Open Thread

bullet image TED talks.

In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.

About 26 minutes. Powerful stuff. And definitely relevant to the war on drugs (as mentioned in passing at the very end).

bullet image Pat Robertson, on the 700 Club, reiterates his support for marijuana legalization

We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population, but we make up 25% of jailed prisoners…

Every time the liberals pass a bill — I don’t care what it involves — they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don’t feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.

I became sort of a hero of the hippie culture, I guess, when I said I think we ought to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.
I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance. The whole thing is crazy.

bullet image You can sign a petition to “Support Guatemalan president’s call for drug legalization.”

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56 Responses to Open Thread

  1. cabdriver says:

    Open thread?

    Consider this op-ed in Forbes by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, on the new VIPR teams being deployed to do random searches on the nation’s highways:

    “In October Tennessee became the first state to conduct a statewide Department of Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) team operation which randomly inspected Tennessee truck drivers and cars.

    VIPR teams which count TSOs among their ranks, conduct searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and every other mass transit location around the country. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times has detailed, VIPR teams conducted 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year alone…”

    Does this disturb Rep. Blackburn? Not really- what she apparently finds most objectionable is the fact that TSA screeners have no law enforcement authority:

    “In order to help rein in the TSA I introduced H.R. 3608, the Stop TSA’s Reach in Policy Act aka the STRIP Act. This bill will simply overturn the TSA’s administrative decision by prohibiting any TSA employee who has not received federal law enforcement training from using the title “officer,” wearing a police like uniform or a metal police badge.”

    Rep. Blackburn’s suggestion to improve the situation:

    “While TSOs may have the appearance of a federal law enforcement officer they have neither the authority nor the power. If a passenger brings a loaded gun or an explosive device into an airport screening area there is nothing a TSO can do until the local police step in to save the day.

    If TSOs are truly our nation’s last line of defense in stopping an act of terrorism, then the TSA should immediately end the practice of placing hiring notices for available TSO positions on pizza boxes and at discount gas stations as theyhave done in our nation’s capital. Surely, this is not where our federal government is going to find our brightest and sharpest Americans committed to keeping our traveling public safe. I would contend that we can surely strive for a higher standard and may want to look first to our veterans returning home from the battlefield…”

    • kaptinemo says:

      In re; VIPR: Echoes of Checkpoint Charlie in the (thankfully former) East Berlin: Ihr papieren, bitte!” Further east it was “Vashe boomahgah, tovarishch!”. But it meant the same damn thing.

      Now…just why did I and every Cold War Era veteran risk their arses, in hot and ‘cool’ wars around the globe, having to live like a bunch of junkyard dogs in hell-holes whose names we couldn’t pronounce, to keep that from happening here…when it’s happening, here??

      This is what comes of not beating this sh*t down when it first springs up. First, they go after air travelers. When people want to avoid the humiliation and anger of TSA screening by driving cross-country, no matter how long it takes, here’s the next turn of the screw. It always, always turns out like this.

      I’m going to start carrying ammonia in squirt bottles in my car. Dogs don’t like ammonia.

      • darkcycle says:

        Pepper juice is better, Kap’n. People can’t smell it (or don’t smell it the same way). That way you avoid a charge of “assault on an officer”. And they really hate capsicum.

      • claygooding says:

        Better yet,,fill a spray bottle with hemp tea and spray every car in every parking lot you can,,,shouldn’t take long for the cops getting tired of tearing cars apart and having to fix them to stop that shit.

        • claygooding says:

          I have often wondered why the cartels never simply sprayed every car going across the border with drug tea,,how long before the dogs would become history?

          Not that I am angry at the cartels,after all,they have provided the supply,,it just appalls me that so many people have died over the thing I started out thinking would bring about a more peaceful world.

          When legalization occurs and finally “levels” out as an open market,,I have smoked some very good “Mexican” weed through the years and see no reason to not continue doing so in a legal market.

          Also licking lips over thoughts of Jamaican,Colombian and even a taste of Guatemala Gold when the trade agreements allow it.

        • Nice says:

          Clay, you may be on to something big there!

          How about we viral it via facebook?

        • darkcycle says:

          They don’t have to fix them Clay. They don’t even have to put ’em back tohether.

        • claygooding says:

          dark,if no drugs are found the citizen can sue the police for fixing the car,,a recent case in NJ cost the police 12k for a Mercedes. State laws may vary but just the time consumed would put the dogs out of business,,shortly.

  2. TrebleBass says:

    That TED speech was really good.

  3. Hey can someone give me a link for the SAMHSA state-level annual substance abuse treatment figures?

    • Duncan20903 says:


      This might be a little better:

      That’s for California 2010. Change the State abbreviation to get another State, change the number for a different year. Substitute US for the State abbreviation for nationwide numbers.

      It’s highly annoying that they still haven’t posted the nationwide 2010 numbers. Almost 15 months in the age of computers and they still can’t provide the data in a timely manner.

