Infrastructure Scorecard-Not Looking Good For New York

Infrastructure: New York Roads In Decay

During the early 20th century, just as automobiles were becoming prominent, the eastern United States started building its modern transportation infrastructure. More than a century later, many of these bridges and roadways are decaying and dangerous.The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) regularly hands out infrastructure report cards grading each aspect of a transportation infrastructure, including bridges, roads, and transit. In 2015, New York scored a D+ for its bridges, a D- for their roads, and a C- for their transit.

Like many things I’ve written about New York State, it seems that downstate receives the most attention from Albany. This is somewhat understandable. Downstate contributes more to state coffers. However, that doesn’t mean politicians should ignore the rest of the state.

The Kościuszko Bridge has one side completed and should have the other side done by 2020. That will make the Brooklyn-Queens commuters happy. Those of us bouncing around on many upstate roads…not so much.

Construction of the New Tappan Zee Bridge is moving along. At least part of that connects to what could be considered Upstate.

How Bad Is It?

According to the ASCE’s 2015 infrastructure report card, one-third of New York’s main highways are in poor or fair condition, which means they need maintenance or upgrading. In rural areas where these roads are particularly bad, Fatalities are three times as likely as in the city. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/10/new-report-says-many-rural-roads-are-in-poor-condition/12416359/

The bridges in New York aren’t much better. Of New York’s 17,456 bridges, 2,012 (or 12 percent) of them are considered structurally deficient, with more than 20% of their total bridge deck area needing repairs as soon as possible. infrastructure

And drivers in New York are paying the price. According to the ASCE, each New York City driver spends 53 hours sitting stagnant in traffic every year. And the poor road conditions and traffic cost drivers throughout the state a combined $6.3 billion, or $694 per New York City motorist.

What Causes Decaying Infrastructure?

The infrastructure of New York’s roads is in bad shape. But why? And is there any way it could have been avoided?

Age

The main issue plaguing New York’s roads is age. There are many natural occurrences which, over time, can cause significant decay in roadways. For example, harsh weather such as wind and rain can slowly eat away at roads, reshaping them and compromising their structure. This is largely unavoidable and happens with time.

Obsolete Design

But there are other factors at play. With each passing decade, civil engineers discover new ways to design roads. They are more durable, better at draining water, more flexible and more weather resistant. Since some of these roads and bridges were built about a century ago, they didn’t utilize these newer designs, leaving them vulnerable.

Population

Additionally, the United States population has increased by nearly 400% since 1900. There also weren’t nearly as many automobiles per person. Early civil engineers couldn’t have predicted that this many vehicles would use their roadways. This is another factor which contributes to road decay.

What’s the Solution?

Roadways are going to decay no matter what, the solution is a stronger focus on infrastructure in New York. The ASCE estimates that New York will have to spend about $40 billion on roads by 2030 to keep up with current road conditions.

This is especially important when you consider the likelihood of major storms hitting the New York area. In addition to harsh winter storms — such as Stella which hit New York in 2017 — New York is occasionally affected by intense hurricanes.  This can quickly cause massive damage to infrastructure. However, with newer infrastructure designs and regular maintenance, damage from storms can be significantly reduced.

A Helping Hand

While everybody should have high-quality roadways, it’s especially important to improve infrastructure in areas where it’s particularly bad. As mentioned earlier, fatalities are three times more likely in smaller rural areas than in the cities. This is mainly due to the greater population and thus, greater influx of money in larger cities.

The only way to ensure the safety of New York drivers is to spend more money maintaining the state’s aging infrastructure. Spending $40 billion over the next 13 years may seem like a lot of money. However, it’s nothing compared to the cost of replacing large chunks of severely damaged roads throughout the state.

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New York City’s grip on Upstate NY

It’s always been upstate vs. downstate in New York. The politics of New York State have never been easy and straightforward. For a year, decades, and even centuries, there has been a vast divide between different areas of the state. Different economic and racial demographics, make the realm of state and local politics confusing, confounding, and sometimes downright frustrating. New York City, the most populous city in the state as well as in the country as a whole, has long since had the greatest political influence and impact throughout the state.upstate

New York City virtually controls what happens in the entire state. With a population of well over 8 million out of the state’s total population of approximately 19.75 million people, there are perhaps some valid reasons as to why the city has a significant political impact. However, at the same time, the major control exerted by New York City and the overall downstate area is seen as excessive by some.

