Monday, March 31, 2014

Closing the Month With Opening Day

Now that I have had a cup of coffee I can get up to the plate:

"Why do Red Sox have to play and ruin everything?" by Dan Shaughnessy | Globe staff   March 31, 2014

BALTIMORE — The Red Sox at this moment are perfect. They just completed a magical, worst-to-first championship season that made them the darlings of New England and then they followed it up with perhaps the most tranquil and happy spring training since the sport was invented.

And now they have to start playing actual games again and risk tainting everything?


When you think of the Red Sox at this moment, you think of Shane Victorino banging that ball off the top of the Wall in Game 6 against the Cardinals. You think of the loudest night in the history of the 102-year-old ballpark. You think of David Ortiz hitting .688 and Koji Uehara retiring 100 batters in a row and Xander Bogaerts stepping onto the biggest stage and playing like a 10-year veteran.


The offseason was also swell. Jacoby Ellsbury, one of the Sox’ best players, signed a whopping contract with the Yankees and the Sox were universally applauded for not being dumb enough to overpay him. Then the Yankees went out and paid $174 million for a Japanese No. 5 starter.

We had a lot of fun laughing at the desperate Bronx Bombers. They don’t win championships anymore and they don’t have a farm system and they have to spend bundles on old talent that winds up on the disabled list.

Instead of wasting all that money and losing draft picks, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington (Executive of the Year, naturally) loaded up on bullpen arms, then went out and signed a three-time All-Star center fielder for a mere $750,000. Grady Sizemore came to Fort Myers and won the center-field job, making the Sox look like geniuses again.

Cherington also took a chance on a 37-year-old catcher who has been voted “most hated player in baseball,’’ but A.J. Pierzynski has changed all of our minds. Now we all love him. It’s the Patriot Effect. You know. They come here and they become great guys.

If dispatches from Florida tell us anything, it’s that the Sox simply have too damn much pitching for this season. Ryan Dempster did everyone a favor by retiring at the beginning of spring training because the Sox already have five established starters and more big league-ready Triple A pitchers than any team in the history of the game.

Sometimes it feels as though Boston could field two teams in the American League East and earn two playoff spots, taking first place and a wild card. That’s how good the Sox look right now, and I’m not just saying that because John Henry — a funny Tweeter and probably the best owner in the game — also owns The Boston Globe.

Things are so good around this team right now that management is happy to extend contracts even when the players have no leverage. After agreeing to a two-year deal before the 2013 season, David Ortiz wanted another extension this spring so the Sox gave it to him, getting nothing in exchange other than a happy Big Papi. We hear Mo Vaughn now wants to be rewarded for his 1995 MVP season with the Red Sox.

It’s hard to even remember the old days when the Sox went 86 years without winning a World Series and all of their stars (Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Vaughn, Nomar) left town spitting nails at ownership....

We are all happy. The abstract notion always trumps a reality that is unlikely to be realized. Wait Till Next Year has become Wait Till Last Year. And Wait Till Every Year. The 2014 defending world champion Red Sox have not lost a game. They are perfect . . .

. . . . until the season starts Monday afternoon and we are reminded how hard it is to win a baseball championship.


Related: Red Sox seek younger fans via mobile technology

I'm just going to watch it on TV later. 


Things didn't go all that well for the Sawx, but my championship level play on the hardwood did. I was key to our much smaller team pulling out two lopsided wins in the first two games. Nailed a nice 15-foot jumper in traffic and then grabbed rebound of loose ball in middle of key, turned, fired, AND HIT! Second game had coast-to-coast drive for lay-up along with jumper in big guy's face who said he was going to block me. Still got manhandled under the paint a few times, but battled. Friend of mine was canning jumpers from long range again, and when he cooled off we faltered. Had 9-4 lead in third game and let it get away, and lost final game 15-13. Drained one drive to the hoop pull-up and friend said he doesn't know who I am anymore. Had some fine passes and handful of steals, too, so I actually had a good all-around game and felt lively. 

What a way to end the month!

Monday Night Raw

I've got a bit of wrestling to do myself tonight, but in the low post rather than in the squared circle:

"WWE embarks on online network" by Seth Berkman | New York Times   March 31, 2014

NEW YORK — On any list of visionary media moguls in the digital age, Vince McMahon, the professional wrestling impresario, might not immediately come to mind as a likely name.

Yet McMahon and his company, World Wrestling Entertainment, have positioned themselves on the cutting edge of Internet television with the WWE Network, a new subscription-only streaming video service. Introduced in February, the network broadcasts the pro wrestling extravaganzas that were once available only on cable and satellite television.

And April 6, when the WWE hosts its 30th WrestleMania event at the Superdome in New Orleans — featuring the “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal” — the entertainment industry and Wall Street will be watching as closely as wrestling fans.

Shares of the WWE, a publicly traded company based in Stamford, Conn., have more than tripled in the last year amid the introduction of the subscription network and takeover rumors. McMahon, 68, controls the company, and his ambitious WWE Network could be his final act in charge, industry watchers say.

“If he changed how pro wrestling and sports entertainment were broadcast forever, I don’t think there’s a better way to go out,” said Brandon Stroud, a wrestling commentator and editor at the sports site With Leather.

With viewers eschewing pricey cable packages in favor of free television on YouTube or monthly subscription services such as Netflix, McMahon decided to move where his customers are increasingly going.

His company has poured tens of millions of dollars into the WWE Network, which offers round-the-clock streaming of its programming for $10 a month. That package includes access to the WWE’s pay-per-view showcase events, which can cost up to $70.

“Owning and controlling your own platform is a sea change for us,” said George Barrios, chief strategy and financial officer at the WWE.

It was also a big change for some of the WWE’s longtime partners, who were not as excited about the new venture. Dish Network, which had sold WWE’s pay-per-view specials, decided not to offer the wrestling company’s “Elimination Chamber” event in February. On its Facebook page, Dish criticized WWE, complaining that it was not willing to adjust its costs for satellite and cable companies, “which is unfair to their customers.”

In part to placate its traditional distributors, WWE will show WrestleMania 30 via cable, satellite, and telecom providers like Comcast and Dish. But the vast majority of the wrestling company’s ads for WrestleMania 30 heavily promote the option of watching the event through its network.

“Realistically, the company needed to untether themselves from the pay-per-view business,” said Bradley Safalow, founder of PAA Research, an independent research firm.

The $10 monthly fee — higher than Netflix’s $8 monthly rate — should appeal to the WWE’s core fans, who now gain access to expensive pay-per-view events like WrestleMania. Diehard fans can watch classic matchups, like 1985’s main event from WrestleMania I, a tag-team battle featuring Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.

Michelle Wilson, chief revenue and marketing officer at the WWE, said that in addition to those key selling points, the network plans to add programming like talk shows or animated features to entice nonwrestling audiences.

Fans will eventually also get to view matches never broadcast to a national audience.


I stopped watching the agenda-pushing media prejudice and manipulation for the mindless masses fantasy decades ago.

Malaysian Airliner Reappears on Radar

Must have been a glitch.

Related: Malaysian Airliner Slips From Sight

The debris turned out to be “fishing equipment and other flotsam.” 

"Jetliner search gets more help; 10 planes, 10 ships join undertaking to scour new zone" by Kirk Semple | New York Times   March 31, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Information on the flight data and cockpit voice recorders may help investigators resolve what happened on Flight 370. Possible theories include equipment failure, a botched hijacking, terrorism, or an act by one of the pilots.

In Malaysia, more than two dozen relatives of Chinese passengers on Flight 370 arrived from China on Sunday to press Malaysian officials for more answers about the investigation.

The Malaysian government has endured withering criticism from the relatives and friends of Chinese passengers, both in Malaysia and in China, who have accused officials of withholding information about the disappearance of the plane and not doing enough to find it.

The group protested at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur and demanded an apology from the Malaysian government for declaring last week that the plane had crashed into the Indian Ocean, saying there was insufficient evidence to support that conclusion.

Government officials said later that they planned to hold a briefing for the family members that would include “high-level representatives of the Malaysian government.”

The Ocean Shield, the Australian offshore support vessel that will be carrying the ping-detecting devices, was supposed to leave Perth on Sunday, but its departure was rescheduled for Monday, officials said. The ship will also be carrying an unmanned underwater vehicle....

The value of the ping detector, in the absence of more specific information about the location of the wreckage, is questionable.

The device will be towed behind the ship at no more than about 6 miles per hour and has to be within about a mile of the black boxes to pick up the signal reliably, making for a slow and painstaking process....

They don't want to find this thing because there is nothing to be found.

Searchers, however, say there is no time to waste: The device will be ineffective once the batteries powering the black boxes die, which is expected to happen next week.

The recovery of debris from Flight 370 might not necessarily pinpoint the location of the wreckage. When debris is found quickly enough after a crash into the sea, investigators can trace its drift back to the impact site and conduct an underwater search for the black boxes. But in the case of Flight 370, any debris, if found, might well have drifted hundreds of miles since the plane’s disappearance and be of limited use in finding the crash site.

The search area was shifted after new analysis of radar data from the morning of March 8 — when Flight 370 apparently veered off its intended route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing — determined that the plane was traveling faster than previously thought and therefore would have burned fuel more quickly and possibly fallen into the Indian Ocean farther north than previously believed. 

