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  • Reefer Madness 2.0

    Recently, I attended a public showing of the documentary “The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth.” The film has been traveling across the state, sponsored by local drug awareness groups to stimulate public discussion of potential marijuana legalization in Vermont. The film might more accurately be subtitled “Reefer Madness 2.0” ... Continue Reading
    Reefer Madness 2.0

    For the Sake of the Children, Outlaw it!

    Thanks to Ms. Slaton's Letter, we awoke from our slumber, recognizing in her words a call for an about-face from our current focus on marijuana in Vermont. She asks, "What are we teaching [our children] if we legalize a substance that is known to be harmful to their development and their ability to learn?" Bingo. She's right. If our children learn by paying attention to messages implicit in the law as Ms. Slaton suggests they do, then we are in big trouble, and we have already brought down immense harm on them by introducing them to alcohol. Continue Reading
    For the Sake of the Children, Outlaw it!

    Flimsy ‘facts’ on pot

    Arthur Peterson’s letter, “Pot legalization will hurt Vermont” (Dec. 24), is full of misinformation aimed at manipulating Vermont voters into taking action against legalization. We write to correct the key falsities on which he rests his case. Continue Reading
    Flimsy ‘facts’ on pot

    The Perfect Moral Storm: Philosophers Respond to the Impending Anthropogenic Apocalypse

    For at least the next 200 years, weather forecasts predict shitstorms, with global temperatures now set to remain elevated for hundreds of years to come. The latest IPCC report explains that our emissions are nearing the point of no return. Even if industrialized nations switched to solar power overnight, it is now too late to fully reverse the planet's course. Geologists have officially termed this new epoch, where the human species has irreparably shaped earth's geological history, the Anthropocene. Policymakers no longer have the luxury to decide how we might "stop" global warming. Instead, we have to figure out how we'll manage amidst climate instability. Continue Reading
    The Perfect Moral Storm: Philosophers Respond to the Impending Anthropogenic Apocalypse

    20 Cognitive Biases

    An iconic taxonomy of bias. Continue Reading
    20 Cognitive Biases

    Mushrooms I’ve Known

    Vermont forest shroom shots. Continue Reading
    Mushrooms I’ve Known

    Surviving a Police Encounter: A Guide for Non-whites in America

    Non-white? Waiting for justice? While you wait, here are some "Dos and Don'ts" should you encounter police:"Surviving a Police Encounter: A Guide for African Americans," by Christopher Keelty
    Surviving a Police Encounter: A Guide for Non-whites in America

    Marx, “On the Jewish Question”

    Liberal politics - even those promoting the most liberal constitutions - conceive of humanity on an atomistic model (as egos concerned with Lockean individual rights), rather than a model which embraces the sociality of our species-life. Continue Reading
    Marx, “On the Jewish Question”

    Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration”

    The toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion is so agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the genuine reason of mankind, that it seems monstrous for men to be so blind as not to perceive the necessity and advantage of it in so clear a light. Continue Reading
    Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration”

    De Tocqueville’s “Democracy In America”

    I hold it to be an impious and an execrable maxim that, politically speaking, a people has a right to do whatsoever it pleases, and yet I have asserted that all authority originates in the will of the majority. Am I then, in contradiction with myself? A general law—which bears the name of Justice—has been made and sanctioned, not only by a majority of this or that people, but by a majority of mankind. The rights of every people are consequently confined within the limits of what is just. Continue Reading
    De Tocqueville’s “Democracy In America”
  • Latest

    • Reefer Madness 2.0

      Regressive forces have arisen as the Legislature in Vermont considers legalization of . From the Reefer Madness crowd to the Department of Health, there is misinformation aplenty in circulation, and even the so-called experts are part of that. Here's another bit of push-back from Phil Lamy and Brendan Lalor.

      Rutland Herald (February 11, 2016 )

      Recently, I attended a public showing of the documentary “The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth.” The film has been traveling across the state, sponsored by local drug awareness groups to stimulate public discussion of potential marijuana legalization in Vermont. The film might more accurately be subtitled “Reefer Madness 2.0” — one-sided, highly exaggerated, spouting the same old, long discredited “facts” about marijuana use. It was so reeking in fear and paranoia that I thought I had been whisked back to 1936 when “Reefer Madness” first hit the movie screens and America’s first “drug czar,” Harry Anslinger, claimed that marijuana produces in its user “insanity, criminality and death.” That was pretty much the story line here, along with several other standard myths tossed in, including “marijuana is a gateway drug,” “marijuana leads to psychosis,” “marijuana will ruin your life,” and my favorite, “marijuana induces amotivational syndrome” — the new scientifically sounding way to say “lazy pothead.”

