Saturday, April 27, 2013

Liver transplant denied because patient was using medical marijuana - it cost him his life!

      Good Day World!

The tragic fate of Norman B. Smith is all you need to know about to see how senseless it is to make consumption of marijuana a crime.

In New York they get that:

New York Patient Advocates & Health Care Professionals Rally for Medical Marijuana Bill

Patients suffering from severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions could be treated with medical marijuana under legislation introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Diane J. Savino.  New York’s bill A. 6357/S.4406 is co-sponsored by 68 other legislators.  The bill was reported from the Assembly Health Committee today by 21-4, including 3 of the Committee’s 7 Republicans voting in favor.

“If the patient and physician agree that the patient’s severe debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, the government should not stand in the way,” said Gottfried.  “It is cruel to deny treatment to patients who are suffering or to turn them into criminals.”

Medical Marijuana and Health Insurance

By the end of 2012, 18 states and the District of Columbia permitted the use of marijuana as a viable medical treatment option for chronic illnesses such as AIDS and cancer.

What is viewed as an alternative treatment has been gradually gaining approval for over fifteen years as an acceptable method for reducing pain and nausea, and increasing appetite. Other benefits include a lesser toll on the liver, kidneys, and other organs usually subject to failure from other medications.

Though legalization has given suffering patients assistance in various states thus far, there is still a long road ahead for those seeking to have their medication covered by health insurance. Currently, health insurance plans scarcely cover cannabis if they do so at all. With legalization comes soaring prices, and as any patient knows, medications paired with treatment costs add up quickly. Paying entirely out of pocket for medical marijuana has cost some patients several hundred dollars per month or more, depending on the severity of their illness. (Read more here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Friday, April 26, 2013

Grockit Adds BBC Content to Learnist

Will offer a BBC Earth multimedia board to users of the social learning platform

By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/25/2013 7:44:57 PM

Grockit is partnering with BBC Worldwide to create a BBC Earth multimedia board for the new "Earth Science" category on Grockit's social learning platform, Learnist.

The move strengthens the content on Learnist, which was launched in May of 2012 and builds on the December 2012 announcement by Discovery that it would take an equity stake in the social learning platform.

Learnist currently has around 500,000 users and gets over 1 million page views a month.

"BBC Worldwide is always seeking new opportunities to pilot our content on new, innovative social platforms in order to gain a greater understanding of how particular content is received and used by new audiences," said Jenny Fielding, head of digital ventures at BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, in a statement.

Todays Topic: Twinkies (The Real Ones) Back on Store Shelves in July

They’re back…!

According to Michael Cramer, executive vice president of Hostess Brands LLC who told NBC News on Thursday "We expect to be making and selling Twinkies in July."

When Twinkies went out of production last November because it’s owners declared bankruptcy it was like junk food Armageddon. Store shelves were cleared by collectors and goodie gourmets within hours of the news last year.

And the great news today is the new company, Hostess Brands, LLC, will start hiring this weekend to resume operations with 200 employees at the Dolly Madison Bakery in Columbus, Ga., one of the locations shuttered in November.

Twinkies will once again be within our guilty reach, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Disaster adverted for junk food dogs nationally. The local economy will once again be stimulated thanks to those sweet gushy treats that health food advocates scorn, but most Americans love – if only secretly!

Do you think people will line up at liquor stores and supermarkets throughout the nation to be the first to sample those soft wonders once again when they’re available?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Grockit and BBC Worldwide Announce Pilot Featuring BBC Earth Content on Learnist

(BUSINESS WIRE)  Social learning company Grockit, announced today that BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has become the latest partner to offer content for its social learning platform, Learnist. BBC Worldwide has curated a BBC Earth multimedia board, as part of a new “Earth Science” category on Learnist. This offers fans of environment and life sciences the opportunity to interact with a host of BBC Earth content.

“We developed Learnist to bring personalized online social learning to millions of curious people around the world,” says Roy Gilbert, CEO of Grockit. “We’re thrilled to be working with BBC Worldwide to share their content with our thriving community of expert content curators and life-long learners.”

Launched in late May of 2012, Learnist lets people easily curate and organize online content to help people learn from and teach each other about a wide range of academic and casual learning topics.

“BBC Worldwide is always seeking new opportunities to pilot our content on new innovative social platforms in order to gain a greater understanding of how particular content is received and used by new audiences,” says Jenny Fielding, Head of Digital Ventures at BBC Worldwide. “We are delighted to be trailing a selection of our earth and science content with Learnist and its growing base of fans from teachers to students and life-long learners.”

Today’s announcement follows the recent partnership with Discovery Communications, Inc. More details on that partnership can be found on Grockit’s Official Blog here.

Edtech App Learnist Aims for Personalization, Growth With Latest Update


For any startup, getting a user to download their app is only a small part of the battle. A successful sign-up is a “sticky” sign-up, where a user continuously come back to the app over and over again.

