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Tue, 28 Mar 2023
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Medical marijuana's first major tv ad

Medical marijuana has become legal in an increasing number of states, but many major advertisers still haven't been comfortable running ads about it. Comcast, it seems, isn't one of those companies. On Monday, Comcast began airing a commercial for MarijuanaDoctors.com that the site says is likely the first spot to ever run on a major television network. The commercial appeared on Fox, CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, AMC, and Discovery, among a number of other networks throughout New Jersey and Chicago. It will appear in Massachusetts next week.

Heart - Black

Cruel: Dead soldier gets 1-cent cheque from federal government

Cpl. Justin Stark

This one-cent cheque dated Feb. 28 was sent to the home of Cpl. Justin Stark. The 22-year-old former soldier committed suicide in 2011 in Hamilton. His family wants to make sure this never happens again. (Supplied)
The mother of a Hamilton soldier who committed suicide over two years ago is incensed that the federal government sent her dead son a cheque for one cent just a few days ago.

Cpl. Justin Stark, an infantry soldier with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, killed himself in the John W. Foote VC Armouries in Hamilton in October 2011. He was 22 years old.

Stark's mother Denise received a cheque in the mail from the federal government a few days ago - presumably for owed military pay - said Keven Ellis, the president of the North Wall Riders Association, a motorcycle club that supports soldiers and their families with fundraising and events.

"It's humiliating and degrading," said Ellis, who is speaking on behalf of the family as Stark's mother is just "too distraught."

Take 2

The Long Southern Goodbye? Piers Morgan says he's staying at CNN to do "big name" interviews

CNN's Piers Morgan, who is ending his nightly show on the network, isn't going anywhere. He told me last night that he's staying at the network. "I'll make a deal to do 20 or 25 shows a year, all interviews with big names. That's what I wanted to do in the first place, not reports on snow storms and that kind of thing."

Morgan said his producer, Jonathan Wald, has already made a deal to stick around. What does he think will replace his current show? "A news program of some kind," he said. He also acknowledged that his campaign for gun control was like "beating my head against a wall."

Morgan was one of dozens of big names who attended a swanky dinner at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills last night thrown by Harvey Weinstein to show off numbers from a possible new Broadway musical called "Finding Neverland."

Oprah Winfrey, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, U2′s Bono and Adam Clayton, Harry Styles from One Direction, Josh Groban, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Gayle King, Sharon Osbourne, Tyler Perry, Irving Azoff, Universal Music chief Lucian Grange, Bob Balaban, Dermot Mulroney, plus Steve Coogan with Philomena Lee, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde, hit songwriter Diane Warren, Netflix's Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant, all went wild from performances by the show's composers Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and Laura Michelle Kelly.

Light Saber

Sharpen the guillotines!: Comedian Greg Proops rips whiny billionaires

Greg Proops
© Creative Commons
Comedian Greg Proops ripped into a recent Cadillac commercial for promoting "corporate c*ck-sucking" and called on Americans to sharpen their "metaphorical guillotines."

In the TV spot, "Poolside," actor Neal McDonough walks past family members through a large, brightly lit home, asking, "Why do we work so hard? For what? For stuff?"

Conservatives have praised the ad as a celebration of the American work ethic, but Proops said on his Feb. 17 podcast that the narration missed the point - badly.

"There's places in Europe where they take off the whole month of August - the whole month!" he said, paraphrasing the commercial. "We're not like that in America. In America, we put our nose to the grindstone every g*ddamn day and suck our corporate master's d*ck until the j*sm fills us up like a milkshake."


Photography as a crime: Kansas teen charged after filming cops speeding

© Shutterstock
A Topeka, Kansas teenager pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of inattentive driving and having a television receiver in front of him while driving, after filming police officers citing him for a traffic stop he complained were speeding.

Addison Mikkelson, 17, made headlines last year after he filmed police arresting him for jaywalking. In that video, displayed below, he asked officers what he was being charged with and his camera was thrown to the ground. Officers said he was "obstructing justice," though the video seemed to suggest they were unhappy with his recording the incident.

On Monday, he plead not guilty to new charges. In a second video he posted Sunday, he filmed a patrol car allegedly speeding and failing to use a turn signal, and then was pulled over for what police say was inattentive driving and driving behind a television receiver. No receiver is shown.

Mikkelson told the Topeka Capital-Journal he made the film to protect himself.

Che Guevara

Vaya con Dios, Hugo Chàvez, mi Amigo

For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.

As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available.

Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It's the oil. And it's the Koch Brothers - and it's the ketchup.

Reverend Pat Robertson said,
"Hugo Chavez thinks we're trying to assassinate him. I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."
It was 2005 and Robertson was channeling the frustration of George Bush's State Department.

Despite Bush's providing intelligence, funds and even a note of congratulations to the crew who kidnapped Chavez (we'll get there), Hugo remained in office, reelected and wildly popular.

But why the Bush regime's hate, hate, HATE of the President of Venezuela?

