Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Electronics recycling event is Saturday, April 4

PHOENIX (March 24, 2015) – Arizona Department of Environmental Quality officials announced today that the Sixth Annual Payson Free Electronics Waste Recycling Event will be held Saturday morning, April 4 from 8 a.m. until noon at the Town of Payson Multi-Event Center, 1400 S. Beeline Highway.

ADEQ and its partners – Payson Water Department, Gila County, Tonto Apache Tribe, Northern Gila County Sanitary District, Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District, CH2MHill and eGreen-IT Solutions of Phoenix -- anticipate collecting tons of unwanted televisions, computers, monitors, batteries, chargers, cell phones, VCRs, CD and DVD players, printers, small appliances, fax machines, cables and cords during the event. No more than two televisions or monitors per vehicle will be accepted during the event.

The recyclable material will be collected at the Multi-Event Center, in the south part of Payson across Beeline Highway from Mazatzal Hotel and Casino. eGreen-IT Solutions uses state of the art software to erase all hard drives and will provide companies and individuals donating e-waste a certificate of disposal for their records. The event has grown in popularity since its inception with 10,601 pounds collected in 2010, 20,345 pounds in 2011, 23,350 pounds in 2012, 29,842 pounds in 2013 and 29,047 pounds last year.

“It’s been exciting to see the Payson area get behind this event,” ADEQ Director Henry Darwin said. “This is a great opportunity for people to dispose of all the unwanted electronics they have collected over the years while at the same time ensuring that this potentially toxic stream of waste is disposed of responsibly and does not take up valuable landfill space.”

Willie Nelson to launch own brand of weed

Willie Nelson. (photo: Tucson Sentinel)
Willie Nelson. (photo: Tucson Sentinel)

By James Joiner, The Daily Beast
26 March 15 
There will be branded bongs and stores, too, as Willie gets out ahead of big industry in states where pot is legal.
illie Nelson takes a hit of the cigarette-sized vaporizer in his gnarled hand, exhaling a small cloud, before placing it on the foldout table in front of us. We’re seated in the cool enclave of his tour bus, at the entrance to his sprawling property just outside Austin, Texas, which he has dubbed the town of Luck. Up a hill and around a corner, people are rocking out at Willie’s own Heartbreaker Banquet, an annual fundraiser/music festival held concurrently with SXSW.

Now 81, Willie is biding his time before joining the festivities, and we’re talking about why he puts on the event every year. In the process, he lets slip that he has something else in the works: a new brand of weed, called, naturally, Willie’s Reserve.

Pressed on this, he’s either dismissive or coy, though he does indicate that the smoking implement he has again picked up is a part of the line. The PR person promises to connect me with Michael Bowman, a veteran hemp and pot lobbyist who serves as the fledgling brand’s spokesperson. Two days later, much colder, much more sober, and back in my native New England, Bowman and I connect by phone.

The discussion is below, but the rub is that the marijuana world is about to get its first connoisseur brand, edging it farther from an illegal substance and closer to the realm of fine wines. 

So what exactly is Willie’s Reserve?

Well, you know, Willie has spent a lifetime in support of cannabis, both the industrial hemp side and the marijuana side. He wants it to be something that’s reflective of his passion. Ultimately, it’s his. But it was developed by his family, and their focus on environmental and social issues, and in particular this crazy war on drugs, and trying to be a bright light amongst this trail as we’re trying to extract ourselves from the goo of prohibition.

Really he wants it, at the end of the day, to envelop what his personal morals and convictions are. So from the store itself to how they’ll work with suppliers and how things are operated, it’s going to be very reflective of Willie’s life. 

Wait, so there’s going to be stores? 

Well, yeah, they’re in the making. I think it’s safe to say that there will be stores that roll out in the states where marijuana has become legal. 

So will there be signature strains that you grow under Willie’s oversight? Or will you sell other people’s strains? 

It’ll be both. There will be our own, and then there will be opportunities for other growers, who meet quality standards. Let’s just call it the anti-Walmart model. Personally, internally, that’s what we call it. A certain standard by which growers have to account for carbon and such, in a way that empowers small growers who are doing the right thing. 

So you’ll also be a distributor of sorts. 

