Bible-thumping televangelist Pat Robertson is used to raising eyebrows—by saying that the tornadoes that have devastated parts of the Midwest could have been prevented by mass prayer, for example. But the 700 Club host has made a bigger splash than usual by declaring he wants to decriminalize marijuana—adding that Christ was never a teetotaler. Naturally, Robertson still managed to get a swipe in at "liberals," blaming them for the punitive laws that jail young people for small-scale possession. "I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hard-core criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance," said Robertson on the March 1 taping of his show. "We've got to take a look at what we're considering crimes and [marijuana use] is one of them. I'm not exactly for use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana... is costing us a fortune and ruining young people." Robertson echoed his stance in another interview yesterday, declaring that marijuana should be treated like alcohol and that the War on Drugs has failed.
- AARP Study Says Price of Popular Drugs Rose 26% [New York Times]
- Texas Warns Spring Breakers to Steer Clear of Mexico [ABC News]
- US Hits Iranian General With Drug Sanctions [FOX News]
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Factor for Teens Choosing Death in Russia [Washington Post]
- Two Brothers Get Prison for LA-Based Cocaine Ring [ABC News]
- Ex-Cons, Recovering Addicts, Homeless Seek Enlightenment Through Art [Washington Post]
- Demi Lovato Still Struggles With Bulimia, Cutting Post-Treatment [US Magazine]
Iconic Beatle John Lennon suffered from an eating disorder that went untreated up until his death in 1980, according to a new book. He would often binge-eat on foods such as Rice Krispies with ice cream, and follow that with self-induced vomiting, claims BackStage Pass VIP, authored by Debra Sharon Davis. The star's weight is said to have fluctuated wildly, and he would apparently "fantasize" about food. These are all symptoms of bulimia, a disease that was still not well-known in Lennon's lifetime. "One must also realize that at that time the public and the media were unaware of bulimia as an addiction and health risk—which made it all the more frightening for John Lennon," claims the author. "He literally had no point-of-reference on what he was experiencing." She adds that the star—who once spoke of his "fat Elvis period" in the mid-60s—was surrounded by drug and alcohol abusers, so his problem was generally overlooked. But Yoko Ono vehemently denies the new claims. "John did not have an eating disorder. Sometimes he slipped and ate a bar of chocolate," she says. "He was always on a very healthy diet…His diets included vegetarian diet, macrobiotic diet and, very rarely, a juice-only diet. All of the above are internationally approved health diets.”
In this season of spring break and the run-up to St. Patrick's Day, a reminder from Elizabethan satirist Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) that the varieties of intoxication are as many and as varied as the beasts that roam the earth is appropriate. Here then, circa 1592 (and with a nod to a cool blog, Lists of Note) are "THE EIGHT KINDES OF DRUNKENNES":
The first is ape drunke; and he leapes, and singes, and hollowes, and danceth for the heavens;
The second is lion drunke; and he flings the pots about the house, calls his hostesse whore, breakes the glasse windowes with his dagger, and is apt to quarrell with anie man that speaks to him;
The third is swine drunke; heavie, lumpish, and sleepie, and cries for a little more drinke, and a fewe more cloathes;
The fourth is sheepe drunk; wise in his conceipt, when he cannot bring foorth a right word;
The fifth is mawdlen drunke; when a fellowe will weepe for kindnes in the midst of ale, and kisse you, saying, "By God, captaine, I love thee. Goe thy wayes; thou dost not thinke so often of me as I doo thee; I would (if it pleased God) I could not love thee as well as I doo;" and then he puts his finger in his eye, and cryes;
The sixth is Martin drunke; when a man is drunke, and drinkes himselfe sober ere he stirre;
The seventh is goate drunke; when, in his drunkennes, he hath no minde but on lecherie;
The eighth is fox drunke—when he is craftie drunke, as manie of the Dutchmen bee, that will never bargaine but when they are drunke.
African-American law professor Michelle Alexander has been touring her bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, across the US, often receiving standing ovations from packed auditoriums. As its title suggests, the book condemns the underpinnings of the American criminal justice system as racist, directly comparing the War on Drugs to the "Jim Crow" racial laws that were abolished in 1965. And it's clearly struck a powerful chord. As many as one third of black men in the US today will spend time behind bars. Alexander asserts that this mass incarceration is not a response to an actual surge in violent crime among the African-American community, but a calculated effort to offset the gains made by the civil rights movement—penalizing millions of African Americans behind bars, on probation or parole (mostly for non-violent offenses), and millions more with criminal records. Professor Alexander singles out the Nixon and Reagan administrations for particular criticism, for aligning the criminal justice system against the African-American community. “It’s easy to be completely unaware that this vast new system of racial and social control has emerged,” she says. “Unlike in Jim Crow days, there were no ‘Whites Only’ signs. This system is out of sight, out of mind.”
Missouri lawmakers are voting today on whether to overturn the state's lifetime ban on food stamps for convicted drug felons. A bill sponsored by state Representative Bob Nance would let people have their status overturned by completing a drug treatment program, submitting to voluntary testing to demonstrate sobriety, waiting four years after their offense, or complying with court-ordered obligations. States can opt out of, or modify, the 1996 federal law on food stamps and drug felons, but Missouri and nine other states haven't. "Somebody can molest somebody and receive food stamps," says Nance. "They can murder somebody and they can still receive food stamps. Only the drug felon cannot receive food stamps." Supporters of the bill say nutritional support could help keep people out of prison, saving taxpayers money while bringing an additional $7 million in federal food stamp dollars to the state. But opponents say that having food stamp cards could enable addicts to score drugs, while removing the motivation to find work. ""There are a few of us that still believe that the closest thing to eternity on Earth is a government program," says Sen. Chuck Purgason. "It's easier to live on a government program than it is to go out and get a job, so that's why entitlements continue expanding." According to the Department of Social Services, 440,000 Missouri households receive food stamps—up from 300,000 in 2007—at a cost of $120 million.