Saturday, October 2, 2010

Prescription Drug abuse: Go ask Alice when she’s 10-feet tall’

What’s the tie-in between Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and “As It Stands” Sunday column?

Two words:

Prescription drugs

Jefferson Airplane’s iconic “White Rabbit” was about prescription drugs, still legal LSD, and illegal drug use.

The DEA lists prescription drugs as the 2nd biggest drug problem in the country today. What happens to prescription drugs when people stop taking them and leave them in the medicine cabinet? You probably have a good idea of what could happen.

How can you safely get rid of them? Can’t just flush em down the john without polluting waterways. Throwing them in the garbage adds to toxic landfills. What to do then?

What if I told you Humboldt County had it’s chance to provide a public service by safely disposing of prescription drugs last Saturday…and didn’t? We have our share of prescription drug abuse behind the Redwood Curtain, and could have used this opportunity to take a proactive step towards fighting the problem.

“As It Stands” wants to know “Who dropped the ball?”


Oops! Celebrity's cereal box lists sex line instead of charity

Chad Ochocinco

From CHICAGO (Reuters)

“The telephone number pasted on boxes of cereal named for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco was supposed to be for a charity -- but mistakenly directed callers to a sex line, the player's agent said on Thursday.

"The wrong number was given by the Feed the Children charity," Ochocinco's agent Robert Bailey said. "It's a shame because it's a good cause."

The outspoken Ochocinco said he was confident the mistake -- an 800 area code was substituted for 888 -- would be corrected by PBL Sports, the marketing company behind "Ochocincos" cereal.

A portion of the $5 price of each box goes to the Feed The Children organization, according to PBL's website.

In a tweet, the football player had directed fans to his own website and urged them to order his cereal, adding, "Start your day with a lil suga!!!"

(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

After mixing up the address to the Halloween Party, Bob was never seen again…

cartoon source

1925 – Popular Science Monthly looks at the future for 1950

American City of Future (1925) #2

Friday, October 1, 2010

It’s official: White House Opposes Legalizing Marijuana Use

I just thought I’d post this poster showing our supposedly “pot-friendly” president when he was courting votes from organizations such as NORML.

What happened since the election Mr. President?

All that talk about respecting the voters will looks like bullshit in the light of your special advisors comments:

The Obama administration “adamantly opposes legalizing marijuanaand views medical marijuana dubiously as well, a top White House drug policy adviser testified before the Montana Supreme Court Administrator’s annual drug court conference in Helena last night.

AND…what about this?

“Kevin Sabet, special adviser for policy at the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, said marijuana is a dangerous drug that causes documented health and social problems and should not be subject to voter-approval for its use.


‘Up In Smoke’: 22 people arrested in marijuana sting, some for illegally delivering pot

“In a sting named after a Cheech and Chong stoner movie, a South Bay narcotics task force busted close to two dozen people on charges that included illegally delivering marijuana.

The single-day "Up in Smoke" sting was conducted Thursday by the Santa Clara County Special Enforcement Team, the Attorney General's Office, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, along with several other law enforcement agencies, and resulted in the arrest of 22 adults, the seizure of over 25 pounds of marijuana, 9 firearms, and 223 marijuana plants.”

Image source

Peruvian fossil explains how the penguin changed its feathers

A 36 million-year-old fossil found in Peru suggests that the feathers of ancient giant penguins followed a different color scheme — and may not have been as hardy as they are today.

Instead of sporting the classic tuxedo look of modern penguins, the fossil species known as Inkayacu paracasensis ("Water King of Paracas" in the Quechua language) had reddish brown and gray feathers, paleontologists report in a research paper published online today by the journal Science.

The creature was nearly 5 feet tall, which outdoes the height of today's largest living penguin, the Emperor.

