Monday, November 29, 2010

Run, Johnny, Run!

So, I took my piss test a couple weeks ago, and now I'm free to indulge without worry until next year.  I haven't smoked since maybe June, and my tolerance has left me completely.  I smoked a half a bowl the other night, and I was baked for hours.  It's also really good shit.  So, that coupled with the lack of tolerance, I was, as K puts it, on the other side of the universe.

One reason that I haven't smoked since June is that until now, I didn't have a connection, as in a source, supplier, weed guy, the man, Johnny, delivery.  I met a new Johnny in my cab the other day (not really how I met him, but good enough) and he hooked me up with a bit of bud for forty dollars.  Seems a bit steep, but as I said, it is good shit.

Connections are rather tough to find in the city.  Most are extremely cautious, and keep their circle of costumers on a tight, referral only basis.  The NYPD spends far too much of their valuable time chasing down pot offenders, so it can be tough to meet a trustworthy guy. But, I may have found one finally.  I will give him a call occasionally.

In the spirit of the season, I would like to give thanks to the men and women who risk their freedom growing and selling this (mostly) harmless plant.  This drug has never killed anyone, is about as addictive as caffeine, and is pretty damn pleasant.  Yet, in New York City, cops spend $90 million a year arresting 40,000 people for marijuana offenses.  All this despite the fact possession of up to an once was decriminalized in the 70's.  The cops here like to play a nasty trick in order to inflate their arrest numbers.  While possession has been decriminalized, possession or use in public view is still a misdemeanor.  While stopping and frisking someone (itself blatantly unconstitutional) cops will order them to empty their pockets and place everything on the hood of a squad car.  If any weed turns up, it's then considered in public view, and an arrest is made.  Rule #1, never trust a cop.

Despite our last three presidents all being former pot smokers, the feds also spend far too many precious resources chasing down pot growers.  Take the case of John Robert Boone, a 67 year old farmer who has been on the run for the last two years.  Feds recently found 2,400 plants on his Kentucky farm, and he has been on the run ever since.  This arrest, if it's ever made, would be his third federal rap, so he is facing the rest of his life behind bars.  He isn't accused of killing anyone or being violent, yet he still faces the loss of his freedom for providing the toking public with a flower that one third of Americans have tried.

Being in the weed business all of his life, he has become something of a legend.  As of this writing, his Facebook fan page has 2,211 fans, and local Kentuckians can be seen sporting "Run, Johnny, Run!" T-shirts.  Some of his tactics to avoid getting busted has added to his fame.
Boone's 1980 wanton endangerment charge was anything but a run-of-the-mill felony, and the details of the arrest are the stuff of lore.

Deputy Habib says Boone caught wind that the cops were planning to raid his substantial marijuana crop, so he and two friends climbed into a black pickup truck and drove wildly through the small town until they arrived at the police station.

After driving up on the sidewalk and nearly clipping a police officer, the bandits, as they were often referred to as, led the local cops on a wild chase through town until they ultimately lost the tail.

But the bandits weren't done yet.

According to Deputy Habib, the bandits then drove around until they found an off-duty state trooper's home, and they proceeded to ram into the trooper's cruiser.

The trooper called in all the Kentucky State Police units he could muster, and Boone's group led them on yet another wild chase through Lebanon.

Eventually, Boone and his crew were arrested, but they had accomplished their mission -- while the cops were busy chasing after him, Deputy Habib says Boone had his cronies, all members of the notorious Cornbread Mafia, move his cache of marijuana out of the farm before the lawmen could get their hands on it.

The charges against Lebanon's bandits were ultimately dropped, however, because the pickup truck alleged to be involved in the joyride had never been recovered.
So, as I kick back and light my bowl, I've got only one thing to say:

Run, Johnny, Run!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Took My Yearly Drug Test the Other Day

In order to maintain my hack license, I am required to take a yearly drug test.  I went to a medical office, filled out a bunch of paperwork and peed into a plastic cup.  I hate this annual assault on my rights.

