Category Archives: LATEST NEWS

This Week In Louisville History: The city battles the 1918 Flu Pandemic


By John King

On Oct. 18, 1918, an emergency meeting was held at the Seelbach Hotel concerning the rapid spread of the influenza virus in Louisville. The outbreak, known later as the 1918 Flu Pandemic, would infect nearly 500 million people worldwide and spread quickly around the world aided by the movement of troops involved in WWI. Military installations tended to be hit hardest, and Louisville happened to house the largest World War I Army training camp in North America, Camp Zachary Taylor. Camp Taylor housed over 45,000 enlistees and officers in 1,530 buildings over 3,376 acres.

On Sept. 24, the Louisville Times had reported over 100 soldiers at the camp had caught the flu. By the next day, that number more than doubled, and within a week it had infected 2,100 soldiers. Officers at Camp Taylor enacted measures to protect the city — soldiers were prohibited from entering movie theaters, restaurants and other establishments in Louisville. To enforce this, military police were stationed in strategic locations in town to stop soldiers from having contact with the public, but it was too late. On Oct. 12, the health department reported 2,300 cases in the general population.

By the time members of the state Board of Health, the U. S. Public Health Service, military authorities and Kentucky health officers met at the Seelbach Hotel, the city was in a desperate situation. The Louisville Board of Health reported citizens falling over in the streets across the city. The state Board of Health ordered, effective the next day, all saloons, soda stands and malt shops must close between 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 am. An order closing all churches, schools and places of amusement was also in effect.

The Louisville Times reported that Louisville citizens banded together, volunteering their services. The Women’s Service League and the Louisville Automobile Club worked together in organizing a motor pool to help nurses carry out home visits. Women in particular aided in the effort, donating their automobiles and services to help nurses make an astounding 2,589 house calls by the end of the month. Nurses were working seven days a week trying to stop the epidemic. The Louisville Board of Health reported having to force nurses and volunteers to take breaks and rest as they were pushing themselves too far in trying to keep up with so many infected.


How The ‘Cannabis Catch-22’ Keeps Marijuana Classified As A Harmful Drug


Marijuana grows in the home of two medical marijuana patients in Medford, Ore.

America has a long and storied history with marijuana. Once grown by American colonists to make hemp rope, by 1970, it was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. Possession of it was — and is — a federal crime, despite the fact that in recent years 25 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

Author John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, traces the history of America’s laws and attitudes toward cannabis in his new book, Marijuana: A Short History. He tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies that the recent shift in public policy is, in part, a recognition of the drug’s medicinal value, which became apparent in San Francisco during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

“People were saying, ‘If I smoke this and I get the munchies, maybe it will help people dying of AIDS who are so nauseated that they can’t eat and they’re dealing with clinical anorexia as a result of that,’ ” Hudak explains.

The grass-roots movement turned political, and in 1996, California became the first state to pass a medical marijuana ballot initiative. Other states followed, though the impetus for the movement grew beyond the medicinal.

“One significant argument in favor of adult use marijuana that not many people talk about is a simple one, and that is some people just like to get high,” Hudak says. “I think in this policy debate, oftentimes seeing marijuana as a recreational product, it is frowned upon to discuss it, but it’s a reality. People enjoy it like people enjoy wine or people enjoy a good steak.”

Interview Highlights

On Harry Anslinger, who played a pivotal role in the effort to criminalize marijuana

Harry Anslinger was the nation’s first real drug czar. He came from the Bureau of Prohibition and was put in charge of a variety of federal government agencies that changed names over the course of time, but were effectively the precursors for the Drug Enforcement [Administration].

He was essentially the J. Edgar Hoover of drugs in the United States. He had the same types of tactics that Hoover had — that was being very aggressive with Congress, going into the media to try to advance his political and policy interests. He had, by all accounts, details and histories of members of Congress and senators that they did not want to become public, and he was a one-man force in expanding drug prohibition in the United States. He did this for a variety of drugs, but he had a special place in his heart for marijuana.

On how marijuana use was made into a racial issue

Anslinger brought to it this real racialized aspect. I mean, he was an absolute avowed racist, and when you look at the letters he wrote to different civic organizations or op-eds that he published, or even congressional testimony, it is riddled with racist language and racist claims about the use of marijuana really being only in Mexican communities in the Southwest, and then eventually it transitioned to be a product that was used by the individuals who were around jazz music, which of course was code language for the African-American community.

And so proceeded this racialized history, and [Anslinger] … claimed that marijuana would turn people into psychopaths, murderers, rapists — it would make women promiscuous, particularly promiscuous around men of color, and this was seen as something that was brought into communities by people of color in order to make the most vulnerable in society behave in ways that would appall society.