      • claygooding says:

        Job Security,,further data that supports ending the war on drugs are not allowed,,I suspect that the numbers of adult users in the US has risen considerably,as more info goes out of the lies used to scare people from cannabis use spreads,,so does curiosity.

      • Yeah, I can’t help but suspect thesed delays are intended to limit our use of their data in comments and ltes. Seriously. The FBI Uniform Crime Report, NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System, NSDUH State-level reports -stuff hasn’t been updated in two years!

        • darkcycle says:

          ..wouldn’t surprise me pfroe, their precious prohibition is falling apart before their very eyes. The minute they release any information at all, we turn it back on them with both barrels. Timely release of data only occurs when it suits their purpose. Anything else, you have to sue them for.

  4. Duncan20903 says:


    We’ve recently discussed the black market for smoking tobacco, and the use of the perfect solution fallacy by the prohibitionists. The prohibitionist says, “Since we’re not able to totally eliminate the black market we may as well just keep giving the organized criminal syndicates billions and billions in profits every year.” Time for another history lesson. This time from Minnesota:

    Minnesota’s cigarette tax: Trouble from the beginning

    Article by: PATRICK FLEENOR
    Updated: February 28, 2012 – 7:08 PM

    Raise it, and people will try to avoid it. And that often will lead to smuggling.

    Like New Jersey, Minnesota has long had problems with cigarette-tax evasion. Trouble began shortly after the state enacted its cigarette tax in 1947. Soon smokers began crossing into neighboring states to secure their nicotine fix.

    Others began buying tax-exempt cigarettes at military bases and on American Indian lands. Still others purchased tax-free cigarettes via mail order. More ominously, criminals began to smuggle cigarettes into the state, mixing them into the retail market.

    By the mid-1950s, official figures show, the sale of legal, tax-paid cigarettes had plunged 20 percent below the national level. Frustrated by the inability to collect the taxes due, the state’s chief cigarette tax administrator quipped that “even the attorneys who come into my office are smoking untaxed cigarettes.”

    The state government’s response was to increase enforcement and try to discourage consumers from buying tax-free cigarettes, but nothing worked. In spite of this, lawmakers repeatedly hiked the tax, and by the mid-1970s, Minnesota had one of the highest cigarette excises in the country. Soon illegal cigarettes from as far away as Kentucky and North Carolina were pouring into the state.

    Minnesota was far from alone in its battle with the illicit tobacco trade. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, high-tax states across the country were inundated with contraband, and in 1975, the federal government released a major report on cigarette bootlegging.

    It described the smuggling problem in Minnesota as one of the worst in the country and estimated that nearly 15 percent of the cigarettes consumed in the state were the product of bootlegging.

  5. Duncan20903 says:

    I must admit that I did not anticipate this possibility when I spiked the water supply of the 700 Club with LSD.

  6. Duncan20903 says:


    Well I’d never in a million years have predicted this one:

    “Should Marijuana Be Legal?”

    Even more peculiar is seeing both Ethan Nadelman and Robert DuPont identified as “experts in the field”.

    • darkcycle says:

      Ha! costco. they’ve probably already done the research…will people go for a two pound bag of Kirkland Signature Budz, or the 1.5 lbs.?

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Didn’t Costco recently buy up all the State operated liquor stores in the State of Washington?

        Will the offer free samples of their bulk cannabis selections? If so they’ll need to double their ration of free food samples too.

      • darkcycle says:

        No, not exactly “buy up’…well, kinda, in that corporate “We have enough money, we can own any government” sort of way. They kept coming back with initiative after initiative and heavily propagandizing for about six or seven years. Finally, they got a favorable vote. And they cut off a major source of State funds when we are nearly bankrupt. Forcing our legislature to pass a draconian budget in the middle of the night that strips healthcare from about 50,000 people and slashed the State budget for education by about 75 mil. Thanks, Costco, I’m sure the sick and illiterate will thank you too, eventually, in their own way (you venomous corporate fascists).

    • UlverstonWitherslack says:

      They have a nice little poll going too!

      Yes: 2520 votes 90.2% .. No: 274 votes 9.8%

    • Maria says:

      I never thought I’d be giddy about getting my copy of the Costco Connection. Things are getting strange indeed.

      • Maria says:

        No – “Marijuana is still a drug and will just encourage more people to smoke [it] for the mere pleasure of stimulating the mind.”

        Come on… that HAS to be a tongue in cheek set up by the editor.

    • strayan says:

      One of Malcolm Kyle’s best comments ever!

      BTW how come we don’t see him around these parts anymore?

  7. Duncan20903 says:

    I guess it’s officially spring!

    Marijuana plants found near Milvid
    Tuesday, March 6, 2012
    At this time there are no known suspect(s). This case remains open and active. In previous cases arrests have been made with these type of criminal operations by intensive investigations.

    I’ve no doubt that the writer is an unfairly unemployed comedian. “intensive investigations” now that’s funny!

    • Nunavut Tripper says:

      ” Additionally there were approximately 100 bulbs , still contained in their plastic carriers of marijuana.”

