Saturday, November 23, 2013

Academics vs Creationists: Texas Board of Education Blocks New Biology Book

 Good Day World!

I’ve always been fascinated by people who are afraid of science and facts about the world we live in.

Looking back through the ages, the church persecuted people who did not accept it’s dogma about how we humans were created.

Supposedly we’re living in enlightened times, but you have to wonder when you read stories about conservative creationists who still refuse to face scientific facts about the evolutionary process.

Nowhere in the country are creationists more prevalent than Texas. I don’t know why. They actively ban and block publications all the time that go against their conservative Judo Christian beliefs like it was the 17th century!

Luckily they can’t torture disbelievers anymore.

Here’s the latest example of what I’m talking about: 

“The Texas Board of Education used a late-night meeting to give preliminary approval to new science textbooks for classrooms across the state late Thursday night, but it blocked signing off on a major new biology text until alleged "errors" in lessons over the theory of evolution are checked by outside experts.

Textbook and classroom curriculum battles have long raged in Texas pitting creationists — those who see God's hand in the creation of the universe — against academics who worry about religious and political ideology trumping scientific fact. At issue this time are proposed high school biology books that could be used across the state at least through 2022.

State law approved two years ago means school districts can now choose their own books and don't have to adhere to a list recommended by the Board of Education — but most have continued to use approved books.

The issue is important nationally since Texas is so large that many books prepared for publication in the state also are marketed elsewhere around the country.” read full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, November 22, 2013

Feds raid Denver marijuana dispensaries in premptive strike

(AP Photo/The Daily Camera, Mark Leffingwell ). A law enforcement officer walks past a pile of marijuana seized during a raid at Swiss Medical Industries in Boulder, Colo., Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.

 Claiming that certain guidelines weren’t in place, the Feds descended upon Colorado pot dispensaries in a show of force.

Hiding beneath ski masks like thieves, federal agents devastated numerous grow sites and confiscated pot products, sending a chill down the newly legal marijuana market’s spine.

Pot advocates are really hoping the Feds aren’t sending a message in advance of January 1st, 2014, when it’ll be legal to dispense marijuana and cannabis products in the state.

Here’s what happened:

Federal agents raided an unknown number of marijuana dispensaries and growing sites on Thursday in Colorado, confiscating piles of marijuana plants and cartons of cannabis-infused drinks just weeks before the state allows sellers of recreational marijuana to open their doors.

The action appeared to send a message that federal authorities would be keeping a close watch on the industry as a state law legalizing pot is implemented.

The raids, conducted on a frigid, snowy morning, were the first in Colorado since the U.S. Department of Justice said in August that it wouldn't interfere with state marijuana laws as long as the drug is kept away from children, the black market and other states, among other guidelines.

In a statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver said the criminal investigations unit of the Internal Revenue Service, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and Denver authorities were involved in executing the sealed search and seizure warrants.

The raided businesses were suspected of violating more than one of the eight guidelines issued by the Justice Department.Retail marijuana sales are set to begin on Jan. 1 in Colorado, though not all municipalities will be ready to regulate sales by then. For now, dispensaries are supposed to sell only to people with medical permission to use the drug. Many of the state's 500 or so existing dispensaries are making plans to convert to recreational sales.

People involved in Colorado's marijuana industry were quick to point out that the raids did not necessarily mean the federal government was going back on its word or planning to interfere with Colorado's recreational pot market.

Mike Elliott, a spokesman for the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, said the industry itself has pushed for robust regulations and expects compliance with lengthy state regulations on how the drug and be grown and sold.” full story here

Faster is not always better: THC 'dabs' can be dangerous

Good Day World!

 It’s TGIF, and am going to be lazy and re-run a column I wrote on April 7th of this year.

You might want to pull out a note book, because the information in it has resonated for thousands of viewers for over six months and counting.

I wrote it for The Times-Standard, a daily newspaper in Eureka, California.

It’s popularity continues today (see daily top 50 stories on The Times-Standard online edition):

Americans are increasingly aware that marijuana has medicinal properties. Still, without a doubt, the flowering plant's ability to get a person “high” is what made it popular in the first place.

