Tag Archives: arrest

Stop and Frisk App

Most everyone carries a phone with video capabilities today so it is not surprising that when something happens in the community, the footage we see on the news is from someone who just happened to be passing by rather than a professional journalist.

Most all of the headline news video evidence against police wrongdoing over the past few years has been shot from bystanders who saw the encounter and pulled out their cellphones. These videos can not only help to get bad cops off the street but, it can also be used to protect the good ones who are often accused of negligence but later exonerated because of amateur video evidence.

The ACLU has developed an app called “Stop and Frisk App” or “Mobile Justice App” which was designed to serve this purpose, to both protect the rights of those suspected of malfeasance and the officer from those who foolishly resist their authority.

Here is how it works. You install the app on your phone and when you are pulled over or detained by the police, you trigger the app. It then sends out a message to nearby users where the police encounter is happening. Those community groups who monitor police activity can then go to the scene and record the interaction. The video is recorded live and also saved on the ACLU servers where it is inspected and preserved as evidence.

I have to repeat that this app is a great tool to both protect the police and protect the rights of those who are being detained by the police. It is also a message to Big Brother that Little Brother is watching, too.

Check it out at the ACLU website:

https://www.aclu.org/feature/aclu-apps-record-police-conduct

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Three Day Hike

These are photos from a three day hike through the Adirondack Mountain range in upstate NY. We ascended eight arresting peaks in twelve hour excursions. The steep ascents, rocks and roots in the trail, crowded trails, occasional black flies and carrying about four liters of water made for an arduous trip but the worst offender was the 90 degree temperatures and high humidity. I need to invest in more moisture wicking clothing. Most all of the mountain streams were dry so there was no chance of filtering water en route. Pictured are my partners in crime, Doug, Jim and me, Malcolm Kogut.

The pictures include Ausable Lake from Blake Mountain, the fire tower at the top of St. Regis mountain, a distant view of Giant, Noonmark and Sawteeth, the ridge walk of Whiteface Mountain, Mirror Lake in Lake Placid and a sign designating the “Ladies Mile” trail from back in the day when women were considered the more “dainty” of the sexes.

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Rest In Peace, Prince

Speculation at this point is that Prince died from an overdose of Percoset which is a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. Oxycodone is an addictive opioid pain medication and Prince had been taking it because he had been suffering from chronic pain for quite a while.

Had Prince been able to use marijuana for his pain, he might still be alive today. Marijuana is non addictive, has no side effects (other than the munchies), does not cause death and has been proven to be an effective pain relieving herb. However, the government has deemed the herb marijuana to be a drug and Prince lived a clean life and would not do drugs. They can kill you or get you arrested.

What other artists have died from pharmaceutical prescription drug overdoses? Elvis, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Chris Farley, Kurt Cobain, Margeaux Hemingway, Freddie Prinze, Bruce Lee, Keith Moon, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland, Brian Epstein, Marilyn Monroe, Tommy Dorsey and Sigmund Freud.

Back in the 1930’s, marijuana was a successful treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Today, you can spend thousands at a rehab center.

Drugs

We’ve been lied to and refuse to hear the truth.

I met a middle aged woman who is wracked with pain due to fibromyalgia, back injuries and arthritis. She takes seven medications for her ailments and for the ancillary side effects they each cause. In other words, she takes drugs for the drugs she takes. She takes one which keeps her awake and another to help her sleep. It is pharmaceutical chaos in her blood stream. I told her how a friend of mine has a back injury which rendered him disabled at the age of 43 and the only drug he can take for the pain is morphine but that knocks him out and makes him sick. He has since discovered marijuana as a control for his pain, sleeping and even staying awake. When I recommended to this woman that marijuana might offer her relief from both the pain and the prescriptions’ side effects, she replied, “I don’t do drugs.”

HA!

This country has a weird and unhealthy fetish with what we define as drugs. Although marijuana is legal in several states, even the monstrosity called FACEBOOK takes it upon itself to police the internet and take down legal pages about marijuana even in the states where the herb is legal. Not only are they taking down legal pages but harming tax paying businesses and the states at the same time.

In 2013, 47,055 people died from prescription drugs. How many died from marijuana use? Zero. C’mon Facebook, get with the times and start increasing the quality of life for people suffering from addiction, pain, mental health illness and debilitating diseases rather than denying them a chance to live pain-free and otherwise productive lives.

What is the difference between Oxycontin and Marijuana? One is addictive and can cause chills, confusion, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fever, tightness in the chest, abdominal pain, blood in the urine, convulsions, increase in heart rate, muscle pain, rapid weight gain, severe constipation, blurred vision and death. The other one causes the munchies.

Which would you choose to put into your body?