I'm sorry; I took my eyes of the screen for a second.


"Largely flat seafloor could aid hunt for black boxes of flight" by Nick Perry | Associated Press   March 31, 2014

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Searchers will be hoping that if the latest area turns out to be where the plane crashed, the fuselage did not go down on the southern edge of Broken Ridge. That’s where the ocean floor drops precipitously — more than 2½ miles in places, according to Robin Beaman, a marine geologist at Australia’s James Cook University. It’s not a sheer cliff, more like a very steep hill that a car would struggle to drive up.

The trench’s rocky crags and crannies would make it difficult for ships using instruments such as side-scanning sonar or multibeam echo sounders to distinguish any debris from the crevices.

Searchers will especially be hoping to locate the jet’s two ‘‘black boxes,’’ which recorded sounds in the cockpit and data on the plane’s performance and flight path that could help reconstruct why it diverted sharply west from its overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing on March 8.


So what hangar is this thing hiding in, and where?

Just Another Minich Monday

I do wish it was Sunday, that's my fun day.... 

"Suit targets isolation at Bridgewater hospital; Man’s condition alleged to decline with long seclusion, use of restraints" by Michael Rezendes | Globe Staff   March 31, 2014

The mother of a 31-year-old mentally ill Brookline man who has been held at Bridgewater State Hospital for more than a year is set to file a lawsuit Monday accusing prison officials of illegally keeping her son in seclusion or strapped to a bed for days and even weeks on end, according to the mother’s lawyer.

In the lawsuit, a copy of which was reviewed by the Globe, Joanne Minich says that her son Peter’s mental health is rapidly declining because prison administrators and clinicians have kept him alone in a small cell for 6,300 hours over the last 14 months and in four-point restraints with his wrists and ankles fastened to a small bed for 815 hours — or, in total, about 70 percent of the time he has been held at Bridgewater.

If it looks like it, smells like it, and walks like it, it is TORTURE!

“Mr. Minich’s psychological condition has substantially deteriorated as a result of his prolonged isolation and placement in a correction facility,” according to the lawsuit, expected to be filed in Norfolk Superior Court. Because of this, Minich, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, experienced “increasing levels of auditory hallucinations as well as paranoid thinking,” the suit alleges.

Neither Governor Deval Patrick’s office nor the Department of Correction, which received copies of the lawsuit on Friday, would comment on the Minich complaint.

The lawsuit comes in the aftermath of an uproar over the death of Bridgewater inmate Joshua K. Messier, 23, a patient who died in 2009 while guards were placing him in four-point restraints. After the Globe published a detailed account of Messier’s death.... 

Related: A Me$$(ier) of a Front Page

Patrick spoke out against the use of seclusion and restraints with mentally ill inmates, saying that solitary confinement “should be reserved for the most exceptional situations.”

Like Justina Pelletier's? 

Happened on your watch! Another legacy!

Minich says that her son has been repeatedly confined to seclusion in a small cell behind a steel door, or placed in restraints, for minor incidents such as licking the floor, standing on a sink, putting his head in a toilet, and touching another inmate on his leg.

Her lawsuit also says that until recently, when her attorney met with Bridgewater officials, her son was deprived of sufficient reading materials, adequate clothing, and regular outdoor exercise, except for trips to a nearby hospital where he received electric shock treatment....

Peter Minich was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia more than a decade ago after graduating from Wellesley High School. Like other mentally ill men held at Bridgewater, he has never been convicted of a crime.

They mean even charged, right? 

Otherwise, my Globe misled me!

He was sent to Bridgewater for a psychiatric evaluation after assaulting a staff member in another facility — in his case, the psychiatric unit at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital — and has been held at Bridgewater for about 14 months.

In an interview with the Globe, Joanne Minich said she is filing the lawsuit to get her son released from Bridgewater — the state’s only prison for mentally ill inmates — and transferred to another facility. “I want to get him out,” she said. “He needs care, but not this kind of care.”

Peter’s father, Jan Minich, added, “We want to make sure other people aren’t treated like this.”

Joanne Minich’s attorney, Roderick MacLeish Jr., said the conditions he has found at Bridgewater while visiting Peter Minich resemble those he encountered during the 1980s, when he filed a landmark lawsuit over conditions there. After suing state officials over those conditions, MacLeish negotiated a settlement agreement to stop transferring to Bridgewater mental health patients who were not facing criminal charges. In addition to the agreement, the suit led to a Supreme Judicial Court decision that affirmed additional reforms, such as the required monitoring of inmates held in seclusion and restraints.

Nothing’s changed,” said MacLeish, an attorney with the firm Clark, Hunt, Ahern & Embry. “In a civilized society we should not be putting people with an organic brain disease in prison, and we certainly shouldn’t be locking them up behind solid steel doors and depriving them of virtually all human contact.”

How isolating.

Related: The State of Massachusetts is Mentally Ill 

Maybe it is the benevolent state leaders that should have their heads checked!

Noting that Minich’s parents are often required to visit Peter while he is standing in a cage smaller than a typical clerical work station, at times when he is wearing handcuffs and shackles, MacLeish also said the conditions at Bridgewater are “like something out of a Dickens novel.”

In 21st-century, liberal Democrat Massachusetts?

RelatedMass. bill would ban shackling of pregnant inmates in labor

Beyond Dickens!

Stuart Grassian, a Newton psychiatrist contacted by the Globe, said he could not comment on the specific accusations in the lawsuit but said that prolonged seclusion can be especially dangerous for someone diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia because it can make it more difficult for the person to tell the difference between reality and the interior voices or visions he sometimes experiences.

“Often, [the patient] is going to deteriorate to the point that he will almost inevitably become more psychotic,” said Grassian.

And that is when the pharmaceuticals get involved.

The Minich lawsuit is being filed against Department of Correction Commissioner Luis S. Spencer, Bridgewater Superintendent Robert Murphy, and MHM Services, a Virginia-based company that provides medical and mental heath services at Bridgewater....


RelatedDCF Do Over

Feels like a deja vu.

A Mother of a Post

"Mother of boy who starved to death is charged with murder" by Kevin Burbach | Associated Press   March 26, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota woman whose 13-year-old son weighed 21 pounds when he died in January has been charged with murder, authorities said Tuesday.

State Medical Examiner William Massello said Jessica Lee Jensen’s son died from chronic starvation due to untreated juvenile appetite disorder. He listed the manner of death as homicide.

Aidan Edward Bossingham’s weight was about the same as that of a young toddler when he died. His mother told investigators that Aidan had a hormonal growth problem and that his pituitary gland did not function properly, according to court documents.

Jensen, 35, of Kenmare, in northern North Dakota near the Canadian border, said her son would eat and then throw up. She said he had not seen a doctor for several years, the documents say.

She also has been charged with neglect for allegedly failing to provide proper care for her two other children — a 14-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.

The investigation began the night of Jan. 12 when authorities received a call from Jessica Jensen who, according to court documents, told the dispatcher her son had ‘‘passed on.’’

Kenmare police officer Jason Cartier arrived at the family’s house and reported that Jensen was sitting on a couch with a small child in her arms and told him, ‘‘He’s dead.’’

A nurse practitioner at Trinity Kenmare Community Hospital reported that the child looked to be 2 or 3 years old, the documents say.

Jensen told investigators that she could not recall the last time the boy had seen a doctor.


"Treatment for mom accused of driving kids in ocean" by Kyle Hightower | Associated Press   March 26, 2014

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A pregnant South Carolina woman charged with attempted murder after she drove her car into the ocean with her three children inside will be allowed to receive in-hospital psychiatric care until a doctor says she is fit to return to jail, according to an agreement announced Tuesday.

Ebony Wilkerson, 32, earlier this month drove her minivan into the surf off Daytona Beach, Fla., and bystanders and officers helped pull her and her children — ages 3, 9, and 10 — from inside as it was almost submerged. According to a charging affidavit, one of her children told detectives that ‘‘Mom tried to kill us.’’

Wilkerson’s hospital treatment started about two weeks ago and includes group therapy sessions, said her public defender, Jim Purdy. She had been in isolation, but now will be allowed the recreational exercise time. ‘‘Now she can at least have some contact with other people,’’ Purdy said....


Related: Exorcising These Florida Clippings

Also seeJust Another Minich Monday

More Monday Muck

I'm unstuck due to the shallow coverage:

The slide was one of the deadliest in US history

RelatedMonday Morning Deja Vu

Sliding Away From the Boston Globe Muck 

Also seeRain soaks streets, floods tunnel ramp

Came down pretty hard here last night, and the ground is still soft and soggy. 

Meanwhile, the month is going out like the lion that it arrived.

"Scientists cite danger posed by Calif. fault" Associated Press   March 31, 2014

LA HABRA, Calif. — Scientists say a bigger earthquake along the lesser-known fault that gave Southern California a moderate shake Friday could do more damage to the region than the long-dreaded ‘‘Big One’’ from the more famous San Andreas Fault.

They getting the HAARP ready to drive the media away from the collapsing economy and war agenda?

The Puente Hills thrust fault, which generated Friday night’s magnitude-5.1 quake centered in La Habra and well more than 100 aftershocks by Sunday, stretches from northern Orange County under downtown Los Angeles into Hollywood — a heavily populated swath of the Los Angeles area.

