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12 Signs You’ve Sought Redemption Through the Religion of Pop

Sunday, July 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Pop culture has become as much of a religious powerhouse as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism or any other faith. Don’t believe me? Sit in a college classroom. Better yet, attend a fan convention or simply rent the film Trekkies. Films, shows, bands, comic books and their like have become, for some, sources of spiritual nourishment. Do you feel the power?

12. What was once DVR-able is now weekly appointment television.

“Appointment TV” doesn’t begin to describe your weekly ritual. All pressing engagements are pushed aside, phones are silenced, and ritual food is laid out on the coffee table to be partaken in as the ceremony commences. You still DVR the show for good measure, being sure to re-watch at least once, if not multiple times in deep study so that you may discuss the meanings of both text and subtext with fellow fans.

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California’s New Booming Business: Medical Marijuana Home Delivery

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

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I don’t know if there’s anything like this yet in Colorado, but California has a booming business in medical marijuana home delivery:

Needing to replenish his stash of pot one recent afternoon, the Burbank resident dialed Speed Weed. Within the hour, a driver arrived with a white paper bag carrying a gram of cannabis, 10 joints and a handful of pot-infused candies and cookies.

“They come to my house, and they’re in and out,” said Reichle, 39, a comedian who spends about $100 a week on medical marijuana. “I shouldn’t have to go to a store.”

I say this as a guy who isn’t about to pare down his martini habit, but doesn’t $100 a week sound a bit excessive? I remember what the stuff used to cost a quarter century ago and how long each purchase would last, and inflation doesn’t come anywhere near to covering the difference. I don’t see how anyone can ingest that much THC and still stand up off the sofa to go to the bathroom, much less do comedy.

That aside, the story opens by claiming that Reichle “couldn’t have gotten a pepperoni pizza much faster.” And I bet right now he’s thinking, “Mmm, pizza.”

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Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

image via shutterstock / Juan Camilo Bernal

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Will Legal Marijuana Be a Bonanza for Trial Lawyers?

Saturday, June 14th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

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Pressure to control the consumption of tobacco has grown in tandem with the pressure to liberalize the consumption of marijuana. Perhaps this is not a paradox in the most literal sense, but it is certainly very striking.  The yin of prohibition, it seems, always goes along with the yang of permission.

An article in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the forthcoming tussle between what it calls Big Marijuana – the commercial interests, analogous to Big Tobacco, that will inevitably grow if marijuana ever becomes as accepted as tobacco once was – and the public health authorities.  For while the smoking of marijuana does not yet cause anything like as many health problems as tobacco or alcohol, it would do so if its use were as general as the use of tobacco or alcohol. A little statistic that was published some time ago in the Lancet caught my eye: the French police attribute 3 percent of fatal road accidents to intoxication with cannabis and 30 percent to intoxication with alcohol. If, as seems likely, ten times as many Frenchmen drive drunk as drive stoned, marijuana is as dangerous as alcohol where driving is concerned.

The authors of the article point out that commercial growers and marketers of marijuana are likely, given the chance, to resort to all the techniques and obfuscations employed by the tobacco companies. They will minimize the harms done by marijuana while trying to increase the concentration of the very substance in their product that does the harm. The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in modern cannabis plants is already much higher than it was when hippiedom first struck the western world; Uruguay, where the cultivation and sale of cannabis has recently been legalized, is attempting to control the strains of cannabis that can be sold, with what success remains to be seen.

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3 Songs With Sweet Music And Stupid Words

Friday, May 30th, 2014 - by Andrew Klavan

I don’t have a lot of pet peeves — why would I keep a peeve as a pet? But since this is supposed to be a cultural blog, I’ll tell you a cultural phenomenon that really bugs me: songs with beautiful music that have crappy lyrics. Now remember those criteria…  don’t come back on me and say, “Hey, that song is lovely.” I know it is.  The music is. The music is lovely and catchy and lyrical…  but that’s exactly what makes the crummy lyrics so, so annoying.

Remember this one? Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill:

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Really pretty tune but come on!

“Sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much, and I have to close my eyes and hide. I want to hold you till I die, till we both break down and cry. I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides.”

I mean, gag me with a spoon! Dan! Danster! Are you a dude or a chick? “I want to hold you… till we both break down and cry?” Bleagh! Does a huggy-wuggy make you weepy-deepy? “I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides…” I’m sorry, check me on this, ladies. If a guy actually said that to you would you 1) laugh in his face and dump him or 2) well, wait, there is no 2…

[My wife says I'd like the song if the sexes were reversed. You know: holding a tremulous girl until her fear subsides...  kind of sexy. But this is exactly why I make my wife live in the basement. Or would, if I had a basement. If she's going to start expecting me to make sense, our marriage is doomed!]

Anyway, later in the song, there’s this gender-non-specific stinker: “I’m just another writer, still trapped within his truth.” Hey, listen, I have that problem too. Mostly, it’s when a little piece of cloth gets stuck in the zipper. Just pull sharply.

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Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 5: The Drug of Disinformation

Monday, May 5th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The Introduction to Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge: Starting Down the Yellow Brick Road…

Part 1: The Mask of Marxism

Part 2: Getting to the Heart of Social Justice

Part 3: Who Needs a Brain?

Part 4: Are Conservatives Cowards?

“The August 1991 coup in Moscow collapsed three days after it had started, providing the ultimate, ironic proof that nothing, not even a coup, could succeed any more in a society whose vital arteries had been calcified by 70 years of disinformation and dismal feudalism. The main loser was the Communist Party.”

– Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa

Both the Democrat and Republican parties have been disinformed by Marxism. The Liberal wing of the Democrat Party has been duped into putting their faith in Marxism’s many forms (socialism, economic determinism, progressivism), while the Republican Party has legitimized Marxism as a form of party politics instead of a murderous, atheistic religion that empowers despots. The Conservative movement, by and large, is slow to recognize Marxism’s true nature, because we are a nation that has been drugged by Disinformation. Pacepa continues:

At the end of the 2001 summit meeting held in Slovenia, President George W. Bush said: “I looked the man [Putin] in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.” Unfortunately, even President Bush was deceived by disinformation. Putin consolidated Russia into an intelligence dictatorship, not a democracy. During the Cold War, the KGB was a state within a state. Under Putin, the KGB, rechristened the FSB, is the state. Three years after Putin enthroned himself in the Kremlin, some 6,000 former officers of the KGB—that organization responsible for having slaughtered at least 20 million people in the Soviet Union alone—were running Russia’s federal and local governments.

…Is it too far-fetched to suggest that this new Russia calls up the hypothetical image of a postwar Germany being run by former Gestapo officers, who reinstate Hitler’s “Deutschland Über Alles” as national anthem, call the demise of Nazi Germany a “national tragedy on an enormous scale,” and invade a neighboring country, perhaps Poland, the way Hitler set off World War II?

That is the secret power of disinformation.

Pacepa share these thoughts with me mere weeks before the Ukranian revolution and secession of the Crimea to Putin’s Russia. Disinformation is wielding its power on the American homefront as well. In his critique of Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, David Brooks embraces Piketty’s idea of a tax on the wealthy’s investment capital in order to create intellectual equality among the classes:

Think of how much more affordable fine art would be. Think of how much more equal the upper class would be.

His musings aren’t that far off from those of Russian intellectuals, who are “making do” with their government’s clampdown on free media and the right to protest. In exchange for their rights, these Russians whose intellectual arteries have been “calcified by disinformation” are being doted upon by their increasingly despotic government:

All sorts of entertainment is being lavished on Russia’s hipsters. Their favorite public parks have splashy, beautifully designed restaurants and clubs, comfortable biking areas and luxurious places to chill. Sanctions or not, Fedoseyev’s friends can still dine out at restaurants full of expats, take shopping trips to Milan, or buy their electronic gadgets online. Fashion Week this weekend was another party blooming with charming models and celebrities; the usual hipsters clubs, Solianka, Simachev, Oldich Dress and Drink or Strelka, felt as cuddly and crowded as ever.

To paraphrase Brooks, it would seem that the fine art is quite affordable in Russia these days. Like junkies seeking a quick fix, Russian intellectuals pursue disinformation at the expense of their freedom. Is Brooks suggesting we do the same, or have we already succumbed to the addiction? In either case, what we need to know now is: What is the antidote to disinformation?

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Ohio Paper Can’t Find a Single Person to Argue Against Legalizing Pot… Really??

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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According to Mediaite, an “Ohio Paper Can’t Find a Single Person to Argue Against Legalizing Pot.” On 4/15, the Dayton City Paper (DCP) published a “debate” about marijuana legalization it its “forum” section. DCP moderator Alex Culpepper offered a fairly balanced introduction to the debate followed by a pro-legalization piece, “Debate Left: Don’t Believe the Damning Hype About Marijuana” by Marianne Stanley, who is listed as a DCP blogger on the paper’s website. Next to Stanley’s opinion piece is a large empty space with the following disclaimer:

[Editor's note: On behalf of the Dayton City Paper staff, we apologize, but we were unable to locate a debate writer who was able to submit a view opposed to the legalization of marijuana in Ohio at this time.]

The Dayton City Paper (not to be confused with the widely circulated mainstream Dayton Daily News) is a free weekly alternative newspaper that describes itself this way:

Dayton City Paper offers pages full of challenges to prevailing notions, investigations of local institutions and voices that are not those of the usual figureheads in the community. Our entertainment pages are filled with local talent — jazz musicians, filmmakers and musicians. The paper is unabashedly local, unashamedly grassroots and absolutely alternative. And the Dayton market loves it.

DCP claims a circulation of 18,000 (and somehow that swells to a readership of 132,000) through its distribution at over 500 pick-up locations, marketed to an audience you would expect to support legalizing pot:

Dayton City Paper consistently delivers a valuable audience mix of professionals, community leaders and university students. This is an audience interested in our unique coverage of music, art and independent thought. These are readers that other print media wish they could have: professional women, young adults, the highly educated and those with high disposable incomes and the imagination to spend creatively.

None of my friends in Dayton have even heard of the paper, for what that’s worth, and even many Reddit users from the area had never heard of it, though those who did said it was mainly distributed in student-oriented bars and shops around several Dayton-area universities and colleges.

Is it possible that DCP couldn’t find a single person willing to argue against legalizing pot? Well, anything is possible, but the more likely scenario is that the cool kids over at DCP don’t actually associate with the types of people who might be in opposition — or even know where to find them. Their disclaimer (and the celebratory headline that followed from Mediaite) suggests an editorial staff that didn’t try very hard. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out studies showing that long-term cannabis use stifles motivation. You can draw your own conclusion.

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The New Charlotte’s Web Medicine

Friday, April 18th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

My home state of Colorado is a guinea pig for the pros and cons of marijuana legalization. Other states are observing closely to see if they should move down the path towards legalization.

There’s plenty of bad news to go around. Police in other states are pulling over Colorado drivers with no justification other than the green license plate. (We’re all stoners now, I guess.) A college student named Levy Thamba fell to his death from a high balcony during spring break after eating a marijuana cookie. And last week a Denver man who ate pot-infused candy became incoherent and paranoid and shot his wife to death.

Is there good news? Turns out there is. Colorado Springs is the source of the Charlotte’s Web strain of medical marijuana that has sent parents with gravely ill children flocking to the city for treatment.

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The strain was developed by Joel Stanley and his brothers in their Colorado Springs medical marijuana facility. They’d read that marijuana strains that are high in a chemical called CBD can help to shrink tumors and prevent seizures. The chemical in marijuana that gets users high is called THC, and since it has an adverse affect on seizures the Stanley’s bred it out of the plant.

Their first patient, 5 year old Charlotte Figis, was so affected by a genetic seizure condition called Dravet’s Syndrome that she was not expected to live much longer. Today, she’s almost seizure free. The Stanley brothers named the strain after their first little patient, and it’s showing the world what medical uses marijuana can offer.

