A Covid time bomb

A lot of Covid stories seem like hyperbole, but — in this care — I have personal knowledge that it isn’t. Last  August, my cousin became infected with Covid and was hospitalized for 12-days. He recovered, and went about his business without a hint of after effects until a couple weeks ago when he was hospitalized because of shortness of breath and fatigue.

The doctors discovered that he had blood clot on his lungs. They administered blood thinners and sent him home, and he will have to take blood thinners for the next six months. — wfw

IF you’ve had Covid and gotten over the nasty bug, you might think you’re out of the woods.

But experts have revealed that people who catch coronavirus are more at risk of a deadly stroke.Strokes are a medical emergency and happen when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. There are usually two main causes, this can be because of a blood clot or when a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts

Another related condition is called a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted.

Medics investigating illness after Covid infection found that people who had the virus faced a 72 per cent higher risk of heart failure after 12 months.

Even those who didn’t have an illness severe enough to be hospitalised could develop problems.

Omicron is the dominant strain in the UK and the majority of Brits have been protected with vaccines and booster doses.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains, especially in the vaccinated.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.


Stepping with the Fitbit

BERKELEY, Calif. — Legendary Terror frontman Scott Vogel was caught incessantly checking his Fitbit watch while pacing back and forth in hopes of improving his overall cardiovascular health, according to several distracted audience members.

“I want to make sure everyone in this place is going nuts at all times, and sometimes I’m so focused on all the kids stage diving that I forget I need to pay attention to myself,” noted an out-of-breath Vogel, using the mixer’s USB connection to charge his Fitbit in between bands. “I signed up for a ‘30-Day Beach Body Challenge’ and I use the stage as my gym. It’s tough to work out in the van, so I need to make the most of what I have.  Is it imperative that I win the ‘Over 40 Most Steps of the Month’? I think you know the answer.”


The House More Act aims to rectify the damage done by Cannabis prohibition –updated 4-14-22

Cannabis has long been one of the major engines driving excessive policing and incarceration. Between 2001 and 2010, there were about 8.2 million cannabis arrests, according to the ACLU. he vast majority of which — 88 percent — were for possession alone.

In recent years, many states have legalized cannabis use for medical and/or recreational use. However, there were still 663,000 cannabis arrests in 2018, accounting for fully 40 percent of all drug arrests. Again, almost 90 percent of these were for possession.

Around 40,000 people are still in jail for cannabis offenses. Imprisonment has huge negative effects on people’s long-term prospects.

Being incarcerated makes it more difficult to get a job. It cuts wage growth by 30 percent over a person’s lifetime. Each year in prison takes two years off a person’s life expectancy.

Human suffering is inflicted at a high dollar cost. Police enforcement of cannabis amounts to around $3.6 billion yearly.


One of the greatest evils of Marijuana Prohibition is that many of the people responsible for enacting and enforcing the ban on pot were aware that it wasn’t a dangerous, addictive substance, they knew the truth — and they chose to ignore the facts.— wfw

Related: Several GOP Senators Oppose Legalizing Pot Following MORE Act Vote

Note: none of these senators can back up their opposition to legalizing marijuana with anything approximating factual, objective evidence. All they have is boilerplate bullpucky.

The squares are freakin’ out! — updated 4/13/22

Conservatives are fond of wrapping themselves in the flag and yammering on about freedom, but — the fact is — the only freedom they care about is the freedom to dictate how you, and people like you live your lives, as illustrated by Dianne Roberts commentary in the Florida Phoenix (April 11, 2022). — wfw

Republicans are angry.So very, very angry.

Deranged White Man Syndrome has not yet been listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but it’s just a matter of time.

Seriously, these dudes (and they are mostly male-gendered persons) are on a rampage of rage and loathing which cannot be healthy.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham stormed out of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings twice. He was practically foaming at the mouth, demanding she rate her faith and shouting about Brett Kavanaugh, child molesters, and how Jackson is a Black woman, fine, but she is the wrong kind of Black woman.

To which I say: Get help, son.


