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Pregnancy and Medicines

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this article and I had bookmarked it to write on it. And I’m doing it now. It’s a fascinating idea. Read on.

They call 888-30-CRACK to reach the organization and provide evidence of their drug use such as arrest records or letters from social workers. Drug addicts can earn up to $300. (Barbara) Harris runs her organization on donations and is not afraid to advertise in a very bold way. She drives around in a motor home with a large image of a dead baby, a razor blade, line of cocaine, pacifier, and the saying “Some things just don’t belong together.

To read more:

It’s a fascinating idea really, giving monetary compensation to someone, who uses drugs, so they won’t get pregnant. Does this mean if someone takes the cash and gets knocked up, they have to pay the money back? I wonder what sparked this 57-year-old woman to decide this was the way to cull the drug addict baby boom.

Harris started Project Prevention 1997. Here’s some stats:

  • Worked with 3,371 addicts in the U.S.
  • Of those, 1,253 have opted for tubal ligations or vasectomies.
  • Permanent procedures received $300.
  • Those opting for IUDs or surgical implants receive $100 when the device is inserted and $100 more six months and a year later if the device is still in use. Yahoo News

I checked out the web site, and it seemed to be targeted more toward men then women.  I’m unsure of as to why. I understand that ultimately, the mother intake of substances has a lot of influence, but what about genetics: kids from parent(s) who are addicts are eight times more likely to become an addicts. And cost efficiency of it all.  According to Planned Parenthood, a vasectomy runs from $300 to $1000, tubal sterilization (for women) runs from $1,500 and $6,000. In other words, it’s cheaper to neuter a man than to spade a woman.

Is this just more socially acceptable type of social engineering? Is it an unfair or unnecessary cause that Project Prevention is taking up? Is there another way to try to get this accomplished? What do you guys think about this?


Sexual Assault Ribbon

There are so many diseases, social causes, immoral practices that have a month. Even black folks and Hispanics got one (Ours is shorter, and yours is goes through two months. Bah!) April is sexual assault awareness month.

I feel that sexual assault shouldn’t be something that you’re just aware of for a month. It can happen to anyone: straight, gay, male, female, all colors of the rainbow. It doesn’t matter. It saddens me that this issue can be seen as a unifying one, unilaterally going across all borders. And I’m not sure there are many who would be proponent for sexual assault.

I makes me sad because I would like to see a world where this wasn’t an issue anymore. Where it was known that a person’s body deserves respect, and to take someone by force ravages the very soul of the person. Wilts them. Damages the mind, the heart. Makes life a strange place, darker, less than safe. Just less. The survivor (and this is about survival.) has to learn this new world. Adapt. And learns to overcome.

So, I hope this month you took a moment to think about the implications that

  • 1 rape occurs every 2 minutes.
  • There were 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007.
  • One in Four college women report surviving rape (15 percent) or attempted rape (12 percent) since their fourteenth birthday.
  • A survey of high school students found that one in five had experienced forced sex (rape). Half of these girls told no one about the incident. [One in Four In US] [RAINN]

And why this is happening, and still happens? And who do you know that has been assaulted that might not have told anyone? And why is there still this stigma against the survivor? What would have to change in our society to makes these things not exist, to make blogs like this unnecessary?

Next month, there is the Rock Against Rape Benefit Concert, where the funds raised will be donated to the local sexual assault orgs in the Morgantown area. I like the idea that it’s not in April, to remind people this isn’t something that just happens in one month.

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality,” Dante.

Soledad O'Brien

This college town, Morgantown, WV (the college, WVU) sometimes surprises you. Tonight was the continuation of the WVU Festival Ideas, the same program when I went to see Byron Pitts a couple weeks ago.

The woman pictured above, Soledad O’Brien, is an anchor and special correspondent for CNN: Special Investigation.

Prelude: Her Roots

Her mother is black and Cuban and her father, white and Australian. She has five siblings and they’ve all attended school at Harvard, herself included. Her mother and father were in Baltimore, Md in the 60s and weren’t allowed to openly date. They were advised to not get married. (At the time it was illegal to marry outside of one’s race.) They tied the knot in DC, and lived illegally. They were advised to not have children, so they had a half a basketball team.

I. Race and Racism

This background has probably fed into her fascination with race and race issues. (She did the two-part series Black in America and the follow-up Latino in America on CNN.) One idea she touched on was, does race and racism still exist in modern-day society?

“A ‘post-racial’, America. It literally does not make sense,” she said, “Alright Black people, we’re living in a post-racial world now, you’re not black anymore. It’s just stupid.”

