Saturday, March 10, 2007

News of the Last Several Days

Sorry I wasn't here for the now-famous "sell your organ, get out of jail" card story. Many thanks to Ben and Joe for the excellent postings while I was gone. I hope our board of directors doesn't notice and decide to change things. Anyway, here we go with some hits on some of the news that I would have spent more time on had I not shirked my responsibilities:
  • ND legislators would prefer to spend $8 m. on rehab than $85 m. on a new prison that the gov wants? Did I go through a time-space warp on my sojourn?
  • Well-educated NM House members kill the medical marijuana bill supported by the Senate and the gov. How do we know they're well-educated? Well, here's one of the geniuses speaking: "Opponents disputed that marijuana was an effective medicine. "Medically it just really has no value. For us to approve a drug like this tells our children and tells the rest of the people in this state that we, somehow as leaders, give tacit approval to the use of this drug," said Rep. John Heaton, D-Carlsbad and a pharmacist. "That is absolutely wrong for us to do."He described marijuana as "the No. 1 gateway drug to abusing other drugs in our society." Uh, let's see. No medical value--wrong. NM doesn't approve of telling kids it approves of drugs, like, say, alcohol or nicotine which aren't widely known to be banned in NM--wrong. No. 1 gateway drug, unlike, say, that "alcohol" thing which NM folks never use--wrong. Please, folks. You don't want to do it, just say you don't want to do it. Don't let demonstrable nonsense after demonstrable nonsense come out.
  • Maybe they were just trying to protect those impressionable young people from things like principals calling in high school kids to question them about their parents' growth of med marijuana. Cool.
  • And if the parents don't watch out, why, we'll come take their house from them.
  • More drugs. IN doing serious reconsideration of its methadone clinic system. Here's why.
  • Cost problems caused by prisons in state after state. This one is mental health in MA. This one is jails in ME. And this one is public defenders in GA. Oh, wait, one more. This one is trial judges in CO. Okay, that should do it.
  • Waaaaaayyyy too late, FL is figuring out that all sex offenders are not all the same, that not all of them deserve the same treatment we give the truly heinous ones. A path that other states are just scurrying down like little bunnies. I'm sure there's a legislator in NM who's right at the front of the line.
  • Finally, the case for technocorrections continues to grow. "A genetic variant of a receptor in the brain's reward circuitry heightens the stimulating effects of early exposures to alcohol and increases alcohol consumption, according to a new study by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)." And males seem to be more affected (at least male rhesus monkeys, which are very comparable to college freshmen). Outcome? "More broadly, the finding underscores the important role that the pleasurable and stimulating initial effects of alcohol play in the subsequent development of alcohol problems." With the tech breakthroughs in "fixing" cell receptors, this kind of research makes it more likely that corporations will be able to market therapies that can take alcoholics out of circulation whether they want it or not. And with DUI/DWI types major contributors to our jail and prison population problems, you won't need the hassle of guidelines or rehab or any of those tentative options. So tell me you don't think this will be the future once the companies get the process and sales pitch down.

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