Delaware is 18th state allowing personal consumption of marijuana

Delaware governor Jack Markell has signed into law a bill decriminalising possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana. The move follows the lead of nearly 20 states that have eased penalties for personal consumption…

Individuals in Delware will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and to use it privately without facing criminal sanctions. Police could still confiscate the drug, according to Delaware Online, the News Journal.

The statute also will reduce the penalty for using marijuana in a public place to a $100 civil fine…

The law will take effect in six months’ time. Markell, a Democrat, signed the measure almost immediately after the state senate, voting along party lines, gave it final legislative approval.

No one expected pot-smoking Republican politicians to vote sensibly, courageously.

According to the Journal, the Democratic-backed bill cleared the state legislature without a single Republican vote in either the house or senate.

Not counting Delaware, 17 states have passed laws to decriminalise personal marijuana use and possession in small amounts, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a lobbying group.

Delaware is one of 23 states, along with the District of Columbia, that allow the use of pot for medical reasons. Voters in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC have approved ballot measures legalising cannabis for adult recreational use.

Marijuana remains classified as an illegal narcotic under US federal law.

A regulation which requires joint stupidity and cowardice from politicians in both parties.

The Confederate flag remains the favorite of white supremacy

racist flag

The American flag and the South Carolina state flag are flying at half-staff at the state’s capitol after a gunman murdered nine people at a Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME church Wednesday night.

The Confederate flag on the capitol grounds, on the other hand, is still flying at its usual height, 30 feet in the air, lighted at night. And it isn’t going anywhere. A compromise that took the flag down from over the statehouse in 2000 did all it could to make sure it didn’t budge any further from the seat of state government. Moving it requires a two-thirds vote from the state’s general assembly.

A mass murder apparently motivated by white supremacy has sparked yet another debate about what the Confederate flag really symbolizes. Yet the facts of the matter are clear: from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement, the flag has always been about white supremacy. It’s always been embraced hardest when white Southerners felt most threatened. Fights over the South Carolina Capitol’s Confederate flag have been going on for more than 40 years.

But the flag’s meaning hasn’t really changed since the Civil War. The only thing that has is how the rest of the country sees the cause it represents.

The Confederate flag has always been about white supremacy…

The Confederacy itself was founded to preserve slavery and promote white supremacy. See, for example, Mississippi’s declaration of secession: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world,” or the speech from the Confederacy’s vice president that declared the Confederacy’s cornerstone “rests upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition”.

And from the moment the design of its best-known flag was proposed, some Southerners began imbuing it with the symbolism of their cause.

Racist terrorism against Black folks in America was codified under the reign of slavery. The only modifications since – are just that, modifications to suit changing times. The national context has changed as the majority of the United States rejected racism, making the fight for equal rights a standard worth fighting for at all levels.

Some of the rationales for racism, for defense of the flag of slavery have had to change with the times; but, all they are is new lies for new times. In truth, not much different from their origins.

RTFA for a detailed history. One of the things VOX does particularly well.

Pic of the day

SF Annual Manual
Click to enlargePhoto by James McConnell

Jim McConnell is the sort of Renaissance Man who inevitably spends some portion of his life in and around Santa Fe. Or should. In between stints teaching anthropology, marching for equal rights, writing screenplays in too many countries to count along with too many other crafts to note here – he’s resuming his love affair with photography late-ish in life.

This is one of his.

When he gets round to kicking-off a photo website it will be listed on the photography blogroll sidebar on my personal site. We do like his work very much.

Fructose can power a vicious circle

‘Walk through any supermarket and take a look at the labels on food products, and you’ll see that many of them contain fructose, often in the form of sucrose (table sugar)’ — that’s how Wilhelm Krek, professor for cell biology at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Molecular Health Sciences, summarises the problem with today’s nutrition. Prepared foods and soft drinks in particular, but even purportedly healthy fruit juices contain fructose as an artificial additive — often in high quantities. In recent decades fructose spread throughout the food market, due to a reputation as being less harmful than glucose. In contrast to glucose, fructose barely increases blood glucose levels and insulin secretion. This avoids frequently recurring insulin spikes after any glucose consumption, which are judged harmful. In addition, fructose is sweeter to the taste.

But there’s a downside: the liver converts fructose very efficiently into fat. People who consume too much high-fructose food can in time become overweight and develop high blood pressure, dyslipidaemia with fatty liver and insulin resistance — symptoms that doctors group together under the name metabolic syndrome.

A new paper by Krek and his team member Peter Mirtschink describes a further, more troubling side effect of fructose. The researchers have discovered a previously unknown molecular mechanism that points to fructose as a key driver of uncontrolled growth of the heart muscle, a condition that can lead to fatal heart failure…

In the study, Krek’s research group demonstrates that a lack of oxygen in the heart cells cues the appearance of the HIF molecule. This is a universal molecular switch that flips whenever a pathological growth process is under way, such as cardiac enlargement or cancer. HIF causes the heart muscle cells to produce ketohexokinase-C (KHK-C), the central enzyme in fructose metabolism. KHK-C has a high affinity for fructose and can therefore process it very efficiently. The production of KHK-C also has a reinforcing effect on glycolysis. Since fructose metabolism doesn’t involve any negative feedback regulation, a vicious cycle starts that can lead to heart failure…In mice that were suffering from chronic high blood pressure, the researchers turned off the KHK enzyme, which indeed inhibited enlargement of the heart…

Large volumes of fructose are added to many foods, but especially to sweet beverages and soft drinks. This practice drove up per capita consumption of high fructose corn syrup in the USA between 1970 and 1997, from 230 grams per year to over 28 kilograms.

But Mirtschink provides reassurance that eating a normal amount of fruit daily is safe and healthy. ‘Besides fructose, fruit contains plenty of important trace elements, vitamins and fibre,’ he says. People should, however, avoid overly sweet soft drinks and fruit juices — these often have sugar added — as well as ready-made meals and other foods to which large amounts of fructose are added as a flavour carrier.

I couldn’t agree more.

Please RTFA. I didn’t wish to take away from ScienceDaily’s presentation of this fine little article. There are delightful bits and pieces in the press release about the collaboration and invention within this study.