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marijuana-nation-mapMarijuana Nation

Another study is out: Americans believe that marijuana (pot) is less harmful than alcohol. A summary of the study was published by the Washington Post with this summary:

A new Pew survey out today provides yet another illustration of the failure of America’s drug war. By a nearly five-to-one margin, Americans agree that alcohol is worse for you than marijuana.

Which begs the question: why is it still treated like a controlled substance in more than half of the states? MONEY.

But just saying that doesn’t define the problem enough. Like Deep Throat, we have to follow the money to find out who profits from control. When you arrive at the bottomline (and there’s always one in these types of things) you find that the prohibition of Marijuana is driven by people who profit from control.

  1. Pharmaceutical companies. They stand to lose a big chunk of revenue – both from legal and illicit sales of their products. In a Marijuana Nation, people who need it can get it; people who want it, can have it – without fear.
  2. Beer breweries. Like big pharma, major beer producers could see some erosion in revenue as people turn to smoking joints rather than consume 6 cans beer a night.
  3. Private prisons. They could lose the inflow of tens of thousands inmates who still go to jail for minor possession violations and cultivation.
  4. Law enforcement unions. The “war on drugs” draws funding from federal grants and bonds, therefore legalized marijuana means many municipal and state law enforcement could lose a chunk of funding. The shortfall may also be transitional as resources are refocused on other law enforcement priorities.
  5. Petrochemical companies. Possibly the biggest losers in a Marijuana Nation. One well-known theory claims that companies like Dupont, Allied Chemical Corporation and Hearst Paper Manufacturing Division of Kimberly Clark, just to name a few, were the first to profit from prohibition. It is completely true that the “hemp” version of marijuana was once a global cash crop for centuries – and the beauty of it is, it is destined to be so again.
Washington Post

Pew survey: Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.

Yes. Here in the United States of America, special interest groups who are willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to protect billions in revenue. And they have been very successful for many decades. Shocker, right? Survey anti-pot groups websites and postings: the same weird logic and false information that comes from lobbyists who have also profited from prohibition. Ah, but now I’m starting to sound like one of those hemp conspiracists. Some folks don’t agree with the idea that industries might conspire against another industry to leverage a business advantage. Alternet’s Steven Wishnia posted Debunking the Hemp Conspiracy in

2008 with a impressive study that reveals a gradual social intolerance for the plant that led to prohibition.  

Why, then, do
so many people believe in the “hemp conspiracy”? First, it’s the influence of The Emperor Wears No Clothes ; many people inspired to cannabis activism by Jack Herer’s hemp-can-save-the-world vision and passionate denunciations of pot prohibition buy into the whole “conspiracy against marijuana” package. Another is that many stoners love a good conspiracy theory; secret cabals are simpler and sexier villains than sociopolitical forces. The conspiracist worldview, a hybrid of the who-really-killed-the-Kennedys suspicions of the ’60s left and the Bilderbergs-and-Illuminati demonology of the far right, is especially common in rural areas and among pothead Ron Paul supporters. Most people don’t have the historical or political knowledge to dispute a conspiracist flood of detailed half-truths. – Steven Wishnia, Alternet

For all his snakiness,

Wishnia makes a few good points. But his rationale is too precise; his conclusion is too clean. Yes, potheads love a conspiracy, but he forgets (or doesn’t want to acknowledge) that conspiracy is like folklore; there’s always just enough fact to stick out like a smoking bong.

Consider the effect that a restored hemp industry could have on textiles and other industries. Hemp is quite useful, used for centuries in the manufacture of everything from rope to canvas to clothing. Hemp production would end absolute control over textiles and other hydrocarbon dependent products. Domestic hemp production might decrease our dependence on foreign textiles. Note also that cultivation of hemp is cheap and environmentally sustainable. If that’s the case now, could it also have been the case when Marijuana was made illegal?

By the way, hemp is marijuana is cannabis. Same basic plant, same prohibition, different names.

