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BDS: Beautiful, Delicious Summer

3:12 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at the demise

A picnic spread on a blanket outdoors

Some politics for your next picnic.

Been thinking of having a summertime picnic – and as it always is with a picnic, trying to determine what yummy summertime portable food to bring, what other equipment to pack — and most importantly: the setting.

I’ve picnicked on the banks of Amphitheater Lake on the top of Wyoming’s Grand Teton, on the iron-stone shores of Lake Superior, in the springtime groves of the Hudson River Valley’s fragrant blooming apple orchards, on the banks of the Flathead River in the Great Bear Wilderness, watching the sun sink below Midwestern farm fields and the Mississippi River, on the beach at Mora in Olympic National Park, on the sandy shores of the Atlantic as it lapped up on Puerto Rico, on the knobby green mountains of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway, at sacred Native American sites in Arizona (within both State and National parks), in the rolly green hills of Wisconsin’s driftless region, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Cocteau friendly town of Menton France, on the shore of the wild North Atlantic coast at the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim Ireland, in the High Atlas Mountains of central Morocco, surrounded by a magnificent and usable piece of modern art by Frank Gehry in Chicago’s Millennium Park and even amongst the hundred year old trees that dot the Boston Common…so many beautiful spots to picnic in this world.

Breathtaking, delightful settings.

I read a story in the UK’s Guardian newspaper that described some Israelis who have been picnicking themselves over the past week – having a nice summertime meal, sharing wine and sharing community in this sweet and sweltery season, on the hills that overlook Gaza. I’m sure the view is remarkable – heard about those picnickers taking pictures and just basically enjoying themselves … even whooping it up together as they celebrate a meal al fresco in the summer evenings.

Bombing … destruction … senseless

If you are thinking about picnicking and are considering how to fill that picnic basket, here are some things you may want to remember to forget.

Food products:

  • Sabra Hummus: After capturing 60 percent of the American hummus market, Sabra also is attempting to capture the hearts of Israel by “adopting” an Israel Defense Forces unit. The company’s chairwoman says that IDF soldiers are “not army, Israeli soldiers are our kids.”
  • Tribe Hummus :The second largest hummus seller in America, one of whose owners has a long and cooperative relationship with the Jewish National Fund, which is the Israeli organization that buys up Palestinian land (from “absent owners”) and only leases the land to Israeli settlers. The JNF also has a nasty habit of using Caterpillar bulldozers to flatten Bedouin villages…repeatedly.
  • Jaffa Citrus: Grown in the Jordan Valley, 94 percent of which has been land-grabbed by Israel. Extracting wealth from stolen lands is against international law. Knowing this, Jaffa’s products may well leave a sour taste in your mouth.
  • Golan Heights Wine: Named after land stolen from Syria more than 40 years ago, this biz claims in its advertising that it grows its grapes in Israel’s world-class vineyards. More accurate; “grown on land Israel has occupied in contravention of international law for generations.”
  • Soda Stream products: Soda Stream manufactures its products on illegally occupied Palestinian land. Choose instead the similar product made by Cuisine Art called ‘Sparkling Beverage Maker’, and your soda glasses won’t get bloodstains on them.
  • Ahava Cosmetic Products: Ahava operates on land stolen from Palestine and, in a bizzaro fashion, is owned in part by settlement villages the establishment of which is a violation of international law. Another part owner manufactures motion detection systems used by Israel on it’s apartheid wall. Additionally, Ahava excavates the raw materials to make their products from illegally occupied lands. That’s an international law violation three-fer.
  • Medjool Dates: Medjool farms land stolen from Palestine using Palestinian child labor, while often labeling that their products come instead from Israel. Operating on stolen land, using child labor and misrepresenting the origin of the product? That’s a real blind date.

Picnic Togs:

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Nothing to see here – move along…

5:33 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at mLaw

SWAT team

SWAT

When a gang of armed men smashed through the doorway of the 600 square foot home of 29 year old Jason Westcott’s partner, 22 year old Israel Reyes, Westcott acting upon directives he received from the Tampa Bay police, grabbed his weapon and was killed in a rain of semi-automatic gunfire.

