Dear Barack Obama

Please stop trash talking Hillary Clinton. This is what I’m talking about:

The “Annie Oakley” reference is completely uncalled for here and you should know better.

h/t egalia for the clip. Read the rest of this entry »

In case you missed it…

The Mid-South got hit with some bad tornadoes the other day, and they sure could use some help. Monkeyfister has the information you need to get help to people in the area. At least 54 people have been confirmed killed, so far. You should also see some of the photographs of the tornado that just missed Monkeyfister by a few miles.

Posted in Request. 1 Comment »

“The doctors who examined Corporal Tillman urged a criminal investigation into his death be opened at that time, and were refused.”

An open letter to the NFL and NFL Players Association (via):

August 13, 2007

Roger Goodell
Commissioner
National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Gene Upshaw
Executive Director
NFL Players Association
1133 20th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Commissioner Goodell and Mr. Upshaw,

On behalf of the veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and those troops still in theater, we are writing to ask that the National Football League and NFL Players Association publicly or privately urge President Bush to reconsider his decision to invoke claims of executive privilege in refusing to share vital documents regarding the death of Corporal Pat Tillman with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

As you know, earlier this month the Associated Press obtained the medical examiner’s finding at the time of his death in Afghanistan, that Corporal Tillman’s fatal wounds seemed to indicate shots fired from ten yards away, or less. The doctors who examined Corporal Tillman urged a criminal investigation into his death be opened at that time, and were refused. Since that time, the Department of Defense has put forth two explanations for the death of Corporal Tillman, the first of which was proven false, and a second which now seems to have been proven to be a lie, as well. In both cases, the White House has actively pushed these false findings to the public.

Read the rest of this entry »

One year of blogging

I probably talk too much about myself as it is, and the posts that I’ve made that I’m proudest of aren’t always the most popular ones so maybe I should just let my readers judge for themselves.

What do you think I could do differently in the next year and which posts do you like the most and want to see more of? Less of? Should I keep going for another year?

Please tell me honestly what you think.

Pass it on

Would you please take one minute to call your member of Congress and ask him or her to vote in favor of the medical marijuana amendment that the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on next week?

It’s easy: Just call the Capitol switchboard operator at (202) 224-3121. Give the operator your zip code and ask to be connected to your U.S. House member; you don’t even need to know your congressperson’s name to do this.

When the receptionist for the congressperson — not the Capitol switchboard operator — answers, say something like: “Hi, this is [name]. I live in [city], and I’m calling to ask that my representative vote for Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s [HIN-chee’s] medical marijuana amendment to the Justice Department’s spending bill, which I understand will be considered on the House floor next week. The amendment would prohibit the Justice Department from spending taxpayer money to arrest medical marijuana patients in the 12 states where medical marijuana is legal.”

Please call now: (202) 224-3121

If it isn’t made in America…

Litbrit:

Tell Congress in no uncertain terms that you, the American consumer and voter, want Country Of Origin Labels (COOL) legislation enacted immediately. You can contact members of the U.S. Senate here, and the House of Representatives here.

HLS Class of ’82 calls for an independent counsel

An open letter to Alberto Gonzales, published May 15, 2007 in the Washington Post. Via Specious Reasoning, hat-tip Phoenix Woman.

Dear Attorney General Gonzales:

Twenty-five years ago we, like you, graduated from Harvard Law School. While we arrived via many different paths and held many different views, we were united in our deep respect for the Constitution and the rights it guaranteed. As members of the post-Watergate generation who chose careers in law, we understood the strong connection between our liberties as Americans and the adherence of public officials to the law of the land. We knew that the choice to abide by the law was even more critical when public officials were tempted to take legal shortcuts. Nowhere were we taught that the ends justified the means, or that the freedoms for which Americans had fought and died should be set aside when inconvenient or challenging. To the contrary: our most precious freedoms, we learned, need defending most in times of crisis.