Reverend Pat wasn't coy about the answer: It's the oil.
"This is a dangerous enemy to our South controlling a huge pool of oil."
A really BIG pool of oil. Indeed, according to Guy Caruso, former chief of oil intelligence for the CIA, Venezuela hold a recoverable reserve of 1.36 trillion barrels, that is, a whole lot more than Saudi Arabia.

If we didn't kill Chavez, we'd have to do an "Iraq" on his nation. So the Reverend suggests,
"We don't need another $200 billion war....It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."
Chavez himself told me he was stunned by Bush's attacks: Chavez had been quite chummy with Bush Senior and with Bill Clinton.

Che Guevara

In memoriam: Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's "El commandante Presidente"

Hugo Chavez, "El commandante Presidente", died one year ago on March 5th, 2013, after contracting an unusually aggressive form of cancer.

To commemorate the life of this unique man, we look back at some unforgettable moments from him.

Here is the speech Chavez made at the UN in 2006 when he called Bush "The Devil":

Bizarro Earth

Suffering? Well, you must deserve it

© AP/Mark Lennihan
People wait in line to enter the Northern Brooklyn Food Stamp and DeKalb Job Center in New York City in 2012.
Oxford, England - The morning after my Feb. 20 debate at the Oxford Union, I walked from my hotel along Oxford's narrow cobblestone streets, past its storied colleges with resplendent lawns and Gothic stone spires, to meet Avner Offer, an economic historian and Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History.

Offer, the author of "The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950," for 25 years has explored the cavernous gap between our economic and social reality and our ruling economic ideology. Neoclassical economics, he says, is a "just-world theory," one that posits that not only do good people get what they deserve but those who suffer deserve to suffer. He says this model is "a warrant for inflicting pain." If we continue down a path of mounting scarcities, along with economic stagnation or decline, this neoclassical model is ominous. It could be used to justify repression in an effort to sustain a vision that does not correspond to the real world.

Bad Guys

Children in long-term solitary confinement - Modern Medieval Dungeons

"Why lock somebody up while you're locked up? You're trying to kill their spirit even more," says Michael Kemp, describing his six-month stay in solitary confinement at age 17.

Solitary confinement was once a punishment reserved for the most-hardened, incorrigible criminals. Today, it is standard practice for tens of thousands of juveniles in prisons and jails across America. Far from being limited to the most violent offenders, solitary confinement is now used against perpetrators of minor crimes and children who are forced to await their trials in total isolation. Often, these stays are prolonged, lasting months or even years at a time.

Widely condemned as cruel and unusual punishment, long-term isolation for juveniles continues because it's effectively hidden from the public. Research efforts by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition have struggled to uncover even the most basic facts about how the United States punishes its most vulnerable inmates.

How can a practice be both widespread and hidden? State and federal governments have two effective ways to prevent the public from knowing how deep the problem goes.


Reminders of the BP oil spill evident at Mardi Gras

© Tony Giberson/tgiberson@pnj.com
Florida Department of Environmental Protection representatives Joey Whibbs, left, and Dom Marcanio , right, recover oil from a submerged tar mat Friday morning Feb. 28. 2013. Work crews began work to remove the submerged BP oil near Langdon Beach on Thursday. During the recovery effort more than a 1,000 pounds of oil was removed.
More than one million tourists have flocked to the South for Mardi Gras, and hundreds of thousands of those revelers have settled in for a few days along the Gulf Coast. Those who decided to enjoy the festivities along the Gulf of Mexico might be in for something they didn't expect: oil tar mats.

On Thursday of last week, workers on Pensacola Beach, Florida spotted and brought to shore a 1,200 pound oil tar mat, which officials say accounted for about 90% of the total size of the mat. While the bulk of the mat was a mixture of sand and other debris, scientists ran tests and were quickly able to determine that the oil in the mat was a perfect match for the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, as the Pensacola News Journal explains:
The weathered oil from the tar mat was confirmed to be MC-252 oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Although the waters of the Gulf of Mexico were once scoured regularly for residual oil from the spill, physical searches were phased out as the number of sightings began to dwindle.
In the summer of 2013, BP pulled their cleanup crews from the Gulf Coast, assuring residents and tourists alike that the oil spill was all cleaned up. A few months later, the U.S. Coast Guard made similar claims to the public.

Comment: See also The Day the Water Died: Detoxing after the Gulf Oil Spill:
"It is not in corporations' best interest to have science educate society about the true risks - the threat to life on earth - posed by side effects of their businesses. So these corporations buy scientists, university professors and others, to spin counter stories, create public confusion, and stall unfavorable policy changes.

"Whose truth are we talking about, your truth or my truth?" public relations specialist, John Scanlon, retorted to a reporter who had asked him whether he served his clients or the truth. Until science deals with its Achilles' heel of advocacy science,it cannot meet society's needs to protect life and we will continue to pollute our soil, air, and water, ourselves, and other life on this planet. Like lemmings,we are all racing towards the cliff. -Riki Ott, PhD., Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill."