Category: Culture

Married couples who smoke pot have less domestic violence

Hip American Gothic

Looking at couples over the first nine years of marriage, the study found:

• More frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives (two-to-three times per month or more often) predicted less frequent intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by husbands.

• Husbands’ marijuana use also predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by wives.

Couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently reported the least frequent IPV perpetration.

• The relationship between marijuana use and reduced partner violence was most evident among women who did not have histories of prior antisocial behavior.

The study’s lead author is Philip H. Smith, PhD, a recent doctoral graduate of the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and now associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University.

It is based on research data collected by lead investigator Kenneth Leonard, PhD, director of the UB Research Institute on Addictions. The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to Leonard and a grant to Smith from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Exactly the sort of scientific research that can benefit society and law. Guaranteed to be ignored by the overwhelming majority of our lawmakers – and the idjits who vote for them.

Still, the important part is that scientists are unrelenting in their curiosity, the quest for knowledge regardless of opposition from Philistines.

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University allows master to keep his Bassett on campus as a “very large cat”

The master of a Cambridge University college that banned dogs from accommodation has been allowed to keep his canine companion after persuading officials it was “a very large cat”.

YoYo the bassett hound lives at Selwyn College with Roger Mosey…Mr Mosey said cats were allowed but dogs were “technically” banned.

However, after a past master set a “dog-owning precedent” decades ago, the college “tongue-in-cheek agreed YoYo could stay as a large cat”, he said…

“Many former masters have kept cats but the greatest master, Professor Owen Chadwick, did keep dogs during the 1950s, 60s and 70s,” he said.

Permission was granted by the council, and duly noted in the minutes: “i. College Animal – Noting precedent under the mastership of Professor Chadwick, Council approved the Master’s request to adopt a Very Large Cat in the Master’s Lodge.”

YoYo, a rescue dog, has now featured in publicity material for a veterinary course and other college material…”Students call her ‘the college dog’ and I very much want her to become part of life at Selwyn,” Mr Mosey said.

A particularly collegiate and British solution to a conflict between reality and the rules.

Grain piles up – as trains are dedicated to North Dakota oil

The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills.

The backlog is only going to get worse, farmers said, as they prepared this week for what is expected to be a record crop of wheat and soybeans…

Although the energy boom in North Dakota has led to a 2.8 percent unemployment rate, the lowest in the nation, the downside has been harder times for farmers who have long been mainstays of the state’s economy. Agriculture was North Dakota’s No. 1 industry for decades, representing a quarter of its economic base, but recent statistics show that oil and gas have become the biggest contributors to the state’s gross domestic product.

Railroads have long been the backbone of North Dakota’s transportation system and the most dependable way for farmers to move crops — to ports in Portland, Ore., Seattle and Vancouver, from which the bulk of the grain is shipped across the Pacific to Asia; and to East Coast ports like Albany, from which it is shipped to Europe.

But reports the railroads filed with the federal government show that for the week that ended Aug. 22, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway — North Dakota’s largest railroad…had a backlog of 1,336 rail cars waiting to ship grain and other products. Another railroad, Canadian Pacific, had a backlog of nearly 1,000 cars.

For farmers, the delays often mean canceled orders from food giants that cannot wait weeks or months for the grain they need to make cereal, bread and an array of other products. “They need to get this problem fixed,” Mr. Hejl said. “I’m losing money, and my customers are turning to other sources as a result. I don’t know how much longer we can survive like this.”

This month, federal Agriculture Department officials said they were particularly concerned that Canadian Pacific would not be able to fulfill nearly 30,000 requests from farmers and others for rail cars before October. As a result, North Dakota’s congressional delegation and lawmakers in Minnesota and South Dakota have called on the Surface Transportation Board, which oversees the nation’s railroads, to step up pressure on the companies.

Farmers and agriculture groups say rail operators are clearly favoring the more lucrative transport of oil. Rail shipments of crude oil in North Dakota have surged since 2008, and the state now produces about a million barrels a day. About 60 percent of that oil travels by train from the Bakken oil fields in the western part of the state to faraway oil refiners…

RTFA. Ain’t anything there likely to surprise you.

Railroad officials beat their double-breasted Brooks Brother suits and claim they show no favoritism. That they are planning an additional investment of $400 million for more track and tank cars has nothing to do with which commodity is most profitable for them.

Obviously not Christians for they certainly don’t worry about being struck by lightning as liars, eh?

