Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Opinionated, Marginally Informed Rant of the Week

Like most people, I was shocked and saddened by the recent revelations regarding Michael Phelps' apparent use of marijuana. I'm sure you share my deep disappointment that an icon of Phelps' magnitude so flagrantly disregarded his moral and legal obligations.

Yeah, I can't keep a straight face, either.

Mostly, I just think Phelps is a dope (oh, yeah, you'd better believe that was intentional) who should know better than to put himself in a situation where others can profit from his notoriety. Otherwise, he was doing something literally millions of people his age do. The reflexive hand-wringing that inevitably accompanies athlete/celebrity pot busts is the real (and sadly predictable) disappointment.

"But what about the children? Think of the impressionable children." Michael Phelps has no more obligation to my children than do you, in terms of teaching them responsibility for their actions and how to make good choices. And if you believe otherwise, keep your delinquent offspring clear of my daughters.

Despite the protestations of the news media (hypocrisy, thy name is ink-stained wretch) marijuana is a fact of life in modern America, especially (though not exclusively) among younger generations. Our choice is to moralize, criminalize, and generally overreact, or to develop systemic structures to regulate, tax, and manage its distribution and use. The default setting: hysteria. We spend an estimated $69 billion each year in America enforcing drug laws. We incarcerate three times as many people (more than 1.9 million each year) on drug charges today than we did in 1980 - and bear the commensurate societal costs. I'm no economist, and I'm sure as hell no public policy expert, but if we take those costs out of the system and replace them with tax revenue and a regulatory framework (read: jobs), well, that'd be economic stimulus I think we could all get behind.

And change we can all believe in.
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Late addendum from Andrew Sullivan on the possibility of Phelps being charged with a crime, quoted in its entirety because I couldn't have said it better:

"America's drug war insanity
deepens. What I love about the harrumphing is its total incoherence. The argument, so far as I can tell, is: a) marijuana destroys people, renders them incapable of productive and worthwhile lives; b) yes, the new president and the greatest Olympic swimmer of all time have smoked pot; c) but that means we have to punish them all the more! Because they disprove the lies required to sustain the Prohibition.

The more the myths of the anti-cannabis brigade are exposed, the more they have to be enforced. For my original pro-Phelps splutter, see
here."

61 comments:

TJ said...

Yes we can!

And Rhymo, tough start for you Knicks in their big week, letting Kobe drop 61 on them last night in losing to the Lakers.

Rhymenocerous said...

This post has been brough to you by Rob, Chairman of G:TB's unofficial NORML cyber-chapter.

Rhymenocerous said...

Apparently, guarding Kobe with a chubby swingman (Q Richardson) and a gangly 20 year-old swingman (Galinari) is NOT the best way to contain him.

But you have to like the adjustments Coach D'Antoni made. They held him to under 30 in the second half.

TJ said...

Work Jerry is over at the Mayflower this week for some super awesome work meetings. He emailed this morn to let me know he has yet to see Spitzer or any hot chicks/pros. I just assume he isn't looking hard enough.

rob said...

sally jenkins, bringing the funk re: phelps in the post this morning:

http://tinyurl.com/dborur

rob said...

rhymo, my network administrator is going to be puzzled this morning when he sees the norml website in my cache. fortunately for me, i'm his boss.

TJ said...

Whatever Cheech, you're on there everyday.

TJ said...

The Nats should throw money at Manny and Pedro this week and see if they'll bite.

rob said...

scott boras is committing professional malpractice re: manny.

Mark said...

Manny should just get it other with and sign with St. Louis.

TJ said...

Turn the volume down to low on your computer, but after doing so, you must listen to this Christian Bale meltdown...

zoltan said...

Vote yes on 2.

zoltan said...

Is it too late for Clemens to just fess up and fade away?

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3880712

rob said...

are you fucking kidding me?

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/02/03/joe-the-economist/

zoltan said...

It's amazing that Joe the Plumber is still getting ink (or electrons?) after the election. I thought his 15 minutes were up.

rob said...

it's more amazing that the gop seems to think he has any role whatsoever in a policy discussion.

on the other hand, if he could brand himself as joe the accountant, he would be able to help the administration's political appointees figure out they're supposed to pay their taxes.

Whitney said...

The Cosby Show



Oh, am I late on that?

(Seriously . . . nobody said The Cosby Show yesterday??)

zoltan said...

For TJ.

http://www.dickipedia.org/dick.php?title=O.J._Simpson

TJ said...

Yeah, not surprisingly, you're like the 690th person to send that to me over the years.

zoltan said...

I said A Different World, which was a Cosby spinoff. The Cosby Show was just too obvious.

TJ said...

Yes, you said A Different World...named hours earlier by me.

TJ said...

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina authorities in the county where Michael Phelps was spotted smoking from a marijuana pipe say they are considering a criminal charge against the Olympic superstar.

Rhymenocerous said...

Wow. I missed that whole game yesterday.

You guys left out Keenan & Kel, What's Happening Now and That's My Mama.

