Fun with Photoshop. Why? Because I can.
OK, ok so Obama was pretty honest about his past Marijuana use. In an interview he stated outright about his Marijuana use that “I inhaled frequently … That was the point.” But like the status of Jerusalem, Decriminalization of Marijuana is another thing he flip flopped on – stating that he was in favor of decriminalization one day and then changing his mind the next.

This pattern might be attributable to short term memory loss. I’d recommend inhaling less frequently.

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

88 Comments

  • I’ve read that the one-time consumption of marijuana increases the risk of turning schizophrenic even decades after consumption by 80%. Long-term studies have shown that frequent marijuana consumption can lead to a variety of emotional / psychological issues (e.g. DID, paranoia, manic depressions etc.) the effects of which cannot be undone. A study carried out in Switzerland showed that frequent users of marijuana show a large (I think it was some 50%) risk of developing pulmonary emphysema. Oh, and can you photoshop something for me one of these days?

  • Just ask. But I may have used marijuana that one time and I may forget cuz I’m schizo. Or something. We’ll figure it out. Wait… what did you ask again?

  • Marijuana is not a drug. It’s a leaf. So says the Governator. And it’s harmless. Almost all of those studies do not separate cigarette smokers from the studies. Stress will kill you faster. I’m voting for our Medicinal proposal in Michigan. No offense Froylein, but people who worry about Marijuana’s negative effects are just squares. 🙂

  • Oh, if you are worried about your health, don’t smoke cheap weed. That is the best advice any one can give you, and use a bong like Bill Clinton, but don’t drink the water like he did. So to recap: Only buy very good quality, thereby minimizing your quantity, and use the safest method for smoking, which filters out carcinogenics. You’ll be fine.

  • But… short term studies have shown that smoking can reduce the effects of being schizo and can smooth out emotionlal problems and depression

    also… the study that pot usage increased the chance of a schizophrenia diagnosisis not a pure study. Since the subjects who smoked may have had a predisposition to mental disease, and therfore used pot for a calming influence. A better study would have chosen random non smokers and forced half of them to smoke pot regularly.

    a similiar study should be compared for tobacco smokers

    in terms of increasing the chance of forms of schizophrenia. if 1 out of 1000 pot smokers would be diagnosed with the disease and this chance doubled to 2 in 1000, or 1 in 500… hmmm…. is it worth the risk? only ck knows for sure

  • This happens to have been the only thing I actually liked about Nobama, that he admitted and took full responsibility for doing something so innocuous that only a Puritan would think is wrong. But then he flip-flopped. Phillies fan one day, Devil Rays the next. What else is new? That Biden won’t make another gaffe?

  • Larry is right. Also, like any mind altering drug, it can act as a catalyst for their predisposition to mental disorders. In most cases, that person was already psychotic to begin with, or more likely to be, and the Marijuana, or Acid, or Ecstasy, Shrooms, whatever, just helped them get there sooner. I’m not worried, as I am of sound mind and body. So lesson is, if you know someone is a bit crazy, DO NOT give them weed.

  • Larry, it was a pure study as those factors had been taken out of the equation. There are scientists that indeed know how to conduct a study.

    Alex, people who worry about the health impacts caused by marijuana possibly work with those that not too long ago claimed it was harmless, just now they’re afraid of getting out of their beds, feel constantly persecuted, were determined unable to perform at their jobs as interaction with humans got impaired etc. Historians have shown that those indigenous American cultures where smoking such drugs was not only confined to shaman rituals but had become part of everyday lives where already on the decline when the conquerors arrived. Switzerland and the Netherlands are in for stricter substance abuse laws as the negative effects (healthcare expenses, increased crime rates, higher rates of hard drug abuse) have shown to outweigh the positive effects (taxes) by far. A recently published long-term study proved cerebral retardation. Tobacco and alcohol abuse both are bad in their own right, to some degree they are more socially acceptable, but one should refrain from equating or justifying BS with BS as the end result is BS².

  • Well, I don’t know too many things that feel good that aren’t bad for you. We’re all going to die someday, sometime. I’ll take my chances with high risk behavior, as we all know people who live the straight and narrow and are afflicted with diseases or bad luck regardless.

    Basically, life is a crap-shoot, we only live once, and we should enjoy the time we have on earth to the best of our abilities, as long as we are not hurting others along the way. I know many successful, healthy people, including physicians and scientists of neurology who may agree with the ever-changing research but decide to party on anyway. I’ve seen the damage alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, heroine, ecstasy, even gluttony, lack of exercise, stress and other drugs and factors can do to people first hand. What I have not seen to this day in my life, is damage from Marijuana, with the exception of lethargy and a lack of motivation, which I am not prone to. So, as the adage goes, to each their own, and live and let live.

