Tag Archives: Syndicate

Colorado lawmaker seeks marijuana tax review amid disappointing sales

Colorado is disappointed in their actual tax receipts for recreational marijuana. The projected a tax income of $33.5 million for combined marijuana taxes but actually only took in a little more than $12 million. They are blaming it on the lower tax on medical marijuana.

“I think our original assumption about the cannibalization was wrong,” Colorado Legislative Council economist Larson Silbaugh said at Tuesday’s committee meeting.

The result, suggested David Blake of the Colorado attorney general’s office, is that the resilience of the medical-marijuana market “is being driven by avoidance of that tax.”

via Colorado lawmaker seeks marijuana tax review amid disappointing sales – The Denver Post.

Ya reckon? A look at tax receipts in border towns where one state has a substantially higher tax than its bordering state should have told them this.

It Should Come As No Surprise

I open up Google News this morning and I’m greeted by this headline:

NSA taps in to user data of Facebook, Apple, Google and others, secret files reveal
•Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple
•Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

via NSA taps in to user data of Facebook, Apple, Google and others, secret files reveal | World news | The Guardian.

This news actually broke a couple of days ago but it was limited to one cell phone carrier giving up all of its transactional metadata on its customers. Since then we’ve found out that it isn’t just cell phone information but also everything digital in our lives.

It isn’t like we really didn’t know this was happening, how could we not know with the theme of so many of the story lines running through pop culture pointing directly to Big Brother and his surveillence abilities. This can’t be a surprise but it is confirmation of our fears of a reality we didn’t want to admit to.

So where do we go with this knowledge? For one thing we need to acknowledge that there does need to be intelligence gathering efforts by our Department of Defense and some of the details of those efforts do need to remain secret. However, with secrecy comes a limit to the oversight so what remains secret needs to be kept to a minimum. And, see, that’s what I don’t think people in government grasp. For instance, we have this from James Clapper:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in an unusual late-night statement Thursday, denounced the leaks of highly classified documents that revealed the programs and warned that America’s security will suffer. He called the disclosure of a program that targets foreigners’ Internet use “reprehensible,” and said the leak of another program that lets the government collect Americans’ phone records would affect how America’s enemies behave and make it harder to understand their intentions.

“The unauthorized disclosure of a top secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation,” Clapper said of the phone-tracking program.

via US declassifies phone program details after uproar : News : FOX21News.com.

See, I don’t think he fully understands that one of the threats facing our nation comes from our own government. The more stuff the government does behind our back the more stuff we start imagining them doing behind our back when stories like this come to light. We lose trust in the government when we learn that they have secretly been doing things that might step over the line of what we authorized them to do in our constitution. You don’t subject us to unreasonable seach and siezures without probable cause and this snooping appears to have been an unreasonable search without probable cause.

I am somewhat encouraged, though, that maybe those in charge do have some understanding of my concerns. Mr. Clapper has declassified the two programs that were leaked:

At the same time, he offered new information about both programs, saying he wanted to correct the “misleading impression” created by out-of-context news articles even as he acknowledged that publicly discussing the programs comes with inherent security risks.

“I believe it is important for the American people to understand the limits of this targeted counterterrorism program and the principles that govern its use,” Clapper said.

The problem is that if you keep it secret we are going to imagine the worse when the secret becomes public knowledge, and it will become public knowledge. Someone will leak it. You just need to understand that those leaking the information are probably more hero than villain.

Feinstein bemoans ‘culture of leaks

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday said the revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) used a secret court order to collect telephone records from millions of Verizon customers was endemic of a “culture of leaks” that exists in the federal government.

via Feinstein bemoans ‘culture of leaks’ – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room.

Ya know, Senator Feinstein, with all these secrets the government is keeping from us on what it is doing this culture of leaks you are bemoaning may be the only positive thing developing in Washington these days.

Overheard At the Bar

“Why doesn’t she love me any more,” Roger asked?
“Why does it matter?” Eduardo asked back, “She’s gone and she probably isn’t coming back.”
“Because I still love her and I don’t know what I could have done to drive her away,” Roger replied.
“If you love her you will let her go and pray for her happiness. Besides, how do you know it was you that drove her away and not some unresolved wonder lust in her soul?” Eduardo countered.
“I know but it just hurts so bad not having her around,” said Roger.
Eduardo then looked at Roger with sadness and pointed out, “Then you haven’t let her go. You have to let her go for there to be no more pain.”

Monsanto GMO wheat threatens US exports

Remember that report I gave you yesterday about GMO wheat appearing on an Oregon farm? Fall out from that report was quick. Japan is suspending certain wheat purchases until we sort this mess out.

Japanese authorities have already opted to cancel part of a tender offer to buy US western white wheat and have suspended imports of both that variety and feed wheat, Reuters reported on Thursday.”We will refrain from buying western white and feed wheat effective today,” Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of wheat trading, told the agency.

via Discovery of Monsanto GMO wheat threatens US exports — RT News.

This is not good news for the American wheat farmer. Japan is the largest exporter of our wheat behind Mexico so that’s a big sector of our market just disappearing. Other Asian buyers of our wheat are considering the same course of action.

China’s Shuanghui buys US pork icon Smithfield

China’s Shuanghui is buying Smithfield. Smithfield uses feedlot pigs. Feedlot pigs have their own problems. They are crammed together with little room for exercise, shot full of antibiotics and fed the cheapest feed available but I’ve always considered the processing of Smithfield products to be of higher quality than most. That’s why I’m a little anxious about this buy out. However maybe the Chinese won’t pull down the quality of Smithfield products and maybe the quality of Shuanghui’s products will improve from this move.

