Saturday, June 30, 2012

A look at local pot dispensary crackdowns by feds who flout the law

ARCATA, Calif.Faced with growing chaos in the state’s medical marijuana industry, this city in Northern California passed an ordinance in 2008 that meticulously detailed, over 11 pages, how the drug could be grown and sold here.

Humboldt Medical Supply, a dispensary here in Humboldt County regarded as a law-abiding model that has given free cannabis to elderly patients, became the first to obtain a permit in 2010. The Sai Center, whose owner has a history of flouting city regulations and was described by the mayor as running his business “purely for profit,” was rejected last year.

Humboldt Medical quickly closed shop after federal prosecutors began shuttering hundreds of dispensaries in October in one of the biggest crackdowns on medical marijuana since its legalization in California in 1996. The Sai Center’s owner moved locations and has defied the authorities by continuing to operate, most recently out of his mother’s house. City officials, afraid of becoming targets themselves of the prosecutors, have suspended the applications of two other dispensaries that were expected to be approved.

“We feel the federal government’s actions have had a very negative effect,” said Mayor Michael Winkler. “We’re very upset with their actions.” Read the rest here.

This article, "Cities Balk as Federal Law on Marijuana Is Enforced," first appeared in The New York Times.

AS IT STANDS: It’s all about respect: Children only learn by example

 I grow old learning something new everyday.”

Solon Athenian statesman and poet, 630-560 BC
                                                By Dave Stancliff
  Once, not so long ago, seniors were universally respected and in many cases revered. Their advice, coming from many years of experience, was considered necessary in making important decisions for the community.
  An old African proverb that says "When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground," is spot on. Since the start of so-called civilization, each generation has looked to the last to avoid mistakes and build upon successes. 
  A Sage’s wisdom, earned through reflection and experience, is a common denominator in all the cultures of the world. Old men’s and women’s words have been revered by countless societies, filling volumes of books for later generations. That respect is slipping away. In the 21st Century, seniors are seen as barnacles on the Social Security system, and disrespected by younger people in countless ways. A recent news story illustrates my point.
  An elderly bus monitor, Karen Klein who had to keep working to make ends meet, was treated with such contempt and disrespect by a group of middle school students that it shocked the entire country. Videos of the incident taken by three students went viral on the internet within 24 hours.
  The response; outrage over the disrespect shown by the foul-mouth children was instant and passionate. Over a million people asked the same question, “How could these children treat an adult, especially a senior, with such cruelty and outright contempt?”
  One sympathetic man, Max Sidorov of Toronto, Canada, started a vacation and retirement fund for her on a fund raising website. At last count, over $667,000 had been raised. Klein’s story brought  such national interest that she was invited to appear on the Today Show. Somewhat flustered over her new found fame, she made it clear she didn’t want to press charges against the children. The school however suspended four seventh-grade boys for one year for bullying the bus monitor.

  Displaying her wisdom, Klein suggested parents should pay more attention to teaching their children some manners. Civility has become another casualty in our fast-paced society, she suggested. Her point is well taken; if parents don’t set a good example, how can they expect their children to be civil in public? 
  I’m not going to mince words; the importance of parents playing a more active role in their children’s lives can’t be underestimated. Without a foundation of respect for others, especially seniors, children will be rudderless in this violent world.
  Without guidelines, children model after the numerous examples of rudeness they see on TV and in movies. They become increasingly anti-social. They lack morals and the ability to live peacefully with others. 
  Despite my observations thus far, I think there’s still hope. The current recession has reversed a societal trend of children moving out of the house. It’s more common now for the generations to live together. Extended families have become a financial necessity. Grown children with families of their own have been forced to move back in with elderly parents. The result is a situation somewhat similar to American society before the Industrial Age. 
  Today, young children are taken care of by grandparents while their parents work. This  daily exposure to their elders is bringing family units closer together again. Seniors take on a new relevance. We’re witnessing the return of the extended family in America. In some ways it’s ironic. 
   In this day and age, many grandparents have to raise their grandchildren, for myriad reasons. Many children are raised by step parents or other relatives, who have to assume parental roles. The need for good role models has never been greater. Respecting elders is a start to maintaining a civil society, but respecting everyone should be the ultimate goal.
   As It Stands, I was taught to obey the Golden Rule, “Do unto others, as you would have them to do unto you.”