    On the other hand, please don’t confuse me for a pro-legalization proponent. I am only for decriminalization because I think our overcrowded prisons should be reserved for murderers, rapists, theives, etc., and not for stoners busted for breaking outdated Puritanical laws. Like any drug, for every positive reaction there is an opposite and possibly negative reaction. I think someone with glaucoma or nausea from chemo or radiation therapy, would gladly take these risks for immediate relief of these symptoms and I support their freedom of choice to do so.

  • Alex and Larry are pretty much on the mark. After seeing their comments I wasn’t going to chime in, but the whole holier-than-thou crap about how “there are scientists that indeed know how to conduct a study” and “justifying BS with BS” absolutely requires challenge, at least until such time as the purposed intellectual authority on the matter here provides a link to this supposed holy grail of studies.

    If there’s anything approaching an absolute certainty in this lifetime, it’s that some people will go on about things they’ve read and have absolutely no understanding of.

    The actions of cannabinoids are complex and not fully understood. What is understood is that few other substances have approached cannabis’ margin of safety in terms of the ratio it possesses between dose and measurable toxicity, let alone significant toxicity. There has never been a reported lethal overdose reported with cannabis. Ever. That’s a better margin of safety than sugar. There is probably no better expert on that than Lester Grinspoon, the Harvard-educated psychiatrist whose input continues to go ignored while the US government and other “authorities” continue the inane war they started only after much agitation by Southwest American ranchers, who charged that Mexican migrant workers would feel inspired to go on raping sprees of their precious white women after using it. They called this “Reefer Madness”. Look it up sometime. The US government then took action despite objections by the American Medical Association, and only after the previous legislation they attempted in order to ban cannabis was ruled unconstitutional for violating the 4th amendment.

    The studies froylein states are probably admirable but intellectually fatuous attempts to revive that same line of propoganda. Again, not to challenge the purposed authority of someone who can turn every argument into an issue of ancient Greek linguistics, but without the link, Big Sister can’t be trusted.

    Cannabinoids facilitate the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, which is the portion of the brain responsible for forming memories. If anything, it is a decrease from one’s usual or previous cannabis consumption habits (hence a single instance of use) which would lead to memory problems.

    Although use has skyrocketed, the incidence of psychiatric disorders hasn’t. It does seem likely that in individuals with a predisposition toward psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, cannabis can potentiate the onset of the disease. But for people who lack such predispositions, there is no evidence that cannabis is anything other than neurologically benign or even positive. So check your family history first. And until a certain someone can show a study that defines a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia (but they won’t because the putative genes haven’t been conclusively identified), let alone how they “excluded” for that, then it’s safe to assume that the argument that cannabis use leads to schizophrenia in the absence of such predisposing factors is just typical bluster.

  • Ok. If this is the study, then I may stand corrected. My information is old if we have to go before June of ’08. (Pretty damn recent!) However, although it appears robust in some respects, I’d have to read the study in its entirety before concluding that yes, in people who smoke 5 joints a day for around 20 years, then there are likely to be some neurological problems. Which is still a better margin of safety on a longitudinal basis than merely eating solely at McDonalds for one month! 😉

    However, the two habits might be correlated. ;-(

  • Although this study looked at volume of brain structures (which doesn’t say much, unless you believe that the documented difference in size between male and female brains means something), and they could not correlate that with differences in learning. Also the use of the vague term “psychotic symptoms” is telling. It’s well known that effects of weed (or probably what Alex refers to as “cheap weed”) is associated with paranoia. But without a link to actual, clinical diagnoses this means nada.

  • And yes, Alex. It was nice that Obama was honest and said “I inhaled. Frequently. That was the point”. Some people can’t deal with honesty. And he seems better equipped psychologically for the job then any candidate I can recall over the last 20 years. He’s obviously not in danger of “turning” psychotic because of this, either. 😉

  • Alex, I don’t see where Obama flip-flopped. As I understand it, he said he supports decriminalization, but not legalization. This might have to do with changing law enforcement priorities or lessening penalties, but without going so far as to decree all use legal. It’s a subtle difference and sounds like a semantic distinction, but not a flip-flip. Isn’t there a lawyer here who can expand on that? Tom?

  • Those studies looked at the development of active areas of brains. And found out there are brain areas that got retarded by the use of dope, just as alcohol consumption and tranquilizers affect the sensorimotor cortex. Psychiatrists also are dealing with an increasing number of marijuana-consumption related issues. But I’ve learnt it’s no use pointing this out to addicts or enablers.

  • Which one am I? Just kidding. Anyway, I agree with almost everything MUL put forth with the exception his assessment of Barack’s psychological fortitude and with his “tone” towards Froylein. If I can work on keeping it civil, so should you.

    Froylein, here’s the thing that the opponents to Marijauna in any of it’s uses have trouble comprehending. No one, besides maybe MUL, stoners, Rastafarians and other native cultures, thinks that weed is good for you. It comes with a price to your body and that’s understood, albeit the risks are small considering other choices people make. They don’t care. If you told people that sex was bad for them, how many people would stop having it?