My favorite marijuana conspiracy is the one that says that smoking weed will increase incidence of disease. The Hearst “yellow journalists” loved to poke at that, and it’s actually true – to a point. The fact is, anything done in excess is bad for you. What about moderate use? Moderate users have been smoking pot for centuries. If there were any direct effects from smoking weed (e.g., cancer or other disease) we’d have empirical data. But we don’t. Do you know why? Because there is no direct effect. NORML released this well-written and fairly comprehensive report on various medical studies. So this amounts to ‘another’ bottom line for legalization: no conclusive evidence, no direct cause-effect relationship between Marijuana and disease. Here’s a link to the NORML report: http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/cannabis-smoke-and-cancer-assessing-the-risk

Stoner Laughing

Ed Rosenthal declared that the successful legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington last November have “cured” him of his need for medical marijuana. Raw Story

When the Tea Party first emerged, I was inspired by their platform to limit government’s reach and let me live my life as I choose. As an adult, tax paying citizen, I am entitled to make decisions about my personal enjoyment. As long as my choices do not infringe on the rights of others, then what I do is my business, nobody else’s. Unfortunately, the Tea Party was hijacked by the Christian social agenda and got sidetracked by a dozen other little agendas that never made sense to me. Yet, the dream lives on. 

Twenty states and the District of Columbia now have laws legalizing marijuana in some form (see MAP). Colorado and Washington state have recently granted full legalization for recreational use, while the others issue individual permits for medicinal use of marijuana. Support is strong for major changes and I believe that very soon, Marijuana will be granted federal legalization. 

Now is our chance to end this wasteful and horribly distorted prohibition. More of us need to stand up and speak up. Marijuana nation IS rising. But it needs our constant vigilance.  

Crime of the Century, SupertrampA crime is being committed but nobody can agree about the facts: who, what, when – and most of all why. It’s like walking past a shadowy alley – it repulses us, but we can’t put a finger why.

If there’s a crime, everybody is suspect. So how to start the investigation? “Follow the money,” said Deep Throat. So I did. And the startling thing is that the answers are right there in plain sight.

I’m talking about Obamacare, the Republicans, the Democrats, and all the rich guys paving the road to election day with their dollars. What I’ve concluded is that Obama is a sideshow. Being POTUS is one of the best paying jobs this guy has ever had. Could it be that he and his policies are a convenient distraction?

Consider the recently revealed bit of news that Koch brothers really don’t care much about Obamacare – well, maybe not as much as they care about Keystone XL. That’s the real strategy – they want the billions that they might earn from a big straw that’ll carry oil product from Canada to the Gulf. So… just like it was during Bush II, it’s all about oil. That’s all. Healthcare be damned.

Koch are the true boogeymen of America. Rich. Arrogant. Aloof. They run the John Birch Society. They run the Tea Party. They run Fox News. They run the propagandists who telegraph every lie about everyone they don’t like – smear campaigns against Democrats and Republicans alike. These are the guys I see when I have nightmares.

Most conservative supporters (and many liberals) are not listening to the real threat. If all politicians lie (I hope this isn’t a big surprise) then the real metric should be the personal gain of the actors. Consider the personal gain that Obama gets from Obamacare. Arguably, that’s a zero. Well, maybe a mark in history for being the president who successfully started meaningful health care reform, but there’s no factual evidence of him getting rich from the thing. 

Not so with Koch. Not only do they have an “invested” interest in oil – they have a HUGE invested interest. Billions of dollars in extracting, transporting and reselling oil. Question: what would you do if you want to get a controversial pipeline through the middle of the country? A nice feel good ad campaign? Or would spend big on ‘like-minded’ candidates whom you could later control and influence? Wouldn’t you like at least one or two political distractions? 

I’m convinced that Obamacare is the sideshow – and so is every last one of the other little distractions that the Tea Party has created. Anything with Obama’s name is like meat on a hook to the hyenas of superbole. That’s how publicity works. I should know. I write that kind of crap.

The really big show is going on in plain sight. And believe it or not, the Koch brothers themselves are just the vanguards. There’s a whole petrochemical industry out there just snapping its jaws for Keystone XL. And they’ll do anything to distract us from their business. Even ruin this country.

