September 7, 2002
5:31 AM   Subscribe

Drug War Roundup IV. An athlete who refused a drug test was stripped of her awards. She plays bridge. American Indians who honed their skills tracking drug smugglers recently trained Baltic border guards in the hopes of preventing nuclear weapon proliferation. Another chapter was written in the ongoing "is ecstasy all that dangerous?" debate. Salvatore Gravano is on his way back to prison for running an ecstasy ring. Nevada is edging closer to legalizing up to three ounces of marijuana, to the disdain of Bush's Drug Policy director and Nevada's biggest police group. A Canadian right wing party and cops came out against their government's recent pro-legalization report. I see a pattern, but maybe it's just the pudding.
posted by raaka (30 comments total)

regarding this post, all I have to say is "Oh, Man... JESUS CHRIST, that's good stuff."
posted by taz at 5:53 AM on September 7, 2002

They're all high if they think bridge is a sport. How about Yahtzee! and Duck-duck-goose? For some reason, though, the IOC is down with bridge. From their website:
Climbing, bridge, golf, roller skating and surfing are sports that are recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The International Sports Federations (IFs) that administer these sports must ensure that their statutes, practice and activities conform with the Olympic Charter.

She knew about this. Open and shut case of Losers Weepers.

IMHO, adding triathlon and taekwondo was ok, but...
Shooting is not a sport and should be out. They can bring back lacrosse. Archery and sailing are cool, but not grueling enough and should be out. Bring back tug-of-war, which used to be an Olympic event. Equestrian events are cruel and should be done away with, as should boxing. Add more women's sports instead.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:37 AM on September 7, 2002

Hang on, how come taekwondo is OK but boxing is not?
posted by hob at 7:46 AM on September 7, 2002

"It is nothing more than a back to school gift for drug pushers," is how David Griffin, executive officer of the Canadian Police Association, reacted to the report released Wednesday.

David Griffin is intensely interested in keeping cops employed, and in expanding the cop's power of search and seizure. Legalisation would decimate the drug distribution underground... and unless reassigned to more important tasks (like hunting down criminals who have caused harm to others), the cops who are wasting their time pissing around with marijuana growers would be unemployed.

...Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper [,] The father of two small children said he doesn't buy arguments that alcohol is more harmful than smoking marijuana.

The man is obviously an alcoholic concerned that legalizing pot may result in harming his access to his drug of preference.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:47 AM on September 7, 2002

The UK government is edging around these issues, but (so far) has only gone as far as reclassifying certain drugs. Certain ex-cabinet ministers have called for more far-reaching changes to current law, but the opposition don't seem to see things the same way (but, hey , they're from a different planet).
posted by daveg at 8:10 AM on September 7, 2002

Dick Gamick, the district attorney in Washoe County: "It's ridiculous. We're telling our children drugs are bad, then we're going to do this?"
If I see someone use this argument one more time, I am going to plotz. Um...don't we tell kids that alcohol and cigarettes are bad for them now, but they can decide for themselves when they're old enough? What about driving, voting, sex? Funny how you never see any of these "Omigodthechildrenthechildren!!!!" types calling for the criminalization of all those things, also stuff you wouldn't want your nine-year-old getting into.
posted by hilatron at 8:11 AM on September 7, 2002

hilatron, drugs are bad, mmkay?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:34 AM on September 7, 2002

Oh, I see...well then! Now that that's cleared up for me, I say we burn 'em! Burn all those filthy filthy users alive, so they don't set a bad example for the kids!!
posted by hilatron at 8:55 AM on September 7, 2002

I actually just wanted to see you plotz, since I don't know what that entails.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:57 AM on September 7, 2002

Um, did I miss something? Is bridge a card game of some sort, or am I just insane? Is it a sport? How the hell do you take performance enhancing drugs to play cards?
posted by benjh at 9:03 AM on September 7, 2002

"What many people don't understand is that this is not your father's marijuana," Walters said. "What we're seeing now is much more potent."

Is it just me or do people like Mr. Walters only have scare tactics like this, and no real facts to back up their claims that marijuana is bad. First of all, even if what he says is true (i'm not sure if he's right either way), what is the difference. To my knowledge you can't O.D. from marijuana, and the potency doesn't make the long-term health risks any greater than they already are (breathing smoke being the main problem I believe).

Recently, it seems like the drugs are starting to fight back in this War on Drugs.
posted by untuckedshirts at 9:04 AM on September 7, 2002

mr_crash_davis: Many before you have thought that they wanted to see the plotz. They were wrong...the plotz is not to be toyed with!