How, pray tell, does a startup get that sort of stickiness? For Learnist, a visually oriented educational app, the answer is simple: Eliminate the biggest barrier to entry, the sign-up process.

Don’t misunderstand me here — sign-ups are obviously important (and they still exist in the app). But the company plans to launch an update to its iOS and Web apps on Thursday that aims to eliminate the arduous, usual upfront process of onboarding users, letting first-timers begin to use the service without needing to immediately sign up to get going.

The idea is pretty simple. Learnist is a Pinterest-cum-Twitter social teaching application that lets users curate different types of lessons in a stream-like feed of content. Instead of forcing its users to hand over all their info off the bat, the app asks you to pick a few topics of interest to follow — people, places, things, ideas and the like — and Learnist will auto-populate a stream of content for users to peruse as they explore the app. From there, it will suggest more things to follow, or more data to add (like your address book or Facebook account, which could help you find more friends on the service).

Think of it as fast-tracked personalization, without the immediate hassle of the sign-up screen.

That, coupled with the new content offerings from partners like Discovery and, as of Thursday, the BBC, will likely fill newcomers’ streams with enough material to keep them engaged and — hopefully — coming back often. At that point, the company thinks, a user will get the value of the service and will be willing to sign up.

Those are the good, “sticky” sign-ups for Learnist; the ones that turn casual visitors into repeat users. All it has to contend with are the myriad other content streams out there seen on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the other edtech startups that occupy the space. Ideally for Learnist, lowering the barrier to entry will make it that much easier to at least give the product a quick spin. (article source)


Really? Our nation’s youth seek refuge in Canada…again!

       Good Day World!

It’s a strange deja vu today…

 I recall back in the ‘60s when young men were crossing the border into Canada, seeking refuge rather than be drafted and go to Vietnam – our war of choice at the time. They burned their draft cards in public, in defiance of their orders to report to Uncle Sam.

Today young men and women get passports to Canada and go there to attend college because it’s cheaper than the cost of education in the USA. What’s wrong with this picture?

The number of U.S. students at Canadian colleges rose 50 percent in a decade, and now about 10,000 Americans attend Canadian colleges, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

Why? Because it’s less expensive, and a bachelor’s degree from a Canadian university meets a global standard. Looks like the nation’s youth are seeking refuge in Canada again.

NYT: Free college options still exist for those willing to build ships, milk cows, salute

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oops! Ricin letter suspect released & the search goes on…

         Good Day World!

A man described as bi-polar by his family, was released from jail yesterday after being charged with sending poison Ricin letters to the President and other public officials.

Kevin Paul Curtis, an Elvis Presley impersonator, was arrested last Wednesday at his home in Corinth, Mississippi by FBI agents.

(Photo of Curtis impersonating Elvis – Google Images)

Authorities searched the home of another Mississippi man, J. Everett Dutschke, as part of the investigation, reported WTVA.  Dutschke's name had come up earlier this week when Curtis' defense attorney suggested prosecutors look into him, WTVA reported.

The FBI admitted that here was no apparent ricin, castor beans or any material at his house that could be used for the manufacturing of ricin, like a blender or something. In other words, someone got his signals crossed!

Mr. Curtis seems to be taking the mistake well and when released he said, "I respect President Obama and love my country. I would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.” He was probably still trembling in his boots after the grueling interrogation and just glad to go home.

(A.P. Photo of Kevin Paul Curtis)

Why is it that it took a week to clear him? Is the FBI really that slow? Or, were they just embarrassed that they picked the wrong guy and kept looking out of sheer stubbornness? Either way, it stinks. He, and his family, had to suffer through damning headlines as the media, both main stream and social, went after him like honey badgers!

I sure hope Mr. Curtis gets a big apology!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fake Tweet causes temporary chaos – stock markets falls, recovers

A stock market and a nation already on edge was temporarily knocked off its axis on Tuesday by a single fake tweet. 

Following a hack attack, the Associated Press' verified Twitter account posted "an erroneous tweet" claiming that two explosions occurred in the White House and that President Barack Obama is injured. Moments later, the @AP Twitter account — with nearly 2 million followers — was suspended.

"That's a bogus tweet," an AP spokesperson initially told NBC News, a statement that was repeated by the company's corporate communications account. Though the false tweet disappeared, the false message continued to exist on the service in over 4,000 retweets. (Full story here)

The story continues: Rafter’s Redemption – Chapter 5


            Good Day World!

 Today I’m offering viewers a free read - my novella, “Rafter’s Redemption,” in a series form. One chapter per week. There’s 10 chapters, and this week features, Chapter Five: Plants and a Baby. 

 If you’re a new reader – no problem – I’ve got the back chapter links and prologue for you. To continue reading this fiction story, or to begin reading it: GO HERE.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Disaster within a Disaster: Series of Explosions leaves a Tale of 2 Cities in Shock

Good Day World!

Let’s hope it is for all of us today and this week. Last week was hellish for the citizens of Boston and Texas.

Almost lost, in the 5-day saga of the Boston bombings, was the huge explosion in West, Texas. Investigators have located the spot where the fertilizer plant explosion occurred but don’t know what caused the deadly blast.

At least 14 were killed, 200 injured, and scores of nearby homes and businesses damaged or destroyed in one of the worst American industrial accidents in years. Sadly, most of the deaths were first responders.

Thus far, no signs of criminal activity. However, there is an ongoing investigation into the plant’s recent operations.


Satellite images show West, Texas before and after fertilizer plant explosion


As you know, the two deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon Finish line – three dead and over 140 injured – and the execution of the MIT Security guard – was a series of horrific events that began Monday and ended Friday with the capture of one of the suspects and the death of the other.

Two brothers - Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev - originally from Chechnya, a war-torn a southern Russian republic, were responsible. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shoot-out with police, and his brother Dzhokhar was badly wounded and taken prisoner. His wounds have rendered him unable to communicate with authorities and his story hasn’t been told yet.

If you want to help out the victims, I strongly suggest you go to the following charity.

One Boston Fund here’s the reason why:

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino have formed The One Fund Boston, Inc. to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013. It’s legit, and there are others out there that are scams.

Here’s 6 links telling the entire series of events as they went down. Current news, videos, and updates provided:

A Bad day in Boston

Manhunt for the surviving Boston Marathon bomber!

America on Alert!

Two explosions at Finish Line of the Boston Marathon

First Responders: Ready to give their lives to save yours

Heroes & Good Samaritans are the same thing

Time for me to walk on down the road.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

AS IT STANDS: Four reasons why the skies aren’t so friendly anymore

 By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
 It wasn’t that long ago when the jingle “Fly the Friendly Skies”  by United Airlines was true. Today’s skies are darkened with increasing challenges in air travel. Rather than totally dissect all of them, I’m offering four of the main reasons that show the state of the skies today:

 One - the cost of air travel. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune (1-3-13) warned travelers that the cost of flying will go up this year. “Airlines pushed through six fare increases in 2012. Expect a similar number in the new year,” said Rick Seaney, co-founder of “I wouldn’t be surprised to see airfares rise like they did last year, between 3 and 6 percent domestically,” Seaney said.
What you pay for an airline ticket is based upon four factors (listed in order of importance); competition, supply, demand, and oil prices. Speaking of competition, if the merger between United Airlines and American Airlines goes through, the nation will have three major airlines of similar size (American, United, Delta).
The Business Travel Coalition, an advocacy group, says a merger will result in higher fares and fees. (A February article in the Business Day section of The New York Times discussed the price consumers pay when airlines consolidate.)

 Two - food price increases, and in some cases food no more! It’s hard to believe that we once expected food as part of the ticket price. Free snacks and drinks were a given on even the shortest flights.
Some air transportation experts suggest that if United Airlines and American Airlines do merge there should be some competition on in-flight packages offering Wi- Fi, seats, and food. But consider this, US Airways research shows that passengers care more about getting to their destination than anything else.
Elite travelers on American Airlines expect to be fed in flight. Would the merger mean the loss of that luxury? A lot of concerned people right now wait to see what happens.
Edward Pizzarello, a founder of, a leading frequent-flier forum, and an organizer of MegaDo, retreats for frequent-flier fanatics, expressed his concerns in a recent AP interview: “My biggest concern is there might be a reduction in the in-flight experience with the new leadership,” Mr. Pizzarello said.

Three - increasing safety concerns about air carriers. Take American Airlines for example; on April 16th they had a nationwide computer glitch that grounded all of their aircraft for hours, causing massive delays.
There was also that nagging little problem of rows of seats coming loose lately. Maintenance problems have driven them to the point of bankruptcy. Hence the possible merger with United Airlines.

And how about Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner jet suffering three mishaps in as many days in January? The heightened safety concerns after this string of setbacks for the new aircraft is hardly reassuring to passengers.
Four - What airline passengers have to undergo these days for security purposes is stressful, to put it mildly. The greatest number of Americans that were affected in the post-9/11 world, are the ones who use the nation's commercial airports.
Prior to the attacks, passenger screening was done by private companies supervised by the Federal Aviation Administration. After 9/11, the government created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency despised by millions of Americans today. How controversial is the TSA? Kip Hawley, head of TSA from 2005 to 2009, said that airport security is “broken” in an NBC report last year.
He argued that TSA should forgo standardized procedures and the focus on prohibited items in favor of increased flexibility and mitigating risk. He even wrote a book, “Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security,” that’s worth a read if you want an insider’s view.

 I would be remiss not to mention how much controversy has occurred over full body scans and pat-downs. You constantly hear horror stories of individuals being humiliated and angry passengers refusing to be “groped.”
Airline employees are upset with pending new regulations that would allow carrying on a small knife. Unhappy employees don’t add to the overall traveling experience for anyone.
As It Stands, I quit being a fan of flying back in 1970 when a commercial airliner took me to Vietnam. I never forgave the planes, even though one brought me home!

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...