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Hephaestus

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Everything posted by Hephaestus

  1. A lot of what I have been reading speaks directly to this notion of extra-causation. It suggests that people were not nearly as depressed when they started smoking pot as when they got off it. Data suggests that pot smoking influences the chemical receptors fin the brain for prolonged periods of time, well after you 'sober up' from a particular pot experience. People say 'yeah, there is no hangover from pot, not like alcohol' and they are wrong. The depressive effects of withdrawal can last as long as six months. Six months of potential suicidal ideation. There are a lot of people that have never had suicidal thoughts, that suddenly do during periods of pot withdrawal. Pot causes clinical depression. I have seen it in studies, I have seen it as a case worker, and I have seen it among friends of mine that have taken their own lives. And you are suggesting to me that marijuana is some magical bridge between the generations? I suppose you might want to consider which types of people this holds true for. I know that my parents certainly didn't smoke marijuana. This being said, the notion of being a debate coach that lights up students is crazy. What a nightmare for a parent to think that they can't even put their kids on the debate team without someone trying to turn them on to drugs. Just as I told you in the private instant messages that I sent you a year ago, if you are that hell bent on smoking pot, then at the very least, do it with yourself, or people your own age. Don't do it with minors, and don't do it with anyone that people are trusting you to supervise. Case Closed. =
  2. Yes, Inky. She is quoting the Cardiff University study. It found that 'The effect of marijuana on psychotic illnesses may vary from individual to individual. Hallucinations, hearing voices, psychotic delusions and schizophrenia could be triggered by many things – and pot smoking may be one of them. It also depends on how much pot you smoke. The British study found that frequent pot smokers (daily or weekly marijuana users) were 50 to 200% more likely to experience psychosis. Your age and genetics also affects whether marijuana will trigger a psychotic illness. Yes. My favorite explanation is from the psychiatrist Schwarz that I quoted in the extra post I made at the end. It talked about how patients that suffered from mental illness had their symptoms amplified with pot use. He stated that in his experience, pot use caused people to fall off of their medication regimens, it led to increased rapid cycling among bipolar patients, greater hospitalizations, where people would return in much worse shape than before. I saw this first hand when I worked as a case manager. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080602/marijuana_effects_080602/20080602 Here is a smaller study that says MRIs were performed on 15 adults in Melbourne Australia. It shows that prolonged marijuana smoking shrinks the amygdala and hippocampus. It states... '"However, this study shows long-term, heavy cannabis use causes significant brain injury, memory loss, difficulties learning new information and psychotic symptoms, such as delusions of persecution [paranoia], delusions of mind-reading, and bizarre social behaviours in even non-vulnerable users," said lead researcher Murat Yucel, from the ORYGEN Research Centre and the Neuropsychiatry Centre at the University of Melbourne. The Patton study that I quoted is much larger. George Patton is with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. It states Patton's team followed over 1600 Australian school pupils aged 14 to 15 for seven years. Daily cannabis use was associated with a five-fold increased risk of depression at the age of 20. Weekly use was linked to a two-fold increase. The regular users were no more likely to have suffered from depression or anxiety at the start of the study. That's pretty significant. A five fold increase? Your position is that people are depressed, or they are unemployed, and so they use marijuana as a means to forget about the problems that they are having. I am asking you to look at this whole cycle from a different angle. For one thing, there is a big difference between being depressed about something and clinical depression. There is also a difference the question of drug dependence. The cycle of being dependent on marijuana, and then coming off of it, creates a dangerous spiral. Scientists have noted certain positive effects of marijuana use among Alzheimer's patients, for nausea, etc. But this has little to do with the teen pot smoking debate. If teens were taking Levadopa or other Parkinson's medications to get high, the potential positive effects on Parkinson's would have little to do with whether their abuse of the drug was a good idea. This argument even applies to the potential positive affects on Schizophrenia in the German study you made note of. The abuse of psychopharmaceuticals does not cure your illness even if that is their primary purpose. Extra-Causal factors: Overall, there are a lot of factors that might cause mental illness. For any scientist, the term 'cause' is pretty strong, as I am sure anyone reading this would agree. Most of the information that I have read from the Cardiff study shows a pretty strong correlation, but they are unwilling to declare 'causation.' Until that time comes, do you think it's a good idea to get high school students high? I doubt it. I would think that strong evidence that shows a correlation would further support the notion that it is a really bad idea to do so. I honestly don't know. You are saying that teachers and students get punished every year. In the time I was in debate, I knew several teachers that were well into their 30s and 40s that smoked dope every day. Almost everyone that was judging smoked pot every day, and about half of the kids were too. Perhaps things have changed. Have there been a lot of kids that have been kicked out of debate camp for smoking weed? Any teachers get fired? You say 'I am breathing the words right now.' Yes, and what is this discussion, like me versus four people? I saw an anti-drug commercial on television last night. I can see the scare tactics that you talk about. These commercials don't bother me too much because I don't smoke pot. That is not the debate I remember. Perhaps this is becoming a historical exegesis on how I remember debate in 1993, but back then, everybody, and I mean everybody was smoking pot. It was completely rampant. The fact that debaters typically question everything, don't take things on faith, adds fuel to this tendency. Inky, your comments a couple of days ago about people making an appeal to experience show how this line of thinking proves to be a double-edged sword. There are certainly parts of the world that might be experiencing 'reefer madness.' Churches might be paranoid, cops might be hypocritical and pushy. I kind of think that debaters don't give enough credit to the experience that you might get at one of these places, however. So which is it - are a lot of people getting busted or not? It appears that Inky and Lazzarone have a different view here. I think it goes a lot further than just when you are high and when you come down. Have you ever noticed that when you smoke pot, if you have been smoking a lot that month, or that year, that one hit will get you really high? Have you noticed that if you have never smoked before, you won't get that high, or you won't get high at all? I believe that is because THC can become stored in your fat cells. I think that the effect persistent pot use has on your body and your mind goes a lot further than simply when you are high. I would be happy to read any study you might have on this matter, or any other study you might have on pot. I am kind of enjoying reading about some of the research. My friend Matt used to smoke pot every day. He tried to quit when he was around 30, and a month later, they found him dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage, his car running, with a plastic tube attached to his exhaust pipe running into a partially opened window in the back seat of his truck. He was a successful computer programmer that went to the University of Illinois. I think pot causes clinical depression. Do I have epistemic proof? No. The word 'cause' is just a word after all....