On government efforts to suppress studies that showed that marijuana was not as addictive or dangerous as had been claimed

In the 1970s President Nixon commissioned the former governor of Pennsylvania, Ray Shafer, who was a good friend, a fellow Republican, a good friend of Nixon’s, to commission this report about this evil drug infecting society, and Shafer came up, again, with the same answers — it wasn’t as addicting, that there were reasons to try to think about this drug in different ways than the federal government was thinking about it, that it wasn’t causing violent crime.

Shafer was actually called into the Oval Office and read off by the president for this draft report, and [Nixon] said to Shafer, “You cannot publish this.” And Shafer stood his ground. He said, “I’m publishing it.” And Nixon trashed that.

It was just this extended period of president after president asking for answers, not getting the answers that he liked, and then throwing the report away.

On what led to policy change for use of marijuana

This really began in the Castro District of San Francisco in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The AIDS epidemic was … ravaging this community, and it was one that individuals, I think, looked at this product that was largely being used recreationally and understood that it helped with pain relief.

So you had a few individuals — Dennis Peron is one; a woman named Brownie Mary who was an orderly at a hospital in San Francisco who would bake brownies laced with marijuana and deliver them to AIDS patients each day. This community popped up around delivering medical cannabis for those who are dying.

And it wasn’t only people dying of AIDS, it was people who had a variety of ailments — and that grass-roots, underground, even though it was pretty much in the daylight for some time, movement transitioned into a political one, and in 1996 California became the first state to pass a medical marijuana ballot initiative.

On arguments in favor of legalization

We have 750,000 arrests in a year that have to do with marijuana. And so in communities of color that criminal justice argument is a tremendous one. For libertarians you talk about personal liberty and privacy and property rights, and that is an important issue for them. For conservatives or liberals who are interested in balancing the budget, talking about all of the law enforcement dollars that are spent on the prosecution and investigation of marijuana crimes in a year, that’s budget savings, as well as revenue in the door on the tax side.

For others, it is about product safety, understanding that a regulatory system is going to be able to test the product and you’ll know exactly as a consumer what you’re getting, whereas on the black market you don’t know that.

On the federal government’s decision this past summer to continue the Schedule 1 classification of marijuana

One of the reasons for the maintenance of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance was that the medical community is not convinced of its medical value. There are plenty of doctors who believe that there is medical value to marijuana, they’re willing to recommend it to patients, but the threshold required to demonstrate medical value for the medical community as a whole is much higher than it is for the reform community.

There is this cannabis Catch-22 and it is, as a Schedule 1 drug, it is very difficult to do research on the plant. There are only certain researchers who will get the certification and licensure necessary to handle the drug. Then, of course, you need the funding to study it. You need approval from university institutional review boards, and the burdens that exist to do the type of research on a Schedule 1 drug are tremendous. But that research is what will inform the medical community as to its medical use, and so what you need and what you can do are entirely prevented by this federal government policy.


"Gentlemen, in order to produce marked changes in behavior and attitude it is necessary to weaken, undermine or remove the support systems…"

(The following is an excerpt from a blog that I ran across on WordPress that I believe is certainly worth noticing, SK)


“Gentlemen, in order to produce marked changes in behavior and attitude it is necessary to weaken, undermine or remove the support systems of the old patterns of behavior and the old attitudes.  Because most of these supports are the face to face confirmation of present behavior and attitudes, which are provided to those with whom close emotional ties exist, it is therefore essential to eradicate those emotional bonds.  This can be done either by removing the individual physically and preventing any communication with those whom he cares about or by proving to him, the prisoner, that those whom he respects are not worthy of it and indeed should be actively distrusted.”  -Dr. Edgar Schein, Sept. 18, 1962

Dr. Schein then presented to the assembled group a literary of suggestions and tactics designed to attain “behavioral modifications” desirable by prison officials to control the thinking patterns of its incarcerated populace and to curtail or reduce an appetite for cultural or political aspirations.  These 24 accumulous and widely implemented tactics & maneuvers are set out below:

1.  the physical removal of prisoners to areas sufficiently isolated to effectively break or seriously weaken close emotional ties.
2.  identify and segregate all natural leaders.
3.  use of cooperative prisoners as leaders.
4.  prohibition of group activities not in line with brainwashing objectives.
5.  spying on prisoners and reporting back private materials.
6.  manipulating prisoners into making written statements which are then shown to others.
7.  exploitation of opportunist and informers.
8.  convincing prisoners that they can trust no other prisoner.
9.  treating those who are willing to cooperate in a far more lenient way than those who are not.
10.  punishing those who show uncooperative attitudes.
11.  systematic withholding of mail and other correspondence.
12.  preventing contact with anyone non-sympathetic  to the method of treatment and regimen of the captive populace.
13.  disorganization of all group standards among prisoners.
14.  building a group conviction among the prisoners that they have been abandoned by, and totally isolated from their social order.
15.  undermining all emotional support.
16.  preventing prisoners from communicating with family and supporters regarding the conditions of their confinement,
17.  making available and permitting access to only those publications and books that contain materials which are neutral to, or supportive of the desired new attitude.
18.  placing individuals into new and ambiguous situations for which the standards and rules and policies are deliberately kept unclear and then putting pressure on the prisoner to conform to what is desired in order to win favor and a reprieve from the pressure.
19.  placing the prisoner whose will power has been severely weakened or eroded into a soft living environment with others who are further advanced in their brainwashing reform who’s job is to influence the teetering prisoner to give up and assimilate into the desired behavior.
20.  using techniques of character invalidation, i.e., humiliations, revilements, shouting, isolation; to promote sensory deprivation, to induce feelings of guilt, fear, and suggestibility.
21.  meeting all insincere attempts to conform with the desired thought patterns with renewed hostility.
22.  repeatedly pointing out to the prisoner that those prisoners whom he respects as a leader and example of strength is not living up to the values and militant principles that he espouses.  supplanting the thought that all other prisoners are hypocrites and liars.
23.  rewards for submission and subservient attitudes which embrace the brainwashing objectives by providing praise and emotional support to those who embrace the desired behavior(brainwashing) which reinforces the new attitudes.
24.  making sure that if a once militant prisoner is ever revealed as being a snitch or a homosexual, that all prisoners learn of his disgrace in order to create doubt and misgivings in the environment.  Creating false rumor, character assassination on a militant prisoner.


The 2016 Election will be remembered as the "No Confidence" Vote…

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Usually by this time the USMjParty has already picked someone to support in the Presidential Election.

Notably, it has been Gary Johnson in at least the last two Presidential Elections.

This time is different.  This time it seems that there is absolutely no one running for office that I, myself, or my Colleagues, including Head Chair/Colorado Chair Bill Chengelis, aka Wayward Bill;   Pennsylvania Tom Johnson; Maryland Jeffrey Kabik; Vermont Cris Ericson; Hawaii Kenneth Peeler, Texas Chuck Miller aka Damagoman;  Oregon Jim Johnson; Utah Rob Hawthorne and Kentucky Sheree Krider (myself), that we have felt worthy of our support online or elsewhere.

A few people will most likely stand behind Gary Johnson, although, I, myself, have lost interest in him lately.  I wrote a short article a couple of months ago, “Lord, it’s time for another Election – What do we do now?”, in which I list just a few basic reasons why I DID NOT like each of the Candidates this year.  I was seriously hoping that my Colleagues would step up and speak out for someone…But that has not happened – at least so far, and it’s running pretty close to Election.  If that changes, there will be an update to this Newsletter sent out!

Speaking for myself, I would like to be able to go to the poll and enter a “Vote of No Confidence”, and force the system to start all over again.  Maybe we could do better if we tried again?  The only problem with that is the fact that since Obama’s term is up, I’m not sure how the Government would operate until another Election could be scheduled as this has never been done in the U.S. before.

A motion of no confidence (alternatively vote of no confidence, no-confidence motion, or (unsuccessful) confidence motion) is a statement or vote that a person or persons in a position of responsibility (government, managerial, etc.) is no longer deemed fit to hold that position: perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel are detrimental.  LINK

In the United States, motions styled as “no confidence” are only symbolic and are rare.  In organizations that use Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), there is no motion of no confidence, although the assembly could adopt a motion expressing a lack of confidence in its leaders (i.e. a motion to censure).[11]  The United States Congress passed a no confidence motion against Secretary of State Dean Acheson in the 1950s[12] and considered one against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales,[13] but these motions are of symbolic effect only.  LINK

It would seem to me that it is time to add another option to the voting ticket – “NO CONFIDENCE”.  In effect, the low voter turnout is serving as a “no confidence” vote, as they refuse to cast their vote for anyone running on the ticket.  However, since these votes are not counted, they serve no purpose except to make sure that someone that is not worthy will get into Office.  We need to change that so that if people actually have “no confidence” in the people running for any given office they can readily make that known through the voting process rather than abstaining from the vote altogether.  I really believe that in this Election the “no confidence” vote would be the winner.