Time to wake up. The candle was lit long before the meal was cooked.

F-A-Hayek_The-Road-To-SerfdomI’ve run into conservatives who use The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek as a Christian uses a bible – high velocity, with intent to do bodily damage. And like the bible, this book is said to have spurred the Tea Party and the Ultra Conservative movement.  In 2006, the book appeared on Martin Seymour-Smith‘s list of the 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written and made HumanEvents.com’s list of Top Ten Books Every Republican Congressman Should Read.

If only they would read it, perhaps they would realize what an utter fraud the leaders of the Republican Party (and the Tea Party) have committed in saying that they have blended Hayekian philosophy into the late not so great brand of American conservatism.

For backstory, Hayek is considered one of the intellectual leaders of the libertarian brain trust. Among the things contemplated were the limit of government’s role versus the range of freedom for the governed. Frankly, I have no problem with that notion. Government ought to stay out of personal lives and focus on governance. While Hayek message is also cautionary (at a time when caution was needed), it is the degree and the way that he makes his case that is troublesome.

The bullets had barely stopped flying in Berlin when many intellectuals and pundits declared that socialism was a fait accompli - an accomplished fact; a thing already done. The enemy, often characterized as rampant capitalistic oligarchies propped up by royalty or riches (take your pick), were on the run. Surrender was inevitable. History tells us another story. Not only did the oligarchs survive, they reformed during reconstruction. Which was good, for a while. But then even stronger cabals were formed, but that’s a story for another time. 

Hayek was among an opposing group – people like Jose Ortega and John Dos Passos – who feared the rise of socialism, but for different reasons. Ortega believed that given any opportunity, “mass man” would swell up and destroy the intellectual world in a fit of rage. Dos Passos was originally enthralled by socialism, but he became disillusioned by what he saw in Stalin’s Russia.

The trouble with an all-powerful secret police in the hands of fanatics, or of anybody, is that once it gets started there’s no stopping it until it has corrupted the whole body politic. I am afraid that’s what’s happening in Russia. - Dos Passos

Hayek took another turn. He believed that all forms of collectivism were doomed to failure — including collective bargaining. He pinned socialism as the greatest threat to individual liberty. It was on that point that he harps the most. In his world, all forms of socialism should be rejected by freedom loving people. So broad was that brush that he included simple things like government giving money to the old and infirm so that they could buy food and shelter. 

If it wasn’t pure democracy and absolute capitalism, Hayek had nothing kind to say. One chapter is nothing more than a long run-on rant about communism, socialism, fascism, totalitarianism, and despotism. On the first read, it seemed like one lumpy and wholly inaccurate mess. On redirect (by a friend who has read other works by Hayek), I find that he rails against ideology for the sake of ideology. It’s not that he has a problem with socialism, per se, but that he worries about the dogma that historically follows it. Given historical examples – the Soviet, Mao’s China, North Korea – he makes a point. The brush, therefore, is even wider than I originally thought.

What confounds me is that Hayek points out weaknesses in collectivism without serving back weaknesses in capitalism (for example). Let’s agree that there are many examples where central planning, or collectivism, has failed; 1960s American experimentation with urban planning comes to mind. But post-war Japan is a great example where short-term collective/central planning was extremely effective for raising up battered economies. 

It is true that the virtues which are less esteemed and practiced now — independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to bear risks, the readiness to back one’s own conviction against a majority, and the willingness to voluntary cooperation with one’s neighbors — are essentially those on which the of an individualist society rests. Collectivism has nothing to put in their place, and in so far as it already has destroyed then it has left a void filled by nothing but the demand for obedience and the compulsion of the individual to what is collectively decided to be good. – Hayek

As an interesting footnote to my study, there was a chapter – nine, I believe – where Hayek seems to support the idea of government sponsored social insurance, including health care.

As history shows, socialism did not sweep Western Europe, but it did roost. Through free elections, the people of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and France reformed as mixed economies which allowed extensive private enterprise alongside substantial state enterprise and government intervention. This outcome was probably deeply disappointing to Hayek.