Westcott had called the Tampa police earlier this year after being threatened by another citizen. As a result of Westcott’s complaint to the police; the person who had threatened Westcott was confronted by the police, but no arrests were made, and the police advised Westcott to avail himself of one of modern America’s most protected rights, not the right to privacy, not the right to a fair trial, not the right to not have the modern version of Caucasian American Christianity (that Christ himself would find objectionable) shoved into your face – but rather the ‘god given’ right to blow the crap out of anyone you feel threatened by with your concealed and carried and beloved human killing machine. The exact quote from the police to the frightened Westcott when he reported the threat was, “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Westcott was an armed drug dealer and was treated as such by the Tampa Police. The Tampa police sent a SWAT team to bring down the drug king pin of Seminole Heights – using whatever force they deemed to be required. Westcott’s evil drug dealing existence was terminated by Tampa’s finest (whose only goal in their action was to protect the community – especially the children, from the evils of cannabis). The police recovered two dollars worth of the dangerous narcotic.

Reyes has not denied in media interviews he has given since Westcott’s killing that he and his partner occasionally sold small amounts of cannabis to friends – but he maintains that this was not their sole source of income and, as Reyes framed it, “There weren’t people coming in and out of the house every day. It wasn’t paying the bills. We were still broke.”

The police dispute that characterization, as they described the SWAT team raid to the media after the shooting.

They first said that the decision to raid the home was prompted due to complaints from neighbors. When reporters were unable to find such complaining neighbors, the Tampa police admitted that the raid was spurred by an investigation where an undercover Tampa police officer made cannabis purchases at the home. A freedom of information request was filed with the department regarding the incident, and the actual truth of the matter is that the inspiration to SWAT raid the Seminole Heights home came instead from an “confidential informant”, and in police work this could include a criminal who is trying to broker a deal after being arrested to get a lesser charge or not be prosecuted.

Tampa police spokesperson Laura McElroy told Tampa, when confronted with the cover-up the department orchestrated after the shooting that, “Each time the informant was at this house, he saw pre-packaged marijuana.” McElroy also claimed that the “confidential informer” had claimed to have seen a weapon in the home.

The chief of police in Tampa, Jane Kastor, took to the airwaves herself after the community questioned the actions of the department when it became clear that a young Tampa citizen was mowed down by officers over two dollars worth of cannabis, where she spoke a ritualistic incantation as if memorized that all TV news watchers in all American cities have heard and themselves been mesmerized by: Read the rest of this entry →

Black Law Enforcers Take a NOBLE Stand Against the War on Cannabis

5:54 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at mLaw

Police Chief John Dixon III

The Grand Rapids Press and MLive Media reported Tuesday on the annual meeting of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) where conferees leveled a unified and scathing critique of the national ‘war on cannabis’ that is driven by self-serving local police, federal and state level prohibitionist politicians, private prison owners and purveyors of bigoted pseudo medical justifications, which has, according to attendees at this year’s NOBLE conference, “ruined the lives” of countless African American youths, stood as a force against medical treatment of addiction, intensified racial inequality and served to burn bridges of understanding and cooperation between law enforcers and the communities in which they serve.

Chief John Dixon III, police chief of Petersburg, VA, speaking at a session at the NOBLE conference titled, “Decriminalizing the Black Community”, characterized the continued federal prohibition of cannabis bluntly for conferees, stating, “It’s insanity. We know,” adding that after 40 years of prohibition’s failures, “The results haven’t changed.”

Dixon said that while police often view marijuana arrests as victories that ostensibly assist the user come to grips with their use of the illegal substance, the stark fact is that, “locking people up for a dime bag, for a joint,” and putting them into the criminal justice system “pretty much ruins the rest of their lives.” “We, as law enforcement professionals, we need to really take a look at how we can decriminalize marijuana, especially user amounts,” Dixon told the gathering, “Sometimes, we’ve got to say the things that most of law enforcement isn’t going to say.”

Dixon remarked on the devastating effects that criminalized cannabis has had on communities of African Americans across the US and noted that his real-life experiences had led him to conclude that drug addiction is best spoken to as a community health matter rather than as a law enforcement program.