  3. http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=weblog&id=543&wlid=5&cn=4 I put this site in here, because it also emphasizes personal experience versus the back and forth between the various politicized groups. I worked in the field as a case manager for the chronically mentally ill for a year, and I know exactly what this psychiatrist is talking about.
  4. Marijuana Can Lead to Mental Illness Posted by Nirmala N. Patient Expert You probably know quite a few people who smoke pot to relax or de-stress, but according to British researchers, marijuana can actually increase your risk of developing mental illness. Currently, marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the world. In the U.S. alone, about 20 percent of youth report using it at least once a week. A study group at Cardiff University examined and analyzed 35 studies linking marijuana to mental health disorders. They discovered that marijuana users were 41 percent more likely to develop a psychosis compared with non-marijuana users. The risk also increased over the time the drug was used, and as the amount of marijuana increased. The researchers suggest that people who use marijuana tend to be at a higher risk for mental problems even without the drug, which they may turn to as a way of alleviating depression or anxiety. However, studies still suggest a strong causal relationship between marijuana use and psychosis. Researchers believe that if cannabis addiction is treated, it can actually reduce the risk of psychotic illness. This site is here..... http://stanford.wellsphere.com/stress-relief-article/marijuana-can-lead-to-mental-illness/2194 Here are some more cites...... http://behavioural-psychology.suite101.com/article.cfm/marijuana_triggers_mental_illness http://www.studentstakingaction.org/evidence/marijuana-mental-illness.php http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/evidence99/marijuana/Health_1.html http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3098-cannabis-link-to-mental-illness-strengthened.html http://www.drugwatch.org/research/marijuanamentalillness.htm http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/healthday/070727/pot-ups-risk-for-mental-illness.htm http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=weblog&id=543&wlid=5&cn=4 http://media.www.statehornet.com/media/storage/paper1146/news/2005/05/11/Opinion/Study.Pot.Smoking.Is.Linked.To.Mental.Illness-2424308.shtml http://motherwarriors.blogspot.com/2008/01/marijuana-addiction.html http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/19687/ http://organizedwisdom.com/Marijuana_Use_in_Teens_May_Lead_to_Mental_Illness http://www.livestrong.com/health-article/feds-teen-use-of-pot-can-lead-to-dependency-mental-illness_eb5a6ec8-af50-8ca1-224f-ed30e2909882/ ..... The reason that I am making this argument on this website is because I have been in debate for a long time, and I know that there are a lot of people that smoke pot. I also have lost 6 friends to substance abuse or suicide. I don't know if you recall, but earlier in this post, you asked me to look at the story in 'Prayers for Bobby.' Why would you find that story so powerful, and yet refer someone that I mentioned as a 'crazy pot head friend?' Each one of these situations are tragic - not stories to be taken lightly. 'Corrosive of inter-generational relationships?' I don't see this as a particularly significant point. There are a lot of ways that that adults and adolescents can get together. I suppose that there is some bonding among people that smoke pot. But there is also the factor of how much drug use puts up a wall between adolescents and their parents. For some families, perhaps it is a bonding experience. For other families, they can barely talk to their kids because of a persistent drug problem. You mention that 'no one asked me to draw a line, etc.' I think that the debate community needs to have this dialogue. Regulations of any kind are never popular. But if you look at the steroid scandal in sports, the derivative stock scandal at Enron, or the subprime mortgage crisis, they all have one thing in common: they involve instances where an unregulated environment got out of hand. Same thing is happening in debate with weed. If you don't like me positing my own information standards, then perhaps we should just go with what the law is. I remember when I was in college, loading a bowl for a senior in high school if you were a senior in college seemed a little out of hand. Yeah, you are absolutely right. So therefore a completely unregulated environment is the best? I am not a big fan of the mentality that just because the line you draw might not be kitchen clean, that therefore there should be no line at all. As with anything, there is a line. I don't think that there is anyone here that would think it would be ok for me to go out and smoke a bowl with a 6 year old that I never met before. So there is a line. It is just a question of where. Am I talking to someone that thinks it's ok to smoke an illicit substance with a minor, but my views are harmful? As I mentioned, I think that civil liberties are very important, and I apologize for misspelling 'dissension.' I really mean that, though. Liberties are priceless, worth fighting for at every turn. I myself don't feel too repressed by not being able to smoke marijuana by law. If there is a system that deals violence to people through improper incarceration, police