Saturday, June 12, 2010

Parting Shots: A Street Art Optical Illusion

A Street Art Optical Illusion

Wooster Collective points to a remarkable piece of street art, that appeared on the streets of Berlin a few weeks ago. What you see in this photo below, is a creation by an unknown artist, who has created a subtle but effective lenticular image on the slats of a fence. Head-on it doesn’t look like much, but when you move yourself to the left (or right), an image of a face appears.

Why should we care about Presidential Memorandums?

What are the three types of Presidential memorandums? Who knows? Who cares? You might after reading this Sunday’s AS IT STAND’s column in The Times-Standard:

Presidential Memorandums: or how to stay under the media radar

Obama is already toughest president on leaks

More prosecutions sought in 17 months than any previous administration

In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions.

“Hired in 2001 by the National Security Agency to help it catch up with the e-mail and cellphone revolution, Thomas A. Drake became convinced that the government’s eavesdroppers were squandering hundreds of millions of dollars on failed programs while ignoring a promising alternative.

He took his concerns everywhere inside the secret world: to his bosses, to the agency’s inspector general, to the Defense Department’s inspector general and to the Congressional intelligence committees. But he felt his message was not getting through.

So he contacted a reporter for The Baltimore Sun.”

Though he is charged under the Espionage Act, Mr. Drake appears to be a classic whistle-blower whose goal was to strengthen the N.S.A.’s ability to catch terrorists, not undermine it.

Photo source

Marijuana Delivery Services Evade Bans on Dispensaries, Spread Across California

A flourishing and unregulated industry of pot delivery services is circumventing bans on storefront dispensaries and bringing medical marijuana directly to Californians' homes.

The exact number of delivery services operating in California is unclear, since the state does not keep a registry of medical marijuana distributors or outlets.

In April, 758 services advertised direct delivery of marijuana to patients on, a commercial listing service.

It was 1967 since I visited Haight Street – some things haven’t changed 53 years later

capture SF


For San Francisco’s controversial proposed sit/lie law, the inciting incident happened on a Wednesday night in early December in the Haight — an act of violence so brutal it inspired a grass-roots movement.

For the full story, check out Scott James's column on the sit/lie controversy.


Sixty years later, U.S. and England meet again

Image: Jozy Altidore


Before long-awaited game, Bradley says, ‘We believe we're going to win’

The last time the USA defeated the powerful English soccer team to win the World Cup Finals was the year I was born; 1950.

PHOTO: U.S. national soccer players, including Jozy Altidore, front, train at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, on Friday.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Guest Opinion: The LA Times Insults Obama Regularly


“Why does one of the largest newspapers in the country allow its political writer to routinely disrespect the president in a casually insulting way?”

Eric Boehlert asks…




Now, the U.S. government is faced with a chilling question: Should it get dragged into a shooting war by a cyber attack on an ally? Or should it decline and threaten the fiber of the NATO alliance?


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Louisiana leaders want Gulf drilling to resume

When I read this story I nearly got sick! Can you believe the gall of those bastards? In the midst of the worst ecological disaster in the world, they want to resume drilling!

Politicians say moratorium is a knee-jerk reaction

“At the same time they are venting their fury on BP over the Gulf of Mexico spill and its calamitous environmental effects, Louisiana politicians are rushing to the defense of the oil-and-gas industry and pleading with Washington to bring back offshore drilling —now.”

Retail Recall: McDonald's paying $3 for Shrek glasses

'Shrek Forever After' glasses from McDonald's (© US Consumer Product Safety Commission/AP)

Company is paying customers more than they spent, in hopes of getting back millions of glasses recalled over cadmium.

Pot Delivery Services Cropping Up Across California

Michael Montgomery As communities across California crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries, a new business model has emerged:companies that will deliver pot directly to your doorstep.

 Read more at NPR

PHOTO: A worker at C420, an online dispensary, weighs pot that will be shipped to customers. The company offers to ship pot overnight to qualified medical marijuana users at "almost any legal address in California."

Parenting vs texting: ‘Stop texting, Dad! I'm talking to you’

Image: From left, Rakesh Thakkar, Anika, 5, Sharmila Rao Thakkar, Shiv, 2, eat dinner in their home in Chicago.