And you left out Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, although that family was almost as white as the Huxtables.

Rhymenocerous said...

And the What's Happening spin-off...wait for it...Shirley.

Surprisingly, Ms. Hemphill couldn't pull it off. Great last name though.

TJ said...

Fresh Prince was covered.

PenisGriffin said...

PenisGriffin was part of the couch burnings and mini-riots on Sunday in Steel Town..... My life will never be the same, props to Michael Phelps for owning up to his wrongdoings, I'm sure Damon Stoudamire was lurking in the room somewhere

PenisGriffin said...

Forgot to add that PenisGriffin is not a Steelers fan whatsoever

TJ said...

We should send you to Morgantown - they love to burn couches over there just 'cause.

Whitney said...

My ex-girlfriend's last name is now Hemphill. No relation to Shirley, I presume.

She also confessed to occasionally lurking 'round these parts. Something about "I never realized how sexy moronic banter could be."

Rhymenocerous said...

Daschle withdraws nomination.

Suck it liberals.

rob said...

dagger.

of course, that means waxman gets more juice on healthcare reform, in which case conservatives may long for daschle.

Dave said...

why aren't the comments ever about the original post? what the hell is wrong with the participants in this blog? i'm starting to think that the internet isn't a tool for structured dialogue and debate between people all over the world, that instead it is a fragmented, piecemeal hodgepodge of spurious barely connected thoughts. (kind of like my blog)

TJ said...

I blame the youth of America. And the teachers who teach them.

zoltan said...

I like Sullivan's point. Our last three presidents have smoked pot, snorted coke, or both. And according to the guy from Dazed and Confused, George Washington actually grew pot.

Michael Phelps for President.

Whitney said...

It's ADD-ville. And a whole lotta self-importance, where we think everyone needs to read our every scattered thought.

But of you wanna talk about drugs, we can.

TJ said...

I'd love to talk about this post, but years of "Phelpsing it up" made me forget what I was gonna say...

TJ said...

I wonder if Dave looked at yesterday's comments section....that might really make his head explode.

Whitney said...

"Phelpsing it up" is good, but the proper vernacular for such activity is engaging in "the individual medley".

TJ said...

"Ascending the podium"?

zoltan said...

The "individual medly" sounds more like masturbating than it sounds like what I think you're proposing.

rob said...

simpler. as in, i'm gonna go swim some laps.

rob said...

meanwhile, big alcohol's sitting back, smoking gigantic cigars and laughing its ass off.

rob said...

and speaking of fragmented hodgepodge, can you imagine how much smoke phelps can get into his lungs with one pull? it'd be enough to render teejay incoherent.

TJ said...

Cannonball coming?

TJ said...

An apple a day rob...an apple a day...

rob said...

my point, precisely.

rob said...

tough one tonight against south carolina for billy donovan's boys. and hofstra/mason on the u.

TJ said...

Can we tweak our fav euphemism and go with "electing the phelps"?

zoltan said...

How can this procedure be deemed "less invasive" than any other method?

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/03/kidney.vagina.surgery/index.html

zoltan said...

I'm an idiot.

http://tinyurl.com/abhofn

TJ said...

Mark, do you have a hard-on for National Signing Day?

Mark said...

Florida's got most of their guys locked up already. I'll be paying attention, for sure but there aren't a ton of elite undecided prospects out there with whom Florida is currently involved. Chief among the exceptions is DC-area LB Jelani Jenkins. I'll be tuned in to see his decision as well as those of Jarvis Jones (hopefully the latest in a long line of Jarvis' at UF), Trent Richardson (probably Bama), and Brandon Moore (probably Bama).

So, yeah, somewhat excited

However, nothing's really getting me too terribly excited now that the news that Jameer Nelson is likely to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury has sufficiently sunk in. Absolutely devastating news for the Magicians.

rob said...

mason just dropping the hammer on hofstra.

TJ said...

Do the Magicians dare go after Starbury?

TJ said...

Best cure for a 5 game losing streak?

Rutgers at Verizon Center.

rob said...

carolina with 60 at the half against maryland. yikes.

Mark said...

Honestly, I wouldn't be shocked to see them go after Marbury. It would be a colossal disaster but I wouldn't be surprised. I'd rather them go after somebody who could continue to contribute to the team once Nelson is healthy. Ramon Sessions is a personal favorite of mine.

Also, with Philly sucking, I could see the Magic trying to make a move for Andre Miller and then sorting the logjam in the backcourt out during the offseason.

KQ said...

I can't BELIEVE there's no banter about this SC/Fla game. Downey is the man.

Shlara said...

The Sports Bog had to dredge up the Webber pot story, in the wake of this Phelps story.

Not good times. Easily one of the top three worst days in my career.

rob said...

i had to stop watching the sc/fla game because of the godawful campus connection segment. i was compelled to change the channel because i was embarrassed for all parties involved.

Mark said...

Game was fantastic. Downey is unbelievable. My man crush on Erving Walker grows with each passing game.