Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Moving on...

I haven't posted in a couple of days because I've been scouring real estate listings. After my little into the big city I've expanded my range of possible locations. I'm thinking of moving closer to the action. In any event, I really need to move out this house. I don't think the mold here is toxic but the dampness seems to be impossible to get rid of and I'm sure it's not doing me any good. I've spent hours pouring through websites and trying to figure out my options.

Meanwhile, the thought of moving always reminds me of places I used to live and by chance I found these photos of my old apartment on South Street in lovely downtown Noho. I see the photog is calling the building McCormick condos but when I lived there we just it Dick Shea's place. That's the trouble with Noho, it got so popular that the big city folks came and in and gentrified the place. Most of the apartments in town became expensive condos, forcing out the young people and working class who built the charm of the town in the first place.

Anyway, I loved this apartment in many ways. I had some of my best times and some of my worst times there. I can't seem to save them to my computer but this shot is obviously of the front. You had to drive under the bridge to get to the parking lot. This next shot shows my place. It was huge having been the former community center of the building when the place was first built. It had four bedrooms but unfortunately only one bath. Since I had a long string of roommates while I was there, this presented some challenging mornings when schedules collided. But otherwise there was enough space to foster more or less peaceful co-existence. At least as peaceful as it can be when you have four to ten people staying at any given time. A lot of the housemates were musicians and were forever bringing stray crashers home.

The apartment ran the whole length of the black rail fence all the way through to the elevator. As you can see the back porch was huge and that also helped keep the peace. You could always go outside if it got too hectic indoors. When I lived there, I always had tons of plants out there. My room was the second window down right before the wooden railings so you can imagine it was rather like living in a fishbowl but it was okay most of the time. You got used to people stomping by on the walkway.

I lived there the whole six months it took them to build the elevator. That was not entirely pleasant. The idiots would show up every day at 6:00 and start throwing cinder blocks around, swearing at each other at the top of their lungs. It was hellish for the whole building of course, since most of the tenants worked in the local restaurants and slept in the mornings. I thought they would never finish but once it was done, it was a magnificent toy. It was done in polished steel and was huge inside. We often talked about having a building wide elevator party where everyone would bring food and ride it from floor to floor to pass it out. We never got it together.

I always hated the way it looked, but it surely came in handy when you were schlepping your laundry to the basement or your purchases upstairs. And there a high turnover so someone was always moving. The building offered the world's best dumpster jumping. At the first of the month, you could furnish a whole house with what people threw out. Heck, I did furnish half of my new apartment once I finally went off on my own again with stuff I got there.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lovely Downtown Noho

I often speak of my old home town so when I found this rather good gallery at the Union News, I thought immediately of you my dear readers who have never seen lovely downtown Northampton, MA. I've been to parties in every one of these buildings at one time or another in the 12 years I lived downtown, including the restaurant. I went to the private after hours bash there when Claudio opened the joint. He was young and still doing drugs then. Hell, we were all young and still doing drugs then. It was an outstanding party.

I see Claudio, having just bought out La Cazuela, is now opening his fifth restaurant. I don't think he throws after hours parties anymore. I don't go to after hours anymore. Hell, I'm lucky to make it to 11:00 in the rare event that I do go out. But sometimes, I kind of miss those nights. Some of the most delicious fun I've had in life has happened between 2:00am and dawn.

You call this the south?

I know it's worse north of here but 14 degrees with the wind chill is a bit much to take when your house is not prepared for arctic cold. Hope my pipes don't freeze. It's supposed to get up to 40 this afternoon but with the wind that's unlikely to feel like much more than the mid-20s.

Jeez, I moved here to get away from this kind of cold.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


I've had this newspaper clipping on my refrigerator for months now announcing the opening a warehouse outlet for sportswear in a section of the big town I've been wanting to check out. The place is only open on the weekends for a few hours so I've never remembered in time to go. Today was finally the day. I really needed a new fleece and it was well past time for me to get out of this little town for a few hours.

I took the secondary road into town. It's actually much shorter and only about three minutes longer with the lights. The warehouse didn't quite live up to its billing. My vision of a clean airy space with tall ceilings and bad lighting gave way to a odd, somewhat dampish basement like space and if that was a thousand feet they use a different ruler down here. The stock was decidedly odd as well. It was more disco than sportswear and the clearance section looked more than somewhat fatigued.

But they did have a small sportwear section and I lucked out and found a great new black zip-up fleece that fit perfectly. It's called spyder and actually has a discrete black widow spider embroided on the back of it. I kind of love it already.

The place was pretty quiet on a Sunday afternoon but I cruised the strip while I was down there. It was somewhat reminiscent of lovely downtown Noho but has a way to go before one might call it charming. There was a shabbiness to the old storefronts that suggested it was just at the beginning stages of gentrification.

There's an odd mix of largish, expensive looking trendy restaurants and small storefront fast food joints selling ethnic food. The three guys smoking a huge hookah in front of the middle eastern joint said hello as I passed by. I was sorry I didn't bring my camera. There were a couple of bars as well, one with wifi and I was thrilled to find a Bruggers there. Even better, there was a small Whole Foods Market with a great flower section and a fabulous bakery. I had garlic herb bread for dinner because it was so good, I ate it until I was too full for anything else. And I finally found falafel in a box. I've been craving that for weeks and months now and couldn't find it anywhere here.

I didn't go into the gift shops since it was getting near closing time but they appeared to be much like downtown Noho. There's a One World Market and other stores of the Mercantile, Faces genre. I'll probably go back there again to check out those shops and hang out with the hookah guys when the weather's mild again.

Meanwhile, much more exciting to me, was the discovery that there were a couple of shopping centers along the route. They're a little further from my house than where Iusually go but getting there is actually easier because there's less lights. I found a CVS and Eckertz and three major grocery stores, including a Kroger's which is a chain I like down here. I hear they give a senior citizen's discount on Tuesdays. I may start doing my shopping there now that I'm eligible. Heh. Maybe I'll start getting carded again. That would be funny.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oh no - What do I do now?

I don't know if I mentioned this here already but I've accepted yet another co-blogging gig at Michael J.W. Stickings excellent blog, The Reaction. Right wing readers shouldn't bother to click the link. It will only piss you off. But if you lean towards the left, check it out. You'll love it. It's a fabulous team of some of the best polibloggers in Leftopia and I'm thrilled and honored to join them. But here's the problem.

