Archive for common sense

GOP Freak Out Because They Can't Read

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personal drone 2

One of the problems people have today is they're in a constant state of "hurry." They have so many things on their plate and time ticks by so quickly, they try to do too much at the same time. And the result is sometimes embarrassing.

Take reading regulations for an example. If you're going to run for political office, or if you hold political office, comprehensive reading is a requirement. New bills and proposals are constantly being put in front of you and your understanding them is paramount before you can vote on them. Or at least that's how it's supposed to work.

Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) reportedly used an aerial drone to capture images from his wedding to his long-time same-sex partner last month -- and the GOP is not at all happy about it.

Nothing about this should raise too many eyebrows unless you're a Conservative Republican. In that case the idea of a same-sex marriage is abhorrent. That could cause your blood pressure to rise and cloud your thinking. But surprise, that's not what has gotten the National Republican Congressional Committee's undies in a bunch.

Congressman Maloney 2Rep. Sean Maloney - Randy Florke

The straw that broke their back was Congressman Maloney used a drone to photograph his event. I think it's clever and very interesting. The Republican caucus group saw this differently.

The New York Daily News reported on Monday that Maloney had used a small drone to shoot video at his wedding in Cold Spring, N.Y. But the News also said that federal regulations prohibit the commercial use of drones like the one that he and partner Randy Florke used.

The National Republican Congressional Committee labeled Maloney's actions as a "stunning disregard for FAA rules regarding drone use."

"Stunning  disregard." Let's break this down. Here's the one word the Republicans are not reading -- giving them the benefit of the doubt that they can read at all. Today's "secret word" is COMMERCIAL, as in commercial use.

There is a prohibition with commercial use of such a drone, but not personal use. Unless the congressperson and his partner are planning on selling  copies of their wedding video, thus making the usage commercial, this is all completely legal. The chance these two men are planning such a commercial venture with this matrimonial commemoration video seems quite unlikely.

Thus, once again, the misinformed GOP, the Chicken Littles of the world, are screaming the sky is falling. If only it would, it might knock some common sense into them. That doesn't seem likely though. So ignorance of the law seems to reign supreme, once again, in the GOP headquarters.

And to think that the group pointing fingers and accusing another Congressman of breaking the law consists of the very same people who are supposed to know the laws would be laughable, if it were not so sad. It's one thing to be incompetent. It's another to open your mouth and prove it. This is just such a case.

So here's a lesson for all you GOP congresspeople. Before you accuse someone of something, do your homework. And take the time to read all the regulations, not just the ones that your eyes pick up while you're out doing something else, like fundraising or obstructing Congress.

For a change, do your jobs. We citizens would appreciate that.

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NYT's Maureen Dowd OD's On Marijuana And Blames The Candy

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cannabs edibles maureen dowd

There's nothing like trying something before writing about it. And that's what New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd did recently -- and not without some lingering effects. For an article she was writing on Colorado's legal marijuana culture, she decided to try some of the "edibles" which contain cannabis. So far so good.

So, she bought a caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar which she said looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars she used to love as a kid. After she took one bite, then another, she didn't notice anything happening. Perhaps she was disappointed but for whatever reason, she decided in her impatience to gobble down the rest of the bar.

She waited, and then it happened. The effects began. In her NYT article, she writes:

But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.

Based on that experience, she's come to some conclusions. The biggest one being that the entire marijuana industry was set up for potheads, people who smoked frequently. This nascent business has to educate new or first time users prior to selling them the edible goods so people will know what to expect to feel.

That's not a bad idea. But her article goes on to condemn and point out the dangers of legalization, even trying to equate her unfortunate experience with people jumping off buildings and kids eating marijuana-laced goodies and ending up with irreparable harm. These are possible, but not probable. And the reason is, she OD'd because she lacked common sense.

The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

So in essence, she took 16 times the amount she should have taken. No wonder she got herself into a bit of a problem. If she had bought a fifth of scotch and drunk the whole thing, she would have gotten sick or drunk or both on that too. There's no suggested servings printed on a bottle of booze. So I find it a bit disingenuous that she faults the experience on her naivete. She's been around. She knows you don't go from one bite to the whole bar, just as you don't go from one shot glass of Glenlivet to the whole bottle.

Her suggestion that if this had been alcohol, she'd have known better doesn't really hold water. She claims in her article that people know you have to be careful in how much you drink, when only an idiot or the most simpleminded would think that taking too much of a marijuana laced edible wouldn't lead to some ill effects.

But that said, I do think the public has been so scared by lies and innuendos--the Reefer Madness syndrome--that more education of the public might not be such a bad thing. But Dowd's reckless accusations that it was the lack of full labeling or the implication that she needed more knowledge to safely ingest is a disservice to an industry. If she was new to this kind of purchase, why didn't she ask when she bought the candy bar how much she should take to feel some effects? The next day when she asked, she was told. A bad assumption on her part made an ass of her, not a better investigative columnist.

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Once Again Sen. Warren Proposes Help To Consumers And Students

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Warren

Well, when it comes to consumer protections and forward thinking plans on how to make life better for all of us, there's now really only one voice. It's not Obama. It's not Boehner. It's not even a man. It's a woman who's becoming more a more of a hero every day to Democrats and Independents, and a seemingly unstoppable force against Republicans. She's Elizabeth Warren. Not even Hillary Clinton scares the GOP as much as she does.

