Thursday, January 2, 2014

About Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado and Why You Should Not Overreact

People’s reactions to this news vary greatly. Some say they will never visit Colorado again: The Den of Iniquity reaction. Others think they can come to Colorado to party permanently: The Party on, dude! reaction. Those are two extremes that will serve no one’s interest, for neither is an accurate perception of Colorado voters’ reasoning for legalization or the effects of it.

Those of the first view deny themselves access to a beautiful region, and hurt innocent people economically who depend on tourism dollars directly or indirectly. Almost half of the residents did not vote for legalization, yet could be hurt by “association”.

Those of the second view will be disappointed because Cannabis is to be well regulated.

Practically speaking, DUI is going to cost you your license whether you are impaired by alcohol or weed. The ski resorts are NOT going to allow its use in their areas, because they want to guarantee their “family-friendly atmospheres”. You have to be 21 to buy it legally, and if you’re from out of state you can't take it with you when you leave. And your employer has every right to require that to keep your job you have to pass random UAs because they can’t have impaired employees showing up for work, whether they’re high or drunk.

While there are many different views of this issue among those Colorado voters who voted Yes, the view prevalent among people I know who voted Yes is that the war on drugs is lost. Like alcohol prohibition, the prohibition of certain drugs has been the catalyst for creating crime throughout this country, and that has leaked into other counties to a far greater extent than did alcohol prohibition. Who do the foreign drug cartels sell to primarily? Americans, 16% of whom report cocaine use and 42.4% report marijuana use, compared to the Netherlands (with much more liberal drug laws) where only 1.9% report cocaine use and 19.8% report marijuana use. These numbers are from a WHO 2008 survey. I also know no adults who engage in recreational marijuana use, no matter how they say they voted. A small sample, to be sure, yet you have to think: None? Really. None.
 
Political conservative should note that William F. Buckley, Jr. would have likely voted for this legalization. He wrote and spoke about being in favor of legalization. Some may not remember him, but he is considered the “father” of neo-conservatism, arising in the 1950s to reassert conservative values and get away from the “big government” politics that had become prevalent in Washington D.C. He would rightly be considered more of a libertarian than a Republican these days because he was not in favor of laws that tell people how to live their lives daily; he was a champion of individual liberty. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose, and all that.

Regarding crime, there is little doubt that prohibition creates criminals who were not otherwise engaged in true criminal activity, specifically marijuana users of both the medical and recreational variety. These are people who were bothering nobody else yet now have misdemeanors or felonies and possibly even served time in jail, a place for dangerous people not the doobie brothers. Others who got into dealing often were dealing relatively small amounts, enough for themselves and friends but more than just personal use. They became felons for dealing on par with crack and meth dealers.

The medical legality of Cannabis preceded recreational legality by a few years, and has many positive stories attached. Many families are moving to Colorado to obtain cannabis-infused oil to give to children with epileptic seizures, sometimes severely debilitating ones. There are many instances already of those children having a future, thanks to cannabis treatment. Many cannabis patients smoke, vaporize, or eat it, and find it relieves symptoms of glaucoma, the nausea of chemotherapy, relieves pain without the side effects of NSAIDs, relieves muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, reduces or stops seizures, relieves symptoms of Crohn's disease.  Those from out of state are called “medical refugees” by some because they come from states where no type of marijuana use is permitted, no matter how beneficial.

What success did Prohibition have? Alcohol was vilified by so many a century ago that its use eventually became prohibited by the 18th amendment. Al Capone could not have been more pleased; he made $Millions, and people died. It created a subculture. Bootlegged liquor was directly responsible for killing many people because it was often made with tainted alcohol -with no legal access there were no governmental regulations for its manufacture. The government even made producers of legal industrial ethyl alcohol poison it with various substances, resulting in “denatured” alcohol which got into the bootlegging business. There was a reduction in alcohol consumption during prohibition, but nothing like what its proponents hoped for. Some estimates are that at best, 40% less alcohol was consumed, and not even that for much of the time period before repeal.

Marijuana prohibition is not responsible for nearly as much crime (if Bonnie and Clyde had toked they might have ended up happy and unknown) but because of its position in the illegal drug hierarchy it did serve as a gateway to more serious crime. Legalization removes that status.

