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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Teens Are Abusing Incense?

Ban it!

Do as I did as you read this from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Repeat the word, over and over again, witch-hunt ... witch-hunt ... witch-hunt ...
DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana

Nov. 24 -- Washington, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products. Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.

Over the past year, smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process. Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products.

“The American public looks to the DEA to protect its children and communities from those who would exploit them for their own gain,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”

“Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”  [link]
A book could be written about that which is contained in the five paragraphs above, as well as that which isn't contained therein.

First, what's missing? Only this:

"The products ... are marked with warnings saying “not intended for human consumption.”

So one might ask, if these products aren't intended to be ingested, why is the DEA involved at all?

Oh.  Yeah.  Teenagers are abusing their intended use.

Which means typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue, for the exact same reason, should be banned.

But, oddly, they won't be.  Because adults aren't abusing their intended purposes, one can only surmise.

But, say, what if adults started buying these incense products for their intended purpose?  (Don't forget: these goods have an intended purpose and a warning against unintended abuses.)  We'll never know.  The DEA has other plans for their/ your lives.

But the best part?  Your DEA has effectively banned these wares "while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled."  In other words, they don't know if the products are harmful.  Now there's a great reason for the United States government to prohibit their sale and use.

And then there's the fishy reason for this rash move:

"Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products."

The emphasis there is mine.  What kind of significance are we to give the word reports?   Reports of what?  Why are there no statistics relating to deaths or injuries included?  Why isn't there even a mention of the words death or injury?  Just "reports"?  Did the DEA include "reports" from "law enforcement" that teenagers were simply using the stuff?  Reports that were sent up to the DEA because "law enforcement" - like the DEA itself - hasn't a clue yet as to whether these substances actually do any harm?

Look, I'm not big on teenagers frying their brains - try as many of them will - with "unknown drugs."

But I'm even less big on the United States government banning substances because it doesn't know if the unintended use thereof might cause physical harm. (Shouldn't cars, too, be banned, for that matter, using the same rationale?)

This whole thing smells of politics and "fear of the unknown."  I'd suggest that those who are driving the movement to ban the use of incense for purposes that they aren't intended be more careful.  And learn something about the issue before they go off the deep end.

Like that'll happen ...

We Can Thank George Bush For That One

I stated as fact the other day that the only thing to come out of Washington in response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 was a massive new bureaucracy called the Department of Homeland Security, a primary initiative of which quickly became the firing of private company employees around the country and the hiring of unionized baggage checkers at America's airports.  Hello TSA.

But there was another initiative - one that wasn't sinister or cynical or political, like that above - that was embraced by the G.W. Bush administration that can best be characterized as boneheaded.

Remember those color-coded terror alerts?  An army of bureaucrats were paid handsomely to come up with that bit of foolishness.

And now another army of federal bureaucrats will be paid handsomely to dismantle the damn thing:
U.S. to Drop Color-Coded Terror Alerts
By John Schwartz, New York Times

The Department of Homeland Security is planning to get rid of the color-coded terrorism alert system. Known officially as the Homeland Security Advisory System, the five-color scheme was introduced by the Bush administration in March 2002.

In an interview on “The Daily Show” last year, the homeland security chief, Janet Napolitano, said the department was “revisiting the whole issue of color codes and schemes as to whether, you know, these things really communicate anything to the American people any more.”

The answer, apparently, is no. [link]
Don't think for a minute, though, that silly government initiatives - with attendant government bureaucracies - ever really disappear.  They just get "enhanced."  From "Color-coded terror alerts may end":
The system's demise would not be the end of terror alerts; instead, the alerts would become more descriptive and not as colorful.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a review of the system in July 2009. Earlier this year, the department decided the best way forward would be to scrap the colors and use more descriptive language to talk about terror threats. 
She being Janet Napolitano - the career government bureaucrat's dream pin-up girl - expect the new, "more descriptive" terror alerts to include cartoon characters pointing to signs on cartoon walls advising cartoon citizens on how to deal with cartoon terror attacks.

Expect, too, to have a whole new federal bureaucracy created to administer the thing.

It never ends.  It just grows and grows.

The Gov't Is Out Of Control, Part MMCDXX

This goes out to those who still argue that the federal government needs to raise taxes because it is starved for revenue:
Government pancakes for 'underserved' yuppies
By David Freddoso, Washington Examiner

If you pay income taxes, I'd like to thank you. You'd already done so much by buying General Motors, and now you've built an International House of Pancakes right near my home in Washington. You didn't do it alone, but you did provide a $766,000 grant through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The new franchise, an IHOP press release announced this month, "contributes to the revitalization of an underserved community," but don't start getting visions of some blighted inner city core. The "underserved community" is Columbia Heights, which is anything but "underserved." It's been a local shopping mecca for nearly three years now and one of Washington's more desirable neighborhoods.

If you find a house within five blocks of this new IHOP selling for less than $550,000, don't buy it -- there's probably something wrong with it. Affordable housing programs have prevented a total wipeout of the neighborhood's poor renters, but the market fetches $1,800 a month for the smallest one bedroom (539 square feet) in the apartment building across the street from IHOP.

The new IHOP is part of the DCUSA shopping center. Nearby are Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Giant, Starbucks, Staples, FedEx Kinko's, Five Guys, Potbelly's, Chipotle, and Commonwealth Gastropub, just to name a few. The nearby Heights restaurant serves a "goat cheese sun-dried tomato burger," but you might have to wait 20 minutes for an outdoor table.

A few blocks to the northeast are Meridian Point, with an impressive selection of foreign beers that go for $7 to $8 a pint, and Room 11, where you can spend a day's pay on microscopic portions of savory jamon Iberico, olives and Rioja wines.

How did this community become the taxpayer's beneficiary? Butch Hopkins, CEO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp., explained to me that his organization had applied for and received the $766,000 grant from HHS last year, to invest in the new restaurant in exchange for a minority equity stake. [link]
The federal government shelled out three-quarters of a million dollars so that the wildly affluent in suburban  Washington could experience the convenience of having sausage and pancakes nearby each morning.

For the love of God.  This has to stop.

Has It Come To This?

I've not gotten on the "slam TSA" bandwagon so much in recent weeks, except to have some fun at its expense.  As much as I'd like to, I keep remembering ... they're still out there.  They still want to murder our children and grandchildren.  They still focus - for their own reasons - on bringing down commercial aircraft.  And it's now the holiday season, so the time for terror is optimum.

And, with those thoughts in mind, I see things like the following and wonder where we're headed with this controversy:

"I don't want to do a body scan, and I'm hoping by wearing a bikini they will see everything they need to see and we can avoid a pat-down, as well."

I understand the sentiment.  But hello?

The most powerful argument I've heard with regard to the intrusive procedures that TSA agents have adopted came from a female traveler who felt - after having gone through one of the now-infamous "pat-downs" - that she had felt violated.  Molested.  That had anyone else done what some government operative had done to her, they'd have been arrested.  And that she had done nothing to warrant such an invasive search.  That's a sobering argument.

Still, as we approach Christmas, and with a hole in the ground still existing where Twin Towers once stood proudly, I can't help but pause and remember - they're still out there.