Friday Open Thread

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

–President George H. W. Bush

Hemp growing again in isle soil

My mom asked me to post this:

For the first time in about 15 years, legally sanctioned industrial hemp is growing in Hawaii’s soil — and local advocates hope that new economic growth will stem from the plant in the Aloha State.

But hemp’s success in Hawaii could depend on whether federal drug enforcement officials make it easier to import hemp seeds to the islands.

Researchers, lawmakers and farmers used traditional oo sticks Friday to sprinkle newly acquired hemp seeds into a small soil patch at the University of Hawaii’s Wai­ma­nalo Research Station, in the shadow of the Koo­lau mountain range.

Their private blessing and seed-planting ceremony follows federal and state measures signed into law last year that permit universities such as UH to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

UH professor Harry Ako and others with the school’s College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources will use their first 5½ pounds or so of seed to study how tall the hemp plants will grow locally, how much water and fertilizer they’ll require, how well they purify the soil and whether they can grow three hemp crops a year.

For state Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe), the planting was part of a 20-year push to bring the multi-use crop to the islands. She said her son first suggested it to her as a way to help replace jobs lost amid the local sugar industry’s decline. Thielen led efforts last year to pass into law a bill authorizing a two-year UH research study into hemp.

Obstacles to local hemp study on Hawaii remain, however.

Researchers had planned to start planting hemp this past summer, but Thielen said it took nearly a year to secure proper federal approvals to bring three small bags of seeds to Wai­ma­nalo. Last year’s federal Agricultural Act allows universities to grow hemp without a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration permit, but they still need a DEA permit to ship the seed to the U.S. and between states, officials say.

“The DEA has held this up for 11 months,” Thielen said. “If our state wants this, and the federal government recognizes it, the DEA is acting irrational. They’re insisting they control the import” and hope “you just give up.”

UH researchers are prohibited from using the seeds produced by any of the school’s first batch of hemp plants to grow subsequent ones per an agreement with the Australian company that provided the original hemp seeds planted Friday, Ako said. The hemp researchers and supporters will thus have to import more seeds if they’re to keep the project going, but Thielen called the process of getting the DEA permits for these first seeds a “nightmare.”

Washington, D.C.-based DEA representatives were unavailable for comment Friday.

Although hemp is part of the cannabis sativa plant species along with marijuana, it contains a small fraction of the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) needed to get a user high. But in 1957 the DEA began interpreting the Controlled Substances Act to include prevention of industrial hemp growth.

Both Ako and Thielen said Friday that there’s no way a person can get high via hemp, and Thielen and others have called for it to be removed from the federal Controlled Substances list, which classifies illicit drugs. Hawaii Demo­cratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has co-sponsored a federal bill, HR 525, that would remove industrial hemp from the list. Gabbard’s father, state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kapolei-Makakilo), said at Friday’s event that he wants to see the bill succeed in the current Congress.

A measure that’s still alive in this year’s state Legislative session, House Bill 508, would allow others in Hawaii to work with UH to conduct more hemp research.

“We’ve been waiting for this a long time,” said Clarence Baber, owner of Island Herbs Hawaii, who traveled to Oahu for Friday’s ceremony. Hemp could provide local farmers with cheaper alternatives for fuel to power their equipment, food for livestock and people, and building materials, he said.

“If a farmer’s able to grow his own fuel, that’s a huge cost” eliminated, Baber said.

In 1999 a private hair-care firm was allowed to grow hemp in Wahiawa for research into hemp oil, Thielen said. However, despite tight security around the plants, “the DEA virtually shut it down,” and the project was canceled by the early 2000s, she added.

Political Trivia – Presidential Last Names

Ok, here's another for you. Name all presidents that shared a last name. And for each pair, their relation, if any. Memory only – no searching!

Extra credit – name the first American born president (the first several were British citizens when they were first born).

Political trivia – how good are you?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

These are all quotes by presidents. Post your answers, with no searching the internet, reading books, etc! I'll post the correct answers Monday.

  1. You lose
  2. Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
  3. First used the phrase “Military-Industrial Complex”
  4. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
  5. Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
  6. I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.
  7. It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
  8. It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
  9. “Tell the truth” (instructions to his supporters on what to say when asked about his illegitimate child).
  10. If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. (May not have actually said it, but commonly attributed to him.)
  • Extra credit – What president’s parrot had such a filthy mouth, it was removed from his funeral?

ps – Started our last company meeting with these. The team Social Democrats win with 5/11.

They’re Our Opponents, Not Our Enemies

A very important point to keep in mind is we are not fighting an enemy, we are competing with opponents. The Republicans are not evil, they don’t hate America, and they are not out to destroy the middle class. They have a different approach on fundamental questions, but that is why we have elections, to let the voters pick which approach they think will work best.

Some will claim that the Republicans won because they lied, and Cory Gardner in particular did lay out some whoppers. But we dems happily elected Bill Clinton twice and he is a congenital liar. We dems were fine with the “you can keep your insurance” lie as it got the insurance bill passed (and anyone who understood the bill knew at the time that was a lie). Yes politicians lie. On both sides. Always have, always will. That is not what won the election.

