A broad coalition of political parties has unveiled a pilot program to regulate marijuana farming on the model of tobacco, which opponents say would be tantamount to legalizing growing the drug.
Under the test program, to be conducted in the southern city of Maastricht, existing health and safety standards will apply to growers, but they would no longer be the target of police raids or prosecution.
Coffee shops permitted to sell marijuana would be required to provide consumers with information about the health hazards of smoking–similar to tobacco companies–and the chemical content of the marijuana. The shops would also have to say where they bought the marijuana they sell, which proponents say will deter growers from operating dangerous underground greenhouses.
Under current Dutch policy, marijuana and hashish are illegal but police don’t prosecute for possession of less than 1 ounce. Authorities also look the other way regarding the open sale of cannabis in designated coffee shops.
But commercial growing is outlawed, giving rise to a contradictory system in which shop owners have no legal way to purchase their best-selling product.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and his ruling Christian Democrat Party said regulating marijuana cultivation would set the Netherlands another step apart from the rest of the continent.
“This experiment would be at odds with Dutch law, and there’s a legal problem” internationally, as well, Balkenende said.
Luckily, parliament will tell JP where to shove it:
The coalition of parties gave Balkenende until Dec. 14 to implement the testing program, after which lawmakers said they will introduce a bill in parliament to do it.
They said about two-thirds of parliament members support the plan.
Sometimes people in law enforcement will hear it whispered that I’m a former cop who favors decriminalization of marijuana laws, and they’ll approach me the way they might a traitor or snitch. So let me set the record straight.
Yes, I was a cop for 34 years, the last six of which I spent as chief of Seattle’s police department.
But no, I don’t favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics, mushrooms and LSD.
As a cop, I bore witness to the multiple lunacies of the “war on drugs.” Lasting far longer than any other of our national conflicts, the drug war has been prosecuted with equal vigor by Republican and Democratic administrations, with one president after another ó Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush ó delivering sanctimonious sermons, squandering vast sums of taxpayer money and cheerleading law enforcers from the safety of the sidelines.
It’s not a stretch to conclude that our Draconian approach to drug use is the most injurious domestic policy since slavery. Want to cut back on prison overcrowding and save a bundle on the construction of new facilities? Open the doors, let the nonviolent drug offenders go. The huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the 1980s and ’90s (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions. In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We’re making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?
I’ve witnessed the devastating effects of open-air drug markets in residential neighborhoods: children recruited as runners, mules and lookouts; drug dealers and innocent citizens shot dead in firefights between rival traffickers bent on protecting or expanding their markets; dedicated narcotics officers tortured and killed in the line of duty; prisons filled with nonviolent drug offenders; and drug-related foreign policies that foster political instability, wreak health and environmental disasters, and make life even tougher for indigenous subsistence farmers in places such as Latin America and Afghanistan. All because we like our drugs ó and can’t have them without breaking the law.
The CIA is recruiting, as this ad in this week’s Economist (p.17 of the European edition) shows (click on the pic for bigger version):
About 4,000 military history enthusiasts from 23 countries gathered in the Czech Republic to re-enact the Battle of Austerlitz 200 years ago.
Q Scott, when you say, “using all available tools,” and then you talk about laws, I think it is a little confusing for many of us Americans that all available tools means all available tools, if you won’t confirm or deny the prisons overseas –
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said consistent with our laws and our treaty obligations. The President has made it very clear that we do not torture, he would never condone torture or authorize the use of torture. If someone doesn’t abide by our laws, they’re held accountable, and we have done that.
That’s the difference between us and others. When it comes to human rights, there is no greater leader than the United States of America, and we show that by holding people accountable when they break the law or they violate human rights. And we show that by supporting the advance of freedom and democracy and supporting those in countries that are having their human rights denied or violated, like North Korea. We show that by liberating people in Afghanistan and Iraq, some 50 million people. And no one has done more when it comes to human rights than the United States of America.
It’s clear these press conferences are for domestic consumption only, since Condi admitted extraordinary renditions to Europe.
In May 2004, the White House dispatched the U.S. ambassador in Germany to pay an unusual visit to that country’s interior minister. Ambassador Daniel R. Coats carried instructions from the State Department transmitted via the CIA’s Berlin station because they were too sensitive and highly classified for regular diplomatic channels, according to several people with knowledge of the conversation.
Coats informed the German minister that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned one of its citizens, Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, the sources said. There was also a request: that the German government not disclose what it had been told even if Masri went public. The U.S. officials feared exposure of a covert action program designed to capture terrorism suspects abroad and transfer them among countries, and possible legal challenges to the CIA from Masri and others with similar allegations.
