The chocolate ration is being increased to 25 grammes per week.

Monthly Archives: March 2007

Walgreens are worse than crack dealers

The Freakonomics Blog has an interesting entry on the price of generic drugs at various stores. No wonder our health care system is completely broken. No wonder people without health care are completely screwed.


The Drug War

Recently there have been a growing number of articles about the horrific drug laws in the US. An article on alternet.org about a two-year study from a British commission makes some excellent points. For example:

  • The notion of a drug-free society is “almost certainly a chimera. … People have always used substances to change the way they see the world and how they feel, and there is every reason to think they always will.” Therefore, “[t]he main aim of public policy should be to reduce the amount of harms that drugs cause.” A policy based on total prohibition “is bound to fail.”
  • The concept of “drugs” should include tobacco and alcohol. “Indeed, in their different ways, alcohol and tobacco cause far more harm than illegal drugs.” These substances should be brought into a unified regulatory framework “capable of treating substances according to the harm they cause.”
  • The heart of this new regulatory framework must be an index of substance-related harms. “The index should be based on the best available evidence and should be able to be modified in light of new evidence.”
  • We need a new way of evaluating the efficacy of drug policies. “In our view, the success of drugs policy should be measured not in terms of the amounts of drugs seized or in the number of dealers imprisoned, but in terms of the amount of harms reduced.”

The hypocrisy and drug laws are out of control. When someone can spend 20 years in prison for Marijuana use and a murderer of 2 people can get out of prison after 5 years (with a 7 year sentence), something is very, very wrong. When someone can get a 11 1/2 year sentence for growing mushrooms, something is very, very wrong. When alcohol is responsible for many, many more deaths each year and it gets a pass, something is very, very wrong.

What is it about transparency that people don’t get?

Government of Country X is found to be spying on its own citizens. When a newspaper develops the story, they invite the super-secret “security” agency of Country X to pass judgement on the story (run it or not?). The agency says “niet” and the newspaper’s editors decide it is not worth the trouble. They pass on the story.

Have you guessed the identity of Country X? The old Soviet Union? Niet. The United States of America. It is what happened at the LA Times. If you remember, the New York Times broke that story, because the whistleblower took it there after the LAT passed.

It is completely beyond me why this doesn’t completely piss off every citizen in this country. It is clearly a very bad thing when the government not only spies on its own citizens, but then squashes coverage of it by applying pressure to a newspaper.

In this case, the information came out. That’s good. How often does the item not come to light? I would wager that a significant amount of really bad shit has never seen the light of day. That only means our government is much worse than we know, and it’s already pretty !@#%ing bad.

Childhood …missing

Richard Louv’s stirring article, No Child Left Inside, is a good read. I have a 6 yr old, so I think about this stuff a lot. I had a game, starting when I was 7 or so: ride my bike somewhere I’d never been and get “lost”. It allowed me to explore and test the boundaries of my world. It was wonderfully fun. (It was also good exercise, since the more I played this game the further I had to go to successfully play.) That game is partly responsible for making me what I am today. But, for all the great memories I have of this game, I cannot imagine my son having the ability to play it, and it breaks my heart. [via Boing Boing]

Of all the reasons I seen ascribed to the current condition of children today, with respect to freedom of mobility, I have never seen this one…

The size of families has declined in recent decades. Single child families are no longer the strong exception. When I was growing up, I knew very few families with one child (a single one comes to mind). Most had 2 or more, and the family across the street clocked in at 7. My wife is the youngest of 9. Right now I can think of one family of 5, but most of my son’s contemporaries have a single or no sibling. Families of 1 or 2 are the norm, and larger ones are just plain rare.

The psychology of a single child parent has to be different than one with 2 or more kids. I see it in myself. There is a protective mindset that occurs, I imagine, because all of my eggs are in one basket. The what if‘s are that much worse when you have one child. When you have more, a loss of a child would be crushing, but you would have to recover from it for the sake of the rest of the family. With a single child… that is almost unthinkable. Especially for those who are past the ability to have more children. I can’t prove any of this.

So, I have to wonder, if I got into a time machine and went back to the time and place of my childhood, would I allow or deny my own single child the behavior I myself had?

What you can do with Photoshop

This is well worth 7 minutes of your time.

Please ignore Unnamed Bitch

Today the media is in hysterics over Unnamed Bitch‘s comments about John Edwards, ’08 Presidential candidate (“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”). Why do people give Unnamed Bitch any air time at all? She doesn’t believe the shit that comes out of her mouth. No one does. The only way to make Unnamed Bitch go away is to 1) not buy her disgusting books, and 2) don’t pay her any attention whatsoever.

Thrown down a hole for learning Chinese

The LA Weekly has a facinating and disturbing about Billy Cottrell a brilliant theoretical physics student at California Institute of Technology, is serving an 8.5-year-sentence at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary for destroying $5 million worth of Hummers[1]. He is also autistic. Now, go read this. [via Boing Boing]