When marijuana advocates talk about marijuana properties these days, it's generally in a medicinal context -- something more acceptable to the general public and a more likely path to legalization.

It's not politically correct to say, “Hey, I smoke pot to get a good buzz!” Libertarians make no bones about a person's right to smoke weed. The issue to them is simple; the government has no business telling people what they can or can't do with marijuana.

Remember when corn cob pipes became popular to puff pot? Hookahs were the rage when Indian culture and gurus were considered cool in the '70s. People even used apples to make pipes.

Since the corn cob pipes, hookahs, glass pipes and joints, there's been a quantum leap in delivery systems. Most cannabis experts agree than a good vaporizer is the safest way to smoke weed.

There's just one delivery system that concerns me. Because it's become the rage recently among the younger set, I should explain what it is. You can now buy “wax” (high content THC Dabs) that have a stronger and faster psychoactive effect than any other delivery method can provide.

The user takes a single inhalation of vaporized or burned cannabis concentrate -- a dab -- that has been placed on a hot nail with a tiny spatula or needle. Dab concentrates are made from oil extracted from cannabis plants with a solvent.

The most widely used solvent is butane --better known as lighter fluid. You should know that butane extraction is against the law. People are serving time in prison for using butane as an organic solvent.

More important, butane is a fire and explosion risk because it is so highly flammable. Many people have been severely injured using butane to make cannabis oil extracts. And “butane” isn't pure butane; it contains contaminants.

Approximately 20 percent of the volatile fuel in common “butane” lighter fluid is a combination of other hydrocarbons including benzene, ethyl mercaptan, heptane, hexane, and other toxic impurities.

There are alternatives to using regular butane. A higher grade butane (USP grade or laboratory-grade) extract vaporized with a temperature-controlled device could be used if you can find it. However, using regular butane is the most common way to make dabs.

The nail used in the process presents a problem too. When heated with a torch to burn or volatilize the dab, the nail will gradually disintegrate and flake off, further polluting by the process. And let's face it, a stoner messing with an open flame is a recipe for a disaster.

According to High Times Magazine, dabs were the big hit (pun intended) at the High Times Cannabis Cup recently held in Los Angeles. Free samples were given out. You can only imagine the buzz that caused among visitors, some of whom openly walked around with torches and bubblers (a brand new type of multi-purpose bong that is dab friendly). Some people reportedly passed out and got sick from the sudden massive THC infusion.

There is an argument for using dabs. The hit is so intense it'll immediately help your condition (especially if you're in pain), and it lasts most of the day as opposed to conventional delivery systems (pipes, bongs, etc.) that may require multiple smoking sessions during the day.

There's a safe way to produce dabs, and there's a dangerous way, depending upon the process used. I think dabs are safer for people who have smoked for years and have built up some resistance to THC, as opposed to new users.

My research indicates that dabs first appeared in California, but their usage has spread to Oregon and beyond. Can a whole dab industry be far off? Dabs are the current fad and marketing efforts are popping up everywhere.

Nevertheless, the way I see it, if you're out to have a good time -- or need to medicate for whatever condition -- why mess with mother nature? When you mix toxic elements with your marijuana you take a chance of becoming an accident (or worse) a statistic.

As It Stands, once upon a time there was a jingle for Brylcreem (a man's hair wax) that went, “A little dab'll do ya ...” Buy wax today, and that little dab may do you harm!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Outbreak? Meningitis case reported at another NJ university

Calling for Bexsero! Calling for Bexsero!

Once again Americans have to turn to Europe and Australia for a vaccine not available in this country because of another emergency case of meningitis in a university.

A Princeton connection is feared. The vaccine needed is called Bexsero.

A new case of meningitis was reported at a New Jersey university late Wednesday, raising worries that an outbreak of the potentially deadly infection may have spread beyond Princeton, where seven people have been sickened since March.

An administrator at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., was hospitalized after becoming "gravely ill," officials at the school reported in a notice to the campus community Thursday. The school, which enrolls nearly 4,800 undergraduate students, is located about 45 miles from Princeton.

There's no confirmation yet about what strain of bacteria infected the employee, or whether it's serotype B, which sickened the six students and a student visitor in the Princeton outbreak, according to Petra Ludwig Shaw, a Monmouth spokeswoman. 