I agreed with her whole-heartedly. I contend people, who feel there is not race issue in America, probably don’t directly deal with it. They are unable to look outside of their social constructs to see what’s happening in other folks lives.

Sure, the neighborhood white pointy hat brigade ain’t coming over with their welcoming committee of nooses and burning crosses (at least not as often), but those robes still hang in closets. They’re just in the boardroom instead of on your porch. It’s a subverted racism more economic-based than just overt racism.

II. Economic Justice

She discussed how Martin Luther King Jr. talked about economic justice, and how this one of the points in his “I Have A Dream” speech that isn’t closely examined.

“The (Negro) has come to our nation’s capitol to cash a check.” The check isn’t for monies, it’s a check for freedom and equality. She discussed that part of economic justice starts with equality in education, and how despite what people may think, when there’s a high drop-out/illiteracy rate in one racial group, it effects everyone.

III. Frustration with News As Sound-bites and Useless Entertainment

She spoke long and hard about Dr. King. She sound frustrated when talking about the watered-down version of the sound-bites that people have made King’s speeches into. In fact, she preached against sound bites in general, preferring documentaries and having the time to tease out and craft a story. She said that’s why she got into journalism: the love of the story. She spoke disparagingly about how news programs give bits of useless info sandwiched between fluff. I found this a bit ironic, I mean, she does work for one of the sound-bite command centers.

IV. Dangerous Unselfishness

The Dante quote above her photo was the opposite of what she was trying to get across to the standing-room only crowd. During the question and answer session, a woman with steel-gray curls stood and said she often feels as though she is powerless, and how can she change that? O’Brien started talking about mobilizing, getting together with your neighbor, your friends, people who have like-ideas and not just “whine about it and forget about it.” It’s the power of the grassroots. Get enough voices together making noise, you will be heard. Throughout her talk, she talked about how the way to make change is *again quoting Dr. King* is to exhibit “dangerous unselfishness.” Recognizing that your part is small piece of the greater good.

V. Closing

The most interesting part of the night for me, was when a slight Asian young lady stood with her question. Three questions actually, the first one being could she ask three questions?  The question that I found the most enlightening was, “In 10 words or less, how would you define diversity?” She said she wanted it in less than 10 words so she could understand the answer.

And like many journalist when presented the opportunity, O’Brien waxed poetic excited to talk about one her passions. However, her 23,000 + word answer could be melded down to this phrase:

“Open up the table to more voices.”

Give everyone an opportunity to tell their story. Hear all the voices. And add your voice to the mix.


Colorado Medical Marijuana Grow Operations Under Fire After Children Injured

An eleven year-old boy in Thornton accidentally shot himself in the foot with a 22-caliber handgun. The North Metro Task Force, a Denver-area drug task force, believes that the boy was left alone at the house with a loaded gun to protect the family’s grow operation. The boy’s father will likely be arrested.

In one case, authorities believe a 10-month-old boy in Commerce City overdosed on THC after he grabbed and ate a handful of marijuana edibles from a bin in his parents’ shed. The boy is expected to fully recover. [Fox 31]

A couple questions come to mind when I read this. First, what exactly does it mean to overdose on THC? I did a cursory search on the interwebs, looking through peer-reviewed articles and web sites. When I did find any responses that said it was possible to OD on THC, there wasn’t any information to back the claim up. So, I’m not saying that it’s impossible, just that it doesn’t seem that likely.

Secondly, if these families were actually selling medicinal marijuana, why wouldn’t they have their paperwork in order? This sounds to me like the families were just selling the drugs, and trying to play it off like they were state-sanctioned. In which case, these two cases are giving a bloody eye to a cause that they’re not involved in. Unfair, it sounds to me.

Oh, and what kind of asinine individual leaves their child with a loaded weapon to guard anything: I don’t care if it’s the property, the drugs or even to guard himself while you’re gone. That doesn’t make sense to me. The man sounds criminally stupid, and with that type of stupid going on, I can’t imagine with or without marijuana in the picture that this man would make wise choices.

Oh and one other thing that was quoted in the article, information about them using pesticides and how unsafe it is. What? Really. Let’s make a comparison between the pesticides used on the marijuana and the ones used on the majority of food that people buy. I’m going to venture to say that the differences are negligible.

Here’s a quote from another story that I was reading on the subject:

Drug counselors said they thought for-profit stores were making it easier for teens to get marijuana.

Chris Thurstone, a psychiatrist who treats teens addicted to drugs at Denver Health Medical Center, said most of his patients say they can easily get marijuana through friends or relatives who are registered medical marijuana users.


