Category Archives: Personal

Does this woman belong in a public men’s restroom?

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant recently signed a bill requiring transgender people in that state to use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates. That means this woman and others like her, who were born male, will not be allowed to use a public women’s restroom. Will you men be comfortable with them in the men’s restroom?

Maybe more to the point, how will women feel when a man enters and uses the ladies’ room because he happened to have been born female?

Fortunately, the State of Mississippi has not attached penalties to the new law. And since people are not required to have their birth certificates on their person every time they go out, nobody knows how to enforce it anyway.

Unfortunately, Mississippi is not the only state to consider passing such ridiculous and unenforceable new laws recently. Several other states are following suite.

As far as I know, we’ve been getting along just fine for the past 240 years without interfering with people’s very private lives in this way.

Happy Birthday, Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins

On this date in 1941, evolutionary biologist and freethought champion Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi. His father had moved to Kenya from England during the Second World War to join the Allied Forces and the family returned to England in 1949.

Dawkins graduated from Oxford in 1962, earned his doctorate, became assistant professor of zoology at the University of California at Berkeley 1967-1969 and a fellow of New College in 1970.

The Selfish Gene, his first book, published in 1976, became an international bestseller. It and the award-winning Blind Watchmaker were translated into all major languages.

His other books include The Extended Phenotype (1982), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Unweaving the Rainbow (1998) and A Devil’s Chaplain (2003). His 2006 iconoclastic book, The God Delusion, which he wrote with the public hope of turning believing readers into atheists, became a bestseller in both the UK and the U.S.

Dawkins has held the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science since 1995, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997. He is married to actress and artist Lalla Ward, who has illustrated several of his books and other works.

Dawkins has advanced the concept of cultural inheritance or “memes,” also described as “viruses of the mind,” a category into which he places religious belief. He has also advanced the “replicator concept” of evolution.

A passionate atheist, Dawkins has coined the memorable term “faith-heads” to describe certain religionists. Since his remarks in The Guardian (Feb, 6, 1999): “I’m like a pit bull terrier being released into the ring, as a spectator sport, to attack religious people . . .,” Dawkins is now affectionately known as “Darwin’s pit bull.”

Dawkins, a vice president of the British Humanist Association, was named Humanist of the Year in 1999. He is the 1997 winner of the International Cosmos Prize, and received an Emperor Has No Clothes Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2001. His column for The Observer (“Children Must Choose Their own Beliefs,” Dec. 30, 2001) pointed out: “We deliberately set up, and massively subsidise, segregated faith schools (Note: In the UK, where he lives). As if it were not enough that we fasten belief-labels on babies at birth, those badges of mental apartheid are now reinforced and refreshed. In their separate schools, children are separately taught mutually incompatible beliefs.”

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he eloquently warned in a Guardian column, “Religion’s Misguided Missiles” (Sept. 15, 2001): “To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns. Do not be surprised if they are used.”

Photo by David Shinbone under CC 3.0

“My respect for the Abrahamic religions went up in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th. The last vestige of respect for the taboo disappeared as I watched the ‘Day of Prayer’ in Washington Cathedral, where people of mutually incompatible faiths united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place: religion. It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand up and say ‘Enough!’ Let our tribute to the dead be a new resolve: to respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups for what they were collectively brought up to believe.

—-“Time to Stand Up,” written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Sept. 2001. See Dawkins’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

– See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/day/26/03/freethought/#richard-dawkins

A piece of chocolate

Francine Christope-One amazing ladyWOW!!!!!!!! Seriously, stop what you are doing right now and watch this video. It’s not often that I post really serious stuff, but this woman is just amazing. Watch and share this, I promise you – totally worth it 🙂 ~ QC

Posted by I Do Not Need Anger Management, You Just Need to Shut Up on Saturday, October 24, 2015

It has nothing directly to do with the things I usually rant about on this blog. It’s just a really nice story about the aftermath of  terrible, horrible war.

Both my grandfathers fought in World War I. I don’t know many details, but they were both sent to France.

My maternal grandfather was injured and expected to die. The military hospitals in Europe were overwhelmed with injured soldiers, so they were forced to do triage and spend their time on those who could be helped.

My grandfather was placed in category 3 (“going to die no matter what we do”). So he was placed to die with others in category 3 in a bed on a covered porch, out of the way, so hospital people could spend their time working on those they expected to be able to help.

