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The Real Problem with American Coffee Isn’t the Beans, but the Culture

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

I’m far more of a wine connoisseur than a coffee drinker. Years ago I cut back to half decaf in order to cut back on migraines and stomach trouble. The hi-test sludge my editor prefers could never cross my lips for fear of bodily damage. The one thing I associate with brutal American coffee is brutal American stress: the need to meet a deadline, please a boss, do more, say more, be more with vim and vigor. Just as any alcoholic uses cheap trash, downing brutally burnt beans has become a lousy, albeit necessary way to get a much-needed fix. And that’s where we get coffee wrong in America.

Tel Aviv is littered with cafes and kiosks serving Euro-style coffee. I never got the hang of what to order to balance out my pathetically minimum caffeine requirement, but at Cafe Nachmani I not only learned how to order the right tasting brew, I learned how to enjoy it. I’ve never seen a windowsill in Starbucks lined with art magazines. Not Cosmo or People, literal professional art magazines you’d see in big city galleries and be afraid to touch. The Barnes & Noble cafes are filled with geeks on their laptops, chugging down brew in order to use the free WiFi. At Cafe Nachmani, patrons sipped on cappuccinos and the Israeli favorite, espresso, while lingering over literary mags heavier than half the books lining our chain’s clearance aisle.

Tel Avivans work like mad in a city that never sleeps. They’ve just learned how to enjoy a frenetic pace better than we ever could. It’s amazing how much more you enjoy life when you view it as a pleasure to be lived instead of an obligation to be fueled through.To better answer the question of what you’re drinking, you need to start with why you’re drinking it.

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Can Conservatives & Libertarians Unify? A Review of The Conservatarian Manifesto

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

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Both conservatism and libertarianism carry a certain reputation for adherence to core principles, and while both philosophies share a few common ideals, there are certain sticking points — like immigration, the war on drugs, and abortion– that tend to separate the two philosophies. Conventional wisdom holds that conservatism and libertarianism sit in different areas on the right side of the spectrum, and never the twain shall meet.

But is such generalization really the case? There appears to be a growing movement among the right of people who find themselves somewhere between conservatism and libertarianism. Over the last couple of years I’ve found myself falling somewhere in between the two distinct philosophies. That’s why I became excited when I heard about The Conservatarian Manifesto.

National Review‘s Charles C. W. Cooke has created a unique document that seeks “to remind the American Right that ours is an iconoclastic movement.” He reaches out to the people who find themselves firmly on the right but don’t feel like they firmly identify as conservative or libertarian.

Some among this group have become sufficiently frustrated with their brothers-in-arms to have established new and discrete groups, even abandoning or amending the “conservative” and “libertarian” labels traditionally used to describe the two strongest building blocks of the Right’s coalition. These are the “conservatarians” referred to in the title of this book, and they have an important to make.

Boy, do they (or should I say, “we”), and with Cooke as spokesman, the conservatarian movement may help unify the right.

Cooke begins his journey by picking apart both the positive aspects and negative assumptions of the conservative and libertarian movements. He also looks at what he sees wrong with the conservative movement, examining in particular the big-government conservatism that existed under George W. Bush.

During the Bush administration’s turbulent eight years, the Republican Party steadily ruined its reputation, damaging the public conception of conservatism in the process… Most of all, the Republican Party lost its reputation for fiscal restraint, constitutional propriety, and mastery of foreign affairs.

The author concludes his chapter on the problems that exist on the Right by noting that “Republicans must reestablish themselves as the party of liberty, demonstrating to a skeptical but interested electorate that they are committed to laissez-faire.” Interestingly enough, Cooke does not advocate a wholesale adherence to libertarian ideology, but he does acknowledge that conservatism and libertarianism can, and should, coexist.

One of the key tenets that conservatarianism must adopt, according to Cooke, is a devotion to federalism. He writes that the right should advocate that “as few decisions as possible are made from Washington, D.C.” and that lovers of freedom should “render the American framework of government as free as possible and…decentralize power.”

Cooke then takes a look at institutions like the media and the educational system. The right has done well to establish some alternatives to the traditional, left-leaning media outlets, but conservatives and libertarians alike have their work cut out for them when it comes to reforming the educational system. He then steals a glimpse into the importance of the Constitution to the right and why that attachment remains crucial to a nation that values freedom.

After his march through America’s institutions, Cooke tackles specific political issues and delves into what a conservatarian position could or should be on many of them. He starts with gun control, citing stats that prove the inefficacy of gun-control attempts, as well as information that demonstrates the growing popularity of the protection of gun rights. Cooke then points out why it is important for the right to nevertheless acknowledge that guns can be dangerous, no matter how free our society is.