So it has been with dismay that we have watched your cavalier handling of our fredoms time and again. When it has been important that legal boundaries hold unbridled government power in check, you have instead used pretextual rationales and strained readings to justify an ever-expanding executive authority. Witness your White House memos sweeping aside the Geneva Conventions to justify torture, endangering our own servicemen and women; witness your advice to the President effectively reading Habeas Corpus out of our constitutional protections; witness your support of presidential signing statements claiming inherent power to wiretap American citizens without warrants (and the Administration’s stepped-up wiretapping campaign, taking advantage of those statements, which continues on your watch to this day); and witness your dismissive explanation of the troubling firings of numerous U.S. Attorneys, and their replacement with others more “loyal” to the President’s politics, as merely “an overblown personnel matter.” In these and other actions, we see a pattern. As a recent editorial put it, your approach has come to symbolize “disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.”

As lawyers, and as a matter of principle, we can no longer be silent about this Administration’s consistent disdain for the liberties we hold dear. Your failure to stand for the rule of law, particularly when faced with a President who makes the aggrandized claim of being a unitary executive, takes this country down a dangerous path.

Your country and your President are in dire need of an attorney who will do the tough job of providing independent counsel, especially when the advice runs counter to political expediency. Now more than ever, our country needs a President, and an Attorney General, who remember the apt observation attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” We call on you and the President to relent from this reckless path, and begin to restore respect for the rule of law we all learned to love many years ago.

Yours truly,

[Ffty-six signatories]

THESE SIGNATORIES ARE ALL MEMBERS OF THE HARVARD LAW SCHOOL CLASS OF 1982

It’s like a VA Tech tragedy every day

Larry Johnson (h/t Creature):

We are well on track for the second consecutive month in which U.S. military casualties will exceed that of their Iraqi counterparts. Do you understand this point? The burden of “defending” the new Iraq government is being borne primarily by U.S. troops not Iraqi troops.

“One, two, three, what are we fighting for? Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn. Next stop is Vietnam. And it’s five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates. Oh, there ain’t no time to wonder why we’re all gonna die.”

Please bring the troops home safely, and quickly.

Recommended music:

Eurocentric, but good.

My generation remembers, and we do not forget the terrible price inflicted. We need a time to heal.

The times in which this was made and broadcast, we were children, they could say no more than this much. We can say more now. We need to learn to live in peace with one another and to respect our different traditions, while allowing our children to go outside our old traditions. We need to acknowledge that the sins of our forefathers are visited upon their victims, and make our own apologies for having the fruits of injustice. Yet the good that our fathers did may outweigh any incidental harm if we can all find a way to share the fruits of joy and love with one another.

I ask forgiveness of all who may think I have done them a harm by existing, or by accepting any gift which helps to sustain my life, if it ever occurred at your expense and without permission. I do not wish to be led astray from the truth by hopes of wealth, but I wish to preserve and protect that which is valuable to all of humankind.

If you feel I have done a greater harm, or if I have done one that could not be avoided that requires more explanation, I will ask that I be told. This is not the place for putting personal grievances which require knowledge of who I am, but to what you see before you. If you feel I am unjust or wrong, tell me so.

Save this city.

Hat-tip D.R. Scott.

Montel, today

Montel Williams From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. Hat-tip Cannabis News.

Medical use of marijuana should be legalized
By Montel Williams
04/03/2007

You probably know me as a talk show host and, perhaps, as someone who for several years has spoken out about my use of medical marijuana for the pain caused by multiple sclerosis. That surprised a few people, but recent research has proved that I was right: right about marijuana’s medical benefits and right about how urgent it is for states to change their laws so that sick people aren’t treated as criminals. The Illinois General Assembly is considering such a change right now.

If you see me on television [10 a.m. weekdays on Channel 4 in St. Louis], I look healthy. What you don’t see is the mind-numbing pain searing through my legs like hot pokers.

My doctors wrote me prescriptions for some of the strongest painkillers available. I took Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin on a regular basis, knowingly risking overdose just trying to make the pain bearable. But these powerful, expensive drugs brought me no relief. I couldn’t sleep, I was agitated, my legs kicked involuntarily in bed and the pain was so bad I found myself crying in the middle of the night.

All these heavy-duty narcotics made me nearly incoherent. I couldn’t take them when I had to work, because they turned me into a zombie. Worse, these drugs are highly addictive, and one thing I knew was that I didn’t want to become a junkie.

When someone suggested I try marijuana, I was skeptical. But I also was desperate. To my amazement, it worked after the legal drugs had failed. Three puffs and within minutes the excruciating pain in my legs subsided. I had my first restful sleep in months.