The director of the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Major Neil Franklin, a 34 year veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department, reminded the assembled law enforcement officials of the disturbing statistics associated with America’s failed drug war, stating that between 1990 and 2005 the size of the prison population incarcerated for drug offenses grew from 415,000 Americans to over 1.9 million convicts.

Franklin also expressed his concerns that the war on cannabis is driven by private prison owners who are seeking to have their jails filled with non-violent young minority men caught up in the drug war, and supported by law enforcement agencies which have come to rely upon drug forfeiture laws to extract cash and property from arrested drug users to support their departments in a time of reduced funding of public services across the country as politicians refuse to tax the wealthy and businesses to pay their fair share in supporting America’s communities. Franklin concluded, “Marijuana is one of the biggest money makers for law enforcement agencies today.”

Franklin asked his audience pointedly, “Who do you want to (control the flow of drugs) in your neighborhood? The cartels? The 20,000 gangs we have around the country? Or do we take control of it, regulate it?” Franklin echoed the comments of Chief Dixon when he challenged the audience of law enforcers, “There’s no more powerful voice than the people in the trenches.”

The 38th annual NOBLE conference, which was open to the public and presented sessions on all aspects of law enforcement and a job fair, took place in Grand Rapids Michigan between July 13 and 17.

-this is part three of the mLaw series, “Time to Reschedule, President Laughy-boy

Note: this news-opinion piece relies heavily upon the reporting of John Agar of the Grand Rapids Press and MLive and mLaw expresses its sincere appreciation for bringing this important event to our attention.

Two More Reasons to Reschedule, President Laughy-Boy

5:48 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at mlaw

Part 1

A collection of cannabis leaves

More medical evidence demonstrates why the USA must reschedule cannabis.

Scientists in England are reporting what could be a significant breakthrough in the treatment of all forms of cancer stating that their research suggests that cannabis’ psychoactive component, known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), could act to shrink cancerous tumors in patients stricken with the deadly disease.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia, in the UK, have found that THC appears to effect two receptors found in cancer tumors called cannabinoid receptors, helping to shrink the deadly growths.

The scientists bombarded human cancer cells in mice with doses of THC that were isolated into compounds for the research study. The compounds were found by the researchers to help shrink tumors. The scientists hope that their discovery can lead to the development of a synthetic form of the compound that can eventually provide relief for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The UK researchers’ discovery supports the opinion of the US medical establishment. Although medical researchers and the community of cancer patients in the US are laboring under an embargo on researching the possible medical benefits of cannabis that is coordinated by politicians and the scientists who are beholden to them, the nation’s medical researchers from the National Institutes of Health reported in July of 2012 that the “evidence accumulated during the last decade supports that cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives, possess anticancer activity.”

The scientists cautioned that the cannabinol compound that has the diminishing effect on cancer tumors was specially synthesized for the experiments and was targeted directly at the cancerous tumors in specific concentrations – a medical application that cannot be achieved by cancer patients by self-administering cannabis using common methods of cannabis ingestion.

Part 2

A team of scientists from Canada, New Zealand, The United Kingdom and the United States has reported that even heavy users of cannabis have no greater chance of contracting lung cancer from their use of the substance than casual cannabis users or, remarkably, even non-cannabis users.

The study, which is to be published in the International Journal of Cancer, analyzed data from six case studies involving more than 5000 participants and found that there is “little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers.”

The review of research echoed previous medical studies, reported in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society in 2013, that revealed that “habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function…Overall the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”

The journal actually went further, as another article from 2013 posited that “cannabis smoking does not seem to increase risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or airway cancers. In fact, there is even a suggestion that low doses (of) cannabis may be protective for both conditions.”

The findings support the conjecture of many in the medical community that cannabis contains “anti-cancer properties” including the ability to inhibit the growth of lung cancer tumors, but no studies have been performed on human subjects due in part to the embargo against researching the medical benefits of cannabis’ as the substance is considered by law enforcement and the White House to be amongst the most dangerous illegal drugs, as dangerous and medically non-useful as LSD and peyote, but less safe and less medically useful than methamphetamine, cocaine and synthetic heroin.