  • Alex, alas, I know plenty of pot smokers that claim it’s absolutely harmless; those politicians that want to legalize it here pull up almost 40-year-old stats from the Netherlands and Switzerland, both countries that are in the progress of outlawing marijuana purchase / consumption etc. after the experiences they’ve made over the past few decades. Ever since I had to take classes on neurolinguistics because of my studies, neuroscience has become a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine (one of things I do on Thursdays is attending a neuroscience class). Sex is only bad for you if you do it with the wrong person. Or if it involves handcuffs and feigned abductions in the boot of a car.

    Tom, now you’re scaring him.

  • umm.. i wasnt being serious… but seriously.. are u telling me that there are scientist in Australia? i assumed it was just filled with convicts, surfers, sheep, and shrimp bar-b-q-rs. but i guess one of them, or the sheep, can be a scientist

  • Enablers? Addicts? My, my. I’m just interested in keeping the government out of the business of treating people like babies and deciding that it knows better than physicians do. Some people really don’t understand the concept of personal freedom, though, do they? Or maybe they’re just scared of what it means.

    If they’re the studies I linked to (still haven’t received the courtesy of a link from guess who) there was no “development” that was investigated – because that would involve comparing what happened over the course of time and requires a “before” and “after” analysis. And I didn’t see that in the study I linked, and I didn’t see it in the study whose publication details you’ve not bothered to reveal to us, froylein (because that would allow everyone here to actually see the study). But you knew that already, right? Otherwise it would have been “no use pointing this out”.

    Also, I love the cryptic phrase,

    “Psychiatrists also are dealing with an increasing number of marijuana-consumption related issues.”

    Very spooky. Very scary. Bwahahahah! “ISSUES!”

    Very imprecise and very unmeaningful, too.

    Anyone who terms the actions of any substance as either “good” or “bad” hasn’t a clue what they’re talking about. Chemotherapy? Good or bad? It’s a poisonous substance that makes you lose your hair, kills your GI tract, kills your bone marrow and often causes cancer in its own right. But we will decide once and for all in a 60-second segment whether it’s good or bad. Next up on the 11 o’clock news.

    Alex, I’m trying to keep it civil, but I will put my knowledge of medicine and pharmacology up against anyone’s here and I do resent the reintroduction of shopworn propaganda and personal labelling regarding something that is known by most educated people to be much more benign (at least as it’s usually used) than all the propandists (and racists) I’ve mentioned have portrayed it. I’m not bragging, but I know what I’m talking about – through academic “credentials” that Froylein may or may not respect. (Being from Michigan, Alex, you are familiar with a certain campus in Ann Arbor, right? I’m not talking University of Phoenix here). She didn’t address Grinspoon – Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She didn’t touch on the fact that cannabis is incredibly useful for certain kinds of pain and neuromuscular disorders that nothing else can seem to touch. She didn’t bring up the fact that no one knew its pharmacology until an Israeli scientist elucidated it just 15 years ago. Since then, we’ve found out more, including the knowledge that it basically mimics the effects of components in chocolate – just in a much, much stronger way.

    So am I a little upset to have found out that someone here wants to buy into and spread rumors and demonize with all the same propaganda that I bought into during the Nancy Reagan “Just say no years”, only to find out, after college and advanced degrees in topics having to do exactly with just this sort of thing, that it was all a hoax? Yes, I am. Yes, cocaine can kill you (and that’s also available as a medicine, STILL!), and yes, heroin can kill you, and yes, aspirin and Vioxx can kill you and LSD can mess up your brain a bit perhaps permanently. But the stuff on weed was basically all a joke, as you’re aware, despite the fact that puritans, the medically ignorant or just plain other killjoys or whatever want to revive that farce hook, line and sinker.

    Oh, and also, it promotes neurogenesis and kills tumor cells – particularly the incredibly difficult to treat gliomas. But don’t tell that to people suffering from MS or brain cancer (or their oncologists). Because then we couldn’t demonize the wrong kind of social behavior.

    So as you can see, I’ve linked to quite a bit, and to reputable articles. Which is more than I can say for my debate opponent. And I’ve presented some very specific, intelligent and personal reasons for why I take this conversation as seriously as I do. So sure, I will respect the argument my opponent will present, and presumably, their reasons for presenting it and their perspective, as well. I will do that as soon as I see that they can reciprocate at the level of high-minded, reasoned and evidence-based argumentation at which they claim to operate, and when they offer my argument (because they long ago made clear that they don’t have any respect for me) the same respect that I’m not sure that they have for stoners and politicians, but that they somehow seem willing to reserve for “other native cultures”.

    Does that sound about fair?

