CO2 levels surpassed 400 ppm in September. Scientists say we won’t see a month below that symbolic benchmark “ever again.”


We Just Passed A Grim Carbon Dioxide Threshold, Possibly For Good

CO2 levels surpassed 400 ppm in September. Scientists say we won’t see a month below that symbolic benchmark “ever again.”

09/28/2016 09:13 am ET | Updated 3 hours ago

The world has hit a global warming milestone it may never recover from.

Scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii announced in 2013 that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide reached a daily average above 400 parts per million for the first time in history. CO2 concentrations “haven’t been this high in millions of years,” said scientist Erika Podest at the time. “This milestone is a wake-up call.”

But the situation has only gotten worse. Worldwide, 400 ppm, which indicates the ratio of carbon dioxide to other gases in the atmosphere, started to be read more consistently and in more locations. Last March, global CO2 levels topped the symbolic benchmark for an entire month — a first since record-keeping began. Antartica, the last place on Earth without a 400 ppm reading, finally reached it in May.

Now scientists say we’ve arrived at yet another critical climate change juncture: CO2 levels surpassed 400 ppm this month— and it may not fall below that mark ever again.

“I think we’re essentially over for good,” said Ralph Keeling, director of the Scripps Institute for Oceanography’s carbon dioxide monitoring program in May.

Keeling explained in a Friday blog post how CO2 levels had consistently topped 400 ppm for the month of September ― typically the time of year when atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its lowest. The Scripps Institute monitors CO2 levels at the Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s marquee site for carbon dioxide monitoring.

“The low point reflects the transition between summer and fall, when the uptake of CO2 by vegetation weakens and is overtaken by the release of CO2 from soils,” he wrote. “Is it possible that October 2016 will yield a lower monthly value than September and dip below 400 ppm? Almost impossible.”

Though one-off lower measurements could still be read in the coming weeks, Keeling said “it already seems safe to conclude that we won’t be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year ― or ever again for the indefinite future.”

And since carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, even the most rigorous climate action won’t dampen this figure. Not this century, anyway. 

If CO2 emissions, for example, somehow plummeted to zero tomorrow, carbon dioxide levels “probably wouldn’t change much … but would start to fall off in a decade or so,” Gavin Schmidt, NASA’s chief climate scientist, told Climate Central. “In my opinion, we won’t ever see a month below 400 ppm.”

Reuters

This year is on track to be the hottest on record. Climate change has been linked to several extreme weather events this year, including droughts and floods.

The 400 ppm level is more a symbolic number than a “tipping point,” as some have suggested. There isn’t, for instance, a marked difference between the climate impacts of 390 ppm and 405 ppm. But scientists say the psychological effect of the figure is significant.

“When you focus on the fact that it’s moving through thresholds like that, you get an appreciation for how it’s actually changing,” Keeling told The Hufington Post in an earlier interview. “I think people accept the reality that CO2 is rising, but they don’t have a grasp of what it means quantitatively. I hope people remember this moment so that when the hear the carbon dioxide levels are 420 parts per million in a matter of years, they’ll say, ‘I remember when it was 400.’”

Scientists say 420 ppm is in our near future, based on current trends. Carbon dioxide levels are increasing by more than 2 parts per million per year.

“The momentum we’re seeing right now, going upwards, I think is going to easily carry us through 450 parts per million,” Keeling said. “And then I would say even stabilizing before 500 parts per million is probably not going to be very easy.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Carbon dioxide has been the primary driver of climate change since the industrial revolution. CO2 has caused the Earth to warm about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since then ― a shift that’s led to record temperatures, melting ice sheets, extreme weather events and other significant impacts.

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9 States to Vote Soon on Expanding Legal Access to Marijuana


SAN FRANCISCO — Sep 28, 2016, 2:35 AM ET

Marijuana National Vote

From California, with its counterculture heritage, to the fishing ports and mill towns of Maine, millions of Americans in nine states have a chance to vote Nov. 8 on expanding legal access to marijuana. Collectively, the ballot measures amount to the closest the U.S. has come to a national referendum on the drug.

Five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — will consider legalizing the recreational use of pot. Three others — Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota — will decide whether to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montana will weigh whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.

As the most populous state, with a reputation for trend-setting, California is attracting the most attention — and money — in an intensifying debate over Proposition 64.