Upstate vs. Downstate New York: The Numbers

Just look at the numbers. As previously noted, there are around 19.75 million people in the state of New York. Of those 19.75 million inhabitants, just shy of 8.2 million people live in New York City. This represents approximately 41.5 percent of the population of the state. Often, the politics and ideologies of New York City itself are carried out by the entirety of Downstate New York. Downstate New York totals over 11.3 million people. This is 57.2 percent of the total population.

The Dilemma

Geographically, though, Downstate New York is quite minuscule in comparison to the total land area of Upstate New York.  This creates quite the dilemma, however. On the one hand, population-wise the Downstate area has a decided advantage. With approximately 57.2 percent of the population, their majority hold on the New York State Senate of 33 or the 63 Senate seats (or 52.4 percent) seems fair based on the population numbers.

However, when looking at the sheer physical size of the Upstate New York area, it seems unfair that such a small portion of the state has their interests better served than the rest. After all, the needs of a large and bustling metropolitan area like New York City and its surrounding Boros are far different from more rural upstate areas and communities. Because of the Senate majority, New York City dictates and controls the fate of the state. Many people in Upstate New York feel unfairly treated. They feel their needs and voices are drowned out by the big city.

A recent study found that upstate benefits from New York City taxes and Wall Street alone account for nearly 20 percent of state tax revenue.

Proposed Legislation Would Repeal SAFE Act Everywhere But NYC

Perhaps nowhere is the divide between upstate and downstate more evident than when discussing the NY Safe Act. The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 commonly known as the NY SAFE Act is a gun regulation law in the state of New York. The law passed by the New York State Legislature went to the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo in January 2013. He signed the legislation into law.

An Upstate New York state senator wants to repeal the NY SAFE Act everywhere except New York City. The bill has the support of gun rights advocates including the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.  http://www.newyorkupstate.com/news/2017/02/new_law_would_repeal_safe_act_in_upstate_ny_everywhere_but_nyc.html

Is There A Solution?

Of course, all of this data begs the question, is there a solution to this problem in New York State? One option would be to redetermine the districts that each Senate seat represents. Or, increasing the size of the Senate to include more representatives from Upstate New York.

To enact such a change, the governor, and the Senate itself would need to sign off on it. With the power of New York City in the Senate and their influence upon the governor’s office, this may be impossible to accomplish.

Another option that many in the Upstate area favor is the idea of secession. This would essentially create a new state. As a result, New York City and the rest of the Downstate area would remain New York State. The Upstate area would take on a new designation such as New Amsterdam. This would require not only state support but also national support to happen.

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Hunger In Rural New York PNY 029

 “Let’s eat.”

Those words are spoken thousands of times a day in this country. For many that choice doesn’t exist.Hunger is a problem that most people don’t notice. There are more than 1.7 million people in New York City living in poverty. http://www.ujafedny.org/what-we-do/help-people-in-need/poverty/. Over 20% of  New York City residents suffer from food insecurity. Just recently it was reported that the average rent in NYC was more than $3,000 a month. Workers say the current $8.75 wage isn’t sufficient to cover rent, medical care and rising costs of living.

Is it any wonder that some city residents don’t eat well. The wage hike to $15 for fast-food workers in New York will be phased in over three years in the city and six years elsewhere in the state.  It will apply to some 200,000 employees at large chain restaurants. Many big cities have approved phased-in increases that eventually will take their minimum wage to $15 an hour, or about $31,200 a year.

