Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Humbolt County: More Bad Trips for LSD Users

Humbolt County in Northern California is "the heartland of high-grade marijuana farming in California." The county has been ceded to the marijuana growing industry, as one can see in the film Humbolt County. But now I see in the San Franicisco Chronicle that LSD is a problem there.

Police in one Humboldt County town are warning LSD users to beware after responding to a rash of incidents apparently connected to bad acid trips.

Arcata police say the problems began last month when officers responded to a home where paramedics found a 31-year-old man who had castrated himself.

I followed this to the source in the Eureka Times-Standard, Arcata Police Report Rash of Bad LSD Trips:
It started on April 18, when officers responded to a residence to help Arcata-Mad River Ambulance personnel with a 31-year-old man who had just castrated himself. Medics and officers couldn't find the man's testicles, according to APD, and he later told police that he'd flushed them down the toilet because they contained “monsters.”

Then, beginning on May 8, the incidents picked up. A 21-year old man took LSD and wandered from his home without adequate clothing or shoes and without saying where he was going. The man wandered in the forest for two days while his family and friends looked for him. He returned two days later, according to police.

The next day, police were called to Mad River Hospital to assist with a combative 19-year-old man reportedly undergoing flashbacks -- two weeks after he took LSD.

And the list goes on.

The police are not sure if the recent incidents are due to bad LSD or an increase in usage because the police have not been able to obtain samples related to the incidents, according to Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman. He also made some general observations about the drug:
Chapman said people using the drug can become a danger to themselves and others, and that its use can trigger a mental health “break” in someone with underlying mental health issues.

Arcata is Humbolt County's college town, home of Humbolt State University.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just Completed My Absentee Ballot -- Voted for Poizner

Last night I received a phone call from one of the automated polling companies. At first I thought it was another Robo-Call. But, it wasn't, so I listened. The questions were about my opinions of the Republican Primary candidates for governor and senator. I used to hang up on these automated polls, but this time I listened to the questions and pressed the number on my phone to answer each one. I wasn't completely honest. On Meg Whitman, I chose the number to indicate I had heard about her and had no opinion. In fact, I had formed a negative opinion of her, but I wasn't quite ready to tell that to the machine.

I have been receiving so many robo-calls this past week. And many Meg Whitman mailers. A few weeks ago, I was a lucky recipient of the Meg Mag, a 48 page magazine titled Meg 2010: Building a New California. I was going to vote for her until I received that extravaganza. The state of California is going broke and she is running as a fiscal conservative who will get the state spending under control. Before the Meg Mag I knew she was spending $65 million on her Primary campaign (well, $68 million now, but who's counting?) and I recognized intellectually that she was spending too much.

But when I got the Meg Mag I couldn't stand the cognitive dissonance. I thought of the old saying "the medium is the message". Whatever good was in the content of the Meg mag, the message I got was the profligacy of creating such a campaign mailer. It is the size of a news weekly. And many pages are just photographs, with maybe a caption or a few lines of text. The message I got was: Spendthrift.

I decided to pay attention to Steve Poizner. And I liked what I saw. As Deborah Saunders explains in her piece on the Meg Mag, Whitman can spend, but can she govern?, Poizner has been
a Republican active in politics over the last decade. While Whitman didn't even register as a Republican until 2007, Poizner volunteered in public schools, steeped himself in the charter school movement and ran for office in a decidedly Democratic district. Failing in that race, he went on to win the state insurance commissioner's post, a rare statewide office win for a Republican. Poizner proclaimed, "I'm not a rookie."

The I got another Meg Whitman vanity piece. This is smaller than the Meg Mag, but even worse in terms of its message. The cover is a large photo of Meg Whitman as a young girl with her mother. Her mother looks nice in a Barbara Bush sort of way and Meg is about 12 or so. Then you open the cover and there is a portrait photo of Meg, again at about 12 or so. The text on the accompanying page reads
"My mom, Margaret, was a determined woman and taught me I could accomplish anything. When we were young, she packed my brother, sister, and me into a Ford Econoline van, and we spent three months car-camping throughout the West" California seemed larger than life, a place where anything seemed possible."
I thought, this is ridiculous. This is childish. The point we Californians have learned is that anything is not possible, at least any more. We are going broke! Why are you spending your money sending me this?

So, now I've shared my secret with you all, the negative opinion I've formed of Meg Whitman. And I've marked my ballot. I voted for Poizner because he has shown an interest in the issues facing California for many years now. He is currently serving in state government. And I think he will hold up better against Jerry Brown in the General Election. Brown is frugal and always was. Whitman has proven herself to be a spendthrift. And California needs a frugal governor.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Times Square Bomber: "Cartoons of Beloved Prophet as War Drums"

CNN has a story that includes a 2006 email from the Times Square Bomber , Faisal Shahzad, that gives some insight into his religious views and hostility to the West and the US in particular. This would seem to put to rest any confusion whether the bombing was motivated by radical Islam.