Friday, June 29, 2012

Texting in the News – Editorial views that amuse …


source for cartoons

Victim of Swatting? SWAT team raids wrong house

Imagine you're sitting at home, comfortable on the couch, watching the Food Network, when all of a sudden a heavily armed SWAT team breaks down your door and storms into your living room.

That's what happened to 18-year-old Stephanie Milan, who was watching TV in her family's Evansville, Ind., home last Thursday (June 22), when a team of police officers broke down her storm door — the front door was already open — and tossed a flash-bang stun grenade into the room. Turns out, however, that the SWAT team had the address wrong. (source)

Scum of the Week: Shawn Sullivan, child molestor on two continents protected by Brits

The sorry-assed individual shown here, Shawn Sullivan, 43, is being protected by the British who won’t send him back to the states where he committed sexual crimes against children because they think our law might be too tough on him!

No really. They’d rather let him stay there and molest little girls in London. He was convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls in Ireland, as he ran from justice. The guy is a serial scumbag.

Perhaps it’s just as well that he stay in England. They can pay the expenses for convicting him of his sex crimes, then letting him out after a short sentence, and repeating the whole process again.

Who knows how long he’ll drain their system, incurring expenses for British tax payers for years to come? Blimey! Someone’s got to be balmy to let this predator prey on any society!


In the news today: 

“Minnesota prosecutors' efforts to have a convicted sexual predator brought to trial in the United States were thwarted on Thursday when Britain's High Court dropped extradition proceedings, saying the U.S. hadn't guaranteed the suspect would be kept out a program some deem draconian.

Sullivan, is accused of molesting two girls and raping a third in the 1990s in Minnesota. Sullivan fled the United States and eventually ended up in London, where authorities caught up to him two years ago.

Sullivan escaped to Ireland as prosecutors prepared to file charges in the U.S., and while staying there was convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls. Sullivan, a dual U.S.-Irish citizen, moved to London using an Irish passport that spelled his last name in Gaelic as "O'Suilleabhain."  (source)

Counter Culture: A Look Back at the ‘Weather Underground’ and Protesting War

There were a lot of radical groups in the 70s but the Weather Underground was among the most extreme.

      Good Day Humboldt County!

With my first child on the way in 1975, I turned away from the counter culture that I lived in, and started going “straight.”

Went back to college, got a degree and a career, and fully sold out to the establishment. For a while. Played the career game. Now my children are grown up and I’m retired and have slipped back to my hippie ways actively questioning our government and the corrupt politicians we thoughtlessly vote into office every term! I would like to point out that I wasn’t anywhere near as extreme as the people associated with the “Weather Underground.” I just wanted people to know that Vietnam veterans were being poisoned by Agent Orange back in the early 70s when the military and chemical companies denied it was hazardous to human health.   

“What is it like being an underground revolutionary, with fantasies of grandeur, dreaming of a better tomorrow? In 1975, the Weather Underground, a militant faction of the Students for a Democratic Society attempting to overthrow U.S. imperialism, were fugitives in hiding. Filmmakers Emile de Antonio, Haskell Wexler and Mary Lampson spoke to members of group (who were concealed from the camera by sheets and mirrors to interesting effect). Much of footage - in the above video - which revealed too much was burned, and the film and negatives were subsequently subpoenaed by the FBI for use in their mission to capture the Weathermen.” (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Furious man pulls gun on neighbor for farting in front of his apartment

If only this guy's fart had been silent but deadly, he probably wouldn't have found himself in a dangerous situation.

A New Jersey man allegedly pulled a gun on his neighbor after hearing the man pass gas in front of his apartment door. Police in Teaneck say Daniel Collins had been having ongoing noise issues with his neighbor, and when the man let one rip, it was the wind that broke the camel's back.

Though Collins denies the charge, police eventually recovered a gun from his car and charged him with aggravated assault. As for the neighbor, well, I’m hoping he changed his shorts. (source)

AS IT STANDS: An attempt to explain a column that doesn’t really have a category


               Good Day Humboldt County!