I think the reason for the bridge thing is that since it's a recognized Olympic sport, they abide by the substance guidelines set down by the committee. But yeah, it is ridiculous, unless there's a drug I don't know about that allows you to see through cards. Which by the way if there is, I want some!
posted by hilatron at 9:09 AM on September 7, 2002

This is older news that never received much publicity. Some high ranking police are against the war on drugs.
When I was doing some research about the war on drugs I spoke to several different police officers (San Francisco, LA, San Diego) and most generally believed the war on drugs to be a failure and would prefer seeing it shifted towards a health problem versus a criminal issue.
posted by keithl at 9:30 AM on September 7, 2002

sport [spawrt ] noun (plural sports)

1. competitive physical activity: an individual or group competitive activity involving physical exertion or skill, governed by rules, and sometimes engaged in professionally (often used in the plural)

This completely explains why the IOC recognizes bridge as an Olympic sport. Could you imagine going on a trip of a lifetime to see the Olympics and the only sport you can get tickets for is the bronze round of the bridge finals?

This opens the way to add Playstation games to the Olympics! I must start training now.
posted by birdherder at 9:38 AM on September 7, 2002

The IOC will not be adding bridge (or chess) to the Olympics anytime soon, if ever. Sports that don't involve physical exertion are ineligible.

How the hell do you take performance enhancing drugs to play cards?

Ritalin would help with concentration, for instance.

To my knowledge you can't O.D. from marijuana, and the potency doesn't make the long-term health risks any greater than they already are (breathing smoke being the main problem I believe).

Logically, more potent cannabis would allow users to achieve the same level of intoxication while inhaling less smoke, thus decreasing health risks.
posted by hilker at 10:00 AM on September 7, 2002

planetkyoto: while some equestrian events are certainly dangerous, it's pushing it to call them "cruel" (Olympic-level cross-country is about as close as you can get, but even that isn't as crazy-dangerous as the Grand National). The majority of horses involved in high-level competition are excited by, and thoroughly enjoy, what they do, it's very difficult to reach the Olympic level with a horse who hates his rider and fears his job (there are certainly some high-level riders who don't ride or treat their horses the way they should, but it's hardly fair to expand that minority to include the whole sport). Unless you're argung that horses should all be running free on the plains or something, in which case I'll just respectfully agree to differ.

And what untuckedshirts and hilker said.
posted by biscotti at 10:17 AM on September 7, 2002

"What many people don't understand is that this is not your father's marijuana," Walters said. "What we're seeing now is much more potent."

I dunno, Dad has always known where to find the good shit.

I completely don't get this argument. Marijuana makes you high, so more potent marijuana makes you... really fucking high? And this is bad how, again?
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:18 AM on September 7, 2002

"Facts!? You can prove anything that is even remotely true with facts!" - Homer Simpson

Somehow the argument presented by Stephen Harper is a little thin. That he doesn't "doesn't buy arguments that alcohol is more harmful than smoking marijuana"

Based on what, pray tell?

Harper, who is an economist is clearly more informed about the effects on the human body, than say, a scientist or a medical doctor who spends his time studying this stuff. I don't buy that.

Of course, the Canadian Alliance is an embarassment to Canadians everywhere. They're Canada's mini-Republicans, but without the money, support, or the sense to hide their racism.
posted by aubin at 11:35 AM on September 7, 2002

I wouldn't hang onto a whole lot of hope (or righteous anger, depending on your perspective) regarding Nevada's bud ballot. Support for question 9 has been steadily falling, ever since corrected its stance and no longer supports the issue.

Far as dope-testing in bridge goes, nothing new. The FIDE has been implementing some pretty detailed restrictions in competition chess play for a while now, also in an attempt to garner IOC favor.
posted by shemol at 11:57 AM on September 7, 2002

I say we burn 'em! Burn all those filthy filthy users alive...

Better yet... let's smoke 'em.
posted by BirdD0g at 12:41 PM on September 7, 2002

The bridge player is on some sort of diet drug.

Ya'll should check out LiP. The entire issue is about the drug war.
posted by raaka at 3:00 PM on September 7, 2002

I wouldn't worry too much about anything Harper says. He's an Ontario fixer put in so that the Alliance can try to get some votes east of Manitoba for once. In my opinion he represents the death of the CA, traditionally a western (ok, mostly Alberta) party. If the CA starts getting eastern votes, westerners will leave in droves.

It was amusing, though, to hear that Walters is still peddling that "addictive marijuana" line. I smoke both pot and tobacco; if I go without pot for a day or two, I don't notice it much. If I go without tobacco for 12 hours, I become borderline homicidal.
posted by alex_reno at 4:18 PM on September 7, 2002

While folks generally dis libertarians on this list, in this instance there is probably agreement. Milton Friedman - an economist people usually love to hate - has been warning about the war on drugs ever since in started (his infamous Newsweek piece in '72 when Nixon was yelling about drugs is still read). His case is simple economics. Most concise version is this letter to the editor in the WSJ - crica 1989 - responding to Bill Bennet's moralizing on the subject. Fascinating ...