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HillBilly on the Same Page as Prohibitionist-in-Chief

6:19 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

 

Over the course of the past couple of weeks and culminating recently in an interview on Meet the Press, it appears that the woman who would be king and her first-mate to be, the HillBilly (sm), have laid out their dry-doper vision for speaking to the concerns of both Americas’ dire-medication needers and its life changing arrest-recorded-pocket-carrying weeders – “Who cares what you think”, in a manner of speaking and referencing a quip of the highly quotable GWBush.

What we have heard from the HillBilly is language that they know is crowd tested to seem mildly progressive in tenor and even hopeful (tm – Barack Obama), that cannabis may be medically useful and that the states are “laboratories of democracy”.

Thanks HillBilly, but we were already aware that the National Institutes of Health said in 2003 that cannabinoid “compounds have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumour cells in culture and animal models by modulating key cell-signalling pathways,” and then went further in 2012 when the NIH stated firmly that the properties of cannabis have “anti-cancer activities.” And, that in states such as Illinois where cannabis has been made legal for medicinal purposes, politicians agree with the medical establishment that asserts that cannabis is medicine that helps patients who are suffering from a long list of crippling and permanent medical maladies including these diseases that the HillBilly most assuredly do not have or do not want to contract or become afflicted with:

Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency, syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia/wasting syndrome, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease, including but not limited to arachnoiditis, Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia, syringomyelia, Rheumatoid arthritis, fibrous dysplasia, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia, Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA), Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, Myoclonus, Dystonia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I), Causalgia, CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II), Neurofibromatosis, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, Sjogren’s syndrome, Lupus, Interstitial Cystitis, Myasthenia Gravis, Hydrocephalus, nail-patella syndrome, residual limb pain,” as well as “any other debilitating medical condition” recognized by Illinois Department of Public Health as being treatable with the useful and important medicine called cannabis.

Hooray for the forward march of science.

And, HillBilly (sm), we are also aware that the states can indeed be “laboratories of democracy” – as we have seen over the past decades, where obstructionist politicians who are keenly concerned with pandering to the rubes (so as to keep their jobs) have labored to reduce Americans’ access to abortion, enable citizens to carry high powered rifles into restaurants and shopping malls, forestalled equality in marriage and voted over and over to ensure that we do not follow “shria law” in places like Oklahoma and Florida. And we have seen even in the past year, in states that have legalized cannabis usage for medical and recreational purposes, state level prohibitionists and suburban township cultural custodians effectively stymie the will of the people by imposing ridiculous “home rule” restrictions on the sale of cannabis for no other reason than to make it difficult for the citizens who they represent to use the legal substance.

Hooray for small “d” democracy.

When I hear the HillBilly talking like this, it’s hard for me to say hopefully that the statements that have come from both of the soon-to-be first couple reflect a growing “evolution” on matters related to cannabis. I think rather the stance is nothing more than self-serving dry-doper kick-the-can cowardly narcissistic bullshittery.

I am certain that the cynical liars HillBilly know full well that the current dry-doper in the White House has used this exact fake-assed framing throughout his tenure (when he wasn’t actually publically making fun of those Americans who understand the medical usefulness of cannabis and are cognizant of the bigoted pogrom that is the war on cannabis in America, by using his ‘bully pulpit’ as a dais from which to be a bully), as in when Obama told a New Yorker writer earlier this year that, “it’s important for it to go forward…And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.”

Hooray for “evolving.”

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Dopey Prohibitionist Could Accidentally Legalize Cannabis in DC

6:10 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

Cross posted at mLaw

Portrait f Andy Harris

Andy Harris hates cannabis so much he may legalize it by accident.

A republican end-around to derail cannabis decriminalization in Washington DC seems to have backfired. A neo-prohibitionist lawmaker who sponsored a bill to remove funds from DC that it might have spent to carry out the decriminalization effort inadvertently created a situation where cannabis could be technically legal in our nation’s capital.

The DC decriminalization measure established that police can only give $25 dollar tickets (i.e. as opposed to arrest records) to people caught possessing small amounts of cannabis in the city. The measure to decriminalize cannabis possession was enacted by the city council because treating cannabis possession as a crime in DC resulted in the arrests of great numbers of minorities and very few white people. 9 out of 10 cannabis possession arrestees in DC were African Americans – a significant statistic due to the fact that the percentage of cannabis use across all races is similar.