It will be like when you walk into a Whole Foods store. Whole Foods has their 365 brand, or you can buy Stony Brook, or you can buy Horizon… It’ll all fall under that umbrella of “here’s our core beliefs, and here’s our mission statement,” and they will be a part of that, to be a part of us. 

How many stores are you looking at opening?

That’s gonna depend… Right now, we’ll focus on the states where legalization has occurred, and as new states open up, those opportunities will present themselves on a state-by-state basis. Or until the feds do something! 

When do you plan to open the first one? 

In the next calendar year that there will be movement. As you can imagine, it’s not a problem in states like Colorado, Washington, Alaska… There’s a pretty clear path on where retail can go. 

OK, so what strains are Willie’s favorites? 

You know, I don’t know that! I know that he clearly has an opportunity to test a number of those, but I can’t tell you which ones are his favorites. 

How did you get involved with Willie? 

Well, Annie (Willie’s wife) and I were founding members of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance back in 2005. We got to know each other through that. I was working in D.C. on a number of renewable energy and sustainability issues. Then, I presently became introduced to Willie, and had the honor of being able to spend a lot of time around him. 

So how involved is he directly? Is it really mostly his family? 

Well, no. This is a culmination of Willie’s vision, and his whole life. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted how fast the dominoes would start falling once they started falling (as far as legalization). And You have the men like Willie who’s been out there getting arrested, standing up saying what’s right, and not wavering from that core. 

So do you think full-scale legalization will come soon? 

I would say all this boils down to math. You can take the dollars we’re spending (on prohibition), and go to arch conservatives who are against the ending of prohibition, and say, “Here’s a math equation. Here’s what we’re spending in drugs, here’s what we’re doing to destroy peoples lives. And with the ending of prohibition, we can transition from very energy intensive and chemical intensive crops to something much more energy-efficient and environmentally benign, and be creating more products.” What isn’t conservative about that equation? 


+68 # chapdrum 2015-03-26 14:09
The "arch conservatives" will reject this argument because they strongly imply (without overtly stating) that there's something immoral about cannabis that there isn't about alcohol.
They are more comfortable with a drug that promotes aggression than one that tempers it.

-22 # HowardMH 2015-03-27 08:59
Why isn't Willie in jail for drug possession, like the thousands of Black teens? Ohhh that's right he isn't black and has a lot of money.
+3 # reiverpacific 2015-03-27 16:41
Quoting HowardMH:
Why isn't Willie is jail for drug position, like the thousands of Black teens? Ohhh that's right he isn't black and has a lot of money.
"Drug position" (sic)?
Is that like head boss-man of internal body-searches -as in "Assume the position Bubba"?
At least he'd be singing' at it.
+15 # jussayin 2015-03-27 12:55
"They are more comfortable with a drug that promotes aggression than one that tempers it"

So true. After all, how will they get kids to fight wars after experiencing the effects of weed. It doesn't have the same effect as the roid-rage-induc ed robots they manufacture at boot camp where they learn to dehumanize the "enemy", obey even illegal orders without question and suppress any hint of empathy which might conflict with the "manly" tough guy image.

Not all, of course, but too many. And they take their cue from the likes of Rummy, Shrub and Cheney. Our culture of violent and aggressive sports, computer games, disregard for others and the planet all help to shape young minds to contribute to a dominant culture where we're supposed to take what we want, do what we want and care less about the consequences.

The super wealthy are invested in the military industrial propaganda complex and make way more money from war and aggression, controlling our lives and raping the planet. Altruism doesn't pay as well as sociopathy and there's no power high.

Weed would contribute to our economy, sustainability, health, and collective state of mind. It would have so many positive effects.

If we were to design a society which would produce the most sociopaths as possible, I'm not sure how much different it would be from what we have. Thus we have the attacks on education, science, the humanities, conservation, etc.

Thank goodness not everyone falls into the trap.

+68 # Ken Halt 2015-03-26 21:29
Go Willie! With your grass roots concerts you have a proven track record of caring about and standing up for We The People, you are an American hero apart from your stand on legalization of marijuana! Thank you for your activism and your inclusive, giant, soul! Legalization has been a long time coming, thank you for helping it along.