Umm…it’s easy for teens to get weed. Period. This news segment is about the regulation of pot dispensaries in Colorado. Such not being allowed to have it within 1000 feet of a school, which would prevent those who live near schools from using their ‘script. And not being able to use it in dispensaries.

This issue is such a touchy one, since there hasn’t been a federal mandate to legalize medicinal marijuana…even if the dispensary is doing things by the book, they can still be completely shut down. So, if that’s the case, then how is it legally different than being a drug dealer, if you can still face the same consequences? Or are there different consequences? Educate me reader.

Pot Makes Mental Illness?

As posted on Indyposted

Long-term use of marijuana can lead to increased risk of developing hallucinations, delusions and psychosis, a new study shows.

Australian researchers asked nearly 3,100 young adults averaging about 20 years of age about marijuana use.  Among the participants, 65 had been diagnosed with a “non-affective psychosis” such as schizophrenia, and 233 had at least one positive item for hallucination on a diagnostic interview conducted for the study. The researchers found there was an association between length of marijuana use and mental health.

“Compared with those who had never used cannabis, young adults who had six or more years since first use of cannabis [i.e., who commenced use when around 15 years or younger] were twice as likely to develop a non-affective psychosis and were four times as likely to have high scores on the Peters et al Delusions Inventory [a measure of delusion],” wrote Dr. John McGrath, of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Park Centre for Mental Health in Wacol, and colleagues. “There was a ‘dose-response’ relationship between the variables of interest: the longer the duration since the first cannabis use, the higher the risk of psychosis-related outcomes.”

[Yahoo News]


I think there’s a few dangers here. Saying marijuana is directly the cause of the mental illness seems faulty. It could be a case of the kids self-medicating, because they realized there was an issue there before adults did. Also where is the mention of amounts in this article? Are you telling me that a kid who smoked a bowl at 14 and a kid who smoked ounces from 14 until yesterday have the same risk of damage to the brain? A kid who smoked a joint at 13 is likely to develop schizophrenia? In the world of mental health, where all things considered, the science is fluid at best, it seems to me using one solitary study as an indicator of Truth seems faulty at best.

Btw, just to be clear, I am not endorsing that teenagers should all start ripping bong hits and smoking big doobies.

And I wasn’t there.  I can safely say that was the first time in my life that I organized an event, and couldn’t attend it. And I’ve been organizing things for a long time. Even “play dates” back in the day, but back then it wasn’t play dates. It was just “go outside and play.”

Tha.Speakeasy is a spoken word event that I started with a friend back in late 2005. The whole idea is a sort of marriage of the arts: spoken word, visual arts & music. At Octane, he already has a bunch of artwork up, so really I just need to find poets and musicians. It’s a really laid-back fun atmosphere. Good times for all.

I just wanted to say I appreciate everyone who was there. I wish I could’ve been there, but on Thursday talking still hurt too much and I’m pretty sure I was contagious. I’ve been taking the antibiotics for a few days now, so my strep should be self-contained. And I think I sound more like a woman again, instead of a chain-smoking angry man.

The next one is coming up pretty soon, March 11th. The other date proposed, March 25th, I’ll be out-of-state that week. The week following is Spring Break, and the 18th is when Morgantown Poets has our poetry reading at the MAC.  So please, by all means, if you can make it on the 11th, come bring some poems and a friend. And hey, if you were there this month and have something to add, please post a comment. Oh, and did I tell you I made a Facebook fan page for Tha.Speakeasy?  Become a fan. I’ll keep you updated on the next event & what musicians will be playing. 🙂

Since I wasn’t able to be there this month, I’m posting some excerpts from what my friends Kathryn and Ted sent to me afterward.

Ted opened and read maybe 10 poems as there were not too many lined up after him. The bartender read one….her very first….and a good one at that. Bob (owner) read one that was inspired by a movie. Ezra guessed the movie and got a free drink. Eric read some of own and some by a favorite author. I ended with the one that is in my FB status now. Great night it was.
Take care,

Hope you’re not in too much pain and hope you’ll be feeling better very soon. Kathryn and (her husband) were playing very smooth jazz. It was really good for Tha.Speakeasy atmosphere. Everything went all right. They played a while. Then I got up and did several poems (I also mentioned how awesome you are for organizing it, everyone clapped and toasted you), then one of the bartender girls got up and did a poem, she had the line/theme of “beautiful disaster,” which had a lot of truth to it, another poet, Eric Cummings, I ran into at the Blue Moose on my way there showed up and did several pieces, and Kathryn closed it out with a really interesting piece that mentioned “Facebook status update” and had a theme of love, a very creative, deep, insightful and cutting-edge piece from Kathryn. I guess it was all over about 8 p.m. or so. I saw Thomas there, but didn’t get to talk with him. Figure he was there for the comedy. He didn’t do any poetry. OK, I’d better sign off. It’s 3:30 a.m. Again, hope you can feel better soon.


