Talking about HEARD A PIN DROP

 

Quote

HEARD A PIN DROP

 JFK’S 
Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when 
DeGaule decided to pull out of NATO.  DeGaule said he wanted all US 
military out of France as soon as possible.  
 Rusk responded,

"Does that include those who are buried here?"
  
DeGaule 
did not respond.
 

You 
could have heard a pin drop.


 
 
When in England,

at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of 
’empire building’ by George Bush.

 
 
He answered by saying,

"Over the years, the United States has sent many of 
its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom 
beyond our borders.  The only amount of land we have ever asked for 
in return is enough to bury those that did not 
return."

 

You 
could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 
There was a conference in France

where a number of international engineers 
were taking part, including French and American.  During a break, 
one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, "Have you 
heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft 
carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims.  What does he 
intend to do, bomb them?"

 
A Boeing engineer

stood up and replied quietly:  "Our carriers have three 
hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are 
nuclear powered and can supply emergency  electrical power to 
shore facilities; they have three  cafeterias with the capacity to 
feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand 
gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a 
dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and 
from their flight deck.  We have eleven such ships;

how many does France have?"
 

You 
could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 
A U.S. Navy Admiral

was attending a naval conference that included 
Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French 
Navies  At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large 
group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. 
Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a 
French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many 
languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that 
we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than 
speaking French?"

 
Without hesitating,

the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it’s because the 
Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t 
have to speak German."
 

You 
could have heard a pin drop.


 
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 
AND 
THIS STORY FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE ABOVE…

 
Robert Whiting,

an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane.

At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport

in his carry on.
 
"You 
have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked 
 sarcastically.

 
Mr. Whiting

admitted that he had been to France 
previously.

 
"Then 
you should know enough to have your passport ready."

 
The American said,

"The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it."
 
"Impossible. 
Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France!"

 
The American senior

gave the Frenchman a long hard look.  Then he 
quietly explained, ”Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 
1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find a single Frenchmen 
to show a passport to."

You 
could have heard a pin drop.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

If 
you are proud to be an American, pass this on! If not, delete it.


 


 

I am proud to be of this land, AMERICA

AKA Jorge Cervantes

By JIM CARLSON

To hear him described, you may think he’s “the most interesting man in the world” from those Dos Equis beer ads.  And, maybe he is: world traveler, internationally-renowned publisher and author, botanist, raconteur, lightning-rod for controversy and — to some degree — man of mystery.

What the man known as Jorge Cervantes shares with nearly every pot-smoking American is this: a life somewhat divided, out of necessity, between reality and protective myth.

This much is true.  For nearly 30 years, Cervantes has been public about his love of cannabis and has been responsible for spreading the secrets of successful marijuana cultivation to thousands of growers around the globe.  In 1983, he penned Indoor Marijuana Horticulture:  The Marijuana Grower’s Bible, which has since spawned a cottage industry of books and instructional DVDs.  For this, he became infamous to law enforcement and a hero to pot enthusiasts.  But the admiration isn’t something he wears easily.

RONNIE SMITH FOR SHERIFF OF GALLATIN COUNTY KENTUCKY!

ronniesmithforsheriff.com

I am running for sheriff of Gallatin County Kentucky and when elected
I will put the farmers to work growing hemp here.
They have lost their tobacco and they need an alternative.
I am actively seeking campaign donations, this is a small county and I can win with 1300 votes.
I need $5000 for billboards and signage, I can win this and we can start right now
Growing hemp in Kentucky
Thanks
Ronnie Smith
Sheriff Candidate
http://ronniesmithforsheriff.com

Chelsea Clinton: Stepping out of Bill and Hillary’s shadow

http://chicagopressrelease.com/news/chelsea-clinton-stepping-out-of-bill-and-hillarys-shadow

chelsea-clinton-1

It was one of the defining images of the Bill Clinton era. After confessing his infidelities to the world in August 1998, the shamed president and his wife, Hillary, walked across the White House lawn to a waiting helicopter. Standing between them – holding the hand of each parent – was Chelsea Clinton, smiling broadly, striding purposefully, appearing to all intents and purposes the one thing keeping the First Family together.

For the watching world, it was a moment of poignancy amid all the heat of the Clintons’ political drama. For a moment, people stopped blaming Bill for his transgressions or wondering how Hillary managed to stand by her man. They thought of Chelsea, a teenager, still dealing with growing up and doing it all in front of the cameras of the world as her parents’ tumultuous marriage was laid bare.

Now marital issues once again have put Chelsea on the front page of America’s newspapers, but this time for a much happier reason than her father’s fling with a White House intern. On 31 July, in the upscale hamlet of Rhinebeck, just up the Hudson River from New York, Chelsea Clinton will wed her banker fiance, Marc Mezvinsky. It has the nation all caught up in a joyous tizzy for a nuptials that will go down as one of the weddings of the decade. Even the liberal politicos of the Huffington Post have taken to speculating what sort of dress she will wear (with the hot money on Oscar de la Renta).

The preparations seem a little like those for a major international summit, which is perhaps no surprise given the Clinton family’s lifetime in the global spotlight. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton has been involved, getting pictures of potential floral arrangements emailed to her as she conducts diplomacy around the globe. Bill has been on a diet, shedding 13 pounds of his target of 15. There will be 400 names on the super-secret guest list and it will probably read like a who’s who of American political life. Some gossips even hope the Obamas might make an appearance.

Chelsea, however, has insisted that she has to know each and every guest personally, so her parents’ inveterate networking skills will be constrained to some extent. A week before the wedding, according to reports, the guests will get a message revealing the exact destination, though it seems there is little point. Everyone already knows the wedding will take place at the Astor Courts estate, a sprawling spread that was once the home of famed tycoon John Jacob Astor IV.

No doubt it will be one of the happiest days of Chelsea’s life. But it is one that many people watching her walk between her stricken parents 12 years ago might have imagined would never happen. The image seemed to sum up one clear fact: it must have been unimaginably hard to grow up as Chelsea Clinton. She had to endure the drama of her parents, the global stage, the hounding by the press, the insults of her father’s Republican enemies and, finally, her father’s adultery made painfully public. And with no brothers or sisters, she had to endure it all alone.