  • Tom, your concern for my well-being is touching, but I was looking for a legal opinion, dammit! What kind of lawyer are you? 😉

  • Alright, so I am to assume that every dope user is a terminally ill cancer patient to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    The studies I talked about appeared in various media, print ones, too (and mostly). I don’t keep a copy of everything I see / read at some point in my life. But if anyone cares to learn a foreign language and still wants to confine their reading to online material (there’s a reason why most universities here fail students that cite internet sources in their assignments and anyone who’s ever tried to access an academic publication online (full version) knows that, since nobody can do serious work for free, they require a subscription with a key; to make things easier, most larger libraries and university libraries have got such subscriptions from middle-organizations that make a variety of academic publications available online), Bundeszentrale für Gesundheitliche Aufklärung and Suchthilfe Hamburg should have some key stuff online.

    I also don’t doubt in the slightest that there are medical care professionals that are substance abusers. But just like American nurses’ habit of washing their hands once in between seven patients on average (that article costs money, too), not everything medical care professionals do is good just because they should know better.

    That said, if anyone is interested in finding the studies I mentioned, I’m sure they can if they’re willing to fork over the cash to the magazines they appeared in. Beware though, the style isn’t usually comparable to news-stories or feature-stories but is academic and dry.

  • No, you shouldn’t assume anything about any dope user. Except for the fact that they use dope, they have virtually nothing else in common.

  • I’ve never heard of a recent publication in any academic journal, serious or otherwise, restricted to paid access or otherwise, to which an on-line link to either the abstract or, at the very least, the title, didn’t exist. That being said, providing a title of an actual study (and not just the name of the journal), or at least keywords, shows that one takes their own research on the matter seriously enough to have read and remembered the most important details of what they’ve declared regarding the article. The most prestigious English-language science journals are probably Cell, Nature and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And I can’t imagine either those journals or any that begin to approach their caliber declining to provide on-line access of some sort – no matter how restricted or excerpted.

    In this never-ending struggle that’s presented here between how things are done in Germany versus how things are done in the States, I personally think that electronic availability of academic resources is a huge advantage to researchers. Ever since I was in school in the 1990s, we’ve had access to Medline. PubMed – the resource to which I linked a few of the studies I linked – is also an incredible resource. There is too much medical knowledge and ongoing biological research nowadays to take a haughty attitude toward electronic publication – and in fact, I suspect that to do so is a bit of a ploy. But no matter, I hardly think you could find someone who, in the age of genomics, would disagree. The race to sequence and now, to provide access to, the genome, tells the most compelling story about the need for the devotion of massive electronic resources to compiling biological knowledge. I can’t imagine anyone familiar with such research who would disagree.

    The last thing I’m concerned about in a conversation like this is style.

    And my honesty doesn’t prevent me from agreeing with the no-brainer that medical professionals can be, just as anyone else, as you label them with the active noun form of the activity, “substance-abusers” – at least according to a medical understanding of the word “abuse”. “Abuse” in this context is defined as interfering with daily activities in the face of consequences. But I’m not sure what sort of a point you’re trying to make. If it’s a sleazy one that tries to taint professional judgment by conflating it with personally destructive activity, then I’m not surprised that you would stoop to such a tactic. Smearing the judgment and/or motives of medical professionals caring for some of the sickest and most debilitated individuals with such a mind-numbingly narrow analogy is such a horrible and wretched approach to take that it puts your stance on even shakier ground than when you were actually trying to debate the detriments of marijuana use on the merits of the data you appealed to earlier.

    I would urge you to reconsider that statement or at least clarify what you intended by it in a meaningful way. I am not sure that you will. But if you want to debate the actual motives and judgments of real practitioners or professional researchers and what they have to say regarding the hype of “Reefer Madness” then I have no compunction taking on that battle either. And unless you state something that proves otherwise, that’s exactly why I am not so sure that /you/ do.

    It would also be good if you would stop assuming, (if you do, because your language seems to indicate it), that for every question, such as with American nurses and hand washing, there is only one study on it. Most people who do research are comfortable with multiple studies on any given topic and are well-versed on the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Methodology and the way in which hypotheses are are addressed are rarely if ever one-way streets.

  • Too bad you don’t appear familiar with a practice that even is common among American academic publications. Too bad you aren’t aware that even one single study, if done extensively and with more diligence than political polling, can have outcomes that are representative of a matter. Too bad you haven’t read about the many studies actually that analyzed the correlation between the built environment, hygenie, staff turnover rates and effective output of hospitals. Too bad you will still cite Wikipedia.

  • Too bad you’re too much of a nasty and/or unknowing person to accept when you’ve lost an argument. Badly.

    “Too bad you don’t appear familiar with a practice that even is common among American academic publications.”

    Not as of, like, the 21st century (I have to assume you’re referring to my first comment, since you don’t clarify what you say. Ever). Show me one.

    “Too bad you aren’t aware that even one single study, if done extensively and with more diligence than political polling, can have outcomes that are representative of a matter.”

    Which doesn’t speak to the “way in which hypotheses are addressed”. You can conduct the largest and most representative study ever devised. If the set-up doesn’t ask the right questions then it won’t amount to anything. Happens all. the. time.

    Nice try. Next time read more carefully. And try knowing what you’re talking about.