The move to stymie decriminalization was made by Andy Harris, a Republican representative from Maryland, who appended a rider to a broad financial services bill that prevents DC from spending money “to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with possession, use or distribution” of cannabis.

The prohibitionist law maker, however, failed to replace the decriminalization rule creating a circumstance where police could not ticket cannabis possessors, as this would violate the prohibition of spending monies to “carry out” the decriminalization rule, and DC could not act to re-criminalize cannabis, as doing so would also violate the provisions of the law.

The situation may lead to, as Dr. Malik Burnett the Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance described it to the DCist news organization, the “de facto legalization” of cannabis possession in the district.

Although the legal catch-22 will certainly be spoken to by Congress with future legislation, as it stands today (technically) the citizens of the District of Columbia may be able to thank Rep. Andy Harris for ensuring that they can’t be profiled or arrested for holding on the hill.

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Vodaphone Drops a Dime On Massive Warrantless Spying Operation

1:29 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at the demise

Vodafone Logo

A surveillance disclosure report by Vodafone suggests how far the NSA will go to invade our privacy.

The British telecom company Vodaphone, the world’s second largest telecommunications company, which owns and operates networks in 21 countries and partners with telecommunications companies in over 40 additional countries, has released its first and the world’s first self-described “Law Enforcement Disclosure Report” that confirms allegations that have been made by many who are concerned about the warrantless spying carried out by the US government on its own citizens and the citizens of nations around the world; that the US government has been and is currently engaging in massive worldwide surveillance and data collection of the complete content of phone calls that pass through the networks of not only Vodaphone but all telecommunications networks via direct access using “pipes” or wires connected directly to the companies communications equipment.

Vodaphone’s revelations, first reported by the Guardian but set forth in Vodaphone’s separately released disclosure report, represent the first confirmation from a major telecommunications company itself that the US security directorate and the countries who cooperate with the NSA have physically tapped into the world’s telecom substructure, confirming allegations that have been made by telecommunications technicians and privacy rights advocates since early last decade.

The significant aspect of Vodaphone’s revelations is it’s recognition that, using direct wiretapping technology as the company reports, US government spy agencies are able to listen to and record the entire content of the telecommunications of the world’s citizens with absolutely no requirement to seek a warrant from any judge, including the secret judges in America’s secret courts that were established in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

In the public statements made by many apparatchiks of the Obama administration and by the president himself, Americans concerned by the implication of the revelations made by former National Security Administration employee Edward Snowden (that their constitutionally protected rights against unwarranted surveillance have been abrogated and nullified under the national security lockdown that followed the initiation of America’s “War on Terror”) have been continually reassured that “When it comes to telephone calls: nobody is listening to your phone calls,” and further “This program, by the way, is fully overseen not just by Congress but by the FISA courts,” (Barack Obama, July 2014).

What was revealed by Vodaphone today is that such statements are misrepresentational and intentionally obfuscatory. Moreover, these statements display in a stark fashion the level of cynicism and patronization with which our elected representatives and their appointees in the national security establishment treat American citizens and their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Vodaphone described in their disclosure report a neo-fascistic scheme constructed by US spy agencies with absolutely no congressional oversight or judicial order where phone company employees and contractors, “are bound by law to absolute security. They are not permitted to discuss any aspect of a demand received with their line management or any other colleagues, nor can they reveal that a demand has been received at all, as doing so could potentially compromise an active criminal investigation or undermine measures to protect national security. Additionally, in some countries, they cannot even reveal the specific law enforcement assistance technical capabilities have been established within their companies.” Vodaphone goes on to describe that these company employees work in secret rooms that can only be accessed with national security clearances and where company employees receive their orders from and report only to government security agents – phone company supervisors and executives are barred from even entering the secured spy-rooms.

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Arizona Supreme Court Takes a Smart Approach to Stoned Driving

10:23 am in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at mLaw

The Arizona Supreme Court has overturned an appeals court ruling that allowed police to arrest drivers who are legal medical cannabis users who are in no way impaired.

A trooper writing a ticket at a traffic stop.

The Arizona Supreme Court rules for sanity in the state’s drugged driving law.

