Dave Stancliff 2013-08-18 blogarama.com

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Catching asteroids is NOT as Important as Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure!

Asteroid

   Good Day World!

I don’t have a problem with NASA. If they want to continue to seek the stars on Uncle Sam’s ticket, so be it. But where do we draw the line at stupid missions?

 I have to admit catching asteroids – like space cowboys – is an alluring image. Yahoo! Space, the final frontier…and all that jazz.

But when it comes down to allocating our taxes to various government and private projects, we can’t afford to prioritize space travel over life here on the planet – as in our country, which has a crumbling infrastructure! Our travel goals ought to be expanding and repairing our highways, not out chasing asteroids.

Say I’m not a dreamer, if you want. That I lack imagination and appreciation for space travel. I don’t care. I’ve always been a realist – not always a popular position to take. The fact is every one of our 50 states have highways going to hell!

Either we pay now to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure, or we pay more later. 

We all drive on bridges, overpasses, and viaducts that we assume must be safe because, surely, somebody inspected them and determined that they are safe. We pay taxes so somebody makes sure the bridges and roads are safe, right?

That trust is badly misplaced. For decades, we have been using up our infrastructure faster than we have been replacing it.

Here’s the status of NASA’s plan to catch asteroids:

“One of NASA's most audacious plans for the future is a mission to capture an asteroid and tug it back near Earth within the reach of astronaut explorers. This proposal is illustrated in captivating new detail in a series of images and video released by NASA Thursday.

The new asteroid mission concept photos from NASA show how the plan would play out in detail. For example, the animations show how a robotic spacecraft could initially lasso in the asteroid and contain it within a giant "asteroid capture bag."

The mission is part of NASA's goal to find and study the space rocks near Earth, including those that may pose an impact danger to our planet. The plan was outlined under President Barack Obama's 2014 budget request.

In this conceptual image, the two-person crew uses a translation boom to travel from the Orion spacecraft to the captured asteroid during a spacewalk.” Read story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, August 23, 2013

You’ll Pay for Bradley Mannings Sex-Reassignment Surgery if Has it!

     Good Day World!

            By Dave Stancliff

 Our prison systems – both civilian and military – are turning into resorts. Taxpayers are paying for everything from flat screen TVs to computers to entertain the inmates. They already get better health care than most Americans do.

My wife worked in oncology for years and frequently saw prisoners (from Pelican Bay – home of the worst killers in California) get treatment (guards brought them) even if it meant canceling a civilian appointment! That’s a fact. Not heresy, or something I read. By the time the state was done paying for the two guards that had to accompany the prisoner and his oncology bill, it cost thousands of dollars. They enjoy priority care. That’s the truth.

What have prisoners done to warrant such special treatment? Nothing. They’re behind bars for a reason. But, in recent years there’s been a movement to make their lives more pleasant. They are rewarded for being thieves, murderers, gang members, sociopaths, and the scum of our society. That’s crazy.

When I read that Bradley Manning, convicted of violating the Espionage Act and other offenses, declared that he was a female and wanted to be treated as such, I had to pause and count to ten! What did that mean? The move raises a host of questions about Manning, about transgender inmates in the U.S. - and about the treatment itself.

Throughout Manning's court-martial for divulging government papers to the website WikiLeaks, the soldier’s gender confusion was a factor used by the defense. I don’t see how being confused about your sex has anything to do with leaking classified Army documents, but they tried.

Fact: The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. This fact didn’t phase Manning’s lawyer, David Combs. He told the press that he’s “hoping” Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy for Manning.

The “right thing” according to Combs means being cooperative and changing all the rules for his client. And, heaven forbid, if the Army doesn’t see it his way, he threatened do do everything in his power to make sure they are forced to!

What seems odd, is Coombs said that Manning hasn't discussed whether to pursue sex-reassignment surgery while in prison. Maybe that’s because no inmates have ever received sex-reassignment surgery while in U.S. prisons.

Brace yourself for this little tidbit: the cost ranges widely from $12,000 to $30,000 or more for surgery with ongoing costs of up to $200 a month for hormone therapy and more for psychotherapy! That’s on top of the other normal costs of keeping him behind bars.

Plain fact: if a prisoner receives care while incarcerated, taxpayers foot the bill. And I have a problem with that! When are we going to draw the line when it comes to over-the-top expenses for prisoners so they’re comfortable with their situation?

Meanwhile, I’ll be curious to see if Manning is rewarded for his crimes by getting a free sex-change while he’s locked up.

As It Stands, I wonder if they’ll throw in a boob job if his lawyer wins the case?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The GOP & The Tea Party: Not a match made in heaven!

     Good Day World!

 Well here we are in the dog days of summer and both political parties are stumbling along like lame horses.

The GOP has been able to successfully pursue their fascist legislative agenda at the state levels (see North Carolina and Texas) and are raising tons of money for campaigning.