    “Too bad you haven’t read about the many studies actually that analyzed the correlation between the built environment, hygenie, staff turnover rates and effective output of hospitals.”

    You have evidence of everything I’ve ever read?

    Of course not. You just took a comment I made on your reference to “that” article (which in English is singular, maybe it’s not in German?), where I said it’s a good idea to read or reference multiple studies, and tried to impute that to having anything to do with what I do or do not know. (BTW, why are you so obsessed with what people do or do not know? Are you really that insecure of what people think of your own intelligence?) Do you do this because you think you’re too important to read more carefully? Zealotry can get in the way behaving in an intelligent manner.

    “Too bad you will still (sic) cite Wikipedia.”

    There was no citation of anything from Wikipedia in that last comment of mine (“still”?), if you disagreed with the single Wikipedia article I had mentioned before – which had nothing to do with original research, but was a point of general knowledge; I can and DID link to studies (unlike YOU) for original research – you could have said what about the link was unacceptable, and Wikipedia articles usually have to cite their sources anyway or they can get expunged. And that’s a pretty cheap shot coming from someone who hasn’t linked to a single thing (let alone to a single publication) EVEN ONCE in this whole DISCUSSION!!!!! 😉

    If you had any knowledge of pharmacology we could have debated original articles having to do with that reference. But you don’t, that fact makes you feel insecure (but it shouldn’t if you were capable of making arguments in good faith), and you know it.

    It’s way obvious that you have no point to prove regarding the original discussion and just want to make this into an endless ad hominem. There is nothing more pathetic than someone who not only doesn’t know what they’re talking about, but who can’t stand to have that pointed out to them. Which is why, I suppose, you get so angry and petulant every time it happens. Which is often. I’ve admitted you know about ancient Greek linguistics and other somesuch. What is so damn difficult about conceding or considering points about other topics that you DO NOT KNOW?!?!?! It’s much less shameful than behaving the way you are now.

    But regardless of how you want to derail your arguments when facing me with them, I still take issue with the way you tried to make an either sleazy or intellectually lazy point by smearing health professionals and researchers generally with an overly broad and not very meaningful analogy that you still haven’t bothered to clarify. And that makes your behavior in this matter despicable, I’m sorry to say. You can smear me all you want to. But insinuating that our understanding of cannabis has anything to do with substance abuse among health professionals or researchers is a pretty crappy way to try to make a point.

  • Ok ok ok kids. Let’s all try to moderate our tones there a bit? We can make points without getting huffy. Sheesh. I just photoshopped a pic of an Obama mural painted on a wall. I sure as heck didn’t expect acrimony! So can we take it down a notch? Please? Anger makes baby Jesus cry.

  • I’m not angry, but I’ve got no interest wasting my time on someone who believes that Europeans are inferior anyway. I mentioned two sites where you can look matters up provided you had foreign language skills worth mentioning. You may want to contemplate the contextual use of “actually” in my above comment. There was no reason whatsoever to add “(sic)” after my using “still”. In academia, we usually prefer square brackets BTW and usually put “sic” in italics. Additionally, we only use it after incorrect orthography, punctuation, or a lexical error.

    La lune est croissante.

  • I would love to, ck. But I’ve got some “inferior” Europeans to beat up with my TOTALLY AWESOME mad typing skillz. (jk).

    WTF?

    Now I’m accused of thinking that Europeans are inferior?

    I sympathize with the fact that you didn’t expect acrimony. But apparently the comments became focused on disagreements regarding the extent to which quasi-medical observations thought to be associated with weed have been the result of hype. But only one out of at least 5 or 6 people felt strongly that there wasn’t a lot of hype. At least three of us disagreed.

    I would have been happy to have kept that debate confined to the issues, and I would have been more forgiving on a personal level on the last round had comment #27 branched out from the usual littany of all my many, many well-publicized deficiencies and shockingly horrible shortcomings, and actually made some intelligent points about… you know, the topic of discussion.

    My French is better than my German. (I don’t like or know much German. It’s not a pretty language). Yes, the moon is waning.

    Anyways, I’m not sure if Froylein read your comment before posting, but I really don’t see what all the Funk and Wagnalls has to do with the neurobiological effects of weed. Maybe it’s a beginning graduate student in a field other than science thing.

    P.S. Froylein, I used “publication” in the sense of the title of a specific study, not as a journal title. I say this as someone who has authored publications in Development, Clinical Cancer Research, (a couple times as an undergraduate) and other supposedly obscure and disreputable journals (which, along with High Times, are available on-line) – and sometimes with the assistance of people who were paid to be anal and uncreative about formatting issues. Just saying.

    ISMAIL!!! WHERE ARE YOU? 😉

  • A student authored something. Impressive? No. Banal? Absolutely.

    The only impressive thing is that a published academic wouldn’t know key standards of academic citation. Editors proof-read, in some cases they will standardize footnotes (usually the author will either be aware of the very magazine’s / academic branch’s citation standards and apply them; saves them from spending more time than necessary on the galley).