Related: ‘Highest rates ever’: Conservatives force school districts to ban over 1000 books – LGBTQ and Black authors targeted

Related: There’s a significant spike in ultra-violent right-wing threats against teachers supporting LGBTQ+ rights

Related: NYT slammed over piece on 8 conservative men who don’t feel ‘free to be themselves in the culture’

Republican rake in million$ from corporate price gougers

Jon Skolnik, in his recent Salon Commentary (April 9, 2022) underscores the hypocrisy of republican officials, who blame Biden for inflation while profiting off of corporate price hikes.

According to an Accountable.US report exclusively obtained by Salon, three Republican senators and fifteen members of the House GOP caucus have raked in at least $5,709,425 from corporations that have used inflation as a pretext for jacking up prices.

“Corporate profits were the highest they ever were last year, and you have the Republican caucus in the Senate and the House basically trying to give them a pass,” said Tony Carrk, Executive Director of Accountable.US.

Chief among Corporate America’s political guardians is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who last year raked in $1.24 million from industry behemoths like Walmart, Kroger, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, and Ford.


I have often stated that the Democratic Party has its share of self-serving lowlife, but when to comes the sheer numbers of self-serving, hypocritical scumbags, there’s no beating the GOP. — wfw

Like father, like scum

Trump Jr. Texts Show ‘Coup Was the Plan’ From the Start, Legal Experts Say

BY JASON LEMON  Newsweek April 9, 2022

Some legal experts contend that newly reported text message sent from Donald Trump Jr. to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows demonstrate that the former president and his allies were planning a “coup” from the start—even before votes were fully counted in the 2020 election.

CNN first reported on Friday that Trump Jr. sent a November 5, 2020 text message to Meadows which said: “It’s very simple … We have multiple paths We control them all.” The former president’s son reportedly laid out plans to subvert the Electoral College process and keep his father, former President Donald Trump, in the White House. Notably, that message was sent just two days after the election—before the results were finalized and as many states continued to count ballots.


I can understand the disgust and frustration with the political establishment led people to vote for Donald Trump in 2016 — but that was then and this is now — and now it is clear that Donald Trump, his son, and their allies are traitors to this country, and everything is stands for, ergo, anyone who supports Donald Trump now is either willfully ignorant, or willfully evil — a collaborator in the worst sense of the word. — wfw

Bears are waking up in the Adirondacks

If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today, you’d better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was 
Will gather there for certain because 
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic

Black bears are active in the Adirondacks this time of year as they leave hibernation. 

While the mountains are home to over half of the State’s black bear population, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says that encounters are not common.

Still, the DEC is urging New Yorkers to make sure their properties are organized so as not to attract bears. 

In a recent release, the DEC encourages folks to take down bird feeders, store garbage within “secure buildings” until collection and keep pet food inside.

There are around 4,000 black bears in the Adirondacks. In fact, the DEC deems most of upstate New York as “bear country.”


Workplace testing for marijuana use is unconstitutional!

Washington, DC: A plurality of Americans oppose workplace policies that permit employers to drug test employees for cannabis in states where its off-the-job use is legal, according to nationwide polling dataprovided by YouGov.com. 

Forty-four percent of respondents said that they opposed “allowing employers to test workers for marijuana in states where [it] is legal.” Thirty-six percent of respondents supported the policy and 20 percent were undecided. 

In recent months, several states – such as Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Montana – have enacted legislation limiting employers’ ability to either pre-screen applicants for past marijuana exposure or refuse to hire them. New York’s policy further limits employers’ ability to sanction current employees for their off-hours marijuana use absent evidence of “articulable symptoms of cannabis impairment.”

City officials in several metropolitan areas – such as AtlantaBaltimorePhiladelphia, and St. Louis – have also recently adopted local laws prohibiting marijuana-specific pre-employment and random drug screenings for public employees in non-safety sensitive positions.


Nuff Said – updated April 3, 2022

By Dan Whitcomb and Tim Reid

(Reuters) – Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008, announced her run for Alaska’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday.

By Dan Whitcomb and Tim Reid

(Reuters) – Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008, announced her run for Alaska’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday.


Alaska Republicans Trash Sarah Palin


Elise votes against legalizing marijuana

Elise Lies!

