Nevada has a serious drug problem — Shops are running out of marijuana

❝ Nevada officials have declared a state of emergency over marijuana: There’s not enough of it.

❝ Since recreational pot became legal a couple of weeks ago, retail dispensaries have struggled to keep their shelves stocked and say they will soon run out if nothing is done to fix a broken supply chain.

❝ In declaring a state of emergency late last week, the state Department of Taxation warned that “this nascent industry could grind to a halt.”

As bad as that would be for marijuana consumers and the pot shops, the state has another concern: tax revenue. A 10% tax on sales of recreational pot — along with a 15% tax on growers — is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars a year for schools and the state’s general fund reserves…

❝ In the run-up to last year’s state referendum over legalization — which was overwhelmingly approved by voters, allowing people aged 21 and over to buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana — the state’s powerful alcohol lobby worried that legalized weed would cut into liquor store sales.

So in a concession to the the alcohol industry, the ballot measure stipulated that for the first 18 months of pot sales only wholesale alcohol distributors would be allowed to transport marijuana from cultivation facilities to the dispensaries…

The state Department of Taxation, which regulates legal marijuana, said it had received about half a dozen applications from alcohol distributors but that none had so far met the state licensing requirements, which include background checks and security protocols.

As a result, the dispensaries have had to rely on marijuana already in stock…

❝ All four of the other states where recreational pot is legal — Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska — allow the dispensaries to transport marijuana themselves, with no privileges given to alcohol distributors.

The same “moderate” Republican governor who vetoed the Medicaid For Everyone law passed by the Nevada legislature fought to give a handout to the booze distributors. He approves of them. Not the weed growers. Which says something about so-called moderate Republicans being just as afraid of democracy as the Tea Party Trumplets.

Dundee Trounced In Pre-Season Match – Opposition Fielded a Team Of 100 Local School Kids


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Dundee got their pre-season preparations off to a bad start, slumping to a comprehensive 5-2 defeat in their first friendly of the schedule.

There were, however, mitigating circumstances as the Dees’ opponents brazenly flaunted the rules to field a vastly overpopulated team…Indeed, Dundee were swarmed by 100 local schoolchildren, who ganged up on the senior team as part of the launch event for Dundee’s new away kit…

Speaking to The Courier after the game, Dundee boss Neil McCann (who took charge of the kids’ teams) was impressed by the application he saw out there on the Dens Park pitch:

“I’m just delighted for my young team. I set them out to attack as a 99.

I went for a 33-33-33 formation, and I think it worked a treat!”

Gotta love football played with a sense of humor.

Arkansas Regulators Vote To Stop An Epidemic Of Herbicide Damage


Dicamba leaf-cupping

❝ Arkansas’s pesticide regulators have stepped into the middle of an epic battle between weeds and chemicals, which has now morphed into a battle between farmers. Hundreds of farmers say their crops have been damaged by a weedkiller that was sprayed on neighboring fields. Today, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to impose an unprecedented ban on that chemical…

The tension — which even led to a farmer’s murder — is over a weedkiller called dicamba. The chemical moved into the weed-control spotlight a few years ago, when Monsanto created soybean and cotton plants that were genetically modified to survive it. Farmers who planted these new seeds could use dicamba to kill weeds without harming those crops…

❝ The problem is, dicamba is a menace to other crops nearby. It drifts easily in the wind, and traditional soybeans are incredibly sensitive to it. “Nobody was quite prepared, despite extensive training, for just how sensitive beans were to dicamba,” says Bob Scott, a specialist on weeds with the University of Arkansas’s agricultural extension service.

❝ As soon as spraying started this spring, the complaints began arriving. By June 23, state regulators had received 242 complaints from farmers who say their crops have been damaged…

On June 20, the Arkansas Plant Board met to consider an emergency ban on further spraying of dicamba, and farmers crowded into the meeting to argue both sides…

At that first meeting, a procedural mix-up prevented the board from holding a valid vote. On June 23, it reconvened and voted, 9-5, to ban any spraying of dicamba on any crops except for pasture land for 120 days. The ban will take effect immediately if the governor of Arkansas signs it.