    And in case you do not suffer from any dope-induced amnesia or SPD, you might remember your previous derogatory assessments of Europeans.

    Yochanan, by “stems” do you mean stemcell research? A promising, while ethically highly debatable branch, until it turned out the leading researcher in this field the results of who all other researchers based their demand for legalizing stemcell research on was a spoof. He didn’t do the researching world much of a favour at that.

  • No he doesn’t mean stem cell research. Good weed has few stems in it. Or seeds. That stuff doesn’t get you high. That’s what he means. I always thought stem cell research was awesome.

    Now uh… Obama?

  • There are many issues with stemcell research, the biggest is that that scandal surrounding that researcher brought out to the open that stemcell research is a far cry from what it pretended to be. Then you have the eugenics folks that would be more than happy to (ab)use stemcell research to their own purposes, i.e. creating super(ior) humans. Another issue is how the stemcells are obtained.

    As for Obama, months ago I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but by now he has become nothing short of unimpressive in my eyes. I think it was Tucholsky who once said you can draw conclusions about a person’s character by the people they call friends. We can analogously draw conclusions about political candidates by those that support them most vehemently. I’m not saying that McCain appears a great choice either, afterall he indeed already is somewhat old. I’m not saying Palin is a great VP choice, but the sexism dressed up as “satire” she faces is so full of cattiness and misogyny that it makes me wonder whether the US on average really is as emancipated as laws mandate. Out of all candidates, Biden seems the most balanced and least controversial person; oddly enough, he deemed Obama a candidate unfit for Presidency during the Primaries and he also seems politically closer to McCain.
    But it is astounding how willingly media and a large share of the general public are ready to apply a corrective reading of history (or is it temporary mass-amnesia?) to bail Obama out of just another case of flip-flopping.
    Had I only been given transcripts of the presidential debates for evaluation without knowing who was in them and had I based on those analyzed either’s behaviour, I’d have labelled McCain a person that was biting his tongue more than once, refraining from stating something that was on his mind, whereas Obama displayed mimics typically associated with passive aggressive behaviour, e.g. eye-brows raised long enough for viewers to notice. I’m aware acting this snarkily is popular among pseudo-intellectuals, so it’ll indeed earn him (hipster) votes. And you know my take on hipsters.

  • Your bitchiness knows absolutely no bounds.

    “A student authored something. Impressive? No. Banal? Absolutely.”

    Of course, we could go round and round debating the extraordinary significance to mankind of your research in linguistics, but the fact is that you have no idea whether certain publications, some of which date back to my work as an undergrad, were banal. I don’t think they were banal. The professor didn’t think they were banal. Since the ideas I proposed changed the direction of the question he had spent years researching then they certainly weren’t banal. Since my answers to these questions became the foundation for further investigation by graduate students once I left the lab then they absolutely weren’t banal. Unless you want to shit on everything they subsequently did related to it. As well as the publisher.

    Perhaps you speak to personal or firsthand experience of undergraduates who received citations for some clerical or technical assistance. This is not always the case. Sometimes authorship is actually deserved.

    Again, this all just speaks to your extraordinary sense of intellectual insecurity. Which apparently is well deserved.

    Now go out and bray at the moon.

  • BTW, Einstein’s papers on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity and mass-energy equivalence were all published the same year he was awarded his PhD and the same year he was working as a Swiss patent clerk. These publications then obviously reflect some incredibly banal work or writing he produced while he was, regrettably enough, among that horribly banal classification of people known as “students”. Perhaps it’s banal that anyone might author anything, but only if the quality of the work is irrelevant to the person making that judgment. If it’s quality work, then most people would find it even more impressive that a student produced it. Again, I say “most people”, because some people with a really huge axe to grind might disagree, regardless of what they do or do not know of the work in question, for the sake of rhetorical purposes.

    Post #35 describes the first instance I’ve come across where something ostensibly worse was read into Obama’s body language during the debates than McCain’s. But not many people rely on using outdated labels like “passive-aggressive” anymore. And regarding the debates, McCain’s perceived pettiness and sense of contempt came across much worse, as they should have.

    Thank goodness for the better judgment of the American people.

  • Oy. Yet another proof of a lack of reading skills.

    “Passive-aggressive” still is a term widely used among psychologists. As far as McCain’s “perceived pettiness” is concerned, I think Obama displayed a great deal of hubris suggesting McCain was petty after McCain had pointed out Obama had spread some incorrect piece of information about him. But each their own. Apparently I’m not the only one who’s noticed that media coverage of either Presidential campaign has been biased.

    Thank goodness there are still people not pretending to see the emperor’s clothes.

  • McCain also complained that people abused the consideration of the health of a potential mother as a reason for taking exception to proposals to restrict abortion. He raised his hands and made air quotation marks when reciting the word “health”. That went over really well. Not.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIN0osuemzA

    Someday someone will write in a prestigious journal on human communication what was signified by the breathy snorting noises McCain made as Obama began to answer the question, before getting the chance to answer and taking the opportunity to deride his opponent’s “eloquence”. It was contempt at Obama for doing well.