The state’s lower court had agreed with state prosecutors who argued that Arizona’s zero-tolerance style law regarding driving with detectable remnants of cannabis use, some of which remain inactive in the blood stream for as long as 30 days after using the medicine, allowed police officers to arrest medical cannabis users who were not under the influence of the substance.

The court ruling establishes that, in Arizona, for a driver to be arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis, the driver has to actually be under the influence of cannabis. Only after finding active cannabis metabolites in the blood of a driver can the police make a DUI arrest for cannabis.

The court’s decision arose from an incident where a driver was stopped by Arizona police for speeding. When the driver advised the officer that he had used cannabis the previous evening, the driver was blood tested and arrested.

The decision rendered by the court stated plainly that the officer’s interpretation of the law “leads to absurd results. Most notably, this interpretation would create criminal liability regardless of how long the metabolite remains in the driver’s system or whether it has any impairing effect.”

Hold-out Justice Ann A, Scott-Timmer, who remained unconvinced by the other justices’ clear-cut understanding of the matters involved in the case, wrote as the sole dissenter that, in her mind, arresting drivers whose blood stream contains inactive cannabis metabolites that in no way effect or impair drivers for DUI serves to “enhance detection and prosecution of drugged driving.”

The practice of arresting patients who are not under the influence of cannabis, a knowing misinterpretation of the intent of Arizona’s traffic safety laws, was viewed to be a form of harassment by police (some of whom do not personally agree with medical cannabis) due to the fact that simple common sense should indicate to an honest person that it is physically impossible for a cannabis user to be under the influence of a drug that they consumed weeks or even months earlier.

The questionable and aggressive interpretation of the state’s zero-tolerance rules was enshrined as standard operating police procedure when Arizona state prosecutors warned all medical cannabis users to simply stay off Arizona’s roads or risk being arrested for driving under the influence. Medical Cannabis advocates and patients, outraged over the suggestion that cannabis using patients could never drive again because they are administering legal medications, correctly analyzed that the prosecutors’ threat criminalized their usage of the legal medicine.

Across the US, 26 states have passed legislation allowing for cannabis to be used by patients as medicine. As it stands today the laws regarding how cannabis in the blood stream of drivers is measured to identify impaired drivers are inconsistent and contradict each other. Eight of these states have rules similar to Arizona, where the laws do not distinguish between active and inactive cannibidiol metabolites creating Catch 22 situations for patients; choose to use medicine and risk being arrested on criminal charges, or do without needed medications.

In 2013 the Supreme Court of Michigan held that medical cannabis patients have to be shown by police to actually be impaired by cannabis usage before being criminally charged with driving under the influence.

The attorney for the arrested Arizona medical cannabis patient, Michael Alarid III, told the Associated Press that the court’s the ruling on the matter and the clarity that the decision provides can “have far reaching impacts on medical marijuana patients” in that it “corrects an error in the interpretation of the law.”

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Teen Scientist Receives Glowing Review of Science Project about Glowing Seaweed

12:55 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at the demise

Strips of nori (edible seaweed used in sushi)

A Canadian teen’s science fair project found radiation in store bought seaweed products.

A Canadian teen has shamed the Canadian Government by exhibiting greater concern for her fellow Albertans than the state when, as part of a science fair project, she demonstrated that imported seafood found in local grocery stores has dangerously high levels of radiation.

Bronwyn Delacruz, a sophomore at Composite High School in Grande Prairie Alberta, using a $600 Geiger counter that her father bought for her, found higher levels of radiation than are considered to be safe by the International Atomic Energy Agency in store bought seafood products. Delacruz tested over 300 samples of edible seaweed found local stores that were imported from New Brunswick, British Columbia, California, Washington State, Japan and China for her science fair project.

The young scientist found that some of the samples of kelp that she tested contained radiation that was more than double the rate that is considered to be safe. “I think any dose of radiation can be harmful,” Delacruz told the Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, adding that she is concerned that contaminated seafood products are “landing in our grocery stores.”

