Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First Garden Goodies



So far this growing season my garden has produced lettuce, turnip greens and yesterday I picked the first pepper, a jalapeño. We haven't eaten him yet.

My husband wanted to grow lots of peppers this season because they are cheap to buy, take up little space and usually produce a lot of product. Yesterday we went to the feed store and bought cayenne, Anaheim, red hot chili, another jalapeño, two more bell and something else I can't remember. I also have a bunch of sweet banana seeds planted that haven't sprouted yet.

Over the weekend we planted pole green beans, bush green beans and bush lima beans. Yesterday we planted white field corn and purple hull peas along with three other tomato plants. A Parks Whopper, a Beefsteak and a HBN 444 Southern Star. Also planted a St. John's Wort plant and today I am going to plant a cilantro plant I bought. The okra is also up and looking happy.

Not sure what else we will plant. Probably more of the same as I plan to can and freeze everything I can this season and those are the main staples of any garden. We also have squash planted both regular crookneck and zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant and onions.

I'm ready to start harvesting and eating. I think waiting for the yummy garden goodies is the worst thing about gardening. That and the ungodly heat that arrives around the end of May.



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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Impact

As always I have been communicating with legislators this week about various bills. Most notable is HB679 the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. During a discussion about that bill one legislator (who shall remain nameless) wrote the following to me in an email.

On a side note I think your message on drugs and prisons (while we don't always agree) are indeed forcing people to debate this issue differently. That is a good thing and most certainly healthy for Alabama.


That makes me very happy. It is affirmation that they are listening and starting to think a little differently about how substance use and addiction are handled and that I am an important factor in facilitating their change of focus. That has always been the main goal. Just to have the discussion and stop all this fear based, knee-jerk, reactionary response to what is truly natural human behavior.

Yes some drugs are bad and can hurt the users...but the prohibition of them has failed so badly and only magnifies the harms associated with use. The goal in drug policy reform is to get people to realize that drug use is something that can never be eradicated and that the very best thing to do is accept that and focus on how to reduce the harms for people who decide to use them. Just like we did with alcohol prohibition.




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Student Drug Testing

Our friend J.D. Crowe scores another TKO with this cartoon about student drug testing looming in Mobile.

I've submitted a letter in response to the article. I hope that you will too!


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More Pics and Video from Vancouver

A few shots of the massive joint rolling session at the BCMP and a video of the joint toss on Global TV Canada.





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Monday, April 28, 2008

Take Action on Medical Marijuana in Alabama

Alabama’s medical marijuana bill needs our help. After the bill was introduced last month, it was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Supporters all over Alabama asked the Committee to hold a hearing, but the Committee has yet to act.

HB 679, the Compassionate Care Act, has been languishing in the Judiciary Committee since March. It’s up to us to step up the pressure and make sure the Committee acts. Please ask the Judiciary Committee to bring this bill up for a vote.

Take action now.

The Compassionate Care Act was introduced by Representative Laura Hall. The bill would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana when recommended by their physicians.

Legislators on the Judiciary Committee need to hear from you about Compassionate Care. They need to know that Alabamians support Compassionate Care and that they should bring this bill up for a vote in the Committee.

Last year, the Compassionate Care bill was brought up for a hearing in a sub-committee of the Judiciary Committee. Patients, family members and concerned citizens all testified in support of the bill, and press coverage was extremely positive. But the Committee tabled discussion of the bill, and it didn’t move any further.

Let’s not let that happen again. You can do three things right now to make sure this bill is brought up for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee:

1. Send a message to your legislator now, urging him or her to support medical marijuana.

2. Forward this action alert to five of your friends. Every time a legislator hears from someone about HB 679, it increases the likelihood that the bill will pass!

3. Help us get in contact with sympathetic doctors and patients. This is especially important. If you know of a doctor or patients who support Compassionate Care, please contact me at gsayegh@drugpolicy.org or call 212-613-8048.

