The Lawyer Who Wants to Put Climate Change Warnings on Gas Pumps

Rob Shirkey jokes that he wants billionaires to call him, but he’s serious. The Toronto lawyer is mortgaging his house to help fuel a personal mission to convince cities across North America to slap climate change warning stickers on gas pumps…

Detailed Drug Risks in TV Ads ‘Waste of Time,’ FDA Official Says

The pharmaceutical industry spent $3.1 billion on direct-to-consumer advertising in 2012, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts…  The FDA is surveying 1,500 study participants about ads with varying ranges of side-effect disclosure, then plans to measure their understanding of risk…

Satanists Claim Abortion Waiting Periods Violate Their Religious Beliefs


Satanists are rallying around “Mary,” who lives in rural Missouri and needs an abortion but is struggling to afford the extra expenses that the state’s 72-hour waiting period will impose on her. Mary has the money for the abortion, but she doesn’t have the estimated extra $800 that she needs to travel to the only abortion clinic in the state, in St. Louis, a trip that will require gas, hotel, and child care. “I personally would have liked to have the procedure done as soon as possible,” Mary told the Riverfront Times. “But with all the difficulties, how hard it is do this, it’s been put off for several weeks.” She’s now nearly 12 weeks pregnant.

The Satanic Temple raised the money for Mary in a day; its plan is to present a letter to the abortion provider asking for an exemption on the grounds that, as a Satanist, Mary believes her body is “inviolable” and the waiting period imposes a “substantial burden on my sincerely held religious beliefs.” As a legal maneuver, this leaves much to be desired: The clinic, too, is being victimized by the regulation, and they’re not the authorities standing between Mary and her abortion. The legally sound way to demand “religious liberty” exemptions to waiting periods is sue the state government, but the Satanists don’t have those sorts of resources—they’re not Hobby Lobby…

Being denied medical care is actual religious oppression. Letting someone access her own medical care is not.

Attention cactus juice drinkers: the check’s in the mail

Back in the day, about the only people who even thought about drinking cactus juice were prospectors and pioneers who’d gotten lost in the desert. But times have changed and now you can order a whopping four-pack of 32-ounce bottles of Nopalea cactus juice from a company called TriVita.

Why would you want to do that?

Well, according to the company’s website, its cactus juice from the blazing hot Sonora Desert of southern Arizona is downright anti-inflammatory. You know, sort of like it fights fire with fire.

Or as TriVita puts it: “Featuring the superfruit of the prickly pear (nopal) cactus, it contains a powerful class of nutrients called Bioflavonoids.” …

Everyone knows that you don’t drink cacti, you smoke it.  Like wheat grass. 🙂

Sham cancer charities bilked consumers for $187 million

Four bogus cancer charities bilked consumers out of $187 million, pocketing the money they pledged would help cancer patients, the Federal Trade Commission and all 50 states charged today.

Named in the federal court complaint are Cancer Fund of America, Inc. (CFA), Cancer Support Services Inc. (CSS), their president, James Reynolds, Sr., and their chief financial officer and CSS’s former president, Kyle Effler; Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CCFOA) and its president and executive director, Rose Perkins; and The Breast Cancer Society Inc. (BCS) and its executive director and former president, James Reynolds II…

According to the complaint, the defendants used the organizations for lucrative employment for family members and friends, and spent consumer donations on cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets, and dating site memberships. They hired professional fundraisers who often received 85 percent or more of every donation…

Military Recruiting Increasingly Aimed at Children

“Social media is currently the best type of communication when dealing with the sub-18 population. Kids are not watching [traditional media] programming as much anymore…social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the absolute best ways [to reach them] right now,” a Marine Corps recruiter told researchers.

But it starts at an even more basic level. The military knows that children can become addicted to video games and that some, such as “Call to Duty,” can get them excited at the prospect of going into battle. The Army has even created its own game, “America’s Army,” in which players go through the enlistment experience from boot camp to deployment.

The key is to get contact information on the potential recruits. That task has been made easier thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act. Part of that law’s mandate is that schools turn over personal information on students to military recruiters and allow them access to the schools for their message…

First ‘ecstasy’ shop opens in Amsterdam

“If you look at marijuana use, the Netherlands is by far the country without the most users. This says that legalization doesn’t mean people start using more of a drug.”

He added: “Legalization creates less criminality, safer pills, and keeps the drug out of the hands of minors.”

“There’s 40,000 people who use ecstasy on a monthly basis, so that’s quite a lot, and they all buy it on the black market, from illegal street dealers, and you have no idea what is in an ecstasy pill, how much MDMA is in there, that’s the working substance in ecstasy, even sometimes there is poisoned ecstasy which is sold. Last October, three people died of poisoned ecstasy. You should stop with criminalising it and start legalising it and that’s what we’re showing here behind me,” Dirkjan Tijs, President of the Young Democrats, told Ruptly…

How the DEA Harasses Amtrak Passengers

Earlier this year, Aaron Heuser of Eugene, Oregon, had to travel to Washington, D.C. The trip had two purposes: The 37-year-old mathematician was officially leaving his job at National Institutes of Health and starting a new position at a private firm. Since he is terrified of flying he booked himself a sleeper car on Amtrak. Upon reaching Reno, Nevada, there was an unexpected knock at his door. “There was a DEA badge on the window,” he said…