+26 # cordleycoit 2015-03-26 22:26
Free Willie

+42 # Rockster 2015-03-26 22:34
Moral courage And good ole common sense. Heck even Abe Lincoln, Ben Franklin , Will Rogers and Mark Twain will all toast this man

+42 # dyannne 2015-03-26 23:03
Willie is his own man. Always has been. Looks like he always will be. Respect! Love the man, and his music.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Indiana Defines Stupidity as Religion

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. (photo: Greg Nash)
Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. (photo: Greg Nash)

By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
27 March 15

n a history-making decision, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana has signed into law a bill that officially recognizes stupidity as a religion.

Pence said that he hoped the law would protect millions of state residents “who, like me, have been practicing this religion passionately for years.”

The bill would grant politicians like Pence the right to observe their faith freely, even if their practice of stupidity costs the state billions of dollars.

While Pence’s action drew the praise of stupid people across America, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was not among them. “Even I wasn’t dumb enough to sign a bill like that,” she said.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Amanda Knox and the wages of U.S. imperialism

Amanda Knox. (photo: The Guardian/Sipa USA)
Amanda Knox. (photo: The Guardian/Sipa USA)

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News
28 March 15

This story first appeared on Reader Supported News January 31, 2014. Yesterday, March 27, 2015, Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, quashed the murder case against Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, in the death of British student Meredith Kercher. The decision by the Court of Cassation is permanent, final and not subject to subsequent review. As a legal matter the case is concluded. - MA/RSN

manda Knox and the international circus that surrounds her actually matter. It's really about something bigger.

If it looks as though the case against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is superficial at best, there's a reason for that - it is. To say that because a speck of Knox's DNA may have been present - on a knife, or a bra clasp, in the apartment in which she resided - is absurd on its face and constitutes no evidence of anything. In addition, neither prosecutor got anywhere near presenting a viable connection between the man convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, Rudy Guede, and Knox or Sollecito. The purported collaboration was the stuff of a poorly written work of fiction. In fact there was no evidence of collaboration between Guede and Knox or Sollecito presented to the court at all.

In their totality, the combined theories presented to the three courts by two prosecutors were so illogical and utterly lacking in substantiation that it's the prosecutors, not the defendants, who should have been on trial - for misconduct.

Further, that a second prosecutor could present a second case that all but abandoned the entire premise of the first case, after the first case was thrown out on appeal, is patently malicious, and absolutely does constitute a separate/unique judicial instance and double jeopardy in a very material sense. The whole thing makes a profound mockery of the entire concept of criminal justice. 

But while there is little chance that Amanda Knox is guilty of murdering anyone, she is in fact guilty of two very important things: being an inconveniently pretty young woman and being an American abroad in the Bush era.

By the fall of 2007, Italy was in a significant state of conflict with the US over the Bush administration's policy of extraordinary rendition. Of specific note were Italian kidnapping charges against nearly two dozen CIA agents for the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Abu Omar, resulting in 23 convictions. The New York Times reported, "Judge Oscar Magi handed an eight-year sentence to Robert Seldon Lady, a former C.I.A. base chief in Milan, and five-year sentences to the 22 other Americans, including an Air Force colonel and 21 C.I.A. operatives."

Italy's decision to confront America's cavalier disregard for their borders, laws, and judicial system was in line with objections and threats of prosecution by several nations, including German arrest warrants for CIA agents in the kidnapping and extraordinary rendition case of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen.

What was at issue for those nations from which citizens and residents were taken was their national sovereignty and the integrity of their judicial process. None of which appeared to matter to the Bush operatives, but mattered greatly to those nations where the crimes occurred - including, significantly, Italy.

In the midst of this international conflict simmering just below the surface of broad public view, a young American woman traveled to Perugia, Italy, to study. Her subsequent arrest and high-profile trial for the murder of roommate and fellow student Meredith Kercher would rivet world attention on the very same Italian judicial system that the US had casually disregarded throughout the Bush years.

Italy never got their CIA agents, but they got a pretty young girl from Seattle, and with her the undivided attention of America and the world to the authority of Italian justice.

It's not clear if Amanda Knox will foot the bill for the 23 convicted CIA agents, but what is clear is that Italy and many other countries view America's policy of rendition as indeed extraordinary, and they have a point to make. 

Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


+14 # Barbara K 2015-03-28 13:23
If that is how Italy runs its justice system, I will certainly avoid Italy. To have put this young lady thru all that pure hell for pure spite for something she had nothing to do with, is disgusting, to say the least.

+60 # Archie1954 2015-03-28 13:31
But Italy's judicial system has proven that it is both fair and just. The case against both defendants was dismissed. It is the US that has a politicized, corrupt and unfair system of "justice"! It also has a corrupt government and DOJ. Request for the criminal CIA agents to be returned to Italy to serve their sentences has been ignored by the US government even though Italy's request meets all the terms of the extradition treaty it signed with the US. No American has any standing to question the judicial systems of other countries, not when their own is so corrupt.
+39 # opinionaire 2015-03-28 14:14
while I cannot argue that the USA has many problems with both its justice system and its foreign policies, I cannot agree with your first statement. The Italian courts indicted, acquitted, reversed the acquittal, and generally dragged this young woman's life through years of unnecessary hell. That is not fair and just, it is abusive.
+7 # nogardflow 2015-03-28 17:36
Barbara, I think this article is more about the US justice, 'or injustice', system, rather than Italy's justice system.

+18 # djnova50 2015-03-28 14:48
Some foreign courts will do this if they do not have viable suspects. The prosecutor and investigating team did not do a good job, became embarrassed and basically tried to fix their bungles.

Amanda has led a relatively quite existence at home in WA. But, I started seeing articles about her over the last week. The articles were more about the court system in Italy.

I never believed that Amanda Knox was guilty of what the Italian court was charging her with. I certainly hope she will now be allowed to live her life without all the turmoil she encountered in Italian court system.

+41 # MidwestTom 2015-03-28 14:56
The American Justice system summed up in one short question:
"How much justice can you afford"?

0 # RLF 2015-03-28 16:22
You a carpenter Tom?

+9 # Philothustra 2015-03-28 14:57
Marc Ash is exactly correct: the fanatical anti-American tone of the police, prosecutor and blog was a reaction to building resentment in Europe over American imperialism and intrusion. The extreme rendition thing was just one factor- US jets blowing through a crowded ski lift in a north
valley was another.
Italy's judicial system is a joke. the prosecutors are given to wild flights of fantasy (the orgies, the blood feast) that defense lawyers are not allowed to protect of confess, despite lack of any evidence.

But is US "justice" any better?

+26 # WestWinds 2015-03-28 15:12
The way our government has and is conducting itself makes me totally ashamed to be an American. Once upon a time, I was a proud American, now I hesitate to admit I belong to such blatant corruption. But this is what you get when corporations run a country. May they never truly own and run the world.

+32 # turnoutthelights 2015-03-28 15:29
It's all about the religion of American Exceptionalism. It deprives us of insight to other cultures and values----much to our continuing national detriment.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why Conservatives Who Say $15 Minimum Wage Kills Businesses Are Wrong

The $15 minimum wage has not been hurting small businesses. (photo: AP)
The $15 minimum wage has not been hurting small businesses. (photo: AP)

By Alan Pyke, Think Progress

23 March 15
s Seattle prepares for the April launch of the highest minimum wage law in America, conservatives are warning that businesses are already shuttering under the pressure of higher labor costs and pointing to a recent report of a rash of restaurant closures as evidence. The problem is, the actual owners of those restaurants say that they’re not closing because of wages, and the city seems to be enjoying robust growth in that industry.

The New York Post editorial board, American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry, Forbes contributor Tim Worstall, and Rush Limbaugh all cited a Seattle Magazine article from March 4 that claimed a “rash of shutterings” was afoot in the Seattle restaurant world. The magazine suggested that the minimum wage law might be a contributing factor in the closures of the Boat Street Cafe, Little Uncle, Grub, and Shanik.

“That’s weird,” Boat Street Cafe owner Renee Erickson told the Seattle Times when fact-checkers emailed to confirm the Seattle Magazine story. “No, that’s not why I’m closing Boat Street.” Erickson’s three other restaurants remain open, and two brand new ones are in the works in Seattle. “Opening more businesses would not be smart if I felt it was going to hinder my success,” said Erickson, who described herself as “totally on board with the $15 min.”