I was talking newspapers with a guy, while waiting in a long line the other day, when I mentioned that I wrote a column for The Times-Standard. He asked what kind of column did I write?

After hesitating a moment I said, “An opinion column.” But my answer seems incomplete in retrospect, because I didn’t always opine about things. Sometimes I tell stories about people and animals. I’ve also been known to examine physical and mental conditions, along with humorous and satirical takes on life.

As It Stands is a combination of a poor man’s YOU INSERT YOUR FAVORITE SYNDICATED NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST HERE, and now retired, Gary Larson’s, Far Side comic strip. I like to write about odd and weird things whenever possible.

I do enjoy getting up on my bully pulpit to protest corruption wherever I see it. I only take stands on subjects that I strongly believe in. Probably the best thing about my column is I write about anything I want to! With a wide variety of subjects explored, I’m bound to pick up some regular readers, whose comments, by the way, keep me writing.

Longtime readers know that I’m a retired newspaper editor & publisher, and a Vietnam veteran with PTSD that doesn’t get out of the house too often. If it wasn’t for the World Wide Web, I would have lost contact with the outside world a long time ago. This blog, and my column, give me two more reasons to get up in the morning.

As It Stands, there’s so many new things to write about every day, it really helps chase boredom away!





Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Call of the Wild: Photos of animals illuminated by the sun

SUN ANIMALS 17 Animals Illuminated by the Sun SUN ANIMALS 2 Animals Illuminated by the Sun

The time of sunset is defined in astronomy as the moment when the trailing edge of the Sun’s disk disappears below the horizon in the west. There are few things in nature as photogenic as the sky at sunset, especially animals. The rich bright gold, pink and orange colors make unusually beautiful pictures of animals illuminated by the sun. (Go here to see more beautiful examples)

Aldous Huxley: a man not afraid of taking long journeys

 Good Day Humboldt County!

 I thought it would be interesting to take a brief look at a man who enjoyed getting high, and who was a visionary second to none.

If you’ve ever read any of his writings you’ll know he’s deep. He was a humanist, pacifist, and satirist, and he was latterly interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. Now it’s time to meet: 

Aldous Leonard Huxley who was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays. He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics.

Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, film stories and scripts. Huxley spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death.

By the end of his life Huxley was widely recognized to be one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time and respected as an important researcher into visual communication and sight-related theories as well.

Huxley once said:

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”

Sound familiar? Kinda scary isn’t it? It certainly gives you food for thought…

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Question of the Day: Would you get naked for $276 worth of free groceries?

 For some people there is no limit to what they’ll do to get something free. I can’t imagine a promotion like this would fly in the U.S.

I think if I was one of the clothed shoppers there I’d be concerned about major cooties from bare butts (and worse) touching items – any items – including shopping carts!

It turns out people will do almost anything for free food. Shoppers in Germany let it all hang loose — literally — for some gratis groceries.

According to ABC News, more than 200 shoppers showed up to the grand opening of a supermarket in Süderlügum, Germany, where the storeowner had offered a rather strange promotion to attract new customers. The store had advertised that the first 100 customers would get up to 220 euro or $276 worth of free food. The catch? Everyone had to show up au naturel.

Customers waited outside and were ushered into the supermarket in groups of twenty. They then stripped down and proceeded to shop normally for their free groceries. Videos were taken and photos were snapped, but the nude German customers didn't seem to mind — they were focused on the food. (source)

The Price of Revenge: Teens throw milkshake, woman throws $2,000 back at them!

A woman lost $2,000 in Palo Alto after she threw her purse at a passing car filled with teenagers who allegedly threw a milkshake in her face.

The woman was walking across University Avenue near Rudy's Pub Sunday when a white Range Rover full of teenagers drove by and allegedly threw a milkshake in her face.

Authorities said the woman tried to get revenge by throwing her alligator skin purse at the passing vehicle.

A window was open on the Range Rover and the purse landed in the car. The purse had several of the woman's personal items and $2,000 in cash.

