Tag Archives: marijuana

Stupidity of Daylight Savings time and election mania?

4 Nov

I’ve ranted about it before, and I will rant about it again today…and twice a year for as long as the idiocy continues.  Daylight savings time is an idiotic concept, dreamed up and perpetuated by ridiculous propaganda that far too many people buy into.  If it saves so much energy…why don’t we just STAY on that time?  What do people really think they are saving?

But speaking about ridiculous propaganda, have  you paid much attention to the stuff circulating on the social media sites as people wave the figurative flag of their favored candidate?

It’s made me realize, with a two party system, we really are given a choice.

Between a rock and a hard place.

That’s about all the difference I really see between the parties.  The parties and their candidates are so far out of touch with what life is like for Average Joe and Average Jane that we may as well elect Brad Pitt for president.

Heck, he might even do a better job.  If not, well, at least he’d make interesting photo ops, right?

Neither party represents what we’ll call the “working man” of American society.  They don’t have a clue what our lives are like.

Like Mitt Romney’s wife, featured in an article about how she went shopping at Sam’s Club.  She was immensely proud of her ability to feed a large gathering of family for only $4.50 per person for the meal.  I don’t think she’d be too happy with my food budget, capped at $5 per person per day.  Some months, if there are extra bills to pay, well…the food budget gives up a portion of it’s funding to cover the deficit.  She’d even be more horrified to discover that if I’m serving guests, it comes out of the monthly budget, not an extra slush fund.  So does holiday cooking, as a matter of fact.  While the Romneys might not be concerned at the reports of higher prices for serving up the traditional turkey dinner later this month, for the rest of us, that IS a concern.  We can’t spend what we’re not earning, and there are still not enough jobs to get everyone back to work that has been looking for work since this recession started.  It’s unfortunate that with each passing year, we’ve seen more jobs going overseas too.

For those of us struggling to make ends meet, to pay our bills, and to just get by, while family members are unemployed or underemployed…having to deal with an English-is-a-second-language customer service rep in some foreign country is really a slap in the face.  It’s another reminder of how many jobs we’ve lost to countries with lower standards of living and more relaxed workplace laws.

In the stores, it’s hard to buy American made goods.  It’s harder yet to buy from companies that have American based customer service.  I don’t think it’s an unrealistic expectation that if I buy an item or service with American money while I am in the United States, that customer service will be provided in the United States as well.

Then, there is health care.  I’ll admit, I am not thrilled with the Obamacare package, but…I wasn’t thrilled with nothing either.  Do I think that it’s the best that our government could come up with?  No…and it shouldn’t be so long that nobody can possibly read it and understand what it says either.  That’s the problem with these bills–they are excessively complicated and too often contain unrelated stuff.  Each bill should be one thing, written in a manner that any average person can understand it, but they aren’t.  Washington has become a place of bureaucrats worried about perpetuating their own existence, whether elected or appointed or hired.

The part that I think stinks is the idea that people are to be forced to buy health insurance.  Seriously, I don’t know anyone who can afford health insurance and opts to just not buy it for some reason.  I’ve priced it, long before Obama was ever heard of, and there was no way I could afford it, even just major medical was about 30% of my monthly take home pay, and there wasn’t any way I could give up that much of my monthly income and survive.  Utilities, rent, and automobile insurance already took care of about 80% of my net pay!  That left very little for luxuries such as food, gasoline, clothing, medical expenses, and assorted sundries.  Taking a second job wasn’t an option, really–my job required extensive overtime already, and while I was paid for it…that extra overtime is what was used for those “luxuries” I bought.

So I read the things that the candidates say, I read the things that their opponents say about them.  I read the things their supporters say about them.  I read the “fact checker” articles.

I’ve concluded that I was right.  We do have a choice between a rock and a hard place.  It then comes down to specific issues that are…or are not…supported by the two parties.

What concerns me?

