? ... Cassano's Lawyer Is White Collar Crime Expert ... AIG Gives Names Of Bonus Recipients To Cuomo ... AIG Suing Gov't For Return Of Taxes

Zack Roth (TPM) takes us through a brief history of AIGFP, the financial products division that brought AIG to its knees.

--David Kurtz/  image via TPM - via solo/ozuma Press

Lakers continue winning even though it was an ugly game to watch!

 The Lakers had to infuse some suspense in their game with Golden State last night against a team they haven't lost to this season (three prior match ups)! They let an 18 point lead shrink down to 3 points in the 4th quarter last night, before pulling out the Epson Salt and taking deep whiffs. They awoke enough to regain control of the game with a final score of 114 to 106. The Laker Bench Mob at least looked better than they have in the last couple of weeks. Sasha Vujacic found his shooting touch at just the right time. Josh Powell continues to impress. Luke Walton even had a good game.  THERE'S LAKER FANS EVERYWHERE...

Kobe Bryant sat through a jury selection process Thursday, and was part of the group that were cut by lawyers on both sides. No duty for Kobe, but... 

According to the celebrity-driven website TMZ.com, the judge asked Bryant what he does for a living:

"I play professional basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers," was his response.

Said the judge: "Go Lakers!"

Blind justice. A wonderful thing.

Having clinched the Pacific Division title and a playoff spot so early the Lakers have little incentive to play hard now.

I have to admit that the Lakers seem to be lacking motivation, or the killer instinct that will be needed to win it all in the Playoffs.

SOME GOOD NEWS...depending on how you look at it:

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, recently said  Bynum's not likely to be available to play until the Playoffs start. There was a hope that he would get in a few regular season games to hone his skills. I suspect that he will be a little rusty against the Mavs (most likely opponent in the first round.

Photo by Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)

Growing Trend: Michigan joins California & Other States in making medical marijuana legal

FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE THIS MORNING...

As Michigan's medical marijuana law takes full effect next month, sufferers of chronic pain and other ailments cheer while police predict problems

By Tim Jones | Tribune correspondent
March 20, 2009

PAW PAW, Mich.—At first glance they look like old pals, maybe a bunch from the Rotary Club leisurely gabbing away over the hamburger special, making the waitress work overtime for her tip.
But these guys are different. Their eyes, their fidgeting and their restlessness betray a shared bond of chronic pain, sleepless nights, depression and a reliance on heavy-duty prescription drugs. Around this lunchtime table, they talk about the only thing that gives them a measure of peace, the only thing that, for perhaps a few hours, sets them free: marijuana.
They've been smoking or eating marijuana for years—privately and illegally. And now, because
Michigan voters approved marijuana use for the treatment of certain serious maladies, Bob White soon will be able to get himself together in his Three Rivers home "without having to draw the shades."Ron Stephens, who has a chronic neck disorder and depression, built his own marijuana "grow room" with high-powered lights and reflective paper on the walls. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Tribune photo / March 12, 2009) Read the whole article here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

World's Heaviest Insect: Giant Beetles weigh up to a quarter pound!

 

Goliath Beetles weigh almost a quarter pound (think about a burger), and are the heaviest insects in the world. Being a species of a scarab beetle (which plays a major part in Ancient Egypt mythology), these creatures live mostly in Africa - but a beetle on the lower right image - Megasoma acteon (caleóptero) - lives in Equador and can easily crawl up the map to North America, if it so desires. Center photos: Scarab beetles in Ancient Egypt apparently were as big as a dog... which is a scary thought.

(images via) at darkroastedblend.com

Liar! Liar! Liar! Sen.Chris Dodd caught lying about AIG bonus backing!

I think I'm going to start an annual, or monthly, Hall of Shame for lying politicians. The latest entry can be Senator Chris Dodd. What really amazes me is when politicos like Dodd get caught red-handed,they still manage to weasel out an explanation for their actions.

Christopher Keating, of Capitol Watch website noted that...

"Amber Wilkerson, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said "Senator Dodd's reversal on this issue is both astonishing and alarming. ... Contrary to his statements and denials over the last 24 hours, Senator Dodd has now admitted that he and his staff did in fact change the language in the stimulus bill to include a loophole for AIG executive bonuses."
Dodd said flatly that his comments were not a reversal, though when asked by CNN what had changed in his understanding between Tuesday and Wednesday, Dodd replied, "Going back and reviewing it. ... I apologize if we had some confusion.''