It could have led to the sort of mental issues that decades of therapy would barely scratch the surface of. No one would have been surprised had Chelsea gone off the rails. Yet that is not the case. Chelsea Clinton, perhaps in the ultimate act of rebellion against her odd upbringing, has emerged as a well-balanced, happy, talented and serious woman. Not only does she seem to be comfortable bearing the Clinton name, she seems superbly well-suited to it.

Chelsea Victoria Clinton was never going to be able to avoid the spotlight. But it took her a long time to grow comfortable in it. She was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on 27 February 1980, when her father was already two years into his first stint as governor. Not surprisingly, given her parents’ prodigious intellects, she was a bright child, skipping a grade of school. She seemed to inherit much of the best of both of her parents and few of their faults. From her father, she got his personal warmth and, to the surprise of many who meet Chelsea, a talent for flirting. From her mother, she got a love of wonkish policy and a ferocious work ethic. Her parents respected her abilities from an early age, encouraging her intelligence. Bill even set up a small desk for her to work at beside his own in the governor’s mansion.

But Chelsea’s life changed on 20 January 1992. That was when the Clinton family moved into the White House. She was just 12 years old and about to embark on her formative years. And what years they were. There were titanic political battles, constant attention from the world’s media, the scandal of Whitewater and then the drama of the revelations about the Monica Lewinsky affair and impeachment. There can have been few young women who have had to put up with a fully fledged public investigation into their father’s extramarital shenanigans, fewer still who then read the full report (Bill Clinton wept when he learned that).

Yet, whatever their political and personal mistakes, the Clintons as parents very rarely put a step wrong. Seeing the pressures put on previous White House children, they made the decision early on to shield her from the media. Chelsea was off-limits to the White House press corps. They tried to give her as normal a childhood as possible, sending her to Sidwell Friends School in Washington and taking ballet classes (still a major passion of the adult Chelsea). When she went to university, she chose Stanford in California, and much was made in some quarters of her decision to flee from her parents to the opposite side of the country.

But those waiting to see what sort of damaged Chelsea would emerge after the White House years were disappointed. She studied hard at chemistry before switching to history, graduating in 2001 with a thesis on Northern Ireland’s peace process (which, surely, her father would have helped with).

If she ever had a rebellious phase it came next when she went to Oxford to study for a master’s at University College. All of a sudden, Chelsea, for so long kept secret, embraced the public. She partied, she hung out with celebrities in London and was named one of Europe’s most eligible single women by Tatler. She shrugged off her media shyness and posed for photographs for Vanity Fair without asking her parents’ permission (“I’m a big girl now,” she said). But it did not last.

When Chelsea returned to America, she seemed to have got her wild days (and they really were not so wild) out of her system. Like so many bright sons and daughters of the American elite, she went into finance. She worked first for McKinsey management consultancy and then for a hedge-fund owned by a major Clinton supporter. She worked hard, indulging her passion for number-crunching and pulled down a hefty six-figure salary.

She got involved in charity work and then spent six months working for her mother’s presidential bid in 2007 and 2008. For a brief moment – as Chelsea toured more than 100 colleges touting Hillary’s credentials – the media speculated that she might follow in her parents’ footsteps. She certainly showed a talent for it. She spoke eloquently and enthusiastically, not shying away from her past, revealing an impressive command of the issues. She won a significant fan base. But it was not to last.

The old media ban was firmly back in place. Not once during the campaign did Chelsea give a press interview. She even turned down a nine-year-old reporter for a children’s newspaper, saying: “I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the press and that applies to you unfortunately – even though I think you’re cute.” Chelsea just wanted to help her mother. She did not want a public life and there was no sign that she would ever consider running for public office (and who can possibly blame her?). When the campaign was over, she went back to college in New York to study health policy.

Again, it was a typical path for an elite New Yorker of brains and talent. Her husband-to-be completes that picture. They are cut from much of the same cloth. He is an investment banker, both of whose parents were also politicians. His father even suffered his own political scandals and ended up in jail for fraud. They understand each other’s experiences. They have known each other since they were children and are, by all accounts, a very good match.

So, when the A-list guests start arriving at the Astor Courts estate, the scene actually won’t be that unusual. Every summer weekend in New York, the heirs and heiresses of the elite tie the knot. But for Chelsea Clinton, who had some of the strangest childhood experiences in history, such normalcy is a quite staggering achievement.

The Clinton file

Born: Chelsea Victoria Clinton, 27 February 1980, in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is the only child of former president Bill Clinton and current secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Best of times: Now. Chelsea is getting married this month to her long-term, boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker. It will be a lavish but private ceremony on a beautiful estate in upstate New York.

Worst of times: 1998. The Starr report had laid bare in excruciating detail the intimate goings on between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Chelsea read the report and when her father discovered that he burst into tears.

What she says: “I do not think that is any of your business.” Chelsea to a male audience member who asked her about the Lewinsky scandal during one of her 2008 campaign stops on behalf of her mother’s presidential nomination bid.

What others say: “Another person might have gone through the same things and come out extraordinarily bitter. Does she strike you as a woman who got bitter or who got better?” Paul Begala, a Clinton friend and political strategist.

Tell Virginia to Stop Persecuting Religious Prisoners With Long Hair

What would happen if prisons required you to denounce your faith upon entry?

That’s what’s happening in Virginia, where people first entering prison get their heads shaved — whether willingly or by force. No exceptions for people whose religions ban such styles. If you allow your hair to grow back, you are sent into isolation as punishment.

Currently, 48 inmates are being held in Virginia segregation units for refusing to keep their hair shorn. They’re only allowed to venture out of their cells for three showers a week and five recreational sessions in a cage outside.

Thirteen of the isolated prisoners practice Rastafarian, a religion that holds the hair sacred, and views its cutting as sacrilegious. Some of the prisoners — including Kendall Ray Gibson — have dreadlocks that reach the floor when loosened. Gibson has been at the Greensville Correctional Center since 1999, when the hair-cutting rule was instated, and refused from the start to violate his religion and cut his locks. He’s been punished by over a decade in solitary confinement ever since.

The rule doesn’t only affect the dreadlocked Rastafarians; certain sects of Judaism, Islam, and Native American spiritualities also require hair to be kept long. When it comes to the religiously devout, choosing between your soul and whether you can join the others on the prison yard isn’t a decision prisoners should have to make.