Why Atheists should Go To Church

A friend of mine suddenly stopped going to church because his teenage son was arrested for selling pot. Yes, he is a scary drug dealer and probably has connections to Mexican drug cartels and has been involved in murder, abduction and child slave labor. Actually, he just sold pot to a friend who entrapped him in an effort to have his own charges dropped. Back to my friend, he was embarrassed and ashamed that this happened to his family and nobody from his church reached out to him. He admitted to me that he was an atheist and church had no value to him, he was only going out of a Catholic obligation to a nascent guilt. I disagreed with him that he shouldn’t attend because they needed him and he needed them, but he needs to work through this on his own. However, here are some generic reasons and granted, I am grasping here but indulge me.

1) Church gives you a place where you can breath. Many people will say that they don’t sing but in your everyday life, you sing. If you yell, you are using the same body parts and emotion that goes into singing. If you scream, the same. Do you speak with inflection such as you would when you speak with surprise, tenderness, comfort, imitation, sarcasm or chiding? All that is part of the singing apparatus too so, yes, you sing. The difference between saying those things and singing them though, that is where the difference lies. When you sing, you are sustaining tones which forces you to awaken muscles between your ribs, your diaphragm, your chest and head. An added benefit to actual singing is that you are taking in oxygen more deeply and richly than you would only by speaking. That increased oxygen gets in your blood where it goes straight to your brain and muscles which are nourished and repaired by the newly oxygenated blood. Singing is healthy. If you are a health nut, singing should be part of your weekly routine and church is a perfect place to exercise those muscles without the worry of someone hearing you. If your church has a pipe organ, there is even more acoustical space to hide in. Pianos and guitars have a natural decay and less secure to hide your voice therein. Once you play a sound on any of these instruments the sound immediately begins to decay, necessitating more fills and chords. But singing doesn’t work this way, and the continuity of the sung line is often disrupted. The organ’s sound lifts and sustains the voice of the congregation through each phrase and guiding each breath. The organ thrives in an open room and it fills the room almost like sunlight through open windows, the organ warmly invites even hesitant and untrained singers to join in. An amplified band gives you a directional, electronic copy of the instruments. The pipe organ needs no amplification; the natural sound of the instrument itself fills the space evenly and fully with its massive range. The organ can breathe musical life into any part of the Gospel story and your body.

1a) When you hear music, there are fireworks going off in your brain. FMRI scans have shown that when people listen to music, multiple areas of the brain light up and when participating, music engages practically every area of the brain at once, especially the motor, visual and auditory cortex. Strengthening those areas of the brain allow us to apply those strengths to other activities. This also bridges the activity in the corpus callosum which regulates the left and right hemisphere of the brain. This allows you to solve problems more effectively and creatively in both academic and social settings. Because crafting music also involves understanding emotional content and message, musicians often have higher levels of executive function; a category of interlinked tasks which include planning, strategizing and attention to detail and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects. This ability also has an impact on how our memory systems work. Transubstantiation may become more physical for after singing an hour in church you will leave a different person, more energized, alert and cerebrally attentive.

2) Along the lines of music, attending the right church is a great place to hear masterworks of choral, instrumental and organ literature from the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st century, all in one place. Sure, you can buy a CD or find classical stations on the radio but hearing it live in the space the music was designed and composed for is much better. Even if you don’t sing, sitting there gives you the opportunity to set aside some time to reflect on your life in a holy space with holy sounds among holy people.

3) You will be supporting local musicians. Many musicians in churches are volunteers but a few of them such as the director or accompanist are probably paid. Many of these people also play in clubs, bands, bars, are involved in community theater, compose and teach. By supporting them in the church, you are supporting the circle of music in the community.

4) Going to church also helps you to find community. My friend, whose son was arrested could have found support, comfort and community but unfortunately his church was also embarrassed about the situation and didn’t realize that not to act is to act. It takes a lot of courageous effort to cultivate that sense of courage to seek and heal. However, after that courage is marshaled, it will be discovered that it takes no effort or courage at all to heal. I know of another church whose pastor lives in his own house so the rectory was empty. When one of the elderly members fell into financial instability, there was no question that she could stay at the rectory free of charge. That is what church communities do for one another. So, you don’t have to go to church to find out what they can do for you, you can go to find out what you can do for them. It is in serving others that we are served.

5) Many people, even atheists, have a nascent sense of spirituality within them. That means it is present but not active. A friend of mine was arrested (hmmmph, I know a lot of people who were arrested) and he stayed at my house for a week because he wanted to get away and hide from everyone and take time to figure out his future life while it was falling apart around him. A staunch atheist, he decided to attend church with me on a Saturday evening because I had to play and he didn’t want to sit home alone. Something touched him in the service and he went up for Communion. He said he felt close to the God he didn’t beleive in and it was comforting for him to be there. He made an appointment to meet with the priest during the week but unfortunately the Roman Catholic priest alluded that he was not welcome there but, God bless anyway. What a missed opportunity for both. Most often the biggest problem with the church are its clergy because they lack the courage to do the right thing for fear of being accused of doing the wrong thing. Not to act is to act and everyone loses. It is easy to do the wrong thing then blame the one you are ostracizing. They protest too much.