EXCUSE ME? The only confusion was on Doddy boy's part! He simply lied. If it were you or I caught in a lie...we'd pay the consequences. Not politicians like Dodd, who live according to a different set of rules than what he expects from others. Why doesn't someone really grill his lying ass and make him pay for the consequences? He helped those AIG thieves give themselves bonus after bonus while the ship was sinking. What kind of consideration did good old Dodd get for this covert action? He knew what he was doing. If he didn't he's an idiot. But, make no mistake, he knew what he was doing. I wouldn't be surprised if some tax-free tropical isle bank is now bulging with a new deposit from Dodd.

Today's Talking Points Memo asked,  WHO ASKED DODD TO DEFANG ANTI-BONUS PROVISION?

By Justin Elliot

Who in the Obama Administration pushed to weaken a key anti-bonus provision in the stimulus bill last month? Sen. Chris Dodd, who wrote the provision -- and ultimately agreed to defang it -- isn't saying.

Ever since the AIG story broke, we've heard about the company's binding contracts as a key barrier to the government blocking bonuses to AIG executives.

Read the whole article here.

There's more to read if you are so inclined.

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake has a different take on the blame game. She thinks it's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's fault the bonus language made it's way into law.

TREASURY ATTEMPTS TO "BLAME DODD" FOR AIG BONUSES

As Geithner tries to get out of the way of the AIG bonus train wreck, it looks like the designated sin eater is going to be Chris Dodd:

The administration official said the Treasury Department did its own legal analysis and concluded that those contracts could not be broken. The official noted that even a provision recently pushed through Congress by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, had an exemption for such bonus agreements already in place.

Read the rest of the article here.

Why do we buy Chinese goods when most are defective or dangerous to our health?

Take a long look at the quality of products we buy from China and then try to figure out why we bother buying junk from them every year. There have been numerous recalls on pet food, baby food, toys with lead, and now it's dry wall that can make people sick! Could it be that because we owe China one trillion dollars we have to buy their shit or they'll call in their markers? You have to wonder. There doesn't seem to be any justification for buying Chinese goods - other than they are cheaper...which to unscrupulous American companies is a real plus.

Here's information regarding the latest crap we're buying to build homes with from HomeOwners For Better Building....

Chinese drywall? Call your insurance company
There is an urgent message for people who may have Chinese Drywall in their homes: Contact your insurance company right away. Wednesday night, builders from across Southwest Florida tried to get a grasp on the Chinese drywall epidemic that's spread throughout the state and beyond. Dr. David Krause is the Florida Health Department Toxicologist who has been heading up the investigation into potential health risks.

To read the whole article click here.

Here's More News on the subject from hoanewsnetwork.com ...

Chinese drywall fears widen in SW Florida

By DICK HOGANdhogan@news-press.com

"Richard Cesta’s on his third air conditioning coil in a few months at his Bella Terra condominium. The air in his home sometimes smells of sulfur.

Like other Lee County residents, he’s worried he may be victim of Chinese drywall leaking corrosive chemicals into his home and endangering his health. "

To read more of this article click here.

image via Google Images

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good Public Art Stirs the Masses to Wonder... and to Question Why?

I've always been interested in public art sculptures, and when I ran across these

two examples I thought I'd share them with you.

Taken in Melbourne, Australia ( top left) and Los Angeles, California (top right)

The bottom two photos were taken in unknown locations.

If you happen to know where they are please share the locations with me.

All photos - via

Laws are supposed to protects us, but when the government decides to get in our pants, some crazy stuff goes down!

From AlterNet today...

By Simcha , The Frisky. Posted March 18, 2009.

Here are some actual sex laws truly for the record books!

1. In Bakersfield, Calif., if you're going to have sex with Satan, you've gotta use a condom. And definitely come up with a safe word!

2. Poking a porcupine is illegal in Florida. But apparently that law didn't go far enough. Just a couple of weeks ago, State Sen. Nan Rich submitted a bill that would ban peeps in the Sunshine State from being able to stick it in where the sun don't shine on any animal.