Update for 4 p.m. ET: As you can imagine, a lot of people are talking (and writing) about this story. Over at LiveScience, Stephanie Pappas quotes Gerald Mayr, a paleornithologist at the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History, as saying that the action of hydrodynamic forces on feathers may not totally explain why penguins evolved to have bigger melanosomes

Schwarzenegger signs pot bill SB 1449 into law


Sacramento, Sept 30th:  A bill to downgrade the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The bill, SB 1449 by Sen. Mark Leno, will spare petty pot offenders  the necessity for a
court appearance and criminal arrest record while saving the state millions of dollars in court and prosecution expenses.The bill treats petty possession like a traffic ticket punishable by a  simple $100 fine and no arrest record.

"Gov. Schwarzenegger deserves credit for sparing the state's taxpayers the cost of prosecuting minor pot offenders,"  said California NORML director Dale Gieringer, "Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources."
 The new law, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2011, will have an effect even if Californians vote to legalize marijuana by passing Prop 19.   Prop 19 leaves misdemeanor possession penalties in place for public use and smoking in the presence of kids;  under SB 1449,
these offenses would be simple infractions.
In his signing statement, the Governor said he opposes decriminalization of recreational use of marijuana and opposes Prop 19, but "in this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend
limited resources" prosecuting petty pot offenses.

Misdemeanor possession offenses have mounted  to new highs in recent years, reaching 61,164 in 2009  (see
California NORML  originally  called for making petty possession an infraction when the state passed its landmark decriminalization law in 1975, but the legislature made it a minor
misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $100 fine. This marks the first time in 35 years that penalties for non-medical use of marijuana have been reduced in California.
                                             Text of SB 1449:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

There’s no discounting the importance of a good stretch…

Stretch Cat is Stretchin'It’s important to remember to stretch every morning.

Laying on a sofa all day is all well and good, but without a proper stretch who knows what will happen if you later decide to jump from the top of the refrigerator onto a trash can?

Or if you take a power nap and contort yourself into a strange, unrecognizable position.

Without properly stretching first, it could be a disaster.

photo source

And we wonder why the US is lagging behind in education

By Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press
From the Cartoonist Group.

By the light of the moon: Belgium experiments with mystical "full moon" beer

To match Reuters Life! LIFE-BELGIUM/BEER

Now this is what I call a beer breakthrough! I wonder when it’ll be available here?

“Full moons are often associated with tides, insanity and creatures like werewolves, but it turns out they're also good for brewing beer.

In Peruwelz, a small, sleepy town in southern Belgium, a family-owned brewery has produced its first batch of specialist beer brewed by the light of a full autumnal moon.

It isn't so much a nod to mythology as a recognition of nature's impact on the science of brewing.

"We made several tests and noticed that the fermentation was more vigorous, more active," explained Roger Caulier, the owner of Brewery Caulier, which began in the 1930s when his grandfather started selling homemade beer from a handcart.

"The end product was completely different, stronger, with a taste lasting longer in the mouth," he said.”

Outsourcing safety: Airplane repairs move to unregulated foreign shops

'All the manuals are in English,' Spanish-speaking employee says through a translator

“In 1991, a mechanic at a Turkish repair shop overhauled an engine on a U.S. passenger jet and missed a crack in the engine.

Four years later, on a June afternoon, the 57 passengers on ValuJet Flight 597 heard a loud bang as the plane bolted down a runway in Atlanta. Shrapnel from the busted engine ripped through a fuel line. The engine and cabin caught on fire. One crew member suffered serious puncture wounds from the shrapnel, and another crew member and five passengers suffered minor injuries.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation  of the ValuJet accident concluded that if the Turkish repair station had required the same rigorous record-keeping as U.S. airplane maintenance facilities, the crack probably would have been discovered and the engine part replaced.”

