Global News: How Dangerous is the Radioactive Wave Heading towards U.S.?
How dangerous is the radiation spreading across the Ocean soon to reach the U.S.?
Watch Video Below
Radiation Heading towards U.S.
Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, joins Thom Hartmann. California beware! A radioactive wave is headed toward the West Coast of the United States courtesy of the Fukushima nuclear disaster? So with nuclear power still wreaking havoc on the environment - why are the Japanese about to flip on more of their nuclear reactors?
Posted by Informant_News on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 17:24:41 MDT (1789 reads) (Read More... | 1227 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4.66)
Global News: Resistance spread 'compromising' fight against malaria
Resistance spread 'compromising' fight against malaria
By Matt McGrath
Science reporter, BBC World Service
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes
Scientists have found new evidence that resistance to the front-line treatments for malaria is increasing.
They have confirmed that resistant strains of the malaria parasite on the border between Thailand and Burma, 500 miles (800km) away from previous sites.
Researchers say that the rise of resistance means the effort to eliminate malaria is "seriously compromised".
For many years now the most effective drugs against malaria have been derived from the Chinese plant, Artemisia annua. It is also known as sweet wormwood.
In 2009 researchers found that the most deadly species of malaria parasites, spread by mosquitoes, were becoming more resistant to these drugs in parts of western Cambodia.
This new data confirms that these Plasmodium falciparum parasites that are infecting patients more than 500 miles away on the border between Thailand and Burma are growing steadily more resistant.
The researchers from the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit measured the time it took the artemisinin drugs to clear parasites from the bloodstreams of more than 3,000 patients. Over the nine years between 2001 and 2010, they found that drugs became less effective and the number of patients showing resistance rose to 20%.
Prof Francois Nosten, who is part of the research team that has carried out the latest work, says the development is very serious.
"It would certainly compromise the idea of eliminating malaria that's for sure and will probably translate into a resurgence of malaria in many places," he said.
Another scientist involved with the study is Dr Standwell Nkhoma from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.
"Spread of drug-resistant malaria parasites within South East Asia and overspill into sub-Saharan Africa, where most malaria deaths occur, would be a public health disaster resulting in millions of deaths."
The drug artemisinin is derived from the Artemisia annua plant
The scientists cannot tell if the resistance has moved because mosquitoes carrying the resistant parasites have moved to the Burmese border or if it has arisen spontaneously among the population there. Either way the researchers involved say it raises the spectre of untreatable malaria.
"Either the resistance has moved and it will continue to move and will eventually reach Africa. Or if it has emerged, now that artemisinin is the standard therapy worldwide then it means it could emerge anywhere," Prof Nosten told the BBC.
"If we were to lose artemisinin then we don't have any new drugs in the pipeline to replace them. We could be going back 15 years to where cases were very difficult to treat because of the lack of an efficacious drug."
Artemisinin is rarely used on its own, usually being combined with older drugs to help fight the rise of resistance. These artemisinin based combination therapies are now recommended by the World Health Organization as the first-line treatment and have contributed substantially to the recent decline in malaria cases in many regions.
Prof Nosten says the current spread of resistance could be similar to what happened in the 1970s with chloroquine, a drug that was once a front-line treatment against the disease.
"When chloroquine resistance reached Africa in the middle of the 1970s it translated into a large increase in the number of cases and the number of children who died increased dramatically."
In a separate paper published in the journal Science researchers have identified a region of the malaria parasite genome that is linked to resistance to artemisinin.
Dr Tim Anderson, from Texas Biomed who led this study, says that while mapping the geographical spread of resistance can be challenging it may be hugely beneficial.
"If we can identify the genetic determinants of artemisinin resistance we should be able to confirm potential cases of resistance more rapidly. This could be critically important for limiting the further spread of resistance."
According to the World Malaria Report 2011 malaria was responsible for killing an estimated 655,000 people in 2010 - more than one every minute. A majority of these were young children and pregnant women.
Iraqi Woman Beaten To Death In California Note Left "Go Back To Your Country You Terrorist"
Iraqi woman beaten in her California home dies:
An Iraqi woman who was left brutally beaten in her Southern California home with an apparently xenophobic note beside her has died.
Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was taken off life support Saturday, said the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that advocates for Muslim civil liberties.
She had been on life support since Wednesday when her teenage daughter found her unconscious in the living room of their home in El Cajon in San Diego County.
The victim's daughter wants answers as to why anyone would kill her mother is such a brutal slaying.