Researchers fret about the risks of parenting while plugged in

From left, Rakesh Thakkar, Anika, 5, Sharmila Rao Thakkar, Shiv, 2, eat dinner in their home in Chicago, last week. Parents' use of technology, and its effect on their offspring, is now becoming an equal source of concern to some child-development researchers.

More Americans Dislike the Tea Partiers Than Ever Before

Now that it's become more clear what the Tea Parties stand for, more and more Americans have a low opinion of them.

“When the previous poll was taken you could not turn on your television without being hit in the face with Tea Party lunacy.

But the media has effectively out-hyped itself on the Tea Party and now some folks are disgusted and tired of seeing the angry-old-white-guy movement just as we are tired of seeing the incompetent-old-white-guys in Washington, D.C.”

Web Conferencing for Dummies: Yup, you're on

Image: Dimdim Web conferencing screenshot


Social blunders and mishaps are more frequent than you might think

PHOTO: This fellow, shown in a Web site ad, is dressed appropriately for a Web-based video conference. However, some folks don't dress well — or much — and others forget that the mike is on.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Remind me not to wear the Calvin Klein cologne that attracts jaguars if I ever go to Guatemala

A jaguar looks from his cage at the Sofia city zoo.

Biologists tracking jaguars in the Guatemalan jungle might smell nice but it's all in the name of science, with researchers finding the Calvin Klein cologne Obsession for Men attracts big cats.

I enjoy irony in life, and the name of this cologne is certainly ironic when you think about it being used to attract jaguars.

The cologne is known for its complex scent, and is used to help lure the big cats for research and hopefully ultimately preserve jaguars in the Central American country.

Odd News For a Wednesday: Woman wants to be world's fattest!

Image: Donna Simpson

N.J. mother of two is striving to top 1,000 pounds

Donna Simpson weighs 600 pounds and hopes to gain another 400 to become the world's heaviest living woman.

View related photos

Marion Curtis / AP file

Stress of daily grind takes toll on teeth

Image: Michael Sinkin, Mark Naples


Effects of job worries, freaky disasters seen in dentist's chair

PHOTO: Dr. Michael Sinkin, a Manhattan-based dentist, talks with bruxism patient Mark Naples about combating the effects of grinding his teeth.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Your new nightmare worms its way into view

A healthy, 25-year-old Christian minister went to an Alameda, Calif., emergency room in September 2008, complaining of something in his eye, reports a case study in this month’s issue of The Annals of Emergency Medicine.

An eyelash, maybe? A pesky speck of dust, perhaps? Or, ew, maybe a stray contact lens had wedged its way somewhere in there?

It’s just so much worse. Israel Orellana’s discomfort was caused by something called an African eye worm. That’s a worm. In his EYEBALL.

Guest Opinion: Kucinich Calls for the End of America’s Longest War

Why aren’t more Congressman pushing to end the war? Is Kucinich the only one with the guts to speak out against the insanity of staying there? It sure looks that way.

If we really want to get on the road to economic recovery then ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the first things to do. The billions going over there would be better used here at home where Americans could use the help now.

Today, the War in Afghanistan is officially the longest war Americans have ever been asked to endure. In observance, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement:

“The War in Afghanistan has now surpassed the number of years we spent in Vietnam, making it the longest war in U.S. history.

This grim landmark must serve as an awakening for the human and financial costs of the war. Our continued presence in Afghanistan foments resentment toward us, undermines the human rights of the Afghan people, and places our troops in harm’s way.

Prior to the Memorial Day break, the House passed a bill authorizing $159.3 billion for the continuation of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the so-called “war on terror” with little-to-no discussion of the cost our constituents must bear to keep the wars going.

The war is creating a new generation of Americans who will experience the trauma of war, like Vietnam veterans before them. Billions of dollars go toward our supposed nation-building in Afghanistan. Yet millions of Americans struggle as funds for essential social services get cut.

The greatest casualties of this long war are the children of the world for whom war becomes as ordinary as the sunrise. Children, who go to bed hungry each night, who are denied the fullness of health, who are ill-housed, ill-clothed, who do not have a chance for a decent education, whose opportunities in life are limited because the resources of nations are squandered in unnecessary wars based on lies.

