Friday, December 28, 2007
Public health advocates are up in arms. Read more here. Thanks, Michael W., for the item.
Friday, December 21, 2007
The mag's Lowry story took the author down a notch or two by suggesting that his wife was actually responsible for much of the greatness in Under the Volcano. The mag continues on its debunking tear by demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that the savage blue pencil of Carver's editor Gordon Lish was responsible for creating the terse, minimalist style that made Carver famous.
Score: New Yorker 2, theory that alcohol helps the creative juices flow, 0.
Oh, and don't miss the cartoon on p. 68. A bar patron drinking coffee to a neighbor with a cocktail: "Been there, drunk that." I'd copy it here but I worry about overstretching the boundaries of the "fair use" doctrine.
If the homeless alkies want to buy Cabernet Sauvignon or Grey Goose, that's ok.
Public health authorities in Tacoma laud the idea, citing reduced emergency room admissions and other medical costs. That's not surprising. The same thing happened nationwide during Prohibition.
The logic by which Nevius calls this simple class-based Prohibition scheme "treatment" escapes me. It's just one more aspect of the ubiquitous economic bias that Prof. Merrill Singer describes so vividly in his recent book, "Drugging the Poor," reviewed here.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
"ABC News' investigative team, led by Brian Ross, worked with six graduate journalism students to discover whether troops returning home after serving in Iraq are facing the same battles with drug addiction as soldiers did when they came back from Vietnam. For their series, "Coming Home: Soldiers and Drugs," the students traveled across the country from Fort Carson in Colorado to Fort Bragg in North Carolina to examine the accuracy of the Army's assurances that drug abuse among ex-combatants isn't growing. Their findings:
Many of this country's bravest men and women who volunteered to defend America in a time of war have come home wounded -- physically and mentally -- and are turning to illicit drugs as they adjust to normal life, according to soldiers, health experts and advocates." Source.
The five programs are available online here.
"The view that the government is willing to deepen the poverty of some of its rural population for the sake of a ban on opium poppy cultivation further alienates the rural population. The belief of many farmers that those enforcing the ban and eradicating their crop are themselves actively involved in the opium trade makes matters worse; so does the perception of widespread bribery and the sense that eradication targets the vulnerable and ignores the crops of those in positions of power and influence."Afghan farmers are seeing that the eradication efforts are aimed mainly at growers or dealers who are competitors to the growers and dealers connected with the Afghan government and its sponsors. A secondary aim of eradication may be to reduce the over-all supply in order to maintain prices. The Afghan farmers are seeing firsthand what the "war on drugs" is all about and they're not buying into it. The study's authors caution that Afghan farmers will continue to grow the poppy until they're presented with a reasonable alternative -- and none is in sight.
With the girl inside, the mother had sideswiped two other vehicles before hitting a parked car head-on and coming to a stop. The girl got out of the wreck, unhurt, and approached the first officer on the scene.
"Ever time she drinks she gets like this," said the girl. The mother was booked for drunk driving, child abuse, and related charges. Source.
Vasquez probably deserved the slams. He was a paid government informer trying to build a case of extortion against incumbent Democratic state senator Matt McCoy. A Bushie federal prosecutor brought the transparently political case. The jury threw it out after less than two hours of deliberation, including lunch.
But ... should AA sponsors be testifying as character witnesses against their former sponsee? Isn't that against some rule?
The army today admitted that cocaine was becoming the "drug of choice" for British service personnel.
Colonel John Donnelly, who has responsibility for army discipline, said a significant increase in drug taking by soldiers could be linked to stress induced by the demands of combat operations.
The California Republican Party issued two press releases attacking the California Democratic Party for spending campaign money on a wine tasting fundraiser.
The Democrats shot back, pointing out that the Republicans spent four times as much on wine for their events, plus sending untallied bottles of a rare vintage to major donors. Source.
The researchers urge parents to "talk to their kids about alcohol" when the kids are ten or eleven, or earlier. But talking alone isn't going to cut it, if the parents themselves are setting bad models of alcohol use in the home. The research really suggests that if one or both of the parents have an alcohol problem, the time to deal with it (at the latest) is when the kid is still in primary school.