FBI Joins Investigation of Iraqi Woman Beaten to Death with Tire Iron in San Diego
El Cajon, CA police have not been able to identify a suspect in the gruesome murder that took the life of Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi mother of five who was beaten to death in her home last Wednesday. El Cajon, which is a few miles west of San Diego, has one of the nation’s largest Iraqi communities.
Police say Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter Fatima Al Himidi found her mother unconscious in the family’s home on Wednesday after being beaten with a tire iron. Alawadi died Saturday, a short while after being taken off life support.
Relatives and friends say a handwritten note that read “go back to your own country” and labeled her a terrorist was found near Alawadi’s body. El Cajon police said they are investigating the case as a possible hate crime but have yet to officially call it one.
“Although we are exploring all aspects of this investigation, evidence thus far leads us to believe this is an isolated incident,” El Cajon police Lt. Mark Coit told UTSanDiego.com. “A hate crime is one of the possibilities and we will be looking at that. We don’t want to focus on one issue and miss something else.”
At a news conference on Monday, police said the FBI was assisting in the case but provided few details about the investigation, according to the LA Times.
“Given the fact of these notes left, we’re obviously concerned about the possibility of a hate crime. I don’t think anyone would disagree this is a coldblooded murder,” Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations told UTSanDiego.com.
Fatima Al Himidi said nothing was stolen from the house, leading her to believe the attack on her mother motivated by hate.
Alawadi leaves behind five children and her husband.
Muslim Woman Beaten to Death in Possible Hate Crime in her home in California.
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 14:51:39 MDT (1640 reads) (Read More... | 4155 bytes more | Global News | Score: 0)
U.S. News: Pa. student charged after taking traffic stop pictures
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia police violated a college student's First Amendment rights by arresting him as he took photos of a traffic stop outside his house, a journalism advocacy group said Monday.
Temple University photojournalism student Ian Van Kuyk has been charged with obstruction, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in a case described as "a miscarriage of justice" by a lawyer for the National Press Photographers Association.
"He was just taking pictures, as is his right, (as is) every citizen's right," attorney Mickey Osterreicher said Monday.
Police Lt. Raymond Evers said Van Kuyk and his girlfriend were arrested for other offenses, not for taking pictures.
"It's very clear the officers were aware of their First Amendment rights to take photos," Evers said, citing a police report. He later added, "Other things happened that caused them to be arrested."
Evers said that the department is investigating internally and that he could not release further details about the case, nor the police report on the March 14 arrest.
Osterreicher laid out the student's version of events in a written complaint to police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Van Kuyk was sitting on his front steps in the city's Point Breeze section when police pulled over a vehicle. The student began taking pictures to fulfill a course assignment for shooting at night. He was not using a flash and obeyed one police command to move back, Osterreicher said.
But officers then asked Van Kuyk to stop taking photos. When the student asserted his right to use the camera on public street, one officer reportedly said: "Public domain, yeah we've heard that before!" Police allegedly pushed, shoved and threw Van Kuyk to the ground before handcuffing him.
His girlfriend also was caught up in the scuffle as she tried to rescue Van Kuyk's camera, which belongs to Temple University. She was charged with obstruction and disorderly conduct; court records indicate she entered a community service program that could eventually allow her record to be expunged.
Police eventually returned the camera with the traffic stop images still on the memory card, according to Temple professor Edward Trayes, who teaches the course for which Van Kuyk was shooting.
Andrew Mendelson, chairman of the university's journalism department, said he asked Osterreicher to get involved because the student's arrest could have a chilling effect on free speech.
"This is not just about journalists," Mendelson said. "This is about all citizens."
Van Kuyk did not immediately return a request for comment. His next court date is April 16.
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, March 26, 2012 @ 18:31:12 MDT (1883 reads) (Read More... | 3362 bytes more | U.S. News | Score: 4)
Tech: How will you communicate when the grid goes down?
Let’s first cover what we are talking about when saying OFF GRID. Most all forms of communications today require grid support. The internet, landline telephones, and cell phones all require some form of support to function. Now if we either chose to go off grid or we are forced to go off grid due to natural disaster or man-made causes, we will all be looking for a way to communicate outside of our family group. The fact is, as humans, it is part of our nature to communicate with others. If you doubt me, try doing without all forms of communications for a weekend, or better yet an entire week.
What are your options?
