Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sting operation

The drug-sniffing dogs students across America see roaming through the hallways of their schools could soon be replaced by... wasps!

Scientists say a species of non-stinging wasps can be trained in only five minutes and are just as sensitive to odors as man's best friend, which can require up to six months of training at a cost of about $15,000 per dog.


"They have to be good detectors because their whole survival depends on it," Lewis said.

Rains said the wasps can be trained to detect a specific odor very quickly. The researchers expose hungry wasps to the target odor, then let them feed on sugar water for 10 seconds and then give them a one-minute break. After three repetitions of sniffing and feeding, the wasps associate the odor with feeding.


They can work for as long as 48 hours, then they're released to live out their remainder of their two-to three-week life span.

This could bring a whole new meaning to the term "getting buzzed."

Friday, December 02, 2005

NYC subway searches to continue

A federal judge upheld New York City's random searches of subway passengers today.

The stated justification for the searches is extremely alarmist and should worry anyone who cares about Americans' constitutional rights.
"The risk of a terrorist bombing of New York City's subway system is real and substantial," U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said in a 41-page ruling.


"Because the threat of terrorism is great and the consequences of unpreparedness may be catastrophic, it would seem foolish not to rely upon those qualified persons in the best position to know," Berman said.


Gail Donoghue, a city lawyer, called the searches a "life and death" necessity and said the city should not wait for a specific threat or an attack to implement security.

"That kind of complacency is a very dangerous thing," she said. "The threat is immediate. It is real and of extreme concern to those who run the counterterrorism in this city."
Actually, what is truly dangerous is cowering in fear and giving up our constitutional rights. This is how the terroists win. I thought administration officials wanted us to "continue living our normal lives and go shopping." Kowtowing to terrorist scum and giving up our freedoms does nothing to make us safer and only encourages those who wish to change our way of life.

Now students in NYC will continue to be searched on the way to school, as well as when they get there. Thanks War on Drugs. Thanks War on Terror.

The ACLU plans to appeal the suit, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. In the meantime, let's just hope the practice doesn't spread to other cities in the wake of today's ruling.

Now is as important a time as ever to flex your 4th Amendment rights. Just say "no" to random police searches.

Plan America

Today's Boston Globe featured an article about the rise in dangerous marijuana grow operations taking place in California's national parks.

These illegal plantations, National Park Service officials say, are the product of sophisticated Latin American drug organizations, which have turned to remote sites in the West to avoid increased attention to cross-border traffic since the Sept. 11 attacks. Several national parks, including Yosemite, have discovered marijuana within their boundaries, but few have been as heavily infiltrated as Sequoia.

Last month, officials from Tulare County, gateway to Sequoia, pleaded with a House national parks subcommittee to create a $5.5 million task force to fight marijuana cultivation on park land and lobbied for the increased use of helicopters to find the fields. The National Park Service has budgeted $764,000 to fight the drug cultivation in its parks, which was discovered in 2001 and has been increasing since.

Good Article. But I wish it had just briefly mentioned one of the safest and cheapest ways to solve this problem. Legalizing Marijuana or even decriminalizing the cultivation of a small marijuana grow for personal use would help to eradicate these grow ops in a way that promotes common sense and avoids violent conflict. Americans want to grow and use marijuana and hemp for industrial, medicinal, nutritional and recreational purposes. Americans are buying this marijuana, illegal or not. So why deprive Americans the right of growing an organic plant right next to their tomatoes in a safe environment?

It really does amaze me every day that marijuana laws are enforced with such ludicrous ferocity. People need to understand and speak up about the fact that this plant was made illegal based on lies and racism. And that is what people are afraid of, irrationally afraid of an organic plant because they were lied to about it. Billions of dollars wasted, millions of lives ruined, and to top it all off, Latin American Drug Cartels armed with Ak-47's are growing ganja in the United States National Parks. Applause to the ONDCP, DEA, and John Walters for doing such a great job keeping marijuana out of America. And lets not forget good old Harry for being such a racist liar.

  • There are 100,000 marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.
- Harry Anslinger, testifying to Congress, 1937

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Parents fight back

A Georgia mother is upset her son's high school forced him to take a breathalyzer after his prank-playing classmates told administrators he'd been drinking and doing drugs at school.

Her son — Carter Barron — denied the accusations and passed the test.