Within the three page email we find:
It is no doubt that we today Muslim, followers of Islam are attacked and occupied by foreign infidel forces. The crusade has already started against Islam and Muslims with cartoons of our beloved Prophet PBUH as War drums.

We don't yet know why he chose the Times Square location, but this reference to how offensive he finds cartoons of Mohammed leaves open the possibility that he may have been reacting to the recent South Park episode put out by Comedy Central.

Hat Tip Women Against Shariah

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kagen and the Decline of the American WASP

Some facts and ideas from two articles in the Wall Street Journal today are worth considering.

The first article "That Bright, Dying Star, the American WASP" directly discusses the absence of Protestants on the Supreme Court.
Of the 111 Supreme Court Justices who have served, 35 have been Episcopalians, making them the largest religious group on the court, according to court historians. The court's first non-Protestant was Catholic Justice Roger Taney, appointed by President Andrew Jackson in 1836.

Whether the court's religious makeup even matters in today's legal world has become a subject of hot debate. Yet by ushering in a Protestant-free court, Ms. Kagan is helping to sweep away some of the last vestiges of a group that ruled American politics, wealth and culture for much of the nation's history.

"The fact that we're going to zero Protestants in the court may not be as significant as the fact that her appointment perfectly reflects the decline of the Establishment, or the WASP Establishment, in America," said David Campbell, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame.

The article goes on to note that other groups are now wealthier than Protestants:

In old-money enclaves like Palm Beach, Fla., Nantucket, Mass., and Greenwich, Conn., WASPs are being priced out of their waterfront estates and displaced on their nonprofit boards by Jewish, Catholic and other non-Protestant entrepreneurs.

A survey by Pew Research found only 21% of mainline U.S. Protestants had income of $100,000 or more, compared with 46% of Jews and 42% of Hindus.

Then in her column "The Lamest Show on Earth", Peggy Noonan describes what she sees as "the great class marker of the age":
The ones on top now and in the future will be those who start off with the advantage not of great wealth but of the great class marker of the age: two parents who are together and who drive their children toward academic excellence. It isn't "Mom and Dad had millions" anymore as much as "Mom and Dad made me do my homework, gave me emotional guidance, made sure I got to trombone lessons, and drove me to soccer."

I think historically mainline Protestants were providing their children with "two parents who are together and who drive their children toward academic excellence." Mainline Protestant churches used to be places where parents could take their children to be surrounded by others who shares the values of two-parent families who valued education. The sexual morality of the Bible emphasized the two parent family. And the Protestant tradition was based on every family being able to read their own Bible, so literacy was emphasized.

These days, mainline Protestants are more concerned with "social justice" and personal gratification. The parents in the churches can get divorced and still be beloved members of the community because divorce is no longer stigmatized. Episcopal priests now celebrate the move to authenticity when men divorce their wives to live authentically in gay relationships. Morality is now about helping in soup kitchens or organizing a protest for some public issue (health care, immigrant rights, etc.) And the ones who are being short changed are the children of the church.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Arizona: 46% of K-2nd grade school children are "English Language Learners"

The people of the state of Arizona say they are being overwhelmed by non-English speaking illegal immigrants and their children. Maybe it is true. I found this table in an article in the Wall Street Journal last Friday on education of non-English speaking school children in Arizona:

How much extra does it cost the state per pupil to educate "English Language Learners"?

Here's a news article I found that says the legal formula estimates the extra costs of educating the English Language Learners at 40 million but:
Horne places that cost at a fraction of the amount put together by the Arizona School Administrators at $304 million. Horne explained he arrived at the $40 million after he weeded out extra costs and deleted textbooks and classroom-space expenses because they are not allowed under the formula created to guide spending on ELL instruction.

Much of the $40 million covers the hiring of 1,500 extra teachers, he said.

Why aren't the newspapers talking abut this when they report on the new legislation in Arizona?

Update: I just found a report from the California Legislative Analyst's Office on the 2007-8 budget that says that for California "Nearly 40 percent of the state’s kindergarteners and roughly one-third of the state’s elementary school students are classified as EL."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Was New York Car Bomb Intended for Comedy Central?

The Viacom building, the parent company of Comedy Central, is located in New York City on Broadway, taking up the block between 44th and 45th. The car bomb was on the southwest corner of 45th St. and Broadway. Please do check the link and do a maximum close up. You will see that the southwest corner of 45th and Broadway is the corner of the Viacom building.

While the US news media are reporting the location as adjacent to the Lion King theater production, the UK's Telegraph is reporting the Viacom Building could have been the terrorist target:
The location is also adjacent to the Viacom building, fuelling speculation that it might be linked to the company's controversial South Park cartoon which recently depicted Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.