Where the nitrogen wind goes sweeping down the plains

This is going to end badly.

On Friday, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin signed a bill that allows the state to execute inmates using nitrogen gas in the event that traditional lethal injection drugs are unavailable. The use of nitrogen gas, which induces hypoxia, has never been tested on humans, but supporters maintain that the method is both humane and painless.

Let’s try a method of execution that’s never been tested before. I mean, what could go wrong?

There is something called nitrogen narcosis, which affects scuba divers and involves pressurized the pressurized inert gas.

1. Emotional Effects of Narcosis on Divers:

Depending upon the diver and the dive environment, narcosis may cause a diver to feel either positive, euphoric emotions or negative, stressful emotions. Both scenarios are dangerous.

A diver feeling overly relaxed and happy may fail to react appropriately to a dangerous situation because he feels that everything is fine. An example is a euphoric diver who notices that he has exceeded his tank reserve pressure, but decides to continue diving because he feels great and therefore isn’t worried about running out of air.

A diver who experiences feelings of dread or stress may perceive problems which do not exist or may react inappropriately to those that do. An example is a stressed diver who notices that he has reached his tank reserve pressure. He panics, inflates his buoyancy compensator, and rockets to the surface because he is afraid that he will run out of air if he makes a normal controlled descent, even though he has more than sufficient air to do so.

2. Narcosis Slows and Impairs Mental Abilities:

Narcosis affects a diver’s ability to reason, evaluate situations, decide on appropriate courses of action, and recall information. Narcosis also slows a diver’s thinking and reaction times. In effect, a diver experiencing narcosis thinks less clearly and more slowly than he normally does.

Foggy thinking and reasoning underwater is dangerous. Even normal situations can lead to potential disasters as a diver’s mental abilities decline. As an example, a diver who is negatively buoyant may fail to inflate his buoyancy compensator because he doesn’t recognize the problem (failing to evaluate the situation). Or, he may try to compensate for negative buoyancy by kicking himself up (failing to decide on an appropriate course of action).

I have no idea what happens when a person is confined to a room that’s only supplying nitrogen, but since this has never been tested on humans as a form of execution, it seems the possibilities are that:

1) Witnesses to the execution will watch a guy laughing his ass off before he collapses and dies, or …

2) Witnesses to the execution will watch a guy screaming his head off before he collapses and dies.

I think I would have nightmares forever if I ever saw that. Oklahoma is not OK.

The dark secret of Obamacare, as seen by the GOP

A Republican congresswoman, whom I’ve never hear of before (Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington), put up a Facebook post asking people to relay their Obamacare nightmares, because, according to the GOP, Obamacare is nothing but a nightmare. I’m not exaggerating. Here’s what she said:

This week marks the 5th anniversary of #Obamacare being signed into law. Whether it’s turned your tax filing into a nightmare, you’re facing skyrocketing premiums, or your employer has reduced your work hours, I want to hear about it.

Please share your story with me so that I can better understand the challenges you’re facing: http://mcmorris.house.gov/your-story/

So people responded:

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Oops. Not quite the nightmare, huh. So what’s a Republican to do?

Well, try clicking on the link above that directs you to Rodgers’s Facebook page, where people are posting their nightmare. Nevermind, here’s what you’ll see (click to enlarge):

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You’ve got to admire the integrity of Republicans. By the way, I didn’t follow the link because Rodgers isn’t a source I can trust.

I read elsewhere that Rodgers did manage to come up with a couple of nightmares. One was from a woman in her 60s who said she could not longer afford care. Turns out the reason is because the woman lives in a Republican state, where the GOP made sure that Medicaid expansion, a planned element of the Affordable Care Act, wasn’t approved.

Comparing nations’ capitals: Washington, D.C. vs. Amsterdam

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Possession of marijuana has been legal in D.C. since last Thursday. Coffee shops have been selling pot in Amsterdam since the 1970s. But within the past couple of years, Dutch authorities have been working on laws to allow the sale of weed only to residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. And in D.C. sales aren’t legal at all.

So, overall, Amsterdam has D.C. beat in every regard. (I’m biased, because Amsterdam is my favorite city in the world.) Oh, the chart was put together by the Dutch Embassy.

For more information, click here.

Your Republican frontrunners for the presidential nomination

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CPAC met a few miles south of me this past week, and the conservatives decided who they preferred as their presidential candidate. Honestly, I see at most two viable candidates, and neither one is anywhere near the lead.

Cue the circus music:

Yes, I’m being too harsh:

Phil Robertson, the man infamous for his role on the A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty” and for his controversial comments on gay sex, gave a speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that was long, bizarre, and at times even a little incoherent.

As Robertson was introduced at CPAC, it was noted that he was the recipient of the 2015 Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award. He then used his First Amendment freedom to speak for nearly half an hour, touching on off-brand topics like sexually transmitted diseases, Nazis, communism, and Jesus.

Strike that, I’m not being harsh enough. The strange thing isn’t what he said. It’s that he got an award as a defender of free speech.