There are over 2,700 soup kitchens in NY State serving 2 million New Yorkers annually.  But every day they turn away over 2,500 people.  Shortage of food has left emergency food pantries unable to meet the increased demand.hunger

 

Not Looking For A Handout

That has to mean something. That many people can’t possibly be freeloaders looking to beat the system. Twelve percent of people in the United States don’t have access to sufficient food on a regular basis. As many as 800,000 household members in New York State alone are often hungry.  New Yorkers don’t believe hunger is a problem because of the high obesity rates observed in the United States. The effects of ongoing hunger seriously affect the health of Americans suffering food insecurity. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the hungry are children.

In a very prosperous nation full of high-tech gadgetry, it is difficult to imagine that hunger is still an issue in America. Many localized regions in America suffer from economic depression that results in hunger. In general, rural areas are higher in food insecurity that urban areas. Around 2.8 million, or 15% of rural households are deprived of adequate food supplies. Rural areas account for approximately 50% of counties with the highest levels of hunger. Approximately 7.4 million Americans, or 16.7 %, living in rural areas live below established federal poverty levels. One such example is in rural New York State.

Hunger In Northern New York

Rural New York, mostly in the northern regions (i.e., upstate), is like most rural areas in the United States. It is made up of mid-sized to smaller town and farms.

Rural areas are thought of as places where hunger would not be a problem. After all, that’s where most food originates. But hunger is as much of or more than a problem in the country as it is in the city. Over the last few decades, many see rural areas in upstate New York as dying. Blue-collar communities from Buffalo to Binghamton experienced economic turmoil. These towns thrived on steel mills and manufacturing plants that have since closed. The once-lucrative jobs went overseas or to neighboring states. The towns and smaller cities emptied leaving a ruined rural landscape.  Rampant unemployment, high crime, and many families have fallen below the poverty line. One doesn’t have to look far to find hunger.

Poverty Rate

The poverty rate in New York state in general in 2015 was about 15.9% of the population. The poverty rates in cities like Buffalo and Rochester are all above 25% prompting the establishment of food banks and charitable food programs. While these cities are not rural, they reflect an even worse hunger situation in the nearby rural areas. Because rural areas don’t always fall within the outreach-radius of these mostly-urban food programs it’s hard to reach country residents.

Crime and Illness

While the fight to feed the hungry in rural New York is far from over, the effects of hunger are also becoming apparent. Increased crime and health issues abound in these rural areas.  Rural hospitals are seeing a rise in hunger-related deaths and diseases.  General malnutrition and the lack of nutrients often lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. Hospitals are seeing many maladies only seen in the 3rd world.

But the call for help in the rural areas in New York State hasn’t gone completely unheard. An organization out of Albany New York has organized one such answer. They established a food bank to serve communities in northeastern areas.  Ranging from Plattsburgh to Newburg it touches urban, suburban and rural areas alike. It provides over 30 million pounds of food per year to 1,000 agencies. It provides food to the hungry in 23 counties.

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Liberals – Conservatives – What’s the Difference?

Conservatives believe in personal responsibility and limited government. They believe in traditional American values and a strong national defense. https://quizlet.com/54585131/us-government-test-1-flash-cards/

conservatives

Conservatives – Red State Inhabitants

Big government, big business. Gay rights, fetal rights. The politics of extremes drive the United States. Congress is in an endless impasse because of both parties’ inability to find middle ground on practically anything. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/calling-truce-political-wars/

Abortion

6 Conservative Responses to the Left’s Pro-Abortion Arguments http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/6-conservative-responses-to-the-lefts-pro-abortion-arguments/