Michael just switched the blog over to the new version of Blogger. I've been afraid to switch myself. I think they've worked the bugs out enough that The Impolitic will be okay but Last One Speaks is so old that that they don't even offer this template anymore and I'm afraid it's really going to screw it up if I switch over, especially with the Haloscan comments.

Not that the template is that great, it's needed major work for as long as I've had it, but I'm used to it. It's like a comfortable pair of shoes or your favorite jeans that are perfectly broken in. I've got four years of work that I've never backed up and I would really hate to lose it. And I'm so technodumb, I don't even how to back it up. I have a feeling I'd have to open every post and save it to a disk or something odious like that. I have almost 3,000 posts on this blog. I think that would take a long time.

It appears I have an option to just get a new invitation to The Reaction and I won't be forced to switch over but then I have to open a new Google account just for that. One more username and password to remember. I hate that too.

So what do I do? Do I take a chance and just switch? Do I try to do a backup first, assuming I can? Or do I just go watch some dumb TV and forget about it until the morning when I'm fresh and ready for a challenge? Frankly, I'm leaning towards option number three.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Baby it's cold outside

It was so cold last night I could smell the Canadian air. There was arctic ice in that wind. Nothing like up north, where I understand the wind chill put it at 30 below, but like no other air I've breathed in here. It was so cold the water in the glass pie pan I was using for a bird bath froze and broke the dish.

Or maybe it was the mammoth crows pecking at it, as they've taken to doing lately. Man, those puppies are big. One was eyeing me this morning when I took out the recycling. I could see he was sizing me up to see if I was worth flying away from. Frankly, he's so huge, I think he could take me. I don't hate crows but I have to say sometimes these guys bring up visions of Hitchcock's movie. The cardinals are much more fun.

Meanwhile, I'm glad to be in a warm house and hope I stay awake long enough to watch House tonight. I can't believe that nasty cop is just going to walk away and it appears the good doctor hasn't really rehabbed very much if I read the brilliant ending right.

I love the closing scenes in that show. There's never any dialogue but they always say so much.


Quick hits

There's a lot of drug war stories today so here's a quick hit list for those of you who come here for drug policy reform news.

Good news for major drug smugglers. Thanks to Bush's neverending war on terror, the U.S. military has sharply reduced its role in the war on drugs. They pulled their survelliance aircraft out, including BlackHawk helicopters and unmanned drones. Virtually all the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida and part of the Carribean are now uncovered. I wonder that means Jamaican pot will make a comeback. [h/t Jules Siegel]

Karzai withstood US pressure and Aghanistan won't allow herbicide bombings of their poppies. A wise choice. It would only cause ill will among an already restive population. Good for him for standing up to Bush on this.

This has been percolating for a while now, but here's fresh evidence that Ecstasy is on its way to becoming the new favored drug for certain psychiatric disorders.

John Hawkins of Right Wing News
has an editorial in defense of the drug war that is just so wrong, wrong wrong, it cries out for a response. I'm thinking someone with better creds than me should see if Human Events would publish an op-ed in rebuttal.

And from Politico, the Beltway's newest insider news source and quickly becoming a fav of mine, NIDA vandalizes its Wikipedia entry to better reflect its propaganda. This is short and rather amusing. There's been a battle going on over the entry between NIDA and real people, with furious editing going on. At one point recently it had come to this.
Folks wondering what NIDA does now get four basic, non-controversial sentences followed by 10 links to federal Web sites. And at the bottom of the page is a plea from Wikipedia: "This article about a medical organization or association is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it."
According to the update, the entry has been updated back to its orginal form along with an added section on how NIDA tried to sabotage the entry.

Finally I have no link for this but I received an email saying there was some adulterated marijuana going around. Apparently some unscrupulous dealers are spraying skunk bud with microscopic glass beads to mimic resin. Consumers complained of mouth and throat irritation. As far as I can tell the problem is confined to the UK but, as always, buyer beware.

Desperate prohibitionists endanger us all

The prohibitionists will stop at nothing to justify their failed war. Faced with the dismal results of all their other failed eradication and interdiction programs, the prohibs in the Congress now want to unleash a deadly fusarium fungus in the coca producing countries that we won't allow in the US because it's too dangerous.
Fusarium oxysporum, for example, comes from a family that includes hundreds of fungi that can attack everything from corn to watermellons. One strain of Fusarium wilt is responsible for the current epidemic killing Los Angeles' iconic palm trees. In 1999, Florida's secretary of environmental protection rejected a proposal to use Fusarium oxysporum to attack the state's marijuana crop due to fears that the mycoherbicide could mutate and destroy legitimate crops like tomatoes, peppers, and flowers.
This proposition is not only idiotic, it's inhumane and criminally irresponsible. These people would rather destroy the planet than admit they're wrong and try a new approach to drug policy. Who votes for these maniacs?

[h/t Michael Krawitz]

Thursday, January 25, 2007

184,968 marijuana joints on the wall...

In case you've ever wondered how many joints you could roll out of 367 plants, the RCMP seems to think they have the answer.
Burnaby Mounties shut down a marijuana grow-operation after they executed a search warrant in the 5200-block of Canada Way Wednesday evening. Police discovered 367 plants inside, enough for approximately 184,968 marihuana joints, definitely not intended for personal consumption, said Burnaby RCMP.
By my calculations, that assumes you get one pound per plant, which as I've pointed out numerous times, is a hell of an assumption. They assume that about everything from seedlings to every miserably underdeveloped plant I've ever seen busted. Sure does sound more impressive that way though, doesn't it?

Question of the week

I've been meaning to post this. It's been far too long since I linked to my pal Pete at Drug WarRant. It's partly because he's become so big, he doesn't need the boost and I rather assume everyone is checking routinely anyway, but in case you're not, he posts a very interesting question.
Is it better to abide by the rules until they're changed or help speed the change by breaking them?
This harks back to a debate I had with Vig over that ex-cop who is selling the video on how to avoid getting busted. Vig's position was the video was a form of civil disobedience. I disagreed that a profit making venture could be construed as working to change the law.

In terms of this question, I pretty much agree with Pete. Civil disobedience is a time honored tradition that has worked to make social change. Think back to the civil rights protests and the bra burnings and anti-war demonstrations of the 60s and they did make a difference in focusing public attention on the issues and putting an alternative view forward that was eventually incorporated into our social order.

In terms of drug policy reform, the mere act of smoking pot isn't going to change a thing. Let's face it, the majority of marijuana consumers are not making a statement by their act, in fact they're hiding their habit in order to avoid arrest. If every single person who smoked came forward and admitted it publicly, that would make a difference. I know for a fact that many respected members of the community are regular consumers. But it's not going to happen as long the penalities for honesty are so high.