PHOTO-On January 8, 2003, negligent repairs to the tail section of the plane caused the pilot flying Air Midwest Flight 5481 to lose control and careen into a hanger at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, killing 21 people. Air Midwest had outsourced the plane's maintenance checks to a West Virginia company, which in turn outsourced them to another company

Fisher-Price recalls 11 million items for infants, toddlers

Image: Recall of Fisher Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles due to risk of potential injury on the ignition key

Injuries to young children include genital bleeding from tricycle wounds

“In the wake of multiple child injuries in the United States and Canada, Fisher-Price Inc. announced that it will recall more than 11 million items geared toward infants and toddlers, including tricycles, high chairs and toys.”

The sweeping recall, announced Thursday, comes after 24 reported incidents of injuries to young children. Seven kids needed stitches after being cut by pegs on Fisher-Price high chairs, and at least six 2- to 3-year-old girls experienced genital bleeding when they sat or fell against protruding plastic ignition keys on Fisher-Price toddler tricycles.

PHOTO: The protruding ignition keys on these Fisher-Price toddler tricycles have caused serious injuries, including genital bleeding in 2- and 3-year-olds who fell against them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

20 light-years away: alien planet looks 'just right' for life

So when do we start sending spaceships there to claim it? 

Alan Boyle writes:Astronomers say they've found the first planet beyond our solar system that could have the right size and setting to sustain life as we know it, only 20 light-years from Earth.

"My own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent," Steven Vogt, an astrophysicist at the University of California at Santa Cruz, told reporters today. "I have almost no doubt about it."

The discovery, published online in The Astrophysical Journal, is the result of 11 years of observations at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Astronomers participating in the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey detected the planet by tracking the faint gravitational wobbles it produced in its parent star. Now they say there may well be many more planets out there like this one.

"The fact that we were able to detect this planet so quickly and so nearby tells us that planets like this must be really common," Vogt said in a news release.”

Guess what likable cartoon character is going to be 60 Saturday?

The great Charles M. Schulz character, Charlie Brown, turns 60 on October 2nd. I tell myself that 60 years wasn’t so long ago. Six decades isn’t that long. My reasoning is purely emotional as my 60th birthday looms near on November 7th.

I’ve always felt a kinship, of sorts, with Charlie Brown. He was nearly always misunderstood no matter how hard he tried to be like the rest of the gang.

But he never gives up. He’s still appearing in cartoon strips across the nation, and his TV specials are as popular as ever. Here’s an article about them:

 You’ve had some great TV specials, Charlie Brown - A look at the five best efforts from the 'Peanuts' gang.

Charlie Brown and his "Peanuts pals,” have had loyal readers for decades. Charles Schulz’s perennial elementary schoolers starred in more than 17,000 comic strips, four feature films, two musicals and a heck of a lot of television specials.The entire multimedia collection is worthy of repeated viewings from faithful fans, but for those who grew up in the glow of the small screen, the specials are the best of the bunch. They marked holidays, explained some universal ups and downs, and brought life to the kids from the funny pages.

Simian swat squads: India hires monkeys to guard Games venues

Image: Langurs in New Delhi, India

I have to wonder how far these Langurs can chase offending monkeys when I see the short lines these guys have on them. They sure look alert don’t they?

Official: Langurs are 'very effective way' to protect sites from other simians

“Security officials at the Commonwealth Games aren't monkeying around anymore, deploying langurs at several venues in New Delhi to keep smaller simians from causing any trouble.

Because they are large and fierce, langurs are often used in India to keep other monkeys in check in public places.”

A family affair: it’s harvest time down on the farm in Arcata


 34417_151789264861120_100000901420075_265207_1353899_n My eldest son Richard, and his two boys, Haydin (left) and Roanin (right) take a break from harvesting squash at Warren Creek Farms.

Richard’s wife Jassmine also works there, making it a family affair.

Warren Creek Farm has been growing organically since 1987 and certified organic by CCOF since 1991.

They conserve water and soil through crop rotation, cover cropping and dry farming. Dry farmed plants are more nutritious, store better and conserve water.

At Warren Creek Farms they manage weeds, pests, and diseases by mechanical and manual cultivation, crop rotation, strip grazing, soil testing, fertilizer management and as a last resort, application of organic program approved materials and practices.