Who imagines that there exist any common ideals of distributive justice such as will make the Norwegian fisherman consent to forego the prospect of economic improvement in order to help his Portuguese fellow, or the Dutch worker to pay more for his bicycle to help the Coventry mechanic, or the French peasant to pay more taxes to assist the industrialization of Italy? – Hayek

And yet what the fisherman, the mechanics and the peasant decided to do worked out very well them, hasn’t it?

I’m not an economist, so maybe I missed something, but “The Road to Serfdom” seemed to be more about Hayek’s philosophical views rather than an articulate analysis of competing economic systems. False advertising on his part? Maybe not. Friends who have commented on my review explain that Hayek sought to balance the rush to collectivism and wanted to fill what he perceived as a lack of complete discussion. Be that as it may, still he rankles me.

I agree with his contention that ”money is one of the greatest instruments of freedom ever invented by man.” But how elitist of him to say in the next breath that “it is money which in existing society opens an astounding range of choice to the poor man.” I’ve never heard a poor serf to admire the “astounding” array of choices at his feet. Call me stupid, but I’ve always thought that the lack of money restricts choices and constricts possibilities; the center argument of the spiral into poverty?

If Hayek doesn’t understand the plight of the serf, then how can he advise us on how to avoid serfdom? But maybe it is not the author that causes me so much gastronomical distress. Perhaps it is the fact that the current brand of conservatism believes that they have accurately portrayed his work. If that is the case, then the fraud is not Hayek, but everyone who says that they have read his book and can give a good reason it must be held as the grail of the new American conservative.

Source: Wikipedia

One of many depictions of “God.” Depending upon your influences, God is piloting a spacecraft, operating a holy button machine, or playing a cosmic organ at church.

As advanced as we pretend to be, we still have some pretty amusing superstitions. Well, actually some of them are pretty damned tragic. Like the one that says “god” will come down from heaven one day and lay waste to all people who don’t believe in her. Poppycock.

As an avowed Atheist, I do not believe that an all-powerful deity will swoop down and do anything – except maybe to stop by Area 51 and find out why the “angels” never reported back (TIC). But seriously, rain down from heaven to lay waste on the puny unbelieving humans? And yet, from altar, dias and pulpit we hear it proclaimed; idiot Chicago area Republicans declare it; citizens fear it: “god’s” punishment is ongoing in all form of murder, mayhem, and mischief.

Judeo-Christians are not alone. There are many religions that “believe” this is precisely what “God” (or “Gods”) are supposed to do; that death and mayhem on a grand scale is the purview of the great deity – a pox on you if you don’t embrace it. I’ll bet some clever shaman in the high tundra about 10,000 years ago came up with that idea first – to reign in a restless tribe. Probably the same wanton loin clothed bastard that told other men that women cannot be trusted. But I digress.

Sadly, there are ample examples of people declaring death and mayhem in the name of God (or Allah, or whaaaatever). Take a picture of that – we’re talking about men (e.g., terrorists from Chechnya and Waziristan, and gun-toting knuckle draggers from the Ozarks) driven out of their minds by what they believe to be the spoken word of their god. Personally, I have a problem with the picture of an otherwise beneficent all-powerful being really giving a rats-behind about little old me. Suffice to say, god’s wrath is a tragedy to those who are the victims and a pathetic waste to those of us who have learned control our impulses and now work toward a more sustainable solution.

Puzzling that Islam – like Christianity – truly tries to espouse peace (read both Koran and NT Bible to find appropriate passages). A vengeful god goes contrary to Christian belief that Jesus Christ was sacrificed on the cross to atone for sins for all time. So what is the problem? A root division within the faith? In Islam – you have influences of Medina and Mecca; differences in interpretation regarding the disposition of “Kafir” (non-believers). In Christianity, there’s the (in)famous division between Protestants (the Reformists) and Roman Catholics. I sat in a bible study once where Lutherans were clucking off about the “evil” of the Vatican; then (on the same day) sat through a Catholic seminar on the unsettling (and unholy) divisions created by reformists. But is that really the cause or merely a symptom?