Concern about the outbreak is so great that Princeton officials this week agreed to import and pay for a vaccine that's not approved in the United States to start inoculating students against the infection that kills at least 1 in 10 who contract it. The current U.S. vaccines recommended for college students cover four strains of the bacteria that cause illness -- A, C, Y and W-135 -- but not strain B.

Also on Thursday, a third case of meningitis was confirmed at the University of California at Santa Barbara, according to officials there. But they told the Associated Press that those cases do not appear related to the Princeton outbreak.” full story here

Oops! Oregonian Obamacare Website Didn’t Even Sign Up 1 Person!

Good Day World!

The woes in rolling out Obamacare nationally, were mirrored here in Oregon.

Not one person in the state was able to sign up for it online, despite the state’s eagerness to go along with the program. Why is this happening? What’s with all of the online difficulties?

I thought only the best programmers in the country would be involved in the nation’s – and Oregon’s – rollout of the Affordable Healthcare Act. It sure doesn’t look that way, does it? But why?

Here’s a theory advanced by a number of conservative political pundits:

“Government can’t handle the business of healthcare as well as the private sector.”

Greg Leo, chairman of Oregon's Republican Party and an avowed foe of the 2010 health care reform law, said its troubled rollout in Oregon underscores his view that patients would be better served by a system managed by the private sector.

Is it possible that government doesn’t pay computer programmers a competitive wage so they turn to the private sector? For reasons beyond me, it seems governments have a major problem utilizing internet technology…at least as far as introducing healthcare websites go. Now spying on us is another matter, but I digress.

Out of the estimated 560,000 uninsured Oregonians, not one went the way of the web to get relief.

Here’s a story about it:

“Oregon, a state that fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, is enduring one of the rockiest rollouts of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, with an inoperative online exchange that has yet to enroll a single subscriber, requiring thousands to apply on paper instead.

Unlike most other states, Oregon set an ambitious course to make its insurance exchange, dubbed Cover Oregon, an "all-in-one" website for every individual seeking health coverage, including those who are eligible for Medicaid.

But instead of serving as a national model, Oregon's experience has emerged as a cautionary tale, inviting comparisons to technical glitches that have plagued other state-run portals and the federal government's website for those states lacking exchanges of their own.

Oregon's online exchange has remained inaccessible to the public, requiring the state to sign up applicants the old-fashioned way, using paper forms. This has made comparison shopping more difficult for consumers and severely slowed the enrollment process.” read full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I can’t believe it - endless Afghanistan agreement assures another generation of war!

 Good Day World!

 The never-ending-war in Afghanistan will go on. Forget President Obama’s claim that he was going to end the war in 2014.

It looks like he huddled down with the military industrial complex and plotted out an extension of America’s longest war to date. Sure glad I didn’t believe the lying bastard! Also glad I didn’t vote for him.

I’m a Vietnam veteran (1970) who believes Obama either isn’t aware of prior military quagmires, or else he’s in bed with people who are profiting from this war. Either way, I’m disgusted.

Obama hasn’t signed the final document assuring this…yet. But all indications are he will.

The copy of the draft - the full text is available here --  is dated July 25, 2013. As a working draft, it is particularly revealing because it shows the back and forth negotiations, as U.S. and Afghan officials added words and struck out paragraphs.

The war on terror is a global war now, and we’re wasting our time and lives clinging to outdated strategies to combat terrorism like militarily occupying Arab countries. Will someone please explain that to Obama?

In the news…

While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key U.S.-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.

The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

The document outlines what appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan in the name of training and continuing to fight al-Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be ending, but renewed under new, scaled-down U.S.-Afghan terms.

“The Parties acknowledge that continued U.S. military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end,” the draft states.full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Has Karma caught up to George Zimmerman? He’s in Jail Again

UPDATE: It was a rough day for George Zimmerman: His wife served him with divorce papers in jail, he was accused in court of choking his girlfriend and threatening suicide, and his lawyer revealed he’s $2.5 million in debt.

Good Day World!

 Do you believe in Karma?

