Agents on the 2,000 mile-U.S. border have wrestled with these smuggling techniques for decades, seemingly unable to stop the northward flow of drugs and southward flow of dollars and guns. But the amount of one drug — marijuana — seems to have finally fallen. U.S. Border Patrol has been seizing steadily smaller quantities of the drug, from 2.5 million pounds in 2011 to 1.9 million pounds in 2014. Mexico’s army has noted an even steeper decline, confiscating 664 tons of cannabis in 2014, a drop of 32% compared to year before.
This fall appears to have little to do with law enforcement, however, and all to do with the wave of U.S. marijuana legalization. The votes by Colorado and Washington State to legalize marijuana in 2012, followed by Alaska, Oregon and D.C. last year have created a budding industry. U.S. growers produce gourmet products with exotic names such as White Widow, Golden Goat and Oaktown Crippler as opposed to the bog-standard Mexican “mota.” American dispensaries even label their drugs, showing how strong they are, measured in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient), and grade their mix of sativa, which gets people stoned in a psychedelic way and indica, which has a more knock-out effect.
“These false, ideologically-driven programs are turning out sexually illiterate young people whose lives and health are put in literal danger by ‘educators’ handing out false information. All this, just so your teenager might be scared straight enough to forgo sex for a few extra months,” columnist Jessica Valenti wrote in The Guardian in July 2014. “Students need sexual education that’s comprehensive, medically accurate, and free from shame and ideology. Not just because sexuality is an integral part of our humanity, but because when you withhold medical information about sexuality from children and teens, you are endangering health and lives.”
Governor Walker has never been shy about flashing his religious credentials, regularly telling audiences about the nondenominational evangelical church he attends, the Baptist preacher who raised him, and his belief that he only runs for office when “called” upon by God to do so.
As he told the bankers in January, “[a]ny major decision I’ve made in my life, politics or otherwise, I’ve tried to discern God’s calling on.”
His reliance on the role of the Lord in his political decision-making process goes back to his aborted college years, when in an interview published in the Marquette University yearbook, he said that “I really think there’s a reason why God put all these political thoughts in my head.”
More recently, Walker even went so far as to “punt” on the question of whether evolution is real, claiming that it is “a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another.”
It is statements such as these that led FFRF member Edward Susterich to file an official records request demanding the governor “provide a copy/transcript of all communications with God, the Lord, Christ, Jesus or any other form of deity.”
The Office of the Governor quickly, albeit briefly, replied his request, saying that “[p]ursuant to the Public Records Law, we are responding to let you know that this office does not have records responsive to your request.”
Maybe his hairdryer broke?
“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.”
― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation
Why is one bandwidth-hungry town building its own 1Gbps fiber network for its citizens when AT&T already offers them 6Mbps DSL? That’s the question AT&T would like to ask city leaders in Chanute, Kansas, a small town of roughly 9,000 people that is petitioning the state to allow it to offer greater access to the high-speed fiber network that it built to support town utility operations.
“Why would you want a Ferrari when we already offer us taking a shit on your face?”
The imminent end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan has triggered some of the highest morale and lowest levels of mental illness among deployed U.S. soldiers in years, according to an Army mental health study released Monday.
The findings by Army scientists working in the combat zone last year dovetails with the 19% drop in active-duty Army suicides in 2013 announced by the service Friday.
The study, which interviewed war-zone troops anonymously, also notes fewer soldiers deployed to Afghanistan contemplated suicide. Some 8.5% did, down from 13% in 2010.
“We’re seeing some of the lowest rates of behavioral health issues. We’re seeing leadership rates higher than they were in the past. Morale is on the rise. All of the key indicators that we would be looking at are looking much better,” says Army Lt. Col. Maurice Sipos, a research psychologist and author of the report.
New evidence has emerged of bears shitting in woods. Stay tuned for more.
A spokesman for the Internet Service Provides Association said: “There’s a growing realisation that filters are not perfect and will lead to some over-blocking,”
Well, you could have simply asked in advance. Everyone else who ever tried this would have told you.
Oh wait, you could instead have listened when they tried to tell you. Instead you’re now exposed as the daft fucks you really are.
That lack of expertise explains why in building healthcare.gov, the government turned to industry contractors; in particular, to CGI Federal, a subsidiary of CGI Group, a Canadian company. To those uninitiated in the dark art of government contracting, it seems scandalous that CGI, a company most Americans had never heard of, a company that is not located in Silicon Valley (where President Obama has plenty of Internet superstar friends who could have formed a dazzling brain trust to implement his signature legislation) but rather in Montreal, could be chosen as the lead contractor for the administration’s most important initiative. While right-wing news outlets have focused on the possible relationship between Toni Townes-Whitley, senior vice president for civilian-agency programs at CGI Federal, and Michelle Obama, both of whom were 1985 Princeton graduates, CGI’s selection is probably more an example of a dysfunctional system than it is a scandal. “A lot of the companies in Silicon Valley don’t do business with the government at that level [the level required for federal contracting],” explains Soloway. “It is very burdensome, and the rules make it very unattractive.” Indeed, government contractors have to meet a whole host of requirements contained in a foot-thick book, including cost accounting and excessive auditing, to prove that they are not profiting too much off the American taxpayer. Hence, there tends to be a relatively small, specialized group of companies that compete for this work, even on such critical matters as healthcare.gov.
Stated reasons for the rules:
to protect taxpayers from waste and fraud
Actual purpose for the rules:
prevent any individual politician or government employee from being blamed for waste and fraud
A recent study published in the Journal of Political Economy suggests that some types of intellectual property rights discourage subsequent scientific research.