Congresswoman ,Elise Stefanik, said she opposes legalizing marijuana after hearing concerns from people, including parents, that marijuana use is a gateway to other drugs.

That is — without a doubt — the grand-daddy of lame excuses. There isn’t a credible bit of evidence to support that contention, and Elise knows it. She lies, and lies, and lies… It’s her SOP! — wfw

#cannibis #marijuana #stefanik

The House votes in favor of legalizing marijuana

But, it’s likely that the Troglodytes in the Senate, aka Republicans and their ilk, will cling to their nonsensical opposition and kill the Bill — wfw

The Hill reports that the House passed legislation on Friday to legalize marijuana nationwide and eliminate the longstanding criminal penalties for anyone who distributes or possesses it. 

Lawmakers passed the bill largely along party lines, 220-204, with three Republicans joining all but two Democrats in support.

The three Republicans who voted for the bill were Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Brian Mast (Fla.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.), while Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas) and Chris Pappas (N.H.) voted against it.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is working with fellow Democrats to introduce a marijuana legalization bill as soon as this spring.  

But it’s not clear a bill to broadly legalize marijuana could clear the necessary 60 votes to advance in the Senate.  


#marijuana #cannibis

Judge rules against Trump and Eastman: legal expert

Raw Story reports that a federal judge “brought down the hammer” on Donald Trump and law professor John Eastman over their efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and a legal expert analyzed the ruling that found they “likely committed” multiple crimes as part of the scheme…

“In short, Judge Carter concluded, ‘this plan was a last-ditch attempt to secure the Presidency by any means,'” Wehle wrote. “It violated the Constitution and, per Eastman’s own admission, ‘several provisions of statutory law.’ Eastman knew it. Trump knew it. And to this day, the world knows it.”

The judge found ample evidence that Trump and Eastman were trying to pressure vice president Mike Pence to disrupt the joint session of Congress, and Carter found that Trump almost certainly knew his justification was baseless, because his own officials had told him there was no election fraud and more than 60 courts dismissed his election challenges.



Surprise — Elise Stefanik doesn’t want to hear from her constituents!

I e-mailed the following letter to Congresswoman Stefanik, and asked if it was true? — wfw

Surprise — Elise Stefanik doesn’t want to hear from her constituents!

I tried to contact her suggesting that she should demand that Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election. By now it is common knowledge that his wife was involved in attempts to overturn the election and events leading up to the insurrection. My email was rejected because it was too long — over 500 characters! Guidelines for emails to members of Congress suggest that they be a maximum of 500 words. Mine was 152 words. A 500 character limit on email to a congressperson is nonsense. Is Ms. Stefanik’s staff (whose salaries we pay) too busy to read my email? By the way, this letter to the editor is the length of my email to the congresswoman. Do you think it is too long?

Michael C. Sinclair


It’s true! I received the response below: — wfw

Email Congresswoman Stefanik

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.

There was an error processing the submitted information. Comments has exceeded the maximum length of 500 characters. Your submission is 877 characters in length.

Check it out.

Trump’s Attempted Coup Was Unique

Sam Smith (Progressive Review)- Something that gets lost in reporting and talk about Trump’s attempted coup is that we have no precedent for it in American history. This is the first time an illegal significant takeover of the American government has been attempted on behalf an individual. Even the Civil War was about succession from the north not replacing it. 

One of the hazards in the media’s caution in handling this story is that the public does not get to appreciate how unique and threatening Trump’s efforts were. It’s not just a matter of what sort of phone he used but what he was trying to do. For example, the Oxford dictionary defines treason as the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government. We should at least be talking about whether Trump’s actions were treasonous or not. 

Barack Obama Was a Sell Out From day One

My contempt for the self-serving politicians who wrap themselves in the flag while wiping their feet on the Constitution is bi-partisan. thus I wrote the following after the presidential election in 2012. — wfw

The election is over and Barack Obama’s followers are patting themselves on the back for a job well done while remaining wilfully indifferent to the fact that he poses a clear and present threat to our civil liberties.

The Democratic Party’s 2008 platform touted single-payer healthcare and focused on restoring “our constitutional traditions.” The Obama campaign supported constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans. He promised to review the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. He rejected the practice of illegally wiretapping American citizens, wherever they live.

