Friday, May 26, 2006

A team of UCLA researchers under the direction of one Donald Taskin reports, contrary to drug-war agitprop, that inhaling the haze of Mary-Jane, “even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer” (Marc Kaufman, “Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection,” Washington Post, 26 May 2006, p. A3, my emphasis).

Intaking the toke, according to Tashkin’s work, may — perhaps — even have “‘some protective effect’” on the lungs.

The Post adds that past studies Tashkin conducted had pointed to toxic agents in marijuana akin to those which are understood to be cancerous in tobacco. However, “the chemical THC [TetraHydroCannabinol] … may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous,” Tashkin asserts.

Unlike the wacky tobacke, the other leaf is highly addictive thanks to nicotine; likely, there’s the greater health threat — with the accepted, massively subsidized cash crop and not the demon-plant sown into the black market.

(Researchers of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, in 1997, tentatively “concluded that … marijuana use and cancer were not associated in overall analyses” in their study.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Saw this on a digital, scrolling marquee at the Providence Baptist Church in Tyson's Corner, Virginia:


Let's ask Him:

"'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of God" (Gospel of Mark, 10:14)

Oh, never mind.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Random Rumble-Jumble

Chávez’s Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) owns Citgo. PASS IT ON, JOIN THE BOYCOTT.

Is The Simpsons Dead Yet?

Pick up Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy. SAVE THE REPUBLIC.

I shudder at the prospect of someday becoming some wonk at a think tank.

Or a — gasp — politician. Bloody hell.

Harper’s just printed the Muhammed cartoons. The blood has been shed; time to heal. Stand up for free speech.

And Voltaire (?): “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Are you prepared … for the Rapture? (Kudos to Mr. Phillips.)

Name-change ideas: the Daily Infidel (Weekly?), Another Raving Lunatic — or ARL, Obvious Commentary?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

No More Random Rantage?

Is this over? Do I need revisit the reason of being for this depository of all things useless and inflammatory?

What am I thinking?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

USA Today - Government, Major Telecommunications Listening

According to "people with direct knowledge of the arrangement", the National Security Agency (NSA) has also been "secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth," except for Qwest, which turned the NSA down on the basis of "the legal implications", so say "multiple sources".

The article quotes NSA spokesman Don Weber as saying that his agency has "'no information to provide'" and that nothing illegal is being done, while the White House maintains that only calls placed out-of-country are being monitored.

CNN reports that the Department of Justice "has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program" by attorneys to Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), citing their denial of "security clearance" from the NSA.

Okay, okay. If this is all true, that is if our government is spying on the American people en masse, what is happening to us? No doubt it is important to do all that is necessary to prevent terrorism, but at this point there are two options we will face very soon.

Either we dismantle our democratic system, or we radically change the anti-terrorism policies. We cannot keep exchanging precious freedom for security; we must have both.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Issue One Thousand

Rolling Stone has released its 1,000th issue.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


It seems one of the most important, and ominous, of stories in the news is imminent Iranian nuclear apocalypse. But do not despair. Either we are doomed or there’s hope, and as I think I’ll lean on the side of optimism, there is hope. Here’s the situation: we have a lunatic president and so do they, though Iran’s premier seems more overtly psychotic. So I’ll take Bush over Ahmadinejad.

By last year’s International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) estimate, we are — at most — ten years away from having to deal with Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. So we have time, and hopefully those years will not be wasted accelerating toward catastrophe.

Israel is very worried, and there is a lot of reason for that. Iran is essentially a terror state with the outright intention of wiping out the Jewish State. Our Vice President has suggested to Don Imus that Israel just might choose to do something about it, wink-wink.

Recently, renegade journalist Seymour Hersh culled from anonymous government sources that the military option is not only “on the table,” as Bush puts it, but is being actively planned — namely, to take out the subterranean uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, perhaps with a tactical nuclear weapon.

“There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community,” Hersh writes, “that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change.”

“One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter,” Hersh adds, “calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon … against underground nuclear sites.”

Let me repeat that. In order to tell the world that nuclear proliferation must be stopped, we might possibly bomb a nuclear reactor with a nuclear weapon. It is surely telling of these strange times when it becomes absurd to point out the hypocrisy of the above scenario.

An April 30 ‘news analysis’ piece from the New York Times speculates that the cat-and-mouse game between Iran and the U.S. “resembles cold-war deception and brinkmanship,” a psychological war of will that holds serious implications of global terror and a crippling energy crisis — the Times does not go so far as this, but cites Iran’s threat “to cut off oil” and its status as a terrorist state.

Whether there are any practical, constructive solutions to agonize over the next decade, before it is too late, I cannot say.

I’ve been hearing about an economic sanctions regime on Iran, which has been said to be helping Ahmadinejad by fueling his virulent rhetoric, at the least. Why would Iran need nuclear energy, anyway? is a question I’ve been hearing often. After all, it is sitting on the second (or third, not sure which) largest reserve of petroleum on the planet.

University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole reported on April 29 that a recent IAEA report “found no smoking gun” and, in fact, “can be read to say that there is no evidence that Iran is doing anything illegal.” (The report can be read here.)

Folks, I have no answers — as usual. I only hope that the level heads will prevail, and the world is spared yet more violence and terror. Hope is an essential thing to keep these days, the way things are shaping up.