Reefer Madness

Ordell tells Melanie that too much weed will sap her ambition. Melanie responds, “Not if your ambition is to get high and watch TV.”   Jackie Brown, 1997.

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As a society, we’re in the process of accepting the obvious truth that pot is never going away and that impairing hundreds of thousands of lives with criminal prosecutions is cruel and wasteful.  Decriminalization is a good thing.

What’s not a good thing is letting decriminalization blur into officially normalizing pot use by setting up a government-approved infrastructure for distribution so that we can tax it.  Is there no middle ground between imprisoning people over something and giving that thing the government’s seal of approval?

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Seriously? Contempt of Court?

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“This is pretty outrageous,” U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said after he was informed about the flight, the Post said. “That someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?”

He threatened to jail Jeff Sessions for contempt if the plane wasn’t turned around. It duly was, reportedly after it had landed.

But hold on just a gol-darned minute, as Jeff Sessions might say.  Why is this a contempt of court issue? Or more properly, merely a contempt of court issue?

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In The Line of Fire

Messing with the Left is the political equivalent of beating up your little sister. It’s not even sporting but it’s still interesting to see each new variation on the old familiar theme. The Right has it down to a science; is the Left never going to catch on?

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If you set out to gin up a bogus controversy that would maximally distract the people on the Left while twisting the indignation of the Second Amendment crowd to a fever pitch, you just can’t beat 3-D printed guns.  No aspect of the controversy makes sense, yet the forces of darkness have millions of people fretting about it instead of worrying about things like why the EPA is being gutted or why it’s America’s new policy to drive Turkey out of NATO and into the loving embrace of Vladimir Putin.

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The Last Days of Pompeii

viet_tank_gallery__550x423More than ever before, our shared world is constructed of images. We talk a good game about facts  but the connection between our collective memory and history as documented by journalists and historians is more tenuous than we ever imagine.

Take the pictures on this page, for example. I’ve shown them to dozens of Americans over the last few years and nearly everyone recognizes them as the fall of Saigon. It’s not too surprising; how could anyone forget the day America lost the War in Vietnam, that frightening and humiliating day in 0417namfall01April 1975 when United States Navy sailors dumped helicopter after helicopter overboard to make room for the fleeing troops, and the embassy staff, protected by M16-wielding marines, evacuated the city as North Vietnamese Army (NVA) tanks rolled into town.

Like the Challenger disaster or the burning World Trade Center, these pictures are burned into the memory of a generation.

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How It Ends

191888_600We’re only a little more than 1/3 of the way through the first term of the Trump presidency and it already bids fair to end the tenure of the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower.

Until recently, it felt to me like we might be in for a full four years of Donald Trump but just lately things seem to be coming to a head.

Accordingly, I want to get my predictions into print now so that some day in the near future I will be able to either (a) crow insufferably about how prescient I was or (b) laugh ruefully about how the very worst we could imagine in those days was nothing compared to how it ultimately turned out.

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Chicken Love

I am new to the appreciation of chickens, new to seeing them as anything more than the larval form of McNuggets, but I’m fascinated by these beautiful birds that I somehow never noticed until now. Here are some things I have learned.

First of all, there are a lot of chickens in the world, but it’s hard to grasp what the raw headcount of about 20 billion really means. With about 7.4 billion humans in the world, chickens outnumber us by almost three to one, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story because chicken lives are so short compared to human lives. Continue reading “Chicken Love”