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October 18-24, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

It's Not the Plant's Fault

Re "Dark Green" (Cover Story, Oct. 11): It is true that cannabis is largely grown by bad people. But the same bad people were responsible for manufacturing alcohol during its prohibition.

No one has ever died from cannabis. I know at least 30 smokers of the herb, and none of them use any other drug. In fact the opposite is true. They also don't drink, and many prefer to smoke than get a prescription for some big pharma drug.

Until this country ends its prohibition of cannabis, the bad guys will win. We have forced cannabis prohibition on the world via the Single Convention act that the U.S. pushed through the U.N.

The result is a worldwide criminal enterprise that makes hundred of billions of dollars on the North American continent alone.

It is time to look at this plant rationally and scientifically. By the way, 22 studies have been done since 1962, and every one of them found the drug relatively harmless and pointed to the illegal drug trade as the worst side effect of cannabis use. I have been a smoker of cannabis since my early 20s, and my life has improved greatly. I run a successful software business, have a family and pay taxes.

But enough of me talking, let's hear something Thomas Jefferson once said. "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

Doesn't rightful liberty then include me and 80 million other Americans who admit to smoking cannabis?

Eric O'Kelly, San Diego

Good Job On Blogs

Re the article on women's blogging ("Mommies vs. Feminists," Cover Story, Sept. 13):

What an absolutely fantastic article you featured on women's blogging. I have not read much about the topic, but this article really pulled me into the world of blogging. Thank you for providing such a thorough lense into this new world. Your reporters gave me a very clear picture of the blogging scene!

Susan Passtorini, Penn Valley

Avoid Iraq Blowback

Re article about gangs and Iraq: I do agree with some of the issues about giving people hope. But there are many issues at play. One is giving a home and a future and involvement or buy-in to the Iraqi country. By providing jobs, security and respect, the people do not get even and shoot out of retaliation against the soldier or present interim government. But if they are disrespected or insulted or directly made enemies of, then any or all could fight back for the cause, which may be to get rid or America and to side or sympathize with the bad groups. We do this too much, disrespect and insult the people. This gives fuel to the fight and families stick together like gangs for security and protection. I saw it clearly when I was serving in the northern part of Iraq. Yes, any people will resort to violence, crime or gangs and crime when they are struggling. This is why America is so full of people that wind up in prisons.

David Mullins, Lindon, N.C.

A Bit on Obits

Re "Octavia Butler" by Annalee Newitz (Techsploits, March 8): I have just read the obituary of Octavia Butler. Thank you from a shocked Butler fan, because the day she died, two other famous celebrities died, Don Knotts and Dennis Weaver. It seems that the electronic media only mentions the death of authors when they write bestsellers or controversial material and die—electronic media as in broadcast national news. Print media gets my vote in journalism obituaries. Thank you, Annalee!

Lark Marie Fall, Houston

Sing It Like Dolphins

Re "Laptops for Dolphins," (Techsploits, June 14): Reading the dolphin-syntax article, I'd like to respond in agreement, overall. I would also like to say I have been working in audiolinguistics with a particular interest in the songs of cetaceans, and cetacean language and syntax. I apply it to analyses of current pop trends in music, as a measure of socioeconomic influence. Basically ... you're right. If there were a valued commodity associated with dolphin language and culture such as laptops and AK-47s, then dolphinese would be right up there with the foreign language programs in every university in the country.

I am interested in organizing and funding research to study cetacean language, and wouldn't mind brainstorming with some like-minded people, and commenting on implications and ramifications for H. Sapiens Sapiens through study of the oceanic species. We're looking at not only what they're saying in the deeps, but how they're saying it and why.

LD, Tucson, Ariz.

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