We have some fundamental differences. Everyone has an opinion of when a fetus becomes a human being. I think all of us would view aborting a healthy 8-1/2 month fetus to be tantamount to murder. We all have a judgment as to what point in the pregnancy that fetus becomes a person. And there is no science or other means to declare a clear point because it’s fundamentally a personal choice. By that measure, someone who views personhood as occurring at the point of conception has a view as valid as any other. And if you hold that belief, then voting for the person who will stop abortion, regardless of their other beliefs, is a logical choice.

Our culture believes that our country was built almost solely on free enterprise. (It wasn’t, government has been a large part of our success from land grants for railroads to the Internet.) We all see the jobs and growth that come from the private side from a single independent coffee shop to Exxon (Walmart may be mostly part-time minimum wage jobs, but Exxon provides a large number of very well paid jobs.) A booming private sector is the best way, and the only long term sustainable way, to grow the economy. This approach has some major structural issues, those issues also are not fully proven. So taking the view that taxes (and services) should be reduced to leave the private sphere with additional income is again, a reasonable and logical choice.

Our K-12 educational system is a mess, and the money poured in has increased at about double the rate of inflation for the past 30 years. With no measurable increase in outcomes. The educrats have a million rationalizations, some of which are valid. But for many people, when the choice is continue with an approach that clearly does not work and try something else. They will vote to try something else. And again, while the proposals put forward by the right are, in my opinion, unlikely to work better, that doesn’t mean I’m right. I think in this case many voters aren’t in favor of the specifics proposed by the right, but they’re willing to take a chance because they know stay the course will not work. As we don’t know what will happen with these changes, again, it’s a reasonable point of view.

And then we have the giant hit faith in the government has taken. We’ve had 14 years of rank mis-management from the White House. From “heck of a job” Brownie to General “you want to see a doctor now?” Shinseki. An intruder makes it halfway through the white house and we’re supposed to believe the Obama Administration can do anything well? Yes there is great distrust by most voters in the ability of the government to do anything competently. That’s a reasonable conclusion based on what we have seen. Many of us look at the parts that run well (or at least they’ve got their problems well hidden) and are hopeful that the government can effectively address issues. We’re the glass is 1/3 full optimists. But the glass is 2/3 full pessimists have an equally valid viewpoint. And so when they vote for the person who says let’s get government less involved because all it does is fuck things up, that’s a very legitimate point of view.

Then there’s the economy. All the news stories, and the Democratic speeches talk up how we’ve fully recovered. Except we haven’t. The total numbers look good. But the economy has become much more unequal and so for the 98% out there who didn’t gain in the great rebalancing of the economy, things are worse. When people hear that “baby we’re back” and they see that it’s worse for them, for their kids, for their friends, then they see a system that has abandoned them. The Democrats in Washington have spent the last 4 years with a policy of minimize the changes (damage) from Republican proposals. A system that isn’t working for people, and politicians running on a platform of minimal change – again voting for a different approach is a reasonable and logical decision.

This administrative ineptitude and lack of a compelling alternative for the economy is also why, in my opinion, the voters wanted to vote against Obama. Every way they could with every vote they cast. Because not only do we have these problems, he’s not trying to fix them (an occasional speech isn’t trying) and if he did get substantial legislation passed, they don’t believe he could implement it competently or quickly. This is not logical. Mark Udall is not Barak Obama. But it is understandable. It is human nature.

The bottom line is that people who voted for Republicans have a reasonable difference of opinion on what the best approach to our problems is. The Republicans elected will propose solutions we disagree with. That doesn’t mean they’re evil and doesn’t even mean they’re wrong (statistically some of their proposals will work). It means we have a difference of opinion on these issues. And that means they’re an opponent of our ideas, but not an enemy.

Monday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community."

–Andrew Carnegie

Monday Open Thread

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

–T. E. Lawrence

What should we do about Ukraine?

(Off-topic indulgence due to the story's importance – promoted by Colorado Pols)

There's been a ton of opinions here about what we should do in The Ukraine. They've run the gamut from essentially nothing (except saying we're upset) to starting WW III. So, let's say Obama asks you to join a meeting of his national security team. What would you suggest.

And why you think it would work?

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Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."

–George Bernard Shaw

Campaign Bloggers – How to Post Here Effectively

(Good advice from a longtime Polster – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Someone walks into a party, climbs up on a table, drops their pants, squats over the punchbowl, and drops a gigantic turd in the punch. At this point, while you have everyone's attention, no one is listening to a word you say.

If your goal is to get attention. If your goal is to leave an impression of a pile of shit, then there's no reason to read on. However, if your goal is to effect the conversation, to persuade, to make people think, then read on. Because most political shills (liberal & conservative) make all of the below errors. Consistently.

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Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies."

–Robert Kennedy
 

Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies."

–Robert Kennedy

Tuesday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

— Charles Babbage

Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gladstone to Disraeli: "I predict, Sir, that you will die either by hanging or of some vile disease." 

Disraeli's reply: "That all depends, sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."