With your support, we will pass HB 679 and win compassionate medical marijuana access in Alabama!

If you have any questions about medical marijuana in Alabama, contact me at gsayegh@drugpolicy.org.

Thanks for all you do.

Gabriel Sayegh
Director, State Organizing and Policy Project
Drug Policy Alliance

More Information

Alabama’s Compassionate Care Act, HB 679, would provide much-needed protections for patients suffering from debilitating diseases. The legislation allows for patients to use medical marijuana under a physician’s care and directions. For individuals living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and other serious conditions, doctors and patients need to have every option available to alleviate severe pain and suffering.


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Going Agrarian

There is a great article in the Tuscaloosa News about many Alabamians returning to their agrarian roots during these lean times.

Lean Times, Local Bounty

For many, there’s not much doubt about the taste difference between a tomato plucked, sun-ripened, from the backyard, and one bounced in on a truck from halfway across the country.

Economies of scale may have tipped the balance in favor of large-scale grocery stores, but with food costs on the rise, some are swinging back toward the older model of eating homegrown.

“This model of eating trucked-in food does not make sense ecologically or economically. We raped the land by having a monoculture in the South for cotton. Right now, the amount of corn we grow throughout the country is ridiculous, most of it for biofuels and diesel or animal feed,” said Andrew Grace, a self-described foodie and advocate for locally grown food.

A study by the Leopold Center at the University of Iowa estimated that the average item on an American’s plate traveled 1,500 to 2,500 miles to get there, mostly in trucks burning $4-a-gallon diesel fuel. Corn drives the commodities market up, with the growing demand for ethanol. Soybean prices have risen because farmers who formerly planted it are switching to corn. The soybean demand hasn’t changed, but the supply has fallen. So prices go up.

“The thing about farmers markets, good local food has a way of generating its own demand,” he said. “People who’ve never thought about food are going to start questioning why the tomatoes they buy at [a grocery store] taste like cardboard. Even if you don’t have any ethical or environmental questions, local food just has this appeal.”

READ THE REST



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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weirdness from the Woods

While taking the dog for a walk in the woods I discovered these weird egg balls that look like disco balls on a tree. I haven't a clue as to what kind of bug it might be. My daughter discovered the cocoon in the second picture.





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Turnip Greens and a Moth

Today I harvested the first mess of turnip greens from the garden. Here they are being washed in the kitchen sink.



I meant to take pictures of them after they were cooked and on plates but they didn't last long enough. The taste was amazing! They certainly have something that the frozen ones at the grocery store are lacking. I really enjoyed the process of picking them, cleaning them, chopping them, cooking them and eating them. There is something about growing your own food that makes it taste so much better.

Today I planted bush green beans, fordhook lima beans, more brandywine tomatoes and a couple of zinnias. My husband planted zucchini and cucumbers. I also started in cups watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet banana pepper, lima beans and pole green beans.

Our okra also sprouted. I hope it does real well because this family LOVES fried okra. I pulled up all my broccoli because it was all going to seed. I guess it wasn't planted early enough or something.

Below are pictures of a luna moth that my daughter discovered near my flower garden.








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Friday, April 25, 2008

Garden Shots

Here are some random shots of my garden. Today we plan to plant corn, beans and squash. Okra was planted a few days ago but hasn't sprouted yet.

Tomatoes and Zinnias

Brandywine Tomato

Broccoli

Jalapeño Pepper

Eggplant

Clematis

Cherry Tomato


Blackberry vine. Largest blooms I have ever seen on a blackberry.

Broccoli

Turnip Greens (we're eating these for supper)

Turnips (we don't eat these)

Daisies

Portulaca

A happy little lizard who just happened along.













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I love my puppy!



I missed him terribly while I was visiting Canada last weekend. He was most pleased to see me when I got home at 2:30 Tuesday morning. We had a serious snuggle-fest. Later about seven a.m. he needed a second dose so he came and nosed me out of bed. I love waking up and seeing those two big ole ears sitting there at my side.