Dec. 14, 2007 -- New research from Canada shows that some toxins may be more abundant in marijuana cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes.
The researchers burned 30 marijuana cigarettes and 30 tobacco cigarettes on a machine in their lab, measuring levels of chemicals in the smoke.
Ammonia levels were up to 20 times higher in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. Levels of hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen-related chemicals were three to five times higher in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. Read more.
The numbers undercut the argument of "war on drugs" supporters that drug prohibition is a necessary dam against widespread drug use.
Quite the contrary, says David Borden, CEO of StopTheDrugWar.org. For example, rates of marijuana use in the Netherlands, where it's sold legally in "coffee shops," are only about half those in nearby France, where marijuana use is an arrestable offense.
On the other side of the fence, a vigilant puppy spotted this invading one-eyed albino rat, and promptly sank its teeth into it.
Doctors at the hospital said the member "should still be useful" to the man in the future. Source.
Some bar owners are upset because existing law already makes barkeepers liable for serving patients who are drunk.
Cops answer that the question helps them spot bars that ignore the law.
The study is being used as fodder for an Australian provincial government campaign to crack down on youth drinking. A worthy cause, no doubt, but did the study control for factors such as family income, education, and environment?
"Can we acknowledge that there is a huge amount of alcoholism in academia? Not the cute Dudley Moore kind, but the kind that makes us less sharp and ends our lives early? I'd imagine every one of us knows a colleague who needs a mid-morning 'refresher' or who always smells slightly of drink. I remember seeing my supervisor trying to be inconspicuous checking all the (empty) wine bottles at a reception, hoping there was a glass left in one of them, and finally making a glass by combining all the remnants red and white wine that were left. I remember drinking with him at a local bar until well past midnight (having started at four). And is there any function in academia that doesn't involve alcohol?"Read the whole thing. Good point. A college administration trying to cope with its students' alcohol excesses needs also to look in the mirror. It'll be hard to get a handle on student conduct if the faculty's drinking is out of control.
The Florida-based craft carried somewhere between three and six tons of powder cocaine, and either no heroin or up to one ton of heroin, depending on which estimates one believes.
The flight originated in Colombia and was destined for Florida with a stopover in Cancun.
Blogger FrostFireZoo.com reports that the serial number of the craft matches those of a plane used by the CIA on at least three occasions in the rendition of terrorism suspects from Guantanamo to other countries to be tortured.
A Mexican journal accused Mexican and U.S. political authorities of hypocrisy for waging a so-called "war on drugs" on the one hand, and being heavily invested in the lucrative drug trade, on the other.
Foxfire.com observes that the amount of drugs said to be on the plane diminished with every official Mexican press release on the incident, and speculates that the subtracted amounts disappeared back into the market.
The photos of the crash scene, above, originated with Mexican press sources. For a video with commentary on EVTV, click.
P.S. Aug. 26 '08: Someone has removed the photos of the crash scene from this blog, and from the original source website as well. However, a video containing the same or similar still photos is still available online here: http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=10106 -- See them before they're gone.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
The chronicle of his marriage and collaboration with Margerie Bonner is a tortuous, gruesome story of love, hate, help, hurt, rescue and revenge. Bonner, who edited and rewrote Lowry's texts daily, almost certainly contributed the discipline and warmth that raised "Under the Volcano" above the rambling, two-dimensional symbolism that was Lowry's best unassisted effort. He was consumed with rage at everything and everyone; his violent tirades drove all their friends away.
She tried for years to get him to cut down or stop his drinking, but ended up matching him bottle for bottle, and when he finally found a doctor who got him to take a break (using aversion therapy), she refused to stop, and dragged him down again.
Much of the article deals with the theory that she murdered him, for which many women acquaintances and critics applauded her. It's a thin case. British local authorities, who conducted the inquest, pinpointed asphyxiation by aspiration of vomit as the cause of death. That's not murder. But it hardly matters. Lowry was bent on death by alcohol sooner or later. During one of his few lucid moments, he described his own life as an "alcoholocaust."
If a movie is ever made of this marriage, it should be on a double bill with "Pollock," and made required viewing for young artists considering careers in alcoholism and addiction: don't go there.