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May 2004
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Sunday reading

A recap of some interesting articles from today and earlier this week —
“bullet” A nice little piece on Valerie Corral in today’s Los Angeles Daily News: Tiny Pot Protagonist Beat Ashcroft In Court

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.  — What do you do when you sue U.S.  Attorney General John Ashcroft and win? Fifty-one-year-old Valerie Corral, a sinewy 5-foot-tall great-granddaughter of Italian immigrants, throws back her head, laughing, her hands reaching to the clouds, hips wiggling, feet stomping.

“It’s my happy dance!” she says, throwing her arms around her husband, Mike.

She has also planted an acre of marijuana.

“bullet” On suspicionless drug testing, from Newsweek: Guilty Until Proven Innocent:

In advocating student testing, the White House has cited research showing testing to be an effective deterrent for soldiers, airline pilots, tugboat captains and a host of other professions. … Critics say the research is bogus—and that the testing is an outrageous violation of student privacy and civil liberties.

But when asked whether her office knew of any scientific studies that supported its contention that drug testing students actually works, [Deputy Drug Czar Andrea Barthwell] responded simply, “No.” That, say critics, is proof that Bush’s new proposal is built not on solid evidence but the shaky ground of political ideology. …

Others contend that drug-testing kids may in fact exacerbate the problem it’s meant to solve. …

Hans York, a father of three and a deputy sheriff in Wahkiakum, Wash., sued his local school after it  tried to force his son Aaron to submit to a testing program before joining the drama club. For York, having an official monitor his son for “normal sounds of urination” was not only a violation of his privacy, but sent him the message that he’s guilty until proven innocent. Says York: “As a guy who puts on a gun every day to go to work, I can tell you that a lot of the dialogue stops when you become the police.”

“bullet” Rep. Mark Souder (R-Indiana) is one of the most vicious drug warriors and the architect of the outrageous and racist HEA provision that denies federal financial aid to someone who was caught with marijuana when they were young (murderers and rapists not affected). He has invoked Jesus Christ as “justification” for some of his views, a technique that didn’t sit well with David Guard who wrote in the Decatur (IN) Daily Democrat.

In his struggle to preserve the lion’s share of the Higher Education Act’s ban on federal financial aid to students with even minor drug convictions, Rep.  Mark Souder ( R-Ind.  ) is touting his evangelical Christian background as evidence of the compassion of his proposed “fix” and the general righteousness of the Act’s extremely controversial “drug provision.” His logic should leave Christians of all denominations perplexed.

Congressman Souder’s interpretation of Christian values with regard to this issue is bewildering to persons with even a basic understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. …

When fighting the war on drugs, Rep.  Souder should be careful to not let disadvantaged students become casualties, and refrain from insinuating that the teachings of Jesus Christ support unjust, prejudiced policies.

Fortunately, there is still time for him to see the light and end this illogical, harmful crusade.  I invite Congressman Souder to join the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the more than 70 other major national and state organizations representing the education, public health, criminal justice, and civil rights fields in support of full repeal of the HEA’s “drug provision.”

“bullet” Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) shows that you can be a Republican from Texas and be smart on drug policy. He has a new commentary on the attack on pain medicine: The War on Drugs is a War on Doctors

Doctors are not slaves, and they will not continue practicing medicine forever if the federal government insists on monitoring, harassing, fining, and even jailing them. Congress should take action to rein in overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement officials, and stop the harassment of legitimate physicians who act in good faith when prescribing pain relief drugs. Doctors should not be prosecuted for using their best medical judgment, nor should they be prosecuted for the misdeeds of their patients.

“bullet” In Williams ‘scandal’ is a smoke screen, Dave Joseph writes about the “outrage” surrounding the Dolphins’ Ricky Williams testing positive for marijuana:

“How could he have done this to his teammates? How could he risk missing games? What are his young fans to think?”

You’ve got to be kidding, right? Here’s a team changing offensive coordinators in May — a team without definitive answers at wide receiver and offensive line and with a draft pick that served time for DUI — and people are worried if Ricky might have inhaled?

Get a grip. Or some rolling papers. …

Think about this: The penalty for smoking pot in the NFL is the same as for cooking crack, shooting heroin or taking steroids. How irresponsible and insulting. …

Williams hasn’t done anything to hurt himself or the Dolphins. Blame the NFL, antiquated laws, a society that believes Reefer Madness is an accurate portrait of the effects of marijuana. But Williams isn’t a problem with the Dolphins.

Ironically, in the end, it was Williams who made the most sense in this cloud of controversy.

Asked if there was a message he’d like to send to children, Williams said: “They just have to look at the way I carry myself, look at the way I play the game, look at the way I practice, and look at what I do in the community.”

Everything else is a smoke screen.

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