Even before I started smoking weed, I was against drug testing.  As an American, I am a firm supporter of our civil liberties, and drug testing is a major violation.  Testing whole groups of people in order to find a few lawbreakers is flat out wrong.  It is the same as the police going door to door and conducting searches.  People would not consent their employers searching their homes, but for some reason, the majority is content to have employers searching our urine.

Drug testing is not particularly effective.  With the exception of marijuana, most drugs leave the system and become undetectable after a few days.  So, one can party hard on a Friday night, smoking crack and shooting heroin, and pass a drug test on Monday.  Weed on the other hand is fat soluble and is detectable for up to a month.  So the drug that testers are most likely to find is the one that is mostly harmless and affects work performance the least.  Alcohol, the drug most likely to affect one's job performance, isn't even tested for.  It's legal.

Besides, peeing in a cup and handing it over to a nurse is undignified.

The method of testing that the TLC uses is almost completely useless.  We are required to take our test in the month before our license expiration date.  We know this ahead of time, and we schedule the test ourselves.  It's pretty damn easy to plan ahead, and abstain from our drug of choice long enough for it to become undetectable.  Unless of course our drug of choice is booze.  We can have a couple of beers before the test if we want.

The test for cabbies costs $25.50 and with 40,000 cab drivers in the city, it comes out to over a million dollars year spent on drug testing for cabbies.  That's a pretty good gross for LabCorp, the testing company, to pull in on a completely useless test.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Religions of the World

Back in college, this was one of my favorite T-shirts.  I'm happy to have found it again.  Despite being an atheist, my favorite entry is the last.

[via this isn't happiness]

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Tree at Rockerfeller Center

The tree is 74 feet tall, 40 feet wide, and weighs 12 tons.   It is, or was, 75 years old.  Now, it's dead.  After Christmas, it will be turned into mulch and donated to charity.

I am not one of those atheists who is against Christmas.  I celebrate every year, and I love it.  But is killing this tree a really necessary part of the festivities?  I don't think so.  Perhaps Rockerfeller Center can try something else, and let next year's tree live.

Why Was Yusuf Islam at the Rally to Restore Sanity

Back in 1989, when asked about the fatwa against Salmon Rushdie, Islam responded, "He must be killed. The Qur'an makes it clear - if someone defames the prophet, then he must die."  Two months later, on a British TV show, he was asked if he would appear at a demonstration where Rushdie was to be burned in effigy.  Islam replied, "I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing."  Islam attempted to backtrack from his comments by claiming that he was joking in bad taste, but I don't buy it.  The fatwa against Rushdie is not really a laughing matter.

So, why was he invited to perform at Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity?  Yusuf Islam does not strike me as one to be promoting sanity.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good Riddance to Blue Rubbish

I won't miss these guys.
In a fell swoop, the once-powerful Blue Dog caucus of conservative House Democrats was reduced from 54 members to 26 in Tuesday’s midterm election.
The caucus lost two members to retirement and two others who ran for higher office, and out of the remaining 50 members, 24 Blue Dogs lost.
Remember Howard Dean complaining about "Republican lite" in the 2004 race?  The Blue Dogs were some of the people he was talking about.  They voted with the Dems some times, but they demanded too many concessions, and they were a bit too obstructionist.

As Dan Savage (who I happily stole my headline from) said:
One of the most frustrating things about the last two years was watching Obama and real Dems bend over backward to appease faux Dems. 
I'm happy to see them gone.  Maybe in two years, we can replace the Republicans who took their seats with actual progressives.

Fare Increase For NYC Taxis?