Policy states that a student can refuse to take the test, but the student says he was not given that option. The boy's mother says she was unhappy to learn that school system policy allows alcohol and drug testing without parental consent.

The teen was given a week's worth of in-school suspension after officials found a cigarette lighter in his book bag.

The classmate who gave administrators the false report has not been punished.

It's good to hear that at least some parents are concerned with the Drug War's invasion of their children's privacy.

Parents for Sensible Drug Policy, anyone?

The idiot test

School officials in New Jersey are celebrating because they think their random student drug testing program is working.
The schools completed their second round of random drug testing Tuesday...None tested positive for use of drugs or alcohol.
The school subjects all students who participate in extracurricular activities to random urine and saliva testing.
"If you expect us to bring back a lot of positives you don't understand how the program works," [testing czar John] Graf said. "The biggest thing this policy does is deter kids from doing drugs."
Actually, all these policies do is deter at-risk kids from joining afterschool activities.

Ask yourself: what kid who smokes marijuana every now and then is going to sign up for the chess club or debate team knowing that they'll be forced to submit a dirty urine sample? Drug testing is just an idiot test.

According to the largest-ever study on the topic, school-based drug testing fails to reduce drug use by young people.

School officials are putting students at greater risk by pushing them toward the streets between the end of the school day and the time their parents come home from work. If educators are really concerned with keeping young people safe, they should be welcoming students into positive afterschool learning environments, which have been proven to reduce youth drug use.

And the testing is expensive, too.
The district received a $120,000 federal grant to run the program for three years.
Student drug testing does nothing to deter young people from doing drugs. All it does is invade their privacy, put them at greater risk, and flush taxpayers' money down the toilet - literally.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We're suing the feds!

SSDP sent out the following press release today. If you or someone you know has lost their financial aid because of the HEA drug provision, please get in touch with us ASAP!

Students Wanted: Help Sue the Government

Laws That Strip College Aid for Drug Convictions to be Challenged

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One of the largest student organizations in the country, in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union, is seeking plaintiffs for a lawsuit challenging the law that denies federal financial aid to students convicted of drug offenses. Since taking effect in 2000, more than 175,000 students have been deprived of aid under the “drug provision” of the Higher Education Act (HEA), often for minor offenses such as possession of marijuana.

“Congress has failed to listen to the growing chorus of student voices demanding repeal of this discriminatory and counterproductive law,” said Scarlett Swerdlow, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “Far too many students have had their education held hostage by Drug War politics. It’s time to stand up and take our aid back.”

The lawsuit alleging that the HEA drug provision and comparable state measures are at odds with the U.S. Constitution is expected to be filed in federal court in Washington State. Potential claims in the lawsuit include violations of the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. In addition to losing their federal aid, students with drug convictions in 23 states, including Washington State, are also stripped of their state financial aid.

“Students should not have to serve a second sentence under the drug provision of the Higher Education Act,” said Adam Wolf, an attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. “Countless Americans have been forced to sacrifice their education to unjust and self-defeating drug war policies. It’s time we put education over politics and restore financial aid.”

More than 250 organizations have called for repeal of the HEA drug provision, including the National Education Association, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the NAACP, and the Presbyterian Church. For a full list, see

Anyone affected by the HEA drug provision should call 1-866-4-HEA-FIX or e-mail to obtain further information about the lawsuit.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy, an organization with more than 115 college and high school chapters nationwide, is committed to providing education on harms caused by the War on Drugs, working to involve youth in the political process, and promoting an open, honest, and rational discussion of alternative solutions to our nation's drug problems.

# # #

Gateway Propaganda

They’re at it again.

This week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) launched a campaign to tell young people that driving under the influence of marijuana is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s called “Steer Clear of Pot”.

Before I get into why this campaign is a bad idea, let me first say this: I am not for kids driving around high. Young people who are just learning how to drive shouldn’t be doing anything distracting, whether they are text messaging friends, putting on make-up, or passing a bowl. Marijuana reduces reaction time and often slows judgment, which can be very dangerous when one is not used to the rules of the road. Furthermore, cars are the easiest place to be caught and arrested for marijuana possession. High-rides are simply not a good idea.

With that being said, I should note that there is also a large body of evidence showing that, for the most part, marijuana does not significantly alter a person’s risk of having a car accident. While these studies vary slightly, they all show that the risk of driving while stoned is significantly lower than driving while drunk.