In the U.S. the Electoral Vote wins the Election.  Not the Popular Vote!

According to Politics1 there are probably over 999 people running for the office of President in this years Election, though I did not bother to count them all!

There are virtually no qualifications required for anyone to run for the Office of the Presidency.  You would think that in this day of drug testing for employment and background checks for everything else as well, that when someone wanted to run for the highest office in the land that there would be a “background check” for felonies and a “drug test” – just because, well, everybody else has to have one so why shouldn’t the Government officials (and hopefuls) have to comply too?.  I bet that the list of people running for office would shrink dramatically if those two requirements alone were implemented.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I am sure, would “pass the tests” the end result would be the same thing we have now – Two more billionaire idiots who do not care about anything but their own bank accounts running for the highest office in the land…and a bunch of dumbasses running out to vote for them!  I would be one of them!  Although I doubt I will actually know who I am voting for until Election Day itself.  You can never be sure what will happen between now and then.

Age and Citizenship requirements – US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

  • No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States. LINK


From where I am watching, this Country is in very bad shape right now.  And the whole World, as well, is in a very uncompromising position.  The Atomic Clock is at “3 minutes to midnight”.  The news is getting worse everyday and that could be because it IS getting worse everyday, OR that the media as a whole is portraying it as such…Your guess is as good as mine! The Elections are now being overseen by the DHS and we are at constant threat of some kind of attack either by our own or by some other entity that may or may not even exist.  Food prices are rising steadily.   Children are being kidnapped right out from under us by CPS (Child Protective Services), a Government agency set up to take care of vulnerable children, not displace them.  Clean water is becoming more and more scarce.  There is absolutely no end to the trials and tribulations that may await us after the upcoming election.

The best thing I can think of to say about this event which will be remembered in history, is to think smart.  Very carefully review your options, and then vote with your conscience on Election Day 2016.  Our very lives may well depend upon what the Citizens of this great Country decide to do on Election Day!

VOTE for the FREEDOM of CANNABIS!  This includes all forms of HEMP!  REPEAL PROHIBITION first and foremost to gain a momentum to start cleaning up the mess that has been made by the Justice Department and the prison industrial complex.  That would be a good start.  Freedom to plant and consume Cannabis on our own property without fear of arrest or seizure.  This order should come from the United Nations and followed by every Country involved with the U.N.

True Freedom will begin to become a reality when total control of our food and water and medicinal plants are relinquished by the U.N., and therefore become “lawful” for us to possess and consume, as a people, once again.  This means that the U.N. must REPEAL those requirements and not take total control of our unalienable rights by the total regulation through the U.N. and Agenda 21 (Agenda 30).  Please note that I said “lawful” and NOT legal.  There is a difference, and that difference is the freedom to have unalienable rights that cannot be taken away by Government.  We must be very careful how we proceed from now on with this issue.  One wrong decision could enslave us forever.


While we are awaiting Peace and Prosperity, let us remember those who have been much less fortunate than ourselves, in any or all aspects of life, and give them help and kind words whenever possible.  Remember, if it hasn’t been you so far, it could be you in the future.

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Whatever your choice, Know your Cannabis Candidates and VOTE CANNABIS!

“Your Vote Is Your Voice.” Speak wisely!, Wayward Bill



US Navy practices killing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and taking out nuclear weapons in joint military drills–protection-of-nature.html

Letter from Sen. McConnell: (RE:) WRDA of 2016 (S. 2848) This legislation supports several projects in Kentucky



Image result for wrda 2016 senate

Dear Ms. Krider;

Thank you for contacting me regarding America’s waterway infrastructure. I appreciate your taking the time to make me aware of your concerns, and I welcome the opportunity to respond. 

I have long been a tireless advocate for more than 15,000 inland waterways jobs in Kentucky and have used my position as a senior member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee to advance Kentucky’s inland waterways projects, including the Olmsted Locks and Dam project and the Kentucky Lock and Dam project, among others. You may be interested to know that I was honored by the American Maritime Partnership by being awarded the Champion of Maritime Award in 2014.

As you may know, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) undertakes projects to maintain and restore the nation’s waterways, which are authorized by Congress in Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA). Additionally, WRDA provides for the conservation and development of water resources and authorizes various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors in the United States.

In your correspondence, you expressed your support for the WRDA of 2016 (S. 2848). This legislation supports several projects in Kentucky, including one that will transfer aging infrastructure along the Green and Barren Rivers in Kentucky over to state and local entities so they can determine the best use of this infrastructure, and one that will help the citizens of Paducah better protect themselves from flooding from the Ohio River by helping complete repairs to the city’s flood protection infrastructure.

This legislation also includes assistance for the families affected by lead poisoning, like those in Flint, Michigan, including $100 million for drinking water emergencies, $70 million to subsidize loans for water infrastructure projects, $50 million to help communities comply with drinking water standards, $30 million to reduce lead exposure among children, and $20 million to develop a national lead exposure registry.

Like you, I am very appreciative of the importance of our nation’s inland waterways and flood mitigation infrastructure to our nation, and to the Commonwealth. I am also aware of the importance of WRDA to workers and businesses that rely on our nation’s waterways. For this reason, I was proud to support the WRDA of 2016, which passed the Senate by a vote of 95-3 on September 15, 2016. You may be interested to know that the House of Representatives passed their version of WRDA (H.R. 5303) on September 28, 2016 by a vote of 399-25. Please know that as the House and Senate work towards resolving differences between the two versions, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind. 

Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. If you would like to receive periodic updates from my office, please sign up for my eNewsletter at, become a fan of my page on Facebook by visiting or follow my office on Twitter @McConnellPress. In the meantime, I hope you will continue to keep me informed about issues important to you.



Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, a UCLA psychiatrist who was among the first researchers to prove the medical benefits of marijuana, has died.




By Soumya Karlamangla

Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, a UCLA psychiatrist who was among the first researchers to prove the medical benefits of marijuana, has died. He was 85.

Ungerleider died in his home in Encino on Sept. 19 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said his son, John Ungerleider. 

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ungerleider ran clinical trials that demonstrated  marijuana’s therapeutic effects for patients with glaucoma and chemotherapy. He also served on President Nixon’s National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, which recommended decriminalizing pot, and became an early champion of treating drug addiction as a public health problem instead of a criminal one.

“He was a real pioneer,” said Dr. David Smith, his close friend and colleague who founded the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco.

Ungerleider was born in 1931 in Cleveland to Constance Levison and Harold Ungerleider. He graduated from the University of Michigan and attended medical school and residency at Case Western Reserve University. He then became a U.S. Army captain who served as a base psychiatrist at Fort Ord, Calif.

A few years after Ungerleider started as an assistant professor at UCLA in 1962, people began showing up in the psychiatric ward with hallucinations and anxiety, saying they’d taken a drug no one knew much about: LSD.

Ungerleider was asked to investigate. 

He began surveying people who dropped acid at love-ins and at Timothy Leary’s ranch in Orange County. He became one of the first researchers to document the adverse effects of LSD, during a time when people like Leary were advocating for its beneficial effects, Smith said. 

John Ungerleider said that when he was a teenager one of his father’s colleagues told him, “Your dad coined the term ‘bad trip’ for LSD.”

In the early 1970s, Nixon appointed Ungerleider to the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, often referred to as the Shafer Commission. The 13-member group traveled around the world for a year studying the effects of pot.

Surprising many, the commission concluded that marijuana wasn’t a particularly dangerous drug and that people shouldn’t be subject to criminal charges for possessing it, essentially making it legal for use in homes.

The idea that drug use is a public health problem, not a criminal one, was controversial at the time, Smith said, but it has become a blueprint for how we understand addiction today. 

Nixon ignored the commission’s recommendations and pushed forward with the war on drugs. 

John Ungerledier said his father had been a Republican, but because he so strongly opposed the government meddling in people’s private choices — in this case, regarding drug usage — he began sometimes voting for Democratic candidates.

“He really had a sense of that being wrong, even if he wasn’t somebody who liked to partake,” he said. 

Ungerleider went on to investigate the medical benefits of marijuana and learned that THC helped ease the negative side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and could also help reduce the eye pressure that leads to glaucoma.

He wrote in a 1999 paper that marijuana had a “limited but definite role in medicine,” and whether it’s appropriate for patients should be physicians’ decisions, instead of a legal standard.

“We never seem able to grasp the fact that no drug is inherently good or evil,” he wrote.

Ungerleider also ran treatment programs throughout the L.A. area for people with substance abuse problems and helped care for homeless with mental health issues.

Therese Andrysiak Van Hoof, who worked with Ungerleider as a nurse for decades, said he did a lot of hands-on work because he wanted to improve the lives of real people.

“He wasn’t a scholar’s scholar,” she said. “He met you where you were.”

While speaking on a panel in Woodland Hills in 1967, Ungerleider urged parents to empathize with their kids who wanted to try drugs. He didn’t think they were safe — he didn’t support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, his son said — but he didn’t think they should be so taboo.