Next, Cooke contrasts the success of the pro-gun movement with what he calls the failures of the war on drugs. Citing incarceration statistics, he points out how he believes that federal efforts to deter drug use are not working. But he notes that

…this is not to say that conservatives should be “pro-drug.” Indeed, the beauty of opposing federal involvement is that it affords us a free hand elsewhere. Conservatives can quite happily agitate for federal withdrawal and continue to argue against the wisdom of using drugs and leave the legal questions to the states and localities.

At this point, Cooke offers a few suggestions like leaving drug enforcement to the states and relying on churches and non-profits as well as supporting the demilitarization of the police.

Cooke then goes on to tackle a host of other issues. He makes one of the most eloquent and sensible arguments for the pro-life cause that I’ve heard and dismantles the follies of the advocates of abortion on demand. He delves into what he sees as the inevitability of same-sex marriage, preparing the right to get used to it, while at the same time advocating for the protection of those who do not agree with it.

Looking at foreign policy, Cooke acknowledges the fatigue that many Americans have toward the interventionist tack that the country seems to have undertaken, but he doesn’t necessarily call for a neutralist or isolationist stance. Instead, he argues for a continued strong defense because of the United States’ lone superpower status. Cooke notes that American primacy lends stability to much of the world order, but he notes that “[it] is entirely feasible for America to lead without needing to rush to the scene of every fire in every corner of the world.” He likens the hegemony of the United States to an insurance policy against problems in many areas of the globe.

Lastly, Cooke argues against the demography-is-destiny mindset that seems to plague both parties these days. He advocates for an immigration policy that is fair and does not become a welfare program.

Cooke sees the future as a golden opportunity for freedom-loving people on the right end of the political spectrum. His conclusion is for conservatives and libertarians to band together to ensure that freedom is a positive message that appeals to everyone. Some of the ideas in The Conservatarian Manifesto won’t appeal to everyone — I certainly had issues with a couple of the solutions in the book — but the book does put forth some encouraging strategies for what could be a united right, one we sorely need if we’re going to win in 2016 and beyond.

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Here’s A Creative Way to Make Sure Food Stamps Aren’t Wasted on Weed, Booze, & Lap Dances

Saturday, February 14th, 2015 - by Stephen Green
Marijuana Welfare

An ATM is positioned inside a marijuana store, in Boulder, Colo., Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. Colorado state lawmakers this year are poised to pass a law clarifying that public benefit cards can’t be used at pot dispensary ATMs. A bill facing its first hearing next week in the state Senate would add marijuana businesses and strip clubs to the list of Colorado businesses where public benefits cards – called EBTs – can’t be used to withdraw cash. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Colorado is stuck between a hookah and a hard place on preventing welfare recipients from using their EBTs to buy legalized weed:

Despite mounting evidence that “welfare for weed” is more than an urban myth, Democratic legislators are balking at a bill that would add marijuana dispensaries and strip clubs to the list of places, along with casinos and liquor stores, where debit-style benefits cards cannot be used to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines, or ATMs.

Democrats killed a similar bill last year, but now the stakes are higher. States had two years to align their statutes with a 2012 federal law banning the use of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards at gambling and adult-entertainment venues.

As of this year, states that fail to take action risk having their federal grants under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program reduced by 5 percent.

While pot shops aren’t on the federal list, Colorado officials are concerned that failing to disable ATMs at marijuana dispensaries for EBT cards would violate the spirit of the law and provoke the ire of the Justice Department, which is keeping the legalized pot industry in states like Colorado and Washington on a short leash.

Democrats don’t want to offend the tender sensibilities of their most devoted voters — people on the dole. Republicans don’t want local businesses at the tender mercies of Washington’s jackbooted thugs.

But is removing ATM machines from poor neighborhoods — where pot stores are mostly located — the answer? Before we get to that, maybe we need to look at the real problem, which in this case is not legalized marijuana.

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The Sad Truth About the Vaccine Debate’s Superstitious Roots

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 - by Aaron C. Smith

Things looked pretty darn good in the middle of the twentieth century. We split the atom, using its energy for power and to send the most dead-end, dead-enders of the Axis scurrying. The Green Revolution saved a billion people from starving to death. On the micro level, we developed vaccines for polio, mumps measles and rubella.

In other words, we had the future and it was so bright, the world had to wear shades.

Fast forward another half-century.

In January 2015, we have at least 91 people infected in an outbreak linked to Disney Land. School districts are quarantining some students. The disease has spread from the happiest place on earth to other states and beyond our borders.

To keep this in perspective, we had 644 cases of measles in the United States for the year of 2014. That was a record year.