Today there are nearly a hundred families with gravely ill children who have relocated to Colorado Springs, purchasing a treatment for their children that would have landed them in prison just a few years ago. Medical marijuana is well known to help in the treatment of nausea in cancer and AIDs patients, but the strains now being investigated may uncover new lifesaving medicines such as Charlotte’s Web.

The recreational use of marijuana is proving to be the problem it was predicted to be, but while the stoners fill the headlines the researchers in medical marijuana are quietly making amazing advances in the treatment of illnesses. That’s some very good news indeed.

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Image via CNN Health.

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Does Valium Increase Your Chances of An Early Death?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

Nearly half a century ago, in 1965, the Rolling Stones wrote a song called Mother’s Little Helper. The words went:

Kids are different today, I hear ev’ry mother say

Mother needs something today to calm her down

And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill

She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper

And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day…

They continued:

And if you take more of those

You will get an overdose

No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper

They just helped you on your way

Through your busy dying day…

The pill was valium (diazepam) and the yellow pill was 5 milligrams – as it still is. White is 2 milligrams and blue is 10.

The song was not great poetry, perhaps, but for pop music it was prescient pharmacovigilance, the epidemiological study of the adverse effects of drugs: though strictly speaking overdoses of diazepam are not dangerous. Many thousands of people have taken overdoses of diazepam in attempts to kill themselves with it, but few have succeeded unless they took something else with it.

However, it has long been known that diazepam and other similar drugs cause falls in the elderly, and such falls are often the precursor of death. It has also been suspected that, by some unspecified mechanism, diazepam (and sleeping draughts of all kinds) promote death.

A paper in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal compares the death rates of primary care patients who were prescribed diazepam-like medicines and hypnotics with those who never were prescribed them more than once (they excluded patients who had been prescribed them only once because it was possible that they had never taken them, which was unlikely if they were prescribed them twice). The authors compared the records of 37,000 of the former with 63,000 of the latter. They attempted to match them for such variables as age, social class, sex, and medical and psychiatric history. They followed the patients for an average of 7.6 years.

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We’re No Better Than The Walking Dead In Dealing with the Mentally Ill

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

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Love it or hate it, The AMC channel hit series The Walking Dead is a mirror of our culture. The show is nominally an apocalyptic zombie series but it is really about how people deal with a total societal collapse.

The answer is: Badly. Usually very badly.

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Episode #14 of season 4, “The Grove,” is a thoughtful and tragic examination of what a society should or can do with a psychopath. (Spoilers!) Set in the woodlands of the American south after a zombie apocalypse, in this episode a group of five refugees find a cabin to stop and rest for a few days. There, disturbed young Lizzie goes homicidal. She stabs another little girl to death. Her mother-figure, Carol, then asks her to “look at the flowers” while she prepares to execute her, the only solution possible in their terrible new world.

The clues were all there, laid out carefully in past episodes. The girl had an obsession with capturing and cutting up live rats. She had sudden outbreaks of violent rage and anger. She was fascinated with zombies and couldn’t distinguish between the living and the dead.

The clues are all here in the real world as well, and we are no better at preventing the slaughter when a mentally disturbed person decides to kill. The Sandy Hook killer, the Aurora theater killer, the murderer at Virginia Tech, the killers at Columbine High School, all exhibited distinct indicators of violence and psychosis. All of these killers were under psychiatric care and on medically prescribed drugs. Each of them showed signs like little Lizzie on The Walking Dead, and her path ended the same as theirs, in blood.

In “The Grove,” just as in America today, we wait until a disturbed person becomes a killer and only then do we do something about them. Only then do they receive the confines of a cell or a grave. We can do better than this. Unlike Carol on The Walking Dead, we have options.

In the heartbreaking and frightening essay “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” the mother of a mentally disturbed boy explains how she cannot find care for him. “With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill.” This mother doesn’t want to put her innocent (but violent and disturbed) twelve-year-old boy in prison. Would you like to live in a world where people are jailed for crimes they might commit? Instead, we need to re-build our mental health care system in this country and that includes treatment centers and hospitals. If we don’t, we will continue to endure the slaughter of innocents at the hands of the mentally ill.

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10 Controversial Medical Questions Answered by Dr. Dalrymple

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

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Editor’s Note: Dr. Theodore Dalrymple has been contributing thoughtful pieces on medicine, culture, and politics to PJ Media for a number of years. This is the beginning of an attempt to collect and organize some of his writings on similar subjects. Here is an assortment of 10 articles weighing in on perpetual medical controversies.

1. Is obesity a disease or a moral failing?

2. Should an alcoholic be allowed a second liver transplant?

3. Are psychiatric disorders the same as physical diseases?

4. Do doctors turn their patients into drug addicts?

5. As life expectancy increases will the elderly become too much of a burden on society?

6. Is marijuana a medicine?

7. Is nutrition really that important for good health?

8. Is drug addiction really just like any other illness?

9. Are obese children victims of child abuse?

10. Should you vaccinate your kids?

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Should Taxpayers Pay for the Junky’s Substitute Smack?

Monday, February 17th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

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The problem with banks, say their critics, is that they privatize their profits but nationalize their debts. But this is perfectly normal behaviour for human beings: did not Bastiat say that the state is the means by which everyone seeks to live at everyone else’s expense? How many people seek the freedom to behave as they wish while expecting others to pay for the adverse consequences? Moral hazard has become our way of life.

An article in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association advocates the distribution of a drug called naloxone to heroin and opioid addicts. Thousands of such addicts die of overdoses of these drugs each year in America, and naloxone is an effective antidote to them that reverses their effect. More than half of the 38,000 deaths from overdose in the United States are from prescription drugs, and 16,000 of them from prescribed opioids, more than from illegal heroin.

The article cites evidence from Wilkes County in North Carolina (the county with the third highest rate of deaths from opioid overdose in the country) that the distribution of naloxone to addicts has almost halved the death rate from overdose. Not all those whose lives were saved were either prescribed opioids by pain clinics or addicted to street heroin: they were foolish friends or acquaintances of either of these types of people who had been induced to try their drugs.

What is completely lacking in this article is any wider perspective. The people who pay for the naloxone are often not the people taking heroin or opioids; one might have supposed that those who can afford street heroin, at the very least, could also afford to buy their own naloxone. If they do not care enough for their own safety to do so, it can be argued that no one else should care – unless, of course, they are deemed, like Ophelia, to be “incapable of their own distress.” But if so, why should they be left free to take the heroin in the first place? In other words, like bankers, addicts want to be free to indulge in their own excess but  want someone else to pick up the pieces when the excess leads to a smash.

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Which Drug Is the Best, Worst, Most Dangerous: Tobacco, Alcohol, Marijuana, Heroin or Caffeine?

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

What does the future hold for California's experiment with marijuana as medicine?

USA Today: Obama: Pot no more dangerous than alcohol

President Obama says marijuana use is no more dangerous than alcohol, though he regards it as a bad habit he hopes his children will avoid.

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” he said in a magazine interview. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

He said marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”

“It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy,” he said.

Obama made his remarks in a series of interviews with The New Yorker, which published a story about the conversations in its Jan. 27 issue and on its website.

Marijuana remains illegal to possess or sell under federal law, although Colorado and Washington have adopted state laws making it legal to possess and use small amounts. A number of states have decriminalized the weed and authorized it for medical uses.

Obama said he was troubled by the disproportionate arrests and imprisonment of minorities on marijuana charges.

“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.

Bridget Johnson at the PJ Tatler: Obama Praises CVS for Pulling All Tobacco Products from Its Shelves

Drugstore chain CVS got a shout out from President Obama after announcing this morning that it would stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the country.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

“As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace,” Merlo added.

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CNN: How heroin kills you

 The autopsy results aren’t in yet, but police believe heroin played a role in the death of Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman — if not the primary role.

Using heroin can kill you, but it may not be in the way you think. If Hoffman did die from using heroin, his death was atypical in some aspects. Here’s how heroin kills.

Most people die from heroin overdoses when their bodiesforget to breathe.

“Heroin makes someone calm and a little bit sleepy, but if you take too much then you can fall asleep, and when you are asleep your respiratory drive shuts down,” said Dr. Karen Drexler, director of the addiction psychiatry residency training program and an associate professor in Emory University’s psychiatry and behavioral sciences department.

“Usually when you are sleeping, your body naturally remembers to breathe. In the case of a heroin overdose, you fall asleep and essentially your body forgets.”

A heroin overdose can also cause your blood pressure to dip significantly and cause your heart to fail.

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Why Would Someone in Colorado Keep Buying Weed Illegally?

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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It’s now legal to buy pot in two different ways in Colorado. You can get clearance to use it for medicinal purposes, or you can just go to a dispensary and buy your pot and pay sales and other taxes along the way.

BuzzFeed reports that many in Colorado are just keeping on buying their pot illegally.

But some people like Mario, a 31-year-old graduate student who works part-time at a restaurant, are still turning to the black market for their weed.

Sitting in a vegetarian café near his Denver apartment that has a bathroom covered in graffiti like “Urban Farming Is The Future!”, Mario said he feared being on a medical registry while still in school.

A lifelong Colorado resident, Mario, a slight man with glasses and a goatee, who asked that his last name to be withheld, has yet to step foot in a dispensary. That’s because he can get an ounce of weed for $60 from a coworker whose family member has a home grow. Granted, that’s an unusually low price, as high-quality green generally costs an average of $237 an ounce, according to priceofweed.com, a self-described “global price index for marijuana.”

Purchased legally, without a medical card, that same amount would put him out around $400.

“I’m afraid that information could get somehow compromised,” he said about his fears of his loans being affected by being on a medical registry. “The last thing I’d want is to get my federal funding cut off.”

Heaven forbid.

On the other hand, Mario’s fear of getting on any government list makes sense and should be encouraged.

Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler

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image courtesy shutterstock / KUCO

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An Open Letter to Stage Parents

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

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Dear Stage Parents,

I’m watching Justin Beiber’s public meltdown, but only because the headlines are so big. It’s a sure thing I’ve never actually listened to one of his songs, or at least not one all the way through. But I wonder if there might be a way for you to avoid having to watch your kids go through something similar.

What I came up with isn’t much. It might be enough though.

If you’re lucky enough to watch your kid have some success, take those earnings and put them in a blind trust. Let them have a generous allowance — enough to keep them comfortable, pay for tutors and college and all the rest. Just don’t let them have enough money to think they’re invincible and can load up the Ferrari with drugs and booze and yell obscenities at cops.

Because your kids aren’t invincible; they’re kids. Given that kind of power — and let’s remember that money is power — kids will almost always hurt themselves. We’ve seen it time and time again.

So put the bulk of that money in trust, where they can’t blow it all on booze and cars and whatnot. And keep it there until they turn 25. Or maybe even 30. Give them the opportunity to either transition gracefully and responsibly into adult stardom. Or should they fail that, give them the opportunity to learn to be responsible human beings before they come into a sudden fortune.

It’s the very rare child who can handle sudden wealth. It’s an even rarer child who ever becomes a real adult after acquiring it. And it’s rarer still for these grown child-adults to keep their fortunes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of watching talented, beautiful kids grow up to become ugly adult addicts — if they live long enough to do even that.

-Your Friendly Neighborhood VodkaPundit

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image via CBC News

cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Stealth Libertarianism?

Sunday, January 26th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

David Harsanyi thinks the American electorate might becoming more libertarian, rather than more progressive. Here’s why:

A cultural shift is not always an ideological one. Or, at least, not always the one you imagine. Our norms are always evolving. Immigration, pot legalization, same-sex marriage and “big business” are the issues that Rosenthal’s claims portend progressivism’s triumph. Yet, most of these are only incidentally progressive. Marijuana legalization or support for same-sex marriage is far more likely caused by a growing ‘live and let live’ mindset than any burst of leftist idealism. And if the ‘live and let live’ mindset starts bleeding into other area of American life — say education, health care or religious freedom– the left is in trouble.