Again, thanks for everyone who attended, and for those who didn’t, March 11th is right around the corner. You should come.

Take it easy

Freedom–The Myth?

Hackers the Movie

You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man. That’s a typo. Orwell is here now. He’s livin’ large. We have no names, man. No names. We are nameless! –Cereal Killer in Hackers

I’ve had these thoughts about the U.S. for a while. Looking back through history, it’s stained rusted red with the blood of fallen soldiers, innocents caught in the cross-fire and it’s all in the name of what? Is it really freedom anymore? If the country is freed with our iron fist and then we have to stay to implement freedom in our image, is that really free?

I was browsing the Googlenets today, and I wrote about the CNN Poll taken that states that 86 % of Americans believe the government is broken.  Of course, I definitely take into consideration that the majority of those who felt that way were well-off (gotta hate those increase in taxes) and mostly rural areas (which from my personal experience isn’t always the most kind to darker skins). However, this lack of confidence in the government didn’t start with Obama. And I doubt it’ll end there either.

The Center for Public Integrity issued a report about how screwed the G.W. administration was, which I don’t think really surprises anyone, except maybe the extent of issues. And I’m sure if I wanted to go I could keep going, looking further and further back into our government’s history seeing where think tanks issued No Confidence reports on one issue or another. I don’t think Obama realized the stronger the light was shown on the capitol the more the shadows would be seen. Even Obama supporters feel vague twinges of discomfort every time there’s something about the War continuing and Gitmo not being closed. So, Alex Jones tried to documented his current observations of the White House and then tried to distribute the movie on a Google site.

Alex Jones is a sometimes described as a whistle-blower in one breath and a fanatic in the next. His missions seems to be to cause controversy and shine a spotlight on what he perceives as wrongs. Click to view a video of Jones being interviewed about this.

Again, the idea of freedom. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to criticize the president? Part of the process of being an elected official is having your (in)actions scrutinized by your constituents. Race shouldn’t have been an issue here.

Google is acting as a gatekeeper? Are you comfortable with that? Owning your internets, feeding your broadband, in your emails, trying to sneak into your social networking–right now failing but they’ll find the combination that will attract the audience that they’re looking for. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the biggest issues that people seem to have with the Google products are in terms of privacy. Too many people being able to access your info and you not having enough options to stop it. We’re a culture of voyeurs and exhibitionists, but only for who we select.

I could go on and on about the Patriot Act, how it was foolheartedly passed without any thorough reading. I could mention how your home isn’t really yours, your phone records, hell, even your library records do not belong to you.

How about the Philadelphia high school that is currently being investigated by the FBI for allegedly issuing 1800 lap tops to high school students and then spying on them at school and home? Could that happen with adults or are we too knowledgeable for things like that to occur?

When looked at as a whole, along with the myriad of other incidents that could be quoted here, that uneasy feeling surfaces again. What does this mean for the future? I’m not sure yet, but when you start looking at it all in context, it paints tomorrow with a bleak brush.

The Fall of the Celebrity

Good. I’m glad. It’s become a feeding frenzy on the famous, whether talented or talentless. It’s tiring and disheartening to watch We the People concentrate so much more on who’s bangin whom as opposed to why there’s credit card companies issuing cards with interest rates of over 70%.

What brought this to mind was Tiger Woods. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, you sir are a fool. You started believing your own hype. You thought you were indestructible, invincible, maybe even godlike. But the quicker the American builds an idol, the more s/he wants to watch him fall.

Tiger Woods

Once Tiger and all of his indiscretions pranced across the screens, I kept hearing people discussing how good it was that he was losing contracts, being publicly mauled for his personal life.

I don’t agree. Yes, I think he obviously a horrible husband. You can’t have over a dozen affairs and still be seen as a “good man.” His game was weak with text messages like, quiet and secretively we will always be together. when was the last time you got laid [NY Post]. He picked woman he felt wouldn’t run in his social circles, which was smart. On the other hand, you’re going to pick reality t.v. stars? Porn stars, Tiger? These are women who will do anything to find their way on the small screen into some press. You didn’t think you dalliances into these foul tributaries would stay dammed up? C’mon now! So, yes, Tiger is a short-sighted cheater. A man ruled more by his prick then good sense and solid character. And he makes me wish he had a different last name.