“Kids get frightened when we don’t tell them what to explore and help them do it. I’m against our ostrich policy, hiding our heads in the sand, refusing to discuss drugs with them, and even forbidding them to discuss the subject. That’s terrible,” Ungerleider said, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

A girl in the audience then asked for his advice for someone who plans to take drugs.

“God help you,” he replied.

In addition to his son, Ungerleider is survived by his wife, Dorothy, his daughter, Shoshana Margoliot, six grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.


Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use…

Interview: Why the US Should Decriminalize Drug Use




Neal Scott may die in prison. A 49-year-old Black man from New Orleans, Neal had cycled in and out of prison for drug possession over a number of years. He said he was never offered treatment for his drug dependence; instead, the criminal justice system gave him time behind bars and felony convictions—most recently, five years for possessing a small amount of cocaine and a crack pipe. When Neal was arrested in May 2015, he was homeless and could not walk without pain, struggling with a rare autoimmune disease that required routine hospitalizations. Because he could not afford his $7,500 bond, Neal remained in jail for months, where he did not receive proper medication and his health declined drastically—one day he even passed out in the courtroom. Neal eventually pled guilty because he would face a minimum of 20 years in prison if he took his drug possession case to trial and lost. He told us that he cried the day he pled, because he knew he might not survive his sentence.[1]


Just short of her 30th birthday, Nicole Bishop spent three months in jail in Houston for heroin residue in an empty baggie and cocaine residue inside a plastic straw. Although the prosecutor could have charged misdemeanor paraphernalia, he sought felony drug possession charges instead. They would be her first felonies.

Nicole was separated from her three young children, including her breastfeeding newborn. When the baby visited Nicole in jail, she could not hear her mother’s voice or feel her touch because there was thick glass between them. Nicole finally accepted a deal from the prosecutor: she would do seven months in prison in exchange for a guilty plea for the 0.01 grams of heroin found in the baggie, and he would dismiss the straw charge. She would return to her children later that year, but as a “felon” and “drug offender.” As a result, Nicole said she would lose her student financial aid and have to give up pursuit of a degree in business administration. She would have trouble finding a job and would not be able to have her name on the lease for the home she shared with her husband. She would no longer qualify for the food stamps she had relied on to help feed her children. As she told us, she would end up punished for the rest of her life.


Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use, just as Neal and Nicole were. Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime. More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year. And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.

As a result of these arrests, on any given day at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, some 48,000 of them in state prisons and 89,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention. Each day, tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. Their criminal records lock them out of jobs, housing, education, welfare assistance, voting, and much more, and subject them to discrimination and stigma. The cost to them and to their families and communities, as well as to the taxpayer, is devastating. Those impacted are disproportionately communities of color and the poor.

This report lays bare the human costs of criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the US, focusing on four states: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drawing from over 365 interviews with people arrested and prosecuted for their drug use, attorneys, officials, activists, and family members, and extensive new analysis of national and state data, the report shows how criminalizing drug possession has caused dramatic and unnecessary harms in these states and around the country, both for individuals and for communities that are subject to discriminatory enforcement.

There are injustices and corresponding harms at every stage of the criminal process, harms that are all the more apparent when, as often happens, police, prosecutors, or judges respond to drug use as aggressively as the law allows. This report covers each stage of that process, beginning with searches, seizures, and the ways that drug possession arrests shape interactions with and perceptions of the police—including for the family members and friends of individuals who are arrested. We examine the aggressive tactics of many prosecutors, including charging people with felonies for tiny, sometimes even “trace” amounts of drugs, and detail how pretrial detention and long sentences combine to coerce the overwhelming majority of drug possession defendants to plead guilty, including, in some cases, individuals who later prove to be innocent.

The report also shows how probation and criminal justice debt often hang over people’s heads long after their conviction, sometimes making it impossible for them to move on or make ends meet. Finally, through many stories, we recount how harmful the long-term consequences of incarceration and a criminal record that follow a conviction for drug possession can be—separating parents from young children and excluding individuals and sometimes families from welfare assistance, public housing, voting, employment opportunities, and much more.

Families, friends, and neighbors understandably want government to take actions to prevent the potential harms of drug use and drug dependence. Yet the current model of criminalization does little to help people whose drug use has become problematic. Treatment for those who need and want it is often unavailable, and criminalization tends to drive people who use drugs underground, making it less likely that they will access care and more likely that they will engage in unsafe practices that make them vulnerable to disease and overdose.

While governments have a legitimate interest in preventing problematic drug use, the criminal law is not the solution. Criminalizing drug use simply has not worked as a matter of practice. Rates of drug use fluctuate, but they have not declined significantly since the “war on drugs” was declared more than four decades ago. The criminalization of drug use and possession is also inherently problematic because it represents a restriction on individual rights that is neither necessary nor proportionate to the goals it seeks to accomplish. It punishes an activity that does not directly harm others.

