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Scuba

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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 39,800

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Holy crap, even my sister is sending me pro-marijuana articles!

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/old-dope-new-tricks-new-science-medical-cannabis


Old dope, new tricks: the new science of medical cannabis

Well, an article just published in the prestigious journal JAMA Internal Medicine provocatively suggests that US states with medical cannabis laws have dramatically reduced opioid mortality rates.

So the science is clearly every bit as alive and kicking as the political bluster, but rests on firmer, less emotive grounds. This is what we know: somewhere in that much-incinerated plant lies valuable medicine – perhaps a treatment for cancer or an antidote to obesity.

In fact, cannabis science is one of the fastest moving frontiers in pharmacology and has accelerated by the realisation that we’re all already marinated in cannabis-like molecules (endocannabinoids) and their receptors. Endocannabinoids help regulate many physiological processes: mood, memory, appetite, pain, immune function, metabolism and bone growth to name a few (there are even cannabinoid receptors in sperm).

...

Even THC is a legitimate target for ongoing medical research, particularly when dosed in forms that give slow and steady blood levels. THC clearly has important therapeutic effects in multiple sclerosis and pain, in stimulating appetite in HIV or cancer patients, and even for anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.


Many links in the article.

NYT: How to Buy a Mine in Wisconsin

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/opinion/did-gov-scott-walker-violate-campaign-laws.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad


How to Buy a Mine in Wisconsin
Did Gov. Scott Walker Violate Campaign Laws?




Last year, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and the Republican-controlled State Legislature approved the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, a gash in the northern part of the state that could be as long as 21 miles, a half-mile wide and 1,000 feet deep. The mine legislation was bad enough from an environmental point of view: It allows the operator to fill streams with mine waste, eliminates public hearings and reduces the taxes the operator would have to pay.

It turns out to be even more shocking from an ethical viewpoint. Newly released documents show that the mine operator, Gogebic Taconite, secretly gave $700,000 to a political group that was helping the governor win a 2012 recall election. Mr. Walker had urged big corporations to give unlimited amounts, without fear of public disclosure, and many companies that wanted favors from the state happily obliged. Once the recall failed, the favors began to flow, even at the expense of the state’s natural resources.

The group that received the money, along with millions of dollars in other donations, was the Wisconsin Club for Growth, an “independent” conservative spending organization that state prosecutors say was actually controlled by R.J. Johnson, one of Mr. Walker’s closest campaign aides. Mr. Walker and his aides brazenly violated state campaign finance regulations barring coordination between independent groups and candidate campaigns, first by rounding up the money and then by telling the groups how to spend it.

“The governor is encouraging all to invest in the Wisconsin Club for Growth,” Kate Doner, a paid fund-raising consultant to the Walker campaign, wrote in a 2011 email to Mr. Johnson. “Wisconsin Club for Growth can accept corporate and personal donations without limitations and no donors disclosure.” She added that the governor wanted all the advocacy efforts to be run by one group, the Club for Growth, to “ensure correct messaging.”

Krugman: The Medicare Miracle

One can't do justice to this with only four excerpted paragraphs. Please see the link for the entire article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/opinion/paul-krugman-the-medicare-miracle.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad&_r=0


But a funny thing has happened: Health spending has slowed sharply, and it’s already well below projections made just a few years ago. The falloff has been especially pronounced in Medicare, which is spending $1,000 less per beneficiary than the Congressional Budget Office projected just four years ago.

First, our supposed fiscal crisis has been postponed, perhaps indefinitely. The federal government is still running deficits, but they’re way down. True, the red ink is still likely to swell again in a few years, if only because more baby boomers will retire and start collecting benefits; but, these days, projections of federal debt as a percentage of G.D.P. show it creeping up rather than soaring. We’ll probably have to raise more revenue eventually, but the long-term fiscal gap now looks much more manageable than the deficit scolds would have you believe.

Second, the slowdown in Medicare helps refute one common explanation of the health-cost slowdown: that it’s mainly the product of a depressed economy, and that spending will surge again once the economy recovers. That could explain low private spending, but Medicare is a government program, and shouldn’t be affected by the recession. In other words, the good news on health costs is for real.