“They picked up the wrong people, who had no information. In many, many cases there was only some vague association” with terrorism, one CIA officer said.
Why keep ‘mistakes’ like this secret? There’s only one reason I can think of, and it’s a building a 5 minutes walk away from where I’m typing this.
So, in answer to the obvious question: yes, the chain is following its intended path. The appropriate followup question, then, is as follows: “Huh?!”
If you can’t see what’s odd about this airbus, click here.
The 202-foot tower, the tallest building in Sioux Falls and possibly the state, was scheduled to topple at 12:55 p.m.
Here is a movie…
The flap over Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s infected copy-protected CDs shows few signs of abating.
Sony at first offered an uninstall program to get rid of the software, but that was found to attract viruses. On Nov. 18, the label said that it planned to release an updated virus-free uninstall program. Almost three weeks later, that program is scheduled to be released Monday on Sony BMG’s website. Many of the infected CDs are still in record stores.
“I could write the uninstall program in one day,” says Mark Russinovich, the blogger who first brought the world’s attention to the problem CDs.
USA TODAY late last week found XCP-free versions of some of the CDs, including titles by Bette Midler and Neil Diamond, at Tower Records, FYE and Virgin record stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But many CDs with XCP labels remained, including titles by Midler, Celine Dion and Switchfoot.
“This is a debacle,” says Gene Munster, an analyst with securities firm Piper Jaffray.
CD buyer Ron Sheban, 56, a St. Louis photographer, says he’s waited patiently for Sony’s uninstall program and has e-mailed the company several times.
“I never got a response,” says Sheban, who purchased a Chris Botti CD at his local Barnes & Noble. “I’m extremely frustrated.”
In the interim, many of the artists with XCP CDs have seen their sales tumble.
Neil Diamond, whose widely praised 12 Songs opened at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart just two weeks ago, has fallen to No. 52 in the most recent chart. Bette Midler’s Peggy Lee Songbook fell to No. 157 from No. 51, while Chris Botti’s To Love Again:The Duets tumbled to No. 172 from No. 74.
It would appear that the Sony Corporation paid graffitists to paint pictures of children using their new PSPs on city walls. Sony “artists” (corporate operatives?) have even been caught in the act of painting advertising campaigns on public walls. Note that these are not paid-for billboards or advertising media, but illegal graffiti in the first place. Beyond that, Sony is attempting to co-opt the subculture and possibly even artistic integrity of real graffists to sell more PSPs! Luckily, people have started to paint back and show that corporate vandals are not welcome.”
Between this and the rootkit, it’s obvious Sony doesn’t give a flying fuck about anyone’s rights. Not the rights of the owners of the property they are vandalising, not the rights of the owners of the computers they rootkitted, and not their customers. They just don’t care.
Since I’m for some weird reason rather high in the google results for the 72 bands picture from Virgin I posted earlier, I might as well use that and ruin the marketing gimmick a little by posting the solution (also found through google, of course).
Virgin has said that there are actually 74 (!) bands in the picture.
There’s a way to test whether a certain artist is correct or not, via this script http://dev.heavy.com/contests/virgin/results.php?answer1=the%20beach%20boys
(Just replace The Beach Boys with whatever you want to test, the page returns a zero if the answer is wrong, and one if it’s correct. Remember to use lower case all the way.)
Here’s a verified list of 72 bands/artists, so only two are missing (perhaps the doll in the display window, and the plant under Guns ‘n Roses?)
01. The Rolling Stones
02. The Police
05. Pet Shop Boys
06. Led Zeppelin
08. Guns N’ Roses
14. Red Hot Chili Peppers
15. Smashing Pumpkins
16. MatchBox Twenty
17. 50 Cent
18. White Stripes
21. Alice In Chains
24. White Zombie
25. Scissor Sisters
26. Black Flag
27. Deep Purple
28. Sex Pistols
29. Blind Melon
31. Green Day
32. The Beach boys
35. Twisted Sister
37. Cowboy Junkies
38. Iron Maiden
39. The Cars
41. The Lemonheads
42. Dinosaur Jr
43. Bee Gees
45. Black Crowes
46. The Doors
47. Nine Inch Nails
50. The Postal Service
51. Skinny Puppy
52. Cypress Hill
53. The Pixies
57. Crowded House
58. Dead Kennedys
61. Talking Heads
64. The Cult
65. The Killers
67. The Roots
70. Great White
71. Jane’s Addiction
72. The Carpenters