Wednesday, May 19, 2004

If you haven't seen the documentary "I am Trying To Break Your Heart" about the band Wilco you should really rent it. It's a great film. If you're a Wilco fan you've probably already seen it, but even if you've never heard of the band or its music you'll find the doc engaging, fun, entertaining and you just might discover you've got a new favorite band.

Work has been fairly stressful lately. Due to a clerical error on the part of our bookkeeper we bounced some checks which has slowly ballooned into a progressively more complicated situation in which the bank no longer gives us immediate access to deposits but insteads holds deposits for 15 days. It's a pain in the ass to run a business without access to your funds for 2 weeks. It's slowly working itself way out. No more ATM deposits for now. Live tellers only. Explain to everyone at the bank what happened and that we're not evil doers trying to bilk the bank out of their hard stolen money. All this after 6 years of banking with not one bounced check. Bottomline is that it was our fault. Our books are a mess. After my wife gets finished with school she's going to go over them and try to put everything in order. I can't even tell you if we're profitable right now, much less what our break even point is. My wife the MBA to the rescue. If she can figure out what's going on with the books of Pixar I think she can put us in order.

Had a delivery to a street I'd never heard of before today. That's a rarity after 12 years in the SF messenger biz. The street is called Knockash Hill. I don't why anyone needs to know that, but it's a good street name and must have some interesting history to it.

The new Morrissey CD came out yesterday. I bought it today. I'm not gay or depressed. I just happen to like Morrissey. Leave me alone.

I do a good imitation of the cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn. Remember the big rooster? Next time I'm drunk at your house ask me to do it.

There's a very good editorial in this weeks SF Bay Guardian (the better of SF's two weeklies) about the way the media covered the recent release of a study that showed that todays more potent (higher THC content) marijuana is leading to a greater level of addiction in users, it's called the "potent pot" theory. Basically, as I understand it, a study was done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism comparing survery data from the years 1991-1992 and 2001-2002. What the scientists found was increase in "abuse" and "dependency". The resulting conclusion that more potent pot was getting more people hooked was trumpeted by many, many news outlets from the LA Daily News ("Stonger Marijuana makes more Addicted") to the Seattle-Post Intelligencer ("Abuse and Dependence rise as Marijuana becomes more potent"). The problem was/is that there's no evidence that this is true. And thanks to the complete lack of journalistic intelligence in this country (and I blame the Bush Admin for this) no one interviewed opposing view points or even looked further into the study.

The scientists who did this study used the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (the APA's official diagnostic manual) definitions of "abuse". The manual allows the classification of anyone experiencing "legal problems related to marijuna" as "abusers". So what happened during the decade between 1991 and 2002? The number of arrests for marijuana rose from 300,000 in 1991 to 700,000 in 2001. Could this increase in "abusers" simply reflect the renewed focus of law enforcement and the draconian drug laws that our country employs? Even more importantly the study found the signifigant increase in "abusers" almost entirely amongst young hispanics and blacks and almost no increase in whites of the same age group. I think this difference can simply be chalked up to the fact that in our country people of color are at a signifigantly higher risk of arrest for drug crimes than whites.

The link to the editorial in SFBG isn't working right now, which is why I just typed all that in an effort to paraphrase an interesting subject. I'll post the link in case they get it working at some point SFBG Editorial

I don't want this post to make people think that I'm a big pot smoker or even an advocate of legalising marijuana. I simply believe that when anybody manipulates statistics, data based studies or the media for their own ends (be it pro government line or anti) it is deceptive and patently unamerican. What I am an advovate of is good clear thinking, sensible approaches to challenging problems, and the constant questioning of the status quo. In fact I believe that's the definition of a good liberal.
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