What a terrible legacy this generation of leaders will leave for the children of the world unless we finally come to an understanding of the utter futility f war, unless we challenge the underlying thinking that leads to war, unless we firmly explore the science of human relations which leads away from war and towards understanding and human unity. This is the surge the world is waiting for.

In the coming weeks, Congress is expected to be asked to give another $33 billion for war efforts. Congress must stop funding this misguided war. We need to bring the troops home now.” said Kucinich.

Great Escape veteran Harrison dies at 97

Image: Jack Harrison, at right

He was 98th on the list of 200 inmates set to escape, but only 76 got away

PHOTO: Jack Harrison, at right, the veteran thought to be the last survivor of the World War II prisoner-of-war breakout from Stalag Luft III, is seen with other prisoners-of-war in this undated file photo.

As human jobs dry up robots continue to eliminate future work possibilities

Image: Robonaut 2

Advances — especially in safety — have their use on the rise

Technology is fine, up to a point. But despite what employers say about robots not totally taking over automated work and getting rid of humans…it’s happening. The future for human workers in manufacturing is bleak.

It’s advances like this new robot that will guarantee less work for humans. I wonder how this economy is ever going to recover when jobs are being automated?

Photo: Developed for the International Space Station, the Robonaut 2 300-pound prototype consists of a head and torso with two arms and two hands. GM plans to adapt the technology for use in future vehicles and in manufacturing plants.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What to do? Clean the birds, or kill them?

Oil spill

A biologist in Germany has stirred up a fuss with comments suggesting it makes more sense to kill heavily oiled birds from the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill disaster than to clean them.

Patients Challenge Tehama County Anti-Cultivation Ordinance


RED BLUFF- In a lawsuit  supported by California NORML, Tehama County patients  filed suit  on June 4th against a county ordinance that limits their right to grow marijuana at home.

The lawsuit, by the law firm of Edie Lerman and J David Nick of Ukiah,  asks for a writ of mandate to strike down the Tehama ordinance.
The plaintiffs  claim that the ordinance makes it impossible for them to legally exercise their Proposition 215 right to cultivate medical marijuana for themselves.

The Tehama ordinance declares it a public  nuisance  to grow marijuana anywhere within 1,000 feet of  a school, school bus stop, church, park, or youth-oriented facility;  restricts gardens  to no more than 12 mature or 24 total plants on  parcels of 20 acres or less; requires outdoor gardens to be  surrounded by an opaque fence at least six feet high and located 100  feet or more from the property boundaries; and requires every patient garden to be registered with the county health services agency for a fee to be determined.

"The ordinance is an affront to property rights as well as patients' rights," declares Jason Browne, one of the Tehama plaintiffs.  "The patient community has attempted for months to work with the county. They have snubbed us at every turn. We had no alternative but to sue."

California NORML attorneys argue that local governments cannot legally declare activities that are protected by state law to be nuisances.

"They can't take everyone's rights away," says attorney Edie Lerman.   California law states patients can have whatever they need for themselves and for collectives." Lerman warns patients to expect a long battle, as the case is likely to go to the appellate level.

Tehama's  is the most restrictive of a number of  anti-cultivation measures that have recently been proposed by local  officials  hostile to medical marijuana. In another lawsuit filed by Lerman and Nick, Mendocino County patients are challenging an ordinance that limits patient cultivation to 25 plants per parcel, regardless of the number of patients.

The ordinance was recently amended to let collectives apply for licenses for larger gardens of up to 99 plants under certain conditions.

"The right to cultivate is fundamental  to Prop. 215's mandate that 'seriously ill  Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes,'" says California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, a co-author of Prop. 215.

CONTACTS: Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858;  Edie Lerman (707) 937-1711

Signs of the Apocalypse #13 : Elton John sings at Limbaugh’s wedding!

Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh had an unexpected wedding singer when he said "I do" for the fourth time yesterday to Kathryn Rogers at the Breakers hotel in Palm Beach: gay rights advocate Elton John, according to a wire report from the FOX-owned News Corporation.