brutality, torture, etc., then the system should be changed. I don't see how smoking marijuana is the answer. And turning high school kids on to marijuana smoking is going to make it more likely that they have to deal with these coercive systems. Again, my proposition is not 'marijuana should be illegal.' My proposition is 'if you are a high school debate coach, aged 25, 30, or up, you shouldn't be smoking pot with your kids.' Did you say 'friend's' as in singular possessive? I think you mean 'friends'', as in plural possessive - 6 friends at different stages in my forty year old life that have died of substance abuse or suicide. The amazing thing with Michael Phelps, is that he just had a few bong hits and he actually received some flack for it. In the debate community, you can be 25 years old, smoke pot with 16 year olds and no one breathes a word. Here, you are (1) doing it with a minor when (2) you are in a supervisory role. The truth is, that when you hit a certain age, you do have the wisdom of hindsight. I remember it being frustrating when I was younger that adults seemed to 'pull rank' based on age as you mention. As you get older, you start to look at personal experience, because you have a direct observational connection with it. No one was there to give it 'their slant.' No one was giving you the information as a representative of NORML or an agent of the Bush administration or a church. You can look at it without all of the politicized baggage from either the left or right. At a certain point, your own experiences become too powerful to ignore. Debate, from the time I joined in 1983, has always been this little bubble of pot smoking intellectuals. I recall when I went to Northwestern, there was a note on the Hardy House door that said 'Lock The Door' with the words 'Load the Bowl' scrawled underneath it. Debate is a self-enclosed, self-validating bubble that does not have room for someone that thinks pot smoking is dangerous and destructive. It would be interesting to have a plurality of viewpoints.
  5. We live in a society where the legal rules on marijuana smoking are vastly different that the more ambiguous societal norms. A law is merely an agreement between people about what the rules should be. I think that anyone that's 25 should not be smoking pot with a high school student. This, to me, is a very loose standard. I would go further. I think if you are a senior in college, and you smoke pot with a senior in high school, you are basically over the line. The funny thing is, that this might only mean a 21 year old. So a 25 year old is likely to be 4 years out of getting an undergraduate degree, and he/she is smoking pot with a high school student? No way. I am being asked to do something very difficult. I am being asked to draw a definite line that is illegal to being with. If I was having this discussion with a group of cops, or at a PTA meeting, they would laugh me out of the room. The data on pot is very politicized. I feel that the National Institute on Drug Abuse is always only going to find information that pot smoking is bad. I have read the Netherlands study about pot use and driving, and it suggests that pot does affect certain aspects of driving, and is significant with heavy pot use. I do feel that alcohol use over the 0.08 level is very dangerous. Going way over 0.08 is more dangerous on the road that any amount of pot use. You have no argument with me here. I do, however, believe that marijuana is likely to be responsible for various psychological disorders. Different people take a different angle on this. People will say 'they had underlying problems, it's not the pot's fault', or 'they were medicating themselves with marijuana for the pre-existing chemical imbalance.' I don't believe these angles. I believe that pot smoking is the cause, not the effect, of clinical depression in many cases. I feel that this is something that is very difficult to prove, because of the many items that Kunzelman, Kevin, and Retired have reiterated. However, just because the water is murky, doesn't mean that can't have a pretty serious hunch. The reason that I bring up personal experiences is to avoid the politics or whatever might be warping any study on pot, pro or con. You all have seemed to make a lot of comments about by rhetorical style. If I was (1) judging a debate round, or (2) a cop that was arresting you, or (3) a parent that was discussing drugs with you, this would have some relevance. The fact that I am just an anonymous blogger makes me wonder why anyone cares so much. I don't know how anyone can identify so strongly with drug use as to take it so personally for someone to think that it actually should be illegal. One thing that I was deeply offended by during the course of this blog was the character insinuations of the friends of mine that died. The only reason I don't take it too personally is because it is ludicrous for someone to make these deep seated comments about people that they know absolutely nothing about. Civil liberties are extremely important. The are critical, vital to a free society. They are the building blocks of a free society. Descention is not a crime. I would hate to think that any cop or debate coach would treat someone smoking a joint with brutality or condescension. Not in today's day. It bothers me a lot when the police overcompensate. But we have a range of civil liberties. Polarization on opinion in these matters is the biggest danger.