She's been fighting Wall Street for us, trying to keep down runaway profits that don't, as the Republicans like to say, "trickle down" to working-class people. The GOP call them "job creators," but in reality they are money grabbers and thieves. Simon Legrees.

Yesterday EW, as the Senator is being called these days, announced a proposed bill to help the underwater fiscal lives of recent graduates of colleges and universities. And she's also allowing millionaires to take advantage of their preferential financial status and give a little back to those starting out, those who will someday lead these big financial institution and raise up civilization as a whole.

Her plan is quite simple -- a surtax -- yes a tax -- on earnings over $1Million. It's a modification to the Buffet rule. If you never heard of the Buffet rule, it that's because Republicans vetoed it. Think Progress:

The Buffet rule is named after billionaire Warren Buffet and would establish a minimum tax on income in excess of $1 million. The measure, which never got out of Congress, raises approximately $50 billion in revenue and ensures that millionaires do not pay lower tax rates than middle-class families.

Right now the government gives tax breaks to the highest earners but puts the burden on the lower wage earners. Millionaires and billionaires, pay lower taxes, if they even pay any, than middle class workers.

Warren's proposed bill will put those surtaxed revenues toward student loans which make trillions for the US treasure coffers. The onerous and usurious student loan rates in effect up until last year's reduction (which EW was a moving force in getting passed) are still in force. Unless they can be refinanced to current rates (not allowed under current rules), the older loans are going into default and students are crumbling under their weight. All Warren wants is to help people pay back the money they borrowed at today's lower rates, giving graduates more of a fighting chance to make it. It's win-win for America and our future. If you can refinance a house or a car, why not a student loan?

If you want to hear the future voice of America, Senator Warren of Massachusetts is the voice we need to listen to.

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Don't Let This Nightmare Come True

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Nightmare

Nightmare

With a h/t to our own, Lucian Dixon...

Last night I had the most horrible of dreams -- a nightmare. Well, it was a nightmare in the sense that it caused me to wake up in a panicked state with a veneer of sweat across my forehead.

It went something like this. My son came home with a document -- the results of his psychological testing that was mandated in his application for a full time work position that he really wanted badly. He was a little concerned, so as a loving dad, I asked him what's up? He handed me a paper, the test results. Stamped across it was the word, "APPROVED."

Hell, I couldn't see anything the matter with that. I had more problems with his potential employer administering a psych test to see if he was qualified for this job -- the assistant director of IT for a middle-sized company. It wasn't anything that would have so great an impact that it required this kind of examination.

But it was done. And he was approved. So, the dream was going along just fine until my son asked me to look at the questions -- more of a profile assessment. My son was found to have all of the traits listed below, which were attributed to Psychology Today:

  • American exceptionalism and the need to protect it by strict immigration policies;
  • Anti-abortion under all circumstances (”Life begins at conception”);
  • Pro-capital punishment;
  • Pro-gun rights;
  • “Law and order” attitudes favoring harsh penalties for criminal behavior; Supporters of the “war on drugs;”
  • Anti-affirmative action;
  • Anti-reductions in nuclear weapons;
  • Anti-entitlements; anti-gay;
  • Anti-science (e.g., denial of evolution and climate change);
  • Belief in the promulgation of “Christian values” in schools, courts, and public ceremonies;
  • Reverence for people in uniform; given to patriotic display;
  • A fondness for military solutions to international problems;
  • Biblical certainty in matters of morality;
  • A conviction that those who disagree politically should be the objects of coercion; A view of oneself as beset by evil forces conspiring to take what one has;
  • The equation of compromise with “weakness.”

Oh my God. My son, whom I love, was a conservative. A friggin' Republican right-wing conservative! I panicked. What had I done wrong? I had raised him with love. I had never laid a hand on him and seldom even raised my voice with him. I had traveled with him to many countries to see and experience the world. We'd participated in many charity events. He was a good team player in baseball and soccer. He learned American Sign Language as his foreign language requirement so he could help those who might not be able to hear. He went to university and got his Bachelor of Science degree. He has a long-term girl friend. How could this happen to me -- or more importantly to him?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

And then I woke up. My son heard me yelling and rushed in, joining my wife with great concern. I hugged them both when I realized this was a dream. A horrible dream. My son never took such a test. And he assured me that he was still very much a left-leaning Democrat.

Now that should have been the end of it right there. But as with most good spooky stories, it's not.

In an email from Lucian to me which I read last night before retiring, was this study. And these qualities listed above are actually the traits Psychology Today compiled after vast studies and assessments, which best sum up today's right-wing conservative.

Oh, and the horror of it all? How can we survive with thinking like that running rampant among us?

I'd go back to sleep if I wasn't so worried about that dream becoming a reality.

Lesson here... don't go to sleep and let the right wing run free. Let's sleep but do it in shifts. It's the only protection we've got against mass insanity. That and our vote. Keep these Republican wackadoos from reaching office, local, state and national. Don't let the fact that the upcoming elections are "only" mid-terms. They are more important now than ever before. Get your asses out of your chairs and vote.

Don't say you weren't warned.

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