Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Keith Olbermann “Suspended Indefinitely”

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely for giving money to the Democrats.  Keith Olbermann has long been known to be a liberal so this should not come as a shock to anyone.  He should have pointed out that he was giving money to the candidates when he had them on the air.

MSNBC and Fox News are networks that have ideologic bias that will come out from their host.  That is okay as long as the hosts admit it.

Elena Kagan’s Emails

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

While we have all learned this week that Elena Kagan is hilarious as far as Supreme Court Justices can get when neither confirming nor denying just about everything but her name.  These hearings have been so boring and she has done such a good job at avoiding questions that Senator Al Franken even fell asleep during the hearing.

But maybe there are things we could learn about Elena Kagan.  For example, the Sunlight Foundation has created a site called Elena’s Inbox which posts all the emails to and from Elena Kagan during her time in the Clinton Administration in a searchable manner similair to gmail.

Mongolian Hip-Hop Comes To America

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

A New Blog Called World Hip-Hop has a post introducing the world to Mongolian hip-hop including some You Tube clips of Mongolian rap.

Iraninan Students Protest For Feedom

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Foxnews.com has coverage of Iraninan students protesting for freedom. From FoxNew.com:

TEHRAN, Iran — “What do we want? Freedom!”

That was one of the banners a large crowd waved on Wednesday at a demonstration at Tehran University.

As many as 2,000 students turned out to demand personal freedom in the Islamic state, which has cracked down on political activity on campus this year in what some have called the Second Cultural Revolution.

The theme of Wednesday’s protest was Student Life is Alive.

The people of Iran may not be large supporters of the United States government but that does not mean they are satisfied with the Iraninan government.

Money Alone Will Not Fix Political Problems (At least in Kansas City)

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Blogger HipCritic argues that money alone will not solve the problems of Kansas City, Missouri.

Here is HipCritic’s views on drugwar funding by the County Legislature:

I mostly honed in on the Anti-Drug Committe because they seemed to take up the most amount of time and without a doubt, the most amount of financial resources. If money could solve drug problems and the peripheral trash it generates in Kansas City we would have no problems. We spend TONS (READ: hella) money on Anti-Drug Programs in the form of DART grants, Victim Services, Gun Violence money, Blue Springs Drug Abatement Program, Incarcerated Parents Program, Chance for Change Program, Della Lamb Money, Childrens Mercy “crack babies program”($93,000 matching funds, although originally started at $50,000 although because of inflation it has requested more without voting on it and receives it every year) money, Genesis School Grant, Drug Court monies, Truancy Project, and what I’ll call faith-based Reverend Williams Money for Hickman Mills School District. All of these committees gave a preview of what was to come in the actual legislative session, which I’ll tackle next.

Link via Tony’s Kansas City

I’m glad Congress is Doing Nothing

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Kevin drum points out, by quoting a Wall Street Journal article, that Congress is being stubborn about passing appropriation bills. The fiscal year starts on October 1st but Congress’ lack of funding has not resulted in any major panic.
From the Wall Street Journal:

Like a retreating army, Republicans are tearing up railroad track and planting legislative land mines to make it harder for Democrats to govern when they take power in Congress next month.

….With Congress turning off the lights this week, there seems no chance of saving the appropriations process. Instead, most of the government will remain on a stopgap bill through Feb. 15, and in kicking this can down the road, the Republican leadership has no idea where it will stop rolling.

This just means the government is going to be running on continuing resolutions for a while. The continuing resolutions will in most cases be funding the government at the rate of the previous fiscal year or higher.

The Republicans have been knowing nothing for the last two years. It is hypocritical of Democrats/liberals/big-government supporters to think this will suddenly change after Republicans lose an election for doing nothing.

Robert Gates Aware Of The Obvious

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Robert Gates, Bush’s proposed Secretary of Defense, realizes the United States is losing the war in Iraq. Gates’ admission shows he has some sense of reality. From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Robert Gates, U.S. President George W. Bush’s choice to run the Pentagon, said on Tuesday America was not winning in Iraq and the war would determine whether the Middle East faced a “regional conflagration.”

Appearing at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gates said Bush wanted him to take a fresh look at the war and that all options were on the table.

“Our course over the next year or two will determine whether the American and Iraqi people and the next president of the United States will face a slowly and steadily improving situation in Iraq and in the region or will face the very real risk of a regional conflagration,” Gates said.

Chances for Drug Reform Under A Democratic Congress

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006


Don’t expect Congress to create Hamsterdam like in Season 3 of The Wire but the chances of drug reform are a lot more promising. Philip Smith writes on StopTheDrugWar’s blog:

While there is optimism in drug reform circles, it is tempered by a healthy dose of realism. The Congress is a place where it is notoriously difficult to make (or unmake) a law, and while some of the new Democratic leadership has made sympathetic noises on certain issues, drug reform is not exactly a high-profile issue. Whether congressional Democratic decision-makers will decide to use their political resources advancing an agenda that could be attacked as “soft on drugs” or “soft on crime” remains to be seen. But according to one of the movement’s most astute Hill-watchers, some “low-hanging fruit” might be within reach next year.

“Some of the easiest things to achieve in the new Congress will be the HEA ban on aid to students with drug violations, because the Democrats will have to deal with HEA reauthorization, and the ban on access to the TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) to public housing, because they will have to deal with welfare reform,” said Bill Piper, director of government relations *** for the Drug Policy Alliance. “There is also a chance of repealing provisions in the DC appropriations bill that bar needle exchanges and medical marijuana. These are the low-hanging fruit.”

