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NY State Assembly to Include Comprehensive Medical Marijuana in State Budget Bill; Patients, Families, Caregivers Call on Senate To Do Same

March 7, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Statewide Coalition Launches Month of Actions With Weekly Lobby and Education Days in Albany and Community Forums in Buffalo, Syracuse, Capital Region, Westchester, NYC, Long Island

Momentum Builds as Assembly Jumpstarts Negotiations and Four Senate Republicans Announce Support for Compassionate Care Act

New York: Today, Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D, WFP – Manhattan) announced that the Assembly would include the comprehensive medical marijuana bill in their state budget proposal. The move assures that, for the first time ever, the Compassionate Care Act will be formally discussed in state budget negotiations between the Assembly, Senate and Governor.

March 7, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Violence Is at the Core of What All of Us Should be Fighting Against on International Women's Day

March 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Laura Gottesdiener, Waging Nonviolence

There's violence in the home, violence in the streets, violence of incarceration, violence of one nation against another.


This article originally appeared at Waging Nonviolence.

Yesterday was a bad day for pretty much anyone who cares about racial equality, voting rights, police violence and that vague thing we call “justice.” But leave it to the brilliant Angela Davis to turn the blow into a rallying cry to counteract violence — both institutional and intimate.

First, here’s what happened. After an intense lobbying campaign by the police union — officially called the Fraternal Order of Police; you’ll see why the name is important later — the senate blocked President Obama’s nomination of Debo P. Adegbile to be the chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adegbile, who headed the NAACP’s legal defense fund for years, was tarred by the police’s union, and subsequently by Democrat and Republican senators alike, for having helped represent journalist and Black Panther member Mumia Abu-Jamal in an appeal of his death sentence for allegedly killed a Philadelphia police officer.

No matter that Adebgile and the team won the appeal. Or that Abu-Jamal’s case is riddled with inconsistencies. Or that Adebgile has been a leading champion of voting rights and civil rights for decades.

Appearing on Democracy Now! this morning, Baruch professor Johanna Fernandez, editor of the forthcoming “Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu Jamal,” explained that the effort to block Adegbile’s nomination is part of a broader campaign to protect the impunity of police departments — and police brutality — at all costs.

In other words, the Fraternal Order of Police sent a pretty clear signal: Don’t f*ck with the cops, or they’ll f*ck with you.

So, what we’re really talking about is violence: who has the right to use it with impunity, and — more broadly — who has the right to exert violent control over others. And once we start talking broadly about violence, especially two days before International Women’s Day, it’s important to examine how intimate violence and institutional violence are intertwined to create a thoroughly unjust society.

Appearing later in …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Entrepreneurship without Romance

March 7, 2014 in Economics

By Matt McCaffrey

James Buchanan’s work on the economics of public choice has been called “politics without romance,” because it looks beneath the glossy exterior of government and reveals the underlying reality of political behavior. Unfortunately, the “romantic” view of politics is shared by supporters of all types of political power, who seem to don rose-colored hazmat suits in order to promote their particular candidates, parties, or ideologies. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, from the perspective of economics, politics looks less like romance and more like an abusive marriage.

Entrepreneurship also attracts a kind of mistaken romanticism, although in a different way than politics. A couple of weeks ago, Isaac Morehouse wrote an insightful post on the Praxis blog warning that we should take care to avoid glamorizing creativity too much. His point is that creative success, especially in entrepreneurship, can derive from relatively straightforward decision making. Creativity is often simply an attempt to solve a problem while avoiding harm to oneself, as opposed to the flashy, dramatic, and heroic struggle against the odds we sometimes imagine it to be.

In other words, we often place undue emphasis on the personal magnetism and economic “heroism” of entrepreneurs. Yet despite being the “driving force of the market,” entrepreneurship is often quite mundane. Taking a romantic view can be misleading if we end up thinking in terms of only the most dramatic cases of disruptive innovation or personal entrepreneurial charisma (or lack thereof!), and less on the pervasive and vital role of entrepreneurial calculation and judgment.

The blame for excessively romantic views of the entrepreneur can probably be placed on Schumpeter. His theory remains the most well-known in economics, despite the many criticisms that have been leveled against it, and his approach lends itself easily to exaggeration. For him, entrepreneurs are economic revolutionaries, and their success is closely linked to their personalities, which are placed at the forefront of the analysis (especially via Schumpeter’s lavish prose). The notion of creative destruction, for instance, sets the stage for the entrepreneur-as-epic-hero, and glosses over Schumpeter’s more technical exposition of entrepreneurship, which in some ways is a rather boring exercise in equilibrium theory.

Similar ideas were also suggested by Wieser, who strongly influenced Schumpeter. In his book Social Economics, Wieser describes entrepreneurs as “Great personalities… bold technical innovators, organizers with a keen knowledge of human nature, far-sighted bankers, reckless speculators, the …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The School of Belle Knox — The Duke Porn Star on One Way to Pay for Outrageous College Costs

March 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Ayesha Adamo, AlterNet

With climbing tuition fees and expenses, an undergraduate goes hard core…and says she loves it.