Soil fertility is considered after annual soil testing. Green manure crops, compost, micronutrients and fallow years are used to maintain fertility and plant health.

At Warren Creek Farms they have a box recycling program. They pay their customers to save their boxes and many of them are used several times over.

Blue Lake & Arcata Bottoms (0-4 miles from packaging facility) Warren Creek Farms is owned by Paul Giuntoli, a third generation Humboldt County Farmer.

He and his wife Carla farm two plots of certified organic land – one on Warren Creek Road (shown above) between Arcata and Blue Lake, and one in the Arcata Bottoms.

They have been supplying the co-op with potatoes and winter squash for more than 20 years, making them one of our oldest suppliers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World's oldest man marks 114th birthday in Montana

Image: Walter Breuning

Secret to long life: 'Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humor'

“A Montana resident believed to be the world's oldest man celebrated his 114th birthday Tuesday at a retirement home in Great Falls.

Walter Breuning was born on Sept. 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minn., and moved to Montana in 1918, where he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years.”

I discovered at least two of Mr. Breuning’s secrets to life fit into my world view – whiskey and humor. I’ll have to pass on the cigarettes (I quit smoking them in 2000 after 30 years of puffing) and the wild, wild women. I’m just not sure I would want to live as long as this guy. All of your friends would probably be long gone when you stick around as long as Mr. Breuning has.

Is It Skin Cancer? How to Tell a Harmless Mole from a Melanoma

Know Your ABCDEs

Know Your ABCDEs

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer but it can be hard to identify. 
The ABCDE guide helps. If your mole fits the characteristics below, call your dermatologist pronto:
Asymmetry—if the mole could be folded in half, the two halves wouldn’t match
Border irregularities—the mole’s borders are uneven or blurred
Color variations—the mole has mixed shades of tan, brown, black or other hues
Diameter—the spot is bigger than a pencil eraser
Evolution—its appearance has changed in some way

Skin cancer is highly curable when it’s found early,” says iVillage skin expert Doris Day, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University. 
“Keep an eye on your skin and look for changes.”
Still, not every mole or mark is dangerous. Here are some more tips to tell the difference.

A Serious Sign of Sun Damage

A mole is simply a cluster of pigmented cells, creating a spot that can be flesh-colored, pink or very dark brown. Some moles are raised off the skin’s surface, and some sprout hairs, but neither is a bad sign in itself. 

Moles can usually be left alone but should be monitored for changes. If a mole appears suspicious (based on the ABCDE characteristics) or it becomes easily irritated, your dermatologist can numb the skin and remove it by cutting or shaving it off, explains Dr. Day. It will often be sent for evaluation to make sure it’s normal.

An actinic keratosis (AK) is a rough, red or brown, flat, scaly patch on the skin’s top layer—and it’s considered precancerous. “These occur in sun-exposed areas and you can often feel them before you can see them,” Dr. Day says. 
If left untreated, it can turn into squamous cell carcinoma, another form of skin cancer that can also spread but isn’t as deadly as melanoma. Dermatologists typically recommend using a topical cream (like Aldara or Efudex) to destroy the precancerous cells, or treating AKs with other treatments like liquid nitrogen, laser or photodynamic therapy that can destroy abnormal cells on the surface.

Just a Mysterious Mark or Melanoma?

A seborrheic keratosis can be flesh-colored, light brown or tan, and it may have a waxy or scaly, wart-like appearance. “Sometimes a seborrheic keratosis can have variations in color and be confused with a melanoma,” Dr. Day says, so it’s important to get them checked out.
These common growths, which can range in size, are benign. However, if they become itchy, red, irritated or inflamed or if they’re unsightly, they can be gently scraped off the skin’s surface or frozen off with liquid nitrogen.