For Piper, there is also a chance to see movement on a second tier of issues, including medical marijuana, sentencing reform and Latin America policy. “Can we get the votes to pass Hinchey-Rohrabacher in the House and get it to the Senate?” he asked. “There is also a good chance of completely changing how we deal with Latin America. We could see a shift in funding from military to civil society-type programs and from eradication to crop substitution,” he said. “Also, there is a good chance on sentencing reform. Can the Democrats strike a deal with Sen. Sessions (R-AL) and other Republicans on the crack-powder disparity, or will they try to play politics and paint the Democrats as soft on crime? Would Bush veto it if it passed?”

Marijuana is Not A Gateway Drug

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006


The criminalization of marijuana occurs in part because it is viewed that marijuana is a gateway drug. The fear is that marijuana will lead people to harder drugs. This has provided a longstanding basis for marijuana prohibition.

This is not the case. A 12 year study done by the University of Pittsburgh points to the contrary:

Marijuana is not a “gateway” drug that predicts or eventually leads to substance abuse, suggests a 12-year University of Pittsburgh study. Moreover, the study’s findings call into question the long-held belief that has shaped prevention efforts and governmental policy for six decades and caused many a parent to panic upon discovering a bag of pot in their child’s bedroom.

The Pitt researchers tracked 214 boys beginning at ages 10-12, all of whom eventually used either legal or illegal drugs. When the boys reached age 22, they were categorized into three groups: those who used only alcohol or tobacco, those who started with alcohol and tobacco and then used marijuana (gateway sequence) and those who used marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco (reverse sequence).

Nearly a quarter of the study population who used both legal and illegal drugs at some point – 28 boys – exhibited the reverse pattern of using marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco, and those individuals were no more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who followed the traditional succession of alcohol and tobacco before illegal drugs, according to the study, which appears in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

“The gateway progression may be the most common pattern, but it’s certainly not the only order of drug use,” said Ralph E. Tarter, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and lead author of the study. “In fact, the reverse pattern is just as accurate for predicting who might be at risk for developing a drug dependence disorder.”

In addition to determining whether the gateway hypothesis was a better predictor of substance abuse than competing theories, the investigators sought to identify characteristics that distinguished users in the gateway sequence from those who took the reverse path. Out of the 35 variables they examined, only three emerged to be differentiating factors: Reverse pattern users were more likely to have lived in poor physical neighborhood environments, had more exposure to drugs in their neighborhoods and had less parental involvement as young children. Most importantly, a general inclination for deviance from sanctioned behaviors, which can become evident early in childhood, was strongly associated with all illicit drug use, whether it came in the gateway sequence, or the reverse.

While the gateway theory posits that each type of drug is associated with certain specific risk factors that cause the use of subsequent drugs, such as cigarettes or alcohol leading to marijuana, this study’s findings indicate that environmental aspects have stronger influence on which type of substance is used. That is, if it’s easier for a teen to get his hands on marijuana than beer, then he’ll be more likely to smoke pot. This evidence supports what’s known as the common liability model, an emerging theory that states the likelihood that someone will transition to the use of illegal drugs is determined not by the preceding use of a particular drug but instead by the user’s individual tendencies and environmental circumstances.

“The emphasis on the drugs themselves, rather than other, more important factors that shape a person’s behavior, has been detrimental to drug policy and prevention programs,” Dr. Tarter said. “To become more effective in our efforts to fight drug abuse, we should devote more attention to interventions that address these issues, particularly to parenting skills that shape the child’s behavior as well as peer and neighborhood environments.”

Indeed, according to the study, interventions focusing on behavior modification may be more effective prevention tactics than current anti-drug initiatives. For example, providing guidance to parents – particularly those in high-risk neighborhoods – on how to boost their caregiving skills and foster bonding with their children, could have a measurable effect on a child’s likelihood to smoke marijuana. Also, early identification of children who exhibit antisocial tendencies could allow for interventions before drug use even begins.

Although this research has significant implications for drug abuse prevention approaches, Dr. Tarter notes that the study has some limitations. First, as only male behaviors were studied, further investigation should explore if the results apply to women as well. Also, the examination of behaviors in phases beyond alcohol and marijuana consumption in the gateway series will be necessary.

ChrisBrunner.com has posted a list of ten myths about marijuana.

Save The World!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Save some electricity. Treehugger.com has a list of ways to save electricity in your home. Saving electricity is good for the environment. If you are one of those jerks who doesn’t care about the environment, saving electricity in your home will save you money. Anyway here are his suggestions:

Among the things you can do to impress our judges, and lower your electricity use (and electricity bill in the process):

  • Add insulation to your home — the US Department of Energy recommends an R-value of at least R-22 in the attic.
  • Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents or (if you can afford them) LEDs.
  • Turn down the heat — a one-degree (Fahrenheit) reduction on the thermostat will save you about 3 percent on your heating bill, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.
  • Stop heating/cooling the outdoors — while you may not be able to afford new windows or doors right now, some rope caulk, weather stripping, and a little elbow grease can help keep that heated/cooled air inside where it belongs.
  • Ceiling fans can make more efficient use of cooled and heated air — according to Home Depot, they can save you 40% in the summer, and 10% in the winter.
  • Identify the users of vampire power in your home — and then drive a stake through their heart!

We’re just scratching the surface of the many simple (and filmable) actions you can take. For more, check out some of our guides, or Consumer Report’s new The Complete Guide to Reducing Energy Costs. Upload your video at http://truths.treehugger.com.