I remember the day I heard about Ashley Alexandra Dupré—the mysterious woman in sunglasses standing at the epicenter of the storm surrounding Eliot Spitzer. I remember hoping, so thoroughly and however unjustly, that she would turn out to be brilliant in a way that no one could deny: a Harvard coed, a virtuoso pianist, the next Joan Baez or Maya Angelou…anything at all that might make her the kind of hero who would be able to force America to take a good look in the mirror and understand the hard choices it puts before its greatest minds and sharpest talents when they lack financial means.

Ashley wasn’t that sort of hero. Nor should she have been: she was her own self, living her life as she saw fit. But surely there was some young woman—or man—up to the challenge of taking this rather prevalent archetype—the exceptionally talented youth with no money and plenty of hard choices—into the public eye.

As it turns out, the hero I was waiting for was Belle Knox, the Duke University pornstar, who has arrived on the scene in the past few weeks like Veronica Franco in the midst of the Counter Reformation, blade in hand and ready for a duel of ideas.

Why Veronica Franco, you might ask? Because in 16th century Venice, education was afforded to women of upper class nobility, and rarely to female citizens. Courtesans were the exception to the rule, and were paid to be equally sharp in jousts of the intellect and jousts of bedroom swordplay, giving them the rather exclusive opportunity to be educated well beyond the class they were born into. Veronica Franco was one such courtesan: a sex worker and an esteemed published poet. The two occupations were not mutually exclusive, and it is the former that afforded the education and social opportunities required for the latter.

When we think that sex workers of Veronica Franco’s day were among the very few women of modest beginnings who could acquire an education to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Latest Pap From Christian Movie Industry, Or How to Sucker a Billion Christians

March 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Mark Morford, San Francisco Chronicle

Christian movie producers are safe in the knowledge that devout Christians will see just about anything that doesn't challenge their faith.


You do not mess with blind faith.

Just a humble reminder. You do not question the dully codified stories of Christianity, or challenge them, or offer even remotely refreshing, alternative storylines with anything resembling intelligence, or humor, or deep intellectual curiosity.

What are you, a masochist? To do so would imply there is something to be gained, some sort of cultural progress to be made in the realms of the exhausted – but still deeply paranoid and very simpleminded – Christian faith, when there most certainly is not. Besides, you want to make lots of money, right? Of course you do.

Do you know who understands this overarching rule perfectly? Mark Burnett, the goliath TV producer who single-handedly destroyed the modern world by popularizing reality TV. Burnett and his wife, “Touched by an Angel” actress Roma Downey, know exactly how sucker-able are the vast majority of the world’s Christians. Because they’re evil that way. Smart. I mean smart.

So smart are the Burnetts that they recently hacked together a terrifically lousy movie about the life and times of Jesus, called Son of God. They made it by cobbling new footage with bits of last year’s 10-hour History Channel miniseries on the Bible that was already quite perfectly lousy but still really popular because, you know, Jesus.

But of course, they didn’t stop there. The Burnetts recently travelled the country, shilling this new hunk of spiritual Valium to pastors, churches and shopping malls in hopes of pre-selling millions of tickets, safe in the the knowledge that devout Christians will see just about anything that reassures (but never, ever challenges or advances) their faith, no matter how poorly made, intellectually insulting or terminally boring it might be.

Sexy. Hunky. European. Heavily sedated. Nice hair. Bland as dishwater. Praise!

Are they right? Of course they’re right. There is tremendous money to be made endlessly reinforcing what the masses have already been told to believe, in keeping millions addicted to the very same drug they’ve been taking for …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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In the American West, Water Is a Political Weapon

March 7, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

400px-Drought

The narrative going out from conservative commentators about the California drought (see here and here for two examples) is that environmentalists caused the drought and, since Obama is presumably allied with environmentalists, he is to blame for it.)

Now dear reader, it should be clear to anyone familiar with my work that I am no fan of either Obama or the proponents of natural-resource-socialism known today as “environmentalists.” However, this assertion that water allocation had been just fine or would be just fine in California were it not for Democrats and environmentalists is just the sort of shallow and puerile analysis we’ve all come to expect from right-wing pundits.

In this specific case, what has the conservatives so very upset is that environmentalists have successfully pushed through a series of regulations that require that some river water be allowed to actually flow into the ocean for the sake of a fish called the delta smelt.

For people unfamiliar with how water works in California and the American west, they might conclude that this is a case of the government forcibly taking water form the farmers and handing it over to the environmentalists for their pet projects. This is, however, completely untrue. The first thing to know is that there is no functioning market in water in California, and there are no market prices. Virtually all water in California and the American West is controlled by, distributed by, and “priced” by government agencies. This system of water socialism (described by Bill Anderson here, and yours truly here) is what rules the allocation of water in the West, and by extension, it rules any industry or endeavor that requires water. Thus agriculture, is a socialized industry in the West, where the main input for the industry, water, is allocated along socialistic lines. There is no market pricing, because the pricing is done in a way to benefit powerful political interests.