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Republican views on Affirmative Action tend to be negative. They believe that policies such as these force employers and schools to consider lesser-qualified candidates for the sake of having a more diverse representation. For this reason, the party has often fought for a repeal of Affirmative Action legislation. http://www.republicanviews.org/republican-views-on-affirmative-action/
Death Penalty
conservatives
The death penalty is not  ‘cruel’ nor ‘unusual.’ Take a life, and you should lose your own.
Economy
The free market system creates the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all.
Education – vouchers & charter schools
School vouchers create competition and as a result encourage schools to improve performance.  Vouchers give all parents the right to choose good schools for their children.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Support the use of adult and umbilical cord stem cells only for research.  It is wrong for the government to fund embryonic stem cell research.  Human life begins at conception.
Energy
Oil, gas and coal are all good sources of energy and are abundant in the U.S.  Oil drilling should be increased both on land and at sea.  Increased domestic production creates lower prices and less dependence on other countries for oil.  Support increased production of nuclear energy.
Euthanasia & Physician-assisted suicide
Neither euthanasia nor physician-assisted suicide should be legalized.  It is immoral and unethical to deliberately end the life of a terminally ill person (euthanasia), or enable another person to end their life (assisted suicide).
Global Warming/Climate Change
Change in global temperature is natural over extended periods of time.  Science has not shown that people can affect permanent change in the earth’s temperature.  Proposed laws to reduce carbon emissions will do nothing to help the environment and will cause significant price increases for all.  Many reputable scientists support this theory.
Gun Controlconservatives
The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms.  Individuals have the right to defend themselves.  Putting more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens mean less crime.

Full text of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:  “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Healthcare
Conservatives support competitive, free market health care system.  All Americans should have access to health care.  The question is who should pay for it.
Homeland Security
Airport security
Profiling and intelligence data should be used to single out passengers for extra screening.  Those who do not meet the criteria for suspicion should not be subjected to intense screening.  https://www.studentnewsdaily.com/conservative-vs-liberal-beliefs/
Immigration
Support legal immigration only.  Oppose amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally (illegal immigrants).  Those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally do not have the same rights as those who obey the law and enter legally.
Private Property
Conservatives respect ownership and private property rights.  Eminent domain in most cases is wrong. Eminent domain for private development is wrong.
Religion & Government
The First Amendment to the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”  It does not prevent God from being acknowledged in schools and government buildings.  https://ffrf.org/news/action/item/2130-sand-springs-city-council-first-amendment
Same-sex Marriage
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Conservatives say that requiring citizens to sanction same-sex relationships violates moral and religious beliefs of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and others, who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
Social Security
The Social Security system is in serious financial trouble.  Significant changes to the current system are urgently needed.  Social Security must become more efficient through privatization and allow individuals to manage their savings.
Taxes
Lower taxes and a smaller government with limited power will improve the standard of living for all.  Conservatives support lower taxes and a smaller government.
United Nations (UN)
The UN has repeatedly failed in its essential mission to promote world peace and human rights.   History shows that the United States spreads freedom, prosperity, tolerance and peace throughout the world.  The U.S. should never subvert its national interests to those of the UN. Conservatives believe the U.S. should never place troops under UN control.  U.S. military should always wear the U.S. military uniform, not that of UN peacekeepers.
War on Terror/Terrorism
Terrorism poses one of the greatest threats to the U.S.  The world toward which the militant Islamists strive cannot peacefully co-exist with the Western world. Captured terrorists are enemy combatants. Trying them in military courts is the correct action.
Welfare
Conservatives oppose long-term welfare.  Opportunities should be provided to make it possible for those in need to become self-reliant.  It is far better to encourage people to become self-sufficient, instead of allowing them to remain dependent on government assistance.

Liberals – Conservatives What’s The Difference pny 027

Liberals – Conservatives – What’s the Difference?

The epithets conservatives or liberals are used to describe political and economic views and affiliations. The meaning of “conservative” or “liberal” could be different in different contexts – social, economic and political. They also differ in usage in different countries and over time.
liberals

Blue State – Red State

Big government, big business. Gay rights, fetal rights. The politics of extremes drive the United States. Congress is in a perpetual stalemate because of the two parties’ inability to find middle ground on practically anything.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/calling-truce-political-wars/

Here are liberals views on:

  • Abortion
Women have the right to decide what happens with her body.  The decision to have an abortion is a personal choice of a female regarding her body.
  • Affirmative Action
Liberals say that because past racism deprived minorities of many opportunities that whites enjoy the government must work to level the playing field.
  • Death Penalty

We should abolish the death penalty.  It’s much too easy to execute someone who is innocent.liberals