That being said, do I feel his marital indiscretions should have anything to do with his livelihood? No, I don’t. Not in the slightest.

I’m not sure why there’s a moral barometer set when discussing people in the public eye. If the argument is that children look up to them, then I’d say maybe teach children that these people are  JUST people, and they can do bad things, and just because they’re on television or can golf your face off, doesn’t mean they are who you look up to.

You don’t have to be sober to be an excellent writer.

You don’t have to be drug-free to win an Oscar.

In short, you don’t have to play a clean fight to win. Is that fair? Maybe not. Is it life? Definitely.

Instead of being so concerned with what these bobble heads are doing in their personal life, watch the movie, listen to the song, enjoy their game, but don’t expect super humans beyond reproach. They’re only people, who have found their niche. They will screw, and screw up. If you feel personally betrayed because someone has been found as morally corrupt, and you just watch him/her on the tv with the rest of us, maybe it’s time to pull back and take a nice long breathe of reality.

They’re just entertainers.

Make A Goal And Rock It Out

I’ve been chasing thoughts about changing direction. What would make me happiest- despite how it may seem impractical, impossible or implausible. Through crazy snow, I wasn’t able to write about my thoughts like I wanted to. So, I’m going to take the time today.

Last week, a friend and I went to the WVU Festival of Ideas kickoff. Byron Pitts is the contributor to 60 Minutes and chief national correspondent for The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. He directed his speech mainly to the younger, first generation college students in the audience. But I think we can all pick up what he was laying down.

Byron Pitts

He spoke of his stutter and how he couldn’t read up to 12 years old. Young Pitts had the gall to decide he would be a journalist. Not only a journalist, but this man wanted to work at 60 Minutes. What?! Who?!

That would be like me saying I’m the next great mathematician & I can’t give a tip without using a calculator. (FYI, Math and I broke up in high school when he tried to have a threesome with me, numbers and letters.)

He asked the audience to show the hands of the folks who had faced struggles in their life. I glanced through the crowd. I wanted to meet those lucky few with their hands down. (How’s that working out for ya? Could you tell me about this charmed existence?) Pitts talked freely about struggles.

A doctor tried to diagnose him to being “mentally retarded.” One of his professors told him to just quit: telling he was unfit to attend Ohio-Wesleyan University. Then there were the other issues he was facing: trying to break into a predominantly white field, being poor from Baltimore etc…etc…list like these are never short.

He used self-determination and having a clear goal as a way to get to his goal of being on 60 Minutes. At 48, he has achieved that. But this is all discussed in his novel, “Step Out on Nothing.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t record his talk at the Festival of Ideas. However, here is a clip from him doing a reading at Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore:

He writes under the premise that people helped him along the way without having any real cause to do so:  a professor at the school, who took him under her wing, a roommate, who gave him words of the day to build up his vocab, etc…etc…because a list like this is never short.

But I disagree with him. If someone has that much passion, that much cahones, that much inner strength to get from being that stutterer kid being made fun of to 60 Minutes, those people could see it. In his eyes, his work ethic and heard it in his stuttered speak that grew less pronounced as he grew older–but hasn’t disappeared. You can see when someone has that something extra.

I’m convinced that everyone has that little extra, that spark, that mad genius, the capacity to pursue a goal with conviction. Living an eco-friendly life, raising children, finding a new clean source of energy, painting, work at being the best damn bricklayer on your crew. Whatever it is, don’t talk about it, be about it.

It’s kind of like watching Man v Food. He looks at the goal of gorging himself with ridiculous amounts of food. He plans a way to do that and then he tries like hell to shove it all down his gullet. If he doesn’t succeed this time, there’s always the next one. Take small steps toward your ultimate goal.

2010 is the year to make it happen, because if not now, then when?

You gotta play to win…

West Virginia Public BroadcastingWest Virginia Public Broadcasting Win tickets to an encore showing of the opera Carmen in movie theaters this Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Email with “Carmen” in the subject line — (two tickets for Morgantown and one for Barboursville to give away.)

I’m just geeky enough to have them on my fb. Of course I had to enter, because

  • today I decided I was going to have a good week.
  • free stuff makes everything better
  • I like Carmen.

I won! On the other hand, this is happening on Wednesday and they’re mailing it to me…I hope this doesn’t turn into an epic fail. Then there’s this thought expressed by a well-meaning friend, whose day job is Ms. Optimism, “What if it’s express mailed and you’re not at home?” Huh-uh. That is a 2009 attitude. For the 20-10, u kant tel me nuttin.  For the slightly used year, you have no authority to verbalize these contrivances to my visage.

This says it all.

happy kitty