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  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State­ Mandated Pro­Life Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that may be inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: “While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when they allowed Hobby Lobby […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Higher Ground

The roots of the fiasco

From shoddy premises to final 'failure,' a look at the War on Drugs

I'd like to start off the new year, if I may, with a radical look at the War on Drugs — a close look at its roots and at the ugly growths that have resulted in America's failing social order today.

I'd like to take as my text a statement by — of all people — TV evangelist Pat Robertson, who commented recently on his 700 Club broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network: "We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana, and the next thing you know they've got 10 years.

"I'm not exactly for the use of drugs — don't get me wrong," Pat said, "but I just believe that criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot and that kind of thing, I mean it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. Young people go into prison ... as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, and it's not a good thing." Robertson's spokespersons later tried to back away, saying that he only wanted government to "revisit the severity of the existing laws," but the episode is telling.

Our subtext is provided by the Associated Press in a piece cited by Tony Newman in Alternet last month. The AP headline: "The U.S. drug war has met none of its goals." The AP said, "After 40 years, the United States War on Drugs has cost 1 trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence more brutal and widespread."

"This year," Newman adds, "Mexico President Calderon called for a debate on drug legalization to help reduce the bloody war in Mexico. Former Mexico President Vicente Fox has since gone further and called for an end to prohibition. Just last week, United Kingdom's Bob Ainsworth, the former drugs and defense minister, called for the legalization and regulation of drugs.

"All of this follows a 2009 report by three former Latin American presidents, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, where they called the drug war a failure and emphasized the need to 'break the taboo' on an open and honest discussion on international drug policy."

"An open and honest discussion" would lead first to an examination of what the War on Drugs is all about: Why do they have a War on Drugs? What are its goals? Who are the combatants? Why has there been no measurable success at all?

First off, it's not a war on drugs per se, because all sorts of drugs are more prevalent than ever, and the pharmaceutical industry is indeed the most profitable of enterprises, but it's a war on recreational drugs and their users.

The purpose of the War on Drugs is to persecute and punish users of recreational drugs in an effort basically to try to keep people from getting high on substances ruled illegal by a political process with little regard for medical or moral niceties — nor for due process of law, for that matter.

Recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin were once legal. One day, through some mystical process that took place in the houses of Congress and in state legislative bodies in turn, each of them was determined to be illegal.

Marijuana was declared a narcotic. The narcotics themselves were deemed to have no redeeming social value whatsoever. Users and suppliers would be subject to long punitive sentences up to and including life in prison, and there would be no provision for medical or mental health uses. The shit would be illegal, period. Case closed.

This "tissue of horseshit" (as William Burroughs would put it) was sold to lawmakers and the nation's press by a creep named Harry Anslinger not long after the repeal of alcohol prohibition (remember that?) in 1933. Four years later, the idiotic marijuana laws were enacted by Congress with absolutely no convincing medical evidence in support, and users of cocaine and heroin began to be characterized as bigger threats to society than bank robbers or kidnappers.

Like the great novelist Upton Sinclair (no relation) pointed out, as cited by Paul Armentano on AlterNet: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Quickly, however, the stakes progressed beyond simply Herr Anslinger's measly salary to spawn a vast legion of drug law enforcement personnel that gradually reshaped our nation's approach to the very nature of law enforcement itself.

This is all in my own lifetime. I was born four years after marijuana was criminalized, started smoking weed in 1962, and was a criminal user of marijuana until the age of 67, when I was recognized as a medical marijuana patient by the same State of Michigan that had held me for three years in its various prisons some 40 years before.

I started my own war against the marijuana laws 46 years ago this very month, even before the government admitted that there was a War on Drugs — or better said, a war on drug users. The drugs weren't going anywhere, and in fact the government itself has arguably been responsible for importing massive quantities of heroin and other drugs from Afghanistan and Southeast Asia since World War II.

The drug user is a pretty easy target for the drug police. The real criminal elements who present a law enforcement problem are the large-scale suppliers of drugs to the recreational drug users, and they're a problem because incredible sums of money are at stake in their operations as a result of the criminality of the drugs themselves.

If the drugs were legal, these people would be druggists, not criminal drug dealers, they would purvey a uniformly high-quality product and they would be taxed on their sales and earnings. Duh! Instead both users and suppliers are viciously demonized by the forces of law and order, and their parrots in the press, persecuted as a danger to society, and subjected to the entire range of penalties and punishments mandated by the lawmakers.

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