Only a handful of prisons still have hair-grooming policies like Virginia’s, mostly in southern states. I’ve worked within the walls of a maximum security prison myself, and know that even among such prisons, several make exceptions for religious practices that ban the cutting of hair.

Punishing the religiously devout by locking them away in segregation is draconian and unfair. Tell Virginia leaders to change the current policy and allow people of all faiths to practice their religion without punishment.

Back in 2000, Congress passed an act upholding the right of a person to practice the religion of their choice, even when incarcerated. It allows the state to limit the inmate’s religious freedoms only if they can show the limitation is necessary for prison security.

That’s the argument the Virginia Department of Corrections is clinging to. Officials claim that long hair is a security risk, because weapons and other forms of contraband can be hidden within it. Although a federal appeals court sided with the state in 2008, having worked in a prison without a similar hair grooming policy, I know that hair is a seldom-used hiding place — and what’s more, one that is easily searched during routine pat-downs.

Freedom to practice religion doesn’t — or shouldn’t — disappear the moment you enter prison. There are ways to balance security with religious freedoms, and Virginia prisons should make the effort. Continuing to punish Rastafarians and other believers for their faith is akin to keeping the Bible from Christians in fear they would conceal contraband within its pages. It’s unnecessary and unreasonable.

Show the state of Virginia that you don’t support keeping the religiously devout in isolation. Join us at Change.org in asking lawmakers to allow the incarcerated to practice their religion without fear of persecution.

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U.S. Efforts in Cocoa Trade Far From Sweet

Jean Stevens

Chocoholics have it right: European chocolate is better. Or at least, far more sustainable and just.

European Union members and several other countries of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) (not including the United States) signed a new agreement Friday at a United Nations conference. The agreement reestablishes countries’ commitments to making the $10 billion abuse-ridden cocoa industry more sustainable and fair to workers, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). But this move will only help improve conditions so much. Things can’t really get significantly better until the world’s largest consumer of cocoa, the U.S., finally decides to take the cocoa high road.

Since 2001, the U.N., the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) and other human rights groups have worked to address the rampant exploitation and slavery of workers, typically children of the Ivory Coast and Ghana, which produce about 60 percent of the world’s chocolate. But despite nobel efforts, the groups’ agreements have done little to improve conditions. About 3.6 million West African children work on cocoa farms, many of whom make very little to no pay while under horrific conditions, according to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

So why has nothing changed? Blame American chocolate and agricultural companies like Mars and Cargill, who process 400,000 tons of cocoa each year and demand that prices stay low. Chocolate companies "have been able to control initiatives meant to eliminate forced, child and trafficked labor in West Africa’s cocoa industry," according to a January report by the ILRF. Companies purchase cocoa through small farmers at a very low cost, refusing to pay prices that comply with Fair Trade practices.

Chocolate companies based in the United States, which refused to join ICCO when it formed in 1973, are particularly egregious. Under Congress’ watered-down 2001 Harkin-Engel Protocol, they volunteered to create and adopt their own standards to eliminate child slavery and develop certification systems for labor standards. But they’ve largely failed to do so, according to a 2009 Tulane University study, and slave conditions remain widespread and farmers exploited. Investigative journalist Christian Parenti has described so-called aid efforts as mostly talk — Cargill and other corporations have refused to accept higher price thresholds, working with the corrupt Ivory Coast government and thwarting local farmers’ attempts to unionize. More corporate consolidation has only further pressured farmers to keep costs low.

At least the British are getting their act together. Earlier this year, Nestle UK adopted Fair Trade certification, and last year the British company Cadbury adopted a new certification system verifying Fair Trade cocoa in their chocolate. U.S.-based Mars followed suit, but only for the UK-based Galaxy bar, leaving American candy untouched. (Don’t give the Brits too much credit: Human rights advocates point out this system means only 30 percent of the product’s cocoa was sustainably produced, hardly a reassuring statistic.)

The ICCO agreement reminds us of the US’ shamefully underwhelming, if not manipulative, moves toward industry improvements. Congress must amend the Protocol to require U.S. companies follow stricter standards like Fair Trade. We’ve seen what happens when companies volunteer their own standards, or commit to international agreements like ICCO’s — nothing changes.

Photo credit: Sonia Watson via Flickr Creative Commons

Jean Stevens is a freelance journalist based in New York whose work focuses on issues relating to sustainable food.

Talking about 50 Random Facts That Make You Wonder What In The World Has Happened To America

 

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50 Random Facts That Make You Wonder What In The World Has Happened To America

50 Random Facts That Make You Wonder What In The World Has Happened To America

  • The Alex Jones Channel Alex Jones Show podcast Prison Planet TV Infowars.com Twitter Alex Jones' Facebook Infowars store

The Economic Collapse
July 4, 2010

obamathad.jpg

Our world is changing at a pace that is so staggering these days that it can be really hard to fully grasp the significance of what we are witnessing.  Hopefully the collection of random facts below will help you to “connect the dots” just a little bit.  On one level, the facts below may not seem related.  However, what they all do have in common is that they show just how much the United States has fundamentally changed.  Do you ever just sit back and wonder what in the world has happened to America?  The truth is that the America that so many of us once loved so much has been shattered into a thousand pieces.  The “land of the free and the home of the brave” has been transformed into a socialized Big Brother nanny state that is oozing with corruption and has accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  The greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen is falling apart before our very eyes, and even when our politicians actually try to do something right (which is quite rare) the end result is still a bunch of garbage.  For those who still love this land (and there are a lot of us) it is heartbreaking to watch America slowly die.

The following are 50 random facts that show just how dramatically America has changed….

#50) A new report released by the United Nations is publicly calling for the establishment of a world currency and none of the major news networks are even covering it.

#49) The state of California is so broke that Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered California State Controller John Chiang to reduce state worker pay for July to the federal minimum allowed by law — $7.25 an hour for most state workers.

#48) A police officer in Oklahoma recently tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she couldn’t breathe because they considered her to be a “threat”.

#47) In early 2009, U.S. net national savings as a percentage of GDP went negative for the first time since 1952, and it has continued its downward trend since then.

