Saturday, July 25, 2009


First, you should know that Blue Dog Democrats are the ones who are tend to embrace some conservative ideology.

You might call them right of the center of the democratic party. Typically, they tend to be more universally conservative on fiscal issues and have less consensus on social issues.

So now that you know who the term refers to, let’s digg a little into exactly why the term “Blue Dog” is used to describe them. For starters, the term derived from the earlier reference to “Yellow Dog Democrats. The term “Yellow Dog Democrat” arose in the 1800s to describe people in the South who would vote for a yellow dog before they voted for a Republican.

So the term “Blue Dog Democrats” was derived from this earlier usage, but why the term blue? Well, the idea is that conservative democrats for the longest time have been choked out of the party by the left extreme. When you get choked, you turn blue. So the idea is that the Blue Dog Democrats have been choked blue by the extreme left and have now formed a coalition to fight back.

Text and photo via Dog Reflections

'Organ trafficking': Rabbis arrested over massive crime ring

US agents have arrested 44 elected officials and Jewish rabbis in New Jersey in a huge anti-corruption sweep across the state.

Charges of extortion, bribery, money laundering and human organ trafficking were stunning even for a state long notorious for official corruption and organised crime.

Five rabbis were among suspects, along with the mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, the Jersey City deputy mayor and council president, two state assembly members, and numerous other politicians, prosecutors said.

Acting US Attorney for the district of New Jersey Ralph Marra told a press conference the sweep demonstrated "the pervasive nature of public corruption in this state".

"The politicians willingly put themselves up for sale," he said, while "clergymen cloak their extensive criminal activity behind a facade of rectitude."

Raids began shortly after dawn on Thursday, officials said, targeting a who's who of state leaders.

Click here to read the rest from The Age

Ten things you don’t know about the Earth

Here are ten facts about the Earth — They’re all real. But how many of them do you know? Be honest.

1) The Earth is smoother than a billiard ball.

Maybe you’ve heard this statement: if the Earth were shrunk down to the size of a billiard ball, it would actually be smoother than one. When I was in third grade, my teacher said basketball, but it’s the same concept. But is it true? Let’s see. Strap in, there’s a wee bit of math (like, a really wee bit).

Click here to read the other nine facts from Discover.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The dandelion is a healthful, great tasting weed you can eat

By Carol Williams
Want to eat a weed? One that’s easy to find and tastes great? Just start hunting for those first spring dandelions.The dandelion’s true name is Taraxacum Officinale, which means “the official remedy for disorders.”
Legend has it that the people of Atlantis used the dandelion as a food and a tonic. The early colonists brought the dandelion to America from Europe. They used all parts of the plant, even the roots, which they roasted and ground for a coffee-like drink. We know that frontier healers often recommended dandelion greens as a spring tonic. They are full of vitamins unavailable to pioneers during the winter. There is no doubt dandelions have saved lives.
Click here to read the rest in Back Woods Home

Real-Life Sci-Fi Discovery of the Day: Scientists Make LED Bulbs From Salmon DNA

BY Ariel SchwartzFri Jul 24, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Where can science fiction possibly go when real-life headlines proclaim that researchers have created LED lightbulbs from salmon DNA? University of Connecticut researchers have added fluorescent dye to salmon DNA and spun the DNA strands into nanofibers to create a brand new material that gives off a bright white light. A LED light is coated with the DNA nanofibers, and voila, a salmon DNA lightbulb is born.

While other scientists have experimented with materials like silica nanoparticles and block copolymers to alter the color of light given off by a LED bulb, salmon DNA has proven most successful. Tuning the light quality from cool white to warm white is just a matter of tweaking the ratio of dyes because, according to researchers, "the DNA fibers orient the dyes in an optimum way for efficient [fluorescence energy transfer] to occur." So salmon DNA bulbs could overcome at least one hurdle for LEDs--complaints about brightness.

Click here to read the rest of the article at Fast Company

More health care controversy...

Mike Luckovich, copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate

Thursday, July 23, 2009

FBI corruption probe involves two NJ mayors and 30 people

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano (right) is led into FBI Headquarters in Newark after being taken into custody.

