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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tell Boy Scouts 'It's about time.'

[Gazette Blog Editor's note: This is from an organization that calls itself the Family Research Council.  It is urging folks to call the Boy Scouts and tell them how appalled you are at their decision to allow gays in leadership positions.  Seems to us that you can also use the numbers below to tell them you support that decision.  What's good for the goose...  So here they are:]




Call the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors and tell them to uphold Scouting values!

January 31, 2013


Dear Pat,
The phones are ringing off the wall.
If you've tried to get through to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), you know it's been tough. If you've wanted to express your concern about the BSA abandoning their longstanding policy of safeguarding Scouts by restricting openly homosexual Scout leaders from holding leadership positions, you may have been greeted by an endlessly ringing phone. This may be one instance in which the Boy Scouts were not prepared.
The BSA national leadership were not prepared for the thousands of Americans who were shocked to hear that an organization that could always be counted on for standing for what's right was about to cave-in to homosexual activists and corporations which have been threatening the organization's funding.
For generations, the BSA has shaped our nation's moral character by teaching young men to do their duty to God and country. This is why, when the BSA board begins its annual meeting on Monday of next week, it is so important that you keep the pressure on, to show them how devastating this moral collapse will be for the Scouts and the country.
Please call the members of the BSA Board of Directors (sample call script below) and kindly urge them to stand strong and true to their timeless values:
Select BSA Board Members:
  • David L. Beck: (801) 240-1000
  • R. Thomas Buffenbarger: (310) 967-4500
  • Keith A. Clark: (717) 763-1121
  • William F. "Rick" Cronk: (925) 283-7229
  • John C. Cushman III: (904) 393-9020
  • R. Michael Daniel: (412) 297-4989
  • Jack D. Furst: (972) 982-8250
  • T. Michael Goodrich: (205) 328-9445 ext. 200
  • Earl G. Graves: (212) 242-8000
  • Aubrey B. Harwell Jr.: (615) 244-1713
  • Stephen Hemsley: (800) 328-5979
  • Larry W. Kellner: (713) 468-4050
  • Robert J. LaFortune: (918) 582-2981
  • Joseph P. Landy: (212) 878-0600
  • Francis R. McAllister: (406) 373-8700
  • Scott D. Oki: (425) 454-2800
  • Arthur F. Oppenheimer: (208) 343-4883
  • Tico A. Perez: (407) 849-1235
  • Robert H. Reynolds: (317) 231-7227
  • Matthew K. Rose: (909) 386-4140
  • Nathan O. Rosenberg: (949) 494-4553
  • Roger M. Schrimp: (209) 526-3500
  • Marshall M. Sloane: (781) 395-3000
  • Rex W. Tillerson: (972) 444-1000
  • David M. Weekley: (713) 659-8111
  • Togo D. West, Jr.: (202) 775-1775

Women victimized by 'revenge porn'

Ex-lovers can now torment women online by posting naked photos of them and other personal information. (photo: Robin Beckham/Alamy)
Ex-lovers can now torment women online by posting naked photos of them and other personal information. (photo: Robin Beckham/Alamy)


By Jill Filipovic, Guardian UK
30 January 13
n the centuries-old tradition of human beings looking at images of other human beings naked, the internet is perhaps the biggest game-changer since the film camera.

Porn sites are some of the most-visited places on the web, and just about anything you could imagine (and lots of things you probably couldn't have come up with on your own) is a mere Google search away. While that's great news for folks who have, say, an unrequited zombie fetish or a deep desire to see old men swaddled in mohair diapers, the almost entirely unregulated buffet of internet pornography also has a whole host of downsides - one of the most odious being the popular genre of "revenge porn".

On revenge porn sites, users upload x-rated photos of women (often ex girlfriends or lovers) without the women's permission. Send a naughty photo to your boyfriend and when it turns out he's a pig, your image is all over the internet, often with your name, location and links to your social media accounts. The purpose of revenge porn isn't to allow regular guys the opportunity to see some naked girls-next-door; it's explicitly purposed to shame, humiliate and destroy the lives and reputations of young women.

Luckily, some of those women are refusing to be shamed into silence. More than two dozen of them have filed a lawsuit against one of the websites, Texxxan.com, as well as its host, GoDaddy.com. Some of the women have lost their jobs; all of them have been exposed and exploited, first by men they trusted and then by entities simply looking to make a buck off of misogyny.

Gender cyber harassment is nothing new (pdf), and revenge porn sites are part of a widespread, deeply sexist online culture everywhere from blog comment sections to YouTube videos to message boards. Anonymous sexualized harassment of women online has been around since AOL chatrooms, and it seems to be getting more mainstreamed, more organized and more efficient. The internet is not a nice place to be a woman - something I found out first-hand, and not just through the ongoing threats, harassment and stalking I've received as a feminist blogger.

When I was a law student at NYU, I found myself the subject of hundreds of threads and comments on a website called AutoAdmit. Reading post after anonymous post about how your classmates and future professional peers want to rape you is not a particularly pleasant experience; seeing those posts right next to details of what outfit you wore to school yesterday, how tall you are or what kinds of comments you made in class feels awfully threatening.

It's hard to explain the psychological impact these kind of anonymous posts have, when these people know your name, face and exactly where you are during the day. You can't walk down the hall at school without wondering if that guy who just made eye contact with you is going to go home and write something disgusting about you on the internet, or if anything you say in class is going to be quoted on a message board as evidence that you are a stupid cow, or if any one of these anonymous commenters is going to take their sexually violent urges offline and onto your body.

My reaction was to shut down. I felt like I was in a fishbowl, so I just refused to look outside of the glass. I'm a very social person, but in three years of law school I made only two friends. I skipped a lot of my classes; when I did go, I kept my head down.

I tried to ignore the online postings, hoping they would go away. When they didn't, and I finally screwed up the courage to write about them, I received a barrage of harassing and threatening emails. One man, a graduate of Georgetown Law Center, claims to have gone to NYU and met with one of my professors to discuss what a "dumb cunt" (his words) I am. Even after I was out of law school and practicing, that same man sent more than a dozen emails to every single partner and attorney at my law firm in an effort to get me fired.

I graduated law school in 2008. Five years later, the process of writing about this still makes me tense up, triggering the same old anxiety, anger and fear. I still avoid going to large professional gatherings, and when I do go, my heart starts to beat a little faster if I catch someone looking at my name tag for what seems like a few seconds too long.

I'm a feminist writer who even before law school was used to receiving my share of online abuse. I get called all sorts of names on a daily basis and usually just roll through it. Yet I was still devastated by those postings.

And I was lucky. I wasn't naked. My job opportunities were surely limited, but I didn't get fired. But there are serious long-term consequences to internet harassment, both professional and personal. It's undoubtedly much worse when the harassment involves naked pictures, your face on a porn site and the permanent stigma of being a "slut".

It's easy to say, "Well if you don't want naked pictures on the internet, don't send men naked pictures" - or in my case, I suppose, just don't be female on the internet. But that simplistic view overlooks the way intimate relationships operate today, and, in fact, how they've always operated.

Within romantic relationships, people have always exchanged tangible things that would be highly embarrassing if publicly revealed, whether that's a sexy note, a suggestive article of clothing or raunchy photo. You're already engaging in an act that involves nudity, exchange of body fluids, the potential for reproduction, two human bodies intertwined skin-to-skin and, one hopes, some level of mutual trust. Once you've been face-to-genitals with someone, sending them a nude picture doesn't seem like it should be such a big deal.

Society sees it differently - at least when the nude photo is of a woman. There aren't popular revenge porn sites with pictures of naked men, because as a society we don't think it's inherently degrading or humiliating for men to have sex. Despite the fact that large numbers of women watch porn, there are apparently not large numbers of women who find sexual gratification in publicly shaming and demeaning men they've slept with.

And that is, fundamentally, what these revenge porn sites are about. They aren't about naked girls; there are plenty of those who are on the internet consensually. It's about hating women, taking enjoyment in seeing them violated, and harming them.

The owners of Texxxan.com practically said as much when, in defending their website, they posted a message saying, "Maybe [sic] the site provided an outlet for anger that prevented physical violence (this statement will be very controversial but is at least worth thinking about)." In other words, these are men who hate women to the degree that they'd be hitting them if they didn't have revenge porn as an outlet for their rage. They're angry because women have the nerve to exist in the universe as sexual beings.