In the end, the progressive agenda demands that you trust the state to control economic outcomes; an idea that is yet to be proven especially popular among Americans. Will it be? Who knows? But right now what does seem to be growing is skepticism towards government. Especially among the young. When Gallup asks, “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?” it doesn’t bode well for the left that a plurality– Independents, Republicans and Democrats – say its government. Fifty-three percent of Americans claim to believe government does “too many things.” (Forty percent think its powers should be expanded.) Add to this the fact that, according to Gallup, a record number of Americans (42 percent) are rejecting partisan labels and identifying as political independents. Sounds like there’s a growing number of voters with a libertarian disposition– though most would never articulate it that way.

This certainly fits in with what I’ve been trying to tell Republicans, who could stand to benefit the most from this shift towards skepticism. If they’d take their heads out, that is. Big government on social issues combined with me-tooism on the economy isn’t a winning ticket, as we keep learning the hard way.

If you want a glimpse of a successful future for the GOP, it might look something like this.

I remain pro-choice myself, if only moderately so, but the country as a whole has been moving the other direction — even as it becomes more accommodating (socially and legally) of gays.

Anyway, Harsanyi has written a good piece — read the whole thing.

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Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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3 Ways Marijuana Sorts Conservatives from Libertarians

Friday, January 24th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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I stand as guilty as the next guy of using the words “conservative” and “libertarian” interchangeably. Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of either term. When used, they conjure up whatever baggage a given mind associates with them, rather than what was intended. In the realm of politics, these terms get mushed together in an effort to rally coalition. Whatever a conservative and a libertarian are respectively, it would seem there aren’t enough of either for each to work alone.

That said, certain issues bring to the fore fundamental differences which exist between conservatives and libertarians. In the wake of Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana, drug prohibition gains fresh prominence as one such issue.

Prolific conservative author, editor, and publisher John Hawkins, who also contributes to PJ Media, provides fodder for discerning those differences in a recent piece at Townhall. “5 Reasons Marijuana Should Remain Illegal” lays out arguments which fall into three categories distinguishing conservatives from libertarians.

Understanding these differences requires some working definitions. Broadly speaking, a conservative seeks to maintain existing institutions and uphold or restore traditions. A libertarian prioritizes individual rights above all else, even at the expense of institutions and traditions. One can be a “conservative-libertarian” by supporting an institution like the family or the church without condoning the use of force to that end. The philosophical line of demarcation separates collectivism from individualism. With that said, let’s explore 3 ways marijuana sorts conservatives from libertarians.

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Now Humans Can Breathe Underwater Like Fish With New Scuba Mask That Generates Oxygen From Water

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

This is Week 2, Day 2 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. Minds.com: Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own

Spotlight-Odd-Looking-Scuba-Mask-Turns-You-Into-a-Fish

Hat tip Charlie Martin

2. Richard J. Epstein at Defining Ideas: How Democrats Kill Jobs

It is just fantasy to think that the addition of any new constraint to labor markets will make matters better than they are. Efforts to make workers better off by making employers worse off will not have their desired effect. It is of course easy to take employers down a notch. But the second half of the program is far harder to implement, given that employers have incentives to minimize their losses from regulation, and will do what it takes to avert the adverse effect of new external constraints.

3. At the PJ Tatler from Roger Kimball: The Truth About Benghazi and Obama

 4. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: The Fix Is In in the IRS Abuse Scandal

That strongly suggests states plainly that the White House counsel — political appointee Kathryn Ruemmler at the time — knew about the abuse before it was known to the public. That’s because it did: The White House counsel knew of the targeting very early on.

The IRS targeted more than just groups formed to oppose the president. It went after individuals, too, including Christine O’Donnell and Catherine Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht, founder of the election integrity King Street Patriots group, has had to fend off an alphabet soup of federal executive branch agencies. Who has the power to coordinate the activities of all those agencies, and send them after someone doing something that the president, by suing states that enact voter ID, has made clear that he does not like? The power to make all those agencies jump rests in the White House. Nowhere else.

Unlike Chris Christie’s Bridgegate, which hardly anyone cares about, a majority of the American people have consistently believed that the IRS targeting was deliberate and political. Obama himself said it “outraged” him, before he fake-fired the interim IRS chief and put the fix in place by appointing one of his own political contributors, Barbara Bosserman, to “investigate” it. Now his political contributor says “Nothing to see here, move along.” His Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, calls the abuse a “fake scandal.” So much for the president’s alleged outrage.

We had a good run as a republic, but if this stands and no one responsible is punished, then the Internal Revenue Service will be a tool of partisan politics for the foreseeable future. No one who criticizes a sitting president will be safe from harassment and abuse from a federal agency that can absolutely destroy lives.

5. Via my wife, doing research into the “natural hair movement,” from a blogger calling himself “Genuine Scholar”: White Men Appreciate Natural Hair More than Black Men: A Brotha’s Response

The reality is that a lot of Black men were raised and socialized to believe that hair textures matter and that one is superior to the other. It is also very easy to point the finger at Black men and call many of us horrible individuals for not embracing natural hair, but there has to be a very strong psychological root to this lack of embracement because there are a large number of Black women who feel the exact same way that many Black men feel.

I am writing this article to say that it is fine to date whoever you feel will appreciate you, but please do not label an entire race of men as being horrible or compare us to another race when the socialization, background, and circumstances are not the same. There are Black men who are very degrading to our natural sistas and that is not acceptable. But there are a lot of brothas who are mis-educated and need someone to enlighten them. The best thing we can do is to try to help educate more brothas and sistas about natural hair and pray they “get it”. If they don’t get it after being educated, then we can leave them drowning in their world of ignorance and keep it moving forward. One thing I have learned about natural sistas is that they do not need a man’s validation to know their worth but they appreciate when a brotha removes the blinders and embrace their natural beauty.