    (I’m not afraid of evidence, that’s why if I don’t produce the actual evidence of what I refer to or accuse others of I link to it directly) 😉 To do otherwise would be irresponsible.

  • Apparently, you’ve watched the debate and have got too much time on your hands, so no need for me to find snippets on YouTube. As I said above, it appeared as if McCain had been biting his tongue, as if he was holding back something he would have liked to say, and that showed.

  • MUL, relax. Muffti can’t help but thinking there is a reading of ‘banal’ in this case that you haven’t latched on to – that the mere fact that a student published a paper, that fact on it’s own is not an interesting fact sans greater context.

  • Froylein, if you want to have a civilized debate, I’m more than happy to concede what I lack much knowledge of, where bias in favor of what I support exists, what I misread (there’s often more than one way to interpret something) and perhaps many other things. It would be nice to know if you were capable of those things too.

    That being said, although “passive-aggressive” is still listed in the DSM as a disorder that’s only if it conforms to every other criteria required for a disorder (i.e. habitual, crippling, etc). But people recognize that it is often perfectly rational behavior to refuse to become aggressive, especially when someone’s goal is to goad you into aggressive behavior that will backfire in a destructive way on you, and therefore more often rational than people like to sometimes think.

    As for your linked material, I’ll take a look at it. But of course the media is biased. They tend to lean left. So does the academy. Empiricists in general seem to lean that way. So it’s no surprise and it’s not the conspiracy that right-wingers like to pretentiously scream that it is. It still doesn’t mean that the debate didn’t go, like the others, overwhelmingly in Obama’s favor among the viewers. And the lies of McCain’s campaign have been so extensive, transparent and heavily documented, that no one really takes what they say seriously anymore.

    The Republicans know that they’re losing very badly and more serious conservative columnists are on to the more sobering task of trying to rebuild their movement. But in order to do so it will require looking at the excesses they’ve committed and relied upon over the last 40 years moreso than blaming the liberal press, and evey other scapegoat they have, because there is now a huge shift not only in Democratic political power, but in the inclinations, sympathies and understandings of the American people. I say this as honestly as I can.

    George Packer’s article in The New Yorker from May of this year gives a fascinating and extraordinary chronicle of the downfall of the conservatives. It was only a matter of time, but John McCain’s candidacy has hastened it in many ways. I’d be more than happy to link to it if you’re interested. If you truly care about the future of the conservative movement in America, I’d assume that you would.

  • Froylein your characterization of my time (and whatever that would signify) notwithstanding, I’m not sure what McCain’s unwillingness to say something means. Maybe he wanted to call him a nasty name (he once famously referred to his wife as a “cunt), maybe he wanted to use attacks against him that he thought dishonorable or would have abhorred had someone used analogous attacks against him.

    During the 2000 primaries McCain was devastated when Bush’s team made robocalls in South Carolina that used racism to goad the voters into believing that he had “fathered an illegitimate (black) child”, costing him the state dearly. It was a contemptible tactic on the part of Bush’s political staff, and McCain vowed not to stoop to that level ever. So he is clearly well-versed in how far over “the line” you can go in order to be successful politically.

    So the point is, if he can’t say what he wants to say, then that really is his own problem. If it’s an illegitimate attack, that’s on him for not putting it out of his mind. If it’s a legitimate attack, then it’s on him for not finding a way to carry it out. But the voters have constructed their own narrative, and it has to do with his explosive temper, which he and his colleagues readily admit to. The fact that the electorate consider this a liability is McCain’s problem, though, isn’t it?

  • Thanks, Muffti. I did ultimately come to realize that and to admit as much in comment #39. At least, I hope it came across that way. Thanks, though.

  • One other thing, before the interests of time force me to other things. The media is also biased in favor of candidates who are forthcoming with them. When McCain sequestered Palin the way that he did, this backfired immensely.

  • I was talking about mimics typical of passive-aggressive behaviour, I didn’t pretend to diagnose a passive-aggressive disorder.

    Reports are not opinion pieces. Sadly, many journalists don’t seem to be able to tell the difference.

    The only thing that I’m concerned about is whether the US will remain a democracy.

  • Froylein, I find it fascinating that you appear more concerned that the US is more in danger of losing its status as a democracy under an Obama administration than under a McCain administration, let alone under the Bush administration. Perhaps you can explain what you mean by this?

    Yes, the explosion of the political pundit class has blurred the distinction somewhat between reporting and advocacy, but I don’t think this is entirely bad. There was not a conservative news channel, for instance, before FOX. The rise of the internet as a news and communications medium has also played an incredibly significant role. But along with all this is the greater understanding of the role of narrative and an acceptance of the degree to which people’s perceptions and biases shape things – including political events. I find this to be a realistic and mature development in America, and one that couldn’t be more timely. That’s just my opinion though, of course. But one that I think is widely shared.