  •  Economy
A market system in which government regulates the economy is best. A government should protect citizens from the greed of large companies.
  • Education – vouchers & charter schools
Public schools are the best way to educate students.  Vouchers take money away from public schools.  The government should focus additional funds on existing public schools, raising teacher salaries and reducing class size.
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Support the use of embryonic stem cells for research.  It is necessary (and ethical) for the government to fund embryonic stem cell research, which will assist scientists in finding treatments and cures for diseases.  An embryo is not a human.
  • Energy
Oil is a depleting resource.  Other sources of energy must be explored.  The government must produce a national plan for all energy resources and subsidize (partially pay for) alternative energy research and production.  Support increased exploration of alternative energies such as the wind and solar power.  Support government control of gas and electric industries.
  • Euthanasia & Physician-assisted suicide
Euthanasia should be legalized.  A person has a right to die with dignity, by his own choice.  A terminally ill person should have the right to choose to end pain and suffering.  Permitting euthanasia would reduce health care costs, which would then make funds available for those who could benefit from medical care.

Global Warming/Climate Change

Global warming is caused by an increased production of carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).  The U.S. is a major contributor to global warming because it produces 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide.  Proposed laws to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. are urgently needed and should be enacted immediately to save the planet.  Many reputable scientists support this theory.
Liberals will fight to the death over gun control
  • Gun Control liberals
The Second Amendment does not give citizens the right to keep and bear arms, but only allows for the state to maintain a militia (National Guard).  Liberals believe that if people have more guns, there will  be more violence.
  • Healthcare
Support free or low-cost government controlled health care.  Millions of Americans can’t afford health care. They are deprived of this fundamental right.  Every American has a right to affordable health care.  The government should provide equal health care benefits for all, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Airport security
Passenger profiling is wrong, period.  Selection of passengers for extra security screening should be random.  Using other criteria (such as ethnicity) is discriminatory and offensive to Arabs and Muslims, who are innocent and law-abiding.  Terrorists don’t fit a profile.
  • Immigration
Support legal immigration.  Support amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally (undocumented immigrants).  They also, believe that undocumented immigrants have a right to:
— all educational and health benefits that citizens receive (financial aid, welfare, social security and Medicaid), regardless of legal status.
— The same rights as American citizens.  Arresting millions of undocumented immigrants is unfair.

More liberal views:
  • Private Property
The government has the right to use eminent domain (seizure of private property by the government–with compensation to the owner) to accomplish a public end.
  •  Religion
Support the separation of church and state.  The Bill of Rights implies a separation of church and state.  Religious expression has no place in government.
  • Same-sex Marriage
Marriage is the union of people who love each other.  It should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, to ensure equal rights for all.  Support same-sex marriage.
  • Social Security

The Social Security system should be protected at all costs. Reduction in future benefits is not a reasonable option. Social Security provides a safety net for the nation’s poor and needy. Changing the system would cause a reduction in benefits and many would suffer as a result.

  •  Taxes
Higher taxes mainly on the wealthy and a larger government are necessary to address inequities and injustices in our society.
  • United Nations (UN)
The U.N. promotes peace and human rights. The United States has a moral and legal obligation to support the U.N. U.S. troops should submit to U.N. command.

War on Terror/Terrorism

Global warming, not terrorism, poses the greatest threat to the United States, according to Democrats in Congress.

Welfare
Liberal
Liberals support welfare, including long-term welfare.  Welfare is a safety net which provides for the needs of the poor.  Welfare is necessary to bring fairness to American economic life.  It is a device for protecting the poor.

 

Consumers Ripped Off At The Market pny 027

Consumers Are Paying More For Less

Consumers have always been at the mercy of vendors when it came to pricing. Pay the price or go elsewhere. Now some are starting to realize that not only is the price increasing, but the product is shrinking. This practice is nothing new but people are now becoming more aware of it. “Consumers are generally more sensitive to changes in prices than to changes in quantity,” John T. Gourville, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, said. “And companies try to do it in such a way that you don’t notice, maybe keeping the height and width the same, but changing the depth, so the silhouette of the package on the shelf looks the same. Or sometimes they add more air to the chips bag or a scoop in the bottom of the peanut butter jar, so it looks the same size.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/business/29shrink.html

consumersconsumers

 

I first noticed the incredible shrinking products phenomenon several days ago while making lunch. I was unable to make two sandwiches from a can of tuna as I had in the past. My wife had to go on a diet.