Has a biblical feel to it, doesn't it? 

Keep the teem in mind for later.

A magnitude-7.5 earthquake along that fault could prove more catastrophic than one along the San Andreas, which runs along the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California, seismologists said.

The US Geological Survey estimates that such a quake along the Puente Hills fault could kill 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage. In contrast, a larger magnitude 8 quake along the San Andreas would cause an estimated 1,800 deaths.

In 1987, the Puente Hills fault caused the Whittier Narrows earthquake. Still considered moderate at magnitude 5.9, that quake killed eight people and did more than $350 million in damage.

Part of the problem with the potential damage is that the fault runs near so many vulnerable older buildings made of concrete in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood. And because the fault, discovered in 1999, is horizontal, heavy reverberations are likely to be felt over a wide area.

In Yellowstone National Park on Sunday, a 4.8 earthquake shook the northern part of the park, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of damage.


The link to fracking not mentioned, nor was the alleged drought California is suffering. 

See if you can notice the odd omission in this $pew:

"Global warming dials up risks, UN says; Water availability, diseases, peace at stake, report says" by Seth Borenstein | Associated Press   March 31, 2014

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Global warming is driving humanity toward a whole new level of many risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the wild climate ride has only just begun.

You know what I'm thinking, right?

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” Rajendra Pachauri, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman, said in a Monday news conference.

Or the 300 tons of radiated water being dumped into the Pacific every single day.

Twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the United States, droughts in Australia, and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand, and Pakistan highlight how vulnerable humanity is to extreme weather, says a massive new report from a Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists released early Monday. The dangers are going to worsen as the climate changes more, the report’s authors said.

These fart-mi$ting f***ers don't when to stop spewing!

“We’re all sitting ducks,” Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the main authors of the 32-volume report, said in an interview.

After several days of late-night wrangling, more than 100 governments unanimously approved the scientist-written 49-page summary, which is aimed at world political leaders. The summary mentions the word ‘‘risk’’ an average of 5½ times per page.

“Changes are occurring rapidly and they are sort of building up that risk,” said the overall lead author of the report, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California. These risks are both big and small, according to the report. They are now and in the future. They hit farmers and big cities. Some places will have too much water, some not enough, including drinking water.

Other risks mentioned in the report involve the price and availability of food, and to a lesser and more qualified extent some diseases, financial costs, and even world peace.

I am feeling a little conflicted by this totally reedited and rewritten focus.

“Things are worse than we had predicted” in 2007, when the group of scientists last issued this type of report, said report co-author Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University in Bangladesh. ‘‘We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated.’’

That's shameless, hey. 

Also see: Inspecting These Items From Bangladesh 

More of an immediate risk to life, but you know....

The problems have become so pronounced that the panel added a new and dangerous level of risks. In 2007, the biggest risk level in one key summary graphic was “high” and colored blazing red. The latest report adds a new level, “very high,” and colors it deep purple.

Brown is the color for bullshit alerts, and the thing is flashing now.

You might as well call it a “horrible” risk level, said report co-author Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “The horrible is something quite likely, and we won’t be able to do anything about it,” he said.

The report predicts that the highest level of risk would first hit plants and animals, both on land and the acidifying oceans.

Climate change will worsen problems such as poverty, sickness, violence, and refugees, according to the report. And on the other end, it will act as a brake slowing down the benefits of a modernizing society, such as regular economic growth and more efficient crop production, it says.

“In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans,” the report says.

If society doesn’t change, the future looks even worse, it says: “Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.”

While the problems from global warming will hit everyone in some way, the magnitude of the harm won’t be equal, coming down harder on people who can least afford it, the report says. It will increase the gaps between the rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, and men and women, van Aalst said.

How much wider can they get, especially when the Wall Street designed carbon tax credits come into play? 

This is ALL ABOUT BLAMING the WEATHER for the wealth inequality and economic woes -- while getting you to fork over more money to $ave certain intere$ts!

But the report’s authors say this is not a modern-day version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

 I told you to keep the biblical references in mind. 

What a piece of $hit propaganda I'm reading!

Much of what they warn of are more nuanced troubles that grow by degrees and worsen other societal ills.


Just wondering why the article needs to obfuscated by the fart mist of censorship:

"Warmer temperatures can lead to warmer tempers, UN report to say" Seth Borenstein, Associated Press

YOKOHAMA, Japan -- In an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees.


Now the war-makers and mouthpiece media are trying to tell us it is nonexistent global warming that is CAUSING WARS! 

Yeah, it certainly isn't lying governments and their enablers in the propaganda pre$$! 

I gotta get out of this Globe mud that smells shit!

They’re not saying it will cause violence, but will be an added factor making things even more dangerous.

Has the war-promoting whoreporate ma$$ media have no shame, or is that why this artifice was quickly rewritten?! 

Jumping the shark with this crazy connection a real SBD, huh?

Fights over resources, like water and energy, hunger and extreme weather will all go into the mix to destabilize the world a bit more, says the report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Like they never have before even in good weather? 


The summary of the report is being finalized this weekend by the panel in Yokohama.

Where is it being finalized??

That’s a big change from seven years ago, the last time the IPCC addressed how warming affected Earth, said report lead author Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution of Science in California. The summary that political leaders read in early 2007 didn’t mention security issues will, he said, because of advances in research.

“There’s enough smoke there that we really need to pay attention to this,” said Ohio University security and environment professor Geoff Dabelko, one of the lead authors of the report’s chapter on security and climate change.


For the past seven years, research in social science has found more links between climate and conflict, study authors say, with the full report referencing hundreds of studies on climate change and conflict.


The U.S. Defence Department earlier this month in its once-every-four-years strategic review, called climate change a “threat multiplier” to go with poverty, political instability and social tensions worldwide. Warming will trigger new problems but also provide countries new opportunities for resources and shipping routes in places such as the melting Arctic, the Pentagon report says.

Only a problem when it is Russia doing the drilling.

After the climate panel’s 2007 report, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote that along with other causes, the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan “began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change. ”

I suppose post-nasal drip is next to be blamed. Strange how Sudan has been mostly absent my news pages lately -- until now.

While the IPCC report this year downplays global warming’s role in that particular strife, saying other issues were far more influential, the report’s drafts do add that there is “justifiable common concern” that climate change increases the risk of fighting in similar circumstances.

Like war-mongering governments and mouthpiece media liars.

“Climate change will not directly cause conflictbut it will exacerbate issues of poor governance, resource inequality and social unrest,” retired U.S. Navy Adm. David Titley, now a Pennsylvania State University professor of meteorology, wrote in an email. “The Arab Spring and Syria are two recent examples.”

Snow in Syria this winter one, too? 

Never mind that we know know all the Arab Spring uprisings were/are CIA driven and AmeriKa being hotter than hell.

But Mr. Titley, who wasn’t part of the IPCC report, says “if you are already living in a place affected by violent conflict — I suspect climate change becomes the least of your worries.”

Right. More worried about the depleted uranium causing horrifying birth defects.

That illustrates the tricky calculus of climate and conflict, experts say.

Something $WINDLERS must do!

It’s hard to point at violence and draw a direct climate link — to say how much blame goes to warming and how much is from more traditional factors like poverty and ethnic differences. Then looking into future is even more difficult.

Is that why the "terrorists" are Arab Muslims from the desert?

“If you think it’s hard to predict rainfall in one spot 100 years from now, it’s even harder to predict social stability,” said Jeff Severinghaus, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography who isn’t part of this climate panel. “Obviously that’s going to be controversial. The most important thing is that it’s going to be talked about.”

And laughed at! 

Maybe it won't be talked about judging how fast it was rewritten.

Severinghaus and other scientists say this will be one of the more contentious issues as the panel representing more than 100 nations meets here and edits word-by-word a 30-page summary of the multi-volume report for political leaders.

Print copy ends.

Observers said the closed door meeting went through the security and climate section Sunday, in the hurried last hours of editing.

So it's a piece of agenda-pushing slop?

There’s an entire 63-page chapter on security problems, but most leaders will read the handful of paragraphs summarizing that and that’s where there may be some issues, he says.

The chapter on national security says there is “robust evidence” that “human security will be progressively threatened as climate changes.” It says it can destabilize the world in multiple ways by making it harder for people to make a living, increasing mass migrations, and making it harder for countries to keep control of their populations.

Bankers can do the same thing!

The migration issue is big because as refugees flee storms and other climate problems, that adds to security issues, the report and scientists say.

Yeah, those ship singings of refugees fleeing AmeriKan-fomented conflict occasionally make the papers.

While some climate scientists, environmental groups and politicians see the conflict-climate link as logical and clear, others emphasize nuances in research.

The social science literature has shown an indirect link, especially with making poverty worse, which will add to destabilization, but it is not the same as saying there would be climate wars, said University of Exeter’s Neil Adger, one of the study’s lead authors. It’s not exactly the four horsemen of the apocalypse, he adds.

There is that biblical reference again, but not in capitals. 

I see a link with war profiteers' profits, how about you?

Joshua Goldstein, an international relations professor and expert on conflict at the University of Massachusetts, sees that link, but says it is probably weaker than people think. It’s not as a big a problem as other impacts from climate change, like those on ecosystems, weather disasters and economic costs, he says.