Unfortunately, the law hasn't quite caught up with the internet. I hope these women win their lawsuit. But as Emily Bazelon details at Slate, they're fighting an uphill battle. Our current laws were written with an old media system in mind, and they need to be updated to protect free speech while also defending against defamation and gross invasions of personal privacy.

In the meantime, we can all do small things to marginalize the appeal of revenge porn. Not looking at the sites is an obvious first step; finding a host other than GoDaddy for your own site is another. Refusing to participate in the sexual shaming of women is also key - these sites would never survive without the pervasive view that sexually active women are dirty. Support the women who have the nerve to stand up to these privacy violations. Read, promote and raise up women's voices generally, online and off. And push legislators to modernize our laws.

Right now, the law and our culture are both on the side of those who shame and humiliate women for sport, instead of those of us who just want to go about our normal lives, whether that's going to law school or having sex with our boyfriends, without putting our careers, our reputations, our psychological well-being and our basic ability to trust the people we're closest with on the line. Here's hoping we win the long game.

AARP offers free tax help to seniors, poor

(Peoria, AZ) – Beginning February 1, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free tax counseling and tax preparation assistance for people of middle and low incomes with special attention given to people over 60.  The program will operate through April 15, the deadline for filing 2012 tax returns. 

Last year, 1,200 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers in Arizona helped over 84,000 people and filed more than 54,000 tax returns.  Arizona Tax-Aide volunteers join the more than 35,000 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers across the country, helping millions of taxpayers each year.

“Every year our dedicated Tax-Aide volunteers are available at AARP Foundation Tax-Aide sites throughout the state to provide tax preparation assistance to Arizonans,” said AARP Foundation Tax-Aide State Coordinator Frank Perazelli.  “We hope people will take advantage of this free program.”

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers are trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service and offer help with personal income tax returns at various locations throughout Arizona including senior centers, libraries and churches. 

For more information about an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site near you call (888) OUR-AARP, (1-888 867-2277) or visit the AARP web site at www.aarp.org/taxaide

AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is a charitable affiliate of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New photos show gushing sand on Mars

'Dune Spiders' on Mars

Researchers using the UA's HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter see seasonal changes on far-northern Martian sand dunes caused by warming of a winter blanket of frozen carbon dioxide.


As spring advances in Mars' northern polar region and the surface of carbon dioxide ice begins to crack, trapped gas gushes out, spilling dark sand from the dunes below onto the light frozen ground. 

Earth has no naturally frozen carbon dioxide, though pieces of manufactured carbon-dioxide ice, called "dry ice," sublime directly from solid to gas on Earth, just as the vast blankets of dry ice do on Mars.

A driving factor in the springtime changes where seasonal coverings of dry ice form on Mars is that thawing occurs at the underside of the ice sheet. There, it is in contact with dark ground being warmed by early-spring sunshine through translucent ice. The trapped gas builds up pressure and breaks out in various ways. 

Transient grooves form on dunes when gas trapped under the ice blanket finds an escape point and whooshes out, carrying out sand with it. The expelled sand forms dark fans or streaks on top of the ice layer at first, but this evidence disappears with the seasonal ice, and summer winds erase most of the grooves in the dunes before the next winter. The grooves are smaller features than the gullies that earlier research linked to carbon-dioxide sublimation on steeper dune slopes. Similar activity has been documented and explained previously where seasonal sheets of frozen carbon dioxide form and thaw near Mars' south pole. Details of the different northern seasonal changes are newly reported in a set of three papers for the journal Icarus. 

To learn more, view Mars: Dry Ice & Dunes. The findings reinforce growing appreciation that Mars today, however different from its former self, is still a dynamic world, and however similar to Earth in some respects, displays some quite unearthly processes.

"It's an amazingly dynamic process," said Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. She is lead author of the first of the three new reports.

"We had this old paradigm that all the action on Mars was billions of years ago. Thanks to the ability to monitor changes with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, one of the new paradigms is that Mars has many active processes today."