      These myths were advanced as the reasons the eight or nine individuals profiled in the film had such negative experiences with marijuana. Their experiences and their pain were real, and it’s important to understand why some people are susceptible to negative effects with many substances. But this tiny, selected sample does not represent the larger population of marijuana consumers in the U.S. (Forty-nine percent of Americans have tried marijuana, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.) They represent a very small segment of the population who are predisposed, either genetically or psychologically, to dependency or “addiction” to marijuana. It is important to know that some within the larger population have a predisposition to alcoholism, diabetes, obesity or food allergies. This, however, does not justify prohibition for the majority.

      I give the film a “thumbs down” for — among other things — the use of fear-mongering to eclipse reason.
      PHILIP LAMY
      Castleton

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  • Poem

    • Free Grow

      Free Grow

      I let go in order to grow down, into dark, nutritious ground. I feed my garden nectar of golden apples. Having freed my hands of tares from elsewhere, my plants grow so full weeds send up flares just to be… Continue Reading →
  • Next latest

    • For the Sake of the Children, Outlaw it!

      Regressive forces have arisen as the Legislature in Vermont considers legalization of . From the Reefer Madness crowd to the Department of Health, there is misinformation aplenty in circulation, and even the so-called experts are part of that. Here's another bit of push-back from Phil Lamy and Brendan Lalor.

      Rutland Herald (first week of February)

      Thanks to Ms. Slaton’s Letter, we awoke from our slumber, recognizing in her words a call for an about-face from our current focus on marijuana in Vermont. She asks, “What are we teaching [our children] if we legalize a substance that is known to be harmful to their development and their ability to learn?”

      Bingo. She’s right.

      If our children learn by paying attention to messages implicit in the law as Ms. Slaton suggests they do, then we are in big trouble, and we have already brought down immense harm on them by introducing them to alcohol. The alleged negative effects of marijuana are in dispute; but there is no dispute about alcohol’s negative effects on learning, health, family stability, and its role in violence and death, which are extremely well documented.

      What message does this send our children?

      Ms. Slaton is right, Vermonters: We’ve needed to take the protection of our children to the next level for some time now. For the sake of the children, it’s high time we outlawed alcohol. So let’s stop trying to hold back legalization of marijuana, and focus on the real harms. For the sake of the children.

      Brendan Lalor resides in Rutland.
      Philip Lamy resides in Castleton.

      Rutland Herald (January 29,2016 )

      Consider pot law carefully

      We have been paying close attention to discussions around the legalization of marijuana in Vermont. We attended the public hearing recently held in Springfield by the Judiciary Committee. We are trying to keep an open mind and educate ourselves as to the facts. Like so many issues, there are many questions and concerns that have yet to be addressed.

      The greatest concern is for our children, our future. Children learn from our actions more than from our words. What are we teaching them if we legalize a substance that is known to be harmful to their development and their ability to learn? As responsible adults do we just look the other way, as we do with so many things? We cannot take that route. We wish to speak up for the children whose voices won’t be part of this conversation.

      We have a responsibility to do whatever is possible to see that our children have a safe healthy environment to grow and thrive in. We do not believe that legalizing marijuana will contribute to that goal.

      Just this past week an expert panel from the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse traveled around Nova Scotia to dispel the many myths about the use of marijuana and the impact on the developing brain. There is science that supports the negative impact of marijuana usage on the developing brain. We know second-hand tobacco smoke puts children at risk. There is evidence that the same is true with second-hand marijuana smoke.

      Is life so difficult that we need to make it easier and easier to escape through mood-altering drugs? Do we not have enough drug-dependent people in our communities? Do we not have enough drug problems in our cities and towns that we need to foster an environment to create more?

      Have we resigned ourselves as a society to the idea that living life without drugs as a crutch is just not possible? This is not the message we want to send to the children of our state.

      Some other things to think about (there are many more):

      • Who are the individuals who stand to benefit most financially from selling this drug?
      • How many billions of dollars will they reap in the windfall of profit beyond the tax dollars?
      • What are the social and financial costs in treating an entire new wave of addicted people; of managing the wave of additional behavioral problems in our schools; and in overloading the police departments with problems involving drugged drivers?
      • In a state that prides itself on being environmentally responsible, what is the impact on our power grid and green house gas emissions?
      • Let us also remember that this is not your grandfather’s pot. Currently available marijuana is much more potent and harmful.

      Please let us be responsible adults and dothe right thing for our children.
      Their lives and well-being matter. Please do not legalize marijuana in Vermont.

      BARBARA SLATON
      Springfield

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