GMRS/FRS radios and/or CB radios work well but have a very limited range. Any of theses will work for excellent local communications within a 1 to 3 mile range for most people. They are limited in many ways by different terrain and also by the surrounding structures. In many areas, like in the mountains, they have very limited capabilities. Let’s look at some of the specifications.
FRS or Family Radio Service: This form of radio uses seven different channels and transmits using 0.5 watts. There is no FCC license required for use.
GMRS or General Mobile Radio Service: This service does require a license issued from the Federal Communications Commission. The cost is currently 85 dollars for a five-year period. GMRS radios are allowed up to 50 watts of transmit power, but 1 to 5 watts is the most common in use.
CB or Citizens Band Radio: Does not require a license to operate. The radios have 40 channels and are limited to 4 watts transmit power on AM and 12 watts on sideband modes.
What if you want communications outside of your local area?
The solution for that is amateur radio, also known as ham radio. There are a lot of misconceptions out there today about ham radio due to recently passed new rules for ham radio testing and licensing. The biggest one is the dropping of CW or Morse Code from the licensing requirements in the United States. With CW not being required anymore, many people that struggled with learning have now gone on to get their licenses and have begun to enjoy the fascinating world of ham radio. There are currently only three classes of licenses issued by the FCC—Technician, General and Extra.
The Technician class, or entry level class, will open up a much greater geographical range than any of the previous mentioned forms of two-way radio services are capable of providing you. You will even enjoy the privilege of using a very small portion of the allocated frequencies available to ham radio operators that allows you to be able to talk pretty much world-wide during certain band conditions. This class of license is very easy to obtain with just a little dedication to studying for the test required.
A very good way to find out what ham radio is all about is to look for your local ham radio club. Once you find it, go there during one of their meetings and ask questions. Make sure you have plenty of time on your hands because we hams love to talk and share our hobby with others! By doing this you could also get the opportunity to possibly use the club station to make a few contacts of your own and see what you think. You can go to this web site and use your zip code in the search box to find your local club—http://www.arrl.org/find-a-club
Another way you could find a ham in your area is by doing a search for all the hams in your zip code. You never know, one of your neighbors just may be a ham or at least someone in your community that you may just know. If so, all you have to do is ask them for help and I am sure they will be more than willing to help you find your way. You can do this by going to http://qrz.com and again, in the search window at the top left of the page, enter your zip code and see what you get.
If you have never considered becoming a ham I would urge you to at least look into it. Ham radio is truly the only reliable form of communication that truly Works When All Else Fails. All you need is a 12-volt battery, a radio and a simple-to-make wire antenna in a tree, and the whole world is at the other end of your radio waiting to chat with you.
73 “Best wishes in radio talk”
David M Hill, Sr.
Ham Radio Works When All Else Fails
The goal of The American Preparedness Radio Network is to teach people about becoming more self reliant and less dependent on outside help through the use of ham radio. They focus their efforts on fellowship among any and all ham radio operators, new or old, that would like to join them. Their long-term goal is to establish a network of preparedness-minded hams everywhere to aid and assist with communications of like-minded people should any or all of the grid-supported communications go down.
Undated file photo released by Defense Department in 2004 of the flag-draped coffins of U.S. war casualties aboard …
The remains of some of the victims of the 9/11 hijacking of flight No. 93 that went down over Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were incinerated, mixed with medical waste, and placed in a landfill, according to a gruesome new Pentagon report.
Issued by an independent commission chaired by retired Gen. John Abizaid, the report looks into allegations of improper handling at the Dover Air Force base's mortuary of the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon released the 9-member panel's findings in an 86-page report (.pdf). On page 11, the panel notes that it was only after the committee's work began that it was alerted to allegations that some 9/11 victims' remains were handled improperly at the facility:
Prior to 2008, portions of remains that could neither be tested nor identified ...were cremated under contract at a civilian crematory and returned to DPM [Dover Port Mortuary]. This policy began shortly after September 11, 2001, when several portions of remains from the Pentagon attack and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, crash site could not be tested or identified.
These cremated portions were then placed in sealed containers that were provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor. Per the biomedical waste contract at that time, the contractor then transported these containers and incinerated them. The assumption on the part of DPM was that after final incineration nothing remained. A DPM management query found that there was some residual material following incineration and that the contractor was disposing of it in a landfill. The landfill disposition was not disclosed in the contractual disposal agreement.
The practice ceased in 2008. "Remains are now cremated and retired at sea," the report said, referring to the new policy put in place.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) first brought the distressing allegations to the Pentagon chiefs' attention.
