Saturday, July 25, 2009


First, you should know that Blue Dog Democrats are the ones who are tend to embrace some conservative ideology.

You might call them right of the center of the democratic party. Typically, they tend to be more universally conservative on fiscal issues and have less consensus on social issues.

So now that you know who the term refers to, let’s digg a little into exactly why the term “Blue Dog” is used to describe them. For starters, the term derived from the earlier reference to “Yellow Dog Democrats. The term “Yellow Dog Democrat” arose in the 1800s to describe people in the South who would vote for a yellow dog before they voted for a Republican.

So the term “Blue Dog Democrats” was derived from this earlier usage, but why the term blue? Well, the idea is that conservative democrats for the longest time have been choked out of the party by the left extreme. When you get choked, you turn blue. So the idea is that the Blue Dog Democrats have been choked blue by the extreme left and have now formed a coalition to fight back.

Text and photo via Dog Reflections

'Organ trafficking': Rabbis arrested over massive crime ring

US agents have arrested 44 elected officials and Jewish rabbis in New Jersey in a huge anti-corruption sweep across the state.

Charges of extortion, bribery, money laundering and human organ trafficking were stunning even for a state long notorious for official corruption and organised crime.

Five rabbis were among suspects, along with the mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, the Jersey City deputy mayor and council president, two state assembly members, and numerous other politicians, prosecutors said.

Acting US Attorney for the district of New Jersey Ralph Marra told a press conference the sweep demonstrated "the pervasive nature of public corruption in this state".

"The politicians willingly put themselves up for sale," he said, while "clergymen cloak their extensive criminal activity behind a facade of rectitude."

Raids began shortly after dawn on Thursday, officials said, targeting a who's who of state leaders.

Click here to read the rest from The Age

Ten things you don’t know about the Earth

Here are ten facts about the Earth — They’re all real. But how many of them do you know? Be honest.

1) The Earth is smoother than a billiard ball.

Maybe you’ve heard this statement: if the Earth were shrunk down to the size of a billiard ball, it would actually be smoother than one. When I was in third grade, my teacher said basketball, but it’s the same concept. But is it true? Let’s see. Strap in, there’s a wee bit of math (like, a really wee bit).

Click here to read the other nine facts from Discover.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The dandelion is a healthful, great tasting weed you can eat

By Carol Williams
Want to eat a weed? One that’s easy to find and tastes great? Just start hunting for those first spring dandelions.The dandelion’s true name is Taraxacum Officinale, which means “the official remedy for disorders.”
Legend has it that the people of Atlantis used the dandelion as a food and a tonic. The early colonists brought the dandelion to America from Europe. They used all parts of the plant, even the roots, which they roasted and ground for a coffee-like drink. We know that frontier healers often recommended dandelion greens as a spring tonic. They are full of vitamins unavailable to pioneers during the winter. There is no doubt dandelions have saved lives.
Click here to read the rest in Back Woods Home

Real-Life Sci-Fi Discovery of the Day: Scientists Make LED Bulbs From Salmon DNA

BY Ariel SchwartzFri Jul 24, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Where can science fiction possibly go when real-life headlines proclaim that researchers have created LED lightbulbs from salmon DNA? University of Connecticut researchers have added fluorescent dye to salmon DNA and spun the DNA strands into nanofibers to create a brand new material that gives off a bright white light. A LED light is coated with the DNA nanofibers, and voila, a salmon DNA lightbulb is born.

While other scientists have experimented with materials like silica nanoparticles and block copolymers to alter the color of light given off by a LED bulb, salmon DNA has proven most successful. Tuning the light quality from cool white to warm white is just a matter of tweaking the ratio of dyes because, according to researchers, "the DNA fibers orient the dyes in an optimum way for efficient [fluorescence energy transfer] to occur." So salmon DNA bulbs could overcome at least one hurdle for LEDs--complaints about brightness.

Click here to read the rest of the article at Fast Company

More health care controversy...

Mike Luckovich, copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate

Thursday, July 23, 2009

FBI corruption probe involves two NJ mayors and 30 people

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano (right) is led into FBI Headquarters in Newark after being taken into custody.

(Below) Mayor Dennis Elwell at FBI Headquarters. Both photos by Robert Sciarrino 

Morning Rush: Hoboken City Mayor Peter Cammarano arrested by FBI

by Paul

Thursday July 23, 2009, 7:51 AM

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano has been arrested by the FBI as part of a wide-reaching investigation that is swooping up dozens of people, including other politicians and rabbis, according the WNBC-TV, Hudson County Now is reporting. The IRS is also involved, according to the report.

