Saturday, February 16, 2008

A War, On People

If you're already up-to-date on the War on Drugs (or just plain aware, more accurately, as the status quo has existed for at least a decade now), the article I'm presenting won't have any new information to you. It reinforces an uncountable number of other research papers written by a great number of students and editorialists, and it tells me things indeed haven't change much since my research into the subject in my own college days.

On the other hand, if you don't understand what's going on, you really ought to give it a quick read. There's a point at which the punishment for a crime hurts society more than the crime itself; this war, waged against our own people, really does harm people, and it isn't doing anything to solve the real problem of drug abuse and addiction.

I remember, awhile back, seeing an anti-marijuana ad on television, released by the ONDCP. In it, a kid's future is ruined when he's caught in a (school restroom?) smoking pot. It tells the truth -- a felony charge, plus forfeiture of federal financial aid for college (not to mention the huge financial burden of court fees and mandatory drug rehabilitation), is severe, indeed. The tag line, however, was most telling. In short (I can't find a transcript or a video or I'd share it), marijuana is bad because it can get you busted.

It's bad, not because it costs real money or hurts a person's lungs or smells like skunk sometimes, but because it's against the law.

Anyway. Read the article, if you want. It's not bad. It tries to shed some focus on a gender side of the issue, and although its supporting evidence in that regard is a bit slim, it is an interesting part to consider.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Drink Up, Mr. Clemens.

I heard a story on the radio about the baseball steroid hearings (more of them... STILL), and I just can't help but wonder what the problem really is.

Athletics are demonstrations of our physical prowess -- examples of human achievement -- and the science of medicine (anabolic steroids included) surely falls into the "achievement" category. It's not cheating. It's being as powerful as we can be, using all the methods at our disposal.

If it REALLY bothers you that much, let's make two leagues. One will be "natural" (although our science is by no means supernatural), with no use of advanced medicine, and the other will be "enhanced", where anything goes when it comes to pushing performance to the maximum. Let's see which one is more entertaining -- scrawny, strategic fellows with base hits and stolen bases, or beefed-up muscle machines, smashing out 500+ yard, multiple-run homers.

It's silly that we're imposing this false restriction on the types of medicine we use on players. By the same logic that bans steroid use, UCL reconstruction should also be illegal, since it also provides an "unnatural advantage" to pitchers, allowing a career far longer than otherwise possible, and an arguably stronger throwing arm altogether.

I love baseball -- it's one of the few sports I can actually sit through and watch on the tee vee. Enough with the politics. Let's just play the damned game.