Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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DEA seeks major increase in federally-approved cannabis production to meet growth in research needs

The Motley Fool reports: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had an opportunity to reschedule or de-schedule marijuana back in the summer of 2016 in response to two petitions but chose not to take any action. However, news out of the DEA this past week might signal that the regulatory agency is changing its tune, or at least softening its stance, on marijuana. As reported by Forbes, the DEA has

Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds. One in four are taking action

The Washington Post reports: A solid majority of American teenagers are convinced that humans are changing the Earth’s climate and believe that it will cause harm to them personally and to other members of their generation, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Roughly 1 in 4 have participated in a walkout, attended a rally or written to a public official to express their views on global warming

Renewable energy has become the most profitable form of power production

Bloomberg reports: The chief executive of the world’s largest private coal company sat before a group of U.S. lawmakers who wanted to know whether the fuel had a future. He didn’t hesitate. “Coal,” he said, “is the future.” It was 2010. Coal supplied nearly half of America’s power, the executive testified, and was growing more than 1.5 times faster than oil, natural gas, nuclear and renewables combined. Global demand was

Russia carried out ‘stunning’ breach of FBI communications as U.S. neglected to appreciate espionage challenge

Yahoo News reports: American officials discovered that the Russians had dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and had successfully tracked devices used by elite FBI surveillance teams. Officials also feared that the Russians may have devised other ways to monitor U.S. intelligence communications, including hacking into computers not connected to the internet. Senior FBI and CIA officials briefed congressional leaders on these issues as part

Christopher Dickey: We’re seeing the death of democracy in America and Europe


Journalists and activists ‘laundering’ genocidal regimes

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad writes: A week after Damascus feted a delegation of the European far right, Bashar al-Assad’s regime ushered in a new set of suitors. On Sunday, the American blogger and Sputnik contributor Max Blumenthal announced his arrival in Syria with a selfie. The caption read: “Here I am near the border of Jobar, a neighborhood east of Damascus occupied by the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam until early last year.

Working Families Party endorses Elizabeth Warren

The New York Times reports: The Working Families Party, the labor-aligned progressive group whose electoral influence has grown since the 2016 election, has endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for the Democratic presidential nomination, a boon to her candidacy as she attempts to position herself as the main challenger to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The party endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the last presidential cycle,

Lifestyle changes aren’t enough to save the planet. Here’s what could

Michael E Mann writes: Everyone faces choices every day that carry a climate cost. Do we turn the lights on in the morning, or is the light of daybreak sufficient for finding matching socks? Do we feast on bacon and eggs for breakfast, or will a bowl of oatmeal suffice? There is a lot of talk these days about the need to lead lower-carbon lifestyles. There is also a lot

Trump is seriously, frighteningly unstable – the world is in danger

Robert Reich writes: In retrospect, what’s most disturbing about “Sharpiegate” isn’t Trump’s clumsy effort to doctor a National Weather Service map or even his brazen move to get the same agency to lie on his behalf. It’s how utterly petty his motive was. We’ve had presidents trying to cover up a sexual liaison with an intern and a botched burglary, but never have we had one who went to such

Attack on Saudi oil sites raises risks amid U.S.-Iran tension

The Associated Press reports: A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom’s oil production threatened Sunday to fuel a regional crisis, as Iran denied U.S. allegations it launched the assault and tensions remained high over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal. Iran called the U.S. claims “maximum lies,” while a commander in its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard reiterated its forces could strike U.S. military

A ‘culture of cruelty’ in the Border Patrol

The New York Times reports: The Border Patrol, whose agents have gone from having one of the most obscure jobs in law enforcement to one of the most hated, is suffering a crisis in both mission and morale. Earlier this year, the disclosure of a private Facebook group where agents posted sexist and callous references to migrants and the politicians who support them reinforced the perception that agents often view

The miseducation of Brett Kavanaugh

Hanna Rosin writes: Nearly a year after the fateful Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh have become martyrs in separate and hostile galaxies — one for #believeallwomen and the other for those who believe Democrats will use any means necessary to take down good and honorable men. So there is a weird satisfaction in rewinding the story more than 30 years, back to the moment when

What happens if Trump won’t step down?

Dahlia Lithwick writes: In February, Georgetown Law professor Josh Geltzer began to ponder aloud what would happen if President Donald Trump refused to leave office were he to be defeated in 2020. It sounded far-fetched, but Geltzer isn’t a conspiracy theorist. Actually, he served as senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council and, prior to that, as deputy legal adviser to the NSC and counsel to the assistant

Schiff accuses top intel official of illegally withholding ‘urgent’ whistleblower complaint

Politico reports: The nation’s top intelligence official is illegally withholding a whistleblower complaint, possibly to protect President Donald Trump or senior White House officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff alleged Friday. Schiff issued a subpoena for the complaint, accusing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of taking extraordinary steps to withhold the complaint from Congress, even after the intel community’s inspector general characterized the complaint as credible and

I left Russia to escape Putin’s assault on reason. Now I fear the UK is on the same path

Peter Pomerantsev writes: Nothing is true and everything is possible. That was my one-line attempt to sum up the politics and propaganda that enveloped Russia at the start of the 21st century. It was a world where politicians no longer cared whether they were caught lying; where old ideologies were dead and conspiracy thinking had become the new way to explain the world; where all the old political categories (socialist

Freedom (that others lack), American fast food, and internet access — Russia offers everything Edward Snowden wants

In an interview with The Guardian: Snowden said it helped that Russia viewed him as useful publicity. “A country whose political troubles are legendary, whose problems with human rights we hear about every single day has finally, somehow, managed to have one bright spot on their human rights record … Why would they give that up?” He toyed with calling his memoirs The New Forever or Welcome to Forever before