Open Thread

Thanks to all those who came out for my talk today on the Drug War’s Assault on Justice. We had a nice discussion afterward.

And thanks again to the sponsors:
Bloomington-Normal Coalition for Peace and Justice
Common Action Free School
Amnesty International Chapter IWU
Center for Engaged Citizenship IWU
Center for Human Rights and Social Justice IWU
Political Science Department IWU

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to put together a similar event at Illinois State University in the near future.

“Spring Awakening” — the musical for which I was Music Director/Conductor/Pianist — closed Saturday night with a fabulous show to a full house with a complete and immediate standing ovation. What a joy it was to be part of this project – so much creative work by these amazing students. It’s truly invigorating… and I’ll miss it.

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28 Responses to Open Thread

  1. allan says:

    you rock Pete.

    Watching one of my favorite writers, Wendell Berry, on Bill Moyers. Tho’ he writes about the earth, the land, Berry has a much broader sense of the application of responsibility and as a poet, a very insightful and unique poet, he says those things in a way plain speaking can’t. (I believe Berry is Kentucky’s poet laureate)

    This comment of his in the interview made me think of you Pete, and the spuds sitting here… he said it in the context of mountain top removal in eastern Kentucky and what it’s done to the environment there, in particular the poisoned water that runs off those decimated hilltops. I think it applies very much to us…

    “to be patient in an emergency is a terrible trial”

    Who here doesn’t feel that every time another bad news drug war story comes out? I doubt I would have been arrested protesting nukular weppons had I not had that sense of patience in time of emergency niggling at my soul.

    aah, found the show:

    Back in the ’80s I took my dad to see Mr Berry at Fresno State. He was less than enthusiastic, “you’re taking me to hear a poet?”

    When the talk was over my dad waited 20 minutes so he could shake Berry’s hand and thank him. I think that was when he understood that maybe, just maybe, his son wasn’t all that crazy a hippie after all.

    Thanks for being you Pete…

  2. Servetus says:

    The human rights movement has a poet. The Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote “Where the Mind is Without Fear” in 1912:

    Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
    Where words come out from the depth of truth;
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    Where the mind is led forward to thee into ever-widening thought and action—
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

    Source: Avi Tuschman, Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us, 2013, p. 413.

  3. DdC says:

    Marijuana smugglers crash boat onto popular Calif.
    nude beach and surf spot

    The Wasteful War On Drugs Is Doomed By Economics 101

    Drugs Like Krokodil Are the Result of Irresponsible ‘War on Drugs’ Policy

    War on Drugs = better, cheaper drugs, according to study
    President Richard Nixon first identified drugs as a top target in 1969 and more formally declared war in 1971. What has this four-decade battle really gotten us? Stronger and cheaper drugs

    Whale of a bust: Turkish cops sieze 21 tons of marijuana
    Reports from Turkey this week are that they have broken their all-time record for drugs seized in a single operation, when anti-smuggling and organized crime agents from the Diyarbakir Police Department uncovered over 23 tons of weed,

  4. Daddy's new shoes says:

    Don’t look now but the stock market has discovered GW Pharmaceuticals. Can you say trip, trip, triple and still headed north? Boo yeah!

    • strayan says:

      Careful Duncan, someday soon they’ll realise that Sativex is just cannabis.

      In the mean time enjoy your riches!

    • Jean Valjean says:

      i’d love to know how much it costs to have everyone from the president to the dea to nora velcro (sic) lobbying for you.
      did i mention andrea barthwell, kevin sabet, hilary clinton etc etc etc?

  5. Servetus says:

    Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, and surrounding rural counties want to secede from Colorado because of the marijuana dispensaries, green energy initiatives, new gun laws, and so forth.

    “I would’ve never believed the state of Colorado would become this liberal,” said Lyle Miller, who owns the convenience store. “I’m afraid for my grandchildren. I want them to have the same heritage I had.”

    Seems their whole world is just falling apart. Boo hoo hoo. Give them a home where the buffalo roam.

    • War Vet says:

      How horrible for the Buffalo if we let them live near them. How about this: give them a home made out of buffalo dung -for that is the equivalent of the heritage they want and will get.

    • divadab says:

      Move to Utah. They were the first to prohibit the weed when their Mexican brethren brought the habit home with them, and they will be the last to end it. God help you if you are ever arrested for weed in Utah.

      • allan says:

        if’n I’m not mistaken it was LDSers themselves, that had been living in Mexico, that first brought the useful herb to Utah. Presumably it was their own unique brand of puckerbutts that demanded cannabis prohibition in Utah.