Grandpa fooled them. Eventually, he got enough better to come home; but he was in pain and unable to work for the rest of his life. It was said that his lungs had grown to his backbone while he lay helpless there in the military hospital, refusing to die. I don’t think that’s actually possible, so I  don’t really know what happened. I just know it was bad.

Hitler had to be stopped then. Now ISIS must be stopped. Occasionally other evils must be defeated. As long as there is evil in the world, it will sometimes require violence to overthrow it. But war and fighting and violence must always be our last resort. Never our first choice.

Happy Leap Year Day

Leap Year Day

It was 32 years ago today, February 29, 1984, that I got up from my desk at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and told my boss “I quit.” Half-an-hour later, I was out the door. They didn’t want two weeks notice. Not from anybody. If you quit, you were gone as quickly as they could get you out the door.

It wasn’t the best decision I ever made, but neither was it the worst. The Bell System had just been broken up by court order and SWBT had officially become an independent company two months earlier, on January 1. It was a turbulent time in the company and in the industry.

By another year,  many of the people I had worked with had either quit or been laid off. Others had been transferred to other areas. I was just among the first of many.

I’m wishing us all a better Leap Year Day this year.

Pain Pump Posting Hiatus

Synchromed pain pumpI apologize for the hiatus in posting. I can only blame it on the minor surgery I had Monday, November 2. All went well, as expected; but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do much useful work yet.

I’ve mentioned my chronic pain before, but I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my “pain pump” or not.

I have chronic pain in several forms, and I’ve had it for more than 60 years. The two worst causes right now are my severe psoriatic arthritis and my sometimes excruciating peripheral neuropathy. In addition, I still have an occasional migraine, although I seem to have mostly “outgrown” those in my mid-40s. Before that, I had suffered migraine headaches every day for more than 20 years and less often even before that. The first one I remember, I was five years old; and I thought the left side of my face was rotting off for two days!

Since there is no known cure for either psoriatic arthritis or neuropathy, I use a variety of methods to control the pain. Probably the most effective way is by using a “pain pump” implanted under the skin of my lower right back. It pumps a tiny — but constant — amount of opioid liquid to my spinal fluid 24 hours a day, and can be adjusted by using a magnetic controller in my doctor’s office.

The pump holds up to 40 ml (about an ounce and a half) of a dilute liquid, which lasts for several months. When it runs low, it can be refilled over and over again by sticking a needle through my skin and into a diaphragm in the pump. About every five years, when the battery runs low, the entire unit is replaced.

No big deal. Really.

I got to the hospital about 8 am. Something caused the doctor to run late, but that was no problem to me. I was prepared. I spent the time reading a good science book on my iPhone. An anesthesiologist came for me about 11:00. He slipped a mask over my face and told me, “Just relax now and breathe deeply.” I remember taking about three breaths. The next thing I knew, I was in another room on another table, and somebody was telling me to wake up. By about 1:00 pm, I was on my way home.

While I was asleep, they rolled me over on my stomach, made a small incision in my skin, removed the cigarette-box-sized-but-round old pump, inserted a new pump just like it into the same spot, hooked it up to the tubes already in place from last time, made sure it was working, and glued my skin back together. I had a strip of clear, waterproof tape for a bandage.

I’ve had no increased pain from the surgery, and I’ve needed no additional help at home. It was by far the easiest operation I’ve ever had. So maybe it’s just making excuses to blame the posting hiatus on that. I dunno, but I’m gonna do it anyway. Wouldn’t you?

I’ve written this not only to make excuses, but also to inform others who might be suffering. Chronic pain is a terrible and very common problem among older people, and even among many younger ones. Pain is supposed to serve a purpose, but chronic pain serves none. It just hurts and hurts and hurts and it seems like there’s nothing you can do about it and sometimes you almost want to die.

Almost.

My medicine doesn’t take all the pain away, but it helps. It takes the edge off  and makes the remaining pain bearable. Sometimes, it almost goes away for a while.

My first pain pump 12 years ago

I resisted getting a pain pump for many years, until one of the best doctors I have ever known told me there was nothing else he could do for me. He had recommended a pain pump before, and he recommended a pain pump again. I saw two different “pain doctors,” and they both recommended installing a pain pump. So I had a pain pump installed. The relief was both quick and wonderful. For a long time, I told people I hurt less than I had hurt for 50 years.