6. i09: Fox’s Gotham TV series is going to be Batman: The High School Years

Were you hoping that Fox’s Batman prequel TV series Gotham would be a tough crime procedural set on the mean streets of Gotham City? Or were you hoping it would be about teenaged Batman, The Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, and the Penguin all hanging out together? Because it’s the latter.

Sorry, I threw up in my mouth a little there. Fox chairman Kevin Reilly crushed the dreams of many a Bat-fan at Fox’s panel during the network’s Television Critics Association press tour earlier today. “This is all of the classic Batman characters,” Reilly continued. “It follows the arc of how they all became what they were. I’ve read the script its really good. It’s going to be this operatic soap that has a slightly larger-than-life quality.”

Apparently, the plan is exactly like Smallville, in that the show will show how each character, good and bad, become the hero or villain we all know today, and Reilly says the show will end when Batman puts on the cape for the first time.

I suppose in another lifetime I might’ve been mad about something dumb like this too. But Batman is a cartoon character. It doesn’t make much difference whether he’s in comic or tragic mode, does it?

7. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Benghazi: Obama Administration Lied Before They Lied

No excerpt. just read the whole thing. Absolutely incredible.

I wonder how much of the “Innocence of Muslims” disinformation strategy was all Valerie Jarrett’s idea. Any guesses? Who do you suppose came up with this scheme? How come her name hasn’t come up that much in this scandal?

8.  Mediaite: ‘Wishful Thinking’: Limbaugh Wants Obama to Cheat on Michelle

Rush Limbaugh is tired of Chris Christie’s“Bridgegate” debacle and wishes this country could have sexy political scandals like France. The radio host brought up the recent allegations that French President François Hollande has been having an affair with a younger actress before suggesting President Barack Obama do the same.

“Why can’t we have scandals like that anymore?’ Limbaugh asked. “Why can’t we have Obama running around on Michelle or something?”

Here’s an idea for a movie: the reverse of Wag the Dog. What if to distract from creeping Benghazi investigations President Jarrett instructs Obama to insert a cigar into one of the interns and stain their clothing? (Gotta stay gender-neutral in our jokes these days… Wouldn’t want anyone to accuse me of being homophobic.)

9. Jezebel: Cops Raid Justin Bieber’s House Looking for Eggs, Find Cocaine Instead

Curiouser and curiouser... #disney #aliceinwonderland

“Curiouser and Curiouser.”

I wonder how long it will be until cocaine is legal and sold at Wal-Mart. Cocaine is being increasingly normalized and accepted as marijuana becomes domesticated.

10. TMZ: BEANIE BABIES CREATOR DODGES JAIL TIME FOR TAX CHEATING

Sorry, kids, there won’t be a jailbird “Beanie Baby” after all … the billionaire creator of the cuddly plush toys just got sentenced for tax evasion … and managed to escape jail time.A judge sentenced Ty Warner to 2 years probation — despite a bid by prosecutors for a prison sentence — after the 69-year-old admitted he failed to report more than $24 mil in income between 1996 to 2008.The judge said he went easy on Warner — who’s worth a reported $2.3 BILLION –partly because of his charitable “acts of kindness, benevolence and generosity.”

After one story after another of corruption how about a laugh? Beanie babies reminds me of this hilarious Crank Yankers bit with Jimmy Kimmel imitating Karl Malone:

PJ Media Story Round Up

Bridget Johnson: Probe Finds White House Wanted to Make Sequestration as ‘Painful as Possible’ for Rural Schools

Stephen Kruisher: Media Matters Admits Chris Christie Is Superior to Barack Obama

J. Christian Adams: Sherrilyn Ifill Suggests Mumia Abu Jamal Case Like To Kill a Mockingbird

Bridget Johnson: ‘Messianic’ Kerry Calls for ‘Reconciliation Among Peoples’ at the Vatican

Bridget Johnson: Bill Would Set Trigger for Obamacare Repeal if Number of Uninsured Increases

Tom Blumer: Phony Change.org Petition Protests Cuts to Part-Timers’ Hours at Staples

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Rhonda Robinson: The Fatal Flaw Of Public Education and Why Homeschoolers Own The Future

Chris Queen: Will Volkswagen Make The Beetle Cool Again?

Theodore Dalrymple: Should the Age of Buying Cigarettes Raise to 21?

Cute Animal Video: Maura the Siberian Husky Vs 3 Birds at the Park

Andrew Klavan: Lone Survivor Is Intense — But Read the Book!

Susan L.M. Goldberg: The Story You Shouldn’t Miss Inside Llewyn Davis

Becky Graebner: How I’ll Make a Brussels Sprouts Believer Outta You!

Bonnie Ramthun: Hooray for Marijuana Legalization in Colorado!

I will learn how to write with a quill pen. #ResolutionsInspiredByDisney #magick #selfimprovement

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Hooray for Marijuana Legalization in Colorado!

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

I live in Boulder County, Colorado, the genesis of the marijuana legalization movement in my state. The students at the University of Colorado in Boulder hold an annual illegal celebration called 420. Every year on April 20 students cover the campus lawns and smoke marijuana.  There are other rallies, but this is one of the most famous.

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Our home has a lovely view over the Boulder valley, and last spring when I pointed out a low-lying fog bank in the early morning my youngest son joked: “I think that’s the pot haze from Boulder, Mom.”

cloudy foothills

Colorado, a state previously known for fresh air, active lifestyles and beautiful mountains, is now the Pothead state. Thanks, marijuana activists.

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On the other hand, we can now get to the important part of pot legalization: Getting users into rehab and getting them clean. This attitude does not endear me to libertarian types and marijuana users, who consider pot a harmless drug. Here’s a sample of headlines from marijuana activists in their joy at achieving recreational pot legalization in Colorado:

“It’s a plant, it’s harmless, and now anyone over 21 can buy it if they want to. Beautiful.” (A quote from pot shop owner Amy Reynolds.)

Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization  (A joke column from the Daily Currant).