        It’s not insignificant to this that the ephedra plant is also called Mormon tea. If you don’t drink coffee, ephedra tea is a… stimulating… alternative.

      • divadab says:

        Yup – a little history is in order – Brigham Young, fearing the imminent invasion of Utah Territory by US troops (which did actually happen – Wiki the Utah War), sent settlers north into Canada and south into Mexico. The settlements thrived – today southern Alberta is heavily Mormon, as are parts of northern Mexico – around cuidad Juarez, for example. There was a lot of travel back and forth (for family and religious reasons such as Temple attendance), and one of the things the Mexican Saints brought back to Utah was indeed the smoking of the weed.

        The brethren really didn;t like this new habit, leading as it did to thoughtful discussion and the questions that came up about religious beliefs, the Church hierarchy, etc., and so they quickly outlawed the weed in 1912 (if I’m not mistaken about the date).

        Other States followed, and the feds were pretty late to the game with their utterly corrupt prohibition in 1937, serving competing monopoly capital interests and police statism as it did.

    • Jose says:

      They could always hop on down to Texas and fit right in. I can see ’em now… Looking for the big green leafy boogeyman through the peephole in their door while clenching their guns in one hand, bible in the other while saying “They took our jobs!”.

      If my business were not so entrenched in TX I would pack up my family, and our staff along with my tax dollars to CO.

      I recently drove with my wife and kids for some r’n’r in CO. For a whole week of driving through CO I only saw 2 cops. Return to TX and noticed police presence every few miles it seemed. For some reason the Texas revenue threat signs were more apparent to me upon returning. For those who have not driven through TX we have these friendly signs such as:
      “Drinking and driving. You can’t afford it”
      “Click it or ticket.”
      “The eyes of Texas are on you.” With picture of trooper holding binoculars.
      “Don’t Mess with TX. $2000 Fine for Littering.”
      Another common sign informs drivers that the area is under aerial surveillance.

      • War Vet says:

        From where we sit: Texas is quite liberal and a hippy haven. But then again what do you expect from the state that says making hash is the equivalent to making meth and thus one receives 10yrs or more for ‘manufacturing’ it . . . and 3pt beer gets you as drunk as 6pt.

  6. hagbard celine says:

    Tell those people to move to Utah or Wyoming; they’re still solidly backward for now.

  7. Jean Valjean says:

    “I would’ve never believed the state of Colorado would become this liberal,” said Lyle Miller, who owns the convenience store. “I’m afraid for my grandchildren. I want them to have the same heritage I had.”
    “People think this is a radical idea,” said Jeffrey Hare, a leader of the 51st State Initiative, which supports secession. “It’s really not. What we’re attempting to do is restore liberty.”
    Hmmm…seems like dictionaries are in short supply in “N. Colorado”

  8. Francis says:

    Well, gosh, who could have predicted this response to the feds’ shutdown of Silk Road?

    Deep Web Users Are Ready To Launch Silk Road 2.0″

    In an interesting post-mortem release by the creators of the defunct anonymous marketplace Atlantis there is information that the former admins and users of the Silk Road are planning to resurrect the service. User RR writes: “We have SilkRoad v2.0 ready to launch and is now in its final testing stages. Our site has all the features of the original one and we have kept the same style of forum for your ease.”

    The new SilkRoad will be sending out anonymous invites to former vendors and then open to the Tor-using public soon after.

    The representatives of Atlantis write:

    From a quick scout around I’ve counted at least 5 publicly stated projects with the said aim of replacing becoming “Silk Road 2.0″ and many many more gathering info and building alliances.

    And this is what Law Enforcement is now parading as a victory? Over two years of investigation, millions of dollars spent and for what so a couple of armchair programmers can build it again in a few days while in the meantime vendors simply move to other sites.

    Also see:
    That was fast: 2 sites vie for Silk Road’s criminal customers

  9. The Ghost of William Randolph Hearst says:


    I think the thing that I find most annoying behavior from the people that issue the approved list of talking points is that they seem incapable of coming up with any new material, they just keep recycling talking points from as long ago as the early 1930s. They don’t even care about the veracity of their hysterical hyperbole, some of which is so old that it’s likely petrified. Flashbacks? Flashbacks?? Seriously, they didn’t just trot out that old nag, did they?

