Friday, October 20, 2006

Taliban + Marijuana + Canadian Army = Hilarity

I am not in the military, nor have I ever been, but I imagine that the field manuals do not advise trying to burn down a pot field if you enemy is hiding in it. Well apparently the Canadian Army skipped that day of field exercises because when encountered with what described as a ‘forest’ of marijuana in Afghanistan, that is exactly what they tried.

The Taliban fighters were using the dense thicket of plants for cover, so the troops were forced to eliminate the weedy threat.

"The challenge is that marijuana plants absorb energy and heat very readily. It's very difficult to penetrate with thermal devices ... and as a result you really have to be careful that the Taliban don't dodge in and out of those marijuana forests," General Rick Hillier said in a speech in Ottawa.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hiller said.

Sometimes you just have to scratch your head and wonder? Best part... They failed to burn down the 'forest' of plants. Seriously? You couldnt light marijuana on fire?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cops Shoot Family Cat. Wait, Two Cops Shoot Family Cat.

Okay. I am aware that this has nothing to do with drug policy but with the recent shooting of a family dog in Schenectady for a $60 pot bust, maybe there is a trend going on with police killing family pets.

CHANNAHON, Illinois: After a neighbor called 911 about a stray cat in her yard ( a bit of an over reaction if you ask me) two police officers decided the cat had rabies, took it to a field where they shot it to death, and left the remains there.
Dean and Cheryl Campbell's cat is missing, and they think they know what happened to it.

"It was completely mishandled," Dean said. "Why would you leave a cat you thought had rabies dead in a field for other animals to eat the carcass and spread rabies throughout Channahon?"

Dean and Cheryl said the story they were told stinks. Their cat did not have rabies, they said. He was an indoor cat and was never exposed to the virus.

The ASPCA will begin training Channahon police officers on humane and appropriate methods of handling animals. The department will also require new officers to receive the training, Cook said.

Currently, when Channahon police officers capture a loose pet, local veterinarians will take the pet and call a humane society, which will take the pet away.
Sometimes I wish there were higher educational requirements for becoming a police officer. If police can't even follow the rules and use common sense when dealing with a cat that "might have rabies", how can we expect them to handle complex situations involving drugs?

Rest in Peace Jefferey the cat from Channahon.
SSDP loves you.

An update on the story is here: Commission gets cat-shooting case

Evo Morales on No Fly List

Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, has recently been added to the No Fly List. Read the article here. It also includes a dead Nazi sympathizer, international dignitaries like Nabih Berri, the head of the Lebanese parliament who recently met with Condoleezza Rice, and is making travel tough for some unlucky Americans named Robert Johnson.

"I mean, do you think that the president of Bolivia's gonna highjack an airplane?" Kroft asks Bucella.

"I don't know if what you're talking about is true 'cause I haven't had an opportunity to take a look at it. And quite frankly, I'm not sure if that is accurate," she replies.

It would certainly seem to be. The Evo Morales on the No Fly List has three variations of his name listed along with a date of birth, all matching the president of Bolivia.

The names on the list are Evo Morales, Juan Evo Morales Aima and Evo Morales Ayma, all born on Oct. 26, 1959.

It also has created enormous frustration and aggravation for thousands of innocent travelers who have the misfortune of sharing a name with someone on the list and some of the names are among the most common in America. Like Gary Smith, John Williams or Robert Johnson. 60 Minutes found 12 of them and brought them to New York for an interview.
Well, its clear that when Evo isn't busy trying to stop the exploitation of his country's natural resources, legalizing coca cultivation, or putting an end to the aerial spraying of herbicide over Bolivia, he is making time to become a threat to US aviation security. Or maybe that is why we want him to be viewed as a threat...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Survey says: Stop testing us

High School junior Dylan Currie was recently given a "Golden Pen Award" by The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette for writing a letter to the editor slamming the use of anonymous surveys to justify random student drug testing.

Dylan writes:
In middle and high school, the anonymous drug surveys given to students are seen as a joke. Not only do kids say they have done drugs that they have not heard of, they fill in the corresponding bubble saying they used cocaine more than 50 times a week as a sixth-grader. Until now, these drug surveys have shown ridiculous numbers of drug users in the district resulting from the anonymity of the test.

After the random drug testing was implemented, however, everything changed. Middle and high school students began to see that these surveys, while still anonymous, were finally being used for something: numbers to verify the need for drug testing.

Drug testing is not the Holy Grail to preventing drug use. It has actually done very little to stop drug use in the district (only 1.9 percent of tested students tested positive). The huge decline in drug and alcohol use in these surveys can be attributed to the clever students seeing that if they are honest, federal grants will not continue to be poured into the district for drug testing and the program will not be renewed by the school board at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

If Dylan is right, and he very well may be, students are now answering truthfully about their drug use, in hopes that the administrators reading the surveys will stop collecting their urine for testing.

I've contacted Dylan about getting involved with SSDP at his school, which ironically sits in the district represented by Rep. Mark Souder, the most ardent drug warrior in Congress. I've got my fingers crossed for a new SSDP chapter that can follow Souder around the district and ask him about his ridiculous drug policy positions every time he makes a public appearance.

Thanks for the tip, Pete.