      Bulbs ??? WTF I got a chuckle when I read that…the writer is a dim bulb for sure.
      That little flat of seedlings looked scary eh ?

  8. darkcycle says:

    Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn speaking on legalization at hempfest, 2011.

  9. claygooding says:

    Bill to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts gets hearing on Beacon Hill

    Read more:

    “”BOSTON —

    The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, proposed more than a year ago by Reps. Ellen Story (D-Amherst), Ruth Balser (D-Newton), Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), and Ann Gobi (D-Spencer), finally gets a hearing Tuesday afternoon before the Judiciary Committee, which will have just two weeks to make a recommendation on it before the biennial bill-reporting deadline.””

    Meanwhile,,hammer blows are still coming from all directions.

  10. mickeywhite says:

    Body Imaging Screening.
    During consideration of the Transportation Security Administration Authorization bill (H.R. 2200), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (RUtah) offered an amendment that would prohibit the use of Whole-Body Imaging (WBI) as the primary method of screening at airports. The amendment would allow passengers the option of a patdown search rather than being subjected to a WBI search that shows extremely intimate details of one’s body. The Chaffetz amendment would also prohibit TSA from storing, copying, or transferring any images that are produced by WBI machines. Since its creation, TSA has become infamous for its meddlesome searches and disregard for an individual’s right of privacy. Evidence shows that corruption and mismanagement have been commonplace within the relatively new federal department for years. The Chaffetz amendment would do very little to scale back the power held by the TSA, but it does offer some hope that our representatives are not wholly unaware of how the TSA and its policies would threaten the privacy of American citizens through a process that has been called a “virtual strip-search.” The House adopted the Chaffetz amendment by a “Committee of the Whole” on June 4, 2009, by a vote of 310-118 (Roll Call 305). Such technology is obtrusive for American citizens and violates our right of protection against unwarranted searches and seizures.
    Marsha Blackburn voted AGAINST this bill.
    Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
    She is no conservative.
    See her unconstitutional votes at :

  11. allan says:

    When I saw the petition last week I signed at #604… less than a week later it’s up over 2500 sigs… props to Jeffrey Dhywood for putting it out there. If you haven’t yet, please go sign! We need every swing of everyone’s hammer! Damitol®!

    As my least favorite Prez ever said, “Mr Obama, tear down this wall!”

    Boy, I wrote that and started flashing on what an awesome graphic that could make… hint hint, nudge nudge…

  12. Chris says:

    He said he sympathized with Latin American leaders who are frustrated over violence tied to the drug trade and with the consumption habits in its biggest market, the United States. But the few potential benefits from legalization, like a smaller prison population, would be offset by problems, including a costly bureaucracy to regulate the drugs and new addicts, Mr. Biden said.

    We wouldn’t want to have a costly bureaucracy to regulate drugs now would we former senator Biden?

  13. Reed Rothchild says:

    Mixed some Purple Elephant with some Sour Gumball and it is almost too strong. Two hits and take a nap.

  14. Duncan20903 says:

    The Christian “Science” Monitor. More effective than syrup of ipecac

    • darkcycle says:

      I struck my face with my palm so hard while reading that my vision is now blurry. I’m finding that a little hard to take today. It seems that no matter what I did or how I approached it, today I was thwarted at every turn by Stupid. Stupid is a force of nature, it is omnipresent and inescapable. What sank the Titanic? Stupid. What started the Iraq war? Stupid. What has been the undoing of every failed project in the history of mankind? Stupid. And what will ultimately cause the downfall of our civilization and the end of human life on this planet? Stupid.
      With this last piece of Stupid, I have reached my personal daily limit. I don’t drink but I’m thinking of taking it up.

      • claygooding says:

        I used to think bein able to absorb large quantities of stupid was proof of growing wisdom,,,found out it’s more about not giving a shit.

  15. Failed says:

    Reports that show that Prohibition has failed:

    • darkcycle says:

      Strayan, look for his DOOHICKEY…Hi Malc!

      • Grid Reference SD 41279 87923 says:

        And this is where you’ll find some of my best Concubines!

        • allan says:

          and we can thank young Jack Heaton at the ModBeeHive for pointing out Malcolm’s erroneous zones, slathered in cosmic custard as he always is…

        • Grid Reference SD 41279 87923 says:

          Hi Allen, how come all you WestCoasties are up so early?

          Heaton had it all wrong – there are only 7 of them!

        • darkcycle says:

          Allan would be enjoying this beautiful sunny day here in the NW. It’s nice enough to make you forget to go to work! 😉

  16. allan says:

    I was impressed first time I heard ol’ Pat say that and to have him repeating it… it points out to me that the right projectiles can penetrate even the thickest skulls. Because he repeats it and because of the obvious bad taste it leaves when he says it shows how important that little talking point is – 5% and 25%… and when we can get thru to Pat? we’ve done good, real good. Of course that so many still follow him also shows how far we have left to go on the (r)evolutionary roller coaster.

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