Here Are All The People Who Have Died From A Marijuana Overdose (The article shows a .gif of playing pandas, because no one has died from a marijuana overdose.  Hilarious!)

The lie of marijuana as a harmless drug must be fought strongly, ferociously, and with every tool at our disposal. Join me if you drive a car on the highway, if you ever get on an aircraft, or if you have children. Marijuana is an addicting drug that stupefies the brain, stays in the human system for days, and puts anyone around an addict at risk.

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Drug War Depravity: From Traffic Stop to 8 Cavity Searches

Thursday, November 7th, 2013 - by Stephen Green

NOJUSTNO

When I saw the headline to this story, I briefly considered filing it under the silly “News You Can Use” category.

But no.

Just no.

Not after reading the details:

The nightmare began on January 2, 2013. New Mexico resident Eckert was driving out of a WalMart parking lot when he didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign, and was pulled over. Law enforcement thought he was “clenching his buttocks,” and obtained a search warrant from a judge to search his anus for narcotics.

But Eckert’s lawyer is raising concerns about the validity of the search warrant, saying that it was broad and lacked probable cause. In addition, the medical room where Eckert was taken was outside the jurisdiction of the search warrant, making the searches performed on him illegally.

Police from Deming, New Mexico took Eckert to an emergency room to undergo the anal cavity search, but a doctor refused to perform it because it was “unethical,” according to the lawsuit.  But a few hours later, doctors agreed to perform the search.

It wasn’t only one search. An x-ray of Eckert found no narcotics. Doctors performed a search of his anus with their fingers. Again, nothing was found. On three separate occasions, doctors inserted an “enema”–a device used to induce bowel movements–into Eckert, and he was forced to defecate. They x-rayed him again. Nothing was ever found.

There really is no end to the depravities of the drug war. I hope this guy takes that department, the individual cops, and the doctors for everything they’re worth.

****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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VIDEO: Mother Confronts Library Board about Porn-Filled Library Lab and Its Librarian Defenders

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 - by Megan Fox

October 4th, 2013, will forever be known as the day I fell into a giant porn hole. Imagine my surprise when I took my children for an outing with a friend to the Orland Park Public Library to look at books, surf the web and just have a relaxing afternoon. Instead I discovered an adult “masturbation lounge” lurking within a few hundred feet of the unsuspecting teen area.

I would like to briefly note that none of this would have happened if the librarian who rudely chased me out of the children’s area (like an angry ghost haunting the stacks) would have just let me use a computer there like I had very nicely asked. I would have never known about the library’s terrible porn policy (they don’t have one) or about the numerous sex crimes that have occurred there (many, going back years and years). They could have continued catering to pedophiles completely unmolested carefree, but for the rudeness of a single employee, who will be forever be known as Kathy the Library Poltergeist. I would like to take a moment to formally thank this harridan on the taxpayer payroll. Without her this story would still remain buried in the sticky recesses of the Orland Park Public Library’s “masturbation lounge.”

Instead of being able to use a computer in the children’s area with my children, I was ordered upstairs to the adult computer area with my children (whom I did not take with me on instinct and left instead with my friend in the more appropriate children’s area). When I saw the oiled breasts on the computer screen of Drooling Mouth-Breather (as he will forever be known), I took my eyewitness account to the front desk. Instead of being handed an “incident report” to fill out (that I later discovered are kept in giant overflowing envelopes) I was told, “We have a lot of those,” referring to sex-crazed porn addicts.

Have a nice day!

This launched what is now going on a month-long investigation that has revealed some extremely disturbing and possibly criminal activity going on at the Orland Park Public Library (OPPL), paid for by the taxpayers of Illinois.

As I hurried my children out of that den of iniquity, I was already planning a letter of complaint to the village, the library board, the library director, and anyone else I could interest in my horrifying experience. I fired off the missive to every email address I could find. I followed that up with a Freedom of Information Act request for complaints against the library, police reports involving sex offenders, library policies on porn, internet policies, and anything else I could think of to help explain this bizarre and dangerous situation where a building full of children (many of them unsupervised after school) could also be a place where pornography addicts go to get a fix.

The Orland Park Police Department was the only department that responded to my FOIA request in a timely manner. Neither the library board nor the library director, Mary K. Weimar (mweimar@orlandparklibrary.org), has responded to my letter of concern to this day.

The police reports that came back were terrifying but not surprising. The Orland Park Public Library has been for many years a haven for sex offenders who feel very comfortable exposing themselves to women and children and masturbating in public in the library.

Worse, the library’s internal reports show that there have been at least four instances of sex crimes committed in the library and library staff chose not to call the police. In fact, in two instances they sided with the offender instead of believing witnesses. One of these reports involved a man allegedly viewing child pornography. There were two witnesses and library staff chose not to call the police.

Because of other bad library policies, the computer histories delete automatically when the computers are turned off. Thus, the evidence was lost forever. And if they had found the illegal activity, they would not have been able to trace it to a specific user since there are no requirements to show an ID or a library card in order to get an anonymous login number where no one will ever know what you do. (Psssst… al-Qaeda! Orland Park Public Library is the perfect place to plot your next attack! Not even the NSA can figure out who you are!)

My colleague Kevin DuJan (who was with me that day) and I scheduled an opportunity to speak about what we witnessed at the next library board meeting. The library held all the requested documents until the day of the meeting so I wasn’t able to read all the incident reports and speak about them at that meeting (and that’s fine. They don’t know yet that I’m coming to the next one). We were met with open hostility and stony silence.

If you ever try to petition your local government for redress (which appears, conveniently, in the Constitution as your right, despite the opinion of OPPL’s terribly uneducated attorney, Jim Fessler, who thinks I have no right to demand answers from this august board), this is how they will act. Be warned. The upside is it’s really fun to watch them make mistake after mistake (on camera) and wind up in a public-relations nightmare. Imagine if the supervisor on staff on October 4th had taken the time to actually address my complaint instead of setting up the wall of silence and pretending that they are untouchable, unquestionable gods reigning high above the huddled masses that deserve nothing but disdain. All that did for them is put them on the side of sex offenders.