  1. Women’s rights, including reproductive rights.  I’m pro-choice, and before anyone gets their underwear in a wad over that…let me clarify that statement.  I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion.  There is a very clear difference.  While I don’t think that abortion is the right choice for me, in any circumstances that I have actually faced, I also don’t think that it is the government’s job to make that decision for me…or any other woman.   I don’t think my boss should be able to decide if my insurance is going to cover birth control either.  There are many reasons and many circumstances for a woman’s choice, and few women are going to choose to use abortion as birth control if they have any conscience or concept of right and wrong.  If they don’t have those things, well, do we really want her reproducing anyhow?  Morality cannot be legislated, and there should not be an attempt to do so.  Laws are to protect society as a whole, and allow individuals to not have their personal rights infringed upon by others.  While that includes freedom of religion, it does not give anyone the right to impose their religious standards and expectations on others.  Period.
  2. Right to bear arms.  Okay, these mass murders we’ve had at schools and theaters have been horrific and shouldn’t have happened.  Yes, I know many other civilized countries have banned weapons of all kinds.  That doesn’t mean I support weapons being banned in this country.  Regulated and restricted perhaps, but not banned.  Assault rifles aren’t needed for hunting or self-protection.  Automatic rifles and handguns aren’t either.  Armor penetrating ammunition and weapons are also not particularly appealing to think of my neighbor having and using for target practice.  I think we need to address the underlying causes of these incredible acts of violence more than act on restricting gun ownership excessively.  Do we ban bathtubs for the accidents they cause?  Have pools been banned due to the high numbers of children that have drowned in them?  Do we still allow downhill skiing after people die in skiing accidents?  How about cars and car accidents and their fatalities?
  3. Same sex marriage.  I’m not gay, and I never was.  I’m not even bi-sexual.  I am in a traditional marriage, even if our wedding was far from traditional.  My parents weren’t gay, neither is my daughter.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t support the concept of equality among all Americans.  While I don’t deny that states can allow or forbid same sex marriage according to their citizens’ wishes, I don’t think that the federal government should be able to override those states’ rights to choose either.  Currently, federal law does not allow federal employees in a legal same sex marriage to enjoy the same benefits for their spouses that someone in a so-called traditional marriage enjoys.  I think this is wrong.  I have little hope of Mississippi, my current home state, is going to legalize same sex marriages anytime soon.  It’s got far too high of a percentage of ultra conservative citizens for that to happen.  But, if it was allowed…I don’t think the federal government should deny benefits to those people’s spouses because they don’t agree with it.
  4. Education.  It wasn’t working, so they tried “No Child Left Behind.”  That’s working about as well as new math did.  It’s absolutely not working, instead of educating kids and preparing them for the real world, whether that includes college or a job, kids are spending the year prepping for their standardized test.  Something else needs to be done, and this ineffective method of measuring both school and teacher performance needs replaced with something a bit more effective.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you went to a fast food restaurant, local store, or other location with staff that needs nothing beyond high school to get a job…and they actually could SPEAK American Standard English?  How many high school students can actually write down a coherent telephone message that anyone could read and understand, let alone write an essay for a college class?
  5. Jobs/Industry.  Face it.  We lack an industrial base and we’re importing too many goods.  We need jobs, we have willing workers.  We need to figure out how to get people back to work, back to creating the things that made America into what it was.  We need factories running, producing goods that are high quality and reliable.  We’ve all had enough of cheap, shoddy, imported garbage.
  6. National Transit System.  We rebuilt Europe’s trains after World War II, or so I’m told, but we can’t get trains to cover the USA in anything resembling efficient and cost effective.  It costs more to ride a train than it does to take a plane or even drive, and Amtrak is subsidized by the federal government.  Few cities have train stations where passengers and small freight can be economically transported to the next city, county, state, or anywhere.  In addition, the transit times when trains are used are utterly ridiculous.  We need efficient mass transportation beyond the urban bus and subway systems.  We need it both within states and to other cities and states, providing efficient and low cost transportation coast to coast.  Putting such a rail system into place would employ thousands of people, from creating the infrastructure to service jobs when it is up and running.  It would appeal to foreign tourists as well, especially since most industrialized countries have train systems already.
  7. Legalization of hemp & medical marijuana.  Hemp is a good crop, and it’s good for a lot of applications.  It can be used for making rope, paper, and clothing, as well as a host of other things.  It’s a good fiber, and more durable than cotton.  Medical marijuana is a good product too, when properly used.  Even recreational marijuana is less of a problem with the users than those people using alcohol.  Taxed and regulated, it would remove marijuana from the hands of drug cartels, reducing their income and clout not only in the United States, but in the countries where their supplies of marijuana are grown and prepared for smuggling into the United States.  The tax revenue would enhance the American budget, maybe even bringing the annual deficit down a notch, especially if recreational use was legalized.
  8. Energy.  We’re going to have to bite the bullet and come up with alternative energy plans.  We’ve seen the disasters nuclear reactors can deliver.  We’re seeing the disaster of the oil industry, each and every day.  We need inexpensive and efficient energy to recreate a strong economy.  We don’t have it, therefore, we need to figure out how to get it.  If we got a man to the moon, not once, but several times, and did it with computers that had less power than the old Nintendo 64…surely we can figure this problem out.  Quit subsidizing the oil industry and let them struggle on their own, they’ve been milking America too long.  Devote attention to alternative energy that is less costly, both to the consumer and the environment, and put America at the forefront again.
  9. Taxes.  Corporations.  Okay, taxes are something nobody wants to pay.  We’re all a bit tired of corporate entities making huge profits while paying little in terms of taxes, and then adding to the insult by outsourcing portions of their business to foreign countries.  We’re sick of them lobbying Congress for favoritism.  We’re tired of paying the bill, you might say.  It’s time to start taking a good hard look at how corporations are affecting the way we elect politicians, and how they affect the bills that go through Congress to become laws.  It’s a form of corruption, folks.  Plain and simple.  These corporations are doing nothing more than paying politicians for favors, no matter how it is sugar coated.
  10. Foreign aid.  I really do not understand why we are borrowing money only to give it away to other countries.  That makes no sense to me.  If I am unable to pay my bills without borrowing money, it would be foolish to give my money to other people after I borrowed it.  Why is the federal government continuing to do something that any of us would look askance at a private individual doing?  I think it’s time that foreign aid is cut back, if not eliminated, and there should be more accountability as to why we’re giving it to anyone.