I do. When OJ Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas decades after murdering his wife and her friend, I called it karma.

“The Juice” isn’t doing a life sentence, but OJ is getting a good taste of what it’s like behind bars. You either have good or bad karma. No in between.

I’d say George Zimmerman’s bad karma is catching up to him. As we all know, he got away with murdering Trayvon Martin in a highly charged trial in July. He’s back in a Florida jail again after deputies responded to a “disturbance call” Monday.

Sometime today the sheriff's office said they’ll release the arrest report and 911 calls. Monday’s incident is just Zimmerman's latest run in with the law.

In September, he was released without charges after his wife called 911 to say Zimmerman punched his father-in-law in the nose and threatened to shoot him and his wife.

He claimed that he was acting in a "defensive manner" during the incident, according to police, who later added that they never found a gun on Zimmerman.

It seems karma is biting Zimmerman in the ass. We can only hope he get’s his just dues soon. He had a history of anger problems before he killed Trayvon. Perhaps he thinks because he got away with murder he’s golden.

He’s wrong.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, November 18, 2013

Law Preventing 3D Gun Technology Online Will Expire Soon

Here’s the Good, Bad, and Ugly on 3-D printed guns:

They’re a real advance in firearms, criminals will be able to purchase them online for about a grand if there’s no law against them, and the law currently prohibiting their technology is going to expire soon.

“As the technology to print 3-D firearms advances, a federal law that banned the undetectable guns is about to expire.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer says he's seeking an extension of the law before it expires Dec. 9.

The technology of so-called 3-D printing has advanced to the point anyone with $1,000 and an Internet connection can access the plastic parts that can be fitted into a gun. Those firearms can't be detected by metal detectors or X-ray machines.

Schumer says that means anyone can download a gun cheaply, then take the weapons anywhere, including high-security areas.

The technology has recently advanced to create handguns capable of shooting several shots, rather than just one, before it ceases to function. Schumer also says the guns can now be made with all plastic parts, and no metal.

A blueprint for one such firearm was recently downloaded more than 100,000 times, Schumer said.”

Drone try to kid me – those pilotless planes have accidents all the time

 Good Day World!

 The use of drones has become commonplace in the military. So have accidents involving drones.

For example; A small fire erupted and two sailors were injured after an aerial target drone malfunctioned and struck a guided missile cruiser during training off Southern California on Saturday.

The drone struck the USS Chancellorsville on the side, leaving a 2- to 3-foot hole, said Lt. Lenaya Rotklein of the U.S. Third Fleet.

This was the second military drone crash in one week. On Tuesday, a drone from Fort Drum in upstate New York crashed into Lake Ontario during a training flight. The Air Force is still investigating that incident.

July 2013:

A remote stretch of the Florida Panhandle highway was closed after an Air Force drone crashed near the area. Tyndall Air Force Base reported the QF-4 drone crashed on takeoff.

The Air Force closed Highway 98 west of Panama City and east of Mexico Beach because of fires from the crash. Officials say the drone had a limited, 24-hour battery life.

In the news last week:

The U.S. military was forced to relocate a large fleet of drones from a key counterterrorism base on the Horn of Africa after a string of crashes fanned local fears that the unmanned aircraft were at risk of colliding with passenger planes, according to documents and interviews.

Air Force drones ceased flying this month from Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. installation in Djibouti, after local officials expressed alarm about several drone accidents and mishaps in recent years. The base serves as the combat hub for counterterrorism operations in Yemen and Somalia, playing a critical role in U.S. operations against al-Shabab, the Somali Islamist militia that has asserted responsibility for the Nairobi shopping mall attack, which killed more than 60 people.

The Pentagon has temporarily moved the unmanned aircraft from the U.S. base in Djibouti’s capital to a makeshift airstrip in a more remote part of the country.

It’s pretty clear to me there’s a pattern of drone accidents. What’s scary is such a high tech weapon can suddenly do something really unexpected…like hit one of our own cruisers. The Pakistan government has been howling for years about errant drones killing their citizens. For good reason, they do…intended or not.

When I hear people talk about national security depending on drones, I get a queasy feeling in my gut because if that’s the case, we’re in BIG TROUBLE!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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...