6) As I mentioned earlier, going to church may help you find purpose. An active church can provide you with the opportunity to volunteer to help where it’s needed, a way of intentionally focusing on something transcendent and on becoming a more loving person while helping others. Church’s can be a great place for social gathering, too. People are usually warm, friendly and accepting, at least in a good church! They may have groups that interest you and even have some missions which for you, even as a non-believer, you can participate in toward helping others in need. That is what is most fulfilling in life; having purpose and helping others. When two hurricanes hit my area I was volunteering to answer a suicide hotline and was moved up to handling a disaster relief hotline for FEMA. I did that for about three weeks, seven days a week, about ten hours a day. Albeit exhausting, it was a very rewarding time for me.

7) The point of the sermon on Sunday of any church is to learn how to apply scripture to your life. This is a simple concept but many clergy think they have to be creative, gimmicky and entertaining and often miss the mark of breaking open the Word. Even if you don’t beleive that scripture is true spiritually or historically, there is great philosophy in the teachings of both the old and new testaments. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can agree to a lot of the values found in scripture as great truths. Many of the stories have great lessons and you can find answers to many of your concerns and problems therein. Our lives become the stories that we listen to and re-tell. If you don’t want to take the time to read the bible, start with the Jefferson Bible which is comprised of only the words of Jesus (the red words). That can be very inspiring for those without a lot of time to weed through the historical and cultural detritus of scripture.

As long as you are not attending church to cause a disturbance, I would encourage going. The social, psychological, and spiritual benefits of participating in the liturgy and a community can be inspiring. If nothing else, you will get free food and coffee after the service. That brings up a couple of other more over the top reasons to go.

8) The bible is loaded with good horror stories. In the Bible, you can find stories of unsurpassed cruelty: murder, rape, incest, torture, slavery, cruelty to women and children, witchcraft, angry gods, natural disasters, plagues, wars, duels, mutilations, crucifixions, more blood than you can shake a stick at, and of course, eternal torment! Much of Hollywood’s success comes straight out of the Bible. If you like horror, lust and greed, the bible is a great read.

9) Church is a great place for stand-up comedy. Practically every page of the bible has something funny, ironic, dry or revealing in it if you look for it. Preachers are willing to say anything from their pulpits! Many of them start off their homily with a joke and the comedy doesn’t end there either. Seeing some fundamental clerics affirm with a straight face their literal belief in a Noah’s ark, that dinosaurs didn’t exist (a distraction planted there by old Scratch himself) or that the sun was “stopped” until some Jews won a battle, is hilarious! Yes, churches can provide hours and hours of knee-slapping entertainment if you know what to look for!

In some churches, you absolutely cannot be a member or be welcome to participate in the liturgy if you are not baptized, a member, affirming or have jumped through some other corporate hoops. The Roman Catholics have many restrictions, the Episcopalians are more welcoming and lax, some churches require background checks (they don’t want sinners), women are second class citizens in some, some are just cold, some don’t like gays, while the Unitarians will take anyone. Do some research, that might be half of the fun. Visit a different church each week, take pictures and review them on Google or Yelp and talk about the music, homily, people, art, food, windows, flowers, whatever.

In the end, you may discover that some of your hookah-smoking and beer-drinking buddies are church mice. You can share many a night around a fire-pit with those people discussing the spirituality of STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER and THE LION or THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE or STARGATE. It can become something you’ll never want to give up because even if you still don’t beleive, you’re a family. Whatever brings people together is worth exploring.

So, come, all are welcome. Well, not everyone, everywhere but, try. If they don’t want you, shake the dust from your feet as you leave (That’s from scripture. It was Jesus’ polite way of saying, well, I can’t say it).

Know Anyone Going Through A Rough Time?

Are they angry? Depressed? Worried? Did their doctor get them addicted to pain killers? Alcoholic? Arrested? Lose someone they love? Share with them this phone number and web address to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are there to listen.
1 (800) 273-8255. Website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Over 30,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year which means someone dies by suicide about every 18 minutes in the U.S. An attempt is estimated to be made once every minute.

