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.
It’s a sad commentary on the federal government’s antiquated stance on drugs that even the most tepid administration statements in support of medical marijuana are hailed as bold new thinking. US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy elicited such a response when he said on national television this week that—brace yourself—there is “some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful.”
In a time of slack economic growth and high unemployment around the country, Kansas lawmakers thought they had the solution: massive tax cuts for the wealthy would lure economic activity and jump-start the state’s economy. But after Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed $1.1 billion worth of tax cuts into law over the past two years, the state is behind the national average for economic growth.
A new forecast from Kansas’s budget officials projects that “personal income in Kansas will grow more slowly than U.S. personal income in 2014 and 2015,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) writes. The projections come from Brownback’s own Division of the Budget, which expects personal income growth of 3.8 percent this year and 4.2 percent next year. The state’s overall economic growth is now projected to fall behind the nation’s after two decades of keeping pace, the think tank adds.
At the same time that Brownback’s promised economic growth is failing to materialize, his critics‘ predictions about the tax cuts are largely coming true. The tax package is starving the state of revenue. With less money coming in, Kansas is cutting public services. The state Supreme Court has ordered lawmakers to restore funding to poor school districts, saying that the spending levels they enacted were so low as to be unconstitutional. But given the state’s revenue problems, the way that the legislature is going about correcting the underfunding problem simply takes money away from other schools that need it.
Looks like they will have to cut more taxes for the wealthy. That should fix it.
Pope Francis has said the Catholic Church is too focused on preaching about abortion, gay people and contraception and needs to become more merciful…
He said the Church had become tied up in “small-minded rules” and risked losing its true purpose.
He sounds like that most dangerous radical – a follower of Christ. And I see from this report that it’s time for the Second Coming*!* to be fair, more than 700 American babies were given that name last year.
In a speech Sunday in Washington, the former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency said that terrorists around the world prefer to communicate with Gmail.
The Washington Post reported that the remarks were made by Michael Hayden as part of a speech at an adult education forum at St. John’s Episcopal Church, just across Lafayette Park from the White House.
“Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,” Hayden said, apparently referring to the search engine’s email service as opposed to any actual Internet service provider. “I don’t think you’re going to see that in a Google commercial, but it’s free, it’s ubiquitous, so of course it is.”
In other news, Boeing is the preferred airplane manufacturer of terrorist hijackers.
A lion attacked a man who jumped into its zoo enclosure here Wednesday and shouted, “Jesus will save you!” at the animal, an eyewitness said.
Cable TV stations showed the lion ripping a jacket off the man as he stood in a grassy enclosure that held two of the animals. The second lion did not join in the attack.
Without panicking, the man fell back onto a stone ridge, and the lion then jumped at him, biting him in the arm. It also clawed at his trousers before retreating.
The man then calmly stood with his arms outstretched in front of the two animals.
The witness, Hsu Li-jen, told the station CTI that the man shouted: “Jesus will save you!”
Guards drove the lions away with water hoses, and police shot them with tranquilizer darts. The man, identified only by his surname, Chen, climbed out and was taken to a hospital.
A doctor said Chen, 46, had psychological problems.
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.
Federal agents are trying to determine how a suspected Ohio white supremacist with a felony conviction for manslaughter acquired a cache of 18 assault weapons and other firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, according to federal law enforcement officials and court documents reviewed by NBC News.
The law enforcement officials said the case appears to illustrate some of the gaps in current background checks for gun purchasers that President Barack Obama has proposed closing as part of his package of executive actions and legislative proposals released this week aimed at curbing gun violence.
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.
Iceland, which the IMF estimates was the world’s third- richest nation per capita in 2005 before slumping to rank 20th by 2010, ended its 33-month program in August last year. The $13 billion economy will expand 2.4 percent this year, the IMF said April 17. That compares with an estimated 0.3 percent contraction in the 17-member euro area.
Iceland’s growth “is driven by private consumption, investment has picked up strongly and even though, when you look at net exports, those have a negative contribution to growth, it is mainly because imports have been strong, reflecting strong consumption and an increase in income and the healthy expectations of households,” Zakharova said. “Still, exports have been increasing very strongly. Last year was a banner year for tourism. These are all really positive things.”
So basically if you stop bailing out banks and put bankers in jail for their crimes your economy will recover? No shit!
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regrets that Syrian forces shot down a Turkish jet last month and said he would not allow the tensions between the two countries to turn into open combat, according to an interview with a Turkish newspaper.
“We learned that it belonged to Turkey after shooting it down. I say 100 per cent: ‘If only we had not shot it down’,” Assad told Cumhuriyet, a daily newspaper, in an interview published on Tuesday.