With three Martian years (six Earth years) of data in hand from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera, the researchers report on the sequence and variety of seasonal changes. The spring changes include outbursts of gas carrying sand, polygonal cracking of the winter ice blanketing the dunes, sandfalls down the faces of the dunes, and dark fans of sand propelled out onto the ice.

"It is a challenge to catch when and how those changes happen, they are so fast," said Ganna Portyankina of the University of Bern in Switzerland, lead author of the second report. "That's why only now we start to see the bigger picture that both hemispheres actually tell us similar stories."

The process of outrushing gas that carves grooves into the northern dunes resembles the process creating spider-shaped features in far southern Mars, as seen in the image below, but the spiders have not been seen in the north.

The seasonal dry-ice sheets overlie different types of terrain in the two hemispheres. In the south, diverse terrains include the flat, erodible ground where the spiders form, but in the north, a broad band of sand dunes encircles the permanent north polar ice cap. Another difference is in brightening on parts of the ice-covered dunes. This brightening in the north results from the presence of water-ice frost, while in the south, similar brightening is caused by fresh carbon dioxide.

The third paper of the Icarus set, by Antoine Pommerol of the University of Bern and co-authors, reports distribution of the water frost using the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars. The light water frost is blown around by spring winds.


These "spider"-like features form when the sun warms the surface in Mars' south pole region, causing carbon dioxide trapped underneath a dry ice layer to gush out and blow dark sand onto the frozen surface (below). (Photos: NASA/JPL/UA)


What the gushing sand geysers may look like. (Artist rendering by Ron Miller/JPL/ASU)

Wal-Mart makes simple case for unions

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

The Non Zero-Sum Society

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
29 January 13
s President Obama said in his inaugural address last week, America "cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it."
Yet that continues to be the direction we're heading in.

A newly-released analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the super-rich have done well in the economic recovery while almost everyone else has done badly. The top 1 percent of earners' real wages grew 8.2 percent from 2009 to 2011, yet the real annual wages of Americans in the bottom 90 percent have continued to decline in the recovery, eroding by 1.2 percent between 2009 and 2011.

In other words, we're back to the widening inequality we had before the debt bubble burst in 2008 and the economy crashed.

But the President is exactly right. Not even the very wealthy can continue to succeed without a broader-based prosperity. That's because 70 percent of economic activity in America is consumer spending. If the bottom 90 percent of Americans are becoming poorer, they're less able to spend. Without their spending, the economy can't get out of first gear.

That's a big reason why the recovery continues to be anemic, and why the International Monetary Fund just lowered its estimate for U.S. growth in 2013 to just 2 percent.

Almost a quarter of all jobs in America now pay wages below the poverty line for a family of four. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 7 out of 10 growth occupations over the next decade will be low-wage — like serving customers at big-box retailers and fast-food chains.

At this rate, who's going to buy all the goods and services America is capable of producing? We can't return to the kind of debt-financed consumption that caused the bubble in the first place.

Get it? It's not a zero-sum game. Wealthy Americans would do better with smaller shares of a rapidly-growing economy than with the large shares they now possess of an economy that's barely moving.

If they were rational, the wealthy would support public investments in education and job-training, a world-class infrastructure (transportation, water and sewage, energy, internet), and basic research - all of which would make the American workforce more productive.

If they were rational they'd even support labor unions - which have proven the best means of giving working people a fair share in the nation's prosperity.

But labor unions are almost extinct.

The decline of labor unions in America tracks exactly the decline in the bottom 90 percent's share of total earnings, and shrinkage of the middle class.

In the 1950s, when the U.S. economy was growing faster than 3 percent a year, more than a third of all working people belonged to a union. That gave them enough bargaining clout to get wages that allowed them to buy what the economy was capable of producing.

Since the late 1970s, unions have eroded - as has the purchasing power of most Americans, and not coincidentally, the average annual growth of the economy.

Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of 2012 only 6.6 percent of workers in the private sector were unionized. (That's down from 6.9 percent in 2011.) That's the lowest rate of unionization in almost a century.

What's to blame? Partly globalization and technological change. Globalization sent many unionized manufacturing plants abroad.