Consumers Prefer Getting More Rather Than Paying Less – Because They’re Bad at Math

Researchers have a term for the phenomenon in which shoppers pay little attention to unit price. They call it “base-value neglect.” Neglect at your own peril.

Is it better to get more or pay less? If you think they’re basically the same, you’re like most consumers. And, like most consumers, you’re wrong. Sending everyone back to school for math refresher courses seems out of the question. But more prominently displayed unit prices in shops and advertisements would be a great help.

Some Examples

Toilet paper is one of the categories of items that has been downsized for decades. Cottonelle continues to shrink in size, this time going from 418 sheets on a mega roll to 380 sheets. Double rolls have also downsized from 209 sheets per roll to 190.

Deceptively, in the upper right corner of the new smaller package, the company claims that you are getting 20% more sheets.

More examples:

http://www.mouseprint.org/category/downsizing-2/ 

 

marijuana

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DC: More people are using marijuana, but fewer are abusing it

Marijuana abuse and dependency are becoming less common, even as states roll back restrictions on the use of the drug. This information is according to a new federal report.

Jamaica, Long Opposed to Marijuana, Now Wants to Cash In on It

New York State Health Department to allow medical marijuana home delivery services

Patients approved for medical cannabis will be able to get it delivered to their home. Rather than go to a dispensary, patients can just sit on their sofa and wait for ‘the guy.’ Or they can wait by the mailbox as some older people do. Either way, it’s better than having to travel,especially if you’ve taken your medicine.

Why not have the pizza guy deliver it? At least then they would have something for the ‘munchies’ or maybe a pizza party.

Court Upholds Federal Ban On Gun Sales To Medical Marijuana Cardholders

Court Upholds Federal Ban On Gun Sales To Medical Marijuana Cardholders

Some states have legalized weed use for medicinal purposes. But, the federal government continues to maintain that pot is as dangerous and addictive as heroin. But where is the proof? Maybe it’s in the pudding.

The price of pot is tumbling in Coloradomarijuana

Dispensaries will make the majority of their money from pot products, like beverages and edibles. http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuanas-getting-cheaper-in-colorado-2016-9

Marijuana arrests fall to lowest level since 1996

Arrests for simple weed possession in the United States fell to nearly a two-decade low last year. This information is according to new statistics released by the FBI.

Opponents of relaxing cannabis laws point out that fewer than 1 percent of state inmates serve prison time for pot possession. But, what happens to that 1 percent?

Arrests can be devastating on their own. Most people arrested for cannabis use are held in jail for at least a day. This may also cause them to lose their job.  And, they receive a criminal record that can affect their employment for the rest of their lives.

Data Suggests Legalizing Marijuana Reduces DEA Eradication Costs

Newly released data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration appears to show that legalizing weed does what advocates have promised: It reduces the unregulated cannabis market and cuts law enforcement costs.

The DEA allocated exactly zero dollars and zero cents for cannabis eradication in Colorado for Fiscal Year 2016. That figure is down from the agency’s $80,000 budget line item for the state during Fiscal Year 2014. This is according to documents released this month in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Colorado voters enacted a cannabis legalization measure in November 2012 and legal sales went into effect in the state on January 1,2014.

<https://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2016/09/legalizing-marijuana-reduces-dea-era>.

An unprecedented number of states will vote on marijuana this fall

These states will finally vote on legalization. They are:

  • California — Recreational 
  • Nevada — Recreational 
  • Arizona — Recreational 
  • Massachusetts — Recreational 
  • Maine — Recreational 
  • Florida — Medical
  • Arkansas — Medical 
  • North Dakota — Medical 
  • Montana — Medical marijuana
Canadians Are Being Banned from the US for Admitting They’ve Smoked Weed

Turns out, that it is considered admitting to violating Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Immigration experts say admission is counted the same as a conviction. What will happen next year when Canada legalizes cannabis?

