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Mon, 27 Mar 2023
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Mr. Potato

Maryland police chief humiliated after citing satirical article to oppose pot legalization

© Reuters / Jason Redmond
Testifying against legislation that would decriminalize marijuana in Maryland, the Annapolis police chief cited a satirical article that claimed 37 pot deaths occurred on the first day Colorado legalized its sale.

"The first day of legalization, that's when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana," Chief Michael Pristoop said on Tuesday as part of testimony during a Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. "I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths."

Pristoop was quickly corrected by a sponsor of one of the bills, according to the Capital Gazette.

"Unless you have some other source for this, I'm afraid I've got to spoil the party here," said Sen. Jamie Raskin. "Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the Daily Currant and the Comedy Central website."

Bacon n Eggs

Food prices continuing to climb in U.S. as extreme weather takes toll on crops

© Unknown
If it seems like food prices are going through the roof, you're not imagining it. And they're going to keep going up.

That's what Matt Heimer, editor of the Encore blog at Marketwatch.com, predicts, and while there are several explanations, he says the biggest factor is weather.

Beef prices have gone up about 10 percent for steak and about 15 percent for hamburger this year, and dry conditions have been a major contribution, Heimer says: Drought has been "thinning out a lot of the big cattle herds, and fewer cows on the market means higher prices."

Vegetables affected by the drought as well, particularly the crippling one in California, Heimer says. The effects will take about six to eight months to show up, he adds.

For example, bread prices have risen because there was a rough winter last year in the northern Plains states, such as Nebraska, from where red winter wheat comes.

Alarm Clock

Hospital takes custody of parents' son, deny them the right to visit him

Bret Bohn
Last week, we exposed the Boston Children's Hospital for taking custody of multiple children against parents' will. A new case in Alaska reveals that Boston Children's is not the only hospital using force to place individuals in state custody.

27-year-old Bret Bohn's parents took him to an Anchorage hospital, Providence Medical Center, in October for severe insomnia he suffered after the removal of overgrowths in his nose. Bret was prescribed medication and sent home but his condition got worse. His health subsequently deteriorated so dramatically, that the 27-year-old was not able to care for himself or make his own medical decisions. That is when Bret's parents took him back to the hospital.

Bret's mother, Lorraine Bohn, believes the medication doctors prescribed to her son made his condition worse. Lorraine requested a second opinion and a change in medical plan.

That's when the state stepped in and a custody battle broke out. The judge ruled in favor of the state - Bret is now in the custody of Adult Protective Services, and his parents were stripped of the right to visit him in the hospital. Lorraine said the family has been living in a "nightmare."

Light Sabers

Stones, bottles thrown as pro-, anti-Russian protesters clash in Crimea, Ukraine

© Reuters/Baz Ratner
Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede during clashes at rallies held by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014.
Bottles, stones and flags flew in the air as thousands of pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators clashed in front of the parliament building in Simferopol, the capital of Ukraine's autonomous Crimea region.

Tension between the rival groups rallying next to one another intensified after hours of demonstrating, with people wielding Russian, Ukrainian, Crimean and Crimean Tatar flags getting involved in clashes. Demonstrators slammed each other with flags and threw stones as leaders on both sides urged their followers to avoid provocations.

On Wednesday evening, local MP Mustafa Dzhemilev said that during the clashes two people died - a man of a heart attack and a woman who was trampled by the crowd.

At least 30 people have been injured in the clashes, 6 of whom were hospitalized, Crimean Health Ministry reported. Three of them remain in severe state while the other three suffered moderate injuries. Most people were admitted with head and abdominal injuries.


Gene modification: FDA weighs risks of 3-person embryo fertilization


The experimental technique, if approved for use, would allow a woman to give birth to a baby who inherits her normal nucleus DNA but not her defective mitochondrial DNA.
Federal health regulators will consider this week whether to green light a provocative new fertilization technique that could eventually create babies from the DNA of three people, with the goal of preventing mothers from passing on debilitating genetic diseases to their children.

The Food and Drug Administration has framed its two-day meeting as a "scientific, technologic and clinical" discussion about how to test the approach in humans. But the technique itself raises a number of ethical questions, including whether the government should sanction the creation of genetically modified humans.

The FDA panel will hear from several prominent critics who oppose any human testing of the approach, arguing that it could be a slippery slope toward "designer babies," - in which parents customize traits like eye color, height and intelligence.

But the field's leading U.S. researcher will be on hand to explain and defend his work, which he describes as "gene correction," rather than "gene modification."

"We want to replace these mutated genes, which by nature have become pathogenic to humans," says Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, who will present on Tuesday. "We're reversing them back to normal, so I don't understand why you would be opposing that."