But hey, these things happen. After all, President Obama made our border easier to crack than a high school kegger and invited an unprecedented surge of illegal alien kids to crash that party. So an uptick of children’s diseases makes sense, right?

One problem.

The disease is hitting the unvaccinated Americans and those unvaccinated aren’t born in East LA.

According to the National Institutes of Health,

“[u]nvaccinated children tended to be white, to have a mother who was married and had a college degree, to live in a household with an annual income exceeding 75,000 dollars, and to have parents who expressed concerns regarding the safety of vaccines and indicated that medical doctors have little influence over vaccination decisions for their children” (emphasis added).

So it’s not the poor and ignorant who avoid vaccines. It’s the Real Housewives of Orange County.

Why?

Well, in their defense, they have Jenny McCarthy on her side. And Jenny McCarthy went on both Oprah and Larry King.

The reality is that a significant subset of our population has bought hook, line and sinker that vaccines cause autism. They even had a study that showed the link between vaccines and autism.

Of course that study is discredited, not as an error but as an actual fraud by a man paid by the lawyers suing vaccine manufacturers. Its author lost his medical license. His coauthors removed their names from the study. Lancet, which carried the fraudulent data, pulled it.

Yet the non-vaccinated children still come from educated households.

Because autism.

Okay, that’s just one crazy superstition that can kind of make sense because a washed-up Playboy model glommed onto a fraudulent study.

That’s no reason to see a trend, right?

Well, look at the case of manmade global warming.

Well, wait. Here the elites have science. After all, didn’t President Obama point out that 2014 was the hottest year in human history?

If you can’t trust a president who just had his butt handed to him in the midterms, whom can you trust?

Except, well, science and its refutation of his claim.

In ancient days, when life was nasty, brutish and short, people looked for any sort of advantage to reach the ripe old age of 30. First, there was fire and with it came cool things like keeping the animals at bay and not having bleeding runs every time you ate your latest kill. Then came the wheel, an easier way to get that steaming carcass of meat from here to there.

But let’s face it. In the game of survival, there’s no better way to get an edge on the local saber-toothed tiger — or your annoying neighbor — than seeing the future.

Thus we have the casting of bones because everybody knows that if anything is linked to the future, it’s chicken bones.

I mean, that’s just logic.

Global warming alarmists have their own version of chicken bones, in the form of computer climate models:

warmingpredictions

Chart via the Wall Street Journal 

Problem: When compared to what is actually observed in the real world, the climate models fail to make accurate predictions. And this is a consistent problem.

You have to think that if our chicken-bone-throwing ancestors noticed that none of their throws matched up to actual events, they’d realize something was wrong. Perhaps they might not give up on the enterprise of chicken-bone throwing altogether – after all, who can deny chicken bones? – but they might decide that they’d killed a defective chicken.

Today’s educated savages can’t even make that leap. An honest man would say since the models don’t figure in things like water vapor – just a small part of the atmosphere, after all – and don’t actually predict the future, let’s try something else.

Instead, the educated savages award the computer modelers the Nobel Prize.

Primitive superstition is also strong in Leftist economics.

In World War II, the tribes of Papua New Guinea saw vast amounts of wealth coming into the Pacific on both the Allied and Axis sides. They had no way to comprehend the power of industrialized economies fully mobilized and dedicated to the largest war the world had ever seen. The natives made the natural assumption that spirits sent cargo to the earth and the evil outsiders jacked the loot.

So they built fake airplanes. They erected structures in the jungle and filled them with fake cash, sometimes even making fake suitcases.

Hmmm. Make work projects paid for with worthless currency. Doesn’t that sound like Obama’s stimulus plan or Paul Krugman – another educated savage Nobel laureate –  looking for an alien threat in order to create demand to boost the economy?

Yes, Keynesian economic theory is a cargo cult, dressed up in suits and the flowery rhetoric of the university. Unfortunately, it shows the same effectiveness.

Welcome to the new Dark Ages, a time of policy based on superstitions easily recognized by savages sitting around the campfire. They might not understand the terms of the new cargo cults that have risen but they’d understand that old time religion.

******

image illustration via shutterstock /

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VIDEO: Israel Is One of the World’s Medical Marijuana Capitals?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 - by Stephen Green

Actually, not so high:

In a greenhouse in the mountains of the Galilee, a technician in a lab coat is coddling a marijuana seedling that is coveted for life-saving medical benefits for epileptic children, doctors say — without the high.

Named “Rafael,” for a healing angel called upon by Moses, this varietal of cannabis is for people who don’t want to be under the influence, and it is available in oral doses in Israel.

Israel has become a world leader in science on the medical uses of marijuana, and its producers could become major exporters of medical cannabis, experts say. But so far the government has allowed them to export only their knowledge — not the actual product.