Silicon Valley tycoons and deep-pocketed donors with connections to the legal medical marijuana industry are among the top financial backers of a pro-pot campaign that has raised almost $17 million. Opponents have raised slightly more than $2 million, including a $1.4 million contribution from retired Pennsylvania art professor Julie Schauer.

Advocates on both sides say passage in California would likely ignite legalization movements in other states, especially when the tax dollars start adding up. California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated the state could collect up to $1 billion a year in marijuana taxes.

"As California goes, so goes the nation," said University of California, Berkeley political science professor Alan Ross.

If "yes" votes prevail across the country, about 75 million people accounting for more than 23 percent of the U.S. population would live in states where recreational pot is legal. The jurisdictions where that’s already the case — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia — have about 18 million residents, or 5.6 percent of the population. Twenty-five states allow medical marijuana.

According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization. Gallup’s latest survey gauged support at 58 percent, up from 12 percent from when the question was first posed in 1969. Gallup says 13 percent of U.S. adults report using marijuana at present, nearly double the percentage who reported using pot in 2013.

California voters rejected an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in 2010 after campaign leaders struggled to raise money and support for a four-page ballot measure hastily written by the owner of a small medicinal marijuana store.

This time, the 62-page ballot measure was crafted by political professionals and has the backing of many elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. Current Gov. Jerry Brown says he’s close to announcing his position.

The measure would allow people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow six marijuana plants at home. Pot sales would be subject to various tax rates that would be deposited into the state’s Marijuana Tax Fund. Most of that money would be spent on substance-abuse education and treatment. Some would be used to repair environmental damage caused by illegal growers.

Opponents argue that the measure will do more harm than good by opening a marijuana market dominated by small farmers to corporate interests and encouraging children to use the drug through pot-laced sweets like gummy bears, cookies and brownies.

The proposal "favors the interests of wealthy corporations over the good of the everyday consumer, adopting policies that work against public health," said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the California-based advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Napster founder and early Facebook investor Sean Parker has contributed more than $3 million to the legalization effort, which has also attracted sizable contributions from an organization backed by billionaire George Soros and another backed by Weedmaps, which rates pot stores throughout the state.

"It’s a huge deal and it’s long overdue," said Steven DeAngelo, owner of one of the nation’s largest medicinal marijuana dispensaries and a Proposition 64 supporter.

In most of the states with marijuana ballot measures, polls have shown the "yes" side leading. Sabet believes opponents of legalization would attract more support if they could narrow a large fundraising gap and spread their cautionary messages. He does not buy the other side’s argument that nationwide legalization will come sooner or later.

"Repeating that this is inevitable, and repeating they are so excited, is part of their narrative to makes folks like us feel helpless," he said.

Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, a leading pro-legalization group, said his side has a chance to win in most of the nine states, but some losses will not derail the movement.

"Even if a measure doesn’t pass, support will grow," he said, citing failed ballot measures in Oregon and Colorado that preceded the victories for legalization.

"Most people believe marijuana should be legal. It’s a question of whether opponents do a good job of scaring them out of doing it now," Tvert added. "We might see people opt to wait a couple more years."

All five states voting on recreational marijuana have seen intense debate over the effect of legalization in the states that have already taken that step.

Opponents of the ballot measures make an array of claims, contending, for example, that Colorado’s legalization of pot has coincided with an increase in crime in Denver and fueled a jump in the number of traffic fatalities linked to marijuana use.

However, an analysis by three academic experts, published this month by the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, asserted that the impact of legalization has been minimal.

"The data so far provide little support for the strong claims about legalization made by either opponents or supporters," the analysis said.

Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron, one of the co-authors of the study, predicted Californians would approve Proposition 64, but he was less certain of the outcome in his home state of Massachusetts, where the Republican governor, Charlie Baker, and the Democratic mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, have teamed up to oppose legalization.

Miron said it’s difficult to predict when legalization might get support in Congress or surge to approval in a majority of states.

"I’m not sure if this November will get us to the tipping point. It may be two or four more years," he said. "Certain things seem impossible, until all of a sudden they are possible, and they happen fast."

———

Crary reported from New York.

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Sheriff consulting FBI, Homeland Security on NKY creepy clowns case


Attendance cut in half after threat

T.J. Parker, WCPO Staff

1:31 AM, Sep 27, 2016

 

WARSAW, Ky. — The Gallatin County Sheriff is consulting the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on its recent "creepy clown" threat, which frightened students and parents enough to cut attendance in half Tuesday.

