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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday May 13 2008 - (813)

Tuesday May 13 2008 edition
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This bud's for you, and you, and you too
2008-05-13 01:11:02
"I always wondered what would happen if marijuana were legalized for anyone over 18. It seems it already has been, and nothing happened."

Sometimes I can't believe how Californian California is. Women walk around half-naked, waiters call patrons "dude," and medical marijuana is legal. But I wondered just how legal. Could anyone buy it? Even me, who doesn't have cancer, AIDS, arthritis, glaucoma or even any previous pot-smoking experience?

Medical marijuana isn't really legal -- in 2005, the Supreme Court said federal anti-drug laws trump state laws -- but California and 11 other hippie states have been flipping off Washington for years.

Finding a medical marijuana distributor is shockingly easy, as Times columnist Sandy Banks noted in her recent columns on getting pot to treat arthritis. Sprinkled innocuously around L.A. County are more than 200 dispensaries that look like health food stores or pharmacies -- including three just at the intersection of Fairfax and Santa Monica. To shop at these places, though, you need a doctor's recommendation on an official form. Once you have that, no California cop can arrest you for holding up to eight ounces. That amount, I'm guessing, was based on conservative medical estimates of how much Snoop Dogg would need if he came down with glaucoma at the same time Animal Planet aired a "Meerkat Manor" marathon.

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US Military Deaths In Iraq War At 4,076
2008-05-13 01:10:27

As of Monday, May 12, 2008, at least 4,076 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

The figure includes eight military civilians. At least 3,324 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is one lower than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Monday at 10 a.m. EDT.

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Problems At Free Internet Press
2008-05-12 02:57:03

  I'd like to apologize for recent problems we've been having here at Free Internet Press. 

  Recently many of you have noticed that the web site disappeared; reappeared; the newsletter disappeared; and the news aggregator stalled. 

  It's a fairly long story, but it has a happy ending.

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U.S. Finally Allowed To Fly Cyclone Aid Into Myanmar
2008-05-12 02:28:41
The United States launched its first relief airlift to Myanmar today, after prolonged negotiations with the isolated country's military rulers, who have been accused of restricting international efforts to help as many as 1.5 million cyclone survivors at risk of disease and starvation.

The flight took off from a base in Thailand a day after the monumental task of feeding and sheltering the survivors suffered yet another blow when a boat laden with relief supplies â€" one of the first international shipments â€" sank on its way to the disaster zone.

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More Than 20 Are Killed in Storms
2008-05-12 02:17:18

Emergency crews searched through wreckage on Sunday from violent storms that left a path of destruction from the Midwest to the South and killed more than 20 people in Missouri, Oklahoma and Georgia.

In Missouri, tornadoes tore through small towns in the southwestern section of the state, near the border with Oklahoma, just after 6:30 p.m. Saturday, overturning cars and smashing buildings.

The superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, James F. Keathley, said the tornadoes killed at least 15 people and injured hundreds. A family was killed when its vehicle was hit by a tornado, Superintendent Keathley said.

Capt. Tim Hull of the Highway Patrol said 12 of the deaths occurred in Newton County. “It’s a rural area,” Captain Hull said. “There are some small towns that were hit hard.”

The storm inflicted the most damage in Racine, a town about 170 miles south of Kansas City.

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Mexico Police Say Drug Cartel Killed No. 2 Cop
2008-05-13 01:10:49

A police officer and four other people with suspected ties to a powerful drug cartel have been arrested in the assassination of Mexico's acting federal police chief, authorities said Monday.

The three men and two women belonged to a criminal cell believed to be acting on the orders of the Sinaloa drug cartel, said Gerardo Garay, the anti-drug coordinator for the federal police. The drug trafficking organization had been a key target of operations led by Edgar Millan Gomez, who was gunned down inside his Mexico City home last week.

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Second sect baby born in state custody
2008-05-13 01:10:07
A mother taken from a polygamist sect and being held as a minor in state custody gave birth Monday to a baby boy who was immediately taken into child-protective custody.

State officials acknowledged the mother may be an adult, and said they were trying to determine her true age. Since state officials raided the sect's West Texas ranch on April 3, child welfare officials have taken custody of all its children on the grounds that they were endangered by the sect's underage and polygamous spiritual marriages.

The boy is the second baby born in state custody since the raid.

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Citigroup to shed nearly $500B in assets
2008-05-12 02:56:45
Citigroup Inc. said Friday it aims to shed about $500 billion in assets and grow revenue by 9 percent over the next few years, as it tries to rebound from massive losses tied to deterioration in the mortgage and credit markets.

The plans are the most concrete yet by Vikram Pandit, nearing his five-month anniversary as the bank's CEO, to prove himself a capable turnaround specialist at a company that many claim was struggling long before the housing market collapse.

The bank's plans to wind down its $2.2 trillion in assets to approximately $1.7 trillion were part of an investor day presentation at one of Citigroup's Manhattan offices.

These so-called "legacy assets" included yet-to-be-named noncore businesses, as well as assets in Citigroup's securities and consumer banking segments, including mortgages and other real estate-related holdings.

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Wizard Puts School District Back 300 Years
2008-05-12 02:17:30
A former substitute teacher in Land O' Lakes, Fla., claims he was fired by the school district because he was "accused of wizardry."

Jim Piculas said Pat Sinclair, who is in charge of substitute teachers for the Pasco County School District, called him to say the district would no longer be using his services after he performed a disappearing-toothpick magic trick while teaching at Rushe Middle School, the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune reported Tuesday.

"She said, 'You've been accused of wizardry,'" Piculas said.

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Al Gore On Cyclones And Global Warming
2008-05-12 01:54:37
One week ago, Tropical Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, tracing an unprecedented path of devastation across this poor nation of 55 million, called Myanmar by its military dictatorship. On May 6, Jeff Poor wrote for the Business & Media Institute (BMI) a story entitled, "Al Gore Calls Myanmar Cyclone a 'Consequence' of Global Warming," which was subsequently linked on the Drudge Report.

Poor wrote that Gore said in an interview on National Public Radio, "The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China -- and we're seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming."

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