Neither do I think that marijuana consumers should be arrested and I'm not willing to condemn them for breaking a law I don't believe is just. The way I figure it, people break laws every day. We drive too fast, we jaywalk, we violate laws that are on the books and aren't enforced anymore, mainly colonial era blue laws about sex. Breaking a law in a way that does no harm to another person is certainly not a moral failing in my view.

I think the answer then is it makes no sense to abide by a law that causes more harm in its enforcement than the breaking of the law does. By the same token, I believe that if you believe a law is so wrongheaded that you're willing to risk arrest to break it, you have a moral obligation to try to change it. That's largely why I started this blog in the first place. To bring the issue into public debate at least and to try to garner enough support among non-consumers to take pot smokers out of the criminal class. So, what do you think?

Don't panic - Part Two

Sorry I didn't make it here yesterday. It was a really long day and I pretty much crashed out when I got home. I was so tired I couldn't focus on the screen anymore much less collect my thoughts. But thanks to everyone who offered encouragement and shared their stories. Somehow it helps to know I'm not the only one who suffers from these incomprehensible attacks.

On reflection, I realized I misstated the duration of my disorder. It actually started when I was in my early 30s. I was convinced I was going to die of a heart attack. I was under a lot of stress at the time, in a very bad marriage with an abusive partner and lived in the middle of nowhere. I spent a lot of time alone on the farm. That's when I first starting taking Ativan and I took it regularly for about a year.

It helped. I was able to take charge of my life. I got a job that I loved. One day, I just got tired of living behind the glass wall of the meds and stopped taking them. Like Cindi, I also didn't have an attack for at least ten years after that. When I hit my mid-40s, I started getting the attacks again. After ignoring the symptoms for about three years, it turned out I had a hyper-thyroid disorder and after they nuked my thyroid out of existence, I was okay for a long time.

But they did come back, albeit infrequently. I noticed they mostly occurred in mid-autumn when the light starts to fail and the weather got cold and then I would go months at a time and be fine. Now, since I moved here they started occurring at odd times and for no apparent reason. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night because I was having one. Often, I'd get them in the morning but feel fine again by the end of the day. Sometimes, they hit when I was trying to go to sleep. After I spent 24 hours in the ER a year and half ago being subjected to every test known to man, and deemed to be healthy, I was okay for several months.

Now I'm back on maintainence tranqs. I've been taking the Ativan regularly on a prophylatic basis and it mostly helps but I do get tired of living behind the glass wall. I feel like it slows me down and diminishes my acuity, so I've been trying to cut back on the dosage. That's probably why I've been having more incidents again. I understand there's a blowback factor when you go off the meds.

What a life. I hate to think I'm going to be stuck in this medicated limbo forever. But maybe that's really the problem. My life is in limbo right now. I have no control over my schedule or my immediate future. If I ever get to a comfortable routine again, I have a feeling it will all settle down again. At least one can hope.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Don't Panic

The lot of a hypochondriac is not easy. I had a massive panic attack this morning. It was so bad I sent my sister the keys to my blog, just in case I really was going to drop dead or stroke out or something. Of course, as you can see I lived. I managed to get through it an hour or so and the rest of the day was busy but pleasant enough. The sun came out for a while and the warm rays did me a world of good.

It's the damnest thing having an anxiety disorder. It hit me late in life. I've been fearless for most of it; more than willing to tempt fate for an adrenaline rush and I'm still not afraid to die. I've had a good life and harbor few regrets.

When the attack is over, I always think, "Why did that happen?" I can't seem to find an answer.

Monday, January 22, 2007

They call it stormy Monday

The ice storm didn't live up it's billing at all. I had no almost no ice at all here in the valley and up on the hill they had some in the trees but it was thin and didn't last long. It was gone by the time I went outside at noon. It was a gloomy day but the temp is already moderating. The wind died and it's foggy in the yard tonight.

And it's foggy in my head as well. It was a long day on short sleep so I'm off to dreamland early again. I hope the sun comes out tomorrow. It could only help.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Stormy Sunday

It was a brutally ugly day here. Raw and cold and raining. We didn't get the big ice storm they were all excited about though. I saw a few tiny icicles on the cart rack in the parking lot at the grocery store and one SUV had ice on its headlights so I guess it hit somewhere but not in my microuniverse. I shouldn't count it out yet though. It could well freeze overnight.

Still I figure winter is just about over. It's going to be yucky for another week but my daffodils are blooming and the grass is starting to grow where I had the big bonfire. I keep meaning to take a picture of that. It's really quite an impressive swatch of scorched earth.

It's been one of those low key days. I went through a lot of junk mail. I shouldn't let it pile up but when I'm working I just weed out the good mail and leave the rest for later. It's always much later but I can't just throw it out because sometimes there's something that looks like junk mail but is really your new bank card, which I managed to rescue out of the mountain of credit card offers, insurance offers, pitches for telecom services of every kind and invitations from the AARP and other fine organizations looking for money.

And speaking of working, I'm scheduled tomorrow right through Thursday so I'm off to bed for an early call in the morning.

Otherwise, I've got nothing to say tonight.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Precious moments

So I took the tot I occassionally babysit for to the park the other day. He got a tiny little scratch on the palm of his hand. When we got home we washed it in the bathroom and you couldn't see it anymore.

He looked at his hand and said, "Oh, oh, it's gone. I lost my booboo in the sink." He checked the water to see if he could find it.

We solemnly agreed it was lost but put a cartoon bandaid on it anyway. He was so pleased.

I really love little kids.

Rounding up the drug war news

Thanks to the lovely Lisa for passing on this link to Radley Balko's drug war roundup. I would have missed this one and it's got some great items including probably the first ever death sentence for a member of any Middle Eastern royal family for drug offenses and another really good reason to hate Mitt Romney.

It seems somehow appropriate that a fascist minded jerk like Mitt would hire our old pal Mel Sembler - the cretinous mastermind behind the teen torture centers called Straight Inc. - as his chief fundraiser. They both should be rotting in a Straight Inc. style program for eternity.

And while I'm thinking about drug war roundups, I know I've been hopelessly lax about drug war news here myself but I hope all my drug policy reform readers are checking in at ReLoad regularly where thehim does a magnificent regular roundup he crossposts to Kos in addition to his excellent daily coverage of the drug news at ReLoad. I, and others, failed to bring the drug war to that crowd and thehim deserves much acclaim for getting the Kossacks to pay attention to the issue.