Gallatin County Schools stepped up security Tuesday after receiving a “vague threat of violence” on Facebook the day before. The name used in the Gallatin County messages have been used in other, similar threats across the country, according to Sheriff Josh Neale.

“The threat does not seem creditable (sic), but in order to ensure the safety of students and staff we take all threats seriously,” a district representative wrote on Facebook.

Attendance on Tuesday was down to 48 percent — typical attendance is 95 percent, according to school officials.

Michelle Murphy, whose children attend Gallatin County Schools, said the source of the threat was a pair of Facebook accounts with clowns in their profile pictures.

In screenshots Murphy sent to WCPO, “Bobby Daklown” and “Michael Daklown” threatened to shoot students at area high schools.

"Creepy clowns" on Facebook threatened to shoot students at Kentucky schools, according to Michelle Murphy, whose children attend Gallatin County Schools.

Although this threat is not considered credible, creepy clowns have made a splash across the country recently, with reported sightings of sinister individuals in clown costume in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and now Kentucky.

"Bobby Daklown" and "Michael Daklown" are names used in other threats, but Neale said it’s uncertain if the names indicate a connection in the cases or a copycat. Neale has contacted the FBI and Homeland Security and said the person or people making the "clown threats" could face local charges of inducing panic and terroristic threatening.

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U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sentencing law could free hundreds in Ohio


Hozae Rodriguez Ward has been in federal prison since 2009.

By Earl Rinehart The Columbus Dispatch  •  Monday September 26, 2016 7:04 AM

 

 

Celia Ward has the menu planned for her son’s welcome-home dinner: fried chicken, cabbage, cornbread and mac and cheese.

It’s been a while since Hozae Rodriguez Ward, 39, sat down at his mother’s table.

From 1995 to 2007, he was in the county jail and state prison. Since 2009, he has been in federal prison. But according to the U.S. Supreme Court, he should have been home five years ago.

Ward is eligible for immediate release after the high court ruled on June 25, 2015, that the Armed Career Criminal Act, under which Ward was sentenced, was too vague.

The ruling probably affects many more than just Ward.

The federal public defender’s office in Cincinnati is conducting an “initial” review of 400 federal inmates sentenced under the act to see if they, too, have been in prison too long. The office covers only the Southern District of Ohio. The total number of inmates affected nationwide is unknown, but there are 89 district courts in the 50 states, including two in Ohio.

On Wednesday in Columbus, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson ordered Ward’s release, which should occur within 30 days. Watson sentenced Ward on June 30, 2009, to the minimum mandatory term of 15 years after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition.

“No one is terribly comfortable with that, given your previous record,” Watson said. “ Nonetheless, you’ve served more than twice the guideline range, as recalculated.”

The defense and prosecution agreed that, based on the high court’s ruling, Ward’s maximum sentence should have been 27 months.

The Armed Career Criminal Act imposed a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence on felons convicted of a firearm offense who had three previous convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses.

The act defined those violent felonies as burglary, arson, extortion and those involving the use of explosives.

The problem, the justices wrote in Johnson v. United States, is that the act continued to add a broad “residual clause” that included crimes that “otherwise involve conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

The court ruled that the residual clause violated the Fifth Amendment’s due-process provision because it was too vague and “invites arbitrary enforcement” by judges.

Ward was 17 years old in 1994 when he was prosecuted as an adult on two aggravated robbery and two burglary charges.

“We’ve had numerous folks who have walked out the Bureau of Prison door,” said Kevin Schad, appellate director for the federal public defender’s office for the Southern District of Ohio.

In addition to his office’s 400 cases, others are being reviewed by attorneys appointed by the court to help, said Schad, who filed the motion in Ward’s sentencing.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Watson told Ward: “My hope is you are a changed man eight years down the road, that you have skills you can use to transfer back into society, that you have skills that you can transition.”

Celia Ward said several relatives who own businesses have offered to hire her son. “He’s tired of doing time, and he knows this is his opportunity to get it right,” she said.

Watson was concerned about the violent nature of Ward’s 1994 crimes, in which two people were shot and wounded. “It’s a very serious offense,” the judge said.

In the 2008 case, police went to North 4th Street and East 8th Avenue on a call about a man firing a gun at people. When they arrived, Ward ran to a porch at a house on Hamlet Street. When he pointed the gun at police, an officer returned fire. Ward was not hit, and he dropped the gun. No one was hurt.

Ward has been moved from the federal prison in Columbiana County to the state Correctional Reception Center at Orient in Pickaway County. He’s waiting to hear whether he’ll be released from state parole. He violated that parole from his 1994 convictions when he was caught with the gun in 2008.

“He definitely has a place to go if he wants,” Celia Ward said from her two-bedroom home in Olde Towne East.

Schad said the number of inmates affected by the ruling might grow. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an outgrowth of Johnson v. United States. The petitioners in Beckles v. United States argue that a similarly vague clause exists in other enhanced-sentencing guidelines.

“That opened up a whole number of other cases,” Schad said.

erinehart@dispatch.com

@esrinehart

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Facebook’s Relationship To Marijuana? It’s Complicated


Debra Borchardt

Contributor

I write about the business of marijuana.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

 

Facebook FB +1.08% can’t decide where it stands on cannabis.

On the one hand, it says it doesn’t want to promote drug use and bans what it believes is content that approves of marijuana use, like pictures of people smoking pot. On the other hand, it sometimes allow cannabis-related companies to promote their businesses. Then Facebook reverses course and censors journalism about cannabis.

The logic that a story about legalization of marijuana or scientific studies on cannabis-related medicine is promoting cannabis is completely ridiculous. A story about war doesn’t promote war nor does a story about wine entice readers to go get drunk. Facebook didn’t respond to a request for clarification on its policy towards marijuana.

“Facebook doesn’t have any written rules,” said Isaac Dietrich of social media website Mass Roots. “So we’re flying in the dark with arbitrary rules that are enforced at the whim of people.” Mass Roots is actually a separate social media site for cannabis friendly businesses and people, but it recognizes the power of Facebook and that is why they are trying to maintain a presence there and has hosted Facebook live events.

“We’re one step removed from the plant, but our Instagram page has been suspended five times this fall. We got it back after we defended ourselves,” said Dietrich. The business has also had some videos deleted by Facebook. He’s also not happy with the discrepancies over who Facebook does approve.

They verified Weedmaps and gave them a competitive advantage because they were officially accepted,” he said. Weedmaps is a website and app that helps people locate dispensaries and gives reviews. Dietrich isn’t bitter, he knows the dispensaries have a harder time and ultimately, the problems with Facebook just gives Mass Roots more users.

Dispensaries in particular bear the brunt of Facebook’s censorship. Medicine Man, the largest dispensary in Denver, where marijuana is legal said, “Yes, we have had our social media accounts shut down a number of times.”

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SOURCE

Mr. Trump won last nights debate…(another opinion!)


By:  Alexander Kennedy

9/27/2016

Image result for democrat vs republican map 2016

 

 

I am of the opinion is that anyone who watched the debate last night could not help but laugh!

Tell me how Hillary Clinton wins the debate when all she does is flip-flop all night? if I had to guess, she is the seasoned politician and yet Trump was more diplomatic and actually agreed with her on some issues. This is not what you would expect out of Donald Trump.  I think he controlled his temper better than her.  If you look back through the debate, he doesn’t appear to be mad at all, just spitting out facts.  However,  she is on edge all night as she complained that “He should release his taxes!”.

I agree that he should,  but she totally avoided releasing the emails we know she has horribly lied about, and does not appear to care about anything but lining her own pockets.  I think it’s funny that everyone is worried about Trump being in office because of his “temper”, but Hillary Clinton visibly showed anger and avoided  issues that would help the common American such as energy, immigration, and foreign affairs, and this proves that she is only in this for herself!

She criticized President Obama when she ran against him regarding his “birthright“, and brought up the same issues about Obama that Trump has in the past, and yet blasts Trump for doing the same thing.  But it was okay for her to do it 8 years ago!

In my opinion I will vote for Trump, because this Country needs a person who can run it as a business.  At least Trump wants to invest in fixing roads and infrastructure.  And building a wall could potentially create jobs for many Americans in some form or fashion!

All Hillary wants to do is raise taxes and make us more poor than we already are.

I remember another great President who built infrastructure and created jobs for Americans and he was a Democrat.  I am speaking of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Why does Hillary Clinton think that fixing roads and putting Americans to work will lead us into a recession when President Roosevelt  has already proven that he could (and did)  get us out of a depression with the same ideas?