Nothing to Do With Your Liver

A lentigo (or liver spot) is a flat, brownish blotch caused by long-term sun damage. They may be unsightly, but they’re benign. “They only occur in sun-exposed areas—for some people it takes a lot of sun exposure; for others, very little,” Dr. Day says.
Lentigos can be left alone, but if they bother you for cosmetic reasons, your dermatologist may recommend applying a tretinoin cream (such as Retin-A) and a topical bleaching cream. You can also have them removed with a chemical peel, liquid nitrogen or zapped with a laser, Dr. Day says.
Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent more from developing (not to mention, to protect your skin).

Melasma, not Melanoma

As if pregnancy doesn’t bring enough changes, some women develop brown patches on their faces during the nine-month stretch, often called the mask of pregnancy (melasma). While its exact causes aren’t known, there are genetic, sun-related, and hormonal components so melasma can also happen if you’re taking oral contraceptives, Dr. Day says.
 “The longer you’re on the Pill, the greater your risk.” Fortunately, melasma is harmless. Sun exposure can darken the patches though, so wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, and stay in the shade as much as possible. 
Sometimes, melasma fades after childbirth or going off the Pill. If it doesn’t, a prescription-strength bleaching cream (such as hydroquinone), a chemical peel, or intense pulsed light treatment can help.

Tomorrow is National Happy Hour - Make Sure to Get Your Free Beer

National Happy Hour promotion

The good news: Budweiser is planning to give away at least half-a-million free beers at locations around the country beginning Wednesday.

Yes, the iconic American brewing company – which is now actually owned by a conglomerate from Belgium – is hoping its National Happy Hour will reacquaint American beer drinkers with a brand they’ve been steadily losing interest in for the past seven years. How do you take advantage of this deal? Simply be 21-years old or older, and show up on Sept. 29 where ever they happen to be giving away their beer.

Actually, once you hit 22, you’re eligible for yet another freebie: Bud and Facebook are, according to USA Today, teaming up so that Facebook members who turn 22 can get yet another free beer.

Despite the appeal of free suds, the ad campaign has been garnering a fair amount of ridicule from those who take their beer drinking veddy, veddy seriously. Hasn’t anyone who’s 21 or older already tried Budweiser, wondered Top Fermented, a blog offering “commentary on beer, brewing, and the craft brew industry.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vineyard theft ‘the viticultural equivalent of an art heist’

Thieves make off with 1 1/2 tons of wine grapes in soul-crushing heist

“Call it the great grape caper.

A thief or thieves with a taste for an unusual wine grape have made off with virtually an entire vineyard’s worth.

“It’s certainly an unusual caper, not unlike the viticultural equivalent of an art heist,” said Paul McBride, owner and partner of Grand Rêve Vintners of Kirkland, Wash., which owned the crop before the vineyard villains struck.

The theft of 1 ½ tons of mourvedre grapes occurred sometime between Sept. 15-20 at the Grand Rêve vineyard on the renowned Red Mountain region in eastern Washington, likely in the dead of night, McBride said. And the crooks targeted the mourvedre grapes, leaving behind less than 200 pounds of grapes in the half-acre experimental vineyard and ignoring other varietals growing nearby.”

photo source Grand Reve Vineyards

The Mother of All Headaches: Man Had Knife in His Head for 3 Years Before Removing It

X-Rays: Pup Swallows 105 Pennies

I just love reading bizarre things like this. It’s so out of the norm, but it’s real. This story is about a guy who walked around with a knife in his skull for three years.

His headaches were so bad however (ya think?) that he decided to have risky surgery to remove it. I think I would have done the some thing; but a hell of a lot sooner!

“A man had a knife in his head for 3 years before he finally had it removed. The Brazilian man, (pictured above holding an X-ray) Edeilson Nascimento, 29, had the knife stuck in his head after a bar fight in 2007.  The Post Chronicle states that the man is currently recovering from an operation which removed a knife with a 4-inch blade from his head. After a bar fight, Nascimento left to go home but before he reached his house, the person he fought with at the bar attacked him, stabbing him in his head.The knife remained in his head for 3 years.”