Quenelle - Golden

Police and FBI riled over '1 Percent' graffiti left on Atherton homes

Vandals have targeted one of the Bay Area's wealthiest communities and their handiwork has gotten the attention of the FBI.

Last Sunday, multi-million dollar homes in Atherton had offensive graffiti sprayed on them. The graffiti was found on walls, fences and even a car.

Many of the messages said "F*** the 1%," a reference to the income inequality between the top one percent of Americans and the rest of the population.

"It's terrible," said one neighbor who identified herself as Diane. "Yeah, it's a terrible thing to do and to be here in town."

Comment: Getting the FBI involved over some petty graffiti!? What a powerful sign of how the rich are running scared from the growing tide of pressure against the obscene inequality in America today. Woe betide those who offend the modern optimates with a little spray paint.


Video: Man bullied by police for filming arrests in Towson

Controversial confrontation. A man videotaped Baltimore County police as they arrested two people in Towson, but an altercation broke out between the man and officer. Now an investigation is underway.

Meghan McCorkell has more from officials.

County police officials say they are concerned by the video and they've launched an investigation.

Early Sunday morning, a man videotaped as Baltimore County police arrested two people in Towson. As the video rolled, he was confronted by an officer.

Bacon n Eggs

Food bank feeding the poor in Scotland runs out of food

© Paul Hackett/Reuters
A man walks past a Royal Bank of Scotland building in central London.

Glasgow - The largest food bank in Scotland, which exists to help feed the poverty stricken, has run out of food.

The food bank in Glasgow has been cleaned out because the number of families asking for help has reached record levels.

The number of people requesting help via the Citizens Advice Bureau for food in January was more than half the number turning up to food banks throughout the whole of 2013.

The food banks are mostly run by the Trussell Trust, which runs 42 food banks in Scotland alone.

The alarming scale of poverty crisis in the UK led to the Glasgow City Mission closing its doors and unable to provide basic foodstuffs to those in need.

Almost 8,000 people in Scotland were helped in January alone by being offered tinned fruit, bread and other foodstuffs donated by others.

But following an appeal by the Glasgow Mission, schoolchildren in the city's schools collected food from parents to give to the charity to help with the shortfall.

Light Sabers

Russian community preparing to defend itself from spreading fascism in Ukraine

soviet ukraine rally
© Alexander Khudoteply / AFP / Getty Images
A Ukrainian woman holds a Soviet flag during a rally in the industrial city of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, on Feb. 22, 2014
The busload of officers only began to feel safe when they entered the Crimean peninsula. Through the night on Friday, they drove the length of Ukraine from north to south, having abandoned the capital city of Kiev to the revolution. Along the way the protesters in several towns pelted their bus with eggs, rocks and, at one point, what looked to be blood before the retreating officers realized it was only ketchup. "People were screaming, cursing at us," recalls one of the policemen, Vlad Roditelev.

Finally, on Saturday morning, the bus reached the refuge of Crimea, the only chunk of Ukraine where the revolution has failed to take hold. Connected to the mainland by two narrow passes, this huge peninsula on the Black Sea has long been a land apart, an island of Russian nationalism in a nation drifting toward Europe. One of its biggest cities, Sevastopol, is home to a Russian naval base that houses around 25,000 troops, and most Crimean residents identify themselves as Russians, not Ukrainians.

Comment: It appears that the people of Crimea have good cause to be worried and turn to Russia for help.
Neo-Nazism unleashed: Eastern Ukraine synagogue hit by firebombs
Ukraine beaten and fragmented: uprising political groups once on the fringes are in the ascendancy
Democracy murdered by protest - Ukraine falls to intrigue and violence


Crimea unites to resist Ukraine's 'anti-Russian' revolution

© Reuters
Pro-Russian activists gather to form a local public guard to oppose pro-EU groups in Simferopol in the Crimea yesterday.
"There's no Maidan here," said Vitaly, a young waiter in a restaurant in Simferopol, capital of Crimea. "A few people tried it, but it didn't catch on."

"Maidan" is the Ukrainian name for both Independence Square in Kiev and the protest movement centred there that toppled President Viktor Yanukovich and his government.

Maidan and other squares across central and western Ukraine have for months been full of people Vitaly's age, who were were sick of the corruption, greed and thuggery that Yanukovich came to embody. Now they are celebrating a revolution that they hope will transform their country.

"It's not like that here," Vitaly explained. "I am against Maidan and in favour of Russia. And most of Crimea thinks like me."

Many people living on this Black Sea peninsula, twice the size of Northern Ireland, agree with Moscow's assertion that Ukraine's revolutionaries are violent, western-backed ultra-nationalists who intend to crush the rights of Russian-speakers and curtail Crimea's links with Russia itself.