  6. I had a nice vacation this weekend. I had several conversations from some old friends of mine, some of them smoke weed, some did and don't any more, and some of them never have. I asked them 'do you think it's ok for a debate coach, say aged 25 or 30 to smoke pot with their high school aged students?' Every single one of them laughed and said 'hell no' or 'of course not' etc. This is, and has always been my point. Retired, is this the 'extreme rule' that you are talking about? Kunzelman - are you having difficulty understanding this? I couldn't be any clearer. There are always a good amount of people writing on either side of the drug issue, so running around citing as much 'pro-pot' shit isn't going to change my opinion on the matter. There are a lot of users in the world, and I recall my high school pot file being pretty think on both sides of the issue. I was trying to give a few people an opinion that was based on a lot of personal experience. When you see it up close, you learn a lot more than just by reading an article. There is a lot of whacked out, Jonestown style thinking going on here, and it scares me. I don't have anything more to say about this.
  7. You think I lost every point on this thread? There isn't a thing you said that I agree with. My central thesis of if you are a debate coach well in your mid twenties, and you are smoking pot with minors, you should stop wasn't refuted one iota. You have a mission not only to (1) convince everyone that pot should be legal, but (2) that you should do it with minors. You were completely wrong in the beginning of this thread, and you are still 100% wrong. I don't care who you quote. There is nothing romantic, original, or revolutionary about putting marijuana into a bowl and handing it to an underaged kid. It doesn't take any brains or effort. I prefer the line 'A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste.'
  8. I think at a certain point, society draws a line, makes a deontological constraint as it were, because the judging every circumstance on a case by case basis is impossible. Society has an 'age of consent' which is actually different than an age of majority. I am quite sure that I have a moderate view of the matter, while both Kunzelman and Kevin express a view that I would consider to be extremely liberal. I mentioned that if I saw college kids at an outdoor rock festival passing a joint around, I would barely raise an eyebrow. If it was an older brother, or even an uncle or a parent smoking a joint with a nephew that was substantially younger in the privacy of their own home, it probably wouldn't bother me. 30 year old debate coaches smoking a joint with a high school student? That is a very liberal interpretation. A 30 year old having sex with a high school student? If I saw it happen, I would report it to the authorities on the spot. Particularly if the student was younger than the age of consent. Perhaps the lines aren't crystal clear. It is strange, because I feel almost obliged to use some sort of more liberal sounding rhetoric to get a response. 'Power imbalance' for example. My opinion on this matter is neither weak nor misguided. I am quite certain that I am backed up by statutory law, case law, and the vast majority of public opinion. This whole discussion makes me realize what I have already known - there are a lot of extremely liberal opinions in the debate community. The guy without the legs isn't dead. I had a fairly long explanation of exactly how I measure the causation in these various circumstances. In each one of the circumstances I mentioned, I stated that I wasn't going so far as to say that 'Marijuana killed this man.' I also would not make so weak a claim that 'marijuana had nothing to do with it.' A lot of people have made mention about 'love stories' and 'how people fall in love.' Is it often 'the forbidden fruit', etc. I imagine that in a lot of cases, that is how it turns out. You just have to be careful. I don't know if you were reading any of the 'silly anecdotes' that I was making before, but if you recall, there was a debate coach I knew that was 28 that was hitting on a 16 year old boy. During this time, he spent a lot of time 'helping the family get through their divorce' because apparently 'the dad was an asshole.' Think about the generalizations that this debate coach was making at his age. He himself had never been in a relationship for any prolonged period of time. His affection with this 16 year old boy was anything but love. He wasn't just propositioning him for sex, he was encouraging him to make a change in his sexual orientation. He really thought he knew what he was doing - I am certain that he knows better now. Imagine if you were the father. Now, maybe that father was an asshole. It appeared to me, though, that he was trying to do surgery with a very blunt instrument in terms of what his level of life experience was. I guess my purpose in bringing up these stories, is to try to help anyone that might be reading this develop some empirical boundaries. I think you guys are both right - the law itself on this matter is too strict. Hell, everyone smokes pot (well I haven't in at least 10 years). Everyone has had a situation where an uncle has bought alcohol some high school kids. We all knew someone that was 18 that was dating someone that was 16, and was probably engaging in statutory rape. But focusing on these types of exceptions is easy. What is dangerous is when you gradually make exceptions and end up with absurdity. The reason I ask these questions, is that somewhere along the line, the world at large stops making these exceptions. Kevin tends to focus on his perception of how mature someone is. I don't think that a 16 year old has enough life experience to make these judgments no matter what his/her IQ or ACT score might be. I am going to say that again. I don't think that a 16 year old has enough life experience to make these judgments no matter what his/her IQ or ACT score might be. Each one of the people that I mentioned that died were atheists. They all smoked pot. I would say that they all had high IQs (I know that one went to the University of Illinois for Computer Science, one had a law degree and an M.A. in Philosophy from an Ivy League School.) Their high IQs, perhaps as much as the pot, was a cause of their undoing. They thought for themselves about what they could do or handle physically or psychologically, and they were wrong. They didn't have a sense of the boundaries. They didn't have a sense of 'the line.'