   

Hillary Clinton is criticizing big business. If you look at the States that typically vote Democrat, they are all big business States like Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. If the Democratic Party is for the middle and lower income Americans, then why do the big business States support her, and smaller, lower income States like Missouri, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, and Alaska vote Republican.  So why do small population, low to middle income States vote for the Republicans and not the Democrats? if you look on wiki at every presidential election from 1996 to 2012 you will see a trend of big business going Democrat and small population states staying Republican.

If she is to be elected, I worry for our economy and national security. I think Hillary Clinton supporters are voting for her because they think it puts Bill Clinton in the White House for a third term.  She has demonstrated that she listens to no one, especially her husband.  Folks, this is not Bill Clinton!  This is a Candidate who makes bad decisions, breaks the law, and believes that she is above it.  I believe she is not the second coming of Bill Clinton but, rather she is the second coming of Richard Nixon!

 

 

 

Alexander Kennedy

 

#

 

*Opinions expressed are those of the Writer alone, and not to be interpreted as being that of the Website itself nor the Website Owner.

Green is the new orange: Barren County’s sustainable jail garden


  • BY WILL PERKINS wperkins@glasgowdailytimes.com
  • Sep 22, 2016

Jail garden project

GLASGOW – With the sun beating down on their faces and fresh air filling their lungs, Barren County Detention Center inmates Melissa House and Andrea Borgemenke shoveled dirt into a wheelbarrow.

When it was full, they wheeled the dirt over to a large mound in the new addition of the BCDC garden.

House and Borgemenke were among eight female inmates participating in the first public workshop of the Breaking Ground: A Sustainable Jail Garden/Food Justice Project on Thursday. Community members and college students joined the inmates in creating the new garden beds.

“We’re all pitching in helping to get this built so we can go ahead and plant the vegetables and everything else that needs to be planted in the beds,” Borgemenke said. “I’m excited about it.”

House said the gardening project has been a really good experience.

“I come to jail and I come out an environmentalist,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about gardening and I’m gonna’ grow my own vegetables and go from there.

“I know I can get it right when I go home. I don’t have to second guess or question anything.”

The jail garden project began in January after Nicole Breazeale, assistant professor of sociology at Western Kentucky University-Glasgow, approached Barren County Jailer Matt Mutter about starting it.

“It’s an educational project,” Breazeale said. “I’m teaching undergraduates and incarcerated women together inside the facility, teaching them about food and food injustices.

“And then there’s a little bit of outside work where we’re learning about agricology as one way to get more control over our food system.”

Breazeale said her Food, Community and Social Change students and the inmates are learning different types of sustainable agriculture techniques from local farmers in the region.

The BCDC inmates have already been eating vegetables produced from the garden.

Borgemenke said they “get to take the vegetables that are out here and mix them in with the food they serve in the jail.”

The BCDC currently has 30 garden beds, and on Thursday they were working on adding an additional hugelkultur mound, which has wooden logs underneath dirt, leaves, manure and hay. The wood acts as a sponge that retains rainwater.

“You don’t have to water these raised beds and they’re way more productive,” Breazeale said. “And you don’t have to add fertilizer or anything.”

Permaculture designer Timothy Kercheville stood on a huge mound of dirt and shoveled it into a wheelbarrow while he wore a giant smile. He said they use experimental techniques and standard raised beds and that this garden project has influenced others in the region.

“The success of this project has already outgrown into the SOKY Community Gardening Initiative,” he said. “There’s a series of 10 community gardens in the Barren River counties that were funded by the Barren River Health Department.

“So this community garden over here at the jail has spread already across the 10 counties. And that’s just after one semester.”

Sierra Morris, a sophomore nursing major at WKU-Glasgow, said she attended the workshop so she could learn more about hugelkultur and use the techniques in her own garden in Logan County.

“I’ll probably end up coming back because everyone is so nice,” she said. “And it’s just really fulfilling whenever you do hard work.”

WKU-Glasgow junior Chloe Hurt was in Breazeale’s initial class that started the project during the spring semester.

“I don’t think anyone really knew what it was going to turn into,” she said. “We just kind of started from a great idea. We had tremendous community support and it was really amazing to see how many different parts of the community came together to support.”

BCDC chief deputy Tracy Bellamy said the project has made a positive impact on the inmates.