Interesting work they’re doing, and potentially quite valuable. It’s interesting that the Drug War stigma associated with marijuana is enough to prevent Jerusalem from allowing exports of stuff which won’t get anyone high, but will give chemo patients their appetites back. This is doubly strange for Israel, which has made itself quite rich on high-tech exports.

Once again, government moves much more slowly than the private sector.

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Is Colorado’s Governor Right About Pot Legalization?

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 - by Stephen Green

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Colorado voters spoke, but our governor wishes he didn’t have to listen:

“If I could’ve waved a wand the day after the election, I would’ve reversed the election and said, ‘This was a bad idea,’ ” Hickenlooper said Friday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“You don’t want to be the first person to do something like this,” he said.

He said that he tells other governors to “wait a couple of years” before legalizing marijuana as Colorado continues to navigate an unknown, nonexisting federal regulatory landscape for the industry.

“There’s a whole regulatory environment … that really regulates alcohol,” he said. “We’re starting from scratch, and we don’t have a federal partner because [marijuana] is still illegal federally.”

We’re supposed to be a laboratory of democracy, Mr. Governor, and not a mere satrap of Washington. I’d apologize for the inconvenience, but why don’t you try earning your paycheck instead?

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Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part Two)

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

thinkfasthippie

As last week’s epically embarrassing “James Taylor” fiasco demonstrated, the Western establishment acts like the Sixties never ended.

But as I’ve been insisting for some time, in many respects, that “Sixties” never really happened.

All that “peace and love,” “soixant-huitard” stuff comprised but a slender slice of the 1960s, and much of that was bogus, a cynical scam that ruined millions of lives.

“OK,” some of you have said in the comments, “but at least that decade had a hell of a soundtrack!”

Yeah, about that…

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Will Weed Legalization Cause Teen Drug Use to Drop?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by Stephen Green
Actual Teenage Pot Smoker

Actual Teenage Pot Smoker

One year after legalization, marijuana use is down among teens in Colorado and in Washington State:

University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in schools nationwide about their use of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and cigarettes.

“There is a lot of good news in this year’s results, but the problems of teen substance use and abuse are still far from going away,” Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator, said.

After five years increases, marijuana use in the past year by students in all three grades declined slightly, from 26% in 2013 to 24% in 2013. Students in the two lower grades reported that marijuana is less available than it once was, the survey found.

One year does not make a trend of course, so I’m not jumping up and down over this, even though I support legalization.

I had expected a small bump in the usage numbers — even if teenage pot smoking had remained unchanged — because it’s safer to tell a pollster you’re doing something legal, than it is to admit to breaking the law.

It will be interesting to see what the next few annual polls brings.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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In Colorado, We Are Entering a Stoned New World

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

IRIE TOURS

I suppose this was inevitable — a nicely appointed RV to take you and some friends on a tour to some of Colorado’s natural wonders, and to some of Colorado’s perfectly legal head shops.

They even do weddings.

(H/T, Colorado Rebecca.)

We are entering a Stoned New World here, as Colorado entrepreneurs come up with new ways to make money in the new… ah… atmosphere… of tolerance. It’s also an interesting test case for longtime proponents of legalization such as myself, to see what happens when perfect theory encounters an imperfect world. Our first stumbling block is that the state-sponsored growers and sellers cartels have kept prices artificially high (no pun intended), so we still have a black market for the green herb. That also means, as we’ve discussed here before, that tax revenues are not meeting expectations.

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Do Drug Trials Often Fail to Reveal the Harmful Side Effects They Discover?

Monday, December 8th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

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The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: that is what one swears to tell in a court of law. One lies there and then. It is a noble ideal that one swears to, but one that in practice is impossible to live up to. Not only is the truth rarely pure and never simple, as Oscar Wilde said, but it is never whole, even in the most rigorous of scientific papers.

Not that scientific papers are often as rigorous as they could or should be. This is especially so in trials of drugs or procedures, the kind of investigation that is said to be the gold standard of modern medical evidence.

Considering how every doctor learns that the most fundamental principle of medical ethics is primum non nocere, first do no harm, it is strange how little interest doctors often take in the harms that their treatment does. Psychologically, this is not difficult to understand: every doctors wants to think he is doing good, and therefore has a powerful motive for disregarding or underestimating the harm that he does. But in addition, trials of drugs or procedures often fail to mention the harms caused by the drug or procedure that they uncover.

This is the royal road to over-treatment: it encourages doctors to be overoptimistic on their patients’ behalf. It also skews or makes impossible so-called informed consent: for if the harms are unknown even to the doctor, how can he inform the patient of them? The doctor becomes more a propagandist than informant, and the patient cannot give his informed consent because such consent involves weighing up a known against an unknown.