Thanks, Mike

Republicans continue to trip over the Gender Gap — and more

GOP women

When it comes to the Republican Party’s path to a Senate majority, so much of the focus has been on the red states. But the difference between the GOP pursuing a lasting majority and one that is temporary — or even elusive — is how it performs in purple and blue states like Colorado and Michigan. And our brand-new NBC/Marist polls of Colorado and Michigan show Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) leading Cory Gardner (R) by seven points among registered voters…in Colorado’s key Senate race. They find Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) ahead of GOP challenger Bob Beauprez by six points… They have Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) up over Republican Terri Lynn Land by six…in Michigan’s Senate contest. And they show Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading Democratic challenger Mark Schauer by two points… So why are Udall, Peters, and Snyder all ahead in their contests?

Here’s an explanation: mind the gaps — the gender gap, the Latino gap, and the independent gap. In Colorado, Udall is up by 12 points among female voters…as Democratic groups like Senate Majority PAC are up with TV ads…on abortion and contraception. Indeed, 70% of Colorado voters in the NBC/Marist poll said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who supports restrictions on the use of contraception. And in Michigan, Peters is ahead by 13 points with women…

But the gender gap isn’t the only notable gap in our new polls — also look at the Latino gap. Our NBC/Marist poll shows that Latinos make up 16% of registered voters in Colorado, and Udall is winning them by 31 points…

And then there’s the independent gap. In Colorado, both Udall (by 50%-34%) and Hickenlooper (by 52%-35%) have the advantage with independent voters. By contrast, in Michigan, Gov. Snyder holds a 14-point edge among independents — which explains his narrow lead in this Democratic-leaning state. Remember: It’s often easier to win independent voters as a Republican governor or gubernatorial candidate in a blue state, rather than as a GOP Senate candidate…And Snyder won his 2010 GOP primary and then general election due to independent voters…

Kind of a catch-all article. Hardly any poll analysis is as tidy as Pew or fivethirtyeight.com. Still, the groupings examined in this portion of the NBC/Marist poll would have it appear that under-represented portions of the American population are pissed-off enough to vote in their own interest.

Time for a cute fix


AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Panda cub Bao Bao hangs from a tree in her habitat at the National Zoo in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. Saturday marked her first birthday and the the zoo held an event with a traditional ‘Zhuazhou’ ceremony, a Chinese birthday tradition symbolizing long life to mark the event.

Haven’t posted a Panda in a while.

Latest gun nut / Darwin Award story

A 9-year-old girl at a shooting range outside Las Vegas accidentally killed an instructor on Monday morning when she lost control of the Uzi he was showing her how to use.

A partial video of the incident — which does not show the instructor being shot — shows a slender young girl in a ponytail and pink shorts beside a man clad in camouflage pants, a black T-shirt and sunglasses. “Allriiight!” he says, congratulating her after she fires the gun in single-shot mode. “All right, full auto!” he says. Then comes a spray of bullets and a child’s scream before the video cuts off.

The girl, whose name wasn’t released, visited the outdoor shooting range while vacationing with her parents. She’d fired the 9mm weapon, designed for use by the Israeli defense forces in the 1940s, several times in single-shot mode. But when it was set to fully automatic, the weapon recoiled and she lost control.

“The guy just dropped,” Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The instructor, Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, suffered at least one gunshot wound to the head. He was airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital where he died Monday night…

Sorry, folks – but, the only victim that concerns me in this episode of stupidity is the little girl. The incident will burn in her memory for the rest of her life.

The stupidity rests with her parents and especially with the instructor who thought arm muscle, reflexes, hand and eye coordination in a 9-year-old girl were adequate for a first-time experience firing a full automatic firearm.

The range owner, other instructors, all the NRA-types will take refuge in laws and regulations. Written and enforced by idjits.

Thanks, Mike

Racist, sexist St. Louis County cop suspended – finally!


Domestic violence? “If you don’t like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with…”

Officer Dan Page was outed as a racist extremist after video of his speech at an Oath Keepers meeting went viral Friday…A St. Louis County police officer who pushed CNN’s Don Lemon, a black television host, during live coverage of protests this week in Ferguson, Mo., has been suspended from duty after video of an hour-long racial rant against minority groups, women, liberals and politicians emerged online.

Officer Dan Page spewed the vile rhetoric during an Oath Keepers of St. Louis/St. Charles meeting in April, just months before he was tasked with keeping order among a crowd of majority black protesters in Ferguson.