3. In Minnesota, it's illegal for any slime bucket to hook up with a live fishDon't worry disinterested wives, a cold fish is still A-OK!

4. In Dyersburg, Tenn., it is illegal for a lady to call a gentleman for a date. Clearly no one in that town is getting laid!

5. In Merryville, Mo., no woman can change her natural waist. Wearing a corset is illegal because "the privilege of admiring the curvaceous, unencumbered body of a young woman should not be denied to the normal, red-blooded American male." No wonder it's called the "Show Me State!"

6. It's illegal to purchase sex toys in Alabama. This law can beat it!

7. In Washington State, it's totally legal to eff an animal like an animal, as long as it weighs less than 40 lbs. What, fatty farm pets don't deserve some love?

8. While most would argue that this is place where the people get screwed many different ways, in Washington, D.C., engaging in any sexual position other than missionary is illegal.

9. In Massachusetts, you cannot recklessly consummate your love with a rodeo clown while the horses are still around. But seriously, there's a reason for the expression "hung like a horse." I doubt the animal would get jealous!

10. The biggest Internet-porn-consuming state, Utah, gets freaky in its laws too. Sex with an animal is totally cool, unless you're doing it for cold, hard cash! Hey, why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free!

image via Google Images

Celebrate your right to know what's going on with America's lawmakers behind the scenes...

  •  March 15-21, a celebration
    of open government records.
  • Do you know your House District or Senate District numbers?
  • Want to find out?
  • Go to Follow The Money and discover how easy it is to get information on what's going on with the politicians in your area.
  • Check out who the Lobbyists are near you.
  • Who contributes to what? Now you can know.
  • Want to know more about a candidate in your district? Here's your chance.

The Mexican drug war threatens our national security!

     Blame for the proliferation of the Mexican cartels can be shared by Mexican and American authorities.

Massive amounts of guns and ammunition have been purchased easily in the states and sent back to Mexican drug lords and their armies. It's common knowledge that the cartels are outgunning the Mexican police and military.

If American authorities want to really help they need to examine the availability of weapons, and to tighten up illegal border crossings. Over 6000 people died last year in this Mexican undeclared war. Considerably more deaths than occurred in Iraq and Afganistan combined last year!

American citizens are being kidnapped and held for ransom. The border between us and Mexico is now the front line of the war. That can't be good for our national security.

In my opinion, this nasty border war is too close, and we need to get proactive about cutting these duggie bastards off at the source!

FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE THIS MORNING ON THE SUBJECT:

US, MEXICO BLAMED FOR RISE OF DRUG GANGS

By Josh Meyer | Washington Bureau
March 18, 2009
Efforts by Mexico and the United States to stem the skyrocketing cross-border drug and weapons trade are failing, and both countries are to blame for the rise of violent cartels responsible for more than 6,000 deaths south of the border last year, lawmakers and experts said at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
For years, elected officials in Washington have sought to portray Mexico as being largely responsible for the problems spawned by the increasingly powerful transnational crime syndicates, and for fixing them.
Here's the entire article.

image via Google Images

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

As It Stands 'Not a part of the silent media majority' according to CalAware

JOURNALIST BUGGING CLAIM GETS NO BIG MEDIA PLAY

FREE PRESS -- Eric Alterman and George Zornick, writing in the Center for American Progress, ask why the national news media appear to be ignoring the recent stunning claim by former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice that under the Bush Administration the NSA systematically monitored and recorded the phone and other electronic communications of journalists, among others.

"Neither Tice nor his charges were discussed in the Times, either in print or online. This was standard across much of the mainstream media—The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Associated Press have all remained completely silent about Tice’s allegations. And in one of his many, many “legacy” interviews, Bush told Fox’s Brett Baier in December that they were simply “listening to a phone call from a known terrorist.” He was not challenged on this point during that interview, nor any other of which we are aware."

Clearly something deeply disturbing lurks beneath these revelations, and with Bush gone from office, it’s hard to understand just what is preventing journalists from seeking the truth about this program more energetically.

Columnist Dave Stancliff of the Times-Standard in Eureka is not among the silent majority. He concludes his February 1 open letter to President Obama thus: Click here 

For a link to the entire column

click here.

Image via

https://www.clayandiron.com/index.jsp

Erin Go Braugh! Can I be an Irishman for St. Patrick's Day if I wear green?

                    By Dave Stancliff

 Despite descending from a long line of English stone cutters, I really admire the Irish.

When St. Patrick's Day rolls around on March 17th I wear green and eat corned beef and cabbage. I know what you're thinking.

The traditional meal calls for Irish Bacon and cabbage, but you get the picture. To read the rest of the column click here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

AS IT STANDS COLUMN ON POT LEGALIZATION BRINGS COMMENTS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE SMOKING ISSUE!

By Dave Stancliff

My 3/8 column on pot legalization has stirred up plenty of controversy (the last time I looked about 181 comments were made on the Online Eureka Times-Standard Forum ). I've received a generous amount of emails from readers too. I'll introduce one of these readers to you shortly.

 Meanwhile, the pros and cons battled it out, and I've been called everything from a dreamer to an idiot. One local blogger, Rose from WatchPaul, felt my ideas on how legalization would help the economy were "all sunshine and roses, hearts and flowers..."

US Rep Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) seems to think a

marijuana legalization pilot program

would be a good idea.

At least six blogs were interested enough in my column to run it.

THE MEDIA AWARENESS PROJECT

HEALTHGROUPS.YAHOO.COM - Medical News From Brett

CRIMEANDCONSEQUENCES.COM

CALIFORNIA NORML

WHY PROHIBITION.CA

TALK LEFT THE POLITICS OF CRIME

More states are looking favorably on various forms of legalization right now. For example "Minnestotans For Compassionate Care" sponsored a medical marijuana bill that has passed the House Civil Justice Committee Without Dissent last week.

As It Stands reader, Tim Castleman, sent me a very interesting email about the proposal being considered (AB 390). It's so well-thought out, that I really want to pass this on to you.  

"Comments on California Assembly member Ammiano's marijuana tax bill, AB 390 (as introduced)

The problems begin early, in fact with the title of the bill itself - the term "marijuana" is slang and should not be used in legislation.

The proper terminology would incorporate all of the words cannabis, sativa, indica and ruderalis. The definition offered in the bill only includes sativa. Much worse are all the new crimes created and the fact that cannabis actually remains illegal except when obtained through state authorized channels. Deepening the offense, the idea that cannabis should be treated like alcohol and only allowed for age 21 years and up is just flat wrong and certainly unenforceable. Even killer tobacco is available to 18 year olds.

Further, alcohol kills thousands in a variety of ways. No such harm has come to millions of regular cannabis consumers, except at the hands of their own government. Cannabis is SAFER than alcohol and it is a slippery slope to allow cannabis to be classified in the same category.
So let's wade into the bill's text to unravel this unholy 59 page proposed new law.

Section 1 begins well enough and would be complete with just subsection (a), which states: "To legalize marijuana and its derivatives." Regrettably it is mostly downhill from there. Subsection (b) says that 18,19 and 20 year olds are not adults and makes them into a whole new batch of criminals if they have anything at all to do with cannabis. Hope subsides upon reading subsection (c), which requires federal permission for any of the law to be valid anyway. So much for states rights.

Next, subsection (d) funds drug war propaganda and treatment centers with a "substantial fee" on the "legal sale" of marijuana. To clarify what "legal sale" may mean subsection (e) seeks to "impose a set of regulations and laws concerning marijuana comparable to those imposed on alcohol." This means licenses, background checks and restrictions on a plant that has never killed anyone, unlike alcohol.

This apples and oranges comparison perpetuates the lie that cannabis is a "dangerous drug" and puts unreasonable restrictions on private citizens. The people that pay the tax should benefit from it with reduced fees for government services, assistance with research and development, small business loans and services that benefit the cannabis consumers. Pot smokers don't cause alcoholism or drug addiction and should not be forced to pay for the treatment of those who become addicted to the products of drug, alcohol and tobacco corporations.

The magnitude of damage this bill could do only begins to come into focus deep into the language, but a hint is seen in subsection (f) "To impose substantial fines for violations of the noncommercial regulations and laws concerning marijuana, which will be applicable until and after commercial marijuana is available by virtue of future changes in federal law." So there you have it - marijuana is even more illegal than it was, unless obtained from a state licensed retailer, who must get it from a state licensed wholesaler, who must get it from a state licensed producer.
Subsection (g) seems to be pro-reform, but look closely and note there are still "crimes related to marijuana" .... "in this bill."


Exempting industrial hemp and medical marijuana from the tax in subsection (h) seems unfair. This is like saying gala apples are taxed but fuji apples are not. It doesn't make sense. If there is a to be a tax on cannabis, let all who benefit from the plant pay their fair share.

The subsection (i) legislation authorizing state funded lobbyists to Washington DC is a waste of taxpayer resources. We have elected representatives and their staff to do this on our behalf already. States do not need to "encourage the federal government" to do anything other than respect states rights.
Sections 2 and 3 set up the tax and licensing regime that must be complied with to avoid prosecution. First year applicants must pay $5,000 ($2,500 annual renewal) and submit to a background check, however no guidance is offered as to whom the "department" may consider worthy of the license. The state's power increases with "significant fees" and "regulations" to enforce.

These regulations, fees and taxes cover "all stages of cultivation, harvesting, drying, processing, packing, and delivery". This seems to be taking things out of order. Before we start taxing pot smokers let's stop prosecuting them and work on making restitution for the harm done by the government's dishonesty and outright hostility to cannabis consumers. It is really insulting to suggest cannabis consumers agree to any kind of taxation until after the government has ceased its declared war on them and made restitution for harm done.

Section 4 falls far short of the reparations needed in order for the government to earn back the peoples trust on this matter. Many have been badly burned by the hostile actions of government agents and agencies. This bit of window dressing to address the stigma created by records of past legal issues is a step in the right direction, albeit a very small one.
Section 5 seems to further extend government control and tax authority to include every possible market segment from bongs to baggies to growing supplies and equipment.

 
Section 6 modifies Schedule I of the controlled substance list by removing the terms "marijuana" and "Tetrahydrocannabinols", which is replaced by "Synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols not derived from cannabis plants. Synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the plant, or in the resinous extractives of Cannabis, sp. and/or synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity such as the following: delta 1 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers; delta 6 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers; delta 3,4 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and its optical isomers. (Since nomenclature of these substances is not internationally standardized, compounds of these structures, regardless of numerical designation of atomic positions covered)." Does this mean Marinol is now Schedule I and exempt from the new tax?


Section 7 establishes the punishments for 18,19 and 20 year olds who use cannabis, especially on school grounds.
Sections 8,9, 10 and 11 repeal three laws that made cannabis illegal. Hooray! These are keepers.
Section 12 further codifies the restrictions on every market possibly related to cannabis. In short, everything is illegal, unless the state grants an applicant permission, based on fees, a background check and proof of financial resources to sufficient satisfy their requirements for security etc.
Section 13 exempts felons and others with previous legal trouble from eligibility for a state license to retail, wholesale or produce marijuana. This would be unfair to those who have been unfairly prosecuted for cannabis in the past and will likely restrict the industry to a select few.
Section 14 clarifies that every asset is subject to forfeiture for violation of any of these laws. This devastating practice is often used in place of legal proceedings to persecute individuals and prevent them from fighting back.
Section 15 authorizes law enforcement officials to destroy any amount of a "suspected controlled substance" over 10 pounds. Later, when it is time to return the victims property, much of it is likely to have been destroyed by hostile government agents.
Section 16 repeals property rights of owners.
Section 17 instructs any peace officer, subsequent to making or attempting to make an arrest, to "notify the Franchise Tax Board of a seizure where there is reasonable cause to believe that the value of the seized property exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000)." Yep, the government always gets their share, legal or not.
Section 18 modifies the H&S code to remove marijuana and hashish "drug paraphernalia" from consideration as items that create "probable cause" for illegal drug dealing. In other words, having a pipe or bong is no longer evidence that the person was dealing. This seems like a keeper.
Section 19 removes marijuana and hashish from the list of prohibited "drug paraphernalia" and language banning cultivation, possession or sale of marijuana. This is a keeper.
Section 20 removes marijuana from the list of controlled substances that a person can be sued for damages related to abuse. This seems like a keeper.
Section 21 adds an incomplete definition of what "marijuana" is and sets forth conditions under which it is "lawful" and (still) "unlawful" to do anything regarding cannabis. Highlights include 11725 (c) sets a 10-plant limit per person and 11725 (d) authorizes a nursery to cultivate and sell "seedlings" but clones are not mentioned. 11725 (e) forbids the nursery from growing any plants to maturity and may ONLY sell seedlings, no marijuana. 11727 seems to exempt industrial hemp and hemp products.
Section 22 adds "Marijuana Fees" to the Revenue and Taxation Code. It exempts industrial hemp and medicinal marijuana from said fees. It also establishes the initial fee of $50 per ounce, which is subject to review but not to an increase. The money goes into a special account to fund drug war propaganda and treatment centers.
Sections 22, 23 and 24 amend the motor vehicle code to remove some penalties related to marijuana possession.