There are a lot more issues too, more than I could possibly put in here, but those are the top ten ones.  Neither party is very concerned about all of them.  None of the candidates are either.  So who do I vote for?

I’ll cast a vote in less than forty eight hours now.

I have no idea who I’m going to vote for right now.  Just when I think one candidate or another has trumped finally, they show signs of obviously reneging.  I was never a fan of Obama, so I have to admit that he has done better than I thought he would.  At the same time, the Romney/Ryan ticket isn’t exactly thrilling either.  I’m not a Romney fan, and the idea of something happening that would catapult Ryan into the Oval Office makes me gag.  Biden’s not a rocket scientist either though, and I actually had someone crack a joke about Biden being Obama’s “insurance policy” so that no one would assassinate him–they were afraid that Biden would then become president.

Once again, it seems that I’m faced with a choice of who I am going to vote against rather than who I am going to go vote for.  Which candidate has the most potential to cause harm?  Are we better off with the devil we know…or a new devil?

Oh will I be glad when Tuesday is over.  I’ll have my mind back, as well as cease to see the endless parade of pro-this candidate or anti-that candidate on my Facebook wall!

Marijuana, medical uses, and the pharmaceutical industry

29 Mar

Marijuana isn’t a legal substance to grow or possess in much of the United States.  Some states have legalized its medical use, but continue to face issues with the federal government disregarding their state laws.  In Mississippi, where I currently live, it is definitely not a legal substance.

In talking to various friends and acquaintances lately in regards to long term pain management, the differences between states became blatantly apparent in regards to the use of marijuana for this purpose.  Using it for pain management is in some ways far different than using it for recreational reasons.  Many people who had never experimented with it in their “younger days” use it in their middle age for pain management.  Even those who have used it for recreational reasons tell me that the type of  marijuana available in “medical grade” is far different from the street version, as well as more expensive.

The reasons people have for not supporting the legalization of marijuana are all things that they believe to be true.  But, when you really look at the reason, is it really true?

One reason is that people believe that many doctors will frivolously pass out prescriptions for marijuana.  This is true, otherwise we wouldn’t have any doctors ever disciplined for their prescribing habits through state medical boards.  On the other hand, is it really so common that it is going to be a wide spread problem?  How does frivolous marijuana prescriptions compare to the other types of frivolously prescribed medication compare?  I don’t think that it is going to be as big of a problem as many people fear, mostly because of the restrictions that are placed on when and where marijuana is used by the patient.  These typically are things like not using it before driving or while in a motor vehicle, not in public, etc.   Possessing it ceases to be a crime with the prescription, which allows them to take it with them while traveling, have it in their home, etc.

Other people believe that it will result in widespread addiction to marijuana.  Marijuana isn’t an addictive substance, this has been well documented in scientific research.  It is, however, like almost everything on earth, potentially psychologically addictive.  It’s a lot less addictive than most prescription painkillers, as well as having far fewer side effects.

Others fear that it will increase the number of people who use it as a recreational drug.  There isn’t anything to support this, and many people who currently indulge in marijuana use may stop using it entirely because of the loss of the thrill of escaping detection.  For those that already use it as a recreational drug, buying it through a legal source would mean that it is taxed, increasing revenue for local, state and federal programs of all kinds, from education to road construction.

Others believe that it is going to increase crime.  In reality, this has been proven incorrect by American history.  The Prohibition Era saw the rise of organized crime to unprecedented levels as the sale of alcohol funded their entire organization.  The same thing is true today with marijuana and other drugs.  By removing marijuana from their product offerings, we are removing one of their biggest income sources and turning it into a legitimate crop that both large and small farmers can raise and market legally.  These farmers, processing companies, and even marketing companies will then employ more people, pay more taxes, and help fuel a stagnating economy with a product that is legally produced and sold.  It is highly doubtful that we’ll see a sudden arrival of “marijuana booths” in local farmer’s markets any more than we see “tobacco booths” today, for largely the same reasons.