It has never done the whole job. I still have to take pills. And I still hurt sometimes. But it helps so much I only wish I had gotten my first pain pump many years earlier.

I’m not a doctor, and I certainly don’t give medical advice. I only post this here in the hope that it will provide information that might help somebody else.


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Ahmed Mohamed Moving to Qatar

Ahmed Mohammed

Ahmed Mohamed and his family are moving to Qatar.

Mohamed’s sister, Eyman, reportedly confirmed that the family will only be in the U.S. for a few more days before relocating to Doha. Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, the teen’s controversial father, added that he looks forward to moving his children to a nation in which they “can study and learn” while “being accepted by that country.”

Yes, Ahmed is the same 14-year-old boy who was arrested recently in Irving, Texas, for bringing a clock to school. His English teacher and principal said it was a “hoax bomb,” even though there was nothing in it that looked like an explosive.

Evidently Qatar appreciates bright students.

Eyman Mohamed asserted that Qatar is “basically like America,” noting that the decision to move was based on a generous offer her brother received from the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. “Our family has been overwhelmed by the many offers of support we have received since the unfortunate incident of Ahmed’s arrest,” a family statement explained.

I have no idea why she thinks Qatar is “basically like America,” but that’s beside the point.

I’ve known several exceptionally intelligent boys and girls in my lifetime who would now be young or middle-age men and women. I hope I had some beneficial influence on several of them, possibly encouraging an interest in science or technology. Or, at least, education. In the long run, it’s usually difficult to be sure. I would have loved to have met Ahmed.

Unfortunately, he will apparently be lost to the United States; and that’s a crying shame. We need to keep our brightest students and encourage them to complete their education here and help make our nation great again. It is insane to drive them somewhere else to help make some other country great instead!


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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King Jr.

Constitution of the United States of AmericaAs noted in the sidebar, the above quote is the guiding principle of this blog. I intend to speak out about things that matter. While there are many kinds of things that matter, it has always been my primary intention to write about science and the skepticism that is an essential part of it, including the nature that science studies and the technology it creates.

My passion for those four things — science, skepticism, nature, and technology — will not diminish. However, I also feel compelled to discuss American Presidential politics more for the next few months — maybe all the way to the election in about a year and a half. Presidential election campaigns in the United States have become circuses that last a minimum of two years, beginning long before anybody officially declares his or her candidacy. This is insane. Election campaigns in most of the free world last days or weeks, by comparison.

Not only that, but American elections cost an enormous amount of money. So much money that all but two candidates this time are seeking the backing of billionaires and SuperPACs. Otherwise, they cannot hope to finance their campaigns. One of the two exceptions is himself a billionaire, so he doesn’t have to sell his soul — if any — to the super-rich for campaign donations.

The other exception is focussing on getting small donations from middle-class people and is doing incredibly well. So well that he has been able, so far, to wage a very competitive campaign against the Democratic front-runner, who, for a long time, was considered a shoo-in for the nomination.

The Republican frontrunner is a self-centered, sexist, blustering, billionaire, bully. Please don’t misunderstand; I have nothing against billionaires personally. I’ve always wanted to be one myself. It’s self-centered, sexist, blustering, bullies I have a problem with, whether rich or poor; but being rich makes them better at it. Whether or not he can keep his followers loyal until the primaries start in Iowa on February 1 is anybody’s guess. I hope not.

The other Republicans are all scientifically illiterate; even those you’d think ought not to be, like the medical doctors. They deny evolution, almost without exception. Several are young earth creationists, claiming our world is less than 10,000 years old. That’s incredibly ignorant for the potential “Leader of the Free World!”

Most of them also want to ban most or all abortions, repeal the Affordable Care Act rather than fix it, leaving tens of millions of additional citizens unable to afford basic medical care; and commit a number of other atrocities like gutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and other essential services. Several even openly and plainly put their interpretations of the Bible above the Constitution a President is sworn to uphold and protect.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not pleased with the Democratic frontrunner, either. Too many questions remain unanswered about the Benghazi Massacre. “Why does it matter now?” is not an appropriate response to an investigator’s question. It matters because it speaks to the character, loyalty, and ability of the then Secretary of State (as well as the current President, of course; but he’s not a candidate this time). In addition, there are still too many questions about her email debacle.

I sympathize completely with the guy who said a few elections back, “If God wanted me to vote, I think He’d give me somebody to vote for.” But I will vote, as I always have.