The Great Extradition - all show, no substance

Talk about your exercise in futility. Mexico made a big show of extraditing 15 prisoners to the US, including some major drug kingpins. "Tony Garza, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said the decision to send the traffickers to the United States was 'a monumental moment.'" Right. A momumental moment of political theater. This statement is beyond absurd.
Drug kingpins held in Mexican prisons are often able to keep their cartels running from behind bars, making extradition to the United States a key tool in limiting their power.
It's true they run the cartels from prison but extraditing them here isn't going to change that a bit. The cartels will keep running no matter where the kingpins are jailed. They all have underlings capable of keeping the operation going and even if it were true and they managed to quash a cartel or two, all this will do is open up the market for new cartels. That won't stop the violence in Mexico. It will only make it worse.

I mean, the reason the violence has escalated in the first place is the Mexican government made this big show of cracking down on the existing cartels in the first place in order to please the White House and its resident prohibitionists. Mexico would have done better to have stuck to its guns when it was considering legalization. There would be a lot less carnage on that side of the border by now if they had gone through with it.

Don't eat the worm

No I'm not talking about tequilla, even though I have never been able to bring myself to eat the damn worm in the bottle. This is a new trojan horse virus that is sweeping the globe according to this article. It's particularly fiendish in that it plays on current news which is a new tactic as far I know.

It appears to be mainly affecting overseas computers but better to be warned is my philosophy. Word up folks. NEVER open an attachment that you're not expecting. Better to miss some real news that will catch up to you eventually than to have some hacker turn your computer into a zombie.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I have the day off - tomorrow

It's been a really long day and I'm packing in for dumb TV. New episode of Monk tonight and I'm going to try to make to House. I wouldn't bet the farm that I'll make it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Winter in the south

Well it sort of snowed here today. I don't expect this guy to be alive in the morning though. It's raining now. Still, it was kind of fun to have a little bit of the white stuff.

Prohibition takes down another football player

Another football player falls under marijuana prohibition.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was reluctant to throw away his 20-ounce water bottle at a Miami International Airport security checkpoint Wednesday morning.

The reason, police say: The plastic bottle had a secret compartment that, when opened, had a dark residue and a pungent odor of marijuana.
He balked at throwing away the bottle and some do gooder TSA screener fished it out of the trash and got him busted despite the fact they recognized him as a football player and he was obviously not a terrorist.

For this we wait in these ridiculously long lines and take our shoes off? And don't you think while the screeners were busy tittering away about bagging the big, bad, dope smoking football player, a real terrorist could have easily escaped notice? Not to mention the dogs you see in airports are more likely to be sniffing for drugs than bombs. They can't be trained to do both.

Isn't it time for our airport security to get their priorities straight and leave the drug consumers alone?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Cadillac is back

Oh yeah. Cadillac Tight is back in business. Average Tobacco Chewing Joe has been posting for a couple of days now. It looks like a serious comeback.

Go over and say hey. He's got a lot to chew on posted already.


I posted on Anne Applebaum's great op-ed about Afghanistan at my other blog for a couple of reasons. It fits into the current news cycle and I don't post on the drug war there enough. And it addressed the same argument I've made here many times, although really eloqently although it's really worth the read.

Applebaum brings up a little made point that Turkey was in a similar circumstance a long time back, of becoming a narco state, and they solved it by legalizing poppy production. Which we supported then and continue to support by buying their "raw" product to make legal morphine. The only reason I can see, not to take the same approach in Afghanistan is because easing the worldwide shortage on morphine would drop the price and would not benefit the big pharmas.

Meanwhile, if anyone has a moment, Romunov, a regular commenter, questions my statistics at The Impolitic post. I just don't have the time or the energy this week to dig out the links and make the case, but if you do, I would appreciate you enlightening Rom.

Giving new meaning to the phrase - what a prick

Note to self: Do not have surgery in Romania.

Ouch. I don't know what's worse. What the doctor did or that his peers are defending him. I say give the man a choice. Either he pays up or he undergoes the exact same "procedure."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An unexpected turn of events

Oh man, what a day. I spent almost an entire day in the ER, thankfully not as a patient this time, but it was exhausting nonetheless. It's such a weird place. There's no windows so your sense of time changes and the wait seems longer. And of course, you're freaking out because you're there for bad stuff.

I ending up spending a couple of hours in the waiting room before I was allowed into the inner sanctum. It's been a long time since I was on that side of the process. They of course call by priority of illness, not arrival time so some wait and wait while the later comers go before them. It's hard not to notice that the Hispanics are the last to be called. One couple who was there before we arrived, was still sitting there when my relief came.

It's a spooky ER unlike any other I've been in. It's cramped with bad seating. There's barely room for the parade of wheelchairs that wend their way through. And instead of little cubicles where you give your initial information, there's three doors, prominently designated as 1-2-3 with giant numbers. Most people go in and don't come out.

One really fat young white mother and her two children get expelled though and sit in my section. The son apparently is waiting for a scan. And they're all waiting for Daddy to arrive. The little girl is in soiled clothes eating out of something that looks like a jelly packet from a restaurant. I learn a little later that it's caramel. She's wrapped in the dirtiest blanket I have ever seen.

When the Daddy arrives, the mom doesn't address him directly. She tells the kids what to tell him. Tell Daddy what happened when you woke up, she instructs the son while the little girl burrows into his arms. He's wearing khahis and a blue cambray shirt that strains to contain his massive beer belly. One assumes the parents are separated. I didn't really want to speculate further. I try not to look at them.

Eventually I'm liberated from waiting room hell and later I trekked out to search for food. It turned out to be easier to find than it was to get back into the inner sanctum. I've never seen such security or such an inane system. You have to get a pass at one end and then get to the door while it's still open at the other end of the room. Can't really be done. I end up waving my food in the window and some passerby opens the hydraulic lock from the inside. So much for the pass.

The inner sanctum is infinitely more interesting but no less noisy. Monitors bleep and pagers beep and the halls pulse with carts and gurneys and staff doing very important work with a detached nonchalance born of years of dealing with traumas.

I was facinated. I was appalled. I was really glad when it was my turn to leave.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Screwing around with the drug war

I did my drug war blogging at the Detroit News today. One of my co-bloggers gave me a perfect opening to retread the respectable middle class consumer theme that I talked about yesterday, with a different twist. And the paper ran a great story on a ND state legislator trying to get a license to grow hemp. So I got to twist the screws on the DEA a little.