• A controversial ordinance that would give the Hoboken City Council the power to name people to the Zoning Board -- instead of the mayor -- was not voted on last night at the council meeting and was put into sub-committee instead. The ordinance was put into the Zoning and Planning subcommittee after nearly two hours of heated debate, from both the Council and the public.

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano's picks for directors was put on hold to allow City Council President Dawn Zimmer time to review the candidates. Cammarano submitted a letter to the council at last night's meeting, responding to the delay.

• After an empty suitcase was found in front of her home prompting a call to the police, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason said today that she has received threatening letters off and on since she was first elected to the City Council two years ago, and was even threatened on the street in Hoboken once.

 2 N.J. mayors, lawmaker arrested in corruption case

By Jean Mikle, USA TODAY

NEWARK — The mayors of two New Jersey cities and a state legislator are under arrest Thursday as part of a major corruption and international money laundering conspiracy probe.

Federal prosecutors say about 30 people have been arrested. They include Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini. Federal prosecutors say several rabbis in New York and New Jersey are also arrested.

The mayors of two major New Jersey cities and an assemblyman have been arrested in a major corruption and international money laundering conspiracy probe, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says approximately 30 arrests have occurred in the two-track investigation.

They include Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, the AP says.

Update at 9:40 a.m. ET: The Star-Ledger, of Newark, says the feds have been probing alleged money transfers involving rabbis in Syrian Jewish enclaves in Deal and Brooklyn. The paper says those arrested include key religious leaders in the tight-knit, wealthy communities.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Law enforcement officials will give a news conference at noon ET on the arrests.

Posted by Doug Stanglin at 09:37 AM/ET, July 23, 2009 in Crime, Politics | Permalin

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oakland leads the way - it's the first city nationally to impose Marijuana tax

I received this press release today from Dale Gieringer, Cal NORML:

  "Last night's landslide victory for Oakland's cannabis business tax, Measure F,  by 79.9%  mirrors  the historic 79.6% victory of  San Francisco's  path-breaking medical marijuana initiative, Prop. P, in 1991.  Like Prop P, Measure F seems destined to serve as a model for cannabis reform elsewhere in the state and country.

   Measure F would impose a 1.8% tax on the city's medical cannabis businesses, raising an estimated $300,000 for the city.

   Kudos to James Anthony for having proposed and authored this measure;  to  Rebecca Kaplan for having shepherded it through City Council;   and to  medical cannabis  collective directors Steve DeAngelo, Richard Lee, and Keith Stephenson for their enlightened support of this landmark measure.

  Thanks too to the voters of Oakland, who approved Measure Z to "tax and regulate" marijuana in 2004 and have kept their city on the forefront of cannabis law reform."

The Christian Science Monitor ran this article today:

Oakland voters approve marijuana tax
It is the first US city to assess such a tax, which could raise almost $300,000 in revenue next year. Opponents of the measure say it opens the door to more crime and heavier drug use.

Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday became the first city in the US to assess a tax on marijuana.
    State and national advocates of the tax say the victory is a significant turning point in the history of cannabis use, paving the way for taxation in other communities and states and establishing more social acceptance of marijuana use.
    Opponents say an irreversible threshold has been crossed, opening the door to more crime and heavier drug use.
     By a wide margin of 80 percent to 20 percent, Oakland voters said "yes" to Measure F, which asked: "Shall City of Oakland's business tax, which currently imposes a tax rate of $1.20 per $1,000 on 'cannabis business' gross receipts, be amended to establish a new tax rate of $18 per $1,000 of gross receipts?"
  "The voters of Oakland have sent a message to the nation that cannabis is better treated as a legitimate, tax-paying business than as a cause of crime and futile law-enforcement expenditures," says Dale Gieringer, California state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
     The city estimates that the measure will raise $294,000 in additional tax revenue in 2010 and more in future years. Some say the measure will provide funds to help offset the city's current $83 million deficit as well as allow police to direct their limited resources to more serious crimes and drug offenses.
   "The public is more interested in having money to preserve social services and fight more important crimes," says Sam Singer, a Berkeley resident and well-known PR consultant.
Mr. Singer and others say that since the passage of Proposition 218 in 1996 - which made marijuana available by prescription to relieve pain and nausea - marijuana use in California has existed behind a "false front": Users can go to a doctor, complain of symptoms, and for about $100, get the doctor to write them a prescription for the drug. A state-issued card lasts for one year.
   "It's so easy to get a card that it's almost as if physicians will help lead you to your story of chronic pain, insomnia, fatigue, etc.," says John Diaz, editorial page editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
   Oakland has not so much cleared up the marijuana issue so much as found a way to contain it, Mr. Diaz says. The city is giving permits to only four clubs, compared with a few dozen in San Francisco and about 800 in Los Angeles.
   Federal law still prohibits the use and sale of marijuana, although US Attorney General Eric Holder has said that federal law enforcement will no longer conduct raids in the states that have legalized medical-marijuana use. Nationwide, about 775,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2007.