For the duration of this political circus, I feel compelled to make a lot more posts of a political nature. The Presidency is just too important to let it fall into the hands of another incompetent ignoramus like some we’ve had recently, an irresponsible, self-aggrandizing blowhard, or any of those candidates who would place their own beliefs and desires above the Constitution and laws of our nation.

The United States is not, never has been, and must never be “one nation under God.” Our forefathers fled that kind of nation in Europe when they came to North America in search of religious freedom. That’s why we have always been (since 1789) one nation under the Constitution of the United States of America.

What does it mean to be a skeptic?

detectiveWhat does it mean to be a skeptic, or to be skeptical?

Being a skeptic means learning to be like a detective and question anything that’s important enough to deserve questioning. It doesn’t mean refusing to believe things. It means following the evidence.

I try to be skeptical of everything that’s important enough to question until I have evidence one way or the other.

I don’t question the loyalty of friends and family, because I’ve experienced their loyalty over and over again; and I’m equally loyal to them. The evidence is in the long past together and the loyalty has been demonstrated over and over, so there’s no longer any need to question it.

Neither will I question things that aren’t worth the energy. For example, if you tell me you’re hungry, I’ll believe you. You’re the expert on that question, and you are the one who may suffer if you make a misstatement about it. I have no reason to doubt your word.

However, people believe in many things for which there is no evidence and which must therefore be doubted. Some of these things are:

1. Gods, angels, demons, devils, jinns, genies, immortal souls and spirits, fairies, elves, leprechauns, and any invisible or supernatural beings or essences.
2. The War on Drugs.

I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist, but it’s clear the “war on drugs” in the United States has become little more than a conspiracy to steal personal property from its rightful owners.

Have you heard of “forfeiture?” It’s a system that actually encourages crooked law enforcement agencies to steal your house, your car, the money in your bank account, and everything else you own! And keep it! And the individuals involved get rewarded for their crime. All they have to do is claim your property was involved in some way with a drug crime.

Notice I said claim; not prove. They can seize it, and usually keep it, even if they never charge you with a crime! You don’t believe me? You’d better! It is happening all around us. Right here in the USA! You could be next. I could be next. And it’s scary!

3. Creatures visiting earth from other places in the universe.

Could be, I suppose, but not likely. Other stars are just too far away, and it’s unlikely they would come from anywhere else. At the speed of light, it would take four and a half years to get here from the nearest one. Then it seems likely they would eventually want to go back home. That’s nine years minimum travel time. And it’s very unlikely they’d be travelling anywhere near that fast.

OK, maybe they figured out how to break the speed-of-light limit. But, at present, that doesn’t appear to be possible. Or maybe they live so long that nine years away from home doesn’t seem like so much to them. Well, maybe. As long as we’re just “maybe-ing,” maybe just about anything might be possible. I just said I’m skeptical. I didn’t say I’m sure.

4. I’m equally skeptical of the idea that there are NO intelligent beings in any other part of the universe.

There probably are many different species of intelligent beings scattered around the universe far smarter than we are. How many? I have no idea. It’s become almost certain, of course, that earth is the only home of intelligent life in this solar system, even though several other places still may harbor life of some kind. But it seems incredibly unlikely that earth would be the only place in the entire universe where an intelligent species could be found.

The universe is HUGE, and contains an unimaginable number of stars. Estimates range up to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or a trillion trillion stars just in the part we can see. The part we call “the known universe.” If that’s true, and if just one out of a billion supports an intelligent civilization, that would be a million billion civilizations in the known universe. Didn’t I say the universe is big?

Admittedly, those are some very rough approximations. But even if they are off by a factor of a million, that would still leave an estimated billion other intelligent races in the known universe. And it’s anybody’s guess how much larger the rest of the universe might be that we can’t even detect.

Of course, we could debate whether or not even earth has indigenous intelligent life.

5. Creationism.

If God created us, He did a pretty lousy job of it. And we have to ask who created Him.

6. That sex without marriage is always bad.

In my admittedly limited experience, it’s usually been pretty good, as a matter of fact.

7. That humans are inherently either bad or good.

Only Santa Claus knows for sure, and he has to keep a list; but I’m skeptical.

8. That we’re as smart as we like to give ourselves credit for.

Look around. Sure, you and I are geniuses. But how many other really smart people do you know?