In their press release, the ONDCP cites a study from a shock trauma unit that found that 19% of automobile crash victims under age 18 tested positive for marijuana. There are two major problems with this statistic:

1. Non-psychoactive trace levels of marijuana can be found in the body days and weeks after using it. And since most high school seniors admit to having smoked marijuana, it seems obvious that at least 19% of students involved in car crashes would be found with trace levels of marijuana in their system.

2. There is no account for the overlap of those found with marijuana and alcohol in their blood. It seems obvious that many teens who drink and drive also smoke marijuana. In this study, a teen who chugs a pint of vodka and takes a hit of a joint before getting into a car accident will show up in the 19% statistic of “marijuana-induced driving accidents”, even though the real cause of the accident was clearly the alcohol.

The misinformation perpetuated by the Steer Clear of Pot Campaign is part of a dangerous national trend. We first saw it when we were in the DARE program; there is no difference between drugs—they are all evil. And now, the ONDCP has declared an all out war on marijuana, identifying it as the biggest drug threat.

But when teens grow up thinking that marijuana is as dangerous as crack or meth, and then they finally experiment with marijuana (as most do), everything they’ve learned about truly dangerous drugs falls apart. “If marijuana’s not so bad... then crack must not be that bad either... right?”

And when we teach them that driving high is just as bad as driving drunk, and they finally drive an hour or two after smoking a joint and realize that it didn't make them run red lights or swerve off the road...

You got it. The Steer Clear of Pot campaign is nothing more than a gateway to drunk driving.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Take drugs, get AIDS, and die!

The federal government kicked off a campaign today aimed at scaring young people out of doing drugs by telling them that if they do, they could get AIDS.

Exemplifying the youth-oriented bent is a TV commercial featuring student actresses and actors from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a public high school here.

In the commercial, a girl tells a friend via text messages that a mutual friend has contracted HIV from unprotected sex following a night of smoking marijuana.

The text messages read: "She got high; She got stupid; and now she has HIV."

You can watch the alarmist ad here.

The campaign leans heavily on student input, and organizers say they will be successful only to the extent that young people listen to their message.

But it looks like it's not going all that well so far.

Ellington students at the press conference, some of whom were in the commercial, said the NIDA campaign wouldn't necessarily keep them from drinking or doing drugs.
Surprise! Who'd have thought that young people don't trust the government's scare tactics?

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary... Do Time???

Two 10-year-old Florida girls were taken to jail for bringing a bag of parsley to school and pretending it was marijuana.

The girls were charged under a state law that makes it a crime to claim that a substance is a drug -- whether or not the item is intended for sale or distribution, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debra Johnson. They were taken to the Flagler County Inmate Facility and later released to their parents.

The girls were also suspended from school and ordered to attend drug awareness classes.

What's next, field sobriety tests for kids drinking root beer?

"Now listen, son, I want you to stand on one foot and sing your ABC's backwards."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Parents declare war on books, for the children

A group of Michigan parents, the Troy Community Coalition, is protesting retailer Urban Outfitters for carrying books and other products they say encourage youth drug use and promiscuous sex.
I guess they're trying to be edgy and to appeal to the 16- to 25-year-old crowd, along with the grunge clothes," Comiskey said. "But this is not the type of business we want in Troy. We want them to clean up their act if they plan to do business here."

The parents have even called the cops on the store.

Formal complaints have been made to the Troy police about the books, flasks and drinking and sex board games on the shelves. But residents were advised the store is operating within the law. A visit last week found some of the mentioned books and games.

"They may not be doing anything illegal, but it's not right," said Liz Fallert, 46, of Birmingham.

News flash: People can't be arrested for writing and selling books about sex and drugs.

But, in spite of the First Amendment, some of the parents are optimistic they're making an impact.

"I was glad to see they removed a book that had explicit photos and drawings of sexual positions," said Fallert, who had initially gone to the store to purchase "Kosherland," a Jewish spoof to the traditional "Candyland" board game.
Oh, really? Are you sure the reason the book is off the shelves isn't because it's so popular it sold out?

Regardless, the parents won't be satisfied until all their censorship demands have been met.

"I will be writing to the corporate offices, and if necessary may be planning something else, including a public protest," Comiskey said.

What have they got planned? A book burning ceremony in front of the store?