From CBS New York:

Fleet owners have asked the TLC to increase taxi fares by 19%. They ask for an increase raising the drop from $2.50 to $3.00 and the travel from $0.40 per 1/5 mile to $0.40 per 1/6 mile. Some New Yorkers are ready to complain. After all, this is an expensive city to live in. No one wants yet another service to increase in price. Even some cabbies don't like the idea. A driver named Sandy posted this comment on an industry blog:
I’ve been driving a yellow cab since 2001 and I am totally against any fare increases right now because in my experience, those increases are always at the expense of the driver and passenger and benefit nobody other than individual medallion and fleet medallion owners and brokers. Every time there is a fare increase, lease rates are raised accordingly by fleet owners and medallion brokers complaining of “higher costs.”
I, on the other hand, support the idea of a raise. We cabbies don't make much, and we could use a little bit more. We drive 12 hour shifts, five or six days a week. And, we get absolutely no benefits. No paid vacation, no sick days, no 401K, no health care, and no respect. Sandy's complaint of raises always going to the fleet owners is not entirely true. While the owners will definitely get a share (and too large, in my opinion), we drivers will see an increase in our take home pay. And, frankly, we deserve it.

Taxis in New York are a bargain compared to most cities. has done a survey recently, and the results are interesting. The cost of a 3 km trip in new York will cost $7.00 - $12.00. Melbourne taxis charge $9.00-$12.00. London costs $11.29 – $14.52. Monaco is $15.28 – $19.44. The same 3 km in Zurich will run a whopping $18.18 – $24.24.

New York cabbies haven't gotten a raise in the last six years. We deserve one.

What the Fuck Has Obama Done So Far?

Thanks to Sarah from Here & Now for sharing this.

What the fuck has Obama done so far?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The 40/40 Split

Jon Cohen from The Washington Post guested yesterday on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, and shared some interesting stats from the exit polls.

45% of voters voted for Obama in 2008.
45% of voters voted for McCain in 2008.

58% of voters had an unfavorable view of the Democrats.
57% of voters had an unfavorable view of the Republicans.

41% of voters described themselves as conservative.
39% of voters described themselves as moderate.
20% of voters described themselves as liberal.

40% of voters said that the deficit was the number one issue.
40% of voters said that jobs was the number one issue.

40% of voters said that health care should be repealed.
40% of voters said that health care should be strengthened or kept.

40% of voters said that the Bush tax cuts should continue for everyone.
40% of voters said that the Bush tax cuts should continue only for those earning less than $250,000.

40% of voters said that they supported the Tea Party.

Obviously, we are a deeply divided nation. And, also, the Republicans do not have the clear mandate that they claim. The Dems should realize that and not give an inch.

Not one fucking inch. Fight you wusses, fight.

A Question From My Dad

Back in 1787, when the Constitution was ratified, the standard medical treatment for drowning was to hang the victim upside down by the feet and tickle their ribs with a feather. This treatment was considered effective for up to four hours after a drowning. Now, Dad wonders if political science had kept pace with medical science these past 223 years, would we be in this same mess now?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lexington, KY Elects Gay Mayor

Election news is not entirely bleak.  Lexington, KY (yeah, the same state that elected Rand Paul) has elected an openly gay mayor.  Congratulations, Mayor-elect Jim Gray.  I'm glad some Kentuckians have sense.

[via Joe.My.God.]

Wisdom From HP Lovecraft

PZ Myers at Pharyngula posted this quote from HP Lovecraft yesterday.  I am a day late, but I liked it so much, that I decided to post it myself.  I'll repost it next election season.
As for the Republicans — how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical 'American heritage'...) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.

Female Atheists? Hell, yes!

Some twit at MS Magazine recently wrote a horrible piece bemoaning the sexism in the "New Atheist" movement.  Jen McCreight ripped her a new one.
I was so hopeful when I found Ms. Magazine's piece "Will 'New Atheism' Make Room for Women?" It's exciting enough when the media covers atheism (and is nice enough to put "New Atheism" in the silly quotes it deserves), but media coverage of female atheists is a rarity. Ms. Magazine has the potential to reach oodles of women who aren't familiar with us atheist activists. If we want more women to be involved with secularism and skepticism and more atheist men to realize how many great atheist women are out there, we need coverage like this.

Then I actually read it.

To say it was disappointing is an understatement. It seems like this was the extent of the research the writer put into the article:

  1. Google "female atheists"
  2. Read titles on first page of results
  3. Play up posts that sound negative, downplay posts that are positive
If you care about equality in the atheism movement, go read Jen's whole post.