Open Thread

Made it to New York. The train ride was long, but quite enjoyable.
It’s actually kind of nice to be out of touch for a while every now and then — the problem is when you get a chance to get online again, and you have 200 emails and 4,000 unread news articles.
It’s always great to be in New York City. The energy of the town is amazing (although I personally tend to prefer it now as something to enjoy on a visit rather than as a way of life).
I highly recommend the Blue Fin Restaurant at 47th and Broadway. They’ve got an incredible bartender (Christen is a former student and an old friend of mine) and their food is always superb. Their salmon sake was perfect, and then for an entree, I had the Crispy Skin Salmon (medium rare) with potato hash, smoked bacon, brussels sprouts, pommery mustard butter. Amazing. (and reasonably priced)
“bullet” There are two members of Congress who just make me smile when I see their names together: Ron Paul and Barney Frank. In the real world, these two individuals would be such polar opposites in so many ways that it would be hard to even picture them in the same room. And yet, in the fake world of Congress, these two individuals distinguish themselves by being real and thus have a lot in common.
Barney and Ron use reason more than political consideration. So even though they differ dramatically politically, there are certain issues where reason and truth get you to a specific place far from where politics takes you. And that’s where you’ll find these two alone together.
On Tuesday, Paul and Frank (just another reason to love them – between the two of them, they have four first names) co-wrote a letter seeking co-sponsors for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

In recent years, industrial hemp has been put to many popular uses. Grocery stores sell hemp seeds and oil, as well as food products containing hemp seeds and oil. Industrial hemp is also included in consumer products such as paper, cloths, cosmetics, and carpet. One ofthe more innovative recent uses of industrial hemp is in the door panels of about 1.5 million cars. Hemp has even been used in alternative automobile fuel. Nevertheless, under federal law, all industrial hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported instead of grown by American farmers.
Industrial hemp was grown legally in the United States for most of our nation’s history. In fact, during Wodd War II, the federal government encouraged industrial hemp farming to help the war effort. Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act’s inclusion of
industrial hemp in the definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of
THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be
psychologically affected by consuming industrial hemp. Federal law concedes the safety
of industrial hemp by allowing it to be legally imported as food.
Please stand up for American farmers by cosponsoring the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

VoteHemp has an Action Alert on this for writing your Congressional Representatives.
“bullet” Bolivia’s Morales calls on Obama to back coca campaign.

U.S. President Barack Obama should recognise traditional uses of the coca leaf because not all production becomes cocaine, Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Wednesday.

It’ll be very interesting to see what changes occur in our relationships with Latin American countries over the next four years.
See also this article about the coca leaf and UN prohibitions: Leaves of Wrath Led US to Blackmail WHO
“bullet” They keep doing it! The AP continues the ridiculously stupid meme: Drug war’s violence is called a sign of progress

“The reason you see the escalation in violence is because U.S. and Mexican law enforcement are winning,” Garrison Courtney, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Tuesday. “You are going to see the drug traffickers push back because we are breaking their back.”

Give me a break.
“bullet” Time Magazine “reviews” UNODC head Antonio Maria Costa’s recent paper in The Disturbing Rise of Drug Gangs. Time’s Alyssa Fetini demonstrates no knowledge of anything by simply uncritically presenting Costa’s propaganda.
“bullet” Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page has an excellent OpEd on medical marijuana Is it reefer madness?

President Obama recently reversed much of what has been called the Bush administration’s “war against science.” He needs to turn around the war against medicinal marijuana too.

“bullet” The 52nd Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs is going on right now (through March 20) — and this will determine the UN direction on drug policy for the next 10 years.
Transform kicks off their coverage with Fear prevails at the UN as voices for drug law reform are smeared
If you want to follow the proceedings in depth, visit CNDblog which has been set up completely for that purpose (they have close to 50 posts already in the first 2 days of the session).

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