A paper in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal examined a large series of papers to see whether they had fully reported adverse events caused by the drug or procedure under trial. It found that, even where a specific harm was anticipated and looked for, the reporting was inadequate in the great majority of cases.

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There’s an Illegal App for That

Saturday, December 6th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

EAZE

But that’s not how they see it in the City of Buttinsky Angels:

The Los Angeles city attorney filed a lawsuit Tuesday to shut down a mobile phone application that arranges medical marijuana home deliveries.

The suit alleges that the iPhone and Android free app, Nestdrop, is a “flagrant attempt” to bypass restrictions contained in Proposition D, the medical marijuana law approved by Los Angeles voters last year.

Nestdrop links customers with delivery services. It started as an alcoholic beverage delivery service but added marijuana in November, promising arrival within an hour.

Pot delivery is currently only available in Los Angeles, but the company has said it wants to expand throughout Southern California.

California, the birthplace of beach music and hotrods, now takes the fun out of everything.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Do SSRI Antidepressants Increase Suicidal Thoughts?

Monday, November 10th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

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Hope springs eternal, but so do financial crises in hospitals. Once, while researching the history of the hospital in which I was working at the time, I discovered that it had been so short of money in the 1840s that it had been forced to sell some land to a railway company that wanted to build a line near the hospital. The physicians were against the sale, for they feared the noise of the trains might kill the patients, “especially the brain cases.” They were overruled, and when the first train went by they observed the patients anxiously to monitor the adverse effect on them. There was none.

However, psychiatric hospitals seem often to be built near railway lines, which act as a magnet to the patients who are suicidal. Patients of such hospitals who commit suicide while on the premises usually do so by hanging, while those who do so outside usually jump from a tall building or throw themselves in front of trains.

A paper from Germany in a recent edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry analyzes the characteristics of 100 suicides of psychiatric patients who threw themselves in front of trains conveniently near to the hospitals in which they were resident at the time. It took the authors ten years to collect their sample, whom they compared with other patients of the same age, sex and psychiatric diagnosis who did not throw themselves in front of trains. The object of the exercise was to see whether such suicides could be predicted and therefore prevented. The authors rather laconically remark that when a man throws himself in front of a train — and nearly two-thirds of the cases were men — it is likely that he really means to die.

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What Do You Predict for Marijuana Laws & Culture In the Next 10 Years?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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From USA Today: “Where America landed on marijuana”

While Florida voters narrowly rejected a plan to legalize medical marijuana, voters in Washington, D.C., Oregon, and Alaska approved recreational pot posession and use by adults

And in Guam, voters legalized medical marijuana use, according to initial returns showing Proposal 14A passing with more than half of the vote.

Supporters say the legalization wins indicate voters think America’s pot prohibition is a failure, especially since non-presidential elections tend to draw an older, more conservative electorate. Twenty-three states and the nation’s capital already permit medical marijuana. Tuesday’s vote means Washington, D.C., Alaska and Oregon join Colorado and Washington in allowing adults to posses and consume marijuana just for fun.

At the Daily Beast on Tuesday: “Judge Could Smash Marijuana Law

Three states, one district, and two cities will vote on various aspects of the nation’s drug laws on Tuesday but the most crucial marijuana decision being weighed in the coming days will be made by just one person. U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller could be about to start a legal revolution.

After a five-day hearing in California, she is considering the validity of the science surrounding pot’s classification as one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.

In May, she became the first judge in decades to agree to hear evidence relating to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of marijuana which puts it in the same category as heroin and meth. Over the next few weeks, Mueller will comb through hundreds of pages of witness testimony, scientific research, and public health policy to determine whether the Schedule I Substance classification of marijuana is unconstitutional.

Her ruling will only apply in the specific case she is hearing, but some argue that a first judicial ruling against the legality of the DEA’s current drug classifications would invite a flood of similar legal challenges all over the country.

What would you like to see happen? What do you intend to support or oppose? What are the worst and best case scenarios?

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image illustration via shutterstock / 

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‘I’m Just Trying to Troll People and Make Them Feel Really Bad.’

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Sex and Death Daily Survey

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Don’t miss last week’s links, collected here: “The 2 Most Disgusting, Soul-Crushing Stories From Last Week (And 81 Competitors)” and Monday’s round-up here: “Man Sent By ISIS to Rape Pit Bull In Neighbor’s Yard? Clown Thugs Terrorize Paris?“ See shocking stories you think should should be included? Tweet them to @DaveSwindle.