9. Heaven or hell as places of eternal life or punishment.

I have seen no evidence. Furthermore, a kind and loving god could never have created such a place as the hell the Bible describes. There’s nothing  kind or loving about it. And nobody has ever described a convincing visit to heaven.

10. An infallible Bible, or Qur’an, or any other infallible book.

Regardless what people say, it’s ridiculously easy to show many errors and contradictions in the Bible. The problem is getting believers to admit it. The Qur’an probably has fewer, because it was written later in history when more reality was known, but the “infallible word of God” would have none.

11. Fate, destiny, or predestination.

“Your future has not been written yet. Write it well.” (from Back to the FutureI realize there are plenty of skeptics who disagree with this, and I admit I may be wrong.

This is what skeptics do. We understand that even our beliefs are tentative until we have convincing evidence.

12. Immortality.

Although technology may sometime make our descendants virtually immortal. Maybe relatively soon.

13. Virgin births, resurrections, ascensions to heaven.
14. Walking on water (without technological help), turning water to wine (without biological help), burning water (as Elijah is supposed to have done), producing striped livestock by putting the parents where they will see a striped environment (as Jacob is supposed to have done).
15. A 6000-year-old universe, or earth, or human race, as many Christians and Jews believe.

There’s more than adequate evidence that modern humans have been here for at least 195,000 years, that earth has existed for about 4.55 billion years, and that the universe is an awful lot older still. (The current estimate is about 13.7 billion years).

16. Anti-assisted-suicide laws.

Why should any government have a right to prevent a suffering person from dying quietly, painlessly, and with dignity? It should be the patient’s choice. A brave man like Dr. Kevorkian should be treated as a hero; not prosecuted and persecuted as a criminal madman.

17. That an embryo a few days old is a “person” in any significant sense.

There’s nothing magic about the moment an egg and a sperm come together. A clump of undifferentiated cells in a womb is not a person any more than an acorn is an oak tree.

18. When somebody says any of the following:
  • “It’s not the money. It’s the principle.”
    It’s nearly always the money.
  • “It’s easy.”
    It may be easy for somebody, but probably not you or me.
  • “I mailed it yesterday.”
    This one needs no explanation. Just be cautious. Maybe he’ll mail it today or tomorrow, if you’re lucky.
  • “The Lord did it.”
    Hogwash! Whoever did it wasn’t “the Lord.”

Capital Punishment Must Be Abolished

Capital Punishment: Lethal injection chamber of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls
Lethal injection chamber of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls

This is one example of why I oppose capital punishment.

A little over two decades ago, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was dismissive of then-Justice Harry Blackmun’s concerns about the death penalty. In fact, Scalia had a case study in mind that demonstrated exactly why the system of capital punishment has value.

msnbc

United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia named convicted killer Henry Lee McCollum as an example of a man who deserved death. “For example, the case of an 11-year-old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat,” he wrote. McCollum appeared to be the perfect example. He was a murderer whose crime was so heinous he deserved to die. He deserved capital punishment.

I wrote a post about Justice Scalia just a few days ago. It is not my intention to be picking on him; I just ran across this item and feel I have to talk about it here.

The condemned man’s names and pictures had even been circulated by politicians as examples of merciless killers.

As recently as 2010, the North Carolina Republican Party used a McCollum photo on campaign fliers to attack a Democratic candidate as “soft on crime.”

msnbc

Last Thursday, McCollum was pardoned along with his half-brother, Leon Brown! They were not guilty! Somebody committed the dastardly crime and surely deserves to die, but it was somebody else.

After they had been locked up for three decades, DNA evidence finally implicated another man and exonerated both of them. It appears their confessions were coerced. The court freed them several months ago.

Both men are “intellectually disabled,” and are now living with a sister who can’t support them. That situation should soon be remedied. Now that the governor has officially pardoned them, they are each eligible to receive $50,000 for each year they were unjustly imprisoned, up to a limit of $750,000 each. That money will pay for groceries and rent, but it cannot make up for the mistaken verdicts against them and the thirty years they both suffered in prison.

After they were freed, Gov. Pat McCrory spent nine months investigating before making the decision to pardon them. He decided it was the right thing to do and pardoned them both a few days ago, on June 4.

I understand that Scalia had not tried these men. As far as I know, he based his opinion on what he had heard or read. Still, it’s unsettling to have a Supreme Court justice proscribing capital punishment for a man who later turns out to be innocent.