“Shuanghui will gain access to high-quality, competitively-priced and safe US products, as well as Smithfields best practices and operational expertise,” he said.

via AFP: China’s Shuanghui buys US pork icon Smithfield.

Now let’s just hope that production isn’t moved to China.

Did Lois Lerner waive her right to invoke the Fifth Amendment?

I am as aghast of the antics of the IRS as the next person, may be more so, but I’m also a very adamant defender of one’s right not to incriminate one’s self. If I suspect you are questioning me in order to gain evidence to prosecute me I am shutting up and that appears to be exactly what Lois Lerner did after making a statement that she had done nothing wrong.

However, Darrell Issa seems to think that claiming one’s innocence is a waiver of that right.

But the fact that she reiterated some of the same answers she gave the inspector general during his investigation prompted the panel’s chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to remark, “At this point, I believe you have not asserted your rights, but have effectively waived your rights.”

via Did Lois Lerner waive her right to invoke the Fifth Amendment?.

Mr. Issa, you are a dumbass and a very un American one at that. She has an absolute right to keep her mouth shut when being asked questions intended to incriminate her and that is exactly what your hearing was set up to do.

Girl Apologizes for Tweeting About Her Hit and Run With Cyclist

I don’t think an apology was necessary for the tweet but she ought to be bending over backwards in apologizing to the cyclist she hit. It sounds like she may just be sorry she got caught.

A young driver at the centre of a storm after she boasted on Twitter about colliding with a cyclist has apologised for what she calls a “stupid tweet”.

via Cycle tweet girl breaks her silence | Anglia – ITV News.

URL: http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2013-05-22/cycle-tweet-girl-breaks-her-silence/

Newegg nukes “corporate troll” Alcatel in third patent appeal win this year

The French telephone conglomerate bought Lucent Technologies back in 2006 acquiring a vast portfolio of patents, many originally obtained by the old Bell Labs.

With all of these patents now there’s you would think that they would start showcasing new products. Right?

Nope, they start issuing licenses demands on their patents. However, they made the mistake of sending their licensure demand to Newegg. Newegg viewed this as patent trolling. Newegg doesn’t settle with patent trolls, ever.

The jury found the patents invalid.

The appeals court found the patents invalid.

Newegg Chief Legal Officer, Lee Cheng, talks about Lucent’s corporate representatives testimony:

“Successful defendants have their litigation managed by people who care,” said Cheng. “For me, it’s easy. I believe in Newegg, I care about Newegg. Alcatel Lucent, meanwhile, they drag out some random VP—who happens to be a decorated Navy veteran, who happens to be handsome and has a beautiful wife and kids—but the guy didn’t know what patents were being asserted. What a joke.”

via Newegg nukes “corporate troll” Alcatel in third patent appeal win this year | Ars Technica. via Flutterby

I think I want to put a framed and autographed 8×10 glossy photograph of Mr. Cheng on my desk.

URL: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/05/newegg-nukes-corporate-troll-alcatel-in-third-patent-appeal-win-this-year/

Obama: I didnt know about IRS practices – CBS News

My president is really getting beat up on this week. I was feeling sorry for him until he said this:

“I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the [inspector general] report before the I.G. report had been leaked”

via Obama: I didnt know about IRS practices – CBS News.

I still want to feel sorry for him but when you are the chief it is your job to know what you’re underlings are doing, at least to the extent that you won’t be blindsided by a leak to a newspaper.

URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57584849/obama-i-didnt-know-about-irs-practices/

Cannabis Relieves Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Dan pointed out this small, placebo controlled trial gives hope for sufferers of Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory disease of the intestines. From what I understand this disease is a real cramp on one’s lifestyle.

….. a short course 8 week of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 11 patients with active CD, compared to placebo, without side effects.

via Cannabis Induces a Clinical Respo… [Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013] – PubMed – NCBI.

If for no other reasons being able to conduct clinical trials like this without fear of arrest warrants delisting cannabis from the controlled substances list.

Twitter / LisaDCNN: DEBT CEILING IMPROVED: By better …

Lisa Desjardines Tweets:

DEBT CEILING IMPROVED: By better budget numbers. CBO estimates US will now hit ceiling in the fall, October/November. #tcot #p2 #EasyButton?

via Twitter / LisaDCNN: DEBT CEILING IMPROVED: By better ….

That’s great news! It tells me that the sequester is working.

URL: https://twitter.com/LisaDCNN/status/334384243503415296

Flutterby™! : Fan fiction 2013-05-14 10:57:18.281626-07

Dan picked this up from Medley who got it from Violet Impudence. I liked it so I’m passing it on as well.

Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations instead of owned by the folk. —Henry Jenkins

Mr. Jenkins expresses why storytelling in the home is important. Sure, it’s easy to plop the kids down in front of the TV and pop in a DVD with Disney’s latest rehash of the Brother’s Grimm or Mother Goose but we are giving ownership over to the corporations when we do this.

It’s bad enough that we do it with the classics but we are also doing this with modern mythology and stories. Slowly we are losing the art of storytelling. And not just for our kids but for society in general.

I think this summer I may invite some friends over to sit around the fire pit in the backyard on a weekend night, toast some marshmallows, drink some fruity drinks and take turns telling stories that we’ve made up.