GodI recently participated as the representative atheist in a “cross-denominational’ table talk at a local university (you know us heathens, we love universities). My assertion is that there is a root division – not within the house of “God” but within the house of humanity. Those who hold reverence to a deity commit the heresy of surrendering human rationality; of denying their human capacity to solve problems amicably without the veil of ‘belief’ to cloud choices. When we hide behind “god” we surrender “god given” freewill for mob action; we merely go with the flow regardless how we really feel. Later – when we are honest – we realize guilt, diminished individuality, foolishness; but we’re back at it again the next worship day – rattling the sabers of faith in homage to god.

The reaction from my fellow table talkers was somewhat subdued, but I took pleasure in one Catholic lady who stepped up to me and said, “You know, you are right. It is a heresy to proclaim punishment in the name of God.”

“Why do they keep doing it,” I asked.

“Because they don’t know any better.”

The absolute real solution to the problem: stop blaming god and start believing in humanity. Take personal responsibility for your actions and stop asking god for permission to do the right thing.

One day, I was mousing through the net and in a flash of boredom I wandered to the CNN comment boards thinking I might catch some some good LOL. Then one comment caught my eye; one that baited me into a swift crushing blow. It’s times like these that I’m the Human Torch. “FLAME ON.”

The story in question was titled “Did Earth get zapped in the eighth century?” Horrible headline, but the author posted recent findings about a cosmic collision that may have resulted in a ‘short-duration gamma-ray burst’ that bathed Earth’s surface with radiation back in the 8th century. The finding could help explain why researchers find high levels of carbon-14 and beryllium-10 in trees that were cut down during that time. Not exactly front page headliner stuff, but it’s interesting to me.

Most comments that followed were the usual trollish nonsense, but one comment in particular put the flame in my eye. First, let me explain that I loathe nitwits out there who cite “evidence” that carbon 14 tests are so inadequate that the age estimation of dinosaurs (for instance) might be 70 million years or only 6,000 years – who knows <shrug>. This rationale has deeper roots that branch out from a Christian heresy that young Earth Creationism is absolute (e.g., you are not a Christian unless you believe this bullshit wholeheartedly). To the Christian who might stumble on this post – you read correctly. Young Earth Creationism is not biblical, its teaching is false, therefore it is heresy.

Back to the poster:

hubrisdenied: this right here is why i ALWAYS HATED CARBON DATING……its such a huge assumption to say we know for sure what carbon 14 levels were 50 years ago…..let alone millions…

Little did Mr Hubris realize that his hubris jerked me into the conversation.

superbole: What in the friggin world does this event have to do with the decay rate of carbon? Are you a complete moron or are you doing this to get attention?

Actually, what I wanted to say was that unlike YOUR GOD, atoms and the speed of light do not lie. If you want to believe that YOUR deity has TOLD you that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, fine. Don’t use your faith to invalidate a physical mechanical fact. In other words, get the hell out of my face with your stupid comment! But I simplified.

superbole: NOTE – carbon-14 dating is only accurate up to within 50,000 years (or so), so IF there were multiple radiation events, then we’d see a distortion in the 14C baseline – which, by the way, we do; that’s why the disclaimer. BUT… but… the friggin dinosaurs in your museum are still between 60 to 200 million years old. OKAY??

To whit, a passersby added this gem:

are122: There are many dinosaurs in D.C. much younger than that.

Yah. I admit it. I was ready to rip are122‘s head off when a cooler head popped up between my shoulders and said… “yo dude, chill.”

superbole: lol… i was like, “wft? where?” then… i had to laugh. “oh… THOSE dinosaurs

No question about it… this is idiocy at its finest. But dammit… don’t mess with my Carbon 14!

I’ve read quite a few posts on the Bengazi investigation. Some liberal-minded folks bring up other, very similar, embassy failures that occurred during the Bush II years: 2002 U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured; 2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured; 2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed; 2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured; 2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade, fortunately no one was injured – and so on.

Where was the Republican outrage? Well, I remember the outrage, because I was absolutely blown away that the Republican-dominated Congress refused to act on calls for investigation. But of course, this is all partisan and political – we must admit that. I believe that the GOP ‘outrage’ has more to do with who is in the senate than it does with what actually happened in Bengazi.