  9. I have to go to my night job, and cannot discuss this until 1am.
  10. No. Him losing his legs is more tragic than any opinion you or I have about drugs. The fact that he does not say 'I wish that I hadn't gotten high' is more than a little disturbing. Even more tragic. Think about what you just said. I can appreciate people that have a healthy skepticism about drugs. My feelings are that while in 1950, there were a lot of very closed minded attitudes on things, that now, in 2009, the left-leaning perspective has taken over to the point of Nazi adherence. You don't have an opinion about teachers and students having sex with one another or doing drugs? Bizarre. Debate has to be the only activity where people actually express those sentiments. If there was a 30 year old teacher smoking pot and having sex with my 14 year old son, I would cut his balls off and feed them to the squirrels.
  11. Guys, look. You can indict my sources, or my spelling of your names all night long. Don't try to diminish these so called 'anecdotal stories.' Every one of these things is true. The thing about the debate coach loading bowls and hitting on high school students. The one about the guy that lost his legs. These things are so much more important that anything else on there. I asked you a question - do you think it is ok for a 30 year old debate coach to hit on, or load a bowl for, one of his students...
  12. OK, you got me on this one. I am trying to do two things at the same time here - talking to several attorneys and debating this thread on line at the same time. If people want to be gay, I don't care. If they find a gene, great. Either way, it doesn't do anything for the debate on minors or pot smoking.
  13. Do you think it is permissible for a 30 year old high school debate coach to have sex with a high school student? Stop commenting on style points - I want to know what you think.
  14. I have learned a lot from personal experience. You are the one that seems hell bent on making the same mistakes that I have seen so many debate coaches make. When you talk about 'waiting around for something severe to happen', I am with you there. There is a guy that I just met that rolls around in a wheelchair. He lost both of his legs in a car accident that he had because he was high. It's not that I miss your point, it's just that 'community-creation' is so outrageously irrelevant that I ignored it. There are a lot of things that you can bond on. It doesn't even bother me that much that people smoke marijuana. It does bother me that debate coaches smoke marijuana with their students. I recall the movie 'Back to the Future' where one of the characters stumble upon three black guys from a band that are smoking a j, and he says 'reefer addicts!' I saw the movie 'Reefer Madness', I saw 'Dazed and Confused', I saw Cheech and Chong's 'Up In Smoke', I have seen 'Half Baked' - all great movies. One more story, and I will call it a day..... Around circa 1995, I was with a guy that I used to party with a lot. I was with him when he loaded a bowl for three high school kids before the start of a debate tournament. Two of them were 16, and one of them was 14. He was around 27 or 28 at the time. I left the room immediately. Right around the same time, this guy became gay. He was pursuing one of the 16 year old boys on the team. When this kid went to college, the kid invited this debate coach over to his house and had a big black guy beat the hell out of him. The debate coach sued the kid and lost, and spent a year dealing with the case. You seem to have a problem with my style of argumentation. I must sound like the guy in the old 'this is your brain on drugs' commercials to you. The underlying rationale of even giving a shit what I sound like seems to be 'you can turn a lot more people off drugs if you express yourself in a different way.' That is fascinating and all, but I sense that (especially with you, Kevin) that I am talking to someone that is very much immersed in 'the doobie way of thinking.' My intention is not to give a presentation to freshmen in high school that might be considering pot for the first time. Get real, pal. I believe that high school students and other minors benefit a great deal from being treated like mature adults. In the 60s, when young people protested that 'if they are old enough to die, they are old enough to vote', they couldn't be more right. But this doesn't, and shouldn't, extend to 25 year olds smoking pot or having sex with high school students. There is a power imbalance at work there, a power imbalance that these adults are exploiting. By your standard, would it be ok for a 40 year old debate coach to have sex with a freshman girl in high school? This wouldn't be good for the freshman girl in any way shape or form. It would be psychologically damaging, not liberating. Oddly, I think I have more pity for the 40 year old. You spend a lot of time saying 'if I can do this, why can't I do this, and if can do this, why can't I do this.' I love how you put minors in quotation marks, like the term doesn't mean anything. You ask me where I would draw the line. I would draw it with whatever the law is. If there is a circumstance where a freshman in college is dating a senior in high school, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I beg of you to think about this in practical terms and not in broad theoretical ones. Violating social, legal, or ethical boundaries when dealing minors is a very foolish thing to throw away your life on.
  15. And I posted a quote from the director of the human genome project that suggests otherwise. Studies that link drug or alcohol dependence on genetics, as well as homosexuality, as yet are inconclusive. Foucault died of AIDS. Deleuze threw himself out of a window. There is a difference between getting alcohol for your 20 year old brother and regularly loading weed for high school students that you are coaching. You would buy liquor for kids outside a convenient store? God, I wouldn't. Some kids asked me that about a year ago, and I told them 'not in a million years.' The fact that you compare smoking marijuana to the activities in the civil rights movement is a joke. Segregation laws represented injustices directed at individuals merely because of the color of their skin. And you aren't just lobbying for legalized pot, you seem to think that it's a good idea to load bowls for minors. And when I think of Ned, Matthew, Jason, Mike, Kurt, and Alec, it gives me a very helpless feeling. A helpless and bitter feeling. It makes me wish that I could turn back the clock and do something to help them before it was too late. We all do things to relax. I used to party a lot, as much as anyone you probably know, but I haven't for a good 10 years, and I am so very glad. I don't smoke cigarettes anymore either, and I am a vegetarian. I feel great, and I only wished that I had cleaned up sooner.