    What’s next…man teats? A study showing that white women who miscegenate with black men are much more likely to choose to enjoy cannabis than white women who marry white men? Will they update jazz musicians to Hip Hop artists? Well just take a look at this particular piece of pathetic propaganda. This one is from the “it’s like deja vue all over again” category:

    Family ripped apart by synthetic marijuana
    Woman says troubling, toxic substance destroyed her grandson’s life

    By Nick B. Reid
    October 06, 2013

    Shane, 13, just checked out of John H. Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester after a months-long detainment under 24-hour watch.

    He wasn’t even allowed to see his 8- and 10-year-old brother and sister because the center feared he might hurt them.

    The extreme caution, Schrempf-Gosselin said, is the result of the violent outbursts he displayed while high or withdrawing from the legal drug, such as slinging knives around the house and pretending he was going to harm his family.

    She said she’s cared for Shane since he was a baby because his parents are addicts who don’t want the responsibility. But after being introduced to synthetic marijuana, Shane began to become unrecognizable compared to the boy they knew.

    “I’ve watched him walk in the house high as a kite, grab a steak knife and start sawing away at my countertops just out of … who knows why,” Peverley said, adding that when he later confronted Shane about his actions, the boy didn’t remember any of it.

    At other times, he’s repeatedly banged his head against the wall, broke his arm by punching a hole in the wall, called his family “awful names” and claimed “pain was his friend,” his family said. He then tried multiple times to kill himself.

    When it began, Schrempf-Gosselin noticed Shane was angry and acting erratically, and she assumed his ADHD medication wasn’t working.

    And that doesn’t take into account the things Shane stole from his family, she said.

    Schrempf-Gosselin blamed Peverley when her $2,000 bracelet went missing, but she said she later learned Shane took elaborate steps to steal it and pawn in for $55 to buy more drugs.

    “I think once you smoke it, you’re addicted,” she said. “Everyone that I know that uses it gets hooked.”

    Even after spending weeks under confinement, Shane experienced flashbacks that made him forget who he was, where he was and why he was there, similar to when he’s freshly under the effects of the drug, his family said. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration stated that synthetic marijuana “appears to be stored in the body for long periods of time, and therefore the long-term effects on humans are not fully known.” An emergency room doctor told Schrempf-Gosselin the drug is stored in the fat cells of the brain.

    “All of a sudden you could be sitting there, you may not have touched the stuff in weeks and you’re hallucinating again,” she said.

    At a public hearing last month, one woman said her 61-year-old husband “lost his job, his 401(k), his savings and nearly his life” after trying the drug and getting addicted. Another woman said her autistic children were approached by a dealer trying to sell the stuff and now they’re “afraid to play outside and walk down the street.” A mother said her daughter was a straight-A student her freshman year at Winnacunnet High School, then in her sophomore year she got her first C and then “it went from D’s, C’s to F’s all around,” she said, as the daughter fell deeper into the trap of synthetic marijuana.

    So did they manage to use every single piece of NBOHR approved hysterical rhetoric?

    Beam me up Mr. Data, there’s no intelligent life to find on this planet

    • Freeman says:

      You’re right, Dunc, it’s the same old tales. I don’t know anything about synthetic pot except that there wouldn’t be any incentive to produce it if the real thing wasn’t prohibited, but I suspect it’s not as safe as using Mother Nature’s own. I also suspect that the dangers of using it are being hyped, just like any other ‘illicit’ drug. This example is particularly suspect because the kid is on much more powerful ADHD meds that can cause every symptom described, especially if the kid stops taking his meds cold-turkey.

      But even if the story is completely true as described it only points out one of the bigger problems with prohibition — it provide incentives for people to produce alternative, more dangerous drugs in order to skirt illegality. The prohibs never seem to get that point, they think they can just ban every new formulation and make it all go away by regurgitating more of the same old horror stories.

  10. claygooding says:

    The Doomed Economics of Drug Prohibition

    Why the war on drugs can’t overcome the economic incentives of the black market

    Prohibition plants the seeds of its own defeat by enabling traffickers to earn a premium for undertaking the special risks involved in supplying an illegal product. That means they are highly motivated to find ways around whatever roadblocks the government throws up between them and their customers. Given all the places where drugs can be produced and all the ways they can be transported to people who want them, the idea that the government could “cut off the flow” if only it made a more determined effort is a fantasy.

    When you add the fact that marijuana has the distinct ability to speak for itself on it’s safety as well as it’s pleasures,something alcohol and most other drugs can’t give you is a good time and the ability to be at work at 7 am every day even if you imbibe too much.

  11. Duncan20903 says:

    4 out of 5 prohibitionists agree that the best self improvement book of all time is “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff.

  12. primus says:

    Did you know that 83.7% of statistics are made up on the spot?

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