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Well....DUH!

CNN

Anti-addiction drugs linked to depression

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Two years ago, scientists had high hopes for new pills that would help people quit smoking, lose weight and maybe kick other tough addictions such as alcohol and cocaine.
art.super.pills.ap.jpg

Margaret Bastian's doctor took her off the smoking-cessation drug Chantix after she grew depressed.

The so-called "super pills" worked in a novel way, by blocking pleasure centers in the brain that provide the feel-good response from smoking or eating. Now it seems the drugs may block pleasure too well, possibly raising the risk of depression and suicide.

Margaret Bastian of suburban Rochester, New York, was among patients who reported problems with Chantix, a highly touted quit-smoking pill from Pfizer Inc. that has been linked to dozens of reports of suicides and hundreds of suicidal behaviors.
-----------------


I predicted this side effect when Chantix first hit the market. What exactly did they expect to happen to people who took a drug to block pleasure centers in their brain? I said from the beginning that there was no way to block some pleasure centers without blocking others and that tinkering with the pleasure centers in the brain is dangerous. Imagine a life without pleasure. Imagine people with their pleasure centers blocked becoming depressed. Wow! Who'da thunk it?

Personally, I think I'd rather be addicted to something that gives me pleasure than to take a pharmaceutical that blocks my natural pleasure centers and causes me to want to kill myself or others.

Drugs like Chantix should never have made it to the market. How come the makers of these dangerous and highly advertised drugs never see prison time for all the death and destruction their products cause?





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Thursday, April 24, 2008

HB723 Chemical Child Endangerment Act Debate

On April 17, 2008 the Alabama House debated HB723 a bill that would include pregnant women in the chemical child endangerment act. The debate is rather surprising in that there are apparently more people in the Alabama legislature who understand the terrible consequences of the drug war much more than they have ever let on.

This is about 50 minutes long but well worth the time if you have it to spare.

video

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Video of 420 Rally

There are tons of videos of the 420 Rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery this past weekend. Here is one that shows the MASSIVE size of the crowd. At around 2:10 I can be seen throwing joints out to the crowd. This is from a distance but you'll recognize me by my hat and green shirt. I am still waiting on the news footage that shows me up close. I'll post it as soon as Marc sends it to me.




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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

420 Vancouver Style!

4/20/2008 marked the one year anniversary of the the dismissal of marijuana charges against me in Tallapoosa Co. Being such an important anniversary, because it is so rare to win a court case like mine in Alabama, my great friend and mentor Marc Emery, Canada's 'Prince of Pot' invited me up to Vancouver, BC, Canada on an all expenses paid trip to celebrate in sublime style. It was the first time I have seen Marc in three years and if he is extradited to the US to stand charges on selling seeds FROM CANADA then it may have been the last time I will ever see him. I can't stand to even contemplate that horrific potential reality.

Marc Emery & Loretta Nall Vancouver 4/20/2008

Marc is the person most responsible for my activism in Alabama and the US. I met him in 2002 on the Cannabis Culture Forums and first visited him in September of 2002. Coincidentally, that is also the same month that the US DEA began their investigation of his seed selling business in Vancouver. He had been open about it for as long as he had been engaged in the business and even paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in Canadian taxes which he reported as 'revenue from marijuana seed sales'. The Canadians turned a blind eye to it for years but were somehow swayed by the American government to arrest Marc and extradite him to stand trial for selling seeds from Canada. Marc is a Canadian citizen. How is it possible to break US laws when you are not a US citizen, haven't been in the country in years and everything you did was done NOT ON AMERICAN SOIL?

After meeting Marc and spending a weekend in BC with him teaching me about activism I returned to the US. Nine days later the first helicopter raid happened at my home. I guess the US Government thought I'd smuggled a bunch of pot seeds back into the US and had potentially planted my 2 acres in BC Bud. Which was incredibly silly. I fought back by founding the Alabama Marijuana Party and writing my first letter to the editor and promptly being arrested and jailed for it six days later.