  16. I give up on the homosexuality thing. To be honest, deep down, I think it is a much more a choice than people seem to think. I have not seen a study to point to otherwise, and I think there are differences between this and the civil rights movement. I am willing to treat homosexuals with the same respect I treat anyone else, whether their sexual orientation is by choice or genetically predetermined. There is a woman that I worked with last year that had a little boy. She was a lesbian and also a recovering heroin addict. Her little boy burned himself on one of her lighters, and the Department of Children and Family Services filed a report and had taken her child away from her. I gave her a very long, forceful lecture on how she needed to fight this thing, and fight it immediately to get her child back. I directed her to a criminal defense attorney that was able to reverse the decision made on the part of DCFS. I guess all I can say is while it is important to have some knowledge and compassion about what gays and lesbians are going through, it is also important to have the same understanding and compassion toward the people around them that this might be affecting. I challenged the notion that being gay is predetermined. If this is too inflammatory, if this is such sacrilege to your point of view, I will drop it. If you are smoking pot with kids, you are contributing to the delinquency of a minor, in possession of a controlled substance, and in violation of plenty of rules as an educator that would get you fired on the spot if found out. You say 'let's break down the barriers between adults and children.' I have a better idea. Let's not. Is this part of some kind of Utopian vision? I enjoyed the movie 'Juno.' My favorite line in that movie was when Allison Janney says to Juno 'there are boundaries.' Knowing what the boundaries are is a question of maturity. As I mentioned before, I know six people in my personal life that have died because of either suicide, overdose, or something else directly related to their substance abuse habits. A lot of this started with pot. No offense, brother, but you strike me as someone that is geared up for a major reality check. Even among the career pot smokers that I know, few to none advocate encouraging youth to smoke it. I hate to say it, but anyone out there that is 25+ and is loading bowls for high school kids is basically a loser that needs to get a life. If I can't convince you of this now, no worries. The world will teach you this lesson soon enough.
  17. No one here is, no. But everyone that was involved in the situation told this guy 'look, she's a lesbian. She's always been a lesbian, and she is just now discovering it now' etc. etc. etc. I am glad you pointed that out. What you are saying is entirely true - the key factor is that she was a cheating wife. Being gay does not trump other ethical considerations. Here is another story: A guy out in California suffered from bipolar illness. He decided to take his own life, so he parked his car across a train track. The train killed him, and nine people on the train also lost their lives. I know that the church of Scientology is Anti-Psychiatric. They do not believe that human behavior can be reduced to mere brain chemistry and synapses. They also believe a whole lot of crazy-ass dogma, such as the notion that the human mind has a huge catalog of engrams, etc. Some people see psychiatry as a godsend. Others (like Foucault) see it as coercive. I think you can say the same about Christianity, or the GLBT lifestyle, or the pot smoking lifestyle. Christianity The World of Psychiatrists The GLBT World The Pot Smoking World The Scientologists Each one of these groups ask you to accept key elements on faith that have no basis in reality. I do apologize for sidetracking this discussion on dope. Where were we - oh yes, we were discussing whether or not dope smoking should be a religious freedom, or should it be considered license. I noticed that Michigan is ok'ing medical marijuana.....
  18. Look Retired, I am happy to treat the circumstances that you mentioned about the story of Bobby with respect. I think that you should treat the individual mentioned in my story with respect as well. The ex-wife that I mentioned in this story could have been either gay or straight. She chose to be in a marriage, and then decided to pull a 180 on this guy. You tell me that it was completely out of her hands, and I am telling you that it wasn't. In her case, she should have figured out that she was gay before she decided to destroy his life. Being gay doesn't trump everything that you do. It doesn't serve as some kind of 'get out of jail free card' for any ethical obligation that you might have. You mention the story of Bobby, and that is very sad. I saw the movie 'Milk' just recently, and that was also a very tragic story. There are also sad stories of what gays do to other people, and not only what other people do to them. I mentioned that I am not a big fan of 'liberal dogma,' and I'm still not. While I feel that gays should be treated equally, I see flaws in comparing this to the civil rights movement. Nothing that I have read from any of the responses has done anything to persuade me otherwise.