Manufacturing is starting to return to America but it's returning without many jobs. The old assembly line has been replaced by robotics and numerically-controlled machine tools.

Technologies have also replaced many formerly unionized workers in telecommunications (remember telephone operators?) and clerical jobs.
But wait. Other nations subject to the same forces have far higher levels of unionization than America. 28 percent of Canada's workforce is unionized, as is more than 25 percent of Britain's, and almost 20 percent of Germany's.

Unions are almost extinct in America because we've chosen to make them extinct.

Unlike other rich nations, our labor laws allow employers to replace striking workers. We've also made it exceedingly difficult for workers to organize, and we barely penalized companies that violate labor laws. (A worker who's illegally fired for trying to organize a union may, if lucky, get the job back along with back pay - after years of legal haggling.)

Republicans, in particular, have set out to kill off unions. Union membership dropped 13 percent last year in Wisconsin, which in 2011 curbed the collective bargaining rights of many public employees. And it fell 18 percent last year in Indiana, which last February enacted a right-to-work law (allowing employees at unionized workplaces to get all the benefits of unionization without paying for them). Last month Michigan enacted a similar law.

Don't blame globalization and technological change for why employees at Walmart , America's largest employer, still don't have a union. They're not in global competition and their jobs aren't directly threatened by technology.

The average pay of a Walmart worker is $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart's employees work less than 28 hours per week and don't qualify for benefits.

Walmart is a microcosm of the American economy. It has brazenly fought off unions. But it could easily afford to pay its workers more. It earned $16 billion last year. Much of that sum went to Walmart's shareholders, including the family of its founder, Sam Walton.

The wealth of the Walton family now exceeds the wealth of the bottom 40 percent of American families combined, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

But how can Walmart expect to continue to show fat profits when most of its customers are on a downward economic escalator?

Walmart should be unionized. So should McDonalds. So should every major big-box retailer and fast-food outlet in the nation. So should every hospital in America.

That way, more Americans would have enough money in their pockets to get the economy moving. And everyone - even the very rich - would benefit.

As Obama said, America cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.



Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

NRA defends right to own politicians



lapierre-nra-boro.jpg
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre warned that the N.R.A. would vigorously oppose any legislation that “limits the sale, purchase, or ownership of politicians.”

“Politicians pose no danger to the public if used correctly,” said Mr. LaPierre, who claims to have over two hundred politicians in his personal collection. “Everyone hears about the bad guys in Congress. Well, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a vote is a good guy with a vote. I’m proud to be the owner of many of those guys.”

Mr. LaPierre’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Carol Foyler, a politician-control advocate who has spent the past twelve years lobbying for stricter limits on the sale of politicians.

“Right now, a man like Wayne LaPierre can walk right into Congress and buy any politician he wants,” she said. “There’s no background check, no waiting period. And so hundreds of politicians are falling into the hands of people who are unstable and, quite frankly, dangerous.”

In addition to limiting the sale of politicians, Ms. Foyler said, it is time for society to take a look at the “sheer number” of politicians in the U.S.: “There’s no doubt that we would be safer if there were fewer of them.”

For his part, the N.R.A. leader ended his testimony by serving notice that he would “resist any attempt” to take away the hundreds of elected officials he says are legally his.

As if to illustrate that point, he clutched Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) close to his chest and bellowed, “From my cold, dead hands.”


Photograph by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call.
Free 
Computer  &
Internet Security
Presentation

Gila Community College is hosting a free 1-hour seminar and slideshow on “Protecting Yourself, Your Computer, and Your Identity” presented by Norbert “Bob” Gostischa, Information Technology Security Expert, on Thursday, March 7, 6:30 p.m. in Room 301 of the Payson Campus of Gila Community College.