“The goal of intellectual property rights – such as the patent system – is to provide incentives for the development of new technologies. However, in recent years many have expressed concerns that patents may be impeding innovation if patents on existing technologies hinder subsequent innovation,” said Heidi Williams, author of the study. “We currently have very little empirical evidence on whether this is a problem in practice.”
Ooh, I know this one! Lemme see, er, I’d say…perhaps?
“My take-away from this evidence is that – at least in some contexts – intellectual property can have substantial costs in terms of hindering subsequent innovation,” said Williams.
Newly released data on corporate profitability for 2012 show the continuation of historic levels of profitability despite excessive unemployment and stagnant wages for most workers. Specifically, the share of capital income (such as profits and interest, which are hereafter referred to as ‘profits’) in the corporate sector increased to 25.6 percent in 2012, the highest in any year since 1950-1951 and far higher than the 19.9 percent share prevailing over 1969-2007, the five business cycles preceding the financial crisis…
We now have an economy built to assure high corporate profitability even when it’s operating far below capacity and when most families and workers are faring poorly. This is further evidence that there is a remarkable disconnect between the fortunes of business and those best-off (high-income households) and the vast majority.
More of the same. Can’t make up my mind about the category.
A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.
The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.”
A former member of the Westboro Baptist Church who recently published a book about leaving the hate-mongering group has also revealed that founder Fred Phelps’s anti-gay ideology may have spawned from a gay experience.
I never understood why, when [the media asked him], “Why are you so against the homosexuals? Did you have a homosexual experience? Do you have homosexual tendencies?” And he would get so mad, he would shut down. And he’d be like, “I can’t talk to this person anymore, they’re stupid.” His reaction to that was stronger than any other question you can ask him. So I always wondered that — why does he get so mad? If I’m not gay, I’ll just say I’m not gay. And I’m not going to freak out, like, “Why are you calling me gay?” I always thought that was super strange. … I don’t know what happened there, so [speculation] is all that I can leave it at. But something happened, and something made him change his mind about the military, and in turn have kind of a crusade against sexual immorality and homosexuals.
The Bush tax cuts lapsed at midnight last night. Every R voting for Senate bill is cutting taxes and keeping his/her pledge.
Yes, I think all the tags I applied to this post are justified.
A dramatic new study with implications for next month’s presidential election finds that offering women free birth control can reduce unplanned pregnancies — and send the abortion rate spiraling downward.
A “new study”, or, as we here in the Netherlands like to call it, “history”.
A government-commissioned report has recommended that Israel legalise dozens of unsanctioned West Bank settlement outposts, a move that would defy international opposition to settling land Palestinians want for a future state.
The report, written by a committee with pro-settler sympathies, also reaffirmed Israel’s longstanding position, at odds with most of the world, that the West Bank is not occupied territory and therefore Israel has the legal right to settle it.
Gosh, what a surprise.
From bait-and-switch marriage proposals to wig-pulling, cocktail-tossing catfights, it’s safe to say we’ve grown accustomed to absurd contrivance and scripting in “reality” television. But who would expect such dramatic puppet-mastering on HGTV?
Apparently we all should have. Earlier this week on the website Hooked on Houses, former House Hunters participant Bobi Jensen called the show a sham. Jensen writes that the HGTV producers found her family’s plan to turn their current home into a rental property “boring and overdone,” and therefore crafted a narrative about their desperation for more square footage. What’s more, producers only agreed to feature Jensen’s family after they had bought their new house, forcing them to “tour” friends’ houses that weren’t even for sale to accommodate the trope of “Which one will they choose?”
Wait, what? Reality TV is fake? Next you’re going to tell me WWE isn’t real either!
Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies demonstrates.
Companion opinion pieces on Al Jazeera’s English website (Clearly a Tool of the Devil™). Warning: these are rather long and boring.
To retain relevance in the 21st century, liberals in the US will need to revitalise their ideology.…Neither contemporary conservatism nor contemporary liberalism offers a credible path to the kind of economic dynamism and shared prosperity that characterised what has been called the “American Century”. For Americans of all political persuasions, the fundamental question that US politics must address in the coming decades is: How shall we continue to prosper when the basis for our economic renewal is unclear, our willingness to make shared investments in our collective future is waning, and our place in a post-American world is uncertain?
US Conservatives must reform their internal ideology in order to create a coherent effort to revitalise the party
For those willing to probe a bit deeper, however, it should quickly become apparent that we badly need to take stock of our position. Conservatism, despite these impressive electoral victories, is failing on its own terms. Start with the social indicators, which are the most important to conservatives. The US’ fast-growing and largely minority underclass shows limited signs of progress or assimilation to middle-class American life. And the white middle class – the bed-rock of conservatism’s political strength and social vision – is showing signs of social stagnation and economic regress that should be sounding ominous claxons in conservative meeting halls but, so far, have attracted only the attention of Charles Murray. Stagnant income growth and mobility and a shrinking middle class are considered unhealthy by most conservative understandings of social health, cohesion and well-being. While conservatives have plenty of macro ideas for increasing economic growth, they have fewer ideas about how to secure a wider distribution of new wealth.
Both sides seem to be enjoying the fight too much to listen to such radical voices. Implicit warning to the US: The rest of the world is worried about you.
World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.
I’m going to wait to hear what Glenn Beck has to say about this before deciding whether it’s true.
Fox News is a business model. The goal of Fox News is not to inform or misinform – it is to attract viewers in order to sell advertising. It is not so much a “propaganda machine” as it is a mirror reflecting the views of its audience. Rupert Murdoch feeds his audience “information” that pleases their world view and makes them feel good about themselves so they tune in.
Among the biggest Wikileaks embarrassments for the UK came out last night, while Julian Assange waits in police custody.