#46) Corexit 9500 is so incredibly toxic that the UK’s Marine Management Organization has completely banned it, so if there was a major oil spill in the North Sea, BP would not be able to use it.  And yet BP has dumped over a million gallons of dispersants such as Corexit 9500 into the Gulf of Mexico.

#45) For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

#44) It has come out that one employee used a Federal Emergency Management Agency credit card to buy $4,318 in “Happy Birthday” gift cards.  Two other FEMA officials charged the cost of 360 golf umbrellas ($9,000) to the taxpayers.

#43) Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo received $389,000 from the U.S. government to pay 100 residents of Buffalo $45 each to record how much malt liquor they drink and how much pot they smoke each day.

#42) The average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen to an all-time high.

#41) The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

#40) In the U.S., the average federal worker now earns about twice as much as the average worker in the private sector.

#39) Back in 1950 each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.  Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

#38) According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

#37) The federal government actually has the gall to ask for online donations that will supposedly go towards paying off the national debt.

#36) The Cactus Bug Project at the University Of Florida was allocated $325,394 in economic stimulus funds to study the mating decisions of cactus bugs.

#35) A dinner cruise company in Chicago got nearly $1 million in economic stimulus funds to combat terrorism.

#34) It is being reported that a 6-year-old girl from Ohio is on the “no fly” list maintained by U.S. Homeland Security.

#33) During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.

#32) According to a new report, Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality and far less efficiency.

#31) Some experts are warning that the cost of bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could reach as high as $1 trillion.

#30) The FDA has announced that the offspring of cloned animals could be in our food supply right now and that there is nothing that they can do about it.

#29) In May, sales of new homes in the United States dropped to the lowest level ever recorded.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

#28) In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1.  Since the year 2000, that ratio has ranged between 300 to 500 to one.

#27) Federal border officials recently said that Mexican drug cartels have not only set up shop on American soil, they are actually maintaining lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona.

#26) The U.S. government has declared some parts of Arizona off limits to U.S. citizens because of the threat of violence from Mexican drug smugglers.

#25) According to the credit card repayment calculator, if you owe $6000 on a credit card with a 20 percent interest rate and only pay the minimum payment each time, it will take you 54 years to pay off that credit card.  During those 54 years you will pay $26,168 in interest rate charges in addition to the $6000 in principal that you are required to pay back.

#24) According to prepared testimony by Goldman Sachs Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs shorted roughly $615 million of the collateralized debt obligations and residential mortgage-backed securities the firm underwrote since late 2006.

#23) The six biggest banks in the United States now possess assets equivalent to 60 percent of America’s gross national product.

#22) Four of the biggest U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup) had a “perfect quarter” with zero days of trading losses during the first quarter of 2010.

#21) 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.

#20) BP has hired private security contractors to keep the American people away from oil cleanup sites and nobody seems to care.

#19) Barack Obama is calling for a “civilian expeditionary force” to be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq to help overburdened military troops build infrastructure.

#18) On June 18th, two Christians decided that they would peacefully pass out copies of the gospel of John on a public sidewalk outside a public Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan and within 3 minutes 8 policemen surrounded them and placed them under arrest.

#17) It is being reported that sales of foreclosed homes in Florida made up nearly 40 percent of all home purchases in the first part of this year.

#16) During a recent interview with Larry King, former first lady Laura Bush revealed to the world that she is actually in favor of legalized gay marriage and a woman’s “right” to abortion.

#15) Scientists at Columbia University are warning that the dose of radiation from the new full body security scanners going into airports all over the United States could be up to 20 times higher than originally estimated.

#14) 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

#13) The FDIC’s deposit insurance fund now has negative 20.7 billion dollars in it, which represents a slight improvement from the end of 2009.

#12) The judge that BP is pushing for to hear an estimated 200 lawsuits on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster gets tens of thousands of dollars a year in oil royalties and is paid travel expenses to industry conferences.

#11) In recent years the U.S. government has spent $2.6 million tax dollars to study the drinking habits of Chinese prostitutes and $400,000 tax dollars to pay researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires, Argentina to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior when drunk.

#10) U.S. officials say that more than three billion dollars in cash (much of it aid money paid for by U.S. taxpayers) has been stolen by corrupt officials in Afghanistan and flown out of Kabul International Airport in recent years.

#9) According to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the baggage check fees collected by U.S. airlines shot up 33% in the first quarter of 2010 to $769 million.

#8) Three California high school students are fighting for their right to show their American patriotism – even on a Mexican holiday – after they were forced to remove their American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

#7) Right now, interest on the U.S. national debt and spending on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 percent of GDP.  By 2080, they are projected to eat up approximately 50 percent of GDP.

#6) The total of all government, corporate and consumer debt in the United States is now about 360 percent of GDP.

#5) A 6-year-old girl was recently handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.

#4) In Florida, students have been arrested by police for things as simple as bringing a plastic butter knife to school, throwing an eraser, and drawing a picture of a gun.

#3) School officials in one town in Massachusetts are refusing to allow students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

#2) According to one new study, approximately 21 percent of children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.

#1) Since 1973, more than 50 million babies have been murdered in abortion facilities across the United States.

Are hospitals deadlier in July?

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/07/07/hospital.deaths.july/?hpt=T2&fbid=FHjdNH9kOT-

By Sabriya Rice, CNN  July 8, 2010 — Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)

 

(CNN) — More than 16,000 U.S. medical school graduates are awarded M.D. degrees each year, and many enter their residency programs at teaching hospitals in July. Now, a growing body of research suggests that month might be a more deadly time in U.S. hospitals.

According to a recent study from the University of California, San Diego, deaths from medication errors increase by 10 percent during July, a so-called July effect as students graduate from medical school and enter residency programs.

Researchers examined more than 240,000 death certificates of people who died of complications from medication errors between 1979 and 2006, and found mortality rates consistently spiked in July, especially in counties with teaching hospitals.

"No one has been able to suggest anything else besides the appearance of new medical residents. That’s the first month they start their new jobs and have expanded autonomy," says David Phillips, a professor of sociology and lead author of the study. He says although it’s possible that the increase can be linked to administrative or other events specific to July, the most notable link is the start of new medical residents.

