Grand jury decries 'arrests without merit'

The Baltimore Sun reports that a grand jury convened to "address the lack of confidence that exists between many members of the public and law enforcement", has decried a tremendous number of arrests made by city police without merit.

Just within the African-American population, over 21,000 arrests without charges being filed were made between April 2004 and April 2005.

The grand jury also handed down indictments of three cops: one accused of raping a woman brought to the station house in handcuffs, the other two accused of doing nothing to stop it.

Cops gone wild. Welcome to the police state, brought to you by the War on (Some) Drugs.

Zogby poll: 72% of U.S. troops in Iraq say, "Get us out of here"

According to a Zogby poll, 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think they should be out of there within the next year.

Democratic party delenda est

So Russ Feingold has introduced a modest resolution to censure Bush for his egregious violation of the Bill of Rights in the form of domestic spying. Not to impeach, not to criminally prosecute, not to publicly horsewhip and tar and feather, but merely to censure, to say "naughty boy!"

And not a single other Democratic senator has stepped forward to co-sponsor it, and only one has said he'll vote for it if it comes up. Everyone else is hemming and hawing as if Feingold's proposal for the Senate to actually do its goddamn job and act as a check on presidential power was more of a challenge to them than, say, authorizing Bush to go kill 100,000 people in an illegal, immoral, and stupid war.

Live action Simpsons! (Well, just the title sequence.)

As a marketing ploy for the next season of The Simpsons in Britian, a live-action version of the show's title sequence has been created.

See it at YouTube or see the story at The Sun Online.

It's definitely a British take (no one would mistake this Marge for an American) but I like it.

Chris Chandler at the New Deal Cafe, March 24

I've been a huge fan of the "folken word" of Chris Chandler since I saw him perform at College Park's "Planet X" coffeehouse back in the early 1990s. Chris has traveled the nation and worked with musicans and poets from Allen Ginsberg to Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger to Mojo Nixon. (For those of you who know the work of Billy Jonas - Chris is credited as co-writer of Billy's wonderful song "God is In")

Chris now lives in Tacoma Park, and I'm happy to have helped introduce him to Greenbelt's fine fine venue, The New Deal Cafe. Chris will be playing there March 24 - you do NOT want to miss this! Spread the word!

Ronald Dworkin: Even bigots and Holocaust deniers must have their say

Very nice piece in The Guardian by law professor Ronald Dworkin:

Free speech is a condition of legitimate government. Laws and policies are not legitimate unless they have been adopted through a democratic process, and a process is not democratic if government has prevented anyone from expressing his convictions about what those laws and policies should be. Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended...So in a democracy no one, however powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be insulted or offended.

Maybe your dog is laughing at you

Have you ever suspected that our dogs are laughing at us? Maybe they are, according to this story at Science News. Seems that "a dog at play makes a distinctive, breathy exhalation that can trigger playfulness in other dogs".

Anti-supplement spin, but glucosamine and chondroitin better than Celebrex for arthritis pain

Even more interesting than the results of this study on glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis pain is the spin on the reporting. Here are the numbers:

Sixty percent who took the dummy medication had reduced pain compared with 64 percent who took glucosamine, 65 percent who took chondroitin and 67 percent who took the combo pills...

The drug Celebrex did reduce pain - 70 percent reported improvement - affirming the study's validity...

Of the 354 people with moderate to severe pain, 79 percent who took both supplements reported relief compared with 54 percent who took the dummy pills and 69 percent who took Celebrex.

Bisphenol-A in your polycarbonate water bottle

Somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that polycarbonate plastic was safer to use in beverage and food containers than plastics like PET, that it didn't leach toxic chemicals.

Oops.

Polycarbonate plastic molecules are made up of strings of Bisphenol A (BPA), which was originally created as a synthetic hormone. As polycarbonate ages, wears, or is exposed to heat, acids, or bases, BPA leaches out.

A different sort of "puppy power"...

Reuters reports on a test project to turn dog feces into fuel.

It could be fed into a "digester" to obtain methane. The article states that dogs and cats in the United States produce about 10 million tons of waste a year...might as well use it for something productive.

I was quite impressed with San Francisco's aggressive recycling plan when I visited last year - in addition to bottles, cans, and paper they even have curbside collection for compostable kitchen scraps.

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