A spokesman for Holt told Yahoo News Tuesday that the congressman had originally learned of the issue last summer from a constituent whose husband had been killed in action in Iraq years before.
"She was getting evasive answers from the Pentagon about what happened to his remains," Holt's spokesman told Yahoo News in a phone interview Tuesday. "After digging into it, she was told his remains had been incinerated, mixed with medical waste, and put in a landfill. She was quite distressed and asked the congressman to dig in further."
Holt originally wrote Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about the concern in a letter last September. He sent a second letter on February 6th: "Can the Air Force confirm that no 9/11 victim's remains were ... sent to a landfill?" he wrote.
Holt pieced together a possible scenario. "Given this had been the Dover policy, and given that various 9/11 remains had been handled at Dover, he was concerned this might have happened," his spokesman said.
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 @ 17:17:34 MST (2320 reads) (Read More... | 4959 bytes more | U.S. News | Score: 4)
Misc: 85 Things That Might Get You on a DHS Terrorist Watch List
Because the Department of Homeland Security has asked parts of the public to report suspicious activity through the “Communities Against Terrorism” program , if you visit an airport, stay in a hotel, drink coffee at an Internet café, or in some other way interact with one of the Halloween G-men in the American public, a full-fledged FBI investigation is only one phone call away, says LaTi.
LaTi lists 85 things that might get you on a watch list, if a Halloween G-man spots you in the act:
1) Use Google Maps to find your way around a strange city.
2) Use Google Maps to view photos of sports stadiums.
3) Install online privacy protection software on your personal computer.
4) Attempt to shield your computer screen from the view of others.
5) Shave your beard, dye your hair or alter your mode of dress.
7) Avoid eye contact.
8) Use a cell-phone camera in an airport, train station or shopping mall.
9) Seek to work alone or without supervision.
10) Appear to be out of place.
11) Have bright colored stains on your clothing.
12) Be missing any fingers.
13) Emit strange odors.
14) Travel an “illogical distance” to do your shopping.
15) Have someone pick you up from a beauty supply store.
33) Act impatient.
16) Be nervous.
17) Be a new customer from out of town.
18) Use a credit card in someone else’s name.
19) Chant environmental slogans near construction sites.
20) Enter a construction site after work hours.
21) Rent watercraft for an extended period.
22) Make comments involving radical theology.
23) Make vague or cryptic warnings.
24) Express anti-U.S. sentiments.
25) Purchase a quantity of prepaid or disposable cell phones.
26) Leave store without preprogramming disposable phones.
27) Be overly interested in satellite phones and voice privacy.
28) Ask questions about swapping SIM cards in cell phones.
29) Ask questions about how phone location can be tracked.
30) Rewire cell phone’s ringer or backlight.
31) Express out-of-place and provocative religious or political sentiments.
32) Purchase a police scanner, infrared device or 2-way radio.
33) Act impatient.
34) Drive a vehicle that appears to be overloaded.
35) Depart quickly when seen or approached.
36) Be a person “acting suspiciously.”
37) Make illegible notes on a map.
38) Take photos of the Statue of Liberty or other “symbolic targets.”
39) Overdress for the weather.
40) Ask questions in a hobby shop about remote controlled aircraft.
41) Demonstrate interest that does not seem genuine.
42) Request specific room assignments or locations at a hotel or motel.
43) Arrive at a lodging with unusual amounts of luggage.
52) Make notes that are illegible to passersby.
44) Refuse cleaning service.
45) Avoid the lobby of a hotel or motel.
46) Remain in your hotel or motel room.
47) Leave your hotel for several days, then return.
48) Leave behind clothing and toiletry items.
49) Park your vehicle in an isolated area.
50) Be observed switching a cell phone SIM card.
51) Be observed using multiple cell phones.
52) Make notes that are illegible to passersby.
53) Communicate through a PC game.
54) Download “extreme/radical” content.
55) Exhibit preoccupation with press coverage of terrorist attacks.
56) Wear a backpack when the weather is warm.
57) Speak to mall maintenance personnel or security guards.
58) Make racist comments.
59) Mumble to yourself.
60) Pass along any anonymous threats you may receive.
61) Discreetly take a photo in a mass transit site.
62) Arrive with a group of people and split off from them.
63)Demand “identity privacy.”
64) Appear to endorse the use of violence in support of a cause.
65) Make bulk purchases of meals ready to eat.
66) Arrive in America from a land where militant Islamic groups operate.
67) Take a long absence for religious education or charity work.