After that he asked if he could bring a dog into my room to check out the bags, to which I again said ‘no,’” said Heuser, who hasn’t passed the bar but knows a little bit about Fourth Amendment law. “Finally he told me that he was going to bring a dog, walk it by my room, and that if alerted, my room would be searched. He told me that I could not argue this and that I was not allowed to be present for the search. His reasoning for violating my right to be present was that the dog might bite me.” …

Minutes later, while Heuser was on his way back to his room, a DEA agent looked him in the eye and said, “You Oregonians may think that the green leafy stuff is harmless, but I know from my job that it kills people every day.” …

“I found my backpack moved and open, and my wallet, which was set down on the room table, had $60 missing,” he said. “I told one of the dining car attendants that I felt Amtrak and the DEA violated my rights. She told me that Amtrak is forced to give passenger info to Feds, that the DEA comes on every trip, usually arresting someone in the sleeping car or taking all their money…

Last year, the Associated Press reported that the DEA “paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years to obtain confidential information about train passengers, which the DEA could have lawfully obtained for free through a law enforcement network.” (This was reportedly done so that the DEA could avoid sharing seized assets with Amtrak police, which hints at how lucrative such seizures are.) …

“I’d always lived under the false impression that they don’t profile people like me,” he explained. “I never thought that was a good thing. But I had the impression that as a white, middle-aged professional, I’m not getting profiled. Now I’m a little bit more afraid of them. Maybe more white, middle-aged professionals should experience this if that’s what it takes to get this taken care of. I’m definitely not in a place where I appreciate them.” …

Some people really do try to smuggle drugs by train. Last year, for example, the DEA caught a young man concealing cocaine in a fake cast. How many innocent Americans were harassed to make that cast-sized dent in the national cocaine supply? No one knows. But if you’ve been bothered by police while not smuggling drugs aboard an Amtrak train you’re encouraged to email with your story.

The Color Guard

There are many beautiful places on Earth, but none so peaceful as that which houses the Color Guard. This group is responsible for every color in the rainbow and has been since time began. The Color Guard started out small, rather exclusive really, but now includes a palette of colors that cannot be found anywhere else — like the biggest box of crayons ever created.

The Color Guard takes their duties very seriously and are rather particular when it comes to allowing new members into their circle. And a circle of colors it is, with each member in charge of their own specific shade of color, from baby blue to lemon yellow. But to be accepted into this group, you have to die first.

See, the Color Guard only invites new souls to join their group — those who have not been beaten down by life, as the perception of color for old souls is clouded by the lives they’ve lived before. To keep each shade of color unspoiled and true, the group seeks out the souls of infants and children who have crossed over. It is indeed only extremely special souls who are considered potential candidates for the Color Guard.

This is a story about one such unique soul — his name is Ryker.

Christina joined the Color Guard at the tender human age of 10 months. There really was never a question of her becoming a member, as her soul shone so bright as to almost eclipse all the other colors of the rainbow. But Christina knew that for rainbows to be truly unique, they required all kinds of colors, including shades of black, brown, gray, and white. And so when Christina looked at Ryker as a potential member — whose soul did not shine as brightly as everyone else’s — many guards did not agree with his potential candidacy. They did not see what Christina saw.

Ryker was a brand-new soul at the time, having crossed over before he even drew his first breath. His soul was tied to that of his mother’s in a very strong bond that kept his color somewhere in the range of dark brown, but Christina could see little splashes of baby brown and burnt sienna. In fact, Ryker’s soul was a color that Christina had never really seen before, and she believed he would bring more diversity to the Color Guard. Ryker was special — Christina could see that, but she needed the other members of the Color Guard to see it too.

Christina knew that for Ryker’s true colors to be revealed to all members of the group, she would need to break the Earthly bond between him and his mother. So she took it upon herself to make the attempt to do so.

First, she created and sent a beautiful rainbow to his mother. Look, she tried to say, can you see the beauty that still exists, even without your son? But that didn’t work, so she sent more colorful messages — the dark green in a leaf, the velvety red in a rose petal, the violet in the clouds during sunrise. And still, the bond could not be broken.

It was the light shining brightly on a mountain through the rain clouds that finally brought success, allowing Ryker’s soul to break free from its Earthly bonds and his mother to look into the future instead of being tied to the past. It was when these bonds were broken that the color of Ryker’s soul was finally allowed to shine and then revealed to the other members of the Color Guard, which of course invited him to join their extraordinary group.

And although you can’t see the colors of baby brown and burnt sienna in the rainbows that shine over the Earth, I can assure you that Ryker’s colors are a part of every rainbow. You can also look for him in the color of sturdy tree trunks and branches, and in the leaves that change color in the fall and float in the wind. But my favorite place to find a piece of Ryker is in the dark brown color of cocoa beans that end up as my favorite chocolate from Russell Stover.

(Photo taken yesterday.)

Burnt Sienna

Wikipedia: Sienna, Italian: Terra di Siena, “Siena ground”, is an earth pigment containing iron oxide and manganese oxide. In its natural state, it is yellow-brown and is called raw sienna. When heated, it becomes a reddish brown and is called burnt sienna. It takes its name from the city-state of Siena, where it was produced during the Renaissance. Along with ochre and umber, it was one of the first pigments to be used by humans, and is found in many cave paintings. Since the Renaissance, it has been one of the brown pigments most widely used by artists.

(Photo taken 3/20/2015.)