I am not alone. A new study from the University of California, published in February in the highly regarded medical journal Neurology, leaves no doubt about that.

You see, people with MS suffer from a particular type of pain called neuropathic pain: pain caused by damage to the nerves. It’s common in MS but also in many other illnesses, including diabetes and HIV/AIDS. It’s typically a burning or stabbing sensation, and conventional pain drugs don’t help much, whatever the specific illness.

The new study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, looked at neuropathic pain in HIV/AIDS patients. About one-third of people with HIV eventually suffer this kind of pain, and there are no FDA-approved treatments. For some it gets so bad that they can’t walk.

This was what is known as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the “gold standard” of medical research. And marijuana worked. The very first marijuana cigarette reduced the pain by an average of 72 percent, without serious side effects.

What makes this even more impressive is that U.S. researchers studying marijuana are required to use marijuana supplied by the federal government, marijuana that is famous for its poor quality and weakness. So there is every reason to believe that studies such as this one underestimate the potential relief that high-quality marijuana could provide.

In my case, medical marijuana has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis. Many thousands of others all over this country — less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real — have experienced the same thing.

Here’s what’s shocking: The U.S. government knows marijuana works as a medicine. Our government actually provides medical marijuana each month to five patients in a program that started about 25 years ago but was closed to new patients in 1992. One of the patients in that program, Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, was a guest on my show two years ago. If federal officials come to town to tell you there’s no evidence marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, know this: They’re lying, and they know it.

Still, 39 states subject patients with illnesses like MS, cancer or HIV/AIDS to arrest and jail for using medical marijuana, even if their doctor has recommended it. It’s long past time for that to change.

Illinois state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has introduced a bill — SB 650 — to protect patients like me from arrest and jail for using medical marijuana when it’s recommended by a physician. Similar laws are working well in 11 states right now.

The General Assembly should pass the medical marijuana bill without delay. Sick people shouldn’t be treated as criminals.

Television talk show host Montel Williams is the author, with Lawrence Grobel, of “Climbing Higher” and other books.

Special to the Post-Dispatch

Please help

I need some advice on how to continue to blog as I have been and still make a little bit more than nothing with two clients across the country one of whom may soon cease to be able to afford me due to the financial condition of his main client. I am in no risk of starving, between my wife’s graduate stipend and a bit we got for our condo when we moved we are okay, but we’re thinking we might want to have kids sometime and it can’t happen if we’re already running a small deficit every month.

This is my message to you.

Recommended listening:

Are you experienced?

Have you ever been experienced?

Hat-tip Cookie Jill.

Related posts:

Do you prefer plagues of locusts?

Make love, not war.

BH4T

Bring the troops home

It bears a reminder.

A real problem for somebody

First denial, then anger. Next up?

Bargaining:

As the meeting was breaking up, Gonzales suddenly switched tacks and seemed to want to be cooperative. “How can we make this better?” he asked. “What can we do?” According to this source, the attorney general seemed to some in the room to be genuinely befuddled.

Source: Newsweek via David Kurtz.

Depression is next, and with it, resignation. This will not go away.

Related post:

You have your own voice. Use it.

Space, the final frontier

Watch this from NASA via Carnacki.

A song of seeds, the food of love

“She’s trying to stop me from helping you!” Click the video to watch it elsewhere, it won’t embed.

Various items

1. I began this post intending to write about broadcast reform, but got sidetracked. The public airwaves belong to the public, they are not the private property of licensees to spectrum. We the public own the spectrum in common and for our benefit, not for private profit unless that is consistent with our own public interest. I will come back to this in a future post but welcome general discussion in the comments.

2. It happens that America has come to believe in an economic theory of competition, a capitalist Darwinian survival of the fittest. Shamefully, we treat people as human capital, as resources to be exploited and consumers to be sold, and not as independent members of the public whose object the government is meant to serve. But we do not have a government of, for and by the people today. We have a government of, for and by the rich and powerful.

3. We do not need to compete in everything, we can cooperate instead. We can help one another with our ideas and our efforts to achieve a common purpose. This is not communism, this is just community.

Free software has taught me to be generous with my own talents, and to be able to use the commons at will means we are assured of our freedom and independence, because we cannot be held hostage to the proprietary limitations of the rent seekers.