Share this information. Print out the NSPL card and leave it in public places such as libraries, work, school, churches, stores. If you go to church, ask your pastor to publish the hotline number in the church bulletin or newsletter. Churches are notorious for hating gays, women and sinners and if you have any of them secretly hiding among the “good” people, they may be suffering emotionally and spiritually. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old so churches need to be more careful the things they say for, children will listen.
nspl

“Healing” with Marijuana

A friend of mine is suffering from cancer and, the treatment thereof. She is in great pain and the medications she is taking are accompanied by debilitating side effects. Surgery is out of the question because her platelets are low from the cancer and she has to watch her sodium intake. She continues receiving chemo treatments but then immediately she gets a skin infection (cellulitis). Then her doctor gives her antibiotics which work against the chemo. Everything is working against each other. Now she can’t walk and she’s gotten even weaker from lying in bed. Since she is taking so many different drugs, they cancel out the good effects of each other and she can’t eat. It is too bad she won’t consider cannabis (pot or marijuana) as a treatment but she has been brainwashed into thinking that marijuana is a “drug” and that the pills she is popping are treatments. If only she would consider pot as a treatment she could not only re-gain her appetite which would be beneficial to her health and well being but she would also be relatively pain free and conscious. The drugs she takes now renders her into a zombie estate and do not give her the benefit of sleep. One of her drugs inhibits getting a good night’s sleep which she desperately needs and marijuana could provide that. But, she is a good girl and doesn’t do drugs.

NY recently passed medical marijuana laws and our next door neighbor, Massachusetts, is looking into legalizing it across the board which will of course destroy NY’s medical marijuana industry and, bwahahahaha . . . all the wasted time and tax payer dollars that went into the planning for the medical marijuana industry. Hah!

Not only can marijuana be used for physical, mental, and emotional well being, it can be used for “healing.” First, consider the meaning of the word “healing.” There is a difference between healing and curing. To cure means to make the disease go away. Healing has to do with an expression of greater wholeness and acceptance rather than curing. Healing is about discovering what is hurting us in the first place and helping us to come to terms with it.

A long time ago a friend was dying of cancer. She sought every treatment and nostrum available, draining her bank account and only getting physically and emotionally worse at the same time. She was in denial. I don’t know what precipitated her change in attitude but when she accepted the fact that she was going to die, she “healed.” She was able to talk about it, make amends with friends and family whom she transgressed in the past. She was able to live life a little more fully and finally be happy. I beleive it was the edible pot that she illegally obtained from her son who traveled to Colorado and risked arrest and decades in prison for its procurement, but gave his mom a new outlook on life and death. Healing is about discovering what is holding us back in the first place. Pot helped my friend look at life differently and die with dignity and comfort rather than denial, failure and shame – and she had a healthy appetite, too.

Diabetes, obesity, autism, anxiety, cancer, autoimmune conditions, thoughts of suicide and other expressions of imbalance are increasing in society as are prescription drug treatments for all of those ailments and the downward spiral which comes with them and their treatments. A pharmacist friend told me that she believes all the cholesterol medication people take causes diabetes and the medication for diabetes causes weight gain and kidney complications leading to heart issues.

Cannabis could play a much larger role in most people’s lives by helping them maintain a balanced, healthy outlook and diet. Dying with dignity, comfort and acceptance should be the primary focus of “healing.” It is time for doctors to incorporate medicinal marijuana into their regular treatment practices in addition to traditional medical treatment in order to spare people the harsh side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

I recently watched the History Channel’s movie “Marijuana Revolution” and I discovered that cultivators of this plant are able create strains to achieve goals and outcomes far more advanced than the dangerous prescription drugs mired with side effects that profit hungry pharmaceuticals are creating and pushing onto doctors to prescribe. I have no doubt that in the future, cannabis combined with other treatments will actually lead to a cure for many maladies which afflict us. It is definitely a cure for alcohol and drug addiction because pot itself is not addictive but is an alternative to those other addictions. Working on the suicide hot-line I had many callers who were in mental and physical pain because of their addiction to pain killers. I’m sure pot would ameliorate their conditions on the first day of use.

Thank you to states like Colorado and Washington who of course are making billions in tax revenue each year but, are also providing people with the option to heal, even to their death. It is very exciting that marijuana cultivators are exploring uses of various strains in an effort to find cures and treatments and these people are not even medical practitioners. They are simply lovers of the plant. Too bad medical science and pharmaceutical companies are overlooking what has been in front of us for centuries. Ultimately, there is no profit in curing cancer and other diseases, there is profit however in treating symptoms.

If you are on the fence about this natural God given herb, watch the History channel’s movie “Marijuana Revolution.” If you can’t watch it on the history channel (http://www.history.com/shows/the-marijuana-revolution/about) or find it in the tv guides, you can probably find it on the torrent sites. Write to your law makers and ask them to re-legalize this herbal drug and support the hundreds of companies already cultivating, infusing, testing, marketing and selling cannabis-related products.