The $1 million the Rocket Man reportedly took home for his trouble, however, may have smoothed over any conflicts of interest for the time being as Rush is homophobic. One million dollars has a way of loosening convictions.

Photo source

The stench of last minute attacks on political candidates reaches from Humboldt to South Carolina

Image: Nikki Haley

Have you ever noticed how political campaigners wait until just before an election to release their “secret weapon/aka Smoking Gun” against opponents? It’s a time-honored practice in American politics, which has always been a messy process to say the least.

For example: The election of 1828 was significant as it heralded a profound change with the election of a man widely viewed as a champion of the common people. But that year's campaigning was also noteworthy for the intense personal attacks widely employed by the supporters of both candidates.

The most recent example of last minute attacks here in Humboldt is directed against 5th district supervisor candidate Ryan Sundberg’s DUI.

Decorum goes South in S.C. governor race

Nikki Haley is challenging the corrupt “Good Old Boy System” in the South and her opponents are trying their best to smear her bad enough to affect the election tomorrow. So far, it looks like their dirty tactics aren’t paying off.

PHOTO ABOVE: State Rep. Nikki Haley, 38, has been a state representative since 2004 — long enough, she says, to know the problems but not to be "part of the fraternity party."

Dirty tricks, local politics, and Elvis Costello

Writer Dan Ryan looks at five dirty campaign tactics at play in KC

Last-Minute Onslaught of Mud

With the June primary election just days away — next Tuesday — voters can expect a blitzkrieg of campaign mud smearing their TV screens and in their mailboxes over the weekend and early next week. The Democrat primary for the 35th Assembly District has generated the most contentious and over-the-top aspersions thus far, prompting the head of the Santa Barbara Democratic Central Committee to take both candidates — Santa Barbara City Councilmember Das Williams and coastal advocate Susan Jordan — to task for engaging in “cheap shots and character bashing.”

Haley Barbour: Oil? What Oil? Press Should Stop Scaring Tourists

Matt Polczynski, left, looks for tarballs as he walks along the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., Monday, June 7, 2010.  At right Will and Wes Thibodeaux of

This month we have a new “Spotlight on Idiots” featuring Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

It really cracks me up how these Republicans say they don’t want any part of Big Government, but the moment something like this massive oil spill happens they’re crying for help from the same reviled government.

Most revealing however, is the fact that here’s another Republican so friggin corrupt that he’s trying to downplay the worst ecological disaster in United States history because he’s worried the press is over blowing things and discouraging tourists! Unbelievable. But that’s a typical Republican stance. Big business first, the people last:

The biggest problem facing Mississippi in the wake of a massive oil spill in the Gulf isn't tarred beaches or ecological waste, the state's governor Haley Barbour said on Sunday. It's the national press corps, which, he asserted, is inflating the disaster's current impact and, as a result, decimating the state's tourism industry.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, the Mississippi Republican veered as close as any elected politician could to insisting that the biggest oil spill in the history of this country had been overblown -- at least when it comes to his state.”                    Photo source

Sunday, June 6, 2010

As It Stands: Researchers claim to have solved the mystery of life -- now what?


By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 06/06/2010 01:47:59 AM PDT

”Look! It's moving. It's alive. It's alive ... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, IT'S ALIVE!” Henry Frankenstein (played by Colin Clive) announced to the world when his creation moved, in the 1931 movie “Frankenstein” starring Boris Karloff.

Now reality has met fiction, and the latter is not as scary as the first. No terrible storm with jagged shards of lightning shattered the sky when the research team led by J. Craig Venter, Hamilton Smith, Clyde Hutchinson, and Daniel Gibson at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockeville, Md., recently announced the creation of life from non-living parts.

Unlike the movie, they didn't piece together parts from dead bodies to craft what they call a “synthetic cell” from a set of genes they decoded, artificially combined and then stuck into the cored-out shell of another bacterial cell, according to an article by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

Since the book “Frankenstein” by Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley came out 200 years ago, philosophers, scientists, and theologians have debated the merits of mankind creating life. Some saw the book's message as a warning of what would happen to men if they messed with the secret of life.

READ THE REST HERE                          Photo source

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...