Interesting item in the second link. Ron Paul is the only legislator that ever introduced a bill to remove industrial hemp from the dangerous drugs list. It died on the floor. I find I'm thinking about Ron Paul a lot since he declared. I've been seriously thinking about actively supporting this campaign. This edges me a little closer.

It's a funny thing. The idea of actively supporting a Republican's candidacy feels so foreign in my brain that I'm afraid my head might explode if I do it. I think that's why I haven't checked out his voting record yet. I'm afraid if I like it too much, I might just contact the campaign and ask what I can do to help. That would feel really screwy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Quiet Life

I invested part of my lottery winnings in three more tickets but I didn't win a thing. Guess my lucky streak is over. Just as well I guess. I was already sick of scratching. I never did like instant tickets. They're a lot of work and they're so messy.

On a brighter note, it was a really nice day here. It was was warm enough to keep the doors open this afternoon and tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice. It's going to be a rude awakening when the temps drop on Wednesday but the long range forecast looks rather promising. I still haven't lost the sense of wonder about living in a place where you can go outside without a coat for half the winter. Sometimes I love this place.

Ethan Nadelmann on Steve Colbert Show

Tireless reformer Ethan Nadelmann, long time director of Drug Policy Alliance and one of the most articulate and convincing speakers holds his own going head to head with Tits boyfriend Steve Colbert. Ethan gets in the quote of the day.

"You've got to get drunk to watch O'Reilly, but half of your audience probably lit up a joint before watching the show tonight."

[hat tip Tim Meehan]

Don't touch that tap

Geoffrey at Dog Snot Diary posts a very funny YouTube that shows how easy it is to get people to sign a petition to ban anything. Especially if an attractive young woman is collecting the signatures. But to be fair to the signers, water can actually kill you.

Which illustrates how stupid drug prohibition is. Anything taken to excess can harm you. It doesn't make any more sense to ban drugs that are only harmful if they're not used responsibly than it would be ban water.

News flash - productive citizens use drugs

Well the prohibitionists are really grasping at straws now. This guy is declaring a new epidemic.
Why are so few Americans aware of these troubling trends? One reason is that today’s drug abusers are simply the “wrong” group. As David Musto, a psychiatry professor at Yale and historian of drug abuse, points out, wars on drugs have traditionally depended on “linkage between a drug and a feared or rejected group within society.” Today, however, the fastest-growing population of drug abusers is white, middle-aged Americans. This is a powerful mainstream constituency, and unlike with teenagers or urban minorities, it is hard for the government or the news media to present these drug users as a grave threat to the nation.
The article hysterically declares this a national emergency and it's not clear that the author understands the difference between use and abuse since he appears to be taking the ONDCPs figures at face value but the point is well made that the focus on "protecting the children" is bogus. Kids aren't buying most of the drugs. Adults are.

In a related piece discussing the above article, Blair T. Longley, leader of Canada's Marijuana Party points out the demographics.
"Frequent consumers [of cannabis] are men with relatively high education and income," Longley told CBC News Online "However, it is poor young people who are seen to be the consumers. This social fact is typical in the way that it contradicts stereotypical prejudices. The public perception of pot is a standing misrepresentation.
In other words, all the rich white folk are flying under the radar in terms of the studies and the arrests because they can't be painted as threats to society -- because they aren't. They're largely productive members of their communities. [h/t Judi H]

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Chong speaks

Here's a short and sweet interview with Tommy Chong. Apparently he's stopped smoking marijuana and is planning to move back to Canada. But he's working for the cause all the same. Apparently his time in prison turned him into an activist for marijuana policy reform.

He says, "But it ’s not so much my efforts as the substance itself. Pot lives and dies on its own reputation."

So it does. [h/t Terry D]

Ron Paul in the race for 08

We interrupt this blog for a moment of politics. Texas Republican Ron Paul has taken the first official step to enter into contention for the 08 presidential nomination. I have to admit I'm not well versed on his overall voting record but he's more of a Libertarian than a Republican and is considered something of a maverick among the party. He admits the bid is a long shot that will depend on grassroots support.

One thing for sure though, he has an exemplary record on drug policy reform issues and although I'm not generally a one issue voter, Ron Paul could easily convince me to cross over and support his candidacy. If he manages to get this thing rolling, I could vote for a Republican for a national office for the first time in my life. I'll certainly be keeping an eye open for future developments.

Blog nods

I'm adding Rosie of Smokey Mountain Breakdown to my new finds. Velociman sent me over there yesterday and she immediately felt like a kindred soul. Follow the link to her Digging a Hole post about digging a grave for her recently deceased dog. If you can read it without tearing up, you're a stronger person than me.

On a cheerier note, thanks to GUY K for passing on this link to a fabulous collection of 50s music. Whether you grew up in the era or just love the sound, there's hours of listening pleasure there.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Drugs the downfall of former boxers

Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson has been indicted on two charges of felony drug possession and two misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of drugs. The item doesn't say how much coke that was but he's facing jail time and the DA wants to make an example of him. It doesn't look good. The guy never could stay out of trouble.

The only former boxer who got in more scrapes was Leon Spinks. I did some some checking on his status and poor old Leon isn't doing so good himself. It's a rather sad story but it's oddly uplifting because of the way he's accepted his fate.

I always kind of liked Leon. He had such a big spirit and he lived large. Too large as it turns out. He pissed away 5 mil on partying and now he suffers from dementia and he's a janitor at a little YMCA somewhere in East Podunk. But people still honor him and ask for his autograph. He's at peace with his life. And he's still the champ. There's worse ways to end up.

Free stuff of the day

This freecycle list is kind of a PITA. It generates more traffic than I really need in my inbox but some of the stuff is so funny that I decided to stay on the list just for the blog fodder. Maybe I'll make this an occassional feature. Here's today's hot item.
I am moving and must get rid of a chair in my living room. It has been re-covered with grey and off-white striped fabric, which looks pretty good, and the chair underneath is pretty ugly. Comes with 2 pillows. It is pretty comfy, but it has been scratched pretty badly by my cats (the cover has a small hole on one of the arms). If you want a chair for your pets, or to throw in the basement or on the porch, this would be good for that. I don't think it would be good for anyone who is allergic to cats.
The poster's nick is Emily the Librarian. With a name like that I was expecting it to be a floral chintz. Or maybe a maroon tweed. In any event -- tempting as she makes it sound -- I think I'll pass.

Hokey smokes

Yikes. I'm glad I got some more of that done. I'm only good for an hour at burning leaves before my back starts to give out. This is of course is because of the convoluted way I do it. I have a very complicate system of raking the leaves into a big bucket and carrying it over to the bare spot in the back yard so I don't end up with charred grass all over the place and also don't burn the neighborhood down, which at one point, when the wind kicked up, seemed like a distinct possibility.