Al-Jazeera is also reporting that the pilots’ bodies have been found.
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, has said it lost $2 billion over the past six weeks in a trading portfolio supposedly designed to hedge against risks the company takes with its own money.
The company’s stock plunged almost 7 per cent in after-hours trading after the loss was announced. Other bank stocks, including Citigroup and Bank of America, suffered heavy losses as well.
“The portfolio has proved to be riskier, more volatile and less effective as an economic hedge than we thought,” CEO Jamie Dimon told reporters. “There were many errors, sloppiness and bad judgment.”
Sounds like bonuses all round then.
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.
GINGRICH: Sure, there should be very decisive reforms. I think, in retrospect, repealing the Glass-Steagall Act was probably a mistake. We should probably reestablish dividing up the big banks into a banking function and an investment function and separating them out again.
[Convicted lobbyist Jack] Abramoff’s transgressions led to a series of reform bills. So Stahl asked Abramoff directly: “Could you do the same thing today?” Abramoff didn’t even hesitate. “Yeah,” he said. “The system hasn’t been cleaned up at all.”
A new report looking into online music consumption habits shows that since 2009 the number of people who pirate music has dropped by 25 percent in Sweden. The sharp decrease coincides with a massive interest for the music streaming service Spotify. One of the main reasons why people switch to legal services is the wider range of material they can find there.
The American League of Lobbyists on Monday called for the withdrawal of a new ethics regulation that would prohibit all government employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists.
Wait, let me get my surprised face…
For more than a decade, California and other states have kept their newest teen drivers on a tight leash, restricting the hours when they can get behind the wheel and whom they can bring along as passengers. Public officials were confident that their get-tough policies were saving lives.
Now, though, a nationwide analysis of crash data suggests that the restrictions may have backfired: While the number of fatal crashes among 16- and 17-year-old drivers has fallen, deadly accidents among 18-to-19-year-olds have risen by an almost equal amount. In effect, experts say, the programs that dole out driving privileges in stages, however well-intentioned, have merely shifted the ranks of inexperienced drivers from younger to older teens.
When poor people are given medical insurance, they not only find regular doctors and see doctors more often but they also feel better, are less depressed and are better able to maintain financial stability, according to a new, large-scale study that provides the first rigorously controlled assessment of the impact of Medicaid.
Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.
This month, the Pentagon and the Iraqi government are finally closing the books on the program that handled all those Benjamins. But despite years of audits and investigations, U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion in cash
"I’m pretty sure he didn’t like his family back then," Cameron said.
South Korean giant Samsung Electronics on Friday admitted it faced a tough challenge to compete with Apple’s new slimmer and cheaper iPad, saying "inadequate" parts had to be improved.
Samsung’s original seven-inch screen Galaxy Tab was priced at nearly $900 if bought without a two-year contract from mobile operators, while the cheapest iPad 2 costs $499.
Samsung has not announced pricing for its new 10.1-inch tablet.
“The 10-inch (tablet) was to be priced higher than the seven-inch but we will have to think that over,” Lee told Yonhap.
update: and before I get accused of copying gruber again, please compare timestamps.
When hackers crash their systems while developing viruses, the code is often sent directly to Microsoft, according to one of its senior security architects, Rocky Heckman.
When the hacker’s system crashes in Windows, as with all typical Windows crashes, Heckman said the user would be prompted to send the error details — including the malicious code — to Microsoft. The funny thing is that many say yes, according to Heckman.
"People have sent us their virus code when they’re trying to develop their virus and they keep crashing their systems," Heckman said. "It’s amazing how much stuff we get."
And I wonder how much code they get from regular developers, and what they do with it…
Heckman said there were two reasons why the top hacking methods of cross-site scripting and SQL injection had not changed in the past six years.
“One, it tells me that the bad guys go with what they know, and two, it says the developers aren’t listening,” he said.
Heckman said that developers should consider all data input by a user as harmful until proven otherwise.
Scientists are reporting early signs that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is altering the marine food web by killing or tainting some creatures and spurring the growth of others more suited to a fouled environment.
Near the spill site, researchers have documented a massive die-off of pyrosomes — cucumber-shaped, gelatinous organisms fed on by endangered sea turtles.
Along the coast, droplets of oil are being found inside the shells of young crabs that are a mainstay in the diet of fish, turtles and shorebirds.
And at the base of the food web, tiny organisms that consume oil and gas are proliferating.
If such impacts continue, the scientists warn of a grim reshuffling of sealife that could over time cascade through the ecosystem and imperil the region’s multibillion-dollar fishing industry.