Already, there are calls to draft Senator Kerry for SoS… and isn’ that interesting? MA will likely call up another dem for the seat – but taking Kerry out reduces the seniority order, which is very important in the USS since it determines who can chair certain very powerful committees. And who is Senator Kerry, but the tenth most senior United States Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that’s who.

In times of transition and turmoil, the advantage always goes to the underdog; such is the way of politics.

Source: Yahoo

Source: Yahoo

I held off making any remarks about the various political races because – well, to be honest – there was enough opinion floating about on both sides, it just seemed unnecessary.

But now that the election is over with – the yard signs are coming down, the banners are being rolled up – I have new concerns and observations.

Until Obama, no party – democrat OR republican – shouted “You lie!” during a State of the Union Speech. Until Obama, no party used more filibusters during a single Congress than during the previous 100 years. Until Obama, no party ever threatened to refuse to extend the debt ceiling – regardless of which party the president belonged to.

One of the problems that the Republicans had with criticizing Obama for his previous 4 years is that the American people KNEW that the GOP/Tea Party resisted working with him on ANYTHING. We remember what Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell said, even before Obama took office, that the number one goal of the GOP was to prevent Obama from getting a second term.

What did we end up with? Fixes for the economy came slowly. We failed to lower the deficit – in fact, it got worse and that (in my book) is due to GOP foot dragging that retarded economic growth, thus federal tax revenues. The consequence of these failures resulted in moribund employment growth, more foreclosures, more misery. The tactic to keep Obama to one term caused more pain on the American people – especially minorities.

The fact that we are now recovering is a testament to how much Obama actually accomplished in spite of the concerted GOP/Tea Party resistance. And boy, did they put up a fight. But here’s the thing – despite the billions that the GOP/Tea Party spent, despite the steams of ads, punditry, and posturing – they lost. And they lost big. Obama not only soundly won the electoral college, he also won the popular vote. Moreover, the democrats are stronger in both Senate and House. Here’s something though that the GOP strategists must be shocked about: Democrats won solid majorities in both houses of the California Assembly – in fact, at the time of this writing – it appears that the Dems are going to end up with supermajorities in both houses. The last time a single party held a supermajority in both houses of the California legislature was in 1933, when the Republicans controlled the legislature. Democrats held a supermajority in both houses back in 1883.

Maybe had the GOP tried to work with Obama, the economy would be buzzing along and most Americans wouldn’t be blaming them for all the pain they caused.

Just sayin. By the way, “Hooray, for our side!”

 

A dying forest in Colorado: Bare branches and rust-colored foliage denote dead and dying trees in Colorado’s Front Range.

Doubters and climate change believers, draw near. Scientists have collated new data about climate change, and this is probably the most stunning news ever.

According to tree-ring growth data combined with historical information, climate records, and computer-model projections of future climate trends, widespread tree death is likely, researchers report this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

A group of scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Arizona and other groups used this data from 13,000 tree core samples with known temperature and moisture data. They also blended events from archaeological and other paleorecords, such as the late 1200s megadrought that drove the ancient Pueblo Indians out of longtime settlements such as those at Mesa Verde, Colo. The result was a new “drought index” to help them measure the combined effects of drought and disease.

“This new drought index has the strongest correlation with combined tree growth, tree death from drought and insects, and area burned by forest fires that I have ever seen,” says co-author Thomas W. Swetnam, director of the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

By comparing the tree-ring record to climate data collected in the Southwest since the late 1800s, the scientists identified two climate variables that estimate annual southwestern tree-growth variability with exceptional accuracy: total winter precipitation and average summer-fall atmospheric evaporative demand, a measure of the overall dryness of the environment.

“Atmospheric evaporative demand is primarily driven by temperature. When air is warmer, it can hold more water vapor, thus increasing the pace at which soil and plants dry out. The air literally sucks the moisture out of the soil and plants,” says A. Park Williams of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the lead author of the paper.

