Our free culture anthem gets a fabulous arrangement by Nik Phelps. Vocals by Connie Champagne. Animation and song by Nina Paley.
Author Archive | Easy Rider
AFA Foods, a ground-beef processor owned by Yucaipa Cos., sought bankruptcy court protection with a plan to sell some assets after media coverage of “pink slime” cut demand for its products. The company, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, listed assets of $219 million and debt of $197 million in Chapter 11 papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is among food activists who have criticized the use of what they dubbed “pink slime,” a filler produced by treating finely ground beef scraps with ammonia hydroxide to kill pathogens. Beef Products Inc. last week temporarily suspended production at three plants because of consumer concerns. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said March 28 that the product, referred to in the industry as lean, finely textured beef, is safe to eat...
To some longtime observers of the Supreme Court, the surprising part of yesterday's oral argument wasn't that Justice Anthony Kennedy critically questioned the individual mandate; it was the harshly skeptical tone from Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia, one of the court's most outspoken characters, has long been an originalist villain to those on the left, but there was a distinct strain of thought, at least among some constitutional scholars, that he might be inclined to look favorably upon the Affordable Care Act. That idea rested primarily on his concurrence in Gonzales v. Raich, a 2005 case out of California, in which the court found that the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce extended to marijuana that was grown at home solely for personal consumption...
Male fruit flies become barflies when rejected by females, choosing alcohol-spiked food more often than their successful brothers in a study that suggests it may be due to a brain chemical also found in humans. The spurned flies had lower levels of a molecule in their brains called neuropeptide F than the males who were allowed to mate, according to findings published today in the journal Science. Neuropeptide Y, the version found in humans, has been tied to addiction and mental illness, said Ulrike Heberlein, one of the researchers. The molecule may begin to explain how experience and environment shape human addictions, said Heberlein. About half of a person's risk of addiction is genetic, and environment is known to play a role. The experiment may help explain the biological triggers that affect certain behavior or cravings and could help research into treatments for addiction ...
Reports the AFP via the Herald Sun:
The Knights Templar drug cartel is calling a short truce — but only to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico. They did put up signs announcing this,” a Guanajuato state government source told AFP privately on Sunday.
The Knights Templar are holding off on all violent action, we are not killers, welcome to the Pope,” the official said paraphrasing one of the signs put up in the town of Irapuato, Guanajuato state. The signs were seen in at least seven towns statewide.
The Pope arrives March 23 in Leon, in the neighbouring state of Michoacan, where the Knights Templar were founded. President Felipe Calderon has launched a military crackdown against the cartels battling it out for control of the lucrative drug trade, in which some 50,000 Mexicans have lost their lives since 2006.
You might be tempted to chuckle about some Norwegian researchers peering back at experiments done during the '60s and '70s with LSD as a treatment for alcoholism. But don't. Their rigorous analysis, combining data from six different studies, concludes that one dose of the hallucinogenic drug might just help. The past studies randomly assigned patients to get a strong dose of LSD or something else (another drug, such as amphetamine, a low dose of LSD or nothing special). And the results provide evidence for a beneficial effect on abstinence from alcohol. For what it's worth, the analysis, just published online by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, was funded by the Research Council of Norway, not exactly a fringe outfit ...
Via CBS News:
One district in northern Ohio made its fair share of news on Super Tuesday. “Joe the Plumber” won the Republican primary in the 9th congressional district, setting up a general election showdown against Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the veteran lawmaker who pulled out a win over Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
Samuel Wurzelbacher, who became known as “Joe the Plumber” during the 2008 presidential campaign, launched his first foray into professional politics in a newly redesigned district void of any Republican incumbent. The new northeastern Ohio district, which now spans from Cleveland to Toledo, is heavily Democratic and poses a challenge for the vocal and outspoken figure of the right.
Wurzelbacher ascended into the limelight in 2008 after he was videotaped asking then-candidate Barack Obama a question about potential taxes imposed on him for opening a small plumbing business. Then-Senator Obama’s response included a statement he wanted to “spread the wealth,” which became a lightning rod for the right, and Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin began calling Wurzelbacher “Joe the Plumber” as a symbol of Republican opposition to Obama’s economic policies …
Read More: CBS News
Hell has frozen over. Mike Riggs writes on Reason:
Pat Robertson, America’s longest-serving eschatological bigot and spiritual leader, took to the airwaves of the 700 Club last week and denounced the war on weed, as well as liberals, all of whom write laws in a “punitive spirit.” Putting aside the fact that Robertson has, on occasion, invited God to smite people people of abominable politics and preferences, this time he is making (some) sense:
… Read the rest
We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population, but we make up 25% of jailed prisoners…
Every time the liberals pass a bill — I don’t care what it involves — they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don’t feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.
I became sort of a hero of the hippie culture, I guess, when I said I think we ought to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.
Mo Costandi writes in the Guardian:
… Read the rest
My latest news story for Nature describes a new study which explains how marijuana causes impairments in working memory, or the ability to retain information for short periods of time. This is a well known side effect of marijuana, which is unwanted with respect to medicinal use of the drug, but until now the underlying neurobiology was unknown.
The research shows that tetrahydrocanabinol (THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) impairs working memory by inducing a form of synaptic plasticity that weakens neuronal connections. This could lead to new THC-related drugs that have therapeutic value but do not cause this unwanted effect. More interestingly, though, the findings provide compelling evidence that hitherto neglected brain cells called astrocytes are critical for brain function and play a direct role in cognitive processes.
There are two different types of synapitc plasticity. One of these, called long-term potentiation, strengthens the connections between neurons so that neurotransmission – the process by which signals pass from one nerve cell to another – is more effective.
Don't hate us because we're beautiful. Or do. It turns out the left-most state is also America's most-hated, according to a recent survey by Public Policy Polling. And California's left-leaning politics seem to have a lot to do with it. The Golden State is the most-disliked in the union, and Hawaii is the most-liked. In fact, ours was one of only five states that received majority-negative views by our fellow Americans, according to PPP: Americans generally have a favorable view of most states. Only five are in negative territory, led by California (27% favorable and 44% unfavorable), Illinois (19-29), New Jersey (25-32), Mississippi (22-28), and Utah (24-27). Barack Obama's home state of Hawaii was the most-loved, with 54 percent of us viewing it positively. (Of course — it's America's vacation state) ...