Through all of the court battles, DHR battles, school battles and everything that came along with my nearly 5 year war to get the case dismissed Marc Emery was right by my side. He hired me to be the anchor for Pot TV News, as a freelance journalist for Cannabis Culture Magazine and sent me all over the US and to Colombia, South America to learn and teach about the awful consequences and utter failure of the drug war. He also sent me to various places in Canada including Ottawa, Niagara Falls and many trips to Vancouver. He paid me well, paid for surgery for my daughter, denied me nothing, enriched me with his knowledge, has always said I am his #1 student and protege and has always treated me pretty much like a queen.

Marc spent his money on activism all across the world, developing and cultivating people like me on nearly every continent. That is why the US Government wanted him arrested. Not for selling seeds....but for sowing the seeds of freedom and drug sanity all across the globe. That was by far the most dangerous thing about Marc Emery as far as the US Government was concerned. Former DEA head Karen Tandy even admitted it in this 2005 news release regarding Marc's arrest.

What a nightmare to think that someone as good as Marc could be caged in the US for the rest of his life. Wow...what happened to my country?

Back to the trip.

My personal stash

A closer look. YUMMY!!


Throwing a massive civil disobedience party for 10,000 + people is no easy task. All in all around 7 pounds of fine BC Bud were rolled over the course of three days by many, many volunteers. I spent two days rolling for hours on end. It was grand fun. On 4/20 at 4:20 pm I threw them out to the crowd and was captured on Canadian National TV doing so. I should have a copy of the video later today.





The above photo is what is called 'budder' or 'butter'. It is a VERY VERY STRONG concentration of THC and is derived from hash oil. You can smoke it in a pipe, on a hot knife, the head of a pin or smear it on your rolling paper for a super tasty joint. I took one hit of butter while I was in BC. It's quite a bit too strong for yours truly.

Butter on a rolling paper

So, that's what they mean by BC logging industry?


BCMP staff surveying the fruits of their labor



HAPPY 420!!! The following photos were taken on 4/20/2008 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. There were at least 10,000 people there throughout the day. The thicker the smoke gets in the air the closer you know it is to 4:20

Whats a Pot Party without a beach ball?



Nicole, a BCMP staffer and wonderful companion to me during this trip. Her husband Jacob was also great!
Now, that's a weird lookin' dude. I have no doubt he could land the leading role in any Satanic movie. He wasn't a bad dancer though.



Guess what time it is?








It was really amazing to see a crowd that large engaged in peaceful massive civil disobedience. Nice to know that freedom does still exist somewhere in North America. We used to do things like that in the US, but sadly most folks have succumbed to the fear instilled by the US government. It is quite a powerful and wonderful feeling to be part of like minded group of people so huge that even if the cops wanted to do something they would be far, far outnumbered.

In a crowd exceeding 10,000 people there was only one incident requiring police and medics and it was some stupid guy who got so drunk (he brought his alcohol with him...none was sold at the event) that he crashed face first into the concrete. There were no arrests related to the marijuana being smoked very openly at the rally. The police even helped us out when the crowd swelled so large that two major downtown streets had to be closed off. They directed traffic and ensured the safety of everyone there. It was nice to see them do their job. I wish our cops would take a page from their book.

A little bit on the actual traveling part of the trip to and from Vancouver.

While I love to go to Canada and see Marc and my other friends I hate the travel part, because it requires the crossing of borders. Being who I am I'm usually stopped going into Canada or coming back into the US or both. I am subjected to repeated questioning about what I was doing in Canada, who I saw, what I do in the US, why have I been to Colombia. The list goes on and on and on. On more than one occasion I have only very narrowly escaped the latex glove treatment. No kidding.