4. I’m going to be posting another version of the Chromosphere in a day or so, maybe later tonight if I’m inspired enough. This project is really a life’s work for me, even though it is only a bare skeleton of the idea currently sketched out and on display. This is a new way of communicating, a living language. It is an old way of communicating, too. Perhaps we are all having conversations around one another and not understanding.

In the meantime, please do check it out if you can spare ten minutes, and if you feel like tossing me a dime or buying me lunch sometime you can use Paypal from there. I prefer not to ask donations here at Cannablog, because I don’t ever want to have my politics or my religion or any of my beliefs a matter of monetary gain. But if you like my work and want to support free software, art and music, I sure appreciate it.

Update: version1 has been released.

Tell congress to investigate the vice president

Juan Cole on the convicted liar — former chief assistant to the assistant chief — Irv Lewis Libby aka “Scooter.”

Via Doctor Snedley — personal assistant to Doctor Biobrain — who has the complete defense of the Richard Bruce Cheney aka “Shooter.”

Al Gore

You are more credible as a non-candidate. Global warming has been demonstrated to be even more serious than most of us believed a short time ago. This cannot be a time to divide our people according to those who believe in the importance of addressing global warming and might prefer another candidate. Please continue to be a leader for the issue you have championed for so long. Most of us will never be president either.

Nine years old.

No music now, unless you read it

ARTIST: The Beatles
TITLE: Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End
Lyrics and Chords courtesy Gunther Anderson

[ Ebdim7 = xx1212 ]

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

/ Am7 – – – Dm7 – – – / G7 – – – / C Em Am Dm9 – / G7 – C – /

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

/ C – F – C – / C – F – / C Em Am Dm9 – / G7 – C – /

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

{Refrain}

Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

/ C – G – / – – C – / 1st / G – C Am7 /

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down

/ Am7 – Dsus2 Dm / G – Csus4 C / Fmaj7 – Dm E7 / Am – G – /

{Refrain, ends with / C A / C A /}

Oh yeah, all right
Are you going to be in my dreams
Tonight

/ D – E – / A – Ebdim7 – / A – /

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make

/ A – – – / G – – – / Bb – – F – G / C – /

First they hurt our children, then deny them medicine

Yesterday, Shakes wrote,

I missed it last night, but watched the whole thing in six pieces on ABC’s website: In an Instant: The IED Explosion, Bob Woodruff’s 36-Day Coma, Wounded Warriors, Are We Ready for Our Injured?, The Human Cost of War, and Woodruff’s Closing Thoughts. It’s absolutely staggering, and I highly recommend it, with the warning that it is deeply upsetting, so be prepared. But it’s a must-see. Truly.

I finally finished watching it today, and recommend you watch the whole thing from beginning to end.

Incidentally, I read that veterans overwhelmingly support medical marijuana. For the pain and suffering that it can relieve those suffering traumatic brain injuries, nothing else in the world would help more.

I’m very happy for Bob Woodruff and his family, and glad that he received the best quality medical care in the world. But people not so visible in the public eye are more likely to fall through the cracks, and those with internal brain damage are hard to treat with any technique; often the risks in trying to correct it with surgery are higher than the damage could possibly justify if we even had the diagnostic capability to know precisely what was wrong in all cases. Cannabis helps the neurons in the brain that still work.

Musical language project

Here is complete source for the Chromosphere, my project to create a machine that uses a 26-letter alphabet plus a few operators to combine them as a system of musical notation, in its initial, skeletal state. It is presently designed to run as an applet, and will offer you two buttons, one of which (“Play”) works, the other (“Stop”) is not yet enabled. If I can find a good place to host this applet, you will be able to listen if you have the ability to run Java from your web browser. The initial score is about 10 minutes long.

I could use any amount of assistance and support with this project.

Read the rest of this entry »

A penalogical approach to family values?

Please read an update on the unAmerican concentration camps by Peterr.

Pass it on

Hat-tip Cory Doctorow.

You’ll do, the movement you need is on your shoulder

Spice for the recipe

Issa

Habeus corpus ad testificandum

I’ll ask this nicely

To my democratic colleagues, I ask a moment. How difficult would it be to craft a funding resolution in the house of representatives which will reallocate appropriations to targeted operations leading to and supporting withdrawal of United States armed forces to friendly soil?

