Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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Special Report: High finance and corporate pot, California style

While I don’t especially like the idea of introducing another legal drug to add to the problems we have with alcohol, it seems inevitable.  It is certainly preferable to the completely inhumane laws that now send people to prison for selling weed, while down the street the government sanctions the sale (and taxation) of a substance that is known absolutely to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives a year.

“If California legalizes marijuana, the rest of the nation may well follow. One way or the other, cut rate, highly potent California weed is unlikely to stop at the state’s borders.

The U.S. state that first allowed sales of medicinal marijuana, in 1996, may take away all restrictions on adult use of the drug in a November vote, giving local governments the option to regulate sales and growing of marijuana.

The magnitude of the experiment is difficult to fathom — the world’s eighth largest economy will tear down barriers to the most used illegal drug in the United States….”

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A 50-Watt Cellular Network

Technology Review: A 50-Watt Cellular Network

An Indian telecom company is deploying simple cell phone base stations that need as little as 50 watts of solar-provided power. It will soon announce plans to sell the equipment in Africa, expanding cell phone access to new ranks of rural villagers who live far from electricity supplies.

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Chipotle: time to back up ‘food with integrity’

Chipotle Challenge: time to back up ‘food with integrity’ | Grist

In Florida, the human rights crisis engulfing farm labor is perhaps most starkly visible. Tomato pickers have received virtually the same harvesting piece rate since 1980: 40-50 cents for every 32-pound bucket they fill. At this rate, workers must pick and haul a staggering 2.5 tons of tomatoes in order to earn minimum wage for a typical 10-hour day. Decades of class-action lawsuits have exposed a pattern of systematic minimum wage violations, and supervisor violence in the fields is not unheard of.

In November 2007, three farmworkers in Immokalee – the heart of Florida’s winter tomato production – escaped from more than a year of bondage after punching through the ventilation hatch in a box truck where they were held captive by their employers. In total, a dozen workers were forced to pick tomatoes by day and then chained, beaten, and robbed of their pay at night in one of southwest Florida’s “biggest, ugliest slavery cases ever,” according to U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy.

The enslaved crew harvested for farms owned by two of Florida’s largest tomato growers. It was the seventh farm labor slavery case prosecuted by federal civil rights officials since 1997, now involving well over 1,000 workers. All of which brings us to a question posed by Eric Schlosser at last year’s Slow Food Nation conference: “Does it matter whether an heirloom tomato is local and organic if it was harvested with slave labor?” 
with integrity

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Vancouver crackdown on homeless

Winter Olympics on slippery slope after Vancouver crackdown on homeless | World news |

The anxiety stems from a recent provincial government law empowering the police to force rough sleepers into shelters in extreme weather, a move which homeless groups appear to view as an Orwellian effort at civic image control. Police officers have been told to use only “non-forceful touching” in implementing the Assistance to Shelter Act, but that has not stopped critics calling it the Olympic Kidnapping Act.

Hey, it worked for China.

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New FTC Guidelines for Bloggers


· The Guidelines apply to Bloggers and online word-of-mouth marketers and require them to disclose any material connection to a company when reviewing the company’s products or services (failure to disclose any payment or receipt of free product from an advertiser or someone acting on their behalf could expose you to liability);

· Both advertisers and endorsers can be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement (if you were given a product for free or were paid to write a review, then the claims you make about the product must be accurate and substantiated);

· Advertisements containing consumer endorsements, or testimonials, must disclose what results a reasonable consumer could expect from the product and can no longer rely on a disclaimer that “results may vary”;

The complete revised Guidelines can be found at

. The FTC has also posted several short videos explaining the Guidelines at

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Fed Takes 2nd Look at Threat to Desert Tortoise

Japan’s annual dolphin cull disrupted by activists

China Gradually Improves Environmental Transparency

U.N. Reports on Developing Nations’ Energy Needs

Monkeys Appreciate Monkey Music and Metallica

A Bad Mix: Exposure May be “Safe” Only With One Chemical at a Time.

People won’t change lifestyle for planet: straw poll

Consumers Backlash Against Ban on Incandescent Light Bulbs

Our best guess about global warming may be wrong

Wolves Are Set to Become Fair Game in the West

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Calls for Trial of Climate Science

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Calls for Trial of Climate Science

WASHINGTON, DC, August 26, 2009 (ENS) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, wants to put climate change science on trial.

In an attempt to head off a U.S. EPA finding that climate change endangers public health and welfare in the United States, the Chamber Tuesday petitioned the federal agency for a trial-like hearing of the scientific evidence before an administrative judge or EPA official.

These people are absolutely shameless!   They will do anything to keep making money, and to hell with the planet.  Literally.

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Why I love Britain’s socialized healthcare system

Why I love Britain’s socialized healthcare system | Salon

My first glimpse of our prospective hospital was not promising. It seemed crowded, aging and apparently devoid of the gleaming, beeping equipment I associated with modern medicine. But our neo-natal class actually helped me prepare for the upcoming birth, and the scans we received afforded the same miraculous fetal glimpses we would have gotten back in New Jersey. Come delivery day, an impressive team of midwives, nurses and anesthesiologists attended my wife’s long labor, all of them respecting her request not to opt for a cesarean section. When things got sticky at the end, a senior obstetrician appeared and the monitoring equipment beeped reassuringly…. Read More…

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Green News

273 Whole Foods Stores Earn Organic Certification

Rubber Sidewalks Give the Bounce to Concrete

Illegal Pangolin Trade Threatens Rare Species

Ocean current switch due to warming could be slower than feared

Book Review: Andrew Winston’s Green Recovery

Hydrofluorocarbons, Once a Solution, Now a Problem?

Fertilizer’s Contamination Legacy

Mystery of Los Angeles Methane Emissions Probed

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Even Amish values aren’t recession-proof

Even Amish values aren’t recession-proof

In a 20,000-person community of Amish in northern Indiana, fancy Dutch Harness horses and carriages lined “in dark velvet and illuminated … with battery-powered LED lighting” were the definition of living large. But no matter what your value system, when the economy turns south and you’re suddenly living beyond your means, trouble looms.

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Microlending taking off in U.S.

Cassidy: Microlending taking off in U.S., too –

“There have been people practicing microfinance in California for years,” Weaver told me. “And maybe there is not a lot of awareness that it is happening here.”…

…Turns out microfinance is big in the United States, though not as big as Weaver and many others would like it to be. Opportunity Fund says there are at least 20 million U.S. microbusinesses, which generally means businesses employing fewer than five that borrowed less than $35,000 — often much less — to start up….

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Environmental News — 30 April 2009

Clean Energy Future: Congress Passes Budget

Scientists put carbon ceiling at a trillion tonnes

Dryland development needs science and sustainability

U.S. Wind Power Industry Installs More Than 2,800 MW in Q1 2009

China To Subsidize Energy Saving Lamps

Emergency Action Taken for Threatened and Endangered Sea Turtles:Six-month Closure Ordered of Gulf of Mexico Fishery

Swine Flu Spreads, Tips for the US

Report lists worst, best cities for air quality

White House push to nullify mining-waste rule

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Environmental News

Want to Go Solar? Cut Your Energy Use First

Our Penchant For Rarity Could Threaten Conservation Efforts

U.S. DOE Heats Up New Energy Standards for Home Furnaces

Reef boom beats doom

Plants could override climate change effects on wildfires

Ontario to enact toughest pesticide ban in Canada

USGS profiles private wells

Rise in dust storms spurs environmental fears

U.S. and Mexico Hold Border Environmental Forum to Help Confront
Climate Change

‘Green jobs’ at heart of Obama’s Earth Day push on energy