  • Muffti isn’t sure he understands what the threat to democracy is, either way — unless you guys are using a rather attenuated sense of the word. Conservative news channels are fine — as are liberal ones but its a downright insult to our intelligence that they pretend they aren’t advocates (‘fair and balanced’? really?)

    Anyhow, Muffti is a bit confused about the dialectic of american politics. You have a two party system and you can vote directly for president. That means that there is a statistical impossibility of (a) finding anyone who holds ALL the views you do and none that you don’t and (b) someone who behaves themselves with respect ot their opponents at all times. What both parties tend to do, though Muffti thinks the republicans do it much better, is find an issue that divides the other side but not their own and then stick with it and hope the division cracks the other side enough to funnel people their way.

    It’s why Muffti admires the catholics who have said that they are dead set against abortion but that they think there are other issues to deal with. To muffti that is an effective way of blocking the political pattern of corralling a group to your side on one issue by making it hte only salient issue to talk about.

    Sorry for the rambling. Muffti just got up from a nap. Go Dolphins!

  • Muffti, a purposedly biased media that cares more about preserving its spotlight position than about critical reporting and forces itself into line, so to speak, is a threat to any democracy that grants freedom of speech. Since only media representatives are permitted access to certain events and possess the infrastructural resources, informed citizens need to be able to rely on what they can learn from the media. Now, if journalists confuse reports with opinion pieces, we are a long way from good journalism.

    The irresponsibility doesn’t constitute in my not linking to YouTube clips that anybody could access given they’re interested but in purposedly withholding information from the general public not because of reason of state but simply because of favouring either political candidate and hoping to advance that candidate’s chance by, by any means of serious journalism, flawed reportings.
    There also is irresponsibility in trying to justify one side’s error by the other side’s error. (There’s a long list of inaccuracies from both campaigns and Presidential candidates.) Anyone who has ever dealt with children knows how childish such behaviour is. A Presidential candidate that more than less admits to lying on prime-time TV should be called out on it by journalists, not kissed up to.
    There also is irresponsibility in frequently suggesting things I (and others for that matter) haven’t even insinuated, but I know our readers are too smart to fall for that dialectics.

  • “That is the best advice any one can give you, and use a bong like Bill Clinton…”

    I hear (cough, cough) that vaporizers are even better.

  • A big threat to a democracy that grants freedom speech is a media that is told how it should report. Free speech requires that it be granted equally to the dumb, the biased, the offensive and those who we just don’t agree with. I have more faith in the general public’s ability to discern the truth than I do of anyone trying to impose it. Call me naive. What can I say.

    Vaporizers are indeed way better, and in more ways than one.

  • ck, I think it’s a two-way street. Media have got the power to inform as well as to manipulate. To conflate reporting with their own opinion is not proper. By doing that, they do not give the general public a real option to choose as the choices have been limited on purposes, thus imposing their truth.

  • I supposed no Jews in here care about the video tape of Barack Obama attending the Khalidi Friends of Palestinians event where a lot of Jew Bashing took place and why they are not releasing the tape to the public because it paints their golden boy in a negative light.

    Welcome to The Socialists States of America, brought to you by collusion of the Media and cheered on by American Jews! But Rethuglicans are evil!!!

  • That threat, Froylein, exists no matter who wins the election. In any case, why is hte us particularly udner threat? And wth the advent of the internet, if anyhitng, it looks like the resources for a normal person to judge and evaluate media accuracy is at an all time high, no?

  • Alex: Apparently “Alex” is a really popular name for spammers. Seriously. Might you consider perhaps changing your sign on name to something else? Like Alex123 or AlexABC or whatever? You don’t have to, we’re happy to help and all, but… you know.

    As for your comment. Oy.

  • Oy is all you have? So there is a video of Obama being praised by a PLO operative at a Jew Bashing party, you know, the PLO, the same one that killed and tries to kill our family back in Israel, and all you and Abe Foxman have to say is Oy? On top of that, a media engaged in collusion and cover-up refuses to release the video because they know it is unfavorable to their candidate of choice, and all you have is Oy?

    Oy is right. Socialism and quite possibly Shoah 2, here we come, and this time, Jews were complicit and helped bring it along. You think because you guys like Obama, you will be saved? You have another thing coming, and so does America, and I’m starting to think, maybe we deserve it. Personally, I will flee and fight to the death before its over, but I’m not so sure about the rest of you.

    Nation of Islam Won.
    Weather Underground Won.
    The PLO in America Won.
    The Yippies and their foul Commie Jew Bastards Won.
    The Revolution IS being televised. Hope you are enjoying it.

    This site is not for Jews. It’s for socialists and Western Useful Idiots, of which many happen to be Jews, again. While my family was being persecuted under the Commies, some of your parents were fighting to make America a communist nation. We escaped communism to have socialism come right to us. Thanks to Jewish participation. And what happened when they won in Russia? That’s right, they killed the