But what accounts for this good news? The third big implication of the Medicare cost miracle is that everything the usual suspects have been saying about fiscal responsibility is wrong.


Rick Perry's College Transcript: A Lot Of Cs And Ds

Another boy genius from Texas. Not news, but worth reposting ...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/05/rick-perry-college-transcript_n_919357.html

One reason that might explain his hostility toward the system: He didn't do very well in it. A source in Texas passed The Huffington Post Perry's transcripts from his years at Texas A&M University. The future politician did not distinguish himself much in the classroom. While he later became a student leader, he had to get out of academic probation to do so. He rarely earned anything above a C in his courses -- earning a C in U.S. History, a D in Shakespeare, and a D in the principles of economics. Perry got a C in gym.

Perry also did poorly on classes within his animal science major. In fall semester 1970, he received a D in veterinary anatomy, a F in a second course on organic chemistry and a C in animal breeding. He did get an A in world military systems and “Improv. of Learning” -- his only two As while at A&M.

"A&M wasn't exactly Harvard on the Brazos River," recalled a Perry classmate in an interview with The Huffington Post. "This was not the brightest guy around. We always kind of laughed. He was always kind of a joke."

A spokesperson for the governor recently told the Texas Tribune that the university "helped shape who he is today." The governor’s office did not return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.



]

Dancing Elephants




(courtesy of Cindy)

Gun Culture and Anti-Government Extremism

http://billmoyers.com/2014/08/26/cops-gun-culture-and-anti-government-extremism/

Police violence in America differs from that of other wealthy democracies in two important ways. First, police in the US kill exponentially more citizens than they do in other countries. The other salient fact is that exponentially more American police are killed in the line of duty than their colleagues abroad.

According to an analysis of FBI data by USA Today, at least 400 Americans are killed by police every year. But that’s a low-ball figure: “The killings are self-reported by law enforcement and not all police departments participate so the database undercounts the actual number of deaths. Plus, the numbers are not audited after they are submitted to the FBI and the statistics on ‘justifiable’ homicides have conflicted with independent measures of fatalities at the hands of police.”

...

Police in the US also face a unique challenge — and singular threat — from anti-government extremists. No other police force in a functional democracy has experienced something like the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada in April, where federal agents found themselves outgunned by heavily-armed militias — which included well-trained military veterans — holding the strategic high ground.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted last week, a new report from the Department of Homeland Security found that, “after years of sporadic violence from domestic extremists motivated by antigovernment ideologies, there has been ‘a spike within the past year in violence committed by militia extremists and lone offenders who hold violent anti-government beliefs.’” Last month, a survey of 364 officials from 175 law enforcement agencies conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (START) found that members of the Sovereign Citizens movement are now considered to be the greatest terrorist threat faced by law enforcement. Third on the list, after Islamic extremists, were members of militia and “patriot” groups.

Wisconsin shows how job incentives are handed out -- in Bizarro world

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-the-bizarro-world-20140825-column.html

Via the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison, we learn of the zany way that political officials in that state are handing out job-creation funds. Long story short, they've voted to hand over $6 million in taxpayer cash to a company that's planning to cut its Wisconsin work force in half.

The company is Ashley Furniture, which has had its snout in the taxpayer trough before. But the new grant is more than all those others combined, the Journal says. The $6-million grant, which has been voted by the state Economic Development Corp. but not yet finalized, won't require Ashley to create any new jobs. Instead, it will allow the manufacturer to "lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers," the newspaper says.

The chairman of the incentive-awarding body is Republican Gov. Scott Walker. A few weeks after the WEDC approved the grant to Ashley, its owners donated $20,000 to Walker's re-election campaign.

...

That's not what the terms of the deal reportedly say. According to a WEDC memo reviewed by the Journal, the company agrees to retain 70% percent of its work force this year, 60% next year, and 50% percent in 2016-18. The memo also observes that Ashley doesn't provide a lot of high-grade jobs--56% of the workers make less than $10.88 per hour.

Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance

http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/04/15/report-walmart-workers-cost-taxpayers-6-2-billion-in-public-assistance/

Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15.

Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state-level progressive groups, made this estimate using data from a 2013 study by Democratic Staff of the U.S. Committee on Education and the Workforce. “The study estimated the cost to Wisconsin’s taxpayers of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, which often force workers to rely on various public assistance programs,” reads the report, available in full here.

“It found that a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.” Americans for Tax Fairness then took the mid-point of that range ($4,415) and multiplied it by Walmart’s approximately 1.4 million workers to come up with an estimate of the overall taxpayers’ bill for the Bentonville, Ark.-based big box giant’s staffers.

The report provides a state-by-state breakdown of these figures, as well as some context on the other side of the coin: Walmart’s huge share of the nationwide SNAP, or food stamp, market.



And Minnesota is working on a solution to this problem ...,

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025272785

TV political ads now easier to track

http://wisconsinwatch.org/2014/08/tv-political-ads-now-easier-to-track/

A Federal Communications Commission rule that took effect July 1 requires U.S. broadcast television stations to “immediately” post political ad buy data online. It expands an earlier pilot program, launched in 2012, for just the nation’s top 50 television markets. (Cable and radio stations are still exempt.) “We love it,” says Mike Buelow, a former AP reporter who now serves as research director for the Democracy Campaign. “We won’t have to go begging for volunteers to go to TV stations in northern Wisconsin.”

In the past, given the amount of work involved, Buelow’s group waited until after the election to generate spending totals that included these buys. “It was just too labor-intensive to do it weekly or even monthly,” he says. But now it’s possible to compile comprehensive, up-to-date information. The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., is collecting the ad buy filings and posting them online, in a tool it calls Political Ad Sleuth.

...

Anyone can register online to do data entry, logging the cost, run dates and total number of ads for each filing, and such optional information as the media buyer. Explains Kiely, “I want to know if some of these (outside) groups are using the same media buyer as the candidates they’re not supposed to be coordinating with.”

Kiely urges people to pick a given station, to get good at reading its forms, which differ widely. They may also want to focus first on third-party buys which are not otherwise reported. The group has a " target="_blank">YouTube tutorial to help people get started.

Wisconsin: Did Walker Put $100 Million in Worker-Training Programs?

Four paragraphs aren't sufficient to cpver this analysis, but suffice to say it's only through more of his fuzzy math that Walker (and his backers at the Urinal Sentinel) manage to claim they've put $100 million in worker training. If what I've excerpted, recommend you follow the link ...



http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23882-did-walker-put-%2524100-million-in-worker-training-programs.html

This week we’re evaluating a new campaign claim by Gov. Scott Walker that he has invested $100 million in worker-training programs. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact found his claim “Mostly True,” its second-highest rating. To be sure, it’s a claim intended to show that the governor is doing something about Wisconsin’s poor job growth that trails most of the nation and all of the Midwest. But is the claim “Mostly True” or does it miss the mark? Let’s take a look and then you be the judge.

Before we start looking into the worker training investments in Walker’s most recent budget—and there have been some—we must determine an accurate baseline. Instead of starting at $0 and working our way up, we are going to examine the entirety of Walker’s record on investing in technical colleges and worker-training programs. After all, if you owe your friend $50 and pay her back $100, would you be up $100? Of course not. You’d be up $50. So this examination correctly starts with the cuts in Walker’s first budget, which aren’t under dispute. Even PolitiFact themselves rated “True,” their highest rating, the claim that Walker’s first budget enacted the steepest cuts to education in our state’s history, which included a 30% reduction in funding for technical colleges—a $71.6 million cut.

...

If you look at the worker training monies that the governor added and subtracted during his time as governor you either come up with a net cut of $11.99 million or if you add the money for the UW program and the money for the food assistance program and call that worker training money, you have an increase of $41.51 million. Or if you ignore all of the governor’s cuts to worker training and add in the money for the UW system and the food assistance program, you can actually get the number above the $100 million mark.

Where does this leave us? Much like with the governor’s progress on his promise to create 250,000 new jobs, we’re falling short. Walker has allocated some funding to job training to cover his first budget’s steep cuts to the technical colleges, but the big picture is, with Wisconsin ranked dead last in the Midwest on job creation, it just isn’t enough.

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