"Like with any new person in any new job, it’s the first time you’re having to deploy everything you learned," says Diane Pinakiewicz, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation. She says there is a lot of pressure on medical students to be perfect, and because of that, they may be more afraid to admit what they do not know.

In a report released earlier this year, the foundation issued recommendations for reforming medical school education in ways that reduce the "shame and blame environment" that ultimately affects the care a patient receives.

"There’s a culture of medical school education that doesn’t allow people to speak up, so you come in as a new resident and you’re afraid to make a mistake," Pinakiewicz says.

Others say the problem is exaggerated.

"I don’t want people to be unnecessarily alarmed about going to the hospital in July," says Dr. Thomas Nasca, chief executive officer for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. According to Nasca, more than one physician decides what medication a patient receives, and such checks and balances help protect the patient from error.

"I think it is probably true there is a slight increase in July, but it doesn’t mean our patients are less safe," says Michael Cohen, a pharmacist and president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

He says hospitals become more transparent in reporting medication errors, and the study might reflect the increased reports. He also says that besides medical residents, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists all begin around the same time, and it’s unfair to point the finger at new residents.

Even with the staffing changes, he says the new study on the July effect looked at data before electronic prescriptions and reduced hours for medical residents helped to reduce the risk to patients.

Other studies find that there is no increased risk of error and that the reported July effect may reflect the quality of care at certain locations.

For example, researchers at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center looked into a potential July effect on their level I trauma center and found there was no increased risk.

"Anyone on a new job anywhere is going to have increased errors or risk when they make an important decision," says Dr. Thomas Schroeppel, a surgeon and lead author of the University of Tennessee study. "However, I think it all depends on the supervision. With good supervision, errors are reduced."

Bottom line: You can’t necessarily predict when you’ll need to visit a hospital, but experts say there are things you can do any time to reduce your risk of dying from a medical error, whether you visit a hospital in July or January, and whether or not your physician is a resident. They offer these tips:

1. Go straight to the top with your concerns

In every teaching setting, there must be a fully licensed attending physician on staff, Nasca says. He encourages patients who feel uncomfortable or unclear about any aspect of their health care to first ask to speak to the head nurse, who should be able to contact every attending physician caring for patients in the unit. If there are still concerns, he says to ask for the on-call hospital administrator. Their job is to help ensure the hospital is providing adequate medical care to all of its patients.

2. Chose your hospital wisely

Experts say you should research your local hospital just as thoroughly as you would research a school for your child or any other service. They say that before an emergency, it’s a good idea to know whether or not your hospital is accredited and for what procedures, as well as how it ranks in patient safety.

Click here to find out if your hospital is accredited through the Joint Commission, a national organization that evaluates medical facilities based on specific quality, safety and performance standards. Also, both the Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades allow you to compare hospitals based on patient safety ratings, and see which procedures are ranked the safest at a given institution.

Also, teaching hospitals remain an excellent option despite any potential July effect. "Much of the research that develops new treatments or new medications occurs in teaching hospitals," Nasca says. "Generally, the quality of care is considered to be much higher."

You can find a list of the teaching hospitals in your state on the Association of American Medical Colleges website, and you can search the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s state-by-state list of all teaching hospitals, medical schools and health systems that run residency programs.

3. Don’t assume the medication you receive is correct

According to Nasca, anytime a physician changes your medication or dosage, take note of it. "With every change, there is an increased risk for error," he warns. Nasca says to ask directly "Are you sure this is my medicine, and why did the doctor change it?" — and don’t take anything until you are clear about the answer.

"Patients should worry about the possibility of medication error and should not assume it’s getting calculated correctly," Phillips says.

The Institute of Medicine estimates medication errors harm at least 1.5 million people annually.

Phillips says he’s OK with being a worry wart, and kindly admits this to his physician when he receives any medication. "I simply say, ‘Do me a favor and check the dosage and make sure this is the right medication because I know sometimes people make mistakes.’ "

Here are five additional ways to avoid medication mistakes

4. Ask Questions

"The best thing for patients to do is be educated, and the internet is a powerful tool," says Schroeppel. He says patients who do their research online beforehand tend to ask more informed questions and obtain better outcomes.

The National Patient Safety Foundation has three questions you should ask whenever you visit your doctor, nurse or pharmacist in order to make sure you understand your diagnosis.

As health systems work to make the transition for new doctors as smooth as possible by increasing supervision and reducing the learning curve that could negatively affect patients, Nasca says, it is important to keep in mind that these future doctors are critical to the future of health care in the U.S.

 

hospital

 

"We wouldn’t be able to deliver care especially to the underserved without residents," he says. "They want to do the right thing for their patients, something they’re trying to do under very difficult circumstances."

CNN’s Jennifer Bixler and Carrie Gann contributed to this report.

Hemp Project Springing To Life

Link to this Post

HempFarm The 100 Mile House Industrial Hemp Project is up and running again, as a student co-coordinator has been hired and a test plot has been seeded.
Project manager Erik Eising was in 100 Mile last week to meet with Horse Lake resident Robin Diether who was hired as the project student co-coordinator on June 30.
Eising says they had numerous applications for the student co-ordinator position and Diether was the one who stood out for the four-person selection panel.
Diether has already started maintenance and observation work on the test plot and will have numerous tasks to perform throughout the growing season.
These include providing producer support and project co-ordination, agronomic research and testing as well as co-ordination and liaison with a university partner, including green construction material development.
He will also construct a portable industrial hemp demonstration building, co-ordinate and host a green building symposium and field day, and help with fibre-processing activities.
Eising says all of this will be done in a team environment that also includes a local 100 Mile House Industrial Hemp producer group that was formed in January.
“We’ll also be doing producer group development and crop production field days, during which present and past producer group members as well as those interested in production will visit this year’s production areas.”
These folks will be given detailed information on varieties, fertilization, field preparation and marketing options, he says, adding this will help them get ready for next year’s production season.
Eising says the production area extends from 100 Mile in the south to Vanderhoof in the north and all are under the banner of the 100 Mile Industrial Hemp Project.
He’s also excited about the Green Building Symposium that will be held in 100 Mile. Eising explains that industrial hemp can be integrated into the construction industry.
“In combination with a binder, you can use hemp core to create non-structural walls and the fibre can be used for insulation.”
Eising was in 100 Mile last month to seed the test plot. It’s a countrywide varietal test program, he explains, and the only one in British Columbia.
“This year, we are testing five varieties and we’re replicating each variety four times to establish reliable results. We have 20 test plots and each one is six by 20 feet.”
Noting 2009 was a horrible year for growing, he says some of last year’s producers haven’t planted this year but remain with the producer group. However, two others have come on board.
“Some of the fields were not well prepared last year, so we’re really focusing on the varietal test plots and the fields on the producers’ side to get people interested and making them aware of how to have successful crop production for the future.”
Last year, there was some government funding for the project, but because it was a terrible growing year, they didn’t use all of the grant money.
Eising says they asked for, and received, an extension so they could use
the leftover funding this year.
Noting producers received funding last year, he says they are “on their own” this year.
“We’re now focusing our efforts on producer group development and our test plots, so we get better information on what varieties are best suited for 100 Mile House area.”
NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: 100 Mile House Free Press
Author: Ken Alexander
Contact: 100 Mile House Free Press
Copyright: 2010 Digital Press
Website: Hemp project springing to life
* Thanks to MedicalNeed for submitting this article