For your viewing pleasure, I submit to you my great adventure in front of the OPPL Board of Trustees. Pay close attention to the derision and sneering hurled at me at every opportunity. And stay tuned for much, much more in the coming days and weeks. I have barely scratched the surface of this cesspit.

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Hooked on Oreos?

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

O

Have you ever wondered why you can’t eat just one Oreo? Researchers at Connecticut College did, and their study concluded that Oreos may be as addictive as drugs like morphine or cocaine.

The study by students at Connecticut College found that when the rats ate Oreos they formed an equally strong association with the cookies as when other rats were injected with cocaine or morphine.

Additionally, researchers found eating the cookies activated even more neurons in the rats’ brain “pleasure centers” than the addictive drugs.

The students hope to springboard off this research to help discover why people have difficulty resisting foods that they know are harmful.

“Our research supports the theory that high-fat/ high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” Neuroscience Professor Joseph Schroeder said in a school press release. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”

[...]

“Even though we associate significant health hazards in taking drugs like cocaine and morphine, high-fat/ high-sugar foods may present even more of a danger because of their accessibility and affordability,” [researcher] Jamie Honohun said.

The researchers were unable to determine if the cookie or the cream were more responsible for the stimulative effects of Oreos, they did learn something fascinating.

On a lighter note, Honohun says they also got a surprise when watching the rats eat the Oreos.

“They would break it open and eat the middle first,” she said.

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13 Weeks: A Dull Column

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 - by Charlie Martin

Seriously, it’s a little weird to be writing my 13 Weeks column and not have much of anything to complain about.

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I just got back from taking a friend out for her birthday. We ate at Jax’s new seafood restaurant in Glendale (Colorado, “Godless Glendale”, the little enclave inside Denver with slightly more liberal rules for bars and restaurants. And stripper joints but we didn’t go to a stripper joint.) I had a frutte de mare salad, octopus and squid and clams and mussels in a vinaigrette, then an iceberg wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese, and a piece of monkfish sautéd with duck fat on a bed of a little bit of risotto with wild mushrooms and sautéd spinach and some nice chicharrones as a garnish.

Tasted great, and dinner only cost as much as a week’s groceries. But you’ve got to splurge every so often, and as a high-fat low-carb meal it was pretty much exemplary. I seriously do recommend the restaurant, although they seem to have a little bit of organizational trouble due to the weather getting cold enough they had to close their outdoor seating. But it is mid-October in Colorado, you have to figure it would get a little chilly. (In fact the first ski resorts are about to open.)

I took my blood sugar just now, about an hour after dinner, and it’s 91. Morning blood sugar has been good too. My weight has bounced up a little this week, but “bounced up” from 264 means it’s more like my lows from a couple weeks ago.

And I feel good. That last 5 pounds seems to have made as much, or more, difference as the preceding 30. I feel somehow skinny. I’ve had people — like a barber I hadn’t seen in a while — comment on how much weight I’d lost.

My mood is better. People who have depression will tell you, it’s not just a bad mood or feeling sad — it’s more like all that and a mild case of flu, body aches and all, along with a foggy, thick-headed feeling. And, well, I’m not feeling that.

Of course, the question is “why?” And if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last year, it’s that one or two or three weeks is too little to judge. But there are some things I’ve been doing.

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13 Weeks: Bugs and More Bugs

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 - by Charlie Martin
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As I wrote last week, I started using probiotics, along with fruit juice, whole fruit, and yogurt, on a vague intuition based on some reports that probiotics might improve my blood sugar, and somewhat better intuition that it might improve some other, er, passing problems.

So I’m just finishing my second jar of the 5-day probiotics (which lasts me about 7 days) and the results are that:

  • I’m down to 264, which is now a couple of standard deviations below where I was stuck for so long (and getting close to 40 pounds off my starting weight);
  • my morning fasting blood sugar has ranged from 95 to 117 with the average about 105, which is also a couple standard deviations down from what it had been.

Several people have also emailed me at ask.charlie.martin@gmail.com or commented on that last piece to tell me their experiences, and they’ve seen similar (or greater) improvements in blood sugar and comparable weight loss.

So, with n equal to about 5, there’s some success to report, and lots more questions to ask.

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Is Drug Addiction Really Like ‘Any Other Chronic Illness’?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 - by Theodore Dalrymple

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Sometimes a single phrase is enough to expose a tissue of lies, and such a phrase was used in a recent editorial in The Lancet titled “The lethal burden of drug overdose.” It praised the Obama administration’s drug policy for recognizing “the futility of a punitive approach, addressing drug addiction, instead, as any other chronic illness.”  The canary in the coal mine here is “any other chronic illness.”

The punitive approach may or may not be futile. It certainly works in Singapore, if by working we mean a consequent low rate of drug use; but Singapore is a small city state with very few points of entry that can hardly be a model for larger polities. It also seems to work in Sweden, which had the most punitive approach in Europe and the lowest drug use; but the latter may also be for reasons other than the punishment of drug takers. In most countries (unlike Sweden) consumption is not illegal, only possession. That is why there were often a number of patients in my hospital who had swallowed large quantities of heroin or cocaine when arrest by the police seemed imminent or inevitable. Once the drug was safely in their bodies (that is to say, safely in the legal, not the medical, sense), they could not be accused of any drug offense. Therefore, the “punitive approach” has not been tried with determination or consistency in the vast majority of countries; like Christianity according to G. K. Chesterton, it has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.

But the tissue of lies is implicit in the phrase “as any other chronic illness.” Addiction is not a chronic illness in the sense that, say, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness. If it were, Mao Tse-Tung’s policy of threatening to shoot addicts who did not give up drugs would not have worked; but it did. Nor would thousands of American servicemen returning from Vietnam where they had addicted themselves to heroin simply have stopped when they returned home; but they did. Nor can one easily imagine an organization called Arthritics Anonymous whose members attend weekly meetings and stand up and say, “My name is Bill, and I’m an arthritic.”

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