The whole affair was a smoky mess because the leaves have been piled up out there for so long that they've been rained on a few times so the underneath part is wet. This of course complicates the system further, since I have to rake off the top layer without getting too many wet leaves in the mix. It's not very encouraging to do it this way either, since I left the pile kind of spread out so the next layer could dry so it's doesn't look like the pile is getting any smaller. Still I uncovered a ring of lawn around the edges and I think the next round should show more visible progress.

I really should move out of this house. Taking care of this huge yard by myself is too much for an senior citizen like myself to manage. There's a couple of apartments in town that have opened up recently and I dutifully collect the phone numbers, but do I call them? Nah.

Much as I bitch about all the upkeep, the thought of moving is even more odious and besides, I've always been a victim of inertia. I'm really not good at major life changes. I tend to wait for them to happen on their own, rather than making them occur on purpose.

Some belated thanks

One more quick post before I go out. I'm late in thanking Michael, my dear friend from Boston, for the fabulous birthday presents. He always knows just what to send. He gave me the High Times calendar (wish I was getting herb like that these days), a Bush countdown keychain (that is moving way too slow) and a tshirt from my favorite bar in Boston, The Cantab. Thanks buddy.

Also a way belated thank you to my sis-in-law in Alaska for the beautiful fleecy sweater and nice bracelet. I've been wearing the sweater nearly every day since it arrived Janet and it's perfect. She's another one that always sends the best presents. I only wish I could say the same about myself.

And finally thanks to the lottery gods. I bought myself a couple of scratch tickets for my birthday on a whim and won $25. I never win on scratch tickets and told Francine, the clerk, at the time that it was probably not a good idea to start the next year of my life by losing at the lottery, but now it feels like a good omen for my next trip around the sun.

Cops lied to get warrant

It's a pretty nice afternoon here and I'm finally shaking this chest cold, so I'm going to go out and burn some leaves. For the moment, let me just give you a quick link to the latest on the Atlanta granny that was gunned down in the botched no-knock raid.

Surprisingly, the investigation actually looks serious. Unsurprisingly, the latest testimony reveals the cops lied to get the warrant. Now this comes from an anonymous source, so one must with a grain of salt but I see no reason not to believe it's true.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Life is good

I really have to stop predicting when I'll be blogging. It seems like a jinx or something. Every time I promise to return, something unexpected happens. Like yesterday, I thought I would have a little celebration, maybe do a little BWI here, but at about 4:00 I got hit with an ugly head cold, completely out of the blue. I was feeling fine and suddenly my head got all stuffy and my nose started running. I ended up having a couple of brews and going to bed early.

I only have a few minutes free at the moment as I'm working again today so I just want to say thanks to everybody who sent me well wishes for my birthday or left them here on the blog, including two of my ex lovers. And as one of them reminded me, despite the head cold, as I've always said -- any day you wake up and everything is pretty much working, you're ahead of the game.

Meanwhile, forgive me for neglecting the blog and answering comments. You know I love you all dearly. Without you this wouldn't be fun.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Fifty five candles

Well folks, as Elisson would say, I successfully completed another trip around the sun today. Yikes, I'm now old enough to join the senior citizen center. Blogger is supposed to go down for a few hours today at some point and I have to work this afternoon but I'll be back later.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bits and pieces

It's been a really weird day and I'm out of steam tonight so if you want drug war news go see ReLoad's usual stellar drug war roundup and don't miss his excellent post taking on a major blogger on the left who doesn't get what wrong with the war on some drugs. I agree with thehim. The left and libertarians are bigger obstacles to ending the war than the rightwingers are. Conservatives seem to understand the underlying issues a lot better.

On a another sad note, the inventor of instant noodles died. I probably owe this guy my life. I've lived on ramen noodles when I was broke and I still eat them to this day because they're so easy on a queasy stomach. Rest in Peace.

And I found this interesting because I'm such a technodope that I live in fear of zombie computers. Every time my hard drive starts making noise when I don't expect it to, I'm convinced it's been possessed and is going to do something ugly to me.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Better late than never

I meant to do this earlier but I just found the link again, so here's my holiday wish for you.

[hat tip Jules Siegel]

The ghost of New Year's Past

I didn't know what I was going to post about tonight. I've been neglecting this blog shamelessly lately because with the holidays, nothing interesting has happened to me that I can talk about if I'm to honor my family's request for privacy. I found my inspiration at Stone Soup where my friend Kathy has a nice post up about her New Year's Eve. She spent it at a VFW party and it reminded me of one of my nicest celebrations.

I was a bartender for a two or three years and my first job was a VFW bar. Odd place for a leftie like me to get a job, especially since I had no experience. I pulled some major strings to get the gig. But I became a great bartender and fit myself in with that crowd despite my politics and my lifestyle. The first New Year's Eve I ever saw sober as an adult was in that place.

I worked the Lounge that year and it was quiet. There was just a few of the oldest guys who either didn't have the money or didn't want to go to the big party in the Hall. Occassionally a few partygoers came out to avoid the lines inside. But when midnight came, it was me and about five old vets. I'd guess the average age was about 75 and I know one guy was in his 80s. I walked around the outside of the horseshoe bar and kissed every one of them.

I snagged a bottle of champagne from the party and made a big show of it. The old guys were simultaneously slightly flustered and extremely pleased. By the time I got to Al, he was ready and gave me a big smacker. It left a warm and festive feeling between our little group that lasted even after the party guests started spilling out into the Lounge. It was the start of very good year for me.

I love a parade...

Actually I don't love them like I did when I as a kid but I do love watching the Rose Bowl on New Year's morning. It's kept pretty much to its roots, unlike the overly jazzed Macy's Thanksgiving extravanganza. It doesn't have too many marching bands. I love the horsed units and I'm always stunned by the floats.

Quote of the day comes from the Intelligence Czar of the planet Vleeptron Z, It'sReallyBob.
If you want to see what Pasadena looks like, watch the television broadcast of The Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day. Every float must be made entirely of flowers or plant material. (My favorite float theme from last year's parade was "We Forgot What Our Theme Was" by the Oakland Bhang Growers Association.)
Funny, I don't remember that float myself... I may have been riding on it.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Deja vu - Afghani heroin hits US markets

This is how politics and the drug war intersect. We invade Afghanistan and topple their government. When we go in, heroin production is at nearly zero. We're there for four years and heroin production is now at an all time high. Afghanistan's economy depends on the trade. And now it's being imported into the US.
Supplies of highly potent Afghan heroin in the United States are growing so fast that the pure white powder is rapidly overtaking lower-quality Mexican heroin, prompting fears of increased addiction and overdoses.