He rejected the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. He rejected the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. He rejected the use of torture and the notion of “inherent” presidential power.

He promised to revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years. He vowed not use signing statements to nullify or undermine duly enacted law…

As soon as Obama assumed the presidency he tossed his promises into the trash, and embraced and enhanced the Bush-Cheney surveillance state. Obama’s Army reacted by excusing or simply ignoring his malfeasance during his first term, and they rewarded his betrayal by voting for him again this past Election Day.

It’s important to note that the 2012 Democratic Party platform made no mention of “our constitutional traditions.” That’s because Barack Obama has taken civil liberties off the table — just like single-payer healthcare — and Obama’s supporters simply don’t care.”

Admittedly, they self-righteously claimed that they would “hold his feet to the fire” and “push him in the right direction” once he gets re-elected; but the fact is they did nothing to push him in the right direction during his first term — and they’re not likely to now.

Reality dictates that Barack Obama is a self-serving, right-wing Democrat. He has his second term and he no longer needs liberal’s support, and he has nothing to gain from supporting progressive causes — so how can they possibly influence him. Even worse is the fact that Obama’s supporters will continue to make excuses for him — and in the process — they will effectively neuter the progressive movement.

To paraphrase Chris Hedges, they fight for nothing — and stand for nothing. ####

Addendum: After the 2008 presidential election the Obama administration, and the Democratic Party were in a position to crush the Republican Party. They could have rejected the Bush-Cheney surveillance state. They could have established a single-payer health care system. The could have held the Wall Street criminals , who wrecked our economy accountable — but they chose not to — and their feckless allowed the GOP to regain control of the House and Senate in 2014, and set in motion the events that led to the election of the traitor, Donald Trump in 2016. Thank a lot, Obama! — wfw

Don’t you dare cancel my culture — Updated

Old white guy, enabled — nay, encouraged — by Donald Trump and his cult, thinks it’s okay to hurl N-word at pregnant woman during parking dispute.



What is it with angry old white guys in Florida?

The fire chief of St. George Island, Florida, has been suspended from his position after he was caught on video yelling a racial towards a Black beach goer, WTXl reports.


`Let’s Go, Elise’ (updated)

On Jan. 12, NPR reported that during a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, at the Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida, former president Donald Trump showered Stefanik with praise and reportedly declared that she could be president in six years, thus solidifying her position as Trump’s go-to-toady.

According to Merriam Webster, in 17th-century Europe, a toady, or toad-eater was a showman’s assistant whose job was to make the boss look good. The toad-eater would eat or pretend to eat what were supposed to be poisonous toads. His or her charlatan master would then “save” the toad-afflicted assistant by expelling the poison.

Elise Stefanik by word and misdeed, has striven to take her place as the traitor, Donald Trump’s, number one toad-eater and by doing so she has embraced his big lie, forsaken the Constitution, and abandoned any pretense of serving anyone but her master.

And that raises the question: how long will Stefanik’s North Country voters continue to support her and the seditious former president?     ####         

Updated: March 28, 2022

Evil is as evil does: the toad-eater trashes the master.

“In private conversations, Ms. Stefanik sometimes conceded to former colleagues and confidants that Mr. Trump was a disaster for the party, though she said she did not see an upside to publicly criticizing him,” READ MORE…

And recent revelations indicate that  Stefanik is indeed aiding and abetting a felon.

The Guardian reports that Donald Trump appears to have committed multiple felonies as he sought to return himself to power on 6 January, a judge said in a Monday ruling that ordered the Trump lawyer John Eastman to turn over hundreds of emails to the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack. READ MORE…




The Wilfully Ignorant

Trump supporters who whine, carp, and complain about Joe Biden, while extolling the virtues of the seditious, Donald Trump, have no apparent qualms about Donnie’s fondness for murderous dictators.

He told reporters he believed Russia didn‘t interfere in the 2016 election because Vladimir Putin told him so (despite U.S. intelligence agencies saying otherwise);

He didn’t question Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s claim that he had nothing to do with the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi (despite the CIA concluding that the crown prince ordered the hit.)