At Vice Tuesday:

1. THE GUY TROLLING INSTAGRAM WITH HUNDREDS OF PHOTOS OF ANIMAL CORPSES

VICE: What happened to you as a child? Why do you need to make everybody hate you?
Deadanimalsikilled: Maybe I just didn’t get enough attention. Maybe if people cared about me more, I wouldn’t be forced to post such terrible pictures.

Where do you get the photos?
I usually get the images from Yahoo, because I thought that it would be harder for people to find them on Google and realize I was fake. I don’t know if that logic makes sense. I’m just trying to troll people and make them feel really bad.

It seems like they’re trying to make you feel bad, too. How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been doing running Deadanimalsikilled since October 2013. I started with a mouse, and I’m working my way up into larger and larger game. I feel like that’s what a serial killer would do. First a rat, then a crow, and so on.

I get a lot of death threats. People want me dead.

Via Drudge Tuesday:

2. Ann Romney Blasts Dem For Sexist Slur… 

3. ‘Escort whore out the door’…

4. Pope Blesses Exorcists…

 

At Breitbart:

5. Police Won’t Say If Alleged Killers of 9-Year-Old Girl Are Illegal Immigrants

6. David Axelrod: Gun Violence More of a Threat Than Ebola

 

At Mother Jones:

7. Buzz Kill: Pot Growers May Be Wiping Out This Cute Furry Mammal

Fishers are forest-dwelling, cat-sized mammals—and one of the only known predators of porcupines—that were nearly wiped out by trapping and logging during the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the current threats to the fishers are familiar, like wildfires and logging. But FWS found the misuse of rodenticides, more commonly known as rat poison, to be a “relatively recent and troubling threat.” There are now about 4,000 fishers left in dispersed pockets in California, Oregon, and Washington. FWS cited a study that found rat poison in the blood of 85 percent of fishers studied between 2012 and 2014.

The rise in rodenticide usage stems partly from the proliferation of “trespass grows,” or hidden spots in public parks, forests, and tribal lands where marijuana growers cultivate their goods. Each year, the United States grows about 22 million pounds of marijuana, and nearly half of the cannabis eradicated by law enforcement comes from trespass grows. It’s difficult to overstate how much the grows contribute to the weed industry: In 2013, 72 percent of the outdoor plants seized by law enforcement in California came from trespass grows.

At Salon:

8. Driving to an abortion clinic in Texas is really expensive

9. Police say they can’t stop child molester from hanging out with “Honey Boo Boo” kids

 TMZ reports that McDaniel is only legally prohibited from spending time with Shannon’s daughter Anna Cardwell, whom he forced to engage in oral sex when she was 8 years old. McDaniel subsequently served 10 years in prison on other charges, and reportedly rekindled his relationship with Shannon when he was released in March.

According to law enforcement officials, McDaniel has not been in violation of legal requirements that he stay away from Cardwell, who is now 20 and has a child of her own.

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Can We Stop Calling Clash Drummer Topper Headon ‘Underrated’?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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My PJ Media colleague Allston has just launched his call for your “greatest rock drummers.”

(Be sure to add your nominations in his comments.)

Allston will annoy a lot of people by saying that Keith Moon wasn’t a good drummer.

I’ll leave it to actual drummers and other musicians to fight that out.

As a fan of The Who, I don’t necessarily disagree; Pete Townshend has said as much, but added — and this is the key — that The Who wouldn’t have been The Who without him.

Even Moon himself acknowledged his technical limitations by joking that he was “the best Keith Moon type drummer in the world.”

But I wanted to get in on Allston’s round up early, by nominating someone who other drummers say was highly skilled technically.

They also insist on calling him “underrated” – there are 14,000 Google hits and counting — to the point at which that word has almost replaced his real nickname, “Topper.”

Surely being called “underrated” for 20+ adds up to The Clash’s Nicky Headon — “the human drum machine” — qualifying as one of the best?

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Why Smoking Bans Are More Dangerous Than Smoking

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Robert Wargas
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One lamentable feature of the contemporary West is the ruthless efficiency of the nanny state. It works overnight. You wake up, slouch over your coffee and corn flakes, and read of the new Bad Thing that must be stopped Right Now. In Britain, the latest activity slated for oblivion is smoking in public parks. Readers, I’m sure, do not need to be reminded that parks are outdoor places; the traditional excuse of “secondhand smoke” does not appear to apply (although it is possible to find “studies” on the dangers of “thirdhand smoke”).

Nevertheless, British officials moved quickly. In September 2013, the mayor of London, alleged conservative Boris Johnson, ordered a “major review of health in the capital,” according to The Independent. The results are already in: Lord Darzi, Britain’s former health minister and the appointed chair of Johnson’s special commission, has said smoking needs to be banned in London’s parks and public squares. There is news that ”councils throughout England are also understood to be analysing how the proposals could be applied locally, paving the way for potentially the biggest crackdown on smoking since the Smoke Free legislation of 2007.”