"The rise of heroin from Afghanistan is our biggest rising threat in the fight against narcotics," said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. "We are seeing more seizures and more overdoses."

According to a Drug Enforcement Administration report obtained by The Times, Afghanistan's poppy fields have become the fastest-growing source of heroin in the United States. Its share of the U.S. market doubled from 7% in 2001, the year U.S. forces overthrew the Taliban, to 14% in 2004, the latest year studied. Another DEA report, released in October, said the 14% actually could be significantly higher.

Poppy production in Afghanistan jumped significantly after the 2001 U.S. invasion destabilized an already shaky economy, leading farmers to turn to the opium market to survive. Not only is more heroin being produced from Afghan poppies coming into the United States, it is also the purest in the world, according to the DEA's National Drug Intelligence Center.
Unbelievably, a DEA spokesman denied his agency's own report and said Afghan heroin was not flooding the US market. But that's not the point of this post.

In the 1980s we were involved in a little war in Nicaragua. We backed the insurgents that time and helped them overthrow a government we didn't like. Out of that came the Iran-Contra scandal where certain government officials were caught trading arms to Iran in order to fund the Contra insurgents' operations. They got away with it because they were pardoned by Bush the Senior.

If you're still with me here, during Iran-Contra there was an influx of cocaine into the US that Gary Webb tied to the CIA in his controversial series Dark Alliance. Gary presented compelling evidence that the CIA was importing the drug into the US themselves to help to finance that scam on the American public.

The same US officials who were involved in Iran-Contra are now running our government again and there's an influx of Afghani heroin into the US. Draw your own conclusions, but the phrase "history repeats itself" comes to mind.

[Graphic - Carolyn Cole]

Throw away your washing machine

I hate doing laundry. It's right up there with grocery shopping in my book of the ten things I least want to spend my time doing. In the laundry department, Febreeze changed my life. I don't get clothes dirty as a rule, but you know body odor takes it toll and often a clean item can't be worn simply because it no longer smells fresh. Since I discovered Febreeze a few years ago, my laundry time was cut in half. The stuff is like a miracle. A quick spray and by the time it dries, a marginal shirt or dress is ready to wear again. But there was still the problem of underwear. You can't Febreeze that.

So I find it extremely good news that science has solved the problem. Underwear that doesn't have to be washed to remain hygenic. Check it out and be sure to click the links at the end. Spray on clothes also looks very promising. If this works out, I may never have to do laundry again. Sometimes I really love technology.

Meanwhile, it's been a gorgeous day here and since I was able to leave the doors open, I spent the afternoon spraying up toxic clouds of mildew remover to get the damn mold out of the house. So I'm late again today and under the heading, when will I ever learn -- I've agreed to babysit for a couple of hours again tonight. So while I do have a couple of important items to share, those will have to wait for evening blogging today. The good news is, I slept way late this morning, so staying awake and coherent shouldn't be a problem. Later...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Not happening

It's been another long day and I didn't get a break today at all, so I can't even see the screen at this point. But I have the weekend off so I'll be back. Meanwhile, it's a warm night and it just started raining. I'm looking at a cold beer and a long sleep.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A true story - not for the squeamish

What a day. I had planned to do a heartwarming end of year post about cyberfriends tonight but I just got of the shower, something I don't customarily do in the evening, because I was covered in vomit so I hope you'll forgive if I just share the gory details and call it a night.

I was hanging with my neighbor's two year old this evening and and I've got the tot on the changing table, doing a diaper shift and the little cutie is complaining about a stomachache. So here I am, with a half naked kid, discussing the exact location of the owie. I'm thinking it makes a difference if it's the stomach or intestinal. We didn't get far into the conversation when the little darlin starts to vomit. I freak.

In retrospect I probably should have just turned the kid over and let him puke on the rubber sheet on the changing table but he was crying and my first instinct was to pick a crying child up and hold him.

So I throw the kid over my shoulder and head for the bathroom. The first heave got caught in my hair. The second one went down my back. The third wave hit the door. We left a trail all the way to the final projectile into the bathtub. I pick him up and hold in my lap.

Now the kid feels better. I'm sitting on the edge of the tub with puke dripping off my clothes trying to figure out how I'm going to get us out of the bathroom without stepping in it. I'm agog.

"What a lot of puke," I said with awe.

The kid thinks this is hilarious. He giggles.

"What a lot of puke," he says. "Puke. Puke. Puke."

He's delighted by the phrase. He repeats it again and again, giggling louder every time. I'm glad he's all right and for that one moment it was funny. I laughed too.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Looking back on 06, Part One

I guess you noticed despite my best intentions, I didn't make it back this morning. The schedule changed at the last minute and once again, I've spent the afternoon wrapped up in politics. But here I am now and I'm wondering what to blog about. Nothing particularly interesting has happened to me in the last few days. At least nothing I can talk about since I spent a lot of time with my family.

I suppose I could do my year end review. This marks the beginning of the my third year in the south. I'm only just sort of getting used to it. A lot of that has to do with moving from a downtown apartment to this little house in the country. It's not just that the people are different. It's that there are so few of them I interact with on any regular basis besides. It's been a very solitary existence. Not that I mind so much. There's some part of me that loves being a hermit, or as I like to think of it, an old maid.

Needless to say, no one saw my underwear this year -- again. I'm losing track on that score. I think it's been four years since I've had sex now, but it could be only three. But before you think I'm a loser, it's been by choice. I've had a couple of offers but I'm just not into the casual thing. I can't deny I miss having a lover though. Preferably a long distance one.

I suppose at this point, regular readers are thinking, well what about John? We're still friends, I think, but I haven't seen him in weeks. We talk on the phone but he got tired of waiting for me and has been hanging out with other women. Which is good thing. We weren't really suited for each other romantically. Our quirks didn't balance out well and at our age you can't expect people to change.

I knew it wasn't going to work the first time he told me he was going to have to get me away from the computer. I've had a lot of failed relationships and one thing I figured out is, it never works if the other person wants to change something so fundamental about you. Not to mention, he wakes up at 6:00 in the morning relentlessly cheery and wants to call me up and talk.