More and more this sort of solution to weed and pest control appears to be a long-term failure. I don’t know if Monsanto is up for a re-think; but, more and more farmers suffering the “surprises” they keep receiving from Monsanto need to look for alternatives. Not just for dicamba; but, the whole concept of growing crops engineered to be protected from common ills by the saving grace of specific chemicals designed into their genes. I doubt this can ever be a long-term solution.

Throw Away The Key — Found Guilty for 96 Million Robocalls

A Miami man accused of flooding consumers with 96 million phone calls touting fake travel deals faces a record proposed $120 million fine from federal regulators, who said he operated the worst robocall spoofing effort they had seen.

Adrian Abramovich tried to trick consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages, the Federal Communications Commission said in a news release Thursday. The pace of calls works out to an average of more than 1 million per day…

Calls appeared to come from local numbers, but those who answered were prompted to “Press 1” to hear about vacation deals, according to the FCC. If they did, consumers were connected to call centers not affiliated with companies mentioned in messages, such as Expedia Inc., TripAdvisor Inc., Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings…

Consumers who did “press 1″…ultimately connected Americans to call centers in Mexico that usually attempted to fleece innocent consumers out of their hard-earned money by promising too-good-to-be-true vacation deals,” Adam Medros, a senior vice president at TripAdvisor, said in an emailed statement. The company said it worked closely with the FCC to investigate after its customers called to complain.

Like the headline says, THROW AWAY THE KEY – after you take back all the money he stole plus penalties.

Canadian Arctic climate change study cancelled — because of climate change


Click to enlargeUniversity of Manitoba

❝ The Science Team of the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has cancelled the first leg of the 2017 Expedition due to complications associated with the southward motion of hazardous Arctic sea ice, caused by climate change.

This regrettably postpones the much-anticipated Hudson Bay System Study (BaySys) involving 40 scientists from five universities across Canada. Timing was key for this $17 million, four-year, University of Manitoba-led project.

The need to deal with extreme ice conditions in the south meant the ship would arrive too late on site to meet research objectives…

❝ Dr. David Barber, Expedition Chief Scientist, noted that, “Climate-related changes in Arctic sea ice not only reduce its extent and thickness but also increase its mobility meaning that ice conditions are likely to become more variable and severe conditions such as these will occur more often.”

The Sea Ice Research Team collected a comprehensive dataset on the physics of the ice, ocean and atmosphere in the area and these data will contribute to the understanding of these events and assist Canada in preparing for climate change driven increases in marine ice hazards…

❝ The research of our scientists clearly indicate that climate change is not something that is going to happen in the future – it is already here. Research results from scientists onboard the Amundsen and innovative Networks like ArcticNet show the impacts of climate change in Canada’s Arctic and Arctic Ocean affect not only northern ecosystems and communities, but also the environments and people living in the south of Canada – as so dramatically seen off the coast of Newfoundland.

This will not be a one-off – nor will the events be limited to an Arctic context. More likely, yes. But, natural systems, global in scope, interact and affect each other. As they will affect us.

Paul Allen has a new plane and it’s very, very BIG


Click to enlargeStratolaunch Systems

Paul Allen’s intriguing launch company, Vulcan Aerospace, has gone relatively quiet in recent years, and questions about the venture’s viability have been increasing. But on Wednesday, the cofounder of Microsoft shared a new photo of the company’s Stratolaunch airplane — the largest in the world — and it seems the company is moving forward.

The new plane is, in a word, bigly. The aircraft has 385-foot wingspan and, powered by six Pratt & Whitney engines used on Boeing 747 aircraft, has a maximum takeoff weight of 1.3 million pounds. The Stratolaunch’s wingspan is the largest in history, blowing away the previous record-holder (Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose) by 65 feet. Vulcan Aerospace says its Stratolaunch airplane will have an operational range of 2,000 nautical miles. Serving as a reusable first stage for rocket launches, the Stratolaunch system will be capable of delivering payloads to multiple orbits and inclinations in a single mission.