Instead, governments should expand public education programs that accurately describe the risks and potential harms of drug use, including the potential to cause drug dependence, and should increase access to voluntary, affordable, and evidence-based treatment for drug dependence and other medical and social services outside the court and prison system.

After decades of “tough on crime” policies, there is growing recognition in the US that governments need to undertake meaningful criminal justice reform and that the “war on drugs” has failed. This report shows that although taking on parts of the problem—such as police abuse, long sentences, and marijuana reclassification—is critical, it is not enough: Criminalization is simply the wrong response to drug use and needs to be rethought altogether.

Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union call on all states and the federal government to decriminalize the use and possession for personal use of all drugs and to focus instead on prevention and harm reduction. Until decriminalization has been achieved, we urge officials to take strong measures to minimize and mitigate the harmful consequences of existing laws and policies. The costs of the status quo, as this report shows, are too great to bear.





The Forest Service invites public review and comment on potential environmental remediation at the Rock Creek abandoned coal mine sites.(Rock Creek abandoned coal mine sites remediation)


Rock Creek

Rock Creek

Rock Creek is a beautiful stream, with magnificent boulders, riffles, glides, and pools. Flowing through southeastern Kentucky on Stearns Ranger District, it is both a Blue Ribbon trout fishery and a Kentucky Wild River. However, highly acidic water flowing from abandoned mine lands left the stream virtually dead from White Oak Junction to the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. The acid mine drainage had killed most of the vegetation and aquatic life in the stream.

The Rock Creek Task Force was formed with the cooperation of ten state and federal agencies and Trout Unlimited to tend to the needs of the Rock Creek watershed. Restoration work began in 2000 to improve water quality, sustain aquatic life, and bring back the beauty of the steam.

Innovative wetlands were constructed to treat the mine flow heading into the stream. Limestone sand was placed in Rock Creek to neutralize the acidic water coming from the mines. Tons of coal refuse material was removed, treated, and relocated to designated storage locations. Limestone rock was placed along the channels as they enter Rock Creek to boost alkalinity.

Monitoring of Lower Rock Creek has shown an improvement in water quality and aquatic life. The charts below show how acidity has been reduced and alkalinity increased at several sites.

Fish surveys at lower Rock Creek have yielded multiple species in good and improving numbers. A July 2001 fish survey collected a brown trout and a blackside dace, each found in different parts of the Rock Creek watershed. The most optimistic sign of all is the presence of anglers who have returned to fish the lower portion of Rock Creek.

Water Tank Hollow, a three-acre site located on the north bank of Lower Rock Creek, was once used for dumping mining refuse. Secondary acid forming minerals were observed in the refuse as shown in the chart below. About 20,000-30,000 tons of coal refuse material was removed, treated and deposited in a safe location.

Water Tank Hollow, Rock Creek



The Forest Service invites public review and comment on potential environmental remediation at the Rock Creek abandoned coal mine sites.

The Rock Creek Mine Sites are located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Stearns Ranger District, McCreary County, approximately five miles west of Stearns, Kentucky.

The U.S. Forest Service is examining this site to:

  1. evaluate the environmental impacts;
  2. assess public health risks; and
  3. minimize the impacts associated with historic coal mining activities in this area.

Additional information about this project

Project Fact Sheet (pdf)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service invites public review and comment on potential environmental remediation at the Rock Creek abandoned coal mine sites in McCreary County, Ky. This action is in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.

An Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) summarizes possible alternatives to reduce or remove acid mine drainage impacts at the abandoned coal mine locations. This draft document and other project-related reports will be available soon for review at the Daniel Boone National Forest Supervisor’s Office, Stearns District office, and online at Office addresses can also be found on that web page.

Public comments on the draft EE/CA will be accepted in the near future for a period of thirty (30) days. Tentative plans are to make this draft EE/CA available for public review and comments sometime in November, 2016. Comments and responses will be summarized and included in open records. Written comments may be sent to the Daniel Boone National Forest Supervisor’s Office or emailed to: with CERCLA as the subject line.

KY: Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program now taking applications for 2017

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New measures set to enable sustained growth of the program

FRANKFORT (October 11, 2016) Kentuckians interested in participating in the industrial hemp research pilot program in 2017 are invited to submit an application with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

“The pilot research program will continue to build on the successes of the previous administration by developing research data on industrial hemp production, processing, manufacturing, and marketing for Kentucky growers,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. KDA’s objective is to expand and strengthen Kentucky’s research pilot program, so that if the federal government chooses to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances, Kentucky’s growers and farmers will be positioned to thrive, prosper and ultimately prevail as national leaders in industrial hemp production.”