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Creating Cannabis Awareness Since 1993
http://www.420Magazine.com
The hemp plant is botanically quite advanced; some plants are male, some are female, and some are androgynous. Most species in the plant kingdom are merely androngynous.
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Ganjarden is online now

No Free Press for BP Oil Disaster

By Dahr Jamail  July 8, 2010 | Posted in IndyBlog

 

New Orleans — Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard, working in concert with oil giant BP, instituted new restrictions across the U.S. Gulf Coast that prevent the media from coming within 20 meters of booms or response vessels on beaches or water. But the insidiousness of the restrictions runs even deeper.

An oiled brown pelican receives treatment at Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Center in Buras, La. PHOTO: International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)

An oiled brown pelican receives treatment at Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Center in Buras, La. PHOTO: International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)

“You can’t come in here,” Don, the security guard hired by BP, told IPS at the Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Fort Jackson, Louisiana.

Inside, the International Bird Rescue Research Center, one of the companies hired by BP to clean wildlife, works to wash oiled birds before returning them to the wild.

The center has limited access to the media, and had been open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for two hours at a time. IPS arrived at the center on a Wednesday, only to learn that it had just reduced its media days from three to two, and was no longer open to the media on Wednesdays.

When asked who he worked for, the private security guard informed IPS, “I work for HUB, a security company hired by BP.”

Hub Enterprises out of Broussard, Louisiana has a contract with BP to provide “security officers” and “supervisors.” Don is being paid somewhere between $13 and $14 an hour to do his part in helping BP keep a media lid on what is happening with the largest oil-related environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Up to 60,000 barrels of oil are still leaking into the Gulf every day, more than two months after the Apr. 20 explosion on the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Last week’s new media restrictions imposed by the Coast Guard subject journalists and photographers to as much as a $40,000 fine, and from one to five years in jail as a class-D felon if they violate the 20-meter rule, that Unified Command calls a “safety zone.”

There have been many indications of a growing and deepening media clampdown in the region in other ways as well.

Last week, IPS had an interview scheduled with the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. The interview was with an individual affiliated with LSU’s research strategies into how the BP oil disaster will affect the region.

The morning the interview was to take place, the interview subject, who shall remain anonymous, sent IPS an email stating, “I have been told to cancel the interview. I regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

When IPS asked him if there was a reason the interview was canceled, he replied, “No.”

An anonymous source later informed IPS that the decision to cancel the interview was made by Chancellor Larry Hollier, who heads the LSU Health Sciences Center.

BP is providing the bulk of the funding to be used to study the effects of the oil disaster, and has promised 500 million dollars for research and restoration projects.

Robert Gagosian is president of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, which represents ocean research institutions and aquariums and manages a programme on ocean drilling research. A marine geochemist, Gagosian is concerned about how that money will be spent, and hopes it will be handled through peer-reviewed grants.

His concern, shared by other scientists and researchers, stems from BP’s interest in preserving its business, and whether the proper criteria will be used in assessing what research should be done.

Jeff Short, a former scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who is now with the conservation group Oceana, said that by having BP pay for the research, the government cedes control over what studies are to be conducted.

“I find myself wondering, why would BP want to guide money into projects that would clearly show much larger environmental damage than would have come to light otherwise?” he said.

The first $25 million of the BP funds were quickly distributed to Louisiana State University, the Florida Institute of Oceanography at the University of South Florida and a consortium led by Mississippi State University.

Many independent scientists and journalists fear this is part of an effort to influence what studies are conducted and how willing these public institutions will be to talk to the media about the BP disaster.

In another incident, on July 2, Lance Rosenfield, a photographer for the non-profit investigative journalism outlet ProPublica, was briefly detained by police while shooting pictures near BP’s refinery in Texas City, Texas. According to Rosenfield, he was confronted by a BP security officer, local police, and a man identifying himself as an agent of the Department of Homeland Security.

Rosenfield was released after police reviewed his photos and recorded his date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. The police officer then turned this information over to the BP security guard, under what Rosenfield said was, according to the police officer, “standard operating procedure.”

There have also been restrictions placed on the airspace above areas where clean-up and containment operations are occurring. The Federal Aviation Administration has placed restrictions prohibiting media flights below 900 meters over oil-affected areas.
This article was originally published by the Inter Press Service.

High Hopes for Hemp Industries

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/38665/

Spending day after day in fields of cannabis, one can come up with some pretty offbeat ideas—like making houses out of hemp.
But Dr Susanna Wilkerson has great visions for a plant often maligned for its association with drug use.
The founder of Australian company Pure Delight Hemp says the fibrous plant could replace trees as a source of the world’s paper. Its seeds are nothing short of a super food and it can decontaminate vast tracts of land, including nuclear wastelands.