And it certainly wouldn't be making Israel behave the way it does, right?

Poverty is the issue when it comes to security problems — and policies to fight climate change increase poverty, says David Kreutzer at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

But environmental groups such as the Environmental Justice Foundation are issuing reports that dovetail with what the IPCC is saying.

It doesn't matter if the propagandists are all singing in uni$on.

Titley, the retired admiral, holds out hope that if nations deal with climate change jointly, it can bring peace instead of war to battling regions.

Not to me!


I guess you can die like an eagle or fry like an eagle, folks. We just won't talk about it.

I tried to build a seawall against such fart-mi$t, but....

"After Hurricane Sandy, officials consider artificial islands" by Wayne Parry | Associated Press   March 30, 2014

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — A string of artificial islands off the coast of New Jersey and New York could blunt the impact of storm surges that proved so deadly during Hurricane Sandy, according to a proposal vying for attention and funding as the region continues its recovery.

It’s a big proposal that would cost $10 billion to $12 billion. But it’s also the kind of innovative idea that federal officials requested as they consider how best to protect the heavily populated region from storms.

‘‘We’ve discussed this with the governor’s office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Department of Environmental Protection, and they all look at me like, ‘Whoa! This is a big deal!’ ” said Alan Blumberg, a professor at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. ‘‘Yes, it is a big deal. It can save lives and protect property.’’

The ‘‘Blue Dunes’’ proposal is part of Rebuild By Design, a competition sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to come up with novel ways to protect against the next big storm.

Related: Sandy Anniversary

It is one of 10 projects that will be evaluated and voted on this week, but there’s no guarantee any of them will receive funding. Other ideas include building sea walls around cities, reestablishing oyster colonies in tidal flats to blunt wave action, and creating water-absorbent nature and recreational preserves.

The artificial islands plan was created by Stevens Institute, along with the WXY architectural firm and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. It is designed to blunt the worst effect of Sandy: the storm surge that pounded the coast. From Maryland to New Hampshire, the storm was blamed for 159 deaths, and New Jersey and New York claimed nearly $79 billion in damage.

‘‘How do you protect New Jersey and New York at the same time from the storm of the future?’’ Blumberg asked. ‘‘Our idea is to build a chain of islands, like a long, slender banana. The wave action and storm surge will reflect off these islands and go back out to sea rather than hitting the coast. Barnegat Bay would not be pounded, nor would lower Manhattan or Hoboken.’’

The islands 10 to 12 miles off the coast would be uninhabited, though day trips for surfing or fishing might be allowed, Blumberg said. They would be built by pumping sand atop some hard base made of rock, concrete or other material, he said.

Don't you get mud when you mix sand and water?

Steve Sandberg, a spokesman for US Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, said funding for at least some of the proposals is already available as part of the $60 billion in Sandy aid that Congress passed last year. Other money could come from disaster recovery grants as well as public and private-sector funding, according to the Rebuild by Design website.

A gap would be left between the New York and New Jersey island groups, mainly to allow water from the Hudson River to flow out into the ocean.


Surfers aren’t stoked by the idea. ‘‘This would forever change the Jersey shore,’’ said John Weber of the Surfrider Foundation. ‘‘Bayfronts are very different from oceanfronts, and this would change oceanfronts into bayfronts. People that spent all that money to live on the ocean would be facing something very different. And this does nothing to address rising sea levels; we’ll still have homes that will still get flooded due to rising sea levels.’’


See: The Rising Level of Bulls***  

I would have thought surfers would know better. 

George Kasimos founded the Stop Fema Now grassroots campaign against higher flood insurance rates after his Toms River home was flooded during Sandy. He welcomed the attention on coastal prevention but said the money would be better spent on building or strengthening dunes along the existing shoreline.

Related: Markey's Herbalife Mi$chief 

You have to let the tide go out first.

They are months behind on the sand replacement, so....

‘‘Anything to help protect our coast,’’ he said. ‘‘All we need to do is build a proper dunes system, sea gates, and sea walls. It seems like $10 billion to build something 12 miles out is overkill. Typical government overkill.’’

Blumberg acknowledged the obstacles but also said computer modeling has shown.....

It didn't help me win the college basketball pool, so.... pfft!


And just off the coast: Going Green

Last Monday in March

And soon all the post titles will be submerged.

"Rulings needn’t be popular, Alito says" | Associated Press   February 04, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The US Supreme Court should never concern itself with popularity and must remain above the fray when there is strong public reaction to its rulings, Justice Samuel Alito said Monday in a luncheon speech.

‘‘It’s fine if we are not all that popular,’’ Alito told an audience of more than 1,100 lawyers and business people. ‘‘There is a reason why the Constitution gives federal judges life tenure. We are supposed to do our jobs without worrying whether our decisions are pleasing to anybody.’’

These are very odd comments when there is a document he swore to uphold that defines such things, popularity not withstanding.

Alito spoke to a joint meeting of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Bar Association, drawing the largest audience ever for such an event, organizers said.

His staff did not permit the speech to be recorded, and Alito noted that the justices remain somewhat behind the times in terms of using such common technologies as e-mail. ‘‘We are an old-fashioned institution, and in my opinion that is a good thing,’’ he said.

And in a speech at Yale University in New Haven on Monday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up poor in the Bronx, described how she navigated the new worlds of Ivy League universities and the nation’s highest court. She said she has a competitive drive to improve herself and is not afraid to ask questions.

Sotomayor, the first Hispanic on the US Supreme Court, attended Princeton and Yale Law School. She joined the court in 2009.

Alito, nominated by President George W. Bush, took his seat in early 2006. He is generally considered part of the nine-member court’s conservative wing, but he cautioned his audience to beware of labels.


Issues of public concern here:

"Justices weigh securities fraud case change" by Sam Hananel | Associated Press   March 06, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed open to the possibility of making it harder for investors to join together to sue corporations for securities fraud — but maybe not as hard as companies that have to defend such lawsuits would prefer. 

It's a corporate government, and it sadly applies to all three branches.

Any change in the standard for green-lighting class-action lawsuits could have a chilling effect on shareholders who bring the cases, which have generated an estimated $73 billion in settlements since 1997. Investor groups say class actions help curb corporate abuse and market fraud, while opponents contend they extort money from companies and create a windfall for plaintiff’s lawyers.

During arguments in a closely watched case against Halliburton Co., most justices appeared unwilling to completely overturn a quarter-century-old decision that has helped investors launch class-action cases based on the effect misleading statements have on a company’s stock price. But other justices suggested a middle ground that would force investors to show earlier in a case that the alleged fraud actually caused a stock’s price to drop.

Halliburton is trying to block a class-action lawsuit claiming the energy services company misrepresented revenues, understated its liability in asbestos litigation, and overstated the benefits of a merger.

The justices are expected to make a ruling before summer.


Looking like an unpopular decision to me, and it was buried deep in the bottom of the business section. 

Time to go higher:

"Court rules for airline in defamation claim" Associated Press   January 28, 2014

WASHINGTON — Ruling that airlines have broad immunity from lawsuits under a post-9/11 security law, the Supreme Court on Monday threw out a $1.4 million defamation judgment awarded to a pilot who was reported by his employer as mentally unstable and potentially armed.

The court was unanimous in holding that a law aimed at encouraging reports of possible security threats to the Transportation Security Administration shields airlines from defamation claims when the reports are substantially true....

In other matters Monday:

■ The Supreme Court ruled that a dealer convicted of selling drugs to someone who dies from an overdose may not be sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison without proof that the death resulted from the use of the drugs.

How much proof do you need?

■ The high court said steelworkers do not have to be paid for time they spend putting on and taking off protective gear they wear on the job.

I'm sure workers were happy to $ee that.

■ The court declined to reverse the conviction of former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy on bribery and fraud charges.

Will wonders never cea$e?


Time to get my feet back on the ground:

"Land ruling could cost US $100m" | Associated Press   March 11, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a Wyoming property owner in a dispute over a bicycle trail that follows the route of an abandoned railroad. The decision could force the government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate landowners.

You wanna $hare the burden? Start peddling

The government, in this case, is taxpayers!

The justices ruled, 8 to 1, Monday that the trail once was the path of a railroad and is among thousands of miles of abandoned railroads that have been converted to recreational trails.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the government was wrong to assert that it owns the trail.

The government says it faces compensation claims involving 10,000 properties in 30 states, possibly topping $100 million.

These decisions surely are unpopular, and I'm $tarting to wonder if they are tainted by unconstitutionality.

In a separate matter Monday, the justices declined to wade into a dispute between the Episcopal Church and a conservative congregation that left the denomination in a rift over homosexuality and other issues....

No one wants to get in the middle of that.


I'm having trouble breathing:

"Court to hear case on using permits to cut emissions; Industry, states challenge EPA right to set rules" by Mark Sherman | Associated Press   February 24, 2014

WASHINGTON — Industry groups and Republican-led states are heading an attack at the Supreme Court against the Obama administration’s sole means of trying to limit emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

Related: Rain soaks streets, floods tunnel ramp

And they just closed the hospital.

As President Obama pledges to act on environmental and other matters when Congress does not, or will not, opponents of regulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases cast the rule as a power grab of historic proportions.

It's a ca$h grab.