68) Travel to countries where militant Islam rules.
69) Study technical subjects that would aid a terror operation.
70) Work in a field that “serves as a cover for preparing for an operation.”
71) Exhibit ire at global policies of the U.S.
72) Balk at providing “complete personal information.”
73) Provide multiple names on rental car paperwork.
74) Receive an unusual number of package deliveries.
75) Replace rental property locks without permission.
76) Modify your property to conceal storage areas.
77) Fail to pay rent for a storage unit in a timely manner.
78) Inquire about security systems at your storage facility.
79) Place unusual items in storage units or dumpsters.
80) Avoid contact with rental facility personnel.
81) Access storage facilities an unusual number of times.
82) Request deliveries of items directly to a storage unit.
83) Be part of a group requesting identical tattoos.
84) Request tattoos that could conceal extremist symbols.
85) Fly while appearing to be Muslim on September 11 of any year.
Solicitation Number: SLS-AD-00-NNM12ZPS002N
Posted Date: Jan 25, 2012
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jan 25, 2012
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Mar 01, 2012
Current Response Date: Mar 01, 2012
Classification Code: A -- Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712
Contracting Office Address
NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) intends to issue a Draft NASA Research Announcement (NRA) on or about February 1, 2012, entitled "Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Development" for comment by industry and academia through March 1, 2012. The NRA will be in support of the SLS Program and will solicit proposals from both industry and academia for innovative development concepts in key technology areas. These concepts should improve SLS affordability, reliability or performance within a constrained fiscal schedule. In addition to soliciting innovative proposals from industry, this NRA is also seeking focused proposals from academia. Including academia provides an added benefit of improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
NASA is seeking innovative proposals in both broad and focused areas of interest or topics. The topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Advanced Development for Block Upgrades, Concept Development, and the Integrated Vehicle
* Advanced Development in Propulsion
* Advanced Development in Manufacturing, Structures, and Materials
* Advanced Development in Avionics and Software
Multiple awards are anticipated considering the merits of the submitted proposals in relationship to the evaluation criteria and available funds.
The total funding anticipated being available and split among industry awards and academic awards made against this NRA is $40,000,000. Of this total amount, the total funding anticipated is $20,000,000 for the base year and $10,000,000 per year for up to two 1 year options. Of this total yearly amount, the total funding anticipated being available and split among academic awards made against this NRA is $1,500,000 per year. Individual academic awards are expected to be $250,000 or less per year.
NASA anticipates multiple awards to both industry and academia, but reserves the right to make no award if no acceptable proposals are received. The period of performance for contracts or grants awarded from this NRA is anticipated from October 2012 through March 2013, with 2 one- year options.
Participation in this program is open to all categories of U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, and nonprofit institutions. Other Government agencies, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), and NASA Centers or their employees may not propose to this NRA unless functioning as permissible as a supplier, consultant, or subcontractor through separate agreement mechanisms such as Space Act Agreements. NASA employees are not permitted to be key personnel on these proposals.
For purposes of this NRA, participation by non-U.S. organizations and Foreign Governments is limited to the direct purchase of supplies and/or services, which do not constitute research except as allowed by NASA FAR Supplement 1852.235-72. A foreign national may receive payment through a NASA award for the conduct of research while employed either full or part time by a U.S. organization.
Offerors are hereby informed that technical investigation in the fields covered by this NRA may require access to technical data, the export of which is controlled under the Export Control Act, Title 50, United States Code App. 2401-20, the Arms Export Control Act, Title 22, United States Code 2751 - 2794 or both. No award will be made to any Offeror unless the NASA Contracting Officer is satisfied that performance of the awarded effort will not involve an illegal export of technical data under either statute. All presentations, charts, publications, journals, or other data which may fall under the Export Control Act or limited exclusive rights of data, shall be submitted to the MSFC Intellectual Property Officer or Contracting Officer Representative (COR) for subsequent approval.
This NRA will not include goals for small business; however, subcontracting plans will be required for Offerors selected for award that submit a proposal totaling $650,000 or greater.
Industry and academia are encouraged to submit questions on the draft NRA as they are formulated and not to hold submittal of questions until March 1, 2012. Questions received during this time period will not be answered individually but will be addressed within the issuance of the final NRA release.
Release of the final NRA is tentatively planned for the mid to late March 2012.
In addition, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) will be holding an Industry day at the MSFC for the SLS Advanced Development activity. The industry day will be held at MSFC's Morris Auditorium, February 14, 2012, 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. with registration from 7:30 a.m. through 9:15 a.m.