Join Bob as he simplifies, clarifies, and demystifies your computer, making your Internet experience a safe one.
  • Protect yourself from viruses, worms, Trojans, root kits and
bot nets
  • Computing safety tips
  • How to spot phishing attempts and ransomware
  • How to recover when your email account has been hijacked
  • Email etiquette
  • Social networking safety tips
  • Software installation safety tips
  • Using free software to create layered protection
  • Features and benefits of free anti-virus programs
  • Android Smartphone and tablet safety and protection
For more information call 928-468-8039, or visit the campus at 201 N. Mud Springs Road.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PHS drama presents 'Star-Spangled Canteen'




The Payson High School Longhorn Theatre Company will open their next production “Star-Spangled Canteen” on Feb. 7 in the High School Auditorium. This hilarious comedy takes place while World War II rages, the Bugle sisters turn their Grandpa Buddy's Seaside Hotel into the Star-Spangled Canteen where sailors and soldiers can relax. Not only do the girls want to help the war effort, but they want to save the Seaside from the hands of a ruthless businessman, Skylar Schutt, who intends to buy it for back taxes. But when Schutt accuses Grandpa Buddy of being a German spy, the girls - with a little help from the Ladies' League for Coastal Defense - declare all-out war! And it isn't long before a platoon of spy’s surfaces! It seems everybody becomes suspicious of everyone else until a nighttime reconnaissance mission traps the real traitor. Wise-cracking sailors, a hillbilly jug band, a returning, injured brother, a pair of crusty old vaudevillians, and the spunky Bugle girls themselves make this an all-star winner!



Along with this zany script they have added some live entertainment. You will be entertained by a Hillbilly jug band, some Vaudeville dancing, and a group of “Bugle Girls” that will sing some top hits from the 1940’s, and of course swing dancing.  



            The show runs February 7th through the 9th. Show times are 7 p.m. on Feb. 7 and 9, and a 4 p.m. matinee on Feb. 8. Prices are $6 for Adults, $5 for Students and Senior Citizens. All proceeds from ticket sales go right back into the Longhorn Theatre Company so they can continue to produce these amazing productions. The Longhorn Theatre Company has been producing a full season of plays for over 20 years and they would like to thank everyone for its continued support for the arts and helping keep the Longhorn Theatre Company alive and well. Payson should be proud to have such wonderful Arts programs in the schools and know that they are always striving to improve the quality of their programs for the many students involved in them.  

God wants you to have an assault rifle

Gun rights advocates believe they have God given right to guns. (photo: religion link)
Gun rights advocates believe they have God given right to guns. (photo: religion link)

By Zack Beauchamp, ThinkProgress
29 January 13

egislation aimed at reducing gun violence is "a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society," according to an article published in the leading conservative opinion journal National Review.

The author, David French, interprets the Christian Bible as granting everyone a right to self-defense. He suggests that this, if true, means that God's will is that people have access to guns, as they are the means for self defense:
In fact, Jesus's disciples carried swords, and Jesus even said in some contexts the unarmed should arm themselves… What does all this mean? Essentially that gun control represents not merely a limitation on a constitutional right but a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society. All rights - of course - are subject to some limits (the right of free speech is not unlimited, for example), and there is much room for debate on the extent of those limits, but state action against the right of self-defense is by default a violation of the natural rights of man, and the state's political judgment about the limitations of that right should be viewed with extreme skepticism and must overcome a heavy burden of justification.
Even if French is right about the Christian view of self-defense (though Jesus did have choice words about "turning the other cheek"), it's a logical fallacy to say this implies anything about restrictions on access to guns. Saying that people have a right to defend themselves if attacked isn't the same thing as saying they should have a right to possess any conceivable means of defending themselves – presumably, French is fine with banning grenade launchers. The burden, instead, is on French to prove that universal background checks or limitations on assault weapon ownership somehow prevent people from defending themselves; to prove, in other words, that gun regulation is actually a restriction on the right of self-defense proper rather than a crime-prevention statute.

Moreover, French is wrong about the role of "self-defense" in a democracy. He cites John Locke, enlightenment philosopher and inspiration for the American Revolution, to suggest that gun rights are "fundamental rights of nature." But as Ari Kohen, a professor of political theory at the University of Nebraska, points out, French radically misinterprets Locke:
But for people to establish a political community, Locke asserts that people must give up to the government their natural right to punish criminal behavior and agree to have the government settle grievances. This is why we have standing laws that are meant to be applied equally by independent officers of the law and by the courts.
Locke, as Kohen says, held that our right to use force was necessarily limited by the creation of legitimate government - that's why we have police. This means that the government can limit access to certain weapons as means of discharging its responsibility to keep the peace. While the government may not be able to legitimately ban you from say, killing a home invader who's brandishing a gun, it also can take reasonable steps to prevent criminals from being able to threaten you with arms in the first place without having to overcome a "heavy burden of justification."

