Sunday, December 07, 2003


I've been told that this valley is protected by a circle of magnetic resonance emanating from the earth itself and that Noho is at the very center of that energy. I've yet to find documented proof of the claim. However, having watched the weather maps break over us into a perfect circle too many times to call it coincidental over the last two decades, I've always lent it some credibility.

Case in point is the alleged nor'easter, that continues unabated to either side of us while the sun glitters on the six inches of white stuff it left behind here. It's actually quite beautiful but hardly qualifies as a blizzard. Not that I'm complaining. I still have to dig my car out.

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Due to server problems at Blogger, today's post was delayed by several hours so there's an update here. The snow was light and I got the car out in less than 15 minutes, found a new clean space I could back into and there was a magnificent pink sunset tonight. Altogether a lovely afternoon.


For those of you reading this in time, National Geographic will air a special presentation tonight on what the 2 billion dollars we have spent thus far on our drug war policies in Colombia has wrought. It promises to be a well informed program.

Lisa Ling gets extraordinary access-including a rare one-on-one interview with Colombia's president, Alvaro Uribe-as she journeys to Bogotá and beyond to investigate the United States' increasing role in Colombia. Through interviews with people on both sides of the conflict, including U.S. embassy officials and military advisers, ordinary coca farmers, and even a former assassin, Ling discovers what this complicated situation means to the people on the front lines. Alongside an elite unit of the Colombian police, Ling ventures into the rebel-filled countryside on a mission to find and eliminate clandestine coca fields and cocaine labs. She sees signs of progress but learns that Colombia may have far to go before it emerges from its turbulent past.

This being a main-stream media production, I'll be interested in learning just what conclusions she draws.


On Tuesday, Drug Policy Alliance will be hosting a live web chat to discuss injecting drug policy reform into the heart of the presidential race among other issues of current interest.


Join the country's preeminent drug policy reformers, Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Alliance, and Ira Glasser, retired ACLU director, when they take your questions in a live online chat Tuesday, December 9, at 3 p.m. EDT. Visit the website for more information, to submit questions, and to listen live on the day of the chat. And please feel free to forward this to your friends and colleagues.

It's bound to be a lively discussion.


You would think Mark Souder would have better things to do with his time than screw around with the national currency. Not being content with his vast contributions to the national debt via his relentless promotion of reckless expenditures in the name of prohibition, he now wants to kick FDR off our pocket change and replace it with Ronald Reagan's smiling countenance.

Why? Because he was offended by a television program. This guy is in bad need of a reality check. Even Nancy thinks it's a bad idea.

While I can understand the intentions of those seeking to place my husband's face on the dime, I do not support this proposal and I am certain Ronnie would not," the former first lady said in a statement released Friday.

When you think about it, it's almost insulting. A dime is practically worthless in today's economy. I can almost hear Nancy saying something like, "I mean how tacky is that, he couldn't manage to get a special mint on a fifty cent piece?"


Another person in bad need of a dose of reality is Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat who posts a venomous and ill informed attack on the latest proposal in Nevada to legalize personal amounts of marijuana. He spews the customary disinformation on the dangers to children and justifies his rejection of the value of medicinal marijuana by citing his friend.

As Pharmacy Board Executive Secretary Keith McDonald told me at the time, "Obviously, marijuana isn't medicine. That's why they (the Legislature) gave it to the Agriculture Department."

It never crosses his mind that they did it because it's a medicinal plant. His logic on the correlation between cannabis and traffic accidents escapes me as well.

Police allege that Hyde had five times the legal limit of marijuana and nearly twice the limit of methamphetamine in his blood when he was arrested.

I didn't know there were legal allowable driving limits of illegal drugs in Nevada and since cannabis will show up in a blood test long after its effects wear off and meth doesn't, it would suggest the driver was high on meth, not necessarily pot.

He'll be sorry he said this by the way.

Therefore, I cordially invite MPP/Nevada spokesman Bruce Mirken to tell us what their real agenda is. I'm sure his answer would be both revealing and educational. How about it, Bruce? I can hardly wait.

Neither can I. Bruce is sure to have a scathing yet logical answer.


Paul Armentano, senior policy analyst at NORML posted a great critical essay on John Walter's failed media campaign to equate marijuana consumption with supporting terrorism. The campaign, having failed its fifth semi-annual effectiveness review in a row, is still being funded although the reviewing team has been terminated by the white house.

Armentano produces a laundry list of the campaign's flaws, including this juicy tidbit from what will be the firm Westat Inc. and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania's last report on the subject.

In addition, reviewers noted that those teens who were more exposed to the campaign tended to "move more markedly in a 'pro-drug' direction as they aged than those who were exposed to less."

Paul further notes that,

...there exists no evidence that sales from the illicit cultivation and use of marijuana - far and away Americans' illegal drug of choice - have ever been used to fund international terror campaigns. Much of the pot consumed by Americans is grown domestically, and that which is imported comes primarily from Mexico, Jamaica, and Canada - none of which is a known hotbed for international terror organizations.

Last word today goes to Armentano's suggestion on how to end this absurd attack on the American people.

Rather than proceed down this failed course, the U.S. government ought to use its latest drug-war failure as an opportunity to reassess and end its overall "do drugs; do time" mentality and recognize that drug abuse is a health issue that is best addressed by the private sector and not the criminal justice system. That's a message the public just might buy.

I'm sold.


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