On my first trip to Canada I was held six hours in Canadian Customs because they thought I was bringing pot to Canada from Alabama. Yeah...that's hysterical...I know!! Finally I told them that folks like me didn't come to Canada to bring them our pot...we came to smoke theirs! I believe it was that statement that finally convinced them that I was not, in fact, hiding Mexican ditch weed seeds up my butt.

I have been detained, made to miss flights and even had my computer seized by US Customs crossing back into the US from Canada in 2004. They copied the hard drive. Without a warrant.

So, when I travel it requires that I repeat a mantra over and over about staying calm, that I psyche myself up for the almost inevitable interrogation on either side of the border or both. You can't lose your temper with the border guards. I mean, you can you know...but it isn't advisable. Trust me on that one!

Of course, after ten hours of hurtling through the air in a cramped metal tube, smelling the gagging smell of baby shit which keeps recirculating through the vents (somebody always gotta change that baby about five minutes into a 7 hour flight you know?), humping it through airports where your disembark point is the absolute furtherest away from your connecting flight point all combined with a massive nicotine fit, anyone's temper would be hard to keep in check...but you have to.

So, fully psyched and ready for hours of endless bullshit from Canadian Customs I got off the plane in Vancouver and, to my absolute astonishment, breezed through Customs in about 2 minutes. That made me real, real happy!

I expected trouble coming back into the US. I figured all of my clothing would trigger the ion machines at the airport, or that US Customs would look at me like I was a terrorist once they scanned the bar code on my passport, cuz that's what they usually do. Hell, I didn't even take my laptop with me to Canada on this trip because I didn't want it copied again. But, once again, to my utter astonishment I was allowed to pass through unmolested by some self-righteous prick in a government uniform. HALLELUJAH thought I...I'm home free.

But, I oughta know better than that by now. A friend of mine drove me home from the airport and they were kind enough to provide me with some much needed medication for my arthritic back on the way. Only a few minutes after everything was disposed of we came over the bridge on 280 into Harpersville and were confronted by many police cars with their lights flashing blocking traffic up ahead. Now, this was close to 2 A.M. this morning. There were also wreckers waiting along with the cop cars. Why there were cops and wreckers on 280 stopping traffic at 2 A.M. I haven't a clue.

My friend Marc had autographed a Cannabis Culture magazine for my friend and I had taken it out and laid it on the seat so I wouldn't forget to give it to my friend. As soon as I saw the lights ahead I hid it. Now, as it turns out, my friend has not been living in the state long and has a tag from out of state. That tag is expired. They have been trying for months to get all of the necessary paperwork from their former state of residence so that this state can issue a tag. But every time they have been to get the tag this state always informs them of a new something that they need. My friend relays all of this to me as we get closer to the cops.

I thought (while trying to suppress some wild, maniacal laughter that had started to bubble up), "Now that's just fucking perfect! I make it all the way into Canada without being raped by Customs, while there I engaged in mass civil disobedience and was even on National TV handing out all those joints I helped roll, and I made it back into the US without being raped by Customs only to be popped by Officer Jim Bob Earl Jones of the Harpersville, Alabama Police Department on HWY 280 at 2 o'clock in the morning. Goddamn that's just my luck! FUCK!"

Not that we had anything to fear, there was nothing illegal in the car. But my clothing would have been enough to set a dog off had one been out there. The magazine would have suddenly turned into grounds for a search, and I don't even want to think about what the officer would have made of the pictures on my camera. I was just really tired and Officer Jim Bob Earl Jones was about the last fucking thing I wanted to deal with at the moment. He would have asked a lot of questions that I didn't feel like answering.

However, despite the expired tag and despite the fact that the insurance card was also out of date by a few months the cop miraculously believed my friends story and after issuing only a verbal warning to 'get that stuff taken care of' he sent us on our merry way. WHEW!

That's three for three in less than a week for me coming out unscathed when encountering law enforcement officers. I think I'll take a break for a bit until my luck builds back up cuz I know this can't last.











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