Thursday, April 20, 2006

Who's afraid of the bad green weed?

I don't much like marijuana. Never done it. The smell of it makes me sick. And it doesn't much fit in with the way that I lead my life. That's not a judgment. I have plenty of other vices that I won't list here.
But it may just be that, as a study by a sub-division of the National Academy of Science in 1999, and several other studies, the authors of which have had trouble getting published, have shown, smoked marijuana is pretty good at alleviating some of the side-effects of chemotherapy, AIDS medications and other harsh drug therapies, as well as various other causes of nausea, loss of appetite, etc. Of course, the FDA today decided that there are no such studies--even the federal and state-funded studies. This isn't too surprising, since "fact" and "truth" obviously mean something different politically than they do in normal parlance.
But, really, what is the great danger in letting people suffering smoke some weed? I mean we allow cold medicines to be sold over the counter even though the ingredients in them can be used to manufacture meth. Oh, that's right, there's a business interest involved there.


It's so thoughtful of the President, who himself never faces unvetted crowds of American citizens, lest they pose uncomfortable questions, criticize him or make clear just why his poll numbers have become so low, to apologize for the accredited journalist who today criticized the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, in a joint appearance during his official visit to the US, for the numerous human rights abuses of the Chinese government. One might have thought that the appropriate response would have been to explain that this is part of what occurs in a free society--especially since part of Bush's speech was about the need for freedom of expression in China--but maybe the irony would have been too much even for our insulated leadership. In any case, it's hard to see how one older woman criticizing the leader of the largest and probably most powerful nation in the world in a setting surrounded by hundreds of American and Chinese security can honestly be said to have intimidated Mr Hu, the crime with which she has been charged. So much for that freedom of expression we are supposed to be exporting.