MSNBC reports that doctors were unable to remove the blade of the knife from Edeilson’s head at that time. Doctors were worried about further brain damage if they took the entire blade out. They were able to remove the knife’s handle only.

ABC News states that Edeilson Nascimento suffered through intense migraines for the next three years and that it was because of his headaches that he opted for the risky surgery to remove the knife from his head. The surgery took place at the Hospital das Clinicas in Recife, Brazil, on September 23.

See X-ray photos of the knife in Edeilson Nascimento’s head via ABC News.

‘Hello operator? Would you send someone to arrest me please?’

Mug shot of Mary Strey (Courtesy of Clark County Sheriff's Office)

If there's an emergency, who you gonna call?

 911, of course. But some 911 calls are made by people who forget that the crisis service is not a hot line to make complaints or wacky requests. These offenders face arrest and other penalties for using poor 911 judgment under the influence of drugs, alcohol or powerful emotions.

After reading the one below go here to see more.

A Wisconsin woman (picture on right) didn't wait for another motorist to call 911 to report her dangerous driving last fall. Mary Strey (photos) ratted on herself. What did the dispatcher advise her to do (video)?

Strey, who told police that she had knocked back some cocktails before getting behind the wheel, was charged with misdemeanor drunken driving. Her blood-alcohol level was extremely high.

Collecting war trophies: 12 American soldiers charged with keeping body parts

This is the first time I can recall military personnel in Afghanistan being charged with collecting grizzly war trophies.

As a veteran, I know stuff like this has been happening since we invaded that country a decade ago. It certainly happened in WW II and Vietnam, but let’s take a look at the charges in the following article first, then a brief history of the practice by modern American military forces.   

Body parts, photos part of charges against soldiers

“The first of 12 soldiers charged with crimes in Afghanistan that range from killing civilians to keeping body parts as war trophies faces a military tribunal on Monday that will decide whether his case proceeds to court-martial. Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, from Wasilla, Alaska, is charged with premeditated murder in the deaths of three Afghan civilians, assaulting a fellow soldier and "wrongfully photographing and possessing visual images of human casualties."

This kind of thing is nothing new as far as what soldiers do in war.During World War II, some United States military personnel mutilated dead Japanese service personnel in the Pacific theater of operations.The mutilation of Japanese service personnel included the taking of body parts as “war souvenirs” andwar trophies”. Teeth and skulls were the most commonly taken "trophies", although other body parts were also collected.

The phenomenon of "trophy-taking" was widespread enough that discussion of it featured prominently in magazines and newspapers, and Franklin Roosevelt himself was reportedly gifted a letter-opener made of a man's arm (Roosevelt rejected the gift and called for its proper burial).

The behavior was officially prohibited by the U.S. military, which issued additional guidance as early as 1942 condemning it specifically. Nonetheless, the behavior continued throughout the war in the Pacific Theater, and has resulted in continued discoveries of "trophy skulls" of Japanese combatants in American possession, as well as American and Japanese efforts to repatriate the remains of the Japanese dead.

                           WHAT I OBSERVED IN VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA

 I served in Vietnam, and Cambodia, in 1970. As part of a demolition squad (31st Eng Battalion), Bravo Company, we were attached to numerous other units on various missions ranging from mine sweeping roads, to clearing out dense areas of forest to construct firebases.

The photo to the right were a common thing while I was there. One of the guys in my squad collected enemy fingers. Another proudly wore a necklace of ears taken from VC and NVA soldiers.

There is no excuse for this kind of thing in any war. But it happens. While I didn’t approve of it, I never turned anyone in for it because I didn’t trust officers and I knew someone would probably “cap my ass” if I did. I admit that I didn’t have much sympathy for the victims, but my brain was in a survival mode and they were – after all – people who would have killed me if they had the chance.