Participation for the Industry Day is limited to four individuals, respectively, per interested party. For access to MSFC, interested parties should provide the following information for each participant via email to Ms. Monica Heidelberg at firstname.lastname@example.org NLT Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Please note there is a one month clearance time required for security screening of foreign nationals for access to the MSFC.
MSFC Access Information
1) Full name as shown on Drivers License 2) State 3) Primary Citizenship 4) Organization Visiting MSFC
A Missouri campaign to place an initiative to end marijuana prohibition on the November ballot has entered the signature-gathering phase, and petition-toting volunteers across the Show Me state are hunting for registered voters as the campaign looks for funds to help it get over the top. The effort is off to an enthusiastic start.
"Nearly 500 trained petitioners have now hit the streets," said campaign director and Kansas City area coordinator Amber Langston. "I'm happily overwhelmed with the enormous response we've received since launching our initiative."
The campaign is called Show-Me Cannabis Regulation (SMCR), and was put together by attorney Dan Viets, a long-time marijuana reformer and a member of the national NORML Legal Committee and board of directors, Missouri NORML chapters, and other marijuana legalization advocates and supporters.
The initiative, a constitutional amendment, calls for marijuana legalization for persons 21 and over, a process for licensing marijuana production and sales establishments, and allows the legislature to enact a tax of $100 a pound on retail sales. It also includes a provision lifting criminal justice system sanctions against people imprisoned or under state supervision for nonviolent marijuana offenses that would no longer be illegal and the expunging of all criminal records for such offenses. The initiatives would also allow for the use of marijuana for medical reasons by minors (with parental consent).
Petitioners must obtain the signatures of a number of registered voters equal to 8% of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's race from six of the state's nine congressional districts. The campaign said that comes out to about 144,000 valid signatures, which means it needs to collect 200,000 or more to have a reasonable margin of comfort. Signatures must be turned in by May 6.
"We just started training volunteers in December, and we've been hitting it hard for the last three weeks," said St. Louis-area campaign coordinator John Payne. "We've gathered about 10,000 signatures already, and we're confident we're on pace to meet our targets," he added.
"It's an all-volunteer effort at this point," but SMCR doesn't intend for it to stay that way, said Payne. "We think we can get this on the ballot for a half a million dollars or so, and then, it's just a matter of getting the right message across."
The campaign doesn't yet have any state-level polling to bolster its case, but plans to do so shortly. In the meantime, it points to last October's Gallup poll, which showed, for the first time in history, a majority of Americans support legalizing cannabis for personal use with 50% in favor nationwide and 54% in the Midwest.
"We've raised a few thousand dollars already and have some funders who will hopefully be putting a fairly large sum of money in our account," Payne said. "We've been operating on a shoe string, but we're gearing up for more. We have an established campaign and a lot to show for what we've done so far on the cheap. If there are any donors out there looking for a good place to invest, they should take a look at us."
The campaign reports no sign of organized opposition at this point, but is casting a wary eye on one of the state's bigger economic interests: the beer brewers.
"Our most effective argument has been the public safety argument -- every minute a police officer spends arresting someone for smoking a joint is a minute not spent on rape or murder or armed robbery," said Payne. "We need to focus our law enforcement resources on more important things; lots of people get that, even if they're not sympathetic."
Economic arguments are also part of the arsenal, Payne said.
"This is a state where we've repeatedly had to cut the budget because of tax shortfalls, and we can show we could be saving about $100 million a year," he explained, citing economist Jeffrey Miron's report on the budgetary implications of prohibition for the states. "That resonates."
Then there are potential tax revenues. A $100 a pound tax on retail sales could generate not insignificant funds for the state, but some consumers grumble a bit at the prospect, Payne said.
"The potential revenues are a selling point for some people," he said; "for others, it's a bit of a turnoff, but they don't not sign the petitions."
SMCR and its army of volunteers has 14 weeks to get the job done, or to snare major funding to ensure the job gets done. But there's some serious competition for big donor dollars out there. Legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington have already handed in enough signatures to appear set to make the ballot, and there are also legalization initiative campaigns in California, Michigan, and Oregon, as well as a new California medical marijuana initiative.
Can Show-Me Cannabis Regulation show the rest of us how to get it done? Stay tuned.
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 29, 2012 @ 11:59:26 MST (676 reads) (Read More... | 20845 bytes more | U.S. News | Score: 4.25)
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