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Is It Better to Drink Coffee or Tea? Or Avoid Both?

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

Hat tip to Jon Rowe, from The Atlantic in 2012: “The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like”

“Coffee and caffeine have been inexorably intertwined in our thinking, but truth is coffee contains a whole lot of other stuff with biological benefits,” said Martin. And most concerns about caffeine’s negative effects on the heart have been dispelled. In June, a meta-analysis of ten years of research went so far as to find an inverse association between habitual, moderate consumption and risk of heart failure. The association peaked at four cups per day, and coffee didn’t stop being beneficial until subjects had increased their daily consumption to beyond ten cups.

Caffeine might also function as a pain reliever. A study from September suggested as much when its authors stumbled across caffeinated coffee as a possible confounding variable in its study of the back, neck, and shoulder pains plaguing office drones: Those who reported drinking coffee before the experiment experienced less intense pain.

The data is even more intriguing — and more convincing — for caffeine’s effects as a salve against more existential pains. While a small study this month found that concentrated amounts of caffeine can increase positivity in the moment, last September the nurses’ cohort demonstrated a neat reduction in depression rates among women that became stronger with increased consumption of caffeinated coffee.

And a new article at The Atlantic today: “Research suggests that a person’s consumption of the beverage is determined in part by his or her DNA—and that its benefits could extend beyond a caffeine buzz.”

A study released last Tuesday by an international consortium of caffeine scholars may help explain why some of these customers visited more often than others. Spearheaded by Marilyn Cornelis, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, the team investigated the link between genetics and coffee consumption. By analyzing DNA as well as data on 120,000 adults of European and African-American heritage, the researchers identified eight genetic variants that predispose individuals to seek out and drink caffeine.

“Our results show that people are naturally consuming the amount of coffee that allows them to maintain their optimal level of caffeine” to get that good caffeine feeling without becoming jittery, Cornelis told me. “If we need more, we’re reaching for it.”

Six of the genetic variants examined in the study were newly discovered by the researchers. According to Cornelis, individuals whose DNA expressed all the variants tended to drink around half a cup of coffee more than those without them. Additionally, the new genes can explain about 1.3 percent of all coffee-drinking behavior, or about the same amount that genes can explain other habits, like smoking and alcohol consumption. While those effects may seem small, Cornelis said the study sheds light on why individuals’ bodies and brains react differently to caffeineand how some people feel anxious after a single cup of coffee, whereas others can down a Starbucks Venti and feel just fine.

I wonder who the editor(s) might be at the Atlantic with the serious coffee habit…

Anyway, what do you recommend for daily caffeine consumption? Is waking up to the smell of coffee every morning a good enough reason to favor it over tea?

And if you have a coffee/tea or other product you’d like to see reviewed at PJ Lifestyle then please get in touch: DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail Dot Com @DaveSwindle on Twitter

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Are You a Bad Person if You Give to the Homeless?

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Robert Wargas

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A few weeks ago, I was in New York City to meet someone for drinks, and got on the subway at 34th and 7th to head downtown. I dislike the New York subway for many reasons. It is the only such system in a major Western city to look as if it had been swapped with the metro of a third-world backwater. Pick any otherwise dodgy country on Earth, and chances are the subway of its capital city is a gleaming tube with smooth rolling stock and palatial stations. Not New York. The trains lurch between filthy platforms like winos stumbling to and from tenement doorsteps.

It is also a place in which I am continually confronted with the human condition. Sometimes it takes the form of rudeness; other times, drunkenness. On this particular day, it was poverty. Immediately after the doors closed, a disheveled man entered the car at the far end, battered cap in hand, and made the following announcement to us passengers:

“Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention for one moment, please,” he said loudly. “I don’t want to bother you, but I am a homeless veteran. If you could spare some money, I would greatly appreciate it.”

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Flip the Frog Hallucinating in the Opium Den

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon

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Is It Really a Shock So Many Americans Are On Drugs?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I read the headline at Drudge: HHS shock: 1 in 12 Americans use illegal drugs, could fill all MLB stadiums 19 times:

America is doped up — and drunk.

According to a shocking new report from the Health and Human Services Department, there were 24.6 million people aged 12 or older who used illicit drugs during just one month last year.

“That’s enough people to fill every major league baseball stadium in the U.S. 19 times,” said the report. There are 30 MLB stadiums.

Even worse: Of the 24.6 million dopers, 2.2 million were adolescents aged 12 to 17.