Police are looking for the stylish purse and the teenagers, who are facing charges ranging from battery to possession of stolen property or misappropriation of property.

The story was first reported by Palo Alto Online.

Supreme Corporate Court Declines to Revisit Its Citizens United Decision

      Good Day Humboldt County!

  The reason I think democracy has taken a detour recently is simple; the shameful Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

 The damage done is still be calculated as the Corporate Court overturns another state’s ability to fight off corruption.

  In the Montana decision we can see the future – and it’s ugly:   

In a brief unsigned decision, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to have another look at its blockbuster 2010 campaign finance decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In the 5-to-4 ruling on Monday, the court summarily reversed a decision of the Montana Supreme Court that had upheld a state law limiting independent political spending by corporations. That decision, the United States Supreme Court said, was flatly at odds with Citizens United, which said the First Amendment allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they like to support or oppose political candidates.

The four members of the court’s liberal wing dissented in an opinion by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who said that Citizens United itself had been a mistake. “Even if I were to accept Citizens United,” Justice Breyer continued, “this court’s legal conclusion should not bar the Montana Supreme Court’s finding, made on the record before it, that independent expenditures by corporations did in fact lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption in Montana. Given the history and political landscape in Montana, that court concluded that the state had a compelling interest in limiting independent expenditures by corporations.”

Critics of the Supreme Court’s campaign finance rulings attacked Monday’s decision, saying Citizens United had led to unprecedented levels of outside money pouring into the presidential campaign and races for the House and Senate — the vast majority of it raised not from corporations but from wealthy individuals and spent by “super PACs” and other independent groups.

Citizens United was wrong when it was decided, and as two Supreme Court Justices have observed since, independent expenditures by corporations are threatening the health of our democracy.” (news source)

Image found on Imgur.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, June 25, 2012

More Signs of the Times: Broke Army Veteran Sells his Medal on eBay

When I read the following story I flashed back to a time when veterans threw their medals away in protest against the Vietnam War.

The fact that a veteran today could sell one medal for five grand is truly surprising to me.

I think most Americans are ashamed of how hard our returning veterans lives are after they become civilians. It seems to me the bidders were more interested in helping Shepard than in collecting medals.

“I did it out of desperation and frustration,” Shephard, 43, from Woodbury, N.J, told Fox 29. “It was a last resort.”

Shepard’s old Sgt. gave him flack about disgracing his medal. He didn’t disgrace anything. He utilized what survival skills the Army taught him, and got enough money together to start a business and feed his family.

It’s a shame he had to resort to it, that all the other possibilities for help were exhausted, but it was the right thing to do. I don’t give a damn what anyone else says about Shepard’s actions. If I had a chance to talk to him I’d say, “Good job bro. You got your priorities straight!”

An out-of-work veteran has found an enterprising means of supporting his family and starting a new business: selling his Army medal. It went for $5,200 on eBay today, skyrocketing from $2,000 a few hours earlier, My Fox Washington reports.”  via the Street

A growing reality for middle class America: One step from poverty

       Good Day

 Humboldt County!

The Great Repression is reducing the American middle class to a minority. The majority of Americans are struggling financially. Living from paycheck to paycheck. When unemployment insurance runs out, often the last safety net, people are reduced to seeking assistance anywhere they can find it.

Free Food Pantries nationwide are having difficulty meeting the increased demands from those struck low by finances. The following article talks about this growing problem and exposes how deeply it’s affecting the American way of life:

The small communities that dot the picturesque mountain landscape outside Boulder, Colo., conjure up an image from long before the great recession. Here the manicured lawns and expensive cars are a testament to the achievements of a fiercely independent and educated middle class; a 21st century version of suburban bliss. But often these days, the closed doors of well-kept houses hide a decidedly different reality: hushed conversation about food stamps and Medicaid, depleted bank accounts and 401K’s, kitchen shelves stocked with groceries from food pantries.

This Dateline special aired Sunday Night. Go to Dateline Webpage to view whole story.

