Bush takes heat on slow response to climate change
President Bush came under fire this week for failing to do enough to stem the growth of climate change–causing pollution. In an attempt to quell criticism that the U.S. is dragging its feet on the issue, Bush on Wednesday announced a "long-term" goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and to boost investment in alternative energy sources—from nuclear and "clean" coal to renewable solar and wind power. World and environmental leaders were not impressed. A Chinese official called the plan too little, too late and Germany's environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, called it "losership, not leadership." Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change agreed. "The only good news is that this is irrelevant—both in the U.S. and globally—because this administration has only nine months left in office," she said, "and we have three presidential candidates who will take this issue seriously." (Der Spiegel, AP)
This is your pain on dope: Study confirms marijuana's soothing effect
University of California, Davis, researchers report in the online edition of the Journal of Pain that they confirmed that pot can ease pain caused by nerve damage. The scientists asked 38 patients suffering neuropathic (nerve damage) pain from diabetes, spinal injury, multiple sclerosis and other causes to take hits on joints that were placebos or contained THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana that binds to specific brain receptors called cannabinoids). Those who toked on the THC-laced cigs reported dramatic relief that lasted over five hours. Researchers Barth Wilsey and colleagues said the side effects "were relatively inconsequential" and "psychoactive effects were minimal and well-tolerated." The results were released on the same day that Rep. Barney Frank (D–Mass.) introduced legislation that calls for dropping federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of marijuana and for the not-for-profit transfer of up an ounce of weed. "Congressman Frank's bill represents a major step toward sanity in federal marijuana policy,'' said Aaron Houston, government relations director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "The decades-long federal war on marijuana protects no one and, in fact, has ruined countless lives. Most Americans do not believe that simple possession of a small amount of marijuana should be a criminal matter, and it's time Congress listened to voters."