Sunday, March 26, 2017

Interview: NORML's Paul Armentano says "Americans co-existed peacefully with the marijuana plant until the early 1900s"

This is the fourth part of my discussion with Paul Armentano. The firstsecond, and third articles are available. 
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

"Unfortunately, it's easy to enforce anti-marijuana laws: just arrest hundreds of thousands of Americans every year, which we do," Paul Kuhn, then serving as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws's chairman, told me in 2012, when I interviewed him for my column at The Washington Times Communities. "Do these arrests deter pot use?  No.  Marijuana use rates in states which have decriminalized possession, for example, are generally no different than in states with harsh penalties.  We have much higher rates of marijuana use in America than in countries like Holland where use is de facto legalized."


Much has changed across the fruited plains since then. Our discussion, along with virtually all other Communities articles published before January 2014, was pulled down from TWT's website; rendering it -- essentially -- lost to historical record. Marijuana, in both medicinal and recreational contexts, has been legalized in eight states. The idea of ending prohibition against pot now enjoys strong support in both major parties. 


What may account for such a radical shift?

Interview: Larry Sabato says, after Donald Trump's shock victory, polls "will have less credibility, for sure"

Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

"Like I've said before .... polls are only good for strippers and cross-country skiers," Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly two days before last year’s presidential election.

While I have criticized her more than a fair bit during years gone by, it is undeniable that she turned out to be a sage among pundits.

When Palin made her remark, virtually all national opinion surveys – save two highly important yet conspicuously underreported ones – indicated an impending win for Hillary Clinton. Reuters predicted she was set to win 247 electoral votes outright and favored to seize so many more that her chance of victory hovered at 90 percent.

At the Princeton Election Consortium, Dr. Sam Wang – a neuroscientist and prolific author – declared that Clinton enjoyed a 99 percent probability of winning. The platinum-grade forecaster Moody's Analytics also claimed she would triumph in the Electoral College.

LSE Lit Fest 2017 Book Review: Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online by Emma Gannon

Editor's note: This review was originally published in The London School of Economics Review of Books, and has been reposted with permission. It is available under Creative Commons and the original page can be found here

Painting of the Day: 'Autumn' by John William Godward



Autumn by John William Godward, 1899

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Interview: NORML's Paul Armentano says "alcohol poses far greater risks to health than does cannabis", explains why

This is the third part of my discussion with Paul Armentano. The first and second articles are available. 
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

"Unfortunately, it's easy to enforce anti-marijuana laws: just arrest hundreds of thousands of Americans every year, which we do," Paul Kuhn, then serving as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws's chairman, told me in 2012, when I interviewed him for my column at The Washington Times Communities. "Do these arrests deter pot use?  No.  Marijuana use rates in states which have decriminalized possession, for example, are generally no different than in states with harsh penalties.  We have much higher rates of marijuana use in America than in countries like Holland where use is de facto legalized."


Much has changed across the fruited plains since then. Our discussion, along with virtually all other Communities articles published before January 2014, was pulled down from TWT's website; rendering it -- essentially -- lost to historical record. Marijuana, in both medicinal and recreational contexts, has been legalized in eight states. The idea of ending prohibition against pot now enjoys strong support in both major parties. 


What may account for such a radical shift?

Interview: David Niose says "a successful secular movement will put religion in its proper place", explains what that is

This is the final part of my discussion with David Niose. The firstsecond, and third articles are available. 
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto 
"The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center," the organization reported in May 2015, when its most recent report about faith -- or lack thereof -- in our country was published.
Pew continued: "Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages."
Specifically, the Center noted that "(b)etween 2007 and 2014, the Christian share of the population fell from 78.4% to 70.6%, driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. The unaffiliated experienced the most growth, and the share of Americans who belong to non-Christian faiths also increased."
One can imagine how much farther this number has fallen since 2014. Like it or not, America is in the midst of serious cultural change.

Book Review: Networks of New York: An Internet Infrastructure Field Guide by Ingrid Burrington

Editor's note: This review was originally published in The London School of Economics Review of Books, and has been reposted with permission. It is available under Creative Commons and the original page can be found here

Painting of the Day: 'At the Gate of the Temple' by John William Godward



At the Gate of the Temple by John William Godward, 1898