Clown

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‘Creepy’ clown sightings are spreading across the United States

Sightings of a creepy clown or clowns trying to lure children away are spreading across the US. Nobody is sure whether the whole thing is a hoax or a terrifying new trend in abductions. Four states have now reported the sinister sightings.  These sightings began in South Carolina and spread to North Carolina. They have since surfaced in Georgia and Alabama. https://youtu.be/DohRa9lsx0Q?t=39

clown

Creepy clown mystery continues to spread across US causing fear and panic

These clowns don’t appear to be the happy clowns you see at the circus or a child’s birthday party. Those who have seen these clowns report that they are scary and creepy looking.

Rob Zombie film denies any involvement

clown
Rob Zombie

Some social media users have suggested that the creepy clowns are just a huge publicity stunt for an upcoming film called “31”. In the film murderous clowns hold carnival workers hostage. Some social media posts call for “clown hunting”. Some are urging people to arm themselves against these creepy circus refugees.

Clowns fear for their safety

Those who perform clowning for events, circuses and birthday parties fear for their own safety. They worry that they will be mistaken for one of the creepy clowns and harmed.

Creepy clown excuse spreading

Is it a hoax, a prank, a real threat, or a publicity stunt gone wrong?

People have been reporting the sightings of creepy clowns up to no good since late summer. The rash of clown sightings that started in Greenville S.C. has spread across the United States.These aren’t your average Bozo the clown, parents are worried, standing guard. Some people are using the sightings as excuses to stay home from school or work.

http://us.blastingnews.com/news/tag/weirdworldnews/

In 2014, police in Agade, France, arrested 14 teenagers dressed as clowns, carrying weapons.

A man known as the Northampton Clown terrified children and caused parents to become irate when he dressed as a clown and stood on street corners.

In 2013, Lincolnshire police warned residents that there had been a spate of people dressing as clowns and intimidating locals.

In 2013, police in Kings Lynn warned residents to stay away from clowns. Police received reports of men dressed up as clowns terrifying residents.

In 2013, in Normanton, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, residents urged police to take action after spotting  clowns scaring residents.

Homeland Security pny 024

Homeland Security

Homeland Security has authority over the safety of the traveling public in the United States. Created in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Legislative history

. The Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet post in the U.S. government. Chiefly concerned with air travel, the TSA employs screening agents, Federal Air Marshals on planes, and teams of dog handlers. The use of enhanced screening procedures has caused controversy. The ‘enhanced patdown’ is often felt to be intrusive. The alternative of a scan may reveal indiscreet images, as well as cause possible health risks through radiation. Homeland Security

Lawmakers rip TSA as a ‘bloated,’ often insolent bureaucracy

The Transportation Security Administration is a “bloated bureaucracy”  and it tolerates “corrupt, rude” airport screeners who go unpunished for their behavior, the chairman of a House subcommittee said recently.

TSA Agent Arrested For Upskirt Shots At SeaTac Airport

 http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/tsa-agent-suspended-arrested-upskirt-photos-seatac-airport

Misconduct by TSA employees increased by 29 percent between 2013 and 2015. The hearing also coincided with the release of a report by the House Homeland Security Committee. The report said “employee misconduct of all types corrupts TSA’s core mission to protect the traveling public. It also poses serious security vulnerabilities.

“Half of TSA’s [almost 60,000] workforce allegedly committed misconduct from 2013 to 2015,” Perry said, citing data from the report. “Almost half of that number did so repeatedly.”

HOMELAND SECURITY Loses Guns, Badges, credibility and travelers

2/20/2017: At Kennedy Airport eleven passengers waltzed through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint manned by exactl
y zero TSA agents. Despite surveillance footage of all the travelers, none of them have been found, reports New York Daily News.

Security cameras captured the metal detectors going off three times at Jet Blue’s Terminal 5 and still the passengers kept getting through. The report confirms “no one [was] present to operate the magnetometer, the x-ray machine and do the pat downs and secondary screening.”