Page’s first spin on live TV went horribly wrong: “Move out of the way, sir. Move!” he can be heard screaming as Lemon tries to do a live stand-up amid the crowd in broad daylight on Monday afternoon, footage from Mediaite shows.

“We’re on national television, so imagine what they’re doing to people when you don’t see it on national television, people who don’t have a voice like we do,” Lemon says as he’s pushed around.

The bizarre rant went viral after Page was on the frontlines of the Ferguson, Mo., protests in his duties as a St. Louis County police officer…And on Friday, Page was relieved of his duties in response to his vile comments raging against hate-crime legislation, the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” women and Muslims.

“You’re either gonna go to the ballot box or the bullet box in the next 18 months,” he demands as he decries Missouri’s two Senators.

“Roy Blunt (Republican) and Claire McCaskill (Democrat) won’t even talk to me, they say, ‘you’re an extremist’ and I say, ‘amen!’” the cop raves on video. “And I’m real good with a rifle. My best shot is 1,875 meters, I got me a gold star on that one. You run from me, you’re gonna die tired…”

For as many sensible cops, dedicated to Constitutional rights, that I have known – I’ve confronted dozens more in my lifetime as an activist. Even the otherwise-unemployables who treat their local police department as a safe job with benefits aren’t likely to have encountered anything approaching a high school civics lesson in the course of their job training.

Friends of mine who are serious about law enforcement as a professional career have had to change police departments more than once because a professional attitude, respect for equal justice, is judged unacceptable to the wardheelers and hacks who often float to up to command rank – like toasty turds in a septic tank.

And, please, don’t believe the public accepts the excuses and lies from the Saint Louis County PD that the ideology of this creep just suddenly surfaced. If anything, he’s been working his racist butt off trying to recruit other members of the force into his scumbag cell for years.

Thanks, Mike

Bible-waving Republican candidate says God is above U.S. law

Michelle MacDonald, the Republican nominee for the Minnesota Supreme Court who neglected to disclose her upcoming trial for a DWI, is coming under fire for promising GOP officials that she would base her opinions on Biblical principles.

During a speech she gave at the Minnesota GOP convention in Rochester on May 30, 2014, she told the delegates that “when judges used to enter the courtroom, they would hold a Bible over their head, like this,” and then held a Bible over her head.

“In the words of George Washington,” she continued, “it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

According to Mount Vernon Library, that spurious quotation is “frequently misattributed to Washington, particularly in regards to his farewell address of 1796.

She concluded her speech by saying, “God bless you, God bless your children, God bless your families, and let’s all ask God to bless America again.”

It’s starting to look like this nutball theocrat is falling out of favor with establishment Republicans – mostly because of her DWI bust and her attempt to ignore it.

Too bad. I’d be encouraged that one of the state flavors of Republican was ready to rejoin the 20th Century, at least, by backing away from nutballs like MacDonald.

I don’t expect either to make any attempt to wander into the 21st Century.

Thanks, Mike

Wolves cooperate, dogs submit

Wolves
Click to enlarge

A new dog research study suggest dogs submit while wolves cooperate.

Comparative psychologists Friederike Range and Zsófia Virányi at the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna have an upsetting conclusion for dog lovers.

The two scientists studied lab-raised dog and wolf packs, they found out that wolves were the tolerant, cooperative ones.

A lot of researchers think that as humans domesticated dogs they became keen to to pitch in on tasks with humans. But, this is apparently not the true nature on today’s dogs…The dogs formed strict, linear dominance hierarchies that demand obedience from subordinates, says Range.

She thinks that as wolves became dogs, they were bred for the ability to follow orders and to be dependent on human masters…

The more dominant wolves were “mildly aggressive toward their subordinates, but a lower ranking dog won’t even try” when paired with a top dog, Range said…

Wolves also beat the dogs on tests assessing if they were able to follow the look of their fellows to find food. “They are very cooperative with each other, and when they have a disagreement or must make a group decision, they have a lot of communication or ‘talk’ first,” Range said.

The dogs, on the other hand were far more authoritarian and aggressive. A higher-ranked dog “may react aggressively” toward one that is subordinate for even the smallest transgression.

Range and Virányi suspect that the relationship between dogs and humans is hierarchical, with humans as top dogs compared to the cooperative wolf packs.

The idea of “dog-human cooperation” needs to be reconsidered, Range said, as well as “the hypotheses that domestication enhanced dogs’ cooperative abilities.”

Interesting conclusions – and more studies to follow.

I expect anthropomorphic ideologues will either fall apart in disbelief – or leap into predictable fundamentalist rapture over this report.