   "It takes a lot of time, attention, and money to bust, prosecute, and then incarcerate marijuana users," Singer says. "Given the economy, this is a move that will be welcomed not just in Oakland, but most likely in major urban cities across the nation."

Here's a very unusual fish story that ends well for the fish!

A Fish Story
Bill Driver, who lives in Wichita, KS, saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in the lake and went to investigate.
It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!
The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface.
Bill tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife, Pam, cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

You probably wouldn't have believed this, if you hadn't seen the following pictures...

Click here to see the rest of these amazing pics at

Photo by Pam Driver

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

As It Stands Blog celebrates 1st Year Anniversary!

It's hard to believe I've been blogging for a year now!

My first post was a year ago today, although I had the site for two days prior and didn't write anything. Having said that I would like to thank the 66,689 visitors (as of right now) from around the world who came and took a look at my fledgling web site.

As of today, there are 65 web sites who have picked up my As It Stands columns. There are links to the 49 columns I wrote for The Times-Standard; five links to columns I wrote for ALL VOICES; eight links to columns I wrote for Nolan Chart; and two columns picked up by the Kauai News and Information site.

About six months into my blogging experience I changed the web template to the design it now has. I really like this layout.

 It was a good year. Michael Moore ran my column "A President With PTSD?" under the "Must Read" part of his web site.

The column "Judge Says Feds Violated 10th Amendment by Subverting State Marijuana Laws" went viral last year setting an "ALL TIME - Top Scoring" record with The Times-Standard and was the Times-Standard's Most Read Online article for 2008. This column continues to attract readers and is #5 on this years "Hot List" according to Reddit.

Other columns that attracted a lot of readers were: "California Can Lead the Nation out of the Depression by Legalizing Marijuana" which is #4 on this year's "Hot List" by Reddit. I'm not sure yet, but I think this column has gone viral already this year, and if it hasn't it's very close; "President Obama - It's time to stop spying on all Americans" is #5 on Reddit's "Hot List" and ranks #9 "ALL TIME" and is another column destined to go viral this year judging by the steady continued readership; "Got Khat? Paranoia leads to latest State Ban on a Plant" is on this year's "Hot List" at #6 (and climbing), and rates #12 on the "ALL TIME" category.

It has been fun checking out visitors through my Stat Counter. On any given day readers from Germany to Chile can be found noodling through my posts. I find myself getting curious about the visitors from such exotic places as the Islamic Republic of Iran, or Afghanistan. I think it's fair to say I've had visitors from every state in America.

The whole blogging experience has opened up many new doors, and I've met some real interesting people on line. I especially enjoy some of the Humboldt County blogs like The Humboldt Herald, WatchPaul, Rambling Jack's Laboratory, Redheaded Blackbelt, and Ernie's Place.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who has visited my blog...and you come back hear?

image via Google Images

Taser-hit man burst into flames

A man in Western Australia was engulfed in flames when police officers fired a Taser stun gun at him.

Police say they used the Taser on Ronald Mitchell, 36, when he ran at them carrying a container of petrol and a cigarette lighter.

They said that Mr Mitchell, who lives in a remote Aboriginal community, had been sniffing petrol. They suggested the cigarette lighter started the fire.

Mr Mitchell is in a critical condition in hospital with third degree burns.

Click here to read the rest at BBC News

Some Scary Halloween Costumes: What Would Happen If There Wasn't a Dress Code in Congress?

Inspired by Rep. "Gym" Jordan's refusal to wear a suit jacket in the Capitol (or anywhere else), I have a stunning prediction...