Others regard legalizing marijuana as tantamount to admitting defeat in the “War on Drugs” as marijuana has always been regarded as a drug.  Whether we admit defeat or not, it’s blatantly obvious that our “War on Drugs” has been a dismal failure as organized criminal gangs continue their home invasions, robberies, murders, assassinations, and kidnappings along the Mexican border, on both sides of that border.  Once again, by removing one of their primary sources of income, we will succeed in making business more difficult for them to conduct.  Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to have another legal “Made in America” product, in this case, raised in America product?

Marijuana production, especially for the medical trade, is perfectly suited to the small family farm as well, since it is a much more labor intensive crop than raising most current agricultural crops.  It would also yield higher profits per acre, making the family farm a profitable enterprise, and saving the family farms from extinction in the current climate of agribusiness and corporate farms.  Saving the family farm would preserve the same family values that our entire country was founded on, rather than destroying them, which is what many people’s fears of the legalization of marijuana are.    Creating more jobs in rural areas where it is produced by locating the plants to process and package the marijuana for sale would also help preserve this same traditional family value concept, as rural areas are always struggling to keep jobs and their economies alive.

People are not going to become marijuana addicts just because it is legal to buy, possess and use marijuana any more than everyone over 21 is an alcoholic or smokes tobacco, both of which are legal and have far more known side effects to their use than marijuana does.  Far fewer people, according to current research, are likely to become belligerent, aggressive, or violent when using marijuana when compared to using alcohol.  While most research indicates that marijuana does not contain carcinogens, even if it does, it contains far fewer than tobacco does, and tobacco is also addictive.

So why IS there so much opposition to the legalizing of marijuana?

I believe that the Big Pharma companies are one of the sources behind it.  If a simple solution such as marijuana use, which can also be grown at home by the patient and easily processed into the usable form without a laboratory, pharmaceutical companies will lose a substantial portion of their current giant-sized income on the sale and marketing of prescription pain killers and the drugs that are used to counteract their side effects.

These giant corporations can lobby Congress and state legislatures in opposition of the legalization process.  It’s simply good business to them, while thousands of people are left in a position to use other solutions to long term pain management, nausea, etc. that make them even more money while providing less effective relief and more side effects for the patient. It’s the same lobbying effect that makes herbal and wholistic treatment of medical conditions difficult, if not impossible, as these entities lean on the FDA for more regulations each year.  What better way to ensure that your company makes more money than by eliminating the competition from the scenario?

These same companies prey on the public, turning the issue from a  simple herbal solution to a loud protest about the idea, encouraging their opposition.  They paint pictures of derelict addicts neglecting their children, spouses, and jobs to smoke one joint after another.  They encourage the vision of drivers killing people because they are “high” on marijuana.  They lead the public to believe that every doctor will be on the street, hawking their prescriptions for marijuana like it’s the latest edition of the newspaper.

The complete legalizing of marijuana would move it from the jail house evidence room to liquor stores, where it would be available in a variety of brands and varieties.  There, it would be sold in packages of twenty like cigarettes with a hefty tax, just like cigarettes and alcohol.  Sure, some times, it might be your mechanic, co-worker, or doctor that buys a package to take home on a Friday night, and they may smoke the entire package over the weekend too.  But what does that mean on Monday when they come to work again?

It means a lot less than working with someone that has spent the weekend drinking currently legal alcohol.  There is no ‘hangover’ effect from marijuana, another research proven fact.  That means that they aren’t going to be inattentive and suffering from a headache and nausea.  They are less likely to call in “sick” to work on Monday, as well as less likely to make an error while on the job as a result of their weekend’s recreation.  Once the “high” effect of marijuana wears off, that is all that results from the previous use of alcohol.  There is also research indicating that it has far fewer long term effects than even occasional alcohol use.

So what does this mean for me personally?

Not a whole lot, other than advocating the legalization of marijuana.  It isn’t legal in Mississippi where I live, and I do believe in obeying the law.  I don’t know if it would be something that would work for me in terms of medical pain management or not.  I don’t really have an interest in using it recreationally, but I also don’t drink alcohol very often.  I personally don’t see it becoming something that is in widespread use by other people in terms of recreation either, although many people may buy a package just to see what it was all about, smoke one or two, and leave them on the shelf until the dust gathers on them.  I would far rather have my car repaired or see a doctor that used marijuana rather than one that was recovering from a weekend party.

What do you think?  Do you see marijuana as the downfall of our society, a good source of tax money, a potential “cash crop” or something else?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,693 other followers