October 4, 2004

It's a waste of time if I can't smile easily

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"6. Crusaderiffic

"One of Bush's very last lines of the night was also one of his most interesting: 'We've climbed the mighty mountain. I see the valley below, and it's a valley of peace.' The simplest explanation for Bush's sudden eloquence can probably be boiled down to: 'Hey world, you listening? We're up here, you're down there. Suck on it.'

"But that doesn't sound quite right. A possible suggestion is that Bush was referring to Martin Luther King's 'mountaintop' speech, where Dr. King said, 'I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land.' But let's face it, the chances of Bush deliberately paraphrasing the nation's greatest civil rights leader are slimmer than a supermodel on a hunger strike.

"No, the best guess may be that the mighty mountain Bush was talking about is the Biblical mountain God took Moses up, just before Moses picked Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Incidentally, Joshua was a military leader who kicked a whole lot of nonbeliever ass, and the book of Joshua is widely cited as a justification for the Crusades. Oh yes, you know the fundies liked that one!"

* Halliburton's fortune's doubled.

"Halliburton Co., the company Vice President Dick Cheney headed for five years, vaulted into the top 100 defense contractors when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, according to a new analysis by a public interest group.

"Halliburton 'was not even on the list' until 2003 when it won $4.3 billion in defense contracts, including a no-bid contract for oil services in Iraq, according to the Center for Public Integrity in Washington.

"In 2003, it landed at No. 14.

"Until 2003, Halliburton and its subsidiaries Brown & Root Services and Kellogg Brown & Root never won contracts totaling more than $658 million a year. In the five years leading up to 2003, the company's total contracts amounted to only $2.45 billion.

"Cheney ran Halliburton as chief executive officer from 1995 to 2000, when he resigned to run for vice president. While Iraq was Halliburton's great windfall, having Cheney at the helm was almost as lucrative: In the five years he headed the company, Cheney doubled the receipts from the previous five years, according to CPI."

* An end to marijuana prohibition. excerpt:

"Never before have so many Americans supported decriminalizing and even legalizing marijuana.

"Seventy-two percent say that for simple marijuana possession, people should not be incarcerated but fined: the generally accepted definition of 'decriminalization.' Even more Americans support making marijuana legal for medical purposes.

"Support for broader legalization ranges between 25 and 42 percent, depending on how one asks the question.

"Two of every five Americans - according to a 2003 Zogby poll - say 'the government should treat marijuana more or less the same way it treats alcohol: It should regulate it, control it, tax it, and only make it illegal for children.'

"Close to 100 million Americans - including more than half of those between the ages of 18 and 50 - have tried marijuana at least once. Military and police recruiters often have no choice but to ignore past marijuana use by job seekers.

"The public apparently feels the same way about presidential and other political candidates. Al Gore, Bill Bradley and John Kerry all say they smoked pot in days past. So did Bill Clinton, with his notorious caveat. George W. Bush won't deny he did. And ever more political, business, religious, intellectual and other leaders plead guilty as well. The debate over ending marijuana prohibition simmers just below the surface of mainstream politics, crossing ideological and partisan boundaries. Marijuana is no longer the symbol of Sixties rebellion and Seventies permissiveness, and it's not just liberals and libertarians who say it should be legal, as William F. Buckley Jr. has demonstrated better than anyone."
"In 1931, with public support for alcohol Prohibition rapidly waning, President Hoover released the report of the Wickersham Commission. The report included a devastating critique of Prohibition's failures and costly consequences, but the commissioners, apparently fearful of getting out too far ahead of public opinion, opposed repeal.

"Franklin P. Adams of the New York World neatly summed up their findings:

"Prohibition is an awful flop.

"We like it.

"It can't stop what it's meant to stop.

"We like it.

"It's left a trail of graft and slime

"It don't prohibit worth a dime

"It's filled our land with vice and crime,

"Nevertheless, we're for it.

"Two years later, federal alcohol Prohibition was history.

"What support there is for marijuana prohibition would likely end quickly absent the billions of dollars spent annually by federal and other governments to prop it up. All those anti-marijuana ads pretend to be about reducing drug abuse, but in fact, their basic purpose is sustaining popular support for the war on marijuana.

"What's needed now are conservative politicians willing to say enough is enough: Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain each year. People losing their jobs, their property and their freedom for nothing more than possessing a joint or growing a few marijuana plants.

"And all for what? To send a message?

"To keep pretending that we're protecting our children?

"Alcohol Prohibition made a lot more sense than marijuana prohibition does today - and it, too, was a disaster."


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