Delacruz’s findings prompted her to consider if the plume of deadly irradiated seawater that has been spewing unrelentingly from the earthquake ravaged nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan for over 3 years may be tainting the seafood products that she purchased. Delacruz speculated that, given what is known about the ocean’s currents, radiation from the Fukushima disaster site “wouldn’t arrive (in Canadian waters until) about 2014 or 2013.” Though this is the case, the Canadian government discontinued sampling products imported from Japan in October 2012.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did test products from Japan because of the nuclear disaster from the time of the incident in March 2011 until October 2012, admittedly testing fewer products than Delacruz. The national testers sampled over 250 products during the 18 months that they performed testing. The Canadian authority ceased testing Japanese exports deciding instead to rely upon Japan to test for radiation contamination. The national food inspecting agency told Metro News Calgary that, while it is “monitoring” events in Japan, it currently has no plans to perform additional testing on Japanese exports confidently stating, “Japanese controls on the sale of contaminated product remain intact.”

To test her hypothesis that the recently purchased products may be irradiated from the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear plant, Delacruz tested some pre-Fukushima nori that was in her kitchen cupboard (purchased in 2009) to find that this seaweed had about one third to half the measurable radiation than the products she purchase for her science fair project.

Ms. Delacruz won a gold medal for her scientific study at the regional Canada-Wide Science Fair in Peace River giving her entry into the national championship in Ontario next month. The aspiring scientist was prompted by her findings to begin a political campaign to petition the Canadian government to re-institute obligatory testing of imports and exports for radiation.

“I love seafood, and my whole family loves seafood,” Delacruz told the Daily Herald Tribune, “I would like the government to test before they ‘OK’ imports from other countries, because right now they’re just relying on other countries to do it for us.”

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Jesus schools taking US taxpayers for fools

9:05 pm in Uncategorized by patrick devlin

cross posted at the demise

Creationist decorated car: Evolution? The Fossils Say NO! Evolution is a Fairy Tale For Grownups

Are tax payer dollars supporting creationism in schools?

Reporter Stephanie Simon writing for Politico has reported on her findings after reviewing government subsidies granted to parents who choose to abandon public education and instead send their school age children to private schools, including hundreds of theological schools. Simon reports that in 2014 US taxpayers will pay nearly $1 billion to subsidize the private education, and in many cases this means the religious education and indoctrination, of grammar and secondary school children across America by providing publicly paid for “vouchers” to their parents.

The movement to expand the subsidization of private school religious indoctrination has been pushed by evangelical politicians who knowingly misrepresent their support of evangelical indoctrination by suggesting that they are simply lending a hand to parents who want to save their children from the terror of “failing public schools,” when their efforts are intended to fund ecumenical education at the expense of all Americans and to the impoverishment of the country’s public school systems.

While it is true that some political supporters of the concept of funding private schooling with US tax dollars are inspired by their support for the get-rich-quick-with-guaranteed-government-income-streams-and-bust-unions-at-the-same-time schemes also known as “charter schools” (Democratic mayor of blue state Chicago Rahm Emmanuel is a big supporter of the charter school projects that enrich private companies with tax dollars that otherwise would be spent on public schools), Simon focused her investigation on Christian institutions that that receive government dollars to teach American children and some of the educational (sic) materials that are used in in these theological schools. What Simon found in her review is that the materials and course outlines of publicly funded Christian learning centers “nurture disdain of the secular world, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists.”

Simon reports that one set of Christian textbooks that is widely used in private ecumenical schools refers to the theory of evolution as “a wicked and vain philosophy” and another is derisive of “modern math theories.” Simon goes on to report that, while most Americans may be aware that Abrahamic religious folklore is taught alongside the theory of evolution in Christian academy biology courses, many are not aware that Christian theological doctrine is infused through all course study in such schools. Simon advises that she found that math instructors take time away from teaching math to teach “biblical numbers” (presumably studying the biblical Book of Numbers) and in language classes students are taught spelling and language skills using example sentences such as; “Many scientists today are Creationists.”

Simon reports that a private school in Pennsylvania that is subsidized with taxpayer dollars advises potential students and their parents that they teach their students that their “understanding is not complete until we filter it through God’s word,” so that students will be able to “disprove the fake and vain philosophies of the world,” and a private Christian school in Georgia uses science classes to train students on how they can refute and argue against established scientific theories.

Furthermore, religious schools are not required to ensure that their curricula conforms with the educational standards that states set for their public grammar and secondary schools and religious schools are often exempted from state school testing regimes that public schools must adhere to.

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