Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CA Pot Legalization - The War on Drugs

"With (the penalty against marijuana consumption) merely being a citation, no one is paying any attention to it," said former Long Beach congressman and current California attorney general candidate Dan Lungren, expressing a common idea. "As long as we focus on sellers and not users, we're kidding ourselves. Unless we can do something about demand as well as supply, we will never make headway (in the war on drugs)."

Dan Lungren is stating the same thing that Sojkas Call loyal reader, Keith, expressed in his response to the last blog. So, with there a general consensus among the citizenry and public officials that the current marijuana law is being ignored anyways, why is there any discussion against legalization of 1 ounce or less? Legalization of 1 ounce or less would reduce the demand for the illicit drug from organized crime sources since it could then be procured or grown legally. Doesn't that satisfy Mr. Lungren? Apparently not!

In Berkeley, CA, Mr. Jame W. Smith is trying to push the city council for tougher enforcement of marijuana laws in spite of the fact it would take resources away from violent crime. Why do people have such irrational views about the current prohibited drugs?

Sojkas Call believes the brainwashing from the media who are supported by the pharmaceutical drug companies and organized crime has been very successful over the last 50+ years. Legal sleeping pills, anti-depressants, pain-killers, amphetamines, tranquilizers, and the list go on and on are all OK. But, a freely growing herb, mushroom, cactus, flower, leaf, etc that affects your mood must be horrible and banned or society will fall apart.

The hypocrisy of this argument is so obvious and the real reasons for keeping the current list of drugs illegal so transparent, it is beyond this blogs understanding how people can still be fooled so easily. Legalize all the drugs and eliminate organized crimes involvement. We can raise tax money, eliminate police, reduce the prison population, and spend more money on drug and alcohol rehabilitation. What is not to like?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Legalize It?

The state of CA has a qualified initiative that will place the question of whether to legalize 1 ounce or less of marijuana on the November ballot. The disinformation is already starting and look for entrenched money interests to spread that word.

Who are the interested groups?
  1. The medical marijuana establishment is first to express dismay. Why? Their industry is based on the current scarcity through prohibition. And, they make money selling through the tightly controlled sales network the current dispensaries provide. They will be out of business in most cases, but, the nimble proprietors will transition since those are places of business already established for this purpose.
  2. The California Peace Officers Association is next with grave admonitions like “It’s not going to better society. It’s going to denigrate it.” Alcohol has its' downside along with the abuse of prescription drugs, but we don't hear the prognostications about what those are doing to a future society. Why are they against it really? Less people to arrest will lessen the need for police officers unless we can find something else to make people worry about - should not be too hard my cynical side says.
  3. Humboldt County is worried according to the San Jose Mecury. Why? If prices decline it will negatively affect a local economy subsidized to a large extent by the now illicit cultivation of the weed and current high prices.
  4. MADD (Mother Against Drunk Driving) are against it for obvious and good reasons. Increased availability of testing for marijuana impairment should actually improve the ability of law enforcement to detect if someone is under the influence. This is probably the single best argument against legalization.
A list of medical pros and cons can be found here at this link >>> http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000141

Personally, I will not smoke marijuana if it is legal. On the other hand, I find the current laws do nothing but make it expensive and corrupting of law enforcement and the legal system. The people that want to smoke it will do it anyways. Our National Forests are dangerous to be in during the growing season. And, organized crime is empowered by distributing the illegal drug.

Legalize it. Tax it. Control it.

What do you think? Take the poll in top right corner of this screen.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Talk Meaningfully - Be Happy

So, those long discussions about the meaning of life, the politics of defense spending, and Austrian economic theory might actually be making you happier. Hard to believe?

Dr. Matthias Mehl, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona has been studying who is happier - the small-talk stater of the obvious, or, the deep-thinker who is engaged in meaningful discussions with their friends and colleagues.

The implications are not so obvious at first glance. Could the reports of life dissatisfaction, for instance, after losing a job, be more about the loss of conversing about subjects that the participants have a deep and personal connection to? Maybe.

The researchers recorded 79 people and thousands of their conversations over a four-day period.

Participants were equipped with a digital recording device called Electronically Activated Recorder, or EAR, that sampled 30-second snippets every 12.5 minutes. The EAR captured not only conversations but also other ambient sounds as participants went about their daily lives and thereby provided the researchers essentially with an acoustic log of their days.