Lest we forget Trump bragging about his exchange of“love letters” with the murderous dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un — and his recent praise of Vladimir Putin as a “savvy genius” for his barbaric invasion of the Ukraine.

Trump supporters wrap themselves in the flag, and prattle on about freedom, but they didn’t offer up a hint of outrage at his comments — which comes as no surprise — because they didn’t utter a mouse-squeak of protest at his attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election either, nor did they question his claim that the election was rigged against him, despite the fact that there isn’t a shred of evidence proving that it was. And that leads to the conclusion that they would have no problem if the U.S. was transformed into a Trump-run dictatorship — sorry to say — It appears that they would welcome it. ####

The DEA has no record of ever having seized any marijuana that tested positive for fentanyl –none

Want to ensure that #marijuana is safe? Legalize and regulate it. By Paul Armentano

Rarely a week goes by without police or other public officials warning about so-called “fentanyl-laced” weed. Upon closer inspection, there’s little if any truth behind these sensational claims.

A case in point: Police in Brattleboro, Vermont recently generated headlines when they, along with agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security, arrested multiple people on charges of distributing fentanyl-tainted cannabis.

Days later, however, lab tests confirmed that no fentanyl was present in any of the marijuana samples that had been seized in the raid.

A similar scenario recently unfolded in Connecticut, where officials alleged that marijuana laced with fentanyl was responsible for over three dozen overdose incidents. Forensic analyses later determined that only one of these cases actually involved the ingestion of fentanyl. That case, health officials said, was probably the result of accidental contamination.

Such sensational pronouncements, followed by far less publicized refutations, are nothing new.


Reefer Madness: 50-years and counting

50 Years After Nixon’s Commission Said Cops Should Stop Busting Pot Users, the Federal Ban Remains Unchanged

By JACOB SULLUM | Reason 3.22.2022 6:05 PM

Fifty years ago today, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse issued a report that was quite different from what President Richard Nixon probably was expecting when he appointed the blue-ribbon panel, which was chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer. From the perspective of a president who the year before had declared drug abuse “America’s public enemy number one,” the report’s title—Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding—was not promising. And it got worse from there.

“The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession [of marijuana] even in the effort to discourage use,” the Shafer Commission concluded. “It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance.”

Based on that assessment, the report recommended that “possession of marihuana for personal use no longer be an offense” and that “casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration, no longer be an offense.” That policy, which became known as marijuana “decriminalization,” went nowhere with the Nixon administration. But that decade, nearly a dozen states, beginning with Oregon in 1973, took the commission’s advice, typically changing low-level possession from a criminal offense to a civil violation punishable by a modest fine. President Jimmy Carter endorsed decriminalization in 1977, when he toldCongress that “penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.” #marijuana


#cannibis #marijuana

Israel sticks it to the Ukraine

And that raises the question: why does the U.S. tolerate this misuse of tax-payer dollars?

Israel blocked Ukraine from buying NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware for fear that Russian officials would be angered by the sale of the sophisticated hacking tool to a regional foe, according to people familiar with the matter.

The revelation, following a joint investigation by the Guardian and Washington Post, offers new insight into the way Israel’s relationship with Russia has at times undermined Ukraine’s offensive capabilities – and contradicted US priorities.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been critical of Israel’s stance since Russia launched its full and bloody invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, saying in a recent address before members of Israel’s Knesset that Israel would have to “give answers” on why it had not given weapons to Ukraine or applied sanctions on Russians.

People with direct knowledge of the matter say that, dating back to at least 2019, Ukrainian officials lobbied Israel to try to convince it to license the spyware tool for use by Ukraine.

But those efforts were rebuffed and NSO Group, which is regulated by the Israeli ministry of defense, was never permitted to market or sell the company’s spyware to Ukraine.