The court will hear arguments Monday, but a court ruling against the EPA almost undoubtedly would be used to challenge every step of the agency’s effort to deal with climate change, said Jacob Hollinger, a partner with the McDermott Will and Emery law firm in New York and a former EPA lawyer....

Then like Obummercare, the court will support.

Republicans have objected strenuously to the administration’s decision to push ahead with the regulations after Congress failed to pass climate legislation, and after the administration of President George W. Bush resisted such steps. Both sides agree that it would have been better to deal with climate change through legislation than regulation....

Monday’s case, for which the court has expanded argument time to 90 minutes from the usual 60, stems from the high court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the agency has the authority under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles.

Two years later, with Obama in office, the EPA concluded that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases endangered human health and welfare.

The administration used that finding to extend its regulatory reach beyond automobiles and develop standards for large stationary sources. Of those, electric plants are the largest source of emissions.

The administration has proposed first-time national standards for new power plants and expects to propose regulations for existing plants this summer. It will then move on to other large stationary sources such as factories.

In the meantime, the only way the EPA can compel companies to address global warming pollution is through a permitting program that requires them to analyze the best available technologies to reduce carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas.

The utility industry, the US Chamber of Commerce, and 13 states led by Texas are asking the court to rule that the EPA overstepped its authority by trying to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the permitting program.

The EPA’s actions ‘‘represent one of the boldest seizures of legislative authority by an executive agency in history,’’ Peter Keisler, representing the American Chemistry Council among two dozen manufacturing and industry groups that want the court to throw out the rule, said in court papers.

When the Supreme Court considered the appeals in October, the justices declined requests to consider overruling the court’s 2007 decision, review the EPA’s conclusion about the health effects of emissions, or question limits on vehicle emissions.

Instead, the court focused on the permitting program, which the EPA has said it would apply for the time being only to the largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

The more narrow question framed by the court has led environmental advocates to minimize the case’s significance.... 

I was told above ‘‘It would be an important victory in a political sense and, potentially, a practical sense.’’

In addition to environmental groups, New York, California, Illinois, and a dozen other states are supporting the administration.

Also in support of the regulation is Calpine Corp., which operates natural gas and geothermal power plants around the nation....

Looking at the same program, the US Chamber of Commerce said it ‘‘may be the costliest, most intrusive regulatory program the nation has yet seen.’’

Not the IRS?


RelatedSupreme Court tangles over EPA authority

It takes two to tangle:

"‘Revenge porn’ victims pursue new laws, but ACLU urges caution" by Anne Flaherty | Associated Press   November 16, 2013

WASHINGTON — Annmarie Chiarini’s long-distance boyfriend was goading her to pose nude. The pictures would be for his eyes only, Chiarini recalls him saying, because she was so beautiful and because he missed her so much. He promised, she said, they would be stored on a compact disc and hidden in his drawer.

Chiarini believed him — until they broke up and the CD was auctioned on eBay with a link e-mailed to her friends and family. Copies were later mailed to her son’s Catholic school kindergarten teacher and the department head at the college where Chiarini taught English. The images eventually wound up on a pornographic video-sharing site, earning 4,000 views in less than two weeks.

‘‘I was horrified,’’ said the 42-year-old single mom living in Towson, Md. ‘‘The night he said he was going to do it, I called the police in an absolute panic and tried to explain what was going on. I said, ‘He’s threatening to put these pictures of me on an eBay auction,’ and they [said], ‘So?’ ’’

It’s called ‘‘revenge porn,’’ and it is legal in every state but California and New Jersey. A person shares a sexually explicit photo or video with a partner, only to see those images pop up online months or even years later, typically after a bad breakup. The images are often tied to the person’s name, address, and phone number. And in a particularly disturbing twist, some of the sites appear to be running side businesses offering ‘‘reputation protection services’’: Dump $500 into a PayPal account, and maybe they will take down your photo.

Hmmm! Who benefits?

Good thing all I have time for is this shitty blog.

An increasing number of states, including Maryland, Wisconsin, and New York, are considering whether to make it illegal to post any sexually explicit image online without that person’s permission. But groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation say they worry such proposals run afoul of the First Amendment.

‘‘We generally don’t think that finding more ways to put people in prison for speech is a good thing,’’ said Adi Kamdar, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. ‘‘A lot of times, these laws — if they aren’t narrowly focused enough — they can be interpreted too broadly.’’

Maryland Delegate Jon Cardin, who is running for the Democratic nomination to become state attorney general, is among the latest of several state legislators to propose a new revenge porn law. His proposal would make it a felony to intentionally distribute sexually explicit digital images of another person without consent, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $25,000 fine.

The bill would exclude images deemed to have ‘‘public importance’’ — an exemption carved out in response to critics who say such laws would criminalize the publishing of explicit photos by journalists. The legislation also wouldn’t hold liable anyone who links to a revenge posting.

See: Propagandists to be Protected

Still absent from Cardin’s list of vocal supporters is the ACLU. Its California office worked this fall to dilute similar legislation. That bill, signed last month by Governor Jerry Brown, makes revenge porn a misdemeanor but contains a big loophole: It applies only to images captured by the partner, exempting self-portraits.

Holly Jacobs, a Florida woman who founded after her own self-shots wound up online — along with her name, where she worked, and details on her doctoral program — says attempts to exempt ‘‘selfies’’ from the law shows that most people still ‘‘blame the victim.’’ She estimates that 80 percent of the 1,000 victims of revenge porn who have contacted her in the past year took the images themselves.


I don't want to look anymore:

"Court weighs child porn restitution" by Mark Sherman | Associated Press   January 23, 2014

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices expressed compassion for a woman raped as a child as they struggled with how much money should be paid to her by one man convicted of possessing pornographic images of the abuse that have spread among thousands of online viewers.

Do I even have to type my comment?

The woman known as ‘‘Amy’’ was in the courtroom, her legal team said, for arguments in which the justices talked frankly about the abuse she and other victims of child pornography suffer from those who look at the pictures.

‘‘The woman has undergone serious psychiatric harm because of her knowledge that there are thousands of people out there viewing her rape,’’ Justice Antonin Scalia said early in the hourlong arguments.

Yet the court seemed to wrestle with determining how much restitution for counseling, lost income, and legal fees any single defendant should be asked to pay....

SeeSupreme Court to consider rape victim restitution

‘‘He’s guilty of the crime, but to sock him with all of her psychiatric costs and everything else because he had two pictures of her. Congress couldn’t have intended that,’’ Scalia said in an exchange with Amy’s lawyer, Paul Cassell.

Several other justices also said they were troubled by the apparent lack of a link between the crime and the restitution order....

When Congress wrote the 1994 law giving victims of child pornography and other sexual crimes the right to collect restitution from people convicted of the crimes, it meant to make it easy for the victim to collect, Cassell said.

The idea, he said, is that courts could hold everyone responsible for the total amount. Most people, including Paroline, could afford only a small portion, but a few wealthier defendants might be able to pay the bulk of the judgment.

‘‘We’re not asking for double recovery. Amy simply wants to be made whole. She wants to recover her psychological counseling costs and her losses,’’ Cassell said.

She has so far received more than $1.75 million, Cassell said.

That would make me whole for the rest of my life.


Also see: Child pornography trader pays restitution to victim

Sorry, I had enough sex yesterday and as for restitution, the lover is not listening, and maybe it is their IQ that should be questioned as well as their heart

Unfortunately, politics is no longer a hobby with me.

See you this summer!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Globe Special: Taliban Cast Vote In Afghanistan

It is a veto.... 

"Afghan vote in doubt as international observers flee" by Rod Nordland and Matthew Rosenberg | New York Times   March 30, 2014

KABUL — Usually, an Afghan election — a $100 million, Western-funded exercise — draws foreigners to Kabul like flies to honey, with incoming flights full of consultants, international monitors, diplomats, and journalists.

That's how I'm seeing them, yeah.

Not this time. Now, it is the flights out that are full, and the incoming planes are half empty. With the possible exception of journalists, foreigners have been leaving Afghanistan like never before during an election period after attacks on foreign targets and the commission running the vote.

An attack on the offices of the Independent Election Commission went on all Saturday afternoon, with staff members hiding in armored bunkers and safe rooms while five insurgents fired rockets and small arms at the commission’s compound, having sneaked into a building nearby disguised in burqas.

There were no reported casualties among the election staff, but flights to Kabul were diverted because the airport was shut down for most of the afternoon, said its director, Mohammad Yaqoub Rasooli.

Even before the attack Saturday, many international election monitors had drastically curtailed their activities or made plans to evacuate their foreign employees, potentially raising serious questions about the validity of the election.

I never had any; I know they will be invalid before they even happen.

The National Democratic Institute, a mainstay of previous Afghan elections, sent many of its foreign monitors, including Americans, home after a recent attack on the Serena Hotel, where they were staying. Some staff members remain here.

As if AmeriKa conducts clean elections and not rig jobs.

Ahmad Nader Nadery, chairman of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, said that another major monitor, Democracy International, had decided to cease its activities altogether. But a Democracy International official said the group had merely reduced its presence because of security concerns....

Elections that are relatively free and fair have been a minimum requirement for international donors, and many countries have made it clear that without them, they will not continue sending aid to Afghanistan at current levels.

Get's 'em off the hook in this age of au$terity as the West abandons Afghanistan once again.