Actually, I’m surprised the number isn’t higher. It’s like the ’70s all over again but worse, with drugs, apathy and incompetence rewarded or at least rarely penalized and success, achievement and hard work treated with disdain and distaste. I wonder where this will lead?

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen, image illustration via shutterstock / 

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Free Pot for Veterans This Saturday!

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Stephen Green
Stoned soldiers.

Stoned soldiers.

Vets in Colorado Springs will have the chance to get free pot this Saturday, courtesy of Operation Grow4Vets:

The organization’s goal is to help veterans suffering from emotional and physical pain. They hosted their largest-ever cannabis giveaway event in Denver Saturday. KDVR reported about 500 people–mostly veterans–attended that event. Each veteran at Saturday’s event got $200 worth of cannabis products for free, according to KDVR. The bag included a week’s supply of tincture, a cannabis chocolate, and eight marijuana seeds to grow.

I’d rather see MDMA legalized for this kind of purpose, as it’s been shown time and again to have real and lasting benefits to helping people cope with PTSD.

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cross-posted form Vodkapundit

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How Many People Show Up to Work Stoned?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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According to this article, 10% of Americans go to work high:

Showing up to work high? You’re not alone.

A new report has found nearly 1 in 10 Americans are showing up to work high on marijuana. Mashable.com conducted the survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey, and found 9.7 percent of Americans fessed up to smoking cannabis before showing up to the office.

The data analyzed the marijuana and prescription drug habits of 534 Americans. What’s more, nearly 81 percent said they scored their cannabis illegally, according to the survey.

Cannabis and the workplace seem quite linked lately. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel recently chimed in on marijuana and work. While criticizing Twitter during an appearance on CNBC Wednesday, Thiel said Twitter is a “… horribly mismanaged company—probably a lot of pot smoking going on there.”

I find it amazing that this many people would confess to smoking at work and that 81% stated that they obtained the cannabis illegally. Some businesses drug test but others don’t or can’t afford it.

Do you mind if your barista or server is high? What about your doctor? Isn’t this a problem to be taken more seriously? How are these high people getting to work? I see a lot of people in my area riding bikes on the main roads these days. Maybe they are high just trying to get to work. I guess a bike is better than driving, but it still doesn’t seem like a great idea.

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustrated via shutterstock / gabriel12

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When Is a Public Health Emergency Really an Emergency?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

The question is important because public health emergencies allow governments to ignore the usual restrictions or restraints upon their actions. In public health emergencies, governments can override property rights and abrogate all kinds of civil liberties such as freedom of movement. They can .r our goods and tells us where to go and where to stay. They do so only for our own good: health being the highest good, of course.

A recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the issue in the context of the declaration of a public health emergency in Massachusetts by the governor of that state, Deval Patrick.

In most people’s minds, no doubt, a public health emergency would be something like the Black Death, the epidemic of plague that wiped out a third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century. A natural disaster of large proportions might also count, not only because of the death and injury caused directly by the disaster, but by the epidemics which often follow such disasters.

What, then, was the public health emergency that “obliged” Patrick to declare that it existed and that he could and should take uncontrolled administrative measures to halt it?

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Will (Not) Work for Pot

Friday, September 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

GOOD STUFF

You probably already saw yesterday’s Washington Times report that welfare recipients can use EBT cards to buy pot. If not, here’s the gist:

Welfare recipients can’t use their EBT cards at liquor stores but they can at marijuana dispensaries in states such as Colorado that have legalized pot, Sen. Jeff Sessions revealed Tuesday.

The Alabama Republican announced that he was drafting legislation to close the welfare-for-weed loophole after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to him that marijuana shops were not off limits to EBT cards, which replaced food stamps, or other federal benefits.

I know there’s a proper moral attitude of “They shouldn’t be allowed to use welfare money to buy [junk food/booze/cigarettes/pot/lap dances]!” But money being fungible, the most you can do is put up easily-scalable barriers to people doing what they will with other people’s money.

But leave it to Berkeley to take an uncomfortable situation and make it comically awful:

The Berkeley City Council has passed a law requiring medical marijuana dispensaries to distribute 2 percent of their stashes to people making less than $32,000 per year or $46,000 per family.

Under the new ordinance, which was approved unanimously this summer, only city residents will be eligible and they must have a prescription.

‘Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine,” Councilman Darryl Moore told CBS San Francisco.

Everybody knows that in California, “medical marijuana” was just stealth legalization, so let’s not pretend this is about helping low-income grandma afford her glaucoma relief. This is just Berkeley being Berkeley, and if there’s a way they can glean a bit of smug moral superiority by giving away other people’s stuff, they will.

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cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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