"Had drugs been decriminalized 17 years ago, "crack" would never have been invented (it was invented because the high cost of illegal drugs made it profitable to provide a cheaper version) and there would today be far fewer addicts. The lives of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent victims would have been saved, and not only in the U.S. The ghettos of our major cities would not be drug-and-crime-infested no-man's lands. Fewer people would be in jails, and fewer jails would have been built. "
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:22 PM on September 7, 2002

Sports that don't involve physical exertion are ineligible.
how much exertion is involved in pulling a trigger, drawing a bow? These are fine skills, but not on the level of wrestling, running, jumping. Same goes for equestrian, where there is of course considerable exertion by the human component, but the horse is getting the bulk of the work done. Might as well have auto racing in the Olympics. Boxing: it's anachronistic, the object is to beat a guy senseless, and doctors know too much about what goes on (second impact syndrome, among others) to hold up this "sport" as a basic human athletic endeavor. That's my objection, I realize Olympic bouts are 3 rounds with headgear. To call something an Olympic sport is to exalt it, and I think pro boxing should be banned, and so amateur boxing should not be exalted.
I'll admit I'm biased against boxing because in 1982 I watched a brutal match between Ray "Boom-Boom" Mancini and Duk Koo Kim, they beat the hell out of each other and in the 14th or 15th round Mancini laid out Kim dead, to prevent Kim from doing the opposite. No fault to the ref, it was a fair fight, but I've never watched a fight since.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:45 PM on September 7, 2002

A quote from the LiP magazine link raaka mentioned above (I'd never heard of the site) :

"Let's not mince words or don the mantle of false objectivity: The Drug War must go. From any rational standpoint, it has been an utter failure.

Not only has it failed to reduce drug use or crime, but it has, through racist sentencing policy and selective enforcement, been the leading mechanism of institutional racism in the United States for at least the past few decades. The damage that has been done to communities of color (and to the poor) in the U.S. in the name of this war is so great that it's doubtful we could undo the damage in our lifetimes.

Hell, yeah.

>...Mancini laid out Kim dead, to prevent Kim from doing the opposite. No fault to the ref, it was a fair fight, but I've never watched a fight since.

The very essence of boxing. Bloodsport. There should be more of that. Where is it written that cretinous behaviour, even professional, highly-paid cretinous behaviour, should be consequence-free?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:39 PM on September 7, 2002

Thanks for the link to the Shadow Wolves article, raaka, it's a great story.
posted by homunculus at 7:55 PM on September 7, 2002

Ehhh, damned snot-nosed Gen-X whippersnappers! Just say "no" to *all* drugs! Why, in my day we used to fight off pain and illness with leeches, bloodletting, and prayer. None of this damned "penicillin" and "Tylenol." Those are just "gateway" drugs, you know. One day you're "just taking an aspirin," and before you know it you're selling your body and living out of a cardboard box, all hepped up on goofballs . . .

And this whiny bridge-playing addict: "Oooh, my back hurts. I need medicine!" Poppycock! Doesn't she realize there's an entire generation of young girls who dream about the thrill of competing in Olympic-caliber bridge, and they're looking up to her?!? Think of the chiiiiildren!

What she needs is a good enema. That'll make her forget all about her back pain. Always works for me.
posted by wdpeck at 2:57 AM on September 8, 2002

His case is simple economics.

one of interesting things about milton friedman as a libertarian is his acknowledgement: "I am distressed by the sight of poverty; I am benefited by its alleviation; but I am benefited equally whether I or someone else pays for its alleviation;" which is basically an acknowledgement that the alleviation of poverty is a public good, that it has a "neighborhood effect" as he calls it, and hence there's a government role to provide welfare:

"In small communities, public pressure can suffice to realize the proviso even with private charity. In the large impersonal communities that are increasingly coming to dominate our society, it is much more difficult for it to do so."

his solution? a negative income tax, or basically a minimum guaranteed income! i find it all very intriguing :) like it also works out from a cost-benefit analysis, where if you assume poverty breeds crime, then it stands to reason that the cost of incarceration might be so high (on average) society might do better effectively paying-off "potential criminals" rather than suffer the consequences down the line; a preemptive strike, if you will! and after all we're all potential criminals :)
posted by kliuless at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2002

Marijuana makes you high, so more potent marijuana makes you... really fucking high? And this is bad how, again?

Because it can really, really suck.
posted by dydecker at 9:31 AM on September 8, 2002

From that page, dydecker: "I still don't know if that weed was laced with anything, or if it was just extremely powerful. The other kid that smoked it was bigger than me and didn't smoke as much, and he was violently ill, puking/dry heaving non- stop for a whole hour. "

Puking from a toke? The shit was laced.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:56 AM on September 8, 2002

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