Poncharee Koungpunchart and Wiley Frank of Little Uncle “were never interviewed for these articles,” they told the paper. They are closing one of their two locations, “but pre-emptively closing a restaurant seven years before the full effect of the law takes place seems preposterous to us.” Frank reportedly asked one conservative writer who had picked up the wage-menace red herring to “not make assumptions about our business to promote your political values.”

The owner of Shanik told the Times that closing has “nothing to do with wages,” and Grub’s owner explained that they’re being bought out and rebranded by new ownership because the breakfast and sandwich bistro has been “a huge success.”

The Seattle Magazine article itself notes that new restaurants are opening at a healthy clip around the city, and that the Capitol Hill neighborhood is in the middle of “an unprecedented dining boom.” And while numbers compiled by data wonk Evan Soltas offer only an imprecise snapshot of restaurant employment in the Seattle area, the empirical evidence shows “no sign of a minimum-wage hit to employment.” These details did not make it into the punditry that initially swirled around the article’s suggestion that some closures might relate to the wage law. Forbes’ Worstall published a follow-up piece insisting that his point stands despite the crumbling narrative of specific Seattle restaurant closures. AEI’s Price has not yet responded to an request for comment.

Worstall, Price, and the other conservative economists and pundits who latched onto the overblown narrative from Seattle Magazine argue that minimum wage hikes reduce job growth, but many other studies and analysts have challenged the assumptions about business behavior that underlie the opponents’ claims. A recent academic analysis of how fast food companies would adapt to a law very similar to Seattle’s found that the industry would not have to fire anyone to cover the jump to $15. And states that increased their minimum wages in 2014 experienced faster overall job growth than states that did not.

All of this is happening weeks before anyone in Seattle has been forced to change anything about how they pay workers, and about six years before small restaurants like these will have to pay $15 per hour. The first tier of the city’s wage increase law goes active on April 1. From there, businesses will have between three and seven years to gradually step up to $15, depending on both the total number of people a firm employs and the health care benefits they offer workers.

Seattle’s business community was heavily involved in crafting graduated wage hike schedules that provide deferential treatment to employers who are already offering workers some non-cash compensation. The law’s complexity and flexibility owes in large part to the business community’s fierce negotiating in months of meetings with labor officials and local politicians. All sides left “a little bit of blood on the floor and some deeply held principles,” the business community’s lead negotiator told ThinkProgress last summer.

With time and data on what Seattle’s economy actually experiences as the wage hike phases in, the spread of the $15 idea seems almost inevitable to another key negotiator. “When we enact this law and our state does not slide into the ocean,” venture capitalist Nick Hanauer told ThinkProgress in the summer, “that will make it easier for people to be like, ‘well, fuck, why shouldn’t we do that?'”


+14 # caphillprof 2015-03-23 09:45
The opening and closing of restaurants is a fact of life in dynamic urban environments.

Some folk never let the facts get in the way of any political argument.

+4 # ronnewmexico 2015-03-23 09:58
Hey birdbrains…we did this more than ten years ago in Santa Fe, Albuquerque followed about 5 or so years later…..

why did they follow…nothing bad happened.

A quote on it, Wash Post….…"Since the rollout of a living wage in The City Different, not a whole lot is. At least not in the big picture. The unemployment rate stays where it always stays, lower than the rest of New Mexico. Gross sales tax receipts have climbed back out of the trough of recession. The number of new business licenses issued rises and falls, rises and falls, never far from about 600 a year. The number of people working in the area’s leisure and hospitality sector, where the bulk of low-wage workers are employed, remains steady. No one has done a recent study to see what’s happened with food stamp and public assistance caseloads, but early data seemed to indicate mixed results — none of which could be directly tied to an increase in minimum wage."

Santa Fe was one of three cities nationwide at the time to initiate this. The wage is not up to 15 per hour but this is after all New Mexico. It is ited to the cost of living index last I checked.

Really it is old news on this not workng Studies were produced right after it clearly showing it did not work….know what….the actuality of it proved them absolutely completely wrong….nothing bad happened. It was junk science based on junk statistics..

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The GOP Has Money to Kill

Blood Money

Leo Gerard