Each recording was codified as to whether a participant was alone, talking with others and whether those conversations were superficial or more complex. Participants’ well-being was assessed with self and friend reports of life satisfaction and happiness.

This study measured participants while engaging in conversation. What about blogging? Is that the new substitute for people?

What Mehl and his team found was that, consistent with prior research, higher well-being was associated with spending less time alone and more time talking to others. Furthermore, and maybe more surprisingly, they found that higher well-being was robustly related to having less small talk and more substantive conversations. Compared with the unhappiest participants in the study, the happiest participants had roughly one-third as much small talk and twice as many substantive conversations.

Further studies will hopefully evolve to understand the deeper aspects of what constitutes conversation. For now, hanging out at the coffee shop and discussing the latest posts on Popular Science may be your best bet.

The initial indication, Mehl said, is that the happy life is social rather than solitary and conversationally deep rather than superficial. Although the current study cannot answer the question of what causes what, it raises the possibility that happiness can be increased by facilitating substantive conversation, a hypothesis he would like to see explored in future research.

Cut out that small-talk! Let's get on with Kant.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Federal Spending Adjusted for CPI by President

In a discussion with some friends we started talking about spending and which Presidents, Party, and time periods had the most and least. One of the factors I thought important was to adjust the total Federal Spending for inflation.

From the OMB the total outlay number was obtained. The CPI number was found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Then it was easy to adjust the total outlay number and reduce or increase it based on the CPI. Remember the US experienced deflation back in the 1920's and 30's.

The blue line is the inflation adjusted number and uses the right y scale. The purple line is the actual spending and uses the left y scale.

A few things were surprising to me. The US really cut spending back dramatically at the end of WWII. There was no delay at all!

Then using those same numbers, I took the amount of decrease/increase by President for their term. To be fair that number was divided by the number of years they were in office. These numbers were surprising to me. I always thought Reagan was going to be much higher because of the large deficits he ran, but, it shows his deficits were caused by tax cuts more than increased spending.

Carter, Clinton, Nixon, Eisenhower, Bush I, Coolidge, Truman, and Harding were the winners in keeping spending in check. W, Hoover, Wilson, and Roosevelt were the big spenders though Wilson had WW I to deal with and Roosevelt had WW II.

The increase in real dollars must stop. The graphs clearly show that even adjusting for inflation gov't spending is on an upward trend that is unsustainable. As much as I want universal health care in the US, doing it the way being proposed and increasing the deficit another trillion is wrong.

One item that neither party even talks about is defense spending. We must cut defense spending too! Why is defense spending so sacred?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

No Knead Bread Part II - Results

Here is part II with the results. The dough looked bubbly this morning and was very sticky. After rereading the recipe later I see the 15 minute rest after taking it out of the bowl got skipped. After shaping into a ball I let it rise for 2 hours. Then, baked it as recommended in the recipe with the lid on for 30 minutes except after about 7 minutes with the lid off I started to smell carbon and looked at the bread. It was starting to really brown so I took it out early. My oven always seems to cook things faster so that was not surprising.

Here is the dough after sprinkling with cornmeal and getting ready for its' second rise (the 2 hour one).

Here is the dutch oven I used. Over the years, I have not found much use for this so maybe it has found a calling.

The bread after 30 minutes cooking with the lid on. It looked done to me at this point, but, I wanted to follow the recipe exactly the first time.

Here are a couple pictures after I took the loaf out of the pan. It has a nice hollow sound, decent cracking on the top, and smells great.

But, how does it taste? Let's go cut the loaf. The bread has loads of big air holes. The crust might be slightly overdone, but, lots of people like bread this way. It has the wood fired oven taste to it. The inside is very light, yet moist and chewy. Definitely the best bread I ever made.

Friday, March 19, 2010

No Knead Bread

My neighbor has been making this bread and gave me some yesterday. It was fantastic! I started a batch tonight and will bake it tomorrow. The recipe is at this link.

There is a video also of this on YouTube.

I will update the blog tomorrow after baking a loaf.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Do you eat crap?

Funny vid on the food we eat...

What do you think? Do you like this kind of food? Do you eat this food?