  19. Here is a link from the Head of the Human Genome Project that says homosexuality might be a disposition, but it is hardly hard-wired. http://www.narth.com/docs/nothardwired.html I read all of these posts, and I knew that what I was saying was not going to win me any elections. I have heard stories about how horrible it is when someone is gay, and is misunderstood by society, and end up in tragic circumstances as a result. There are two edges to every sword, however, and a lot of times you only hear the story about gay person, and not the people that are directly around them. Retired, you suggested that I read a book, and perhaps I will read it when I get a chance. Let me tell you a story about someone I know (and no, it's not me.) A guy I know got married, had a family of three, a house and a good job. One day, he came home and found his wife in bed with another woman. All of his hopes and dreams were dashed. He got a divorce, his had to sell his house. He became very depressed and almost committed suicide. His father, a lifelong Catholic, died a year after this all happened. His mother, a woman that has gone to church every week of her life, now has to shuttle grandkids back and forth between her son, and his ex-wife and lesbian lover's house. These stories happen all the time, but they are never going to win any academy awards. If you measure 'choice' in the arena of race, homosexuality, mental illness, or substance abuse, with a '1' being 'least choice' and '10' being the 'most choice', I would rank these arenas as follows...... Race: 1 (sorry, Michael Jackson doesn't sway me too much) Mental Illness: 3-4 Homosexuality: 5-6 Substance Abuse: 8 What would your estimations be?
  20. There are a lot of things in the secular world that I feel people believe dogmatically. I think that one of these is the proposition 'you do not choose to be gay.' I find this proposition to have a logical similarity to the proposition 'the Pope is God's infallible correspondent on Earth.' Both are completely untestable, superstitious, and yet believed doggedly by huge groups of people. I was raised in the Catholic Church. I left the church because I don't believe a lot of the dogma - a lot of the things you have to accept on faith. I see a lot of other areas in life to be riddled with their own types of dogma - dogma similar to the Church. Some of those areas are The world of Psychiatrists, The gay and lesbian world, The pot smoking world. Along with the church, each one of these communities offer easy answers rooted in bullshit. There is a community of ex-gays - people that were once gay, but went through a transition out of the lifestyle, the identity, whatever. Is there such an organization for blacks? Of course not. They are black. Here is a link about the ex-gay movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex-gay. Why don't you find me a link on 'people that were once black, but now aren't anymore?' I don't think that debate coaches should be lighting up their high school students with pot. You have to take into consideration what the law is, and not merely what you think the law should be. Yes, there are a lot of people smoking pot, but there is time for these kids to do that with people their own age without the encouragement from someone older than them that the community has placed their trust in to supervise their children. Our community has what is called 'the age of majority.' I believe this is the age 18 in most states - actually, here is the breakdown.... United States: 18 * 14 in American Samoa * 19 in Nebraska and Alabama * 21 in Mississippi, New York and the District of Columbia The age of consent (the age when you consent to have sex) is lower than this in most circumstances (in most states, it's 17) Here is a link.... http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm Good night, and good luck. Your friend, Hephaestus.
  21. I agree that there are circumstances when you are biracial where you might be confronted with a 'race choice' as you mention. This exists on a psychological or social level. The biological truth is that you are biracial, whatever the percentages may be. It is interesting that you take this tact: You are not arguing about the fact that you do indeed have some choice regarding your sexuality, while there are actually circumstances where you have some choice about your race. Most gay people talk about the fact that they don't have a choice. You say that being a part of a sexuality is just as 'real' as skin color. I am not quite sure what you mean by 'real' here. Perhaps you mean 'you have just as little choice in the matter, the aspects of your physicality and other factors are just as substantial as a race, and basically determine your sexuality.' Again, I tend to disagree in the long haul. I think instances where you actually choose your race are very unusual, while choice of sexuality occurs in more than half of the people that become gay. That is just my experience, but I am thinking about 100s of people right now. The people in the world I feel 'really had no choice' in being gay are in the minority. If it bothers people that I would throw out personal experience like this, I can understand that. It is not something that people typically do. I like to do it, because I feel that we get mired in philosophy, dogma, and 'things that are written down' as opposed to personal experience. That is interesting, but how many people actually believed this? And it certainly is very rare now. I know that I don't know anyone that feels this way. A lot of people believe that homosexuals are living in sin now. I personally view it as mostly two consenting adults doing what they want to do with one another. I think there is more to it than marijuana, because it often is rooted in deep emotional bonds, rather than merely something you do to party with. Also, there is at least some legitimacy to the notion that you are born with it. I don't believe that to date, there is anything that you can point to biologically and say 'this person is gay.' Not so for race. That is a good point. The similarity is that they are being denied some rights. The magnitude of the rights they are being denied is no where near what the blacks were going through in the 1960s and before, however. You are flipping what I am saying. I am merely talking about the 'level of choice' that an individual has in this circumstance. You tell me that people have just as much choice in their race, as they do with their sexuality. I disagree. I do, however, feel that gays should be allowed to have children, and that they should be treated equally, with equal protection under the law. I would say that they have some choice, but a lot of it is predetermined. I don't think that the analogy to the civil rights movement is a good one. I think that it puts religious blacks particularly in a bad position. Does anyone notice this? There are enough differences such that to continuously pound the point that 'the gay rights movement is just like the civil rights movement of the 60s' is problematic. You will always hear an uncertain pause when this point is made. That pause has to do with whether there is choice, and whether there is sin. With the civil rights movement, neither choice or sin are relevant considerations.
  22. (1) You don't choose your race. Most gays will tell you that being gay is not a choice they have either. I don't think that it is so cut and dry. (2) Most Major Religions feel that being Gay is living in Sin. There is no 'sin' involved in being African-American. (3) Gays were not slaves. Gays were never brought over to the United States on boats so that they could be whipped and sold by vicious slave owners. (4) Blacks are not anti-Catholic. I have never seen a group of blacks go into a catholic church and throw down a priest's chalice while he was saying a prayer during holy communion. I have seen gays do that. (5) Blacks are not choosing an alternative lifestyle, and then complaining that they don't get equal protection. Being gay is a behavior, just like smoking pot. You submit to a way of thinking, and identity, and a set of behaviors. There is a guy that I knew in high school that became gay later in life. He dated a few women, and it didn't seem to work for him, and so he became gay. I don't know any black people that were white in high school, it didn't work for them, so they became black. I am not sure if I can read this, since the grammar is so bad. Yes, there are blacks that are gay. There are also a lot of blacks that are anti-gay. .................... I am not anti-gay. I give gays the benefit of the doubt when they say that being gay is something they were born into, that this is their true identity. My personal opinion is that for a lot of gays, it would be very unnatural if they were straight, while for others, it is essentially a choice. It amuses me to hear gays say 'it's like you are pregnant, you either are or you're not' when a so many have had relationships with both men and women. If it were so cut and dry, then bisexuality wouldn't exist. Either way, I feel that consenting adults should be able to chose how they want to live their lives. There is a lesbian woman that works in the office next to mine that takes care of a child for one of her co-workers. She is probably one of the most responsible people I know, which is part of why I feel that in this day and age, gays and lesbians should be allowed to have children as well. I am not a fan of the comparison to the civil rights movement, however. There are a lot of reasons why there is a big difference. The gays were angry about the guy from the Saddleback church giving the invocation at the inauguration ceremony. I read Dan Savage's article about the definition of the term 'Saddleback' and I found that very amusing. For those that might not know, Dan Savage is a gay writer that has a column 'Savage Love' that you will find in the back of the Chicago Reader and other free urban newspapers. You mention that there are a lot of blacks that are gay. Yes there are. And there are a lot of blacks that go to church as well.
  23. Kevin - you are looking at the world in fairly black and white terms. It's not like life merely consists of 'the open-minded liberals' and 'the close minded conservatives.' For example, I am a vegetarian, mostly for ethical reasons. This doesn't mean that I feel that animals should have the same as rights of African-Americans. I am willing to give gays the benefit of the doubt. Let's face one reality, though. You have some choice about whether you are gay. Your race is a done deal - there is no question. You cannot chose your race. I know a lot of black people cringe when comparisons between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement of the 1960s are made. I noticed that the blacks were not with the gays at all in the recent proposition ballot in California. This does not mean that I feel that gays should not be given equal rights, however. I think that bias against homosexuals is wrong, albeit I don't agree with the faith people have in making a comparison between this and the civil rights movement. In fact, I think that the comparison is starting to backfire in a big way. Gays should say 'we deserve equal rights and equal opportunity', but leave out the part about how 'it's just like the civil rights movement.' I think there is a big difference, and I think the comparison is starting to stir up resentment. Now with marijuana smoking, calling this 'a civil rights movement' is really watering down the notion. Smoking pot is a recreational activity. I don't feel that it constitutes a cultural identity. Are armed robbers the next to be considered 'an exploited class'? The civil rights movement should not be treated like a gravy train for everyone with a drug problem.
  24. Lazzarone - I appreciate the fact that you are willing to look at this situation from a a practical perspective. You making mention of Brokeback Mountain makes for another interesting comparison. Is pot smoking a cultural identity the same way being a homosexual is? I tend to not think so. I think that being gay has to do with who you love, and who you want to spend the rest of your life with. I think pot smoking is just a way to have a good time, and it doesn't deserve a forum for rights protections, or whatever. Gays will often bring up analogies to the civil rights movement, and I have always been suspect of such comparisons. Same with animal right advocates making analogies to the civil rights movement. This does not mean that I am not in favor of gay rights, because for the most part I am. You talk about people doing things behind closed doors, but I don't think this is such a bad thing. I feel that what consenting adults do with each other is their business. I would also agree, that consenting adults should not be forced into their homes, or their closets, to do these things. It gets a little more hazy when you are a teacher involved with 15 year old kids. You say 'Having to be a cop disrupts the pedagogical relationship.' That sounds a little spooky to me. You betcha you have to be a cop if you are a teacher - at least part of the time. Same with being a parent. Debate really struggles with the appropriateness (and the legality for that matter) of the teacher/student relationship. Drugs are a big part of that, but only part of the problem. This gets more toward my central thesis on this matter.
  25. That is the stupidest thing I ever heard. If you asked a Catholic priest if he thought that pot smoking was ok, I bet that 99% of them would say essentially what I just said. They would say that it's wrong because the body is a temple. As far as tattoos, or other freedoms, I would imagine that the church wouldn't have a problem with it. I know that you can't get buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have a tattoo. Expressing your freedom and individuality is one thing. Doing so by ingesting a dangerous and illegal drug is another. I realize that I am making you folks think about things that you don't want to think about, but I think that you need to be a little more honest with yourself.
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