Since the campaign began in January, insurgents have vowed to disrupt it. They have not attacked any of the 11 presidential candidates, who are heavily guarded. 


Instead, they have carried out attacks on foreigners, mostly considered soft targets, as well as two high-profile attacks on election-related facilities....

The commission’s main compound “is in total lockdown, and we have moved our staff to bunkers and safe houses,” a spokesman, Noor Ahmad Noor, said Saturday. “None of the insurgents have managed to breach our security and enter.”

They weren't supposed to be able to get into Kabul, either.


UN officials said they planned to keep a full complement of election experts and technicians in Afghanistan, though many other UN agencies here were operating with reduced staffs.



"Taliban attack election offices to derail presidential vote" by Azam Ahmed | New York Times   March 26, 2014

KABUL — A Taliban assault team turned election offices in eastern Kabul into a scene of carnage Tuesday....

Even as the attack was unfolding, the Taliban claimed responsibility, reemphasizing their campaign to disrupt the April 5 election....

After months of relative calm, Kabul has again been the scene of troubling attacks in recent weeks, stirring unease among Afghan and international officials here and raising questions about security for an election seen as critical to the country’s stability after the Western military pullout by year’s end.

I suppose the dead and maimed is all relative.

Officials hope the Taliban’s campaign of violence will not be enough to intimidate voters from taking part in the high-stakes election. With three main contenders vying for the presidency, observers hope turnout will be higher than for the 2009 election, when most expected Hamid Karzai to win and widespread violence kept many from voting.

Nothing about the electoral fraud?



A nation shaped by war — and US money

And look at the shape it is in!

"By many measures, Afghanistan has made great gains over the last 13 years. There are more schools, more healthy women and children, more roads, more banks, more businesses, more media outlets, more soldiers and police — more everything. The one thing still missing, however, is a functioning democracy.... the real dark horse in the race is the potential for violence."

More dead bodies.

"Afghan authorities are under pressure to prevent fraud from discrediting the credibility of the upcoming vote. There were widespread allegations of ballot stuffing and vote rigging five years ago. The new leader will guide the country after international combat troops withdraw by the end of this year, leaving the country’s security to the Afghan government. Karzai has refused to sign a security agreement with the United States that would allow thousands of foreign forces to stay in the country in a largely training and advisory role."

One guy running is "a well-known academic and former World Bank employee."

Also seeSaying Goodbye to Karzai

They can't keep him?

Afghans Are Not Arabs

"Afghans celebrat[e] the Persian New Year."

You Amurkns didn't know that, did you?

Time to move on:

"Taliban strikes kill 11 people as insurgents target 2 Afghan sites; Militants staging audacious attacks ahead of elections" by Amir Shah | Associated Press   March 21, 2014

KABUL — Four gunmen with pistols stuffed into their socks attacked a luxury hotel frequented by foreigners in Afghanistan’s capital Thursday, just hours after militants killed 11 people in an audacious assault on a police station in eastern Afghanistan.

All the assailants were killed in both standoffs, but made their point: Afghan forces face a huge challenge in securing upcoming elections in what will be a major test of their abilities as foreign troops wind down their combat mission at the end of this year.

Then AmeriKa and NATO will just have to keep troops, qui bono?

The attacks show the Taliban are following through on their threat to use violence to disrupt the April 5 vote, which will be the first democratic transfer of power since the 2001 US-led invasion that ousted the Islamist militant movement. President Hamid Karzai is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.

See: Saying Goodbye to Karzai

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault on the Serena hotel and the earlier attack in Jalalabad, an economic hub near the border with Pakistan.

‘‘Our people, if they decide to attack any place, they can do it,’’ he said.

The violence began before dawn Thursday....

Not a Happy New Year celebration for some.


"Journalist, family among 9 killed in attack at Kabul hotel" by Kim Gamel | Associated Press   March 22, 2014

KABUL — The luxury hotel was considered one of the safest spots in the Afghan capital. Yet four gunmen walked in, proceeded to the restaurant and pulled out pistols hidden in their shoes. They killed nine people, including an Agence France-Presse journalist, his wife, and two of their children, who were shot in the head.

The Taliban boasted that the bold assault Thursday night shows they can strike anywhere, and Afghan officials issued a string of conflicting statements as they scrambled to explain how the attackers penetrated the Serena Hotel’s tight security.

Already stinks to high heaven of a false flag!

It was a major embarrassment to government security forces less than two weeks before the April 5 national elections, and follows an increase in bombings and shootings targeting foreigners in the capital, which had been relatively rare.

I find that is secondary to the dead bodies, but....

A Swedish journalist was shot earlier this month and a Lebanese restaurant popular with foreigners was attacked by a suicide bomber and gunmen in January.

The attack in the Serena was particularly brazen because it was considered one of the best-protected sites for civilians in Kabul.

Sheltered behind a nondescript wall, the hotel requires entrants to pass through a security room at the gate where they are patted down and go through a metal detector as bags are put through an X-ray machine and sometimes searched.

The attackers hid small pistols and ammunition in their shoes and socks, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told reporters, but he could not say how the weapons went undetected. The hotel security has been known in the past not always to act when the metal detector beeps.

What crap!

Café Zarnegar was packed with foreigners as well as Afghans celebrating the eve of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. The hotel is popular among foreign aid workers, journalists, contractors, and diplomats who often come for brunch or dinner.

The dead included five Afghans, two Canadians, an American, and a Paraguayan. Six people were wounded, including a child, a foreigner, two police officers, a hotel guard, and an Afghan lawmaker.

A US official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that an American citizen was killed in the attack. The victim has not been identified.

Officials have changed their story several times since the attack began to unfold. They later attributed the confusion to the chaos and the need to protect the hotel guests.

What is known is....


"Foreign agency blamed in Afghanistan hotel attack" | Associated Press   March 24, 2014

KABUL — The Afghan president’s office said its spy agency believes a foreign intelligence service, not the country’s main militant groups, was behind the attack on a Kabul hotel last week that killed nine people, including two children and four foreigners....

I'm thinking CIA agents or assets!

It did not specify which country was purportedly responsible for the assault, but Afghanistan routinely accuses Pakistan of sending militants across the border to wage attacks. Pakistan did not comment on the allegations.

Afghanistan’s National Security Council was also told that a Pakistani diplomat was spotted filming inside the Serena Hotel ‘‘a while ago,’’ seeming to suggest that the incident was connected to Friday’s horrific assault in which four gunmen, their small pistols hidden in their shoes, slipped passed the hotel security.


Once inside the hotel, they opened fire in a restaurant.

A senior reporter of Agence France-Presse, Sardar Ahmad, died in the rampage along with his wife and two young children. Two Canadians, an American, a Paraguayan, and a fifth Afghan were also among the dead. The American has not been publicly identified. Sardar and his family were buried Sunday.


"Taliban militants attack charity and day-care center" | Associated Press   March 29, 2014

KABUL — Taliban militants attacked the residence of an American charity and a nearby day-care center Friday in Kabul, sending foreigners — including women and children — fleeing while Afghan security forces battled the gunmen holed up in the building....

An uptick in bold attacks on foreigners in the Afghan capital suggests the Taliban are shifting tactics to focus on civilian targets that are not as heavily protected as military and government installations, as part of an overall surge in violence ahead of April 5 elections.

Why would they do that when they were winning the public opinion war? 


It also appears aimed at sending a message that the United States and its allies aren’t wanted as the Obama administration presses the Afghan government to sign a security agreement that would allow thousands of international troops to stay after the NATO-mandated combat mission ends in December.

At the SAME TIME SENDING the MESSAGE that they are NEEDED?

The assault Friday evening began in a way typical for the Taliban, which claimed responsibility in a statement....

Why would I believe a lying, war-promoting paper after decades of deceptions?


Sunday Globe Special: DCF Do Over

They screwed up the first injection?

"Social workers also have started gathering more information about what happens to substance-exposed newborns after they get home in an attempt to provide better services, which Gail Garinger, head of the state’s Office of the Child Advocate, called a good start."

The most innocent that must be sacrificed upon the altar of black budget profits for money-laundering banks.

"Cases of newborns with addictions soaring" by Jenifer McKim and Michael Bottari | New England Center for Investigative Reporting   March 30, 2014

MARSHFIELD —  It was not the heroin passed to her in utero by her drug-addicted mother that killed the infant, prosecutors say.

Instead, it was the heroin-tainted milk bottle her parents allegedly handed her five months later in their overcrowded and squalid apartment in this South Shore town. Now the parents, Ryan Barry and Ashley Cyr, are charged with manslaughter for the 2011 death. They pleaded not guilty last year, and the criminal case is pending in Plymouth Superior court.

See: Cyred By Heroin Addiction 

No matter the outcome of the case, Mya Barry’s brief life and untimely death point to weaknesses in a social services system that is struggling to deal with the region’s booming addiction to prescription and illegal drugsa plague that has besieged hospitals with drug-exposed newborns and overwhelmed state social workers for the past five years.

Still working miracles.


There is no statewide data from earlier years for comparison, but anecdotal evidence suggests the number of cases is exploding....

They are the tiniest victims of the region’s growing opiate epidemic. On Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency to combat the increasing abuse of opiates, directing that all the state’s police, firefighters, and other emergency personnel be equipped with a drug that can quickly reverse heroin overdoses.