“It’s taught ’em a resource that they can use,” he said. “It’s something being productive versus them sitting inside the cells.

“We encourage everyone (in the community) to be a part of it and see what they’re doing.”

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Could marijuana become a treatment for heroin addicts?


Some think it offers a gateway out of opioid use

Matt Koesters | WCPO contributor

7:00 AM, Sep 25, 2016

 

Is marijuana a gateway drug? Carrie Roberts sure hopes so.

%page_break%Roberts, a consultant with Colorado-based Medicine Man Technologies, doesn’t believe that marijuana use leads to abuse of harder drugs, though. Instead, she thinks it might present a gateway out of risky drug use for people struggling with opioid dependency.

"I think we could save a lot of lives," Roberts said. "Right now, it’s really about needing to focus on harm reduction. That’s so much of what we’re seeing in other states."

Roberts points to a 2014 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that concludes "medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates." States with medical marijuana laws saw about 25 percent fewer overdose-related deaths than states without, according to the study.

Roberts argues that this could be the case in Ohio, a state in the throes of an opioid epidemic that saw fentanyl-related overdoses spike in 2015. Fentanyl continues to cause heroin users to overdose, and the more recent introduction of carfentanil into the drug ecosystem has provided cause for further alarm.

"There is a lot of anecdotal evidence regarding being able to use cannabis as a treatment, either for people coming off of opioid pain medication to help them through the withdrawal phase of it, or just to keep people from having to use it in the first place," Roberts said.

WCPO Insiders can find out how this idea relates to Ohio’s new medical marijuana legislation, and why some people think it’s a distraction.

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana Possession Played Key Role in Police Shooting of Keith Scott


By Daniel Politi

610189124-kerr-putney-chief-of-the-charlotte-mecklenburg-police

Possession of marijuana played a significant role in the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerry Putney said during a news conference that officers were trying to serve a warrant for someone else when they spotted Scott rolling “what they believed to be a marijuana ‘blunt’" in his car. At first they allegedly didn’t think much of it, until they saw Scott had a weapon and thought, “uh oh, this is a safety issue for us and the public,” Putney said.

Putney spoke at a news conference in which he announced police would release body cam and dash cam videos of the encounter.

Along with the videos, the police also released a statement on what is known about the case. Although at first “officers did not consider Mr. Scott’s drug activity to be a priority” that changed once they saw him hold up a gun. “Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Mr. Scott being in possession of the gun.”

The police released photographs of the gun, ankle holster and joint he had on him at the time of the shooting.

“It was not lawful for [Scott] to possess a firearm. There was a crime he committed and the gun exacerbated the situation,” Putney said. The press conference marked the first time law enforcement had mentioned the detail about the marijuana.

“Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” notes the statement.

Putney continued to insist that Scott “absolutely” had a gun, although he acknowledged that wouldn’t be clear from the released video. He also stood by earlier statements that the shooting was justified and officers acted lawfully. “Officers are absolutely not being charged by me at this point,” he said.

The official police statement says officers “gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun” but Scott “refused to follow the officers repeated verbal commands.” And then Scott “exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun.” That was seen as “an imminent physical threat” and an officer opened fire. A lab analysis “revealed the presence of Mr. Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints” on the gun that was loaded, notes the police statement.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today’s Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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The message they are sending to striking workers is, we will only give you coverage if things turn ugly


Image result for china prison

Thousands of prisoners in over 24 states began a labor strike on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, to demand better conditions and healthcare, the right to unionize and what one organizing group calls an “end to slavery in America.” But one would hardly know it watching major U.S. media, which has mostly ignored the largest prison labor strike in history. One week on, the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and NPR have not covered the prison strikes at all.

In the same time period since the strike began, CNN has run stories on Clinton’s “body double,” the New York Times ran a piece on women getting buzzcuts and ABC News had an “exclusive trailer” for its parent corporation Disney’s upcoming film. There was certainly enough airtime and column inches to mention that workers had coordinated a national strike of unprecedented scale, but for these outlets the coverage has been nonexistent.

A handful of national outlets have covered the strike: The Nation, City Lab,Engadget, Money Watch, Buzzfeed, and as of Thursday, the Wall Street Journal, but every other major publication, network news and cable network has thus far been silent.