"It's this dirty little secret,” said Joyce Welch, a stay-at-home mother of three whose husband, a mechanical engineer, lost his job six months ago. “Everybody is supposed to be able to buy the new car, supposed to buy the new house. And what we don't talk about is people who struggle, and they're struggling more and more."  The Welch family lives in Superior, a Boulder suburb that was listed by Money Magazine as one of the “Top 20 best places to live in America” in 2011. Neighboring Louisville was ranked number one.The evidence that times are rough for many suburban middle class families is not merely anecdotal.

Boulder County's Department of Housing and Human Services provided the number of Louisville and Superior residents that relied on public safety nets to make ends meet.  And while these affluent communities still boast some of the lowest poverty levels in Colorado, the statistics were nonetheless startling: since 2008 the combined number of families on Medicaid more than doubled, as did the number of people utilizing food assistance.  Lafayette, another well-to-do suburb in East Boulder County experienced similar increases.” (Read the rest here VIA Izhar Harpaz for Dateline NBC)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, June 24, 2012

AS IT STANDS: How 3 big lies have crippled America’s economy

                    By  Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
  War became a business when we entered Vietnam. We went there for the wrong reasons. Defense Secretary Robert Strange McNamara admitted years later that he followed the flawed “Domino Theory” out of loyalty, and said it was the main reason for entering the Vietnam War.

   McNamara's memoir In Retrospect,” published in 1995, presented an account and analysis of the Vietnam War from his point of view. According to his lengthy New York Times obituary, "…he concluded well before leaving the Pentagon that the war was futile, but he did not share that insight with the public until late in life.”
   In 1995, he took a stand against his own conduct of the war, confessing in his memoir that it was “wrong, terribly wrong.” Remember, Americans were told from the very beginning that our involvement in Vietnam was about freedom and bringing democracy to that country.
  We were told our freedom at home was threatened and the war was necessary. I call that misleading message the first “Big Lie.” Fifty-eight thousand American men and women died for that lie.
    The second “Big Lie” to justify invading another country came when we unseated the Iraq government of Saddam Hussein. Once again we waved the flag of freedom to intervene when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
   We eventually set up a new government in Iraq (a country that hates us), while bleeding American taxpayers dry. The price of this second Big Lie is still being calculated.  I’ll say more about that shortly, but let’s move on to our third “Big Lie,” given for invading Afghanistan (which after a decade of war hates us).

  After 9/11, this third “Big Lie” seized our shaken nation. We were told it was necessary to conquer Afghanistan and get Osama Bin Laden and his pack of extremist Muslim terrorists to make us safe at home. We finally got him all right - a decade later in Pakistan, sheltered by our allies there.
    Meanwhile the financial impact on the American economy has been devastating. The price for these big lies is staggering, according to the Commission on Wartime Contracting.
  In a new report to Congress (6/6) this independent panel investigated U.S. wartime spending. As much as $60 billion has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents.
  Here are some recent facts taken primarily from data analyzed by various think tanks, including The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, and from mainstream media sources ( 1/31/12).

  1.) Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $1 trillion of US taxpayers' funds spent or approved for spending through 2011.
  2.) Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of U.S. taxpayers' money and $549.7 million in spare parts shipped in 2004 to U.S. contractors. Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles.
  3.) Lost and Reported Stolen - $6.6 billion of U.S. taxpayers' money earmarked for Iraq reconstruction, reported on June 14, 2011 by Special Inspector General for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, who called it "the largest theft of funds in national history." (Source - CBS News)

  4.) Mismanaged & Wasted in Iraq - $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings.
Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion
  5.) Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items - $20 billion. Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem "questionable or supportable" - $3.2 billion 
  Just think of all the monies discussed above that could have gone into the American economy instead. One author, Rob Simpson, has managed to look at the lighter side in his book "What We Could Have Done With the Money: 50 Ways to Spend the Trillion Dollars We've Spent on Iraq."
    As It Stands, my favorite part of this book is where Simpson calculates the $1 trillion we’ve spent on war could pave the entire U.S. interstate highway system with 23.5 karat gold leaf!

                                               Websites that have picked up this column:

1) ABC News Interceder - 135.7 articles per day – As It Stands ranked the 10th Most Read at 2:00 p.m. PST

2) Oil & Gas Newswire Topix  - 1:a.m. Sunday

3) SiloBreaker

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...