The increase in drug dependent babies has hospitals scrambling to care for them, but a potentially bigger danger awaits the children when they leave the hospital.

Most of these high-risk infants go back to the mothers — and sometimes fathers — who caused their drug problems in the first place, according to local doctors who treat opiate-exposed infants. Mya’s story prompts serious questions about whether the state’s social services agency is doing enough to protect children from drug-afflicted parents.

The state Department of Children and Families, which learned about Mya from hospital workers, declined to discuss the infant’s case. But state records, released to the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, show DCF sent Mya home to her father and grandmother, even though they knew her heroin-addicted mother would visit. Although social workers checked on the baby regularly, they apparently failed to see what witnesses described as a rapidly deteriorating situation at the home.

Well.... I can understand it might be an impossible job to be perfect, but they need to stop with public relations imagery and miracle worker stuff. 

Assistant Plymouth County District Attorney Frank Middleton said in the parents’ arraignment in October last year conditions in Mya’s home made it “almost inevitable” that her life would be cut short. Witnesses, he said, told investigators the parents appeared to be doing drugs daily and had trouble caring for Mya and her two older sisters, ages 3 and 4, though Ryan Barry’s attorney denied in court that his client used drugs while Mya was in the home.

Two other kids were caught up in this?

Mya did not even have a crib to sleep in.

Mya’s great uncle Jeffrey Pinkham still wonders why state social workers assigned to protect her left the newborn in what was described by prosecutors as a dirty, cluttered apartment with parents who struggled with addiction.

“They knew how addictive the drug is. They should have been at the house every other day,’’ said Pinkham, 60. “If somebody was there checking on them, why would she have died?”

Dangers at home

Even before Mya drew her first breath, she was in danger.

Her mother, Ashley Cyr, 26, did not know she was pregnant until six months into her term — yet that knowledge did not cause her to alter her daily heroin habit, according to Middleton’s court statements.


After her birth, Mya spent six weeks in the hospital being weaned from the opiate. Doctors gave her morphine, a drug used to help infants gradually detox, court records show.

Hospital workers — as required by law — notified DCF that Mya was born with drugs in her system, one among thousands of reports of abuse or neglect against newborns filed in Massachusetts each year.

(Blog editor fins it hard to comprehend the horrible introduction into this world)

Nonetheless, most drug-exposed children like Mya return to their families, said Robert Sege, medical director of the Child Protection Team at Boston Medical Center.

At Boston Medical Center, which treated 106 children last year who suffered drug withdrawal, about 85 percent return to their parents, he said. Most of them were exposed in utero to methadone or buprenorphine, drugs commonly prescribed for those in treatment for addiction.

At this point I'm thinking Pelletiers

So they keep the kids that should be returned to their parents and give the kids back to those they should not. WOW!

Many parents work hard to fight their addictions and get better, he said. Unfortunately, Sege’s own hospital data shows that a large portion — more than a third of parents — end up relapsing. Within a year, their children are often sent to foster care.

Sege said state social workers need to continuously monitor these troubled families because when parents relapse, children are more likely to be neglected, found wandering alone, unclean, or hurt. Boston Medical Center also has seen children die of abuse or neglect after returning home, he said, although he could not provide numbers. Sege said families need more support when they leave the hospital.

This whole economy geared toward the privileged and wealthy has destroyed that.

Social workers investigate the home life of each child identified as born drug-exposed, but Sege said too often they close cases for these fragile children and families quickly....

DCF officials said they are trying to do a better job managing the “explosion” of drug-addicted babies statewide. In January, the agency launched a new training program to teach managers how to identify addiction in adults and recognize when the children of substance abusers are at risk, according to Kim Bishop-Stevens, DCF’s substance abuse manager.

“The problem is growing across the country,” Bishop-Stevens said. “It is becoming more and more of a challenge.”

Before letting a drug-exposed child go home with drug-using parents, state officials say they review the home situation, including housing, family supports, and whether a parent is getting help.

Piss tests doesn't catch them, and where are they getting the money? Theft?

“We would have to have a very solid plan if the mom was actively in treatment,” said Christina Joyce, acting deputy commissioner of clinical and program services at DCF. “Basically, it is a safety decision.”

Social workers also have started gathering more information about what happens to substance-exposed newborns after they get home in an attempt to provide better services, which Gail Garinger, head of the state’s Office of the Child Advocate, called a good start.

Time for me to make a fresh start and get off the Globe.

DCF has been under intense scrutiny since December following the disappearance of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, who is still missing and feared dead after social workers allegedly failed to check on him for months. In response, the governor commissioned a Washington-based advocacy group, the Child Welfare League of America, to review the agency.

See: Can't Find DCF Draft

An initial report, released this month, said the state needs to reduce social workers’ caseloads and upgrade technology, among other improvements, to adequately supervise the 36,000 children under its supervision.

But child advocates such as Laurie Myers, founder of Community Voices, a Chelmsford-based advocacy group for child abuse victims, said problems go beyond caseloads. The state child welfare law states that its first priority is “strengthening and encouragement of family life,” and Myers said social workers often try to keep dysfunctional families together even when it puts the children at greater risk.

In cases involving drug-exposed babies, she said DCF should have distinct and more detailed guidelines to address the children’s specific long-term needs and determine when to pull them out of a precarious situation.

“There was nobody looking out for Mya,’’ she said. “We have to start protecting kids first.”

Representative Sheila C. Harrington, a Republican from Groton, recently filed legislation to make the child’s best interest — not family reunification — the top priority of the child welfare law. She believes that change would make tragedies like Mya’s less likely to occur.

Leaving Mya with her drug-addicted parents “was the most negligent thing they could have done,” Harrington said.

Mya’s mother admitted to state officials that she had been using heroin while she was pregnant, according to a DCF report released to the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. But DCF officials decided to let Mya go home with her father and grandmother on condition that Cyr, the mother, would have no “unsupervised” time with her children, the report said. Essentially, that meant that she would not be left alone with her children, family members say.

But child welfare experts say there is an inherent weakness in placing at-risk children with relatives, who may be unable or unwilling to shield children from drug-addicted parents. Currently, more than 50 percent of children in DCF foster care are placed with relatives, according to DCF.

Social services are so overstretched. How do you ever monitor, pay close enough scrutiny to these families so something like this doesn’t happen?” asked Barry Lester, professor and director of the Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital in Providence.

But the government has enough resources to track our movements and collect all our communications so they can spy on us all. Plenty for corporate welfare and war-profiteers that are well-connected. Plenty for lavish political functions and all the rest.

Prosecutor Middleton said in court that Mya’s parents repeatedly lied to a social worker about the fact that Cyr was living at the home.

Mya’s grandmother Debra Pinkham said in an interview that Cyr ended up essentially staying with the family, but other adults were always in the house. She said the social worker was well aware of how many people — nine — lived in the small two-bedroom home. Pinkham also said the house was not filthy, as prosecutors claimed, merely packed.

“They knew that Ashley would come to visit, as far as how long she stayed, I don’t know how much they cared,’’ she said. “We were doing exactly what they told us to do.”

Pinkham, a 56-year-old Dunkin Donuts waitress, said her son Ryan had showed up at her door after Mya’s birth, his two older girls in tow. She could not turn them away. She gave them one of the two bedrooms, the other was used by her adult daughter, her daughter’s husband, and their small child.

Related: Sip of Asian Coffee 

Isn't that dangerous?

Pinkham said she knew that Ashley was using heroin. She also suspected her son was using, even though he denied it. Still, she felt the family was functioning — Ryan still cared for the kids; Pinkham helped out.

She now wishes she had taken her son’s three children, including the baby, and escaped before everything fell apart.

“I know I made the biggest mistake of my life by trying too hard to help everybody,” Pinkham said. “We are not bad people. We are just people who have been struggling with this.”

Peter MacKinnon, a long-time social worker and president of the DCF chapter of the Service Employees International Union, said protecting children from opiate-abusing parents is challenging. Adults can hide their drug use, he said, and social workers can only pull children from their home if they can prove that parents are being abusive or neglectful to such an extent that a child is in immediate danger.


It’s a difficult judgment that social workers and judges alike sometimes get wrong — with fatal consequences for children.

Lives cut short include Chase Gideika, a Lynn baby born with drugs in his system who was allowed to go home with his mother last year even though his older brother, a toddler, was placed in foster care after being found unattended near a busy street.

Three months later, Chase was fatally assaulted, allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend, Anthony Gideika. Chase’s death prompted the Patrick administration to call for a review of DCF’s decision to leave Chase and his twin with their mother and her boyfriend, both in drug treatment. The review by the Office of the Child Advocate is still pending. 

Related: Maury Povich Murder in Massachusetts

In February of this year, 23-month-old Lucas Braman, also born with drugs in his system, was found unresponsive in his Yarmouth crib in the home of his mother’s cousin, who was caring for him.

This post might shed some light on it.

Lucas had lived in a foster home, but was sent to live with relatives by a judge last year despite opposition from social workers, according to DCF spokesman Alex Loftus.

Prosecutors said there is no indication of foul play in the child’s death, but the toddler suffered from physical and emotional problems related to his neonatal drug exposure. Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe declined to speculate on how Braman died.