Hemp has more uses and is more sustainable than any single plant on the planet

1
And, yes, it can be used to create a building material, called “hempcrete”, which is six times more insulating than concrete for heat and sound. It is also lighter, non-toxic and fire resistant, she says.
In fact, the Canadian-born naturopath believes that hemp is the answer to a sustainable future. From her property in north Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands, she produces hemp to make cosmetics, food, fuel, paper, textiles and now buildings.
Hemp has more uses and is more sustainable than any single plant on the planet,” Dr Wilkerson told The Epoch Times. “It is the obvious solution for pretty much every ecological situation we’ve got. That includes global warming, soil degradation, deforestation and bad farming, including the problems associated with animal farming.”
Cannabis sativa is the longest and strongest known fibre in the plant world. Since the invention of paper about 2000 years ago, hemp has been used to make the finest and most enduring of papers. In 1611, the King James Bible was printed on hemp in Britain, as was America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Levi jeans were originally made from recycled hemp sail cloth. Before the US 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, 70 per cent of all rope, twine and cordage was made from hemp.

The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

However, in the early 1900s, prohibition of cannabis began due to recreational drug use. Hemp and the drug marijuana are from the same cannabis family, but according to Dr David West, who holds a PhD in Plant Breeding from the University of Minnesota, they are as different as opium poppies and common garden poppies.
“Many believe that by legalising hemp, they are legalising marijuana. Yet in more than two dozen other countries, governments have accepted the distinction between the two types of Cannabis and, while continuing to penalise the growing of marijuana, have legalised the growing of industrial hemp,” he wrote in a research paper on the topic.
Marijuana strains are high in the psychoactive cannabinoid THC and low in the antipsychoactive cannabinoid CBD. Conversely, other variants are high in CBD and low in THC, and it is these that are known as industrial hemp.
Nowadays, commercial growers generally need a licence stipulating the use of varieties that have virtually no drug content, but the damage to the plant’s reputation has taken a long time to heal.
Dr Wilkerson believes those days are behind us. Her company is producing hemp paper samples in Tasmania with the hope of eventually eliminating old growth forest harvesting. By removing one of the key sources of deforestation, hemp could play a major part in reducing global warming.
“There is not a single reason why another tree should be felled for paper pulp,” she said. “It’s ludicrous and environmentally irresponsible at the highest level.”

The plant could also replace thirsty crops like cotton, without the use of chemicals and with much less impact on the soil.
It can also used as a “mop-up crop” for sewerage treatment, with one acre capable of absorbing 10 million litres of effluent, while at the same time producing 18 tonnes of fibre. It has even been used to decontaminate the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site.
And nutritionally, the balance of omega oils in the hemp seed is the closest to the ratio needed by humans, with the added bonus of high contents of protein, minerals and vitamins.
For more information on industrial hemp, please visit Dr Wilkerson’s website at www.puredelighthemp.com.au .
BENEFITS OF HEMP
• Compared with trees, one acre of hemp produces four times as much pulp over a 20-year growing period
• Hemp is 77 per cent cellulose (compared with 30 per cent in wood pulp)
• Hemp contains only 4 per cent lignin, while wood pulp has up to 60 per cent, which must be broken down using chemicals
• Barely any toxic effluent is produced from hemp paper mills (compared with dioxins and organo-chlorines from wood pulp paper mills)
• Hemp is disease resistant so requires few pesticides, no herbicides and little fertiliser
• It is a natural weed suppressant and its long taproot stops soil erosion
• Hemp can be grown easily in most soils and a variety of climates
• In only 14 weeks, one hectare of hemp can produce enough material to build an average-sized house.
• During the growing period, this crop absorbs 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide, making hempcrete a carbon negative building material

THIS WEEK on CHANGE.ORG Cities Criminalize Homelessness

 

(Comment:  This particular petition is for Boulder, CO, but it could be anywhere in the U.S.  With job losses and increasing unemployment, and lack of health insurance could put any one of us on the street at any time.  Don’t ever think that it can’t happen to you. Smk )

CannabisCross1

Last November, a homeless man in Boulder, Colorado named David Madison tried to get a bed for the night at the city’s only local shelter, but was turned away due to a lack of space.

Without any other options, Madison ended up on the sidewalk with just a sleeping bag to protect him on a night when the temperature dipped to 11 degrees. He was approached by the police, but rather than offer assistance, they gave Madison a ticket for "camping," which is illegal in Boulder.

Madison wasn’t camping, of course. There was no campfire and certainly no s’mores. But Boulder keeps on the books – and fervently enforces – a thinly veiled anti-homelessness law that says sleeping outdoors with "shelter" of any form, including a sleeping bag or even a blanket, constitutes illegal camping.

The ticket given to Madison was one of just 1,600 issued over the last four years. The homeless are rarely able to pay their fines and few show up for court hearings, resulting in warrants for their arrest. When they’re apprehended, they are given two days in jail – one for the camping and one for the court no-show.

Since 2006, Boulder taxpayers have paid for well over 1,000 nights in jail for people ticketed for sleeping outdoors, the vast majority of whom are homeless.

Earlier this year, hundreds of Change.org members emailed Boulder’s mayor, Susan Osborne, demanding an end to the city’s no camping ordinance. In response to this online grassroots pressure and a simultaneous in-person protest from Boulder’s homeless and their advocates, the city council committed to taking steps toward repealing the ordinance. But a week later the council backed out, with Mayor Osborne saying she had been "boxed in" by the petitioners and protesters and changed her mind.

Fortunately this past week the repeal effort gained renewed energy, as the ACLU of Colorado filed suit against the city of behalf of Madison, calling the ordinance unconstitutional.

The end of this unfair ordinance could be near, but the homeless in Boulder need your continued support. Remind Mayor Osborne that while she has a choice to end the ordinance, David Madison had no choice but to sleep on the ground that night he was turned away from the shelter. Take action now.

Unfortunately, Boulder’s camping ordinance is only one of countless laws across the nation with the primary objective of criminalizing homelessness, at the same time as the economy is forcing a dramatic rise in the homeless population. Miami recently considered prohibiting the public from feeding the homeless, Venice Beach police began chasing homeless people off the beach after midnight, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom continues to push an ordinance that would ban sitting on city sidewalks.