When we spoke by phone, Azzurra Crispino, media co-chair of Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, one of the strike organizers, was hesitant to be too hard on the press out of hope the strikes would lose coverage in the future. But after some prompting, the four-year prison abolitionist veteran listed a few measured grievances at the media. Her most consistent theme was that to the extent the strikes were being covered, the focus was on spectacle over substance, and in doing so the media was making nonviolent resistance all but impossible.

“I’m a pacifist, I would like to see the strikes remain nonviolent,” Crispino told AlterNet. “Yet in terms of the mainstream press coverage when there’s blood on the ground the prisons have to fill out reports that guards were hurt so then they can’t deny strikes occurred,” she said in reference to the stonewalling of prison officials. The few reporters Crispino had spoken to said most prison spokespeople denied any strikes were taking place. “Between prisoners and TDCJ [Texas Department of Criminal Justice], who do you think reporters are going to believe?” she asked.

The power asymmetry and the media’s default position of siding with government officials over those seen as criminals creates just one more barrier to coverage. At its core, coverage of the prison strikes, as with any protest action, has an inherently perverse incentive structure that puts a premium on acts of violence and property damage and overlooks non-telegenic peaceful activity, such as hunger strikes and labor stoppages.

This dynamic was seen in the Standing Rock incident on September 3, when private security sicced dogs on Native American activists protesting an oil pipeline, and pictures of injured protesters went viral on social media. At the time, only Democracy Now, a relatively small left-wing news show, and AP and UPI filed original reports on the incident. Days after what the media called “clashes,” articles appeared with far greater frequency, including in major outlets like New York Times, CNN and NBC.

This warped incentive structure is even more pronounced in prisons, which are by definition cut off from society. The only time anyone bothers to notice prisons is when demonstrably violent action takes place.

“Which of the strikes are getting the most attention? Florida because they’re violent,” Crispino says, in reference to the September 7 uprising at Homes Correctional facility in the Florida panhandle. “They can’t deny in Florida because prisoners are setting things on fire and there’s been so much structural damage they can’t deny strikes are occurring.”

A similar dynamic is at work when prisoners are in solitary confinement or engage in body mutilation or destruction of property, often by flooding their cells or covering them with feces or blood. Similarly, Crispino contends, each time the media ignores peaceful activities, it tips the scales further in the direction of fires, property damage and rioting.

But this reason doesn’t fully explain the lack of mainstream coverage. A few outlets, as noted, have covered the strike to the extent they could, especially in the buildup to the protest, so it’s not as if there wasn’t enough information to compile a story.

One possible reason is that some of corporate media’s biggest advertisers use prison labor, so the disincentive to shine a light on the problem is high. AT&T, Bank of America, Chevron, Eli Lilly, GEICO, McDonald’s, and Walmart all use prison labor and all are sponsors of corporate media so much we can recite their commercials by heart. One corporation that uses prison labor, Verizon, even owns major media outlets Yahoo and Huffington Post.

Russia Today, a Moscow-funded media outlet, was the only cable news network to speak with Crispino, and to the best of her knowledge, the only one to cover the strikes. When Donald Trump appeared on RT last week, there was a frenzy of outrage by mainstream pundits, with some questioning why Trump would give credence to “Russian government-controlled propaganda.” RT’s position has always been that it covers stories the mainstream press doesn’t, and while some may see this as a cynical marketing ploy, in the case of the prison strikes it also happens to be true.

Another issue for IWOC is that all the coverage thus far, even in sympathetic outlets, has ignored their broader political aims, which is prison abolition, not reform.

“The IWOC is an abolitionist organization,” Crispino said. “Abolition is pretty much completely ignored. It’s interesting because people ask questions about that and they ask what would you do instead, but no one wants to hear that and they never write about it.” That the media is allergic to ideology, to having deeper discussions about our society’s core axioms and why the U.S. has 25% of the world’s prison population but 5% of the total population, is perhaps too knotty for a 800-word writeup but for those working in the trenches it can be frustrating.

As the strike enters its second week, perhaps major media outlets and cable news will take a cue from activist media and the Wall Street Journal (whose report is worth reading) and shine a light, if only briefly, on the largest prison strike in history. If not, Crispino feels other tactics will eventually become more commonplace.

“I almost want to say, the mainstream media is complicit if there’s violence. The message they are sending to striking workers is, we will only give you coverage if things turn ugly.”

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC.

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We are ANTI-PROHIBITIONISTS! We are "Constitutionalists"! We are "Overgrowing the Government"

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