05/14/2014 - Huffington Post:
The Drug Enforcement Administration has seized a batch of seeds that were intended to be part of the launch of Kentucky's legal hemp industry following congressional legalization of the crop for research purposes.
The DEA has offered a wide variety of explanations to Kentucky officials perplexed at the seizure. "They're interpreting the law a hundred different ways," Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (R) told HuffPost. "The only way they're not interpreting it is the way it actually reads."
Comer said that he met with Kentucky Sens. Mitch McConnell (R) and Rand Paul (R) this past weekend and relayed to them the DEA's claim that it was simply following the intent of the recently passed farm bill, which includes a passage championed by McConnell that allows colleges and state departments of agriculture to cultivate hemp for research purposes.
In news that no one had to be Nostradamus to predict, the legalization of marijuana has had a ripple effect on the “War on Drugs,” massively impacting the profitability and reach of Mexican drug cartels, which are taking a huge financial hit. The cost of the “drug” has dropped on the black market from $100 a kilo to $25 since it’s so readily available legally, and with growers based in the US, the demand has plummeted for cannabis that has to be smuggled into the country. The market is showing its efficacy very clearly (read a thorough breakdown on this topic from James Miller here).
Heard this yesterday on my favorite NPR show, OnPoint, yesterday while driving around and it made me think of some people here.
Most people are highly attuned to sound. Make it beautiful, we’re happy. Make it grating, we’re annoyed. More and more, the sound around us is anything but random. It is engineered, sculpted, designed. The sound in your earbuds or headphones, of course. But also the sound of your blender, your washing machine, your car door. Designed. Our digital tweets and hums are overtaking birds and crickets. Acoustical engineers are reshaping the sound of amphitheaters, even streets. This hour On Point: the sound of our lives, the world, in the age of sculpted sound.
by James E. Miller
In his defining work On Liberty, John Stuart Mill praised the idea of varying “experiments in living.” In a society where “everything is allowed,” the Millian theory stipulates that the best will inevitably rise to the top. Whatever social arrangements produce the most prosperity will be adopted by the majority; or at least that’s the assumption.
With the internet revolution, and subsequent outlet for any no-name nitwit with a blog to share his feelings with the world, we are indeed seeing an experiment…in mediocrity. Popular culture is now defined by short videos and humorous pictures. Long, pondering thoughts on the nature of reality have been replaced with “listicles” of angry cat photos. Only the most vapid of self-aggrandizing sermons receive widespread attention. Banal egalitarianism is all the rage, with a good dose of sanctimoniously pro-infanticide stunts thrown in the mix.
If you think I exaggerate, think again.
New Snowden Document Implies NSA May Be Putting Israel’s Security Ahead of America’s
Why Is the NSA Putting Israel First?
Posted on May 14, 2014 by WashingtonsBlog
The following leaked slide from Edward Snowden was released today by Glenn Greenwald in his new book, No Place to Hide:
Operation American Spring: Militia Plans March On DC To Call For Removal Of Political Leadership
“They have all abandoned the U.S. Constitution, are unworthy to be retained in a position that calls for servant status.”
By Cheryl K. Chumley-The Washington Times Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Obama Administration and federal regulators are concerned that the housing "recovery" is in jeopardy. As we noted last month the housing recovery that never was, is over. Existing home sales are falling as are mortgage applications, home ownership rates and new home construction.
By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times Monday, May 12, 2014
Immigration officials knowingly released dozens of murderers and thousands of drunken drivers back into the U.S. in 2013, according to Obama administration statistics that could undercut the president’s argument that he is trying to focus on the most serious criminals in his immigration enforcement.
Senator's camp says N.Y. Times misconstrued position
Published: 1 day ago
The head of Sen. Rand Paul’s political action committee charges the New York Times misconstrued the Kentucky Republican’s comments about voter ID and refused to publish a statement of correction.
The Times report said the senator had broken with fellow Republicans over voter ID.
However, in a statement delivered to WND, Doug Stafford, Paul’s former chief of staff who now leads his political action committee, said the quote was taken out of context.
in this poll:
Only 4% of Americans answered that they are below average intelligence.
by Avik Roy, Forbes
One of the principal flaws in the coverage of Obamacare’s exchange enrollment numbers to date has been that the press has not made distinctions between those who have “signed up” for Obamacare-based plans, and those who have actually paid for those plans and thereby achieved enrollment in health insurance. A new survey from McKinsey indicates that a large majority of people signing up are now paying for their coverage. This is progress for the health law. But the survey still indicates that three-fourths of enrollees were previously insured.
Two months ago, I wrote about a prior McKinsey survey that found that the vast majority of people signing up for individual-market coverage in 2014 were previously insured, and that of the minority who had been previously uninsured, only 53 percent had paid their first month’s premium.
by Peter Jaworski, Visiting Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
The Huffington Post
When people talk about the "1%", I think they think that they are talking about a specific group of individuals, who have been and remain in that category over time.
When they say "We are the 99%" I think they think that that's a static category, designating a group of people who persist as members over their lifetime.
Would people be so upset if it turned out that the individuals who made up the 1% were different people over time? That those who are in the 1% spend most of their lives in the 99%, and will go back to being 99%ers after a few years of being 1%ers?
I'm not sure. I am sure that if those categories represented a permanent group of specific individuals, we would be justified in lamenting the state of the economy.
In retaliation for imposing sanctions, Russia will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites
Russia is to deny the US future use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites as it hits back at American sanctions imposed over Ukraine crisis.
Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced a series of punitive measures on Tuesday against the US in response to sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crimea.
by Jud Anglin -
Why Is U.S. Health Care So Much More Expensive?
After years of research and many conversations with health policy experts, I see three key culprits of expensive health care in the U.S.
In no particular order, they are the third-party payer system (i.e., employer-provided health care), malpractice suits, and administrative support costs/paperwork.
The unintended consequence of institutionalized employer-provided health care — a third-party payer for over 80% of the population — is to remove the pricing element from patients’ decision making.
Take Lasik eye surgery as a counter-example. Lasik is an elective procedure and, therefore, is NOT covered by insurance. The result is in just one decade, the average price has decreased from approximately $2,500 per eye to $400–1,500 per eye, depending on your location and the technology used.