But their internal struggle with the Tea Party continues to leave the GOP languishing in a non-productive ideological limbo. They just can’t get along. 

This summer has highlighted both the Tea Party’s re-emergence inside the GOP, as well as the Huge divides within the party. Think immigration reform, the “defund Obamacare” movement, John Boehner’s struggles to corral his GOP colleagues, Mitch McConnell’s primary challenge. Nine months after the GOP’s losses in the 2012 election, there’s still a clear fight going on over the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

Here’s the kicker; this establishment-vs.-non-establishment fight will play out over the next couple of years. The Republican Party meanwhile will continue to loose credibility without a central unified message. Divided, they’re falling. It’s safe to say they’re not a match made in heaven, and have their demons to deal with. 

But we’ve also seen reminders over the last 24 to 48 hours about the Tea Party’s limits within the GOP. For instance, the movement to defund Obamacare has gone nowhere, even as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has exhorted his colleagues not to blink in the fight. What’s more, Cruz decided to renounce his Canadian citizenship after it was revealed he has dual citizenship.

Tea Partier Joe Carr, who’s challenging Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), misspelled the word “Senate” on his website. And McConnell released a new ad highlighting that primary opponent Matt Bevin had once incorrectly suggested he graduated from MIT (when he didn’t). As some establishment Republicans have gleefully noted to many over the last few days, it hasn’t been the best of times for the Tea Party.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Tuesday Pot-Pourri Report: Marijuana Stocks are Shaky!

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   Good Day World!

There’s a growing green movement on Wall Street.

And I don’t mean “green” as in environmental. I’m talking about pot stock.

Who would have ever thought there would be such a thing? Now, I’m waiting to see if there will be expanded news coverage for Wall Street.

Read “The Mary Jane” money report straight from the farmer’s lips every day, as prices fluctuate from state to state! This news report brought to you from the Marijuana Farmers of America and their affiliate, “Bongs For People.”

IN THE NEWS:

Investors in marijuana-related stocks may see their profits go up in smoke, U.S. regulators said on Tuesday.

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog, warned that scammers have been targeting investors attempting to tap into the growing U.S. marijuana industry.FINRA said red flags for investors range from the classic "pump and dump" - in which con artists boost the price of thinly traded stocks by misleading investors about a company's potential, then sell their shares at a peak - to executives with criminal records.

The majority of marijuana-related companies are so-called penny stocks that trade on the over-the counter-markets, which do not have the liquidity and reporting requirements of major exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Deadly boredom: Inside the mind of teen killers

Two teenagers were charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a college baseball player out for a jog in Oklahoma — a crime that one teen said they carried out simply because they were bored, according to police.James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, were charged with murder. A third teenager, Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and with firing a weapon. All were charged as adults, according to the Stephens County District Attorney’s Office.

Sheer boredom has been cited as a motive in the murders of at least four people in recent years, including Friday’s fatal shooting of an Oklahoma college athlete, and leading experts on teen violence say that reason may be quite real in the minds of some youthful killers.

A handful of young homicide suspects and convicted killers have in recent years told authorities they were pushed by boredom to willfully take a random life -- and that state of listlessness may have ignited an urge for lethal excitement, said juvenile homicide expert Phil Chalmers, author of “Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer.”

‘A decent way of smuggling’ & earn more money when you have more sex!

                Good Day World!

I got a few things on my mind today that may interest you.

A man in western Ohio found 285 pounds of marijuana stuffed into a Mexican-made gun-storage safe that he recently purchased on the Internet, authorities said.

When I read this article and saw what Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart said - "It's a pretty decent way of smuggling. My guess is that it's not the first time it's happened," I was stunned.

A decent way of smuggling? What’s up with that? The Sheriff sounds like he’s a fan or something. Perhaps it’s just me, but what if he stumbled onto a whole new system of smuggling drugs into the USA, and here he sounds like…oh hum…just another day!

The DEA is interesting in following what would normally be an insignificant amount (285 pounds?) because they suspect it could be the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile, Sheriff Barney Fife aka John Lenhart, is clueless about the case – a condition I suspect that’s chronic.

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I ran across this article “Earn more money, when you have more sex, study says (seriously!)” and am somewhat skeptical of the claims made, but who knows? I know there’s something to making more money when you have more sex – any prostitute will tell you that.

A new study finds that sexually active people make more money without always being prostitutes. And if you do it more than four times a week, you earn even more, the study shows. Wow! If that were the case, I would have been wealthy years ago! Instead, I’m just a regular Joe making a living.

According to Warwick University's Oswald, “Happiness does raise productivity in humans,” so it’s possible that people who are having sex are more productive at work because they’re in a better mood — albeit maybe a bit sleep-deprived. Drydakis found that people having sex more than four times a week see the biggest wage benefit.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Pot...Porri Report: Weed helping kids? That’s not what the government’s telling us!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Video: Some parents want the drug legalized and say it’s helped their children immensely. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

Good Day World!

