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February 2009
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Michael Phelps – the good stuff

Yes, there have been a lot of ridiculous columns by entertainment and sports journalists about how Michale Phelps “shames us all” for his horrible action in taking a bong hit, but it’s been entertaining to me to read the comments to most of these articles and see the journalists being torn a new one by the public.
Some of them have been quite astonished that their readers weren’t supporting them in their ritual condemnation of Phelps. Hilarious.
Here’s a couple of delightful instances where the writers got it right.
Andrew Stuttaford at National Review Online’s the corner

Look, I don’t blame Michael Phelps for apologizing. He has a living to earn, so he did what he had to do.

In the meantime, I merely note that this broken wreck of a man’s failure to win any more than a pathetic fourteen Olympic gold medals (so far) is a terrifying warning of the horrific damage that cannabis can do to someone’s healthÖand a powerful reminder of just how sensible the drug laws really are.

And then, a clear must-read is Kathleen Parker in today’s Washington Post: Phelps Takes a Hit
She’s on fire:

And the law is the law. Therein lies the problem.

Our marijuana laws have been ludicrous for as long as we’ve been alive. Almost half of us (42 percent) have tried marijuana at least once, according to a report published last year in PLoS Medicine, a journal of the Public Library of Science.

The U.S., in fact, boasts the highest percentage of pot smokers among 17 nations surveyed, including The Netherlands, where cannabis clouds waft from coffeehouse windows. […]

Other better-known former tokers include our current president and a couple of previous ones, as well as a Supreme Court justice, to name just a few. A complete list would require the slaughter of several mature forests. […]

One recent ad produced by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy says: “Hey, not trying to be your mom, but there aren’t many jobs out there for potheads.” Whoa, dude, except maybe, like, president of the United States.

Once a kid realizes that pot doesn’t make him insane — or likely to become a burrito taster, as the ad further asserts — he might figure other drug information is equally false.

Thanks, Michael, for jump-starting a national conversation by taking a hit on a bong.

If it were only that easy for the rest of us…
Update: Joe Klein at Time Magazine jumps in: Legalize it, already

Kathleen Parker has the precisely correct reaction to the Michael Phelps flap. Marijuana should be legalized and taxed. It’s costing the society way too much in terms of law enforcement and hypocrisy.

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