TSA didn’t immediately notify the police but instead, sent “lesser trained agents” to search for the passengers who breached security. A source said this action violated “all the protocols” which states law enforcement must be notified immediately. After no luck locating the missing 11, Port Authority cops were called in but still couldn’t locate the passengers.

An official said:

“Port Authority Police attempted at approximately 8 a.m. today to locate 11 individuals who went through an unattended TSA PreCheck checkpoint at approximately 6 a.m. at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 5. Those terminal searches, initiated when a TSA supervisor discovered and alerted Port Authority Police to the lapse, were unsuccessful and it is believed the travelers in question boarded various flights.”

What they do know is that three who set off the metal detector flew to California, but the other eight are unknown.

A source within law enforcement pointed out the obvious: “What you have is 11 people, unscreened, who boarded unknown flights to unknown destinations. This is the failure of the TSA to do its job.”

Congressional Inquiry

homeland security

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform leaders want to know how and why Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials lost 165 firearms in three years. http://100percentfedup.com/homeland-security-loses-guns-badges-and-credibility/

The news website Complete Colorado reported that DHS marked 1,300 badges, 589 cell phones and scores of firearms lost or stolen between 2012 and 2015. DHS’s poor firearms security “shows that the department is consistently unable to safeguard sensitive property,” the congressmen wrote.

 http://completecolorado.com/pagetwo/2016/01/27/u-s-homeland-security-loses-1300-badges-and-credentials-in-31-months/

Florida Airport Gives TSA The Boot, Will Outsource Screening To Private Company

It goes without saying that if the people want something done efficiently, they do it themselves. Or, outsource it to a private third-party service provider.   Entrusting it to a bunch of bureaucrats and lazy government workers is not the way to go. A private company called ISS Action would take over security at Florida’s Punta Gorda Airport. http://www.infowars.com/private-security-firm-to-replace-inefficient-tsa-at-florida-airport/

 TSA Homeland Security, an ‘abominable failure.’

Politico.com reports that former leaders of the troubled security agency say it may be suffering from a complacency gene. Maybe not. Maybe they just hire idiots. Or, maybe the people doing the hiring are idiots. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/tsa-airport-security-failure-jeh-johnson-118557

 Missed Flights

 

Homeland Security
The Huffington Post reported Homeland Security screening delays and caused more than 70,000 American Airlines customers to miss their flights in 2016.

 

 

Racism in America pny 023

Racism Is Destroying This Country

Racism is when one ethnic group seeks to dominate, exclude or eliminate another.  Members of racial and ethnic oppressed groups continue to struggle for equal access and opportunity. http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-01.htm

White people must wake up to the fact that racism will destroy this country. Many whites either don’t understand what’s going on, or they just don’t care. I believe that most white people haven”t a clue.

Police Racism: Real Or Imaginedracism

Police shootings of unarmed black people are becoming an almost daily occurrence.  Lack of training and social interactions between the races cause many of these shootings. But police don’t always seem to know what to do about situations in which they find themselves.

Over and over again in these incidents, this appears to be where things turn to violence. Police are trained to assert their authority quickly over uncertain situations, to give clear, commands and demand compliance. But they appear confounded by someone not immediately responding to their commands and don’t always know what to do.  In a country with a lot of untreated mental illness, they are bound to encounter these situations frequently.

Police Work – Inherently Racially Biased

Several blog posts and audio conversations by Tim Wise at timwise.org are very informative. The following is one of those talks; check out his site: http://www.timwise.org/2016/07/ti m-wise-on-101-1-the-beat-wdolewite-race-policing-and-whiteness-in-america/

Police work is inherently racially biased. Cops patrol predominantly poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods where most of the residents are black or Latino.  The majority of arrests end up impacting disproportionate numbers of minorities. One thing is certain; we need better training of the police before turning them loose on minority communities.

racism
Public Housing

Country Cops

Police officers from the suburbs don’t know how to interpret aggressive behavior from what is normal in minority communities. They may become overly aggressive and create a situation. How many times have we seen this recently? Too many. And, unfortunately, some just don’t care.

We must find a solution before we tear this country apart. But I like to think we’re better than that.