Then there was the civilian atrocities, like what these 12 soldiers from the 5th Stryker Unit are being accused of. I couldn’t possible do justice to portraying the horrors I saw committed on innocent civilian men, women, and children. As you read this you may be wondering how could people do these terrible things…unless you’ve been in combat. Then you know. No civilian could possibly understand the depths of depravity men will sink to in these situations.

In the madness of war civilians always suffer. It’s always been like this since the first armies clashed in ancient Mesopotamia.

As It Stands, it seems we’ll never learn, as a species, how to maintain peace throughout the world.    

Sunday, September 26, 2010

As It Stands: CCC-CPR : You don't have to lock lips with a stranger to save them

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 09/26/2010 01:26:18 AM PDT

I remember when I first got CPR certified in the early '80s my biggest concern was that I might have to actually use my new-found knowledge. I know that sounds pretty stupid, but let me explain.

The idea of locking lips with some stranger who was foaming at the mouth was repulsive, even if it was part of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation process I was taught to save lives.

I really hoped the day would never come. I had no trouble with “Resusci Anne,” the plastic torso that I knelt over on the firehouse floor while learning CPR. I saved her life numerous times to get my little American Red Cross CPR pin.

I knew my recently acquired knowledge wouldn't be so easy to apply in real life. You had to count, pinch a nose, blow, compress ... and stay cool while doing it. In a manner of minutes, I was sucking air with “Resusci Anne” in training but I knew if I stopped, no one would really die, as they might in the real world.

There was (and still is) another consideration involved in helping a person: being sued by grieving relatives looking for someone to blame. In some jurisdictions, good Samaritan laws only protect those who have completed basic first aid training and are certified by health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, American Red Cross or St. John Ambulance, provided they have acted within the scope of their training.

In these jurisdictions, a person who is neither trained in first aid nor certified, and who performs first aid incorrectly, can still be held legally liable for errors made. In other jurisdictions, any rescuer is protected from liability, so long as the responder acted rationally.

The last time I was CPR certified was in the early '90s. I let my certification expire for a host of reasons. The other day I read an article a friend sent me about Continuous Chest Compression-CPR (CCC-CPR). I don't know how up-to-date you are in life-saving methods, but this method, which had its beginnings in 2003 in Tucson, Ariz., is news to me.

It was developed at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and designed to make it more likely that a bystander would stop to help a person in distress. Here's the really great part (to me): It doesn't require the mouth-to-mouth contact of the old method.

According to Gordon A. Ewy, M.D., director of the UA Sarver Heart Center and one of the research pioneers who developed CCC, “It's easy.” In 2008, the American Heart Association endorsed the improved bystander protocol for cardiac arrest, and it now advocates continuous chest compressions.

 The doctors who developed this procedure say there is enough oxygen in the blood to keep the brain supplied for 10 minutes, so breathing into the mouth is not required. Also, stopping compression to breathe into the mouth causes a cessation in the blood flow, so little new oxygen is added, anyway.

Now we're told to pump, pump, pump the chest. In a Feb. 12 presentation by the Mayo Clinic, researchers said, “We now know that even mildly excessive ventilation rates and incomplete chest-wall recoil during CPR can be lethal.

”This, quite simply, is the reason for improvement in CPR by eliminating the mouth-to-mouth ventilations and using 100 uninterrupted compressions per minute, a proven method of resuscitation that results in more efficient oxygen delivery to the heart and brain during cardiac arrest, more successful responses to electroshock and better neurological outcomes for the future.”

This method doubles the chance for survival over the old one, according to the Sarver Heart Center. For the record, CCC is not meant to replace CPR, it's just the safest way for a layman to help. I suppose it's time I get re-certified in case the need ever arises. It hasn't yet, thank goodness, and I hope it never will.

As It Stands, getting CCC-CPR certified may be easier now, but remember it still comes with a moral responsibility to use it.

GOP Governors Unite in Fight to Stop Unions in their States

Six Republican Governors have gathered to warn their residents against the evils of unionization which they claim would threaten their jobs...