However, Elizabeth Cavallini, who was caring for Lucas when he passed away, believes his prenatal drug exposure contributed to his death. Lucas had many health problems, she said, such as banging his head against the wall so much he had to wear a protective helmet.

Cavallini, whose partner is a cousin of Lucas’s mother, said social workers should never have let Lucas go home with his mother in the first place and they should have provided more help caring for his fragile health.

“I’m extremely frustrated with the lack of concern with Lucas when he was born addicted to drugs,’’ Cavallini said. “It is not fair that these women can do drugs their entire pregnancy and walk out of the hospital with their babies. That is abuse in my eyes.”

A tragic end

Mya’s life came to an abrupt end on Sept. 23, 2011, when Marshfield police found the infant, cold and blue, lying on the living room floor, prosecutors said....

I couldn't read anymore.


Also see: The End of Riley

Related: Woes in child welfare agency run deeper than Jeremiah Oliver case

Yeah. If it were one case or two maybe not, but the Globe listed a bunch of them above. they problem is systemic. 

Time for a hit:

"Governor declares an emergency on opiate abuse" by Brian MacQuarrie | Globe Staff   March 27, 2014

Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency Thursday to combat the growing abuse of opiates, directing that all the state’s police, firefighters, and other emergency personnel be equipped with a drug that can quickly reverse heroin overdoses.

“Heroin today is cheap and highly potent,” Patrick said. “We have right now an opiate epidemic.”

Another part of his legacy.

In addition, the governor said, the state will prohibit the sale of Zohydro, which he called “a potentially lethal narcotic painkiller.” The drug was approved last year in a controversial decision by the Food and Drug Administration.

Patrick said the powerful drug, which is not yet made in tamper-proof form, will be banned until safeguards are implemented. Addiction-treatment providers have warned of Zohydro’s high potential for abuse.

The governor also pledged to spend $20 million more to increase treatment and recovery services for the public, state prisons, and county jails.

He took it from heating aid to give to late-night T service, and then the legislature had to replace it due to the cold winter.

The moves, approved Thursday by the Public Health Council, were applauded by state officials and first responders, who have been startled by an alarming increase in heroin overdoses across Massachusetts. The Globe reported last month that at least 185 people died of heroin overdoses between November and February....

Another component of the state’s action will be a mandate that physicians and pharmacies monitor prescriptions of narcotic painkillers and other drugs linked to abuse. Such checks had been voluntary, the governor’s office said.

“We must have more rigor over the overprescription of pain medication,” Patrick said. Opiate overdoses in Massachusetts rose 90 percent from 2000 to 2012, the governor said.

A keystone of the plan is making Narcan more available to police, firefighters, and people close to drug addicts....

Who make$ Narcan?

Under the emergency directives, every first responder will be permitted to carry and use Narcan immediately. The state also will work with medical directors of large pharmacies to write standing orders that will allow Narcan to be purchased by individuals, Bartlett said.

That answers that que$tion, and explains even more why where the poison is coming from is never addressed. Another monied intere$t profiting from the problem, and the state so compassionate in its reactivity.

Judge Rosemarie Minehan, the presiding justice at Plymouth District Court, attended Patrick’s announcement at DPH headquarters in downtown Boston. The fallout from opiate abuse has become an increasing part of the workload in many courtrooms, she said.

On March 18, a man in the jury pool at Plymouth District Court crumpled from an overdose, the judge said in an interview. He turned blue as police, firefighters, and medical personnel, all potential jurors, frantically tried to revive the man’s heart.

As they worked, a woman rushed forward and pulled Narcan from her purse. Within minutes, two doses of the drug had halted the overdose.

“Intervention was very important,” Minehan said.

The cost of expanded Narcan use is expected to be covered by a combination of state and local funding....

State Senator John F. Keenan, a Quincy Democrat who co-chairs the joint Public Health Committee, welcomed the governor’s actions but cautioned that the opiate epidemic will not be curbed easily.

“These are critical steps,” he said. “We also have to recognize that these are just first steps, second steps, and third steps.”


Related: From Where is the Killer Heroin Coming? 

Globe never asks.

Been over a week since I smoked, and the Globe has only offered one hit since:

"Marijuana licensees to face new scrutiny" by Kay Lazar and Shelley Murphy | Globe Staff   March 28, 2014

The Department of Public Health has notified companies approved for provisional licenses to run the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries that they will be required to undergo extensive additional background checks, an action that caps weeks of controversy about the selection process.

They are scrutinizing medical marijuana even more than the criminal casinos!

The department’s letter, obtained by the Globe, states that background checks will now be required on anyone “who will have any involvement” with the proposed dispensaries, including volunteers, consultants, advisory board members, staff members, and all corporate and individual investors....

It is unclear whether this new round of scrutiny will delay the opening of the dispensaries, most of which were expected to be running by August, according to earlier projections by the department.

The expanded background checks come as the state defended its selection process in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday....

Since the state announced its choices, several problems have surfaced about misrepresentations and conflicts of interest involving several of the companies selected, and state officials have acknowledged they did not check the veracity of the companies’ statements in their applications.

Has any industry been cleaned of $eeds and $tems so completely? 

“All the vetting should have been done before they awarded any of the licenses,” said Stephen Werther, president of Alternative Compassion Services Inc., which unsuccessfully applied for a dispensary license in Bridgewater but is not a party to the suits.

A spokesman for the Department of Public Health declined to comment Thursday.

Letters about the intensive background checks were sent on March 14 to companies selected for the 20 provisional licenses.

“These follow-up background checks are only one part of the ongoing verification process,” these letters said.


How many people must needlessly suffer for how much longer?

On Thursday, the agency sent similar letters to six companies that were not chosen for provisional licenses but were invited by the state to reapply in one of the counties that has not yet been earmarked for a dispensary.

Companies are being charged $550 per individual checked, according to the letters. That’s in addition to the $30,000 charged for the application fee in November.

I'm not opening up a shop anytime soon, and I thought I could be an entrepreneur rather than an unemployed nobody. Wish I had a do over.

Amid the brouhaha, Back Bay business groups had raised an uproar, saying the fashionable, upscale shopping district was not an appropriate site for a drug dispensary.... 

I agree, what with the fire and all.


Yeah, forget the meth labs and cocaine and go after the marijuana

Maybe they could locate the dispensary in Utah:

"Utah to allow marijuana extract for limited medical use; Substance believed to fight seizures comes from Colo." by Michelle L. Price | Associated Press   March 26, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — Parents of Utah children with severe epilepsy are cheering a new state law that allows them to obtain a marijuana extract they say helps with seizures, but getting it involves navigating a thorny set of state and federal laws.

Does it make the kid feel normal?

Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, has approved the law and held a signing ceremony for about 50 parents and children at the Capitol Tuesday.

I must be high!

The new law does not allow medical marijuana production in Utah but allows families meeting certain restrictions to obtain the extract from other states. Similar legislation is pending in at least one other state, and advocates hope more will follow.

The marijuana extract, which some believe helps with a severe form of epilepsy, is produced in Colorado and is designed to not produce a high.

I burned my lips last time I was there.

Specialists say restrictions passed in Colorado to appease the federal government make it a murky process for Utah families to get marijuana-derived products, particularly as all state medical marijuana laws are illegal under federal law.

Then I don't even want to smoke.

Utah Representative Gage Froerer, a Republican from Huntsville who sponsored the new state law, said families are willing to take that risk to treat their children with the oil.

‘‘They know very well that this may not protect them from the DEA if the federal prosecutors stepped in,’’ Froerer told his colleagues this month.

To gain support in conservative Utah, the push for the legislation focused on helping children suffering from a severe form of epilepsy and the law is tempered with restrictions.

The law takes effect on July 1 and expires in 2016. It is restricted to those with severe epilepsy for whom regular treatments are not effective, and requires a neurologist’s consent to obtain and use the extract.

The extract comes from a strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web, named after the first child treated with it. The plant is low in THC, the hallucinogenic chemical in marijuana, and high in CBD, a chemical that might fight seizures.

Doctors and others have warned that there is no proof that the extract is effective at treating epilepsy or even safe, but for parents like Jennifer May of Pleasant Grove, the hope that the oil will give their kids a better quality of life is worth pursuing....

No proof because they have done no studies.

A similar medical cannabis oil bill was passed recently by the Alabama Legislature and awaits the governor’s signature.

Alabama, too?

Some legal specialists say states authorizing certain strains of marijuana medicine may be unlikely to produce any relief for patients....

Now take this sick-making pre$cription pharmaceutical they are paying me to promote.


Well, you know, it's Utah:

"Ski area says snowboarders’ suit demeans the Constitution" by Brady McCombs | Associated Press, March 26, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah ski area that is one of the last US ski resorts to prohibit snowboarding says a lawsuit challenging the ban demeans the Constitution and should be thrown out.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in January, four snowboarders asserted discrimination on national forest lands....

The snowboarders contend in the lawsuit that Alta dislikes them for their allegedly reckless activity on the slopes, inconsiderate attitude, baggy clothes, and their overuse of such words as “gnarly” and “radical” when describing difficult terrain....

The lawsuit has reignited a long-festering culture clash on the slopes between skiers and snowboarders....

The lawsuit concedes that snowboarders were “perhaps rightfully” stereotyped as riffraff decades ago by more sophisticated and affluent skiers, but times have changed.