This could turn out to be a “grand experiment” in an opposite sense of that of prohibition, and then it would be up for illegalization again. However, with so many heinous drugs out there (anyone watch Breaking Bad?) one result might be to let law enforcement turn their attention to those other areas of drug abuse. Maybe we’ll find some of them would become less odious if they were decriminalized and the money that would have been spent on incarceration applied toward treatment programs for the abusers. Poverty could be reduced if there were more access to treatment that could help people become or remain productive taxpaying citizens rather than be incarcerated.

Could we, perhaps, build the citizenry up instead of throwing it in jail?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Global Warming Evidence: Positive vs Negative, and Why You Should Listen to the Scientists not the Pundits

People react to the "now" ignorantly, personally, and opportunistically, so hot temperatures and wildfires breed cries of "global warming is upon us" by the ignorant and by those whose job it is to promote an agenda (most notably environmentalist groups and individuals like Al Gore, notably a politician but NOT a scientist), and  in the snowy winter of  '09-'10 many ignorantly supposed that the climate was actually getting colder, while some with an agenda cried "12 inches of global warming" (Virginia GOP) and "Al Gore's new home" (Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) family, building a snow igloo in D.C.).

Michelle Malkin correctly points out the ephemeral nature of weather as noted by reputable scientists: (Global Warming Blame-ologists Play with Fire By Michelle Malkin, Jul 06, 2012). Unfortunately she does not point out that those on BOTH sides of the issue choose to use weather to support their own agendas, as I noted above.

"Global Warming" is a political football, as is "Climate Change" now, too. Rarely mentioned, especially by those who proudly count themselves as "deniers," is that global warming is why we are where we are now as a civilization, mainly because we are in an "interglacial" period during the current ice age, between glaciations, so for now the Earth has a largely temperate climate that is very friendly to us. The current debate is actually about whether humans are speeding up the process (anthropogenic global warming) or not.

"Climate Change" is not a synonym for global warming, either, because of course the climate can get colder, cold enough for a new ice age to occur, as well as get warmer, but many in the media and in special interest groups are using it as such.

Climate change was not scientifically established as a "fact" until about a hundred years ago, largely through research done by the scientist Ellsworth Huntington. Subsequently, exhaustive research has shown that Earth's climate has changed a great many times over the aeons, and that in our current age, the Quaternary, Earth has gone through several cycles of glaciation and interglacial warmings. A link has been established, theoretically at least, between the location of a land mass over a pole (such as Antarctica is now) and a cycle of glaciations like we currently find ourselves in.

This means that whether or not humans are "causing" or influencing global warming we are likely headed towards another glaciation period. "When" is yet to be determined.

Immediate effects are pertinent, however, because we live in the "now." Warming or cooling NOW can affect our lives in many ways, such as where we can grow crops and thus our ability to feed ourselves, where we can live, the availability of fresh water.

A body of evidence exists supporting increases in surface temperatures over several decades, but does not really show the cause, if there is even only one. Often there are multiple causes for a particular effect, and climate is a very complicated thing about which to determine cause and effect. Indeed, we know from evidence that a "global warming" event can increase the size of some glaciers even while most are reduced in size. And global warmings and coolings can be ephemeral, too. The "Medieval Warm Period" and the "Little Ice Age" each only lasted 300 and 500 years respectively, a mere pixel in the overall image of the Earth's existence.

There remains much to find out about climate change and its causes and effects. Careful scientific research can tell us much, eventually. Short term, there is no harm in living "greener" and there are a great many benefits. If we foul our own nest, the Earth will eventually clean it up but we won't be around to see that happen, and it's unlikely any humans will if we befoul the Earth extensively. It would be a good idea to try to live responsibly and enjoy the fruits of the Earth NOW.



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Higgs Particle found? and not in the U.S.

The Large Hadron Collider found very strong evidence of a form of the Higgs Particle.
Meanwhile, Fox News made fun of the statement by the President that this was evidence of justification for governments to spend money on science.
??????
Perhaps the Fox people think the U.S. would have made it to the Moon first with private funding only.
I would also note that the LHC was originally slated to be built in Texas, as the Superconducting Supercollider, but the U.S. government did not choose to fund it after budget problems. (A simplification, to be sure). All discoveries by the LHC might have been made in the U.S., and earlier than this.

5 Day Timelapse - Waldo Canyon Fire - June 23rd-28th


This is a very good video. At about 7:00 minutes is when the conflagration starts that forces our evacuation. The cars in the foreground are on I 25. You can see the AFA Chapel right of center. You can see the active quarry that is above Mountain Shadows closer to the left side of the screen. That is about 3 miles from our house. Credits by the creator of this video are in the video itself.