Make it happen, please.

Do the right thing, John

This is an historic time. We do not have the luxury to hope for opportunities in the future to correct what must be fixed now.

You are connected with a third rail, the blogosphere is powerful and can shock you if you are not properly grounded.

Choose your adventure.

Support the troops

Bring them home.

Via Shakes.

Good night to you

Via Creature.

Pelosi in ’07

Maha has t-shirts.

“Please don’t sue me. I’m just a fan.”

Blogging isn’t a bad life

Lee Rosenberg (thehim) is looking for a way to blog while keeping his bills paid. Our situation is similar, but in our case the insurance and everything are in place and we have just enough to pay our bills and tread water now. It would be nice if we could plan to have a family but we cannot even imagine it financially now. I cannot complain; we are not starving unless we try to live beyond our means. Once in a blue moon we might even go out to see a movie. (I highly recommend Pan’s Labyrinth.)

Oh, also I blog semi-anonymously. It’s not hard for people to figure out who I am if they care enough, but I have no desire for personal publicity outside those who know me by introduction. I’d love to have a larger readership but I don’t want to write for hire. I wouldn’t mind it if I could find a way to support myself on donations but it would have to be done in a way that would be kept away from me, lest I be corrupted by seeing what I can say that brings in more dollars.

I want to speak from my heart and tell you what seems right to me, so that if I make a mistake it was one not made with a gain in mind. I could choose to become wealthy, it would be easy enough if I had the will to subjugate myself to that end, to put aside my childish blogging. I could be a capitalist like the Goldman family, and I love them very much.

But to do this I would have to turn my back on injustice, to stop looking in the dark corners where people are being tortured in our names. To let the problems of the world be someone else’s problem, I cannot do this. To the extent I can integrate what I do with helping people, I will do it. While the current crisis is ongoing, the most helpful thing I can do is communicate a way that I see through the danger. I could be non-essential, maybe my own thoughts are not as good as someone else’s, but I don’t know that. For the want of a nail, the horse, the battle and finally the war were lost.

A few days late

NTodd has an interesting perspective on the issue of birth control, of which abortion is only one component. I tend not to write about this issue often because it is so deeply a matter of personal conscience what determines the relative value of a given human life over another. I also take a Monty Pythonesque view on the issue of contraception, which is to say their true view and not the view they satirize by their famous song.

Let me take a moment to point out the obvious hypocrisy of anyone with a purportedly pro-human life outlook being advocates of war. Obviously they value some lives more than others, and some are entirely dispensable to them.

No sane person wants there to be unwanted children or abortions, if it were possible to avoid having them without doing violence to women (or men). We should not want to mutilate people’s genitals, we should not want there to be any harm done to the innocent.

We don’t often enough stop to consider that the cause of violence is usually violence. Stop non-consensual sex and you will stop most or all of the abortions that occur. Stop adultery and you will stop the rest.

Oh, but you don’t want to stop adultery, going by what I see.

Except to punish the woman, because she is the one who is subject to violence from her spouse if she is caught with child.

We have to end the violence done to women, and you know that divorce must be a right for that very reason. But what many of you don’t know or publicly admit due to the risk of persecution is that violence can be tamed by cannabis — marijuana. It is a lie and an obvious one at that when prohibitionists associate cannabis with violence, when the only violence is involved in the criminal aspects of prohibition itself.

End cannabis prohibition and you will see that the very thing you criticize about “hippies” is their non-violence.

End cannabis prohibition and you will end the war in Iraq and in the rest of the middle east. Cannabis can be grown to fuel our economy. Cars and trucks can run on clean biological oils. Paints and chemicals can be made from it. Cannabis may be sacred but she is also profane. We have a petroleum economy today but we cannot have a petroleum economy forever.

Turn this mutha out.

God bless Barack Obama

Protect him from harm.

Athenae has a report from Harvey, Louisiana, at First Draft’s new digs.

War is the enemy of the poor, and the rich

When you spend lives and treasure to destroy lives and treasure, you impoverish yourself.

Listen to Doctor King.

Please read

Now is the time

Via.

Adult content

End cannabis prohibition and the war will end peacefully. That is my advice.