Recently…the company moved the Stratolaunch aircraft out of its hangar at the Mojave Air & Space Port in the eponymous California desert. This was first time it had been moved outdoors, and Allen said the purpose was to conduct a “fueling test.” This event marked the completion of the construction phase, the company later said, and the beginning of ground and eventually flight tests.

I’m the only member of my extended New Mexico family who’s never been a pilot. But, wow, would I love to go along on this critter for a launch flight.

Trump affects America’s tourist business the way we expected


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❝ Trump Tower, in midtown Manhattan, has become a modern-day Mount Vernon. Tourists have long visited George Washington’s homestead. Now they venture through Trump Tower’s brass doors to ogle the decor—“it’s so gold,” said a German teenager standing near the lobby’s waterfall on a recent afternoon—or buy souvenirs. The Choi family, visiting from South Korea, wandered the marble expanse with their new “Make America Great” hats (three for $50).

❝ The question for America’s hoteliers and airlines is whether such visitors are just anomalies. A strong dollar is one reason for foreigners to avoid visiting America. Donald Trump may prove another, suggests a growing collection of data. Yet measuring the precise impact of Mr Trump’s presidency on travel is difficult. In addition to the currency effect, many trips currently being taken to America were booked before his election. Marriott, a big hotel company, reported an overall increase, compared with a year earlier, in foreign bookings in America in February.

But Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s boss, has voiced concern about a potential slump in tourism. In February, ForwardKeys, a travel-data firm, reported that in the week after Mr Trump first tried to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, international bookings dropped by 6.5% against the same period in 2016. Hopper, a travel app, found that average daily searches for flights to America have declined in 99 countries since Mr Trump tried to issue his travel ban, compared with the last weeks of Barack Obama’s term. Russia is one of the few places where demand has risen…Tourism Economics, a forecaster, expects 2 million fewer foreign visits to America this year, a 1% drop from 2016. Without Mr Trump it had expected a 3% jump…

❝ The industry has been here before. International tourism in America slumped by around 3% each year from 2000 to 2006. Most analysts blame not only the attacks of 2001 but stricter visa rules and anti-American sentiment abroad. Countries that had the dimmest view of America, according to surveys during that period, tended to see drops in travellers there, says Adam Sacks of Tourism Economics. “We are facing a potential rerun,” he says…

I’m not surprised. Are you? I expect the most insular, if not xenophobic of Trump voters will think the question unimportant. Some people hate realtors. Some people hate travel agents. Usually for not very well thought-out reasons.

Report from Europe: People Here Think Trump Is a Laughingstock

❝ “Chaos.”
“Circus.”
“Laughingstock.”

Those were just a few of the comments I heard in Berlin this week from senior European officials trying to make sense of the meltdown in Washington at just the moment when a politically imploding President Trump embarks on what he called “my big foreign trip” in the morning’s kickoff tweet…

❝ Many I spoke with said they had made a fundamental mistake of viewing Trump primarily as an ideologue with whom they disagreed rather than what he increasingly appears to be: an ill-prepared newcomer to the world stage, with uninformed views and a largely untested team that will now be sorely tried by a 9-day, 5-stop world tour that would be wildly ambitious even for a seasoned global leader…

❝ “People are less worried than they were six weeks ago, less afraid,” a senior German government official with extensive experience in the United States told me. “Now they see the clownish nature.” Or, as another German said on the sidelines of a meeting here devoted to taking stock of 70 years of U.S.-German relations, “People here think Trump is a laughingstock.”

“The dominant reaction to Trump right now is mockery,” Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of the conservative journal the National Interest, told the meeting at the German Foreign Office here while moderating a panel on Trump’s foreign policy…Michael Werz, a German expert from the liberal U.S. think tank Center for American Progress, agreed, adding he was struck by “how rapidly the American brand is depreciating over the last 20 weeks.”…

❝ Some of the reported preparations for the NATO session in Brussels this week suggest just how much the volatile-clown theory of the American president has now taken hold.

RTFA for the details. If you have an ongoing interest, an educated understanding of the history of US-Euro relations – you will find the clown prince of the White House even more of a handicap to balance and comprehensive progress than the typical conservative’s Ugly American.