Thursday, August 07, 2003


My favorite discussion of the week has been on the thread about cartoons over at the GNN forums. That's Tom Terrific and his faithful dog, Mighty Manfred, in the header tonight. They were a regular feature of the Captain Kangaroo show. As I recall, Tom could do some amazing magic with that hat.

My all time favorite however will always be

Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.

Oh Bullwinkle, that never works!


My Dad and I watched a lot of cartoons together. Even in those pre-cable days, living as close as we did to New York, we got a lot of stations. We also watched the news and war movies but the cartoon time was always my favorite because Dad would laugh and tell jokes. Just remembering all those charming series was like comfort food to my overtaxed brain. I wish someone would start a cable station of black and white toons from the 30s and 40s so I could have a place to rest when it feels like every synapse in my brain is about to sizzle from the stress of watching CSPAN.



Al Gore is droning on at CSPAN right now. Ironically, he's espousing the very themes I told John Kerry's little speechwriter to focus on. I didn't hear any reference to drug policy however, he was looking a lot better than Kerry did at his town meeting the day before. John was forced to address medical marijuana in response to an audience question. He waffled on the issue. Kucinich is only candidate who has come out strongly in favor of the right to choose your own medicine. Keep that in mind at the ballot box kids.

Meanwhile, my inbox held a disturbing article on our very own US AG John Ashcroft's latest directive. It seems the AGa John wants to review every single downward departure on the federal level. It made me so furious I sent this letter to the Post:

Deaf, Dumb and Blind Justice

US AG John Ashcroft’s July 28th directive ordering the systematic reporting of downward departures is a slap in the face of justice. What is the point of having judges if they are not allowed to exercise their own discretion in judging the human circumstances in any given case? This is folly when our prisons are housing over 2.1 million inmates and busting budgets with the collateral costs of mandatory sentencing. This is just another thinly veiled assault on non-violent drug offenders who contributed to 56 percent of the growth in the federal penal population.

If judges are to be denied the right to perform their duty based on personal discretion, then perhaps Mr. Ashcroft’s next directive could be to simply remove all human beings from the bench and appoint chimpanzees. They are easily trained to use a rubberstamp and they’ll work for bananas.

A little over the top maybe, but mandatory sentencing offends me so much that I needed to vent the rage. The way I figure it, it won't get published anyway, but I might get through to someone in the newsroom. There needs to be more press attention on that issue. It's why we have more people in jail than China or Russia.


One of the most successfully promoted pieces of misinformation in this War is that marijuana is more dangerous now because its THC content is higher. It's an old argument that has never washed. I can tell you from personl experience, the sacred herb hasn't changed that much in 30 years. There's always been high-test pot out there but it's always been too expensive for us regular folks to smoke often. The definitive argument debunking this myth was written by Dan Forbes for Slate Magazine in November of last year. Still rings true today.


Last word of the day goes to Erin Hildlebrandt, an extraordinarily brave woman battling a terrible illness, who was instrumental in getting legislation passed allowing a medical necessity defense for marijuana possession in Maryland. She has this to say on medicinal marijuana:

Whatever else we can say about marijuana, with budgets stretched to the breaking point and prisons overflowing, society does not benefit when we throw sick people in prison for trying to feel better.



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