I have this rule about not being called before noon on my days off. I am not a morning person. Unless you have a hot air balloon waiting outside, I don't want to deal with cheery conversation until I wake up. Which takes a while. Maybe I should write a book. One hundred reasons that it won't work out. Reason #1 - Morning people and night owls do not make a good combination.

But outside of the dearth of human companionship, I'm liking the south better as time as goes on. The weather is easy to love. I like going out on the porch in the morning in an unzipped jacket and not freezing my lungs out in ten seconds or less. My bones don't ache like they did up north in the winter. I don't get driving anxiety about slick roads. It's going to be warm enough to go out without a jacket tomorrow. The pansies live all winter long. What's not to like?

The summer is not as good. It's bloody hot and the bugs are ferocious but that's only in the bright hours of the day. But I've become less freaked by the bugs and the evenings are still pleasant enough for the most part, except for the really smoggy days when the wind dies. The locals call it humid. They don't know from humid until they've spent an August in New England. It's really just the exhaust from a million cars on the highway hanging in the air.

Anyway, some part of me misses the snow, but not enough to move back and live in it full time. I realized this year, that when I leave this place, I won't be heading north.

Must of got lost somewhere down the line

Sorry I didn't make it here yesterday. I got a bunch of great links at the Impolitic including a full post plug at the Moderate Voice so I spent the day, posting on politics, answering comments and defending my points at TMV. By the time I answered my email, I had to go to bed since I'm back on the work rotation again. It's shaping up to be an ugly month for that. I seem to have a lot of shifts but I'm hoping at least this will be the only day I have to wake up before the birds do. I hate leaving the house in the dark.

Anyway, I only have a minute right now but I'll have a couple of hours later this morning, so I'll be back. Meanwhile, if anyone else has wondered what ever happened to Donnie at Cadillac Tight, I believe he just showed up in my comment section over at the Imp. If you're reading here as well, don't be such a stranger buddy. We've been missing you.

Monday, January 01, 2007

True confessions - BWI epilogue

Happy New Year dear readers. I hope you all enjoyed last night's celebrations and woke up feeling as good as I did. Good old Moet came through again. When I checked this morning, I discovered that I had managed to drink about 3/4 of the bottle by myself over the course of the evening, yet as I predicted -- no hangover. My head feels fine. My stomach on the other hand didn't fare quite so well after chowing down on a ton of brie and crackers for dinner. My system apparently lost its tolerance for rich foods since I've gone on this health kick. Still, overall, I feel surprising great today.

I was thinking some more today about my "psychedelic phase" of life. I was eighteen and I took a lot of acid at that time. For a few weeks, I ate LSD for breakfast every single day. I rarely dropped a whole tab at once though. I would nibble at it, like Alice in Wonderland nibbling on the mushroom, so I didn't walk around with that goofy grin you get when you're peaking and the world melts around you. In those tiny amounts, taken throughout the day at intervals, I merely maintained the level where the ordinary world looks a little brighter and mundane interactions could feel profound.

One day I just stopped taking it and never took a chemical psychedelic again. Over the years, I very occassionally ingested shrooms. I took my last trip on those at a hot air balloon rally which turned out to be a really magical trip. There were four of us sitting a big rock just outside of the general bustle on the field. We were giggling and goofing on the colors and the Wizard of Oz-like roar of the burners when a pilot approached us and asked if we wanted to crew for him since his people didn't show up. He was a local important businessman with a known propensity for drinking so in retrospect, I figure he must have hitting the champagne himself that morning. A sober person would not have searched the crowd and deliberately chosen the most whacked out group on the grounds for this job.

In any event, two of us took him up on it and we gave tether rides for a hour or so. It was a little breezy and the field was crowded so I worked the ropes on the ground. I can't begin to describe what it's like to be tripping on shrooms and towing around a giant balloon on a rope like it was some mutant party favor. It was a life changing moment. It was after that I became a regular crew member for another balloon that I flew with for many years. Those were the glory days of the sport when it was so new, they didn't have so many rules and only slighty crazy people were on the circuit. We had some fun for sure.

Eventually the sport changed and the rallies became more businesslike and regulated. Took all the fun out it. Now it's been decades since I've flown by hot air or psychedelic substances, but I don't regret either. I think it added a rich dimension to my life experience that most people don't get the benefit of and it made me a better person in the end.

DEA crack down on CA medical marijuana providers

Via the rather conservative Dr. Steven Taylor, the
LAT has an interesting piece on the DEA busting medical marjiunana providers. The article is sympathetic to the raids on the large providers who are clearly making a profit and living lavish life styles just like any illegal dealer might. Frankly, I'm a little pissed off at these guys myself, even though I don't think they should be busted or that the feds should be trumping state law in prosecuting these raids.

But I do think it does harm to the medmar movement when these guys not only get into for the money but flaunt their wealth. It pisses me off because the prohibs will use these sort of entrepreneurs to paint all medmar dispensaries as drug rings in disguise, when in fact the large majority of the providers are genuinely concerned about getting medicine to sick people and do so on a non-profit basis. Still, as Dr. Taylor points out, at least these operations do offer some context to the effects of legal marijuana.
Third, something that this situation provides, but is largely ignored, is the question of whether there is any empirical evidence to suggest that the obvious proliferation of easy marijuana availability in these areas has, in fact, led to substantial social, criminal or other problems for the communities in question. If marijuana availability and usage does, in fact, result in societal effects that are worth the billions and billions of dollars spent on combating it, then surely there would be some excellent evidence in these areas. If, however, it does not, then perhaps it should suggest revisions to our approach to marijuana.
And isn't that the point? These guys weren't arrested on citizens complaints about safety issues. They were arrested merely because they were making money. I think besides proving the secondary effects of legal marijuana are not harmful, it also proves that such businesses can be operated at a profit, create jobs and generate tax income for the community.

True confessions - BWI edition

Things I wouldn't tell you if I wasn't drinking champagne...

I smoked hash on the Staten Island Ferry.

I smoked hash in the Cattlemen's Bar at Madison Square Garden and I smuggled my brand new puppy in, inside my bag. The waiter pretended not to notice either infraction.

When I saw The Who do Tommy, I dropped an whole 4 way barrel of Orange Sunshine by mistake. I tripped for three days. For the first day and a half, I could see through walls.

I had my first true out of body hallucination the first time I tried PCP. I never smoked it again.

My first mescaline trip was during a total eclipse of the sun. It happened in early spring when the snow formed a crust of icy jewels laced among the trees of the birch forest. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Ah and it's midnight. The neighbors are shooting off fireworks. So Happy New Year my dears. All the best in 07 and good night.