(Below) Mayor Dennis Elwell at FBI Headquarters. Both photos by Robert Sciarrino 

Morning Rush: Hoboken City Mayor Peter Cammarano arrested by FBI

by Paul

Thursday July 23, 2009, 7:51 AM

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano has been arrested by the FBI as part of a wide-reaching investigation that is swooping up dozens of people, including other politicians and rabbis, according the WNBC-TV, Hudson County Now is reporting. The IRS is also involved, according to the report.

• A controversial ordinance that would give the Hoboken City Council the power to name people to the Zoning Board -- instead of the mayor -- was not voted on last night at the council meeting and was put into sub-committee instead. The ordinance was put into the Zoning and Planning subcommittee after nearly two hours of heated debate, from both the Council and the public.

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano's picks for directors was put on hold to allow City Council President Dawn Zimmer time to review the candidates. Cammarano submitted a letter to the council at last night's meeting, responding to the delay.

• After an empty suitcase was found in front of her home prompting a call to the police, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason said today that she has received threatening letters off and on since she was first elected to the City Council two years ago, and was even threatened on the street in Hoboken once.

 2 N.J. mayors, lawmaker arrested in corruption case

By Jean Mikle, USA TODAY

NEWARK — The mayors of two New Jersey cities and a state legislator are under arrest Thursday as part of a major corruption and international money laundering conspiracy probe.

Federal prosecutors say about 30 people have been arrested. They include Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini. Federal prosecutors say several rabbis in New York and New Jersey are also arrested.

The mayors of two major New Jersey cities and an assemblyman have been arrested in a major corruption and international money laundering conspiracy probe, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says approximately 30 arrests have occurred in the two-track investigation.

They include Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, the AP says.

Update at 9:40 a.m. ET: The Star-Ledger, of Newark, says the feds have been probing alleged money transfers involving rabbis in Syrian Jewish enclaves in Deal and Brooklyn. The paper says those arrested include key religious leaders in the tight-knit, wealthy communities.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Law enforcement officials will give a news conference at noon ET on the arrests.

Posted by Doug Stanglin at 09:37 AM/ET, July 23, 2009 in Crime, Politics | Permalin

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oakland leads the way - it's the first city nationally to impose Marijuana tax

I received this press release today from Dale Gieringer, Cal NORML:

  "Last night's landslide victory for Oakland's cannabis business tax, Measure F,  by 79.9%  mirrors  the historic 79.6% victory of  San Francisco's  path-breaking medical marijuana initiative, Prop. P, in 1991.  Like Prop P, Measure F seems destined to serve as a model for cannabis reform elsewhere in the state and country.

   Measure F would impose a 1.8% tax on the city's medical cannabis businesses, raising an estimated $300,000 for the city.

   Kudos to James Anthony for having proposed and authored this measure;  to  Rebecca Kaplan for having shepherded it through City Council;   and to  medical cannabis  collective directors Steve DeAngelo, Richard Lee, and Keith Stephenson for their enlightened support of this landmark measure.

  Thanks too to the voters of Oakland, who approved Measure Z to "tax and regulate" marijuana in 2004 and have kept their city on the forefront of cannabis law reform."

The Christian Science Monitor ran this article today:

Oakland voters approve marijuana tax
It is the first US city to assess such a tax, which could raise almost $300,000 in revenue next year. Opponents of the measure say it opens the door to more crime and heavier drug use.

Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday became the first city in the US to assess a tax on marijuana.
    State and national advocates of the tax say the victory is a significant turning point in the history of cannabis use, paving the way for taxation in other communities and states and establishing more social acceptance of marijuana use.
    Opponents say an irreversible threshold has been crossed, opening the door to more crime and heavier drug use.
     By a wide margin of 80 percent to 20 percent, Oakland voters said "yes" to Measure F, which asked: "Shall City of Oakland's business tax, which currently imposes a tax rate of $1.20 per $1,000 on 'cannabis business' gross receipts, be amended to establish a new tax rate of $18 per $1,000 of gross receipts?"
  "The voters of Oakland have sent a message to the nation that cannabis is better treated as a legitimate, tax-paying business than as a cause of crime and futile law-enforcement expenditures," says Dale Gieringer, California state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
     The city estimates that the measure will raise $294,000 in additional tax revenue in 2010 and more in future years. Some say the measure will provide funds to help offset the city's current $83 million deficit as well as allow police to direct their limited resources to more serious crimes and drug offenses.
   "The public is more interested in having money to preserve social services and fight more important crimes," says Sam Singer, a Berkeley resident and well-known PR consultant.
Mr. Singer and others say that since the passage of Proposition 218 in 1996 - which made marijuana available by prescription to relieve pain and nausea - marijuana use in California has existed behind a "false front": Users can go to a doctor, complain of symptoms, and for about $100, get the doctor to write them a prescription for the drug. A state-issued card lasts for one year.
   "It's so easy to get a card that it's almost as if physicians will help lead you to your story of chronic pain, insomnia, fatigue, etc.," says John Diaz, editorial page editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
   Oakland has not so much cleared up the marijuana issue so much as found a way to contain it, Mr. Diaz says. The city is giving permits to only four clubs, compared with a few dozen in San Francisco and about 800 in Los Angeles.
   Federal law still prohibits the use and sale of marijuana, although US Attorney General Eric Holder has said that federal law enforcement will no longer conduct raids in the states that have legalized medical-marijuana use. Nationwide, about 775,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2007.

   "It takes a lot of time, attention, and money to bust, prosecute, and then incarcerate marijuana users," Singer says. "Given the economy, this is a move that will be welcomed not just in Oakland, but most likely in major urban cities across the nation."

Here's a very unusual fish story that ends well for the fish!

A Fish Story
Bill Driver, who lives in Wichita, KS, saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in the lake and went to investigate.
It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!
The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface.
Bill tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife, Pam, cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

You probably wouldn't have believed this, if you hadn't seen the following pictures...

Click here to see the rest of these amazing pics at

Photo by Pam Driver

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

As It Stands Blog celebrates 1st Year Anniversary!

It's hard to believe I've been blogging for a year now!

My first post was a year ago today, although I had the site for two days prior and didn't write anything. Having said that I would like to thank the 66,689 visitors (as of right now) from around the world who came and took a look at my fledgling web site.

As of today, there are 65 web sites who have picked up my As It Stands columns. There are links to the 49 columns I wrote for The Times-Standard; five links to columns I wrote for ALL VOICES; eight links to columns I wrote for Nolan Chart; and two columns picked up by the Kauai News and Information site.

About six months into my blogging experience I changed the web template to the design it now has. I really like this layout.

 It was a good year. Michael Moore ran my column "A President With PTSD?" under the "Must Read" part of his web site.

The column "Judge Says Feds Violated 10th Amendment by Subverting State Marijuana Laws" went viral last year setting an "ALL TIME - Top Scoring" record with The Times-Standard and was the Times-Standard's Most Read Online article for 2008. This column continues to attract readers and is #5 on this years "Hot List" according to Reddit.

Other columns that attracted a lot of readers were: "California Can Lead the Nation out of the Depression by Legalizing Marijuana" which is #4 on this year's "Hot List" by Reddit. I'm not sure yet, but I think this column has gone viral already this year, and if it hasn't it's very close; "President Obama - It's time to stop spying on all Americans" is #5 on Reddit's "Hot List" and ranks #9 "ALL TIME" and is another column destined to go viral this year judging by the steady continued readership; "Got Khat? Paranoia leads to latest State Ban on a Plant" is on this year's "Hot List" at #6 (and climbing), and rates #12 on the "ALL TIME" category.

It has been fun checking out visitors through my Stat Counter. On any given day readers from Germany to Chile can be found noodling through my posts. I find myself getting curious about the visitors from such exotic places as the Islamic Republic of Iran, or Afghanistan. I think it's fair to say I've had visitors from every state in America.

The whole blogging experience has opened up many new doors, and I've met some real interesting people on line. I especially enjoy some of the Humboldt County blogs like The Humboldt Herald, WatchPaul, Rambling Jack's Laboratory, Redheaded Blackbelt, and Ernie's Place.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who has visited my blog...and you come back hear?

image via Google Images

Taser-hit man burst into flames

A man in Western Australia was engulfed in flames when police officers fired a Taser stun gun at him.

Police say they used the Taser on Ronald Mitchell, 36, when he ran at them carrying a container of petrol and a cigarette lighter.

They said that Mr Mitchell, who lives in a remote Aboriginal community, had been sniffing petrol. They suggested the cigarette lighter started the fire.

Mr Mitchell is in a critical condition in hospital with third degree burns.

Click here to read the rest at BBC News

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Liberals Fear Global Warming More Than Conservatives Do

By Dennis Prager

Observers of contemporary society will surely have noted that a liberal is far more likely to fear global warming than a conservative. Why is this?

After all, if the science is as conclusive as Al Gore, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and virtually every other spokesman of the Left says it is, conservatives are just as likely to be scorched and drowned and otherwise done in by global warming as liberals will. So why aren't non-leftists nearly as exercised as leftists are? Do conservatives handle heat better? Are libertarians better swimmers? Do religious people love their children less?

The usual liberal responses -- to label a conservative position racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic or the like -- obviously don't apply here. So, liberals would have to fall back on the one remaining all-purpose liberal explanation: "big business." They might therefore explain the conservative-liberal divide over global warming thus: Conservatives don't care about global warming because they prefer corporate profits to saving the planet.

Click here to read the rest from RealClearPolitics

Here's a list of 10 common health myths debunked

Sugar Hyperactivity

The Myth: Sugar makes kids hyperactive

Dr. Vreeman and Dr. Carroll, both pediatricians at the Riley Hospital for Children recently said: “in at least 12 double-blinded, randomized, controlled trials, scientists have examined how children react to diets containing different levels of sugar. None of these studies, not even studies looking specifically at children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, could detect any differences in behavior between the children who had sugar and those who did not.” This includes artificial and natural sources of sugar. Interestingly, in the study, parents who were told their children had been given sugar when they hadn’t, noted that the child was more hyperactive. So it seems it is all in the parent’s mind.

The Myth: You lose most of your body heat through your head

A military study many years ago tested the loss of temperature in soldiers when exposed to very cold temperatures. They found rapid heat loss in the head – and so the idea that we lose heat through our heads was born. But what they didn’t tell you was that the soldiers were fully clothed except for their heads. This obviously skews the statistics considerably. The fact is, completely naked, you lose approximately 10% of your body heat through the head – the other 90% is lost via the other parts of your body.

Click here to read 8 more common health myths from Listverse

Dubya's resume is one for the record books...

Work Experience
LAW ENFORCEMENT: I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.
MILITARY: I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.
COLLEGE: I graduated from Yale University. I earned a lot of "gentleman's C's," which means F's that are turned into C's for sons of prominent Americans.
PAST WORK EXPERIENCE: I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.
With the help of my father and our right-wing friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Kenneth Lay), I was elected Governor of Texas.
I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.
I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
I set the record for the most executions by any Governor in American history.
With the help of my brother, the Governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
I am the first president in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market
I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one year period. In my first year in office, after taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history, resulting in the disaster of 9-11.
I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD. In my State Of The Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq, then blamed the lies on our British friends.
I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. president.
I appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any president in U.S. history.

I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history, and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
I have cut health care benefits for war veterans, and I support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in war time.
Internationally, I have set the all-time record for the most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
I have broken more international treaties than any president in U.S history.
I am proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
I am the first president in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world community.
I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
I am the first president in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission
I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law. I refused to allow inspectors access to U.S. prisoners of war detainees, and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
I am the first president in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors. (during the 2000 U.S. presidential election).
I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, causing hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their retirement funds. My political party used the Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.
I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation, or prosecution. In the meantime, more time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.
I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I am first president in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
I changed U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES: All records of my tenure as Governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed, and unavailable for public view.
All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
Via the
comments at HuffPo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To President Obama: 'How about a tour of the White House cuz?'

  •  Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard

Posted: 07/19/2009 01:35:42 AM PDT

 I find life a series of surprises, so when the latest one hit, I took it well. My dear Aunt Doris, who lives in Upstate New York, sent me a fascinating e-mail the other day. She shared some genealogical research by her son Perry, who detailed his and my family connection to the President of the United States, Barack Obama!

It seems we have a common ancestor, Edward FitzRandolph. He was baptized on July 5, 1607, at Sutton-in-Asfield, Nottinghamshire, England. He married a woman named Elizabeth Blossom from the Netherlands.

They moved to America and had two sons; Thomas and Nathaniel. When the boys grew up they each had a family. My side of the family descended from Thomas, and President Obama from Nathaniel.

Click here to read the rest.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...