In many Western states, still including California, although cities are quickly eroding their power, the growers are very powerful lobbies who have for the past 70 years enjoyed the benefits of extremely cheap, subsidized water. They do not own the water, and so when one of the farmers commented on the delta smelt situation and said “We are not interested in welfare; we want water” he was being unintentionally funny. Cheap water for Central Valley farmers, who are growing food in a …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Owner of 32-Room, $43 Million Mansion Stole His Workers Tips And Cheated Them of Overtime

March 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Nick Divito, Courthouse News

The home, which served as the inspiration for The Great Gatsby, is a classic example of the rich's class warfare.


The owner of Oheka Castle — America's second-largest private home and an inspiration for “The Great Gatsby” — cheats his workers on wages and tips, a class action claims in Federal Court. The lawsuit comes a week after the castle's owner was shot in the head on the castle's grounds by a masked gunman who remains at large.

     Named plaintiff Michael Ernano, who worked as a server and bartender at the popular wedding destination, sued Gary Melius, his sons-in-law John Anthony Dipetra and Fabian Santibanez, and the castle's catering company, Oheka Management Corp.

     The castle, which according to the lawsuit is valued at more than $43 million, was one of the inspirations for F. Scott Fitgerald's novel and was used as the setting for Orson Welles' 1941 film “Citizen Kane” as the palatial estate, Xanadu.

     With 32 guestrooms, the castle hosts catered events for as many as 400 diners, and can accommodate up to 1,000 guests, according to the lawsuit.

     ”Along with the incredible opulence of Oheka Castle comes a hefty price tag reaping substantial revenues for defendants Gary Melius and the Oheka Entities,” the complaint states.

     ”On an episode of the reality television program, Bridezillas, one bride-to-be mortgaged her house in order to finance her fairy tale wedding at the enchanting Oheka Castle.”

     According to the complaint, Melius has boasted that revenue came to $3.6 million in 2011 and hoped to increase that to more than $3.8 million in 2012.

     ”Despite earning millions from the labor of their servants, behind the castle walls,” the lawsuit states, Melius and his team “keep more of those revenues for themselves and cheat workers of wages and tips.”

     Ernano claims that he and other workers were not paid for overtime worked, nor for all the hours they worked, that they were not paid in a timely manner, and that their tips were stolen.

     Ernano claims castle managers required workers to carry over their overtime hours into subsequent weeks to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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LSD Can Ease Anxiety for Dying Patients

March 7, 2014 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

The first clinical study of LSD as therapy in 40 years showed positive results.


All those flower children who said, “Dropping acid/dancing with Lucy/a dose of this stuff melts your worries away, man” weren’t (just) tripping, after all.

The results of the first clinical study of the therapeutic use of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) in humans in more than 40 years were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease this week. They show that LSD can promote statistically significant reductions in anxiety.

Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser and his colleagues conducted the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, sponsored by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). They tracked 12 people who were near the end of life as they attended LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions. Eleven of the 12 subjects had never taken LSD prior to participating in the study.

“My LSD experience brought back some lost emotions and ability to trust, lots of psychological insights, and a timeless moment when the universe didn't seem like a trap, but like a revelation of utter beauty,” said Peter, an Austrian study participant.

The study was approved by SwissMedic, the Swiss authority responsible for authorizing and supervising all therapeutic products, in December 2007. The first subject was enrolled on April 23, 2008, and the last long-term follow-up interview was conducted on Aug. 8, 2012.

In his report, Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases, Gasser concluded that the study subjects’ anxiety “went down and stayed down.” The results also indicate that LSD-assisted psychotherapy can be safely administered in these subjects, and Gasser wrote that the results warrant further study into the potential of LSD-assisted psychotherapy.

MAPS noted in a press release that there is “considerable previous human experience using LSD in the context of psychotherapy.”

Between the 1950s and early '70s, psychiatrists, therapists and researchers administered LSD to thousands of people as a treatment for alcoholism, as well as for anxiety and depression in people with advanced-stage cancer. However, since then LSD has been strictly controlled. In the U.S. it is listed as a Schedule I substance, which indicates that it …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Joseph Salerno Talks Currency Crises and Argentina

March 7, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

In this interview with Redmond Weissenberger, Joe Salerno discusses monetary policy, currency crises, the gold standard, and Argentina.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Three Women Who Resurrected Classical Liberalism

March 7, 2014 in Economics

This Women’s History Month, the Cato Institute pays homage to three women, who in the early 1940s unabashedly defended free-market capitalism and individualism in an age that widely considered American capitalism dead and socialism the future. In 1943, Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane and Ayn Rand published three groundbreaking books (The God of the Machine, The Discovery of Freedom and The Fountainhead), which laid the foundations of the modern libertarian movement.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES