smokescreen

The Surgeon General released a report this week that claims that secondhand smoke is definitely the killer that some always suspected it to be. This determination must rationally lead to one of two courses of action by the federal government:

  • Ban smoking completely, or
  • Legalize marijuana

Now you may be saying, well how can both of those be rational consequences of a finding of the lethal nature of secondhand smoke when they are so diametrically opposed to each other? Let me explain.
If smoking primarily or secondarily is so dangerous that it raises health risks with even the mildest contact, then there is no justifiable reason for it to remain legal. It has no significant health benefits, contributes nothing substantive to life or society, causes trash and air pollution, and is an all around nuisance. The only benefit that it provides is billions in tax dollars every year, yet it remains legal. This is not a rational situation on a purely cost-benefit basis. Fortunately, I don’t form my opinions on cost-benefit rationality alone. I hold the freedom to kill oneself slowly to be more important.
So if tobacco remains legal even after it is determined to be unhealthy even for secondary smokers, then the only rational next step is to then legalize marijuana. Smoking marijuana, unlike tobacco, does not cause lung cancer (or any other cancer), so it cannot therefore raise the risks of cancer for secondary smokers either. It is no more incapacitating than alcohol, which remains legal, so for that argument, current laws prohibiting driving under the influence would be sufficient (if they are for alcohol, that is). The only remaining argument against marijuana use is that it is a gateway drug. This is an anecdotal argument at best, and my all accounts it is no more relevant than to say that alcohol is a gateway drug. Otherwise why would anyone only smoke cigarettes when they drink?
So if the Surgeon General’s report does not lead to a nationwide ban on smoking tobacco, then it must necessarily lead to a nationwide legalization of marijuana. If one of these things does not occur, then our government is not being run rationally. …but you already knew that.

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34

It’s very sad that there are only 34 sensible members of the US Senate right now. It’s even sadder that I probably only agree with these 34 on about two other issues. An amendment to allow Congress to prohibit physical desecration of the flag (read: free speech) has failed by a single vote. Three Republicans (McConnell, Chafee, Bennett) voted no, while 12 Democrats voted yes. The rest of the votes are party line. It’s disgusting that a simple issue like the free expression of dissent is so partisan that it takes a few brave members to stop the body from trampling all over the Constitution. It lives to see another day…

sayonara, Mineta

Today, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta announced his resignation as of July 7, 2006. All I have to say is good riddance, Mr Mineta. This holdover from the Clinton administration was responsible for perhaps the most absurd and dangerous policy instituted after September 11, 2001: random passenger searches in airports. Yes, that’s right. Everytime an 80 year old Jewish woman in a wheelchair gets searched at Logan Airport, it’s Norman Mineta’s fault. But now he’s gone! Shall we have a parade?

music to my ears

Pa. city poised for immigration crackdown
With tensions rising and the police department and municipal budget stretched thin, Hazleton is about to embark on one of the toughest crackdowns on illegal immigrants anywhere in the United States.
Last week the mayor of this former coal town introduced, and the City Council tentatively approved, a measure that would revoke the business licenses of companies that employ illegal immigrants; impose $1,000 fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants; and make English the official language of the city.

goooooooooood bleeeeeeess aaaaaaaameeeeeeeericaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I may have to ask my wife if she wants to move to Pennsylvania.

they took our…hospitals?

According to KTRH, the Harris County Hospial District has had to charge $97 million to Harris County taxpayers for costs associated with treating illegal aliens in fiscas year 2005. That’s after federal grants (which are also taxpayer funded, obviously) and direct/third party payments for services. The bad thing? There are only two major hospitals covered under the Harris County Hospital District. The deparment also covers a few clinics and various medical and public information services, but $97 MILLION in taxpayer theft for illegal aliens out of only TWO hospitals for a single year?! That’s outrageous. The number has also nearly doubled from $55M in fiscal 2002 to the $97M in fiscal 2005.

This $97M is the tip of the iceberg that is going to bring our health system to its knees. Also not covered under the $97M are the 34 clinics run by the Harris County Public Healthcare System Council. Also not covered are at least 10 major hospitals (most in the Texas Medical Center) that are privately funded. Also ignored are the thousands of private medical practices in Harris County.
So not only does $97M not even begin a full accounting of the cost of illegal aliens on our healthcare system, it is only a tiny fraction of the undoubtedly BILLIONS stolen at gunpoint from taxpayers throughout Harris County, the rest of the state of Texas, and the nation as a whole.

I didn’t say we should deny anyone without a valid social security card medical treatment. But couldn’t we at least send Vincente Fox a vague invoice for $97M from some unaccountable medical billing office?

leadership disconnected

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Senate couldn’t even muster enough votes to end debate on the pathetic Federal Marriage Amendment today. This is not at all surprising. The thing had no chance of making it out of the Senate even if they could actually get to vote on it.
What’s ridiculous is the timing of this charade. After the massive illegal immigrant marches of April and May, the country finally awoke to the national emergency of our immigration problem. Every poll out there shows that up to 80% of the country wants at the very least a secure border, and a majority want that to include a wall. Immigration policy should come second. So after five years in office and the entire country raising their voices in unison against illegal immigration, the president and Congress finally managed to write a policy to handle the immigration problem. Actually, they made three policies, the president’s, the Senate’s, and the House’s, and none of them are the same. So what do we get? As of now, a few miles of fence along parts of the US-Mexico border, and some cameras. oooh. Basically, lip service.
This brings us back to the marriage debacle. After the Massachusetts and San Francisco marriage breakthroughs of 2004, parts of the country were clamoring for protection of the “sanctity of marraige.” It was a huge campaign issue. Probably enough to secure the president’s re-election, though John Kerry was similarly opposed to same-sex marriage, though you’d never know it from the coverage. Fast forward to this year. The president’s poll numbers are in a freefall based on stagnation in Iraq and an overall lack of public presence to project a strong image. It’s a Congressional election year, and a majority of the country is feeling vehemently anti-incumbent. So what do the president and his pals in the Senate do? They bring back up the canard of gay marriage, and their attempt to engrave a state issue into the federal constitution fails once again. But they tried, damnit! And they’ll be sure to remind us as campaign commercials start rolling out before November.
What someone needs to remind the president is that our federal system of states’ rights is doing exactly what it should do on this issue, exactly the opposite of the “judicial activism” that the president claims is overtaking the nation. Massachusetts approved same-sex marriage (and re-elected nearly all the legislators who supported it), California did so as well, Connecticut approved civil unions, and the Defense of Marriage Act has been upheld thrice by federal judges (so much for that “activism” eh?). Yes, many states have also passed laws or state amendments strictly defining marriage, but that’s their right as well. That’s how our system is supposed to work. On issues where the several states can effectively make up their own minds, the federal government is supposed to butt its nosey ass out.
This is one issue that the Democrats have consistently correct. No one can hurt my marriage but my wife and I. However, we must protect the Constitution from these petty partisan potshots at all costs.

(a much better dissection of the issue is here)

06.06.06 … yawn.

Fundamentalists amuse me. All day long on the radio, people were calling in fretting about how the end of the world was going to start today or the antichrist was going to be born today. Somehow I don’t think omnipotent supernatural entities follow the modern Gregorian calendar.
The apostles and writers of the New Testament thought that Jesus was going to come back and end the physical world in their lifetimes, so they wrote it down to warn everyone to be prepared. Subsequently, every generation since then has thought they were going to see the end of days. They were all wrong. So are all you wackjobs who had C-sections yesterday to keep your children from being evil (they will be anyway, trust me).
Did the end of the world come on June 6, AD 106? No, I don’t think so. How about 206? No? 306? … 1806? Nope. 1906? Nope. Then what the fuck makes you think it’s going to be today? Oh, that’s right, it’s your pathetically overdeveloped sense of spiritual self-importance. Spare us your fevered ego tainting our collective unconscious and have a little fun for once.