The KDA operates its program under the authority of a provision of the 2014 federal farm bill, 7 U.S.C. § 5940 that permits industrial hemp pilot programs in states where hemp production is permitted by state law. Participants planted more than 2,350 acres of hemp in 2016 compared with 922 acres in 2015 and 33 acres in 2014, the first year of the program.

Applicants should be aware of important new measures for the 2017 research program, including the following:

· To strengthen the department’s partnership with state and local law enforcement officers, KDA will provide GPS coordinates of approved industrial hemp planting sites to law enforcement agencies before any hemp is planted. GPS coordinates must be submitted on the application. Applicants must consent to allow program staff and law enforcement officers to inspect any premises where hemp or hemp products are being grown, handled, stored, or processed.

· To promote transparency and ensure a fair playing field, KDA will rely on objective criteria, outlined in the newly released 2017 Policy Guide, to evaluate applications. An applicant’s criminal background check must indicate no drug-related misdemeanor convictions, and no felony convictions of any kind, in the past 10 years. Staff with the KDA’s industrial hemp pilot project program will consider whether applicants have complied with instructions from the department, Kentucky State Police, and local law enforcement.

· As the research program continues to grow, KDA’s hemp staff needs additional resources and manpower to administer this tremendously popular program. The addition of participant fees will enable KDA Hemp Staff to handle an increasing workload without needing additional taxpayer dollars from the General Assembly. Program applicants will be required to submit a nonrefundable application fee of $50 with their applications. Successful applicants will be required to pay additional program fees.

Grower applications must be postmarked or received by the KDA marketing office no later than November 14, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. EST. Processor or handler applicants are encouraged to submit their applications by November 14, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. EST.

For more information, including the 2017 Policy Guide and a downloadable application, go to


"If some of you are here thinking I’m going to elaborate on the presidential election, let me disabuse you of that notion,"


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Associated Press

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks July 19 on the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

WASHINGTON — Republicans nervously eyeing the White House race are learning a lesson with Donald Trump that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell painfully learned in 2010 and 2012.

Faulty outsider candidates blew several perfectly winnable Senate elections those years. Since then, the crafty Kentuckian has tried to make all the right moves. McConnell, the top fundraiser and field general for the Senate Republicans, helped orchestrate the 2014 midterm romp that delivered the Senate back to his party. McConnell and national Republicans aggressively swung behind incumbents and favored candidates while crushing the chances of tea partyers and far-right hopefuls unlikely to prevail in the general election.

McConnell-backed candidates swept this year’s primary cycle. He helped convince Sen. Marco Rubio to run for re-election after the Floridian’s failed presidential bid, boosting the GOP chances of holding the seat. Just two weeks ago, the GOP was cautiously optimistic that the party would retain control of the Senate despite defending 24 of the 34 seats up for grabs this year.

It all may prove futile.

Trump was already sinking in opinion polls after his poor performance in his first debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton last month. His crude, predatory comments about women in a 2005 videotape that leaked on Friday threatened to scuttle his campaign altogether and take the GOP’s Senate majority with it.

McConnell is a disciplined politician, and when it comes to Trump, the senator has kept as quiet as possible after a brief statement in May signaling his support for the presidential nominee. On Monday, as House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., stoked controversy by vowing never to campaign for Trump, McConnell simply kept his own counsel.

“If some of you are here thinking I’m going to elaborate on the presidential election, let me disabuse you of that notion,” McConnell said in an address to the Danville, Kentucky, Chamber of Commerce. “If you are interested in the presidential election you might as well go ahead and leave because I don’t have any observations to make about it.”

For Republicans, Trump is reminiscent of Senate candidates like Richard Mourdock of Indiana and Todd Akin of Missouri, who defeated establishment favorites in GOP primaries in 2012 only to make politically stupid remarks about rape and lose by wide margins in states swept by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. In 2010, bad tea party candidates lost in Nevada, Delaware and Colorado, enabling Democrats to hold those seats in spite of that year’s Republican wave.

“The biggest lesson that the Senate side had learned that perhaps the rest of the party has lagged on is that in order to win general elections you need to win primary elections with candidates who have a broad mainstream appeal,” said GOP consultant Josh Holmes, a McConnell confidante and former campaign manager. “What manifested itself in Senate elections in ’10 and ’12, that was subsequently corrected in ’14 and ’16 and has for the first time hit the national stage.”