The fact is that juries and judges too often make the wrong verdicts. It’s not their fault. Judges and jurists are only human. They are often called upon to make decisions before all the evidence is in. This is inevitable, since additional evidence can show up any time in the future.

I’ve said before that, in principle, I favor the death penalty for heinous crimes. But the fact is that we execute far too many innocent men. One is too many, obviously; and we have executed far more  than that. (Death row inmates in the United States are almost all men.)

Texas is the worst capital punishment state.

My own state of Texas condemns more people to capital punishment than any other state, and we have almost certainly executed several innocent men. In fact our last two governors almost seemed proud of it sometimes. This is especially significant because one of them went on to serve as President of the United States for eight years, and the other one is a candidate for that office now.

In addition to this, we must remember that it costs several times as much money to execute a prisoner as it does to imprison him for life. This is because of the automatic appeals–all of the extreme measures we take to be sure he is really guilty. Extreme yes, but we still make mistakes. A lot of mistakes, as DNA has recently shown.

Since DNA evidence has been available, it has shown so many death row prisoners to be wrongly convicted that several states have put a moratorium on capital punishment. Every state should do that.

I see no reason why anybody else should ever be executed in the United States. Men or women who commit heinous crimes should be locked up for the rest of their natural lives to protect the rest of us from them.

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Marijuana Doesn’t Cure Everything

Marijuana
Marijuana

The first comprehensive analysis of research on the benefits of medical marijuana has shown the drug is not proven to work for many illnesses, despite states approving it to treat those illnesses. There is strong evidence that marijuana can alleviate chronic pain and muscle stiffness in multiple sclerosis, but there is weak evidence for positive effects on anxiety, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome.

The Daily Beast

I stopped reading before I got to the end. I had to go back and finish it later. When I read, “There is strong evidence that marijuana can alleviate chronic pain …”,  that was all I wanted to know. Well, not really. I am concerned about other diseases, too. And safety. But chronic pain affects me directly. You see, I’m 75 years old; and I’ve been hurting for more than 60 of those years. I hate  hurting.

I commented once before in this blog that if marijuana were legal, I would have tried it long ago to see if it would alleviate my pain. But it’s not legal in Texas; and it’s still against federal law everywhere in the country, although the federal law is not currently being enforced in states that have legalized it.

My pain isn’t constant. I actually have some relatively pain-free days. But right now, it’s hard to remember that. My legs have been hurting like hell for about 40 hours.

I see my pain doctor in a few hours, and I’ll probably feel a little better by tomorrow. Maybe. I also take pain meds that dull the pain a little.

There are literally tens of millions of Americans who suffer chronic pain. I read the figure recently. I think the most recent estimate was 30 million; but I didn’t know I was going to be writing about it, so I didn’t save the reference. Some hurt worse than I do.

I’m not in favor of legalizing all drugs, by any means; but legalization of some of them would make things better for all of us. Not just for those of us who can’t get the relief we need legally.

I’ve thought for a long time there would be a lot less crime on the streets if certain drugs were legal. The abominable “War on Drugs” makes it dangerous and difficult to set up shop as a supplier. That drives up prices, and makes the stuff profitable enough to be worth fighting over. Can you imagine how much safer our streets would be if marijuana were as cheap as lettuce? It could be, you know. It grew wild here until our government decided to wipe  it out. If it were any other plant, it would now be on the endangered species list!

Besides that, about half the prisoners in our jails and prisons could be freed. Certainly not the dangerous ones. Just the ones who are there only because they either used or sold marijuana and got caught doing it. It’s criminal the way we lock people up for almost nothing. Not only is there no good reason for it, but it breaks up families and leaves children with no father (usually) or mother at home. And I wonder how much money it costs us to keep 600 thousand non-violent prisoners locked up? A couple of billion dollars a year maybe that could be spent a lot better? Three billion?

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Note: Nope, not even close. It’s a lot more. Just since I published this a couple of hours ago, I ran across this statement on Alternet. “… we spend more than $80 billion each year on prisons.” Approximately half our prisoners are incarcerated on non-violent drug charges, so that’s about $40 billion annually we should be spending on something more useful. In rough figures, of course. Or maybe we could use it to cut your income taxes, but of course no politician would ever think of that.

________________________________________

It’s time our federal government stopped trying to destroy all marijuana and lock up users and dealers alike. They’re supposed to be helping us. Not hurting us.

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