Further study is needed here. It is premature to treat marijuana intoxication or the presence of its active compounds as impairment when driving or operating machinery. (Some evidence suggests the opposite.) It’s bad policy to agree to this knee jerk reaction just for the sake of "baby-steps." Science should guide policy, not unproven presumptions based on drug war propaganda.

In summary, it is good the debate has been energized, and there are a few good things about this bill. Here is my proposed revised bill language:
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1.
It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, to do all of the following:
(a) To legalize cannabis sativa, indica and ruderalis and its derivatives.
(b) To remove all existing civil and criminal penalties
(c ) To begin reparation and restitution for harms done by prior law."

image via Google Images

SQUIRRELS IN THE NEWS: Alert! Power lines from America to Britain under siege by shock seeking squirrels!

Associated News archives...

SQUIRRELS: IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, ZAP 'EM!

These cute but pesky rodents are a leading cause of unplanned outages. They chew through power lines, fry themselves by completing electrical circuits and generally wreak havoc on power grids.

Utility companies, always on the hunt for new ways to combat animals, may have found an inexpensive solution to what has long been a vexing problem.

The ZAPshield is an $11 polymer disc that arrived on the market some three years ago and delivers a non-lethal, electrostatic jolt to any varmint touching it. In Pennsylvania, PECO and PPL have both deployed the ZAPshield. Philadelphia-based PECO also uses an older, similar technology made of metal.

The idea is to give the squirrels enough of a shock to keep them away from sensitive power equipment, but not enough of one to hurt them. Inventor Jim Rauckman compares the feeling of getting zapped by the ZAPshield to walking across a carpet on a dry day and then touching someone.

"It teaches them not to be up there," he said.

image from eclectech.com UK

FROM: expressandstar.com Britain's largest Online Publication...

Squirrel puts radio off the air

Presenters at a radio station based in Kidderminster were cut off from the airwaves on Saturday for three hours – by a squirrel.

The hapless creature somehow managed to get into the transmitter site and nibbled through a wire which caused a short in a power circuit breaker. It resulted in the station, 107.2FM The Wyre, based on the Stourport Road, going off air for three hours.

Station boss Pete Wagstaff said he had realised something was wrong when he heard the station go off air early on Saturday morning.

He said: “I called the transmitter service provider and they said it was a power problem. They called me back about three hours later to say the power failure was the result of a squirrel. At first I thought the guy was nuts but he explained exactly how it happened and I didn’t like to ask what became of the squirrel.”

 

 

It's about time that we quit bailing out bums from AIG... and let the rats sink or swim!

"Like millions of other Americans I'm wondering why we continue to pour money down the "rat hole" to keep AIG afloat. These clowns have given each other raises from the taxpayer bailout! They should be lined up and whipped for the lousy jobs they did for AIG! Instead, the bloodsuckers come away with our money!

I have a hard time believing all of the so-called reasons for bailing these bastards out. When will this stop? How much deeper will the AIG CEO's dig into the taxpayer's wallets to satisfy their greed! The answer is; for as long as we let them. Obama says they had to do it...but it appears to me that a lot of politics were involved in rewarding these thieves."

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST TODAY...

By Brady Dennis

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 16, 2009

In the six months since the government's bailout of insurance giant American International Group, a rescue that has become increasingly costly and contentious, one question has loomed above all others: Where did the money go?

To read the whole article click here.

photo via Reuters