Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas gifts for my daughter. She wants gift cards but nobody ever says "dad, you remember that great gift card you gave me in 2001!?"
Before spending his last night in the Governor's Mansion, Gov. Jeb Bush confided Thursday what he really likes about the place -- including unlimited fresh towels... ..."I don't know how it is in your life but it's -- most of the time, you know, most people take showers and you use towels six or seven times," he said, "but here, although I've been trained to do otherwise, any time I want, I can have a new towel."

Trained like "sit down, roll over, play dead?" That kind of trained?

I'm sure the unwashed masses of Florida are going to miss you too, Jeb.
Hey, look! A breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hoo.

Hope for peace in the Middle East looks more like a 50-year marathon of Groundhog Day to an atheist. Every three years. Every three years they play the same game and they sing the same song. And every time the process breaks down. And it's not that it fails, it fails the same way every single time. Somebody will invariably claim they're getting fucked out of something owed to them by god.

After 50 years of this movie whose ending never changes, maybe it's time for a pardigm shift. I'm not saying I have an answer. I'm just saying maybe it's time to consider the possibility that this is not what god had in mind.

Just putting it out there.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

WASHINGTON - Teens increasingly are getting high with legal drugs like painkillers and mood stimulants, and they’re turning to cough syrup as well, says a government survey released Thursday. The annual study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, conducted by the University of Michigan, showed mixed results in the nation’s longtime campaign against teen drug abuse. It found that while fewer teens overall drank alcohol or used illegal drugs in the last year, a small but growing number were popping prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin and stimulants like Ritalin.

Let's take a look at some raw facts. Not opinion, facts.

A standard scientific measure of toxicity is the LD50. It means "the dose at which half the test population dies" and is normally written as the amount ingested per kilogram of weight of the subject.

        LD50 of grain alcohol:   11  g/kg
LD50 of nicotine (cigarettes): 50 mg/kg
LD50 of THC (marijuana): 1270 mg/kg

Another way of looking at this term is a ratio of how much of a "normal dose" it would take to reach the LD50. In alcohol, for example, a 150lb male would have to drink about a beer per minute for twenty minutes to hit the LD50. Since the average "dose" is two drinks, the LD50 ratio is 1:10 (20 / 2 = 10).

On the other hand, the LD50 ratio for cannabis is about 1:9,000. That's about 9,000 joints in twenty minutes to stand a significant risk of killing yourself. That's not just difficult, it's physically impossible.

In economics there is a thing called an "externality." It's when you do something to cause an effect but wind up getting just the opposite of what you planned. One of the more famous examples is Mexico which once tried to cut down on pollution by only letting half their citizens drive on any given day. The method they chose to enforce this is by letting people with license plates beginning with A-M to drive every other day, drivers with plates beginning with A-N drove the opposite days.

Unfortunately, what actually happened is that people bought a second car. This not only caused the primary goal to fail but it caused people to keep the older car around longer and older cars emit more pollution. So the planners got the exact opposite of their well-intentioned goal.

And so we, as a country, make a drug with zero toxicity illegal while allowing the sale (and even advertisement) of alcohol. Alcohol being a substance which is physically possible (even easy) to OD on and truly has a high potential for abuse.

And you want to talk about a gateway drug? How many heroin addicts do you know that didn't start with cigarettes or alcohol?

How can we, as a nation, look at news reports like this and have absolutely no honest, fact-based dialogue about how we can mitigate abuse of drugs that are actually dangerous?

This is a problem of your own creation, a problem of your own, blithely ignorant drug policy, America.

Friday, December 01, 2006

So Jim Webb, senator elect of Virginia, snubs Bush (the lesser) during a photo op. Bush tracks Webb down and...

Bush: How’s your boy?
Webb: I’d like to get them out of Iraq.
Bush: That’s not what I asked you. How’s your boy?
Webb: That’s between me and my boy.

Webb is so incensed that he tells a friend he almost slugged the president. Good. It's about time someone put that national embarrassment in his place.

So then George Will calls Webb a "pompous poseur" and "a boor."

So here's my open letter to George Will.

No, you dumb fuck, everyone who didn't insist on honesty and candor about the trainwreck called 'Iraq,' (read; the entire conservative movement) but supported it nonetheless is a poseur and a boor, not to mention complicit in the death and maiming of thousands of Americans. I'd bring up the 100,000+ dead Iraqis but since you're more bent about slighting the president than dead Americans, I doubt the dead Iraqis phase you much.

Speaking of which, what is this BULLSHIT about neocons coming out of the woodwork talking about how Iraq is the result of inept planning and not really an indictment of conservatism? The entire United States government for the last six years has been controlled and enabled by the neocons and the all-too-willing, puckered asshole Congress and their media-hating O'Reilly colorguard.

You've been discredited. Thoroughly. Shut the fuck up.
I don't like Mitt Romney. At all. But the idea that he's responsible for the documentation of workers of companies he hires is pure bullshit. I don't know the immigration status of ANYPLACE I shop and I don't know anyone else who does, either.