This Monday marks the first installment of The Pot…Porri Report, by yours truly. As you’ll see in future reports, I do have some knowledge about marijuana.

My research on the subject began in 1964 when I inhaled pot for the first time. I did it to get high and have a good time. Mission accomplished.

Over the years, being an avid reader has helped me research every aspect of marijuana. It’s an amazing medicine that goes back over 5000 years, but I’m not going to give you a history lesson today. The topic of the day is children getting pot for medicinal reasons.

Parents who believe their sick children would be helped by medical marijuana won a partial victory in New Jersey Friday. Using a conditional veto, Gov. Chris Christie modified a bill to allow prescriptions of edible medical marijuana for children.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This bill is going to attract the anti-pot crowd like fleas on a dog. Don’t let them tell you these kids who are using pot to treat their epilepsy are getting high. Simply put, there’s THC and CBD’s in marijuana. THC gets you high. CBD’s work many wonders without getting you high.

New Jersey isn't the first state to allow medical marijuana prescriptions children. Eighteen states, plus Washington, D.C., allow use of medical marijuana. A number of them provide prescriptions to children, with parental supervision, to treat a host of ills, ranging from autism to cancer to seizures.

Links to related stories:

2-Year-Old Girl With Epilepsy: Family Fights To Get Her Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana for Children

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

    

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Fond Farewell: As It Stands is Moving On

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By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
It’s been a good run.

After five years of writing this column for the Times-Standard, it’s time to call it quits. I don’t think I can put my feelings into words, but I’ll try.

When I made my reappearance in the world after years of crippling depression due to my PTSD in 2006, I took on the roll of publicity director for the first North Coast Stand Down in Ferndale. The event was meant to “Give veterans a hand up, not a hand-out.”  

As rewarding as it was to work with homeless veterans and their families, I only did it for two years because it took a mental toll on me. Putting myself “out there” was no easy proposition. I wasn’t used to being around people. I still avoid large crowds. 

The good news was, it whet my appetite to communicate with people. Glenn Simmons, editor of the now defunct Eureka Reporter, offered me some space on the Op Ed page in 2007, and I was off!
After the Eureka Reporter folded up, I hooked up with the Times-Standard and the rest, as they say, is history.

The words that wouldn’t come out after all those dark years of battling the disability that forced me to retire as a newspaper editor, began to flow once again.

I was able to look at the daily news and not get angry because I had an outlet. Writing. Purging myself on subject after subject was a positive experience and I settled into a comfortable groove. After 265 columns (give or take a couple) the time has come to close this chapter in my life.

Five years have passed in a blink of an eye. After over 30 years of living in Humboldt County, my beautiful wife and I are moving to Oregon. I never thought I’d move from this area. I should have known better. Never say never. Life is too unpredictable for that!

I can’t say I had a particularly favorite column. To me, each had its moments when readers commented and I got feedback.

I am proud of one column I did about Humboldt County not having a prescription disposal program like most of the rest of the country had at the time. A man I admire, Jimmy Smith (then Country Supervisor) read the column and got proactive.

Thanks to Jimmy, we now have an excellent prescription disposal program on the north coast. He took positive action as opposed to some other local pols who felt I was trying to embarrass them!

Writing an OP ED column can be a merry game. It can also get old. Forgive me, but my interests are going in new directions.

I’ve been a consultant for Learnist this last year, a hot new social learning website. I get to create and curate learning boards on practically any topic you can name. Politics and News are what I’m most known for, but I’ve done boards on everything from world travel to Elvis Presley’s first concert!

So you see, I won’t quit sharing things with people. The benefit of being able to do my job from home is immense. I still have PTSD. It doesn’t go away. You learn to live with it. Working online has been a resurrecting experience for me. It started with this column, which has a history of appearing in four differeHumboldt-County-signnt newspapers.  

Why leave Humboldt County? That’s harder to explain. I don’t want to say anything bad about it. I’ll always love this area. I have family here, so I’ll return to visit from time to time. The climate change won’t make much difference to me as I’m indoors more than out. It is just time.

I can’t begin to thank everyone who has encouraged me to write again, and those of you who have read my column on a regular basis. You know who you are, so I won’t embarrass you by saying your names.

I cannot end this column without acknowledging and thanking the following three people:

* My dear friend Margaret Searles, an author and editor who lives in Mckinleyville and whose invaluable input on every one of my columns is deeply appreciated.

* Times-Standard Assistant Editor, Mark Valles, who I’ve had the pleasure of working with for just over a year. His strong editorial and copywriting skills have the editorial page looking better than ever!

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* Times-Standard Editor, Kimberly Wear, who I worked with for several years prior to Mark. I enjoyed her small talk about her family. Especially around October when she took her daughter to the Pumpkin Patch in Arcata. Always the professional, she’s a nice person to know.


  I guess that’s about all I have to say about that…other than thanks for the memories!


As It Stands, it’s time for me to walk on down the road…