This isn't the first questionable gun piece published in National Review. After the Newtown shooting, its editors suggested that mass school shootings were the price we pay for the Second Amendment. One of its writers, Charlotte Allen, infamously wrote that the Newtown massacre happened because there were too many female teachers.

Farmers begin planting hemp in Colorado


By Anthony Gucciardi
Natural Society / News Report
Published: Tuesday 29 January 2013
In the event that Colorado manages to generate acres of hemp without the federal government raiding the super efficient substance that is classified as a dangerous drug, it will provide a serious industry change that may spread to other states and potentially even federal law.

Article image


Many farmers in Colorado will be expanding their list of planted crops this Spring after groundbreaking legislation was passed last November that allowed not only for the legalization of marijuana, but hemp as well. Now in case you’re not familiar, hemp is actually a multi-purpose substance that does not produce the high effects of marijuana. In fact, it’s mainly used as a super cheap and highly efficient building material — at least in other nations where ridiculous bans are not enforced on the ‘high-free’ material. 

Colorado farmers like Michael Bowman will be planting 100 acres of hemp to be harvested and sold off as not only building material, but a highly nutritious superfood. While marijuana is considerably high in the substance known as THC  (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which of course is the compound that produces the ‘high’ effects, it’s also significantly low in what’s known as CDB (cannabidiol). That’s where hemp comes in. Both THC and CDB are known as  cannabinoids, but hemp is particularly high in CDB while lacking in THC.

Hemp as a Superfood, Industry Transformer

These cannabinoids have actually been promoted by many first hand sources as not only a health optimizing substance, but a serious solution to cancer. One popular documentary titled ‘Run from the Cure’ by Rick Simpson, which is available for free on Youtube, focuses on the use of hemp oil to conquer cancer.
  Rich in essential oils, fiber, and a close to complete amino acid profile, hemp contains beneficial ingredients such as:
  • Linoleic acid (44% of the weight of hempseed is actually full of edible oils)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (shown time and time again to fight against anxiety, depression, and even inflammation)
  • Omega-6
  • A ‘complete’ amino profile that surpasses the profile of eggs, milk, soy, and many meats. This includes the 9 essential aminos that the human body cannot produce on its own.
It is for these reasons that hemp is utilized today in many high quality products like protein shakes, energy bars, and many more food products. Two tablespoons of shelled hemp seeds contain about 11 grams of protein and 2 grams of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.

Its versatility allows it to be a prime ingredient even in clothing and fabric-based industries. It could  transform the entire industry, replacing unsustainable materials with environmentally friendly hemp.

Feds: ‘We Will Come for Your Hemp’

That is if the federal government doesn’t seize it across the nation. The DEA has its sights set on confiscating all hemp planted and grown in the United States through citing the Controlled Substances Act, which doesn’t differentiate between marijuana and hemp. The agents, which will ignore state law and enforce federal law throughout any state, say that they will be going after farmers who plant non-THC hemp as if they were planting marijuana. After all, they say it doesn’t matter what it actually is.
“It really doesn’t matter whether it looks different or it looks the same,” DEA agent Paul Roach told NPR. “If it’s the cannabis plant, it’s in the Controlled Substances Act and, therefore, enforceable under federal drug law.”
In the event that Colorado manages to generate acres of hemp without the federal government raiding the super efficient substance that is classified as a dangerous drug, it will provide a serious industry change that may spread to other states and potentially even federal law. In the more likely scenario of federal agents jailing hemp farmers and raiding their ‘drug’ operations, an intellectual and legal resistance will be in order to attempt to alter the ridiculous laws surrounding the cultivation of hemp.






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ABOUT Anthony Gucciardi

Anthony is an accomplished investigative journalist whose articles have appeared on top news sites and have been read by millions worldwide. A health activist and researcher, Anthony’s goal is informing the public as to how they can use natural methods to revolutionize their health, as well as exploring the behind the scenes activity of the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA.