In another case of criminalizing poverty, Michael Brick reports that Texans will now have to pass drug screenings in order to receive unemployment. Most of the unemployed folks I know are without work because their employers broke rules, not them. Houston has already outlawed dumpster diving, and debtors prisons are already making a big comeback elsewhere in the country, but the idea of suicide being a felony is what stings the most. I wonder how many of these legislators consider themselves “pro-life”.
Jasper Hamill reports on how Apple apparently feels as though they have a right to view the bank statements of their customers. If corporations are people too my friends, then can customers see the bank statements of Apple execs?
A man beaten by Sacramento police after being taken into custody has died. I suspect they learned it via Obama’s willingness to allow the similar fun at Gitmo. Shades of 1980s anti-drug commercials: “You alright, I learned it from watching you!”
Paul Armentano reports of new research into the benefits of cannabis usage, which is guaranteed to be ignored by commercial media. One of the powerhouse finds from the article:
Authors speculated that increasing the body’s production of cannabinoids would likely restore the body’s natural brain chemistry and psychological balance. They affirmed, “[Our] findings substantiate, at least in part, emerging evidence that … plant-derived cannabinoids such as marijuana may possess some benefits in individuals with PTSD by helping relieve haunting nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD.”
The researchers concluded: “The data reported herein are the first of which we are aware of to demonstrate the critical role of CB1 (cannabinoid) receptors and endocannabinoids in the etiology of PTSD in humans. As such, they provide a foundation upon which to develop and validate informative biomarkers of PTSD vulnerability, as well as to guide the rational development of the next generation of evidence-based treatments for PTSD.”
But don’t expect federal officials to help move this process forward. In 2011 federal administrators blocked investigators at the University of Arizona at Phoenix from conducting an FDA-approved, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the use of cannabis in 50 patients with PTSD.
Danny Schechter writes an interesting account of the history of documentary productions in news media, and how the trade of long-form, investigative journalism is being marginalized and sensationalized in favor of appealing to the increasingly shortened attention spans of viewers. Meanwhile, Clay Shirky confirms that the news industry no longer exists, at least not in any previously known incarnation. From the article:
This is one of the places where self-perception gets very complicated. As I wrote in 2006 and 2007, although there are legal privileges given to journalists, there is no legal definition of “a journalist”. Interestingly, journalists were often defined as people who worked for publishers. Rather than having a written definition of what constitutes a journalist, the entire question was proxied to ‘who owns the means of production, and who are their employees?’ Any given town had a small number of highly visible publishers who could be enumerated, and nobody ever had to go through the legal exercise of defining a journalist. But today, owning the means of production is equal to owning a telephone or a computer. So that definitional question cannot be proxied to publishers anymore, and we still don’t know what constitutes a journalist. I think (Bill) Keller is right about the legal liability of people who divulge secrets from within the institutions that employ them. But what’s so interesting about his position is that he long maintained that Wikileaks is not a media organization but a source. It preserved the “Times” sense that what they were doing was somehow different. But I think Keller has recognized that if the newspapers of the world throw the Wikileaks of the world overboard, they’re next.
A threefold planetary alignment will occur tonight, reports Irene Klotz. And Mark Prigg reports of NASA’s plans to have a lunar settlement in coming years. I think it’s a matter of looking for minerals and resources to profiteer from. And possibly to build a secretive hideaway for the world’s economically powerful elite. I like the concept of the space program as much as the next fanboy, but I cannot accept these prices being approved unless there was to be major profit for somebody in the process, beyond Lockheed-Martin or whatever similar governmental contracts being enriched.
And after eight years, DeviantART is closing its DeviantGEAR store, for logo-friendly items. The community is still growing fastly, so might they be repositioning their efforts into other ventures, or is this a rare example of the Depression striking even a seemingly healthy online social network?