When a snowmobile goes through the ice, these are the guys who find it

Having no luck in finding a sunken quad at this site, commercial diver John Sullivan, center, comes up from a dive to consult with fellow diver Tim Van Dusen about where to look next. Sullivan can see only four feet in front of him when underwater. In this instance, Van Dusen and Sullivan returned for a successful recovery eight days after the quad sank. Photo by Cindy Schultz
Patience, gear, experience rank high with professional ice divers – By James M. Odato

The wind whipped across Saratoga Lake, snuffing out John Sullivan’s cigarette. A quarter-mile from shore, he hovered over a hole in the 10-inch-thick ice. Determination lined his face as he searched for the quad that had eluded his crew of divers for 90 minutes. It should have become the second four-wheeler they’d salvaged that late February day.

“Ninety percent is locating it,” Sullivan said. He pointed to a spot on the ice 30 paces away and barked directions to four men with ropes, chainsaws and augers.

Sullivan, 55, whose day job is bulldozer operator, has been diving for three decades. He is one of a small league of divers who drop into lakes in and around the Adirondacks in all seasons. They pull up things as small as muddy diamond rings and as large as 65-foot-long tugboats. 

It’s risky, and lucrative.


Even if you’re dodging bullets you gotta eat

Ukrainian theater’s new drama? Making dumplings for soldiers. By CARA ANNA (AP)

DROHOBYCH, Ukraine (AP) — The theater was empty. The seats were covered against dust. But it was a moment of drama that Alla Shkondina had prepared for all her life.

“There is a saying that when the guns sound, the muses are silent,” the Ukrainian actress said, standing on the bare stage with a shawl wrapped around her to protect against the chill. “But we are not silent.”

She has retreated from the spotlight and now makes dumplings to send to soldiers, working alongside fellow artists in the Drohobych repertory theater’s cafe. It’s one small part of a massive war effort by defiant volunteers across the country who often find themselves playing unexpected roles.

In the theater’s warmly lit cafe, where snack bar popcorn has gone stale in the nearly month since Russia’s invasion, artists in this community near the foot of the Carpathian Mountains in southwestern Ukraine were rolling and filling dough to add to the thousands of dumplings they’ve sent to the front, or to displaced people in need.

“We did more than 3,000 pounds of meatballs,” said theater director Mykola Hnatenko. “One hundred fifty kilograms of stewed cabbage with meat. More than 10,000 verenyky (dumplings) with potato. Seventy kilograms of filling for borscht. Eighty kilograms of fried fish. Two thousand pancakes with meat, and 500 sweet pancakes. Now we’ve decided to do more food with proteins like meat.”


Burn Baby, Burn!

See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil — write no evil — the American Taliban’s war on freedom of thought in the U.S.

‘It’s a culture war that’s totally out of control’: the authors whose books are being banned in US schools by Claire Armitstead

From Art Spiegelman to Margaret Atwood, books are disappearing from the shelves of American schools. What’s behind the rise in censorship?

When the owners of a Tennessee comics shop learned that a local school board had voted to remove Art Spiegelman’s Holocaust classic Maus from its curriculum, they sprang into action with an appeal calling for donations to fund free copies for schoolchildren. Within hours, money started pouring in from all over the world. “We had donations from Israel, the UK and Canada as well as from the US,” says Richard Davis, co-owner of Nirvana Comics.

Ten days later, they closed the appeal, after raising $110,000 (£84,000) from 3,500 donors. “We bought up all the copies the publisher had in its warehouse and we’re now in the process of shipping 3,000 copies of Maus to students all over the country, along with a study guide written by a local schoolteacher,” says Davis, who has relied on volunteers to help with the distribution.

For Spiegelman, it has meant an exponential sales boost for a 30-year-old book – the only graphic novel to win a Pulitzer prize, in 1992 – and a flurry of speaking engagements across the country. “It just shows,” he says, “you can’t ban books unless you’re willing to burn them and you can’t burn them all unless you’re willing to burn the writers and the readers too.”


Cannibis For Pain

Survey: Cannabis Use Associated with 50 Percent Reduction in Pain Scores

Hempstead, NY: Chronic pain patients report significant reductions in their pain scores following the use of cannabis, according to survey data published in the Open Journal of Anesthesiology

Investigators affiliated with Hofstra University in New York and the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane surveyed patients receiving care in a pain clinic setting.

Respondents’ average pain scores fell from 8.4 prior to using medical cannabis to 4.275 afterward. Participants also reported improvements in sleep and overall daily functioning.