Being homeless is not a crime – and the behavior necessary for survival shouldn’t be either. Rather than punishing the homeless, we should be supporting them with services that help them get back on their feet. Start today by telling Boulder to end their no camping ordinance now.

http://change.org

Sense of A Goose

 

This is a repost:  from Wayward.  I just could not resist it made so much sense! smk

 

Quote

Sense of A Goose

 
Sense of a Goose
–Author Unknown

When you see geese flying along in "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way:

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What messages do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally … and this is important … when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

(goose sense thanks to patricia webber, layout and graphics, wayward bill) 

Marijuana Busts: ‘Where The Money Is’ For Police

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/9eIznS/newsjunkiepost.com/2010/07/04/4th-of-july-bible-burgers-and-the-tea-party/

 

Cop-Boot-Stomps-Marijuana

 

Marijuana is certainly not the most pressing crime problem in the United States — but local police departments, with chronic budget shortfalls, are concentrating more on pot busts than ever before, because “it’s where the money is,” according to one California sheriff.

In an era when law enforcement has been forced to lay off staff, reduce patrols and even release jail inmates, officers have found that going after marijuana growers and smokers makes them eligible for hefty federal anti-drug grants, reports Justin Scheck at The Wall Street Journal.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said his department is eligible for roughly half a million dollars a year in federal anti-drug funding. The only problem is, most of the money has to be used to fight pot as part of the multi-agency, federally funded Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP).

The federal government has, for a long time, allocated money to help local communities fight crime, and influencing their law enforcement priorities in the process.

The budget squeezes in today’s weak economy has only enhanced this effect, which has become especially noticeable in California, where many or even most residents take a tolerant attitude towards marijuana, but federal dollars force local law enforcement to focus on it.

To make sure Shasta County gets the federal grants, Sheriff Bosenko has spent about $340,000 of his department’s shrinking budget — more than in past years — on a team whose sole duty is to traipse through the woods looking for pot plants.

Though the squad is mostly federally funded, the grants don’t cover some basic needs and equipment — so the Sheriff has to pay for those out of his regular budget, to make the department eligible for the big bucks.

Other crimes — like robbery and driving while drunk — may have a much larger impact on local communities than pot growing, the Sheriff admits. But those infractions don’t have fat federal grants attached to them. Marijuana does.

According to the sheriff, the anti-pot money is “$340,000 I could use somewhere else in my organization. That could fund three officers’ salaries and benefits, and we could have them out on our streets doing patrol,” Bosenko said.

“These so-called ‘eradication’ efforts have had zero effect on marijuana use, availability, or price, but once again, California law enforcement agencies are perfectly content to throw more tax money down the CAMP rabbit hole,” said Aaron Smith, California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

In addition to the $3.6 billion being spent by the U.S. Justice Department this year, augmenting budgets of state and local law enforcement, the federal government set aside last year almost $4 billion in additional economic stimulus package funds.

The White House is also spending about $239 million in 2010 to fund local “drug trafficking task forces” — which, in the real world, usually means local cops dressing up like Rambo and tramping about in the woods in a wasteful, quixotic and doomed attempt to stop the burgeoning marijuana industry.

“It’s time to stop this insanity of repeating the futile exercise of CAMP and instead replace marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation,” Smith said. “Only then will we be able to eliminate the clandestine marijuana plantations — just as the repeal of alcohol prohibition did away with the bootleggers of that era.”

“It’s no coincidence that drug cartels don’t plant vineyards or hops fields in our national forests,” Smith added.

About the author: Steve Elliott, a working journalist since 1982, is editor of Toke of the Town, Village Voice Media’s site covering cannabis news, views, rumor and humor.

Kentucky Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Act

Written by:  Sheree Krider, Louisville, Kentucky

131 Letters and Emails Sent So Far

CLICK HERE TO GO TO PETITION

3:52 PM 2/1/2010
BE IT KNOWN that it is the intent of this "petition" to collect signatures to be submitted to the Kentucky Legislative body to enact a "bill" to authorize the use of MEDICAL MARIJUANA in the state of KENTUCKY.
This "BILL" will include but is not limited to the following constraints:
1. The "BILL" will enact a statutory mechanism to regulate and authorize the
medical use of Marijuana by "qualifying patients" who have a valid "registry
identification card" (i.e., a "registered qualifying patient") and permits any
qualifying patient to apply to the Department of Health or other entity as set
forth in the provisions of the "bill", for a registry card to be used under the mechanism,
with the application including a health care practitioner’s written certification stating
that the qualifying patient is likely to receive therapeutic or
palliative benefit from the medical use of Marijuana/Cannabis.
2. Defines a "qualifying patient" as a person who has been diagnosed by
a health care practitioner as having a debilitating medical condition.
3. Specifies certain Cannabis-related activities,
4. Permits a "primary caregiver" who is at least 21 years of age
to be registered as above.
5. Sets a time limit for approval or denial of an application.
6. Provides for the revocation of a registry card in specified circumstances.
7. Requires the "patient" or "caregiver" to maintain Cannabis/Marijuana plants
in an enclosed area out of public view.
8. Provides certain protections to a registered, qualifying patients and caregivers
related to their cardholder status, i.e., parental rights, employer’s, etc.,
9. Specifies that the mechanism DOES NOT REQUIRE:
a. a government medical assistance program or private health insurer
to bear the cost for this "medication".
b. an employer to accomodate the use of Cannabis/Marijuana in the
workplace, nor any employee working while impaired.
10. Imposes functions and duties upon the Department of Health (or other entity),
that relate to the medical use of Cannabis/Marijuana.
11. Establishes an "advisory council" to accept and consider petitions from the
public or physicians to consider the addition of debilitating illnesses.
12. Prohibits any person or government entity from disclosing any information
contained in an application for a registry identification card.
13. "Visiting patients" who have been documented in another state who come to
Kentucky on a limited basis shall be recognized as having complied with the law of Kentucky.
14. Specifies that POSSESSION OF OR APPLICATION FOR A REGISTRY IDENTIFICATION
CARD DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PROBABLE CAUSE OR REASONABLE SUSPICION TO SEARCH OR
SEIZE THE PERSON OR PROPERTY OF THE PERSON POSSESSING OR APPLYING FOR THE CARD.
NO PERSON MAY BE SUBJECT TO ARREST, PROSECUTION, OR PENALTY OR BE DENIED ANY RIGHT
OR PRIVILEGE SOLELY FOR BEING WITH OR NEAR A REGISTERED PRIMARY CAREGIVER OR PATIENT.

medical-marijuana[1]