These trends, the researchers noted, are already occurring in the Southwest, where temperatures generally have been increasing for the past century and are expected to continue to do so because of accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

There still will be wet winters, but increased frequency of warmer summers will put more stress on trees and limit their growth after wet winters, the study reports.

“We can use the past to learn about the future,” Williams said. “For example, satellite fire data from the past 30 years show that there has been a strong and exponential relationship between the regional tree-ring drought-stress record and the area of southwestern forests killed by wildfire each year. This suggests that if drought intensifies, we can expect forests not only to grow more slowly, but also to die more quickly.”

The study points out that very large and severe wildfires, bark-beetle outbreaks and a doubling of the proportion of dead trees in response to early 21st-century warmth and drought conditions are evidence that a transition of southwestern forest landscapes toward more open and drought-tolerant ecosystems may already be underway.

“When we look at our tree-ring record, we see this huge dip in the 1580s when all the tree rings are really tiny,” Williams said. “Following the 1500s megadrought, tree rings get wider, and there was a major boom in new trees. Nearly all trees we see in the Southwest today were established after the late-1500s drought, even though the species we evaluated can easily live longer than 400 years. So that event is a benchmark for us today. If forest drought stress exceeds late 1500 levels, we expect that a lot of trees are going to be dying.”

Sorry. I have no smartass remark to add to this. Just sucks to be us, I guess.

Source: Yahoo

Source: Yahoo

Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida countiesLATimes.com

And whilst they cry foul against others. My father – a lifelong and proud Republican – is rolling in his grave. I see members in my church – also life long and ardent supporters of the GOP, wincing and shaking their sad grey heads. Alas, imitation begets the reality.

Perhaps they thought they were “evening the score” – just in case AARP and the NAACP ran their own fraudulent voter schemes. Were I the GOP leadership, this is one maneuver I would have never imagined doing. Not only did they try to stack the voter roles with FAKE GOP voters, but they deliberately disenfranchise other voters. The question now isn’t whether Romney and the GOP will lose this November, but how badly.

Source: Yahoo

Source: Yahoo

Make no mistake – I’m about as liberal as they come (actually, truth be told, I’m a socialist). You can imagine my delight when I read today’s LA TIMES article about Paul Ryan receiving steady and sustained boos when he tried to explain his criticism of Obamacare and Medicare. Yeah baby! BOO!

“The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds,” Ryan said as the crowd in New Orleans booed audibly.

Fellow liberal and borderline socialist Ruth Baker of Palm Beach, FL told me that the audience was “absolutely hostile.”

All well and good for the 47% moochers who do not fit the statistical model: American citizens who support Obama and pay income tax. In my case, over $10,000 last year.

After describing the trouble that the Romney-Ryan ticket is having with their bungling and bad messaging, Times writers, Mascaro, Hennessey and Reston, pivot with a counterpoint from Obama who distinguishes earned entitlements from just plain old entitlements.

“Given the conversations that have been out there in the political arena lately, I want to emphasize: Medicare and Social Security are not handouts,” Obama said. “You’ve paid into these programs your whole lives. You’ve earned them. And as president, it’s my job to make sure that Medicare and Social Security remain strong for today’s seniors and for future generations.”

You can see my head nodding. Even the most ardent teapartier ought to admit that once a transaction is engaged, there is an obligation to deliver. Unless of course you suggest that the federal government should break promises to retirees and basically tell them to go screw themselves. Unfortunately for Romney-Ryan, that’s precisely what the Ruth Baker’s in the country are hearing these days.

But then then the article takes another pivot that makes my head spin.

Meanwhile, Ann Romney landed safely in California on Friday evening, hours after the 10-seat charter plane carrying her from Omaha to the West Coast filled with smoke and was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver.

What the heck does that have to do with Ryan getting booed or Obama splitting hairs on entitlements? Read the article and tell me that it doesn’t bounce a bit on the subconscious.

The message I get from the article is almost mnemonic in form: Ryan Booed, Obama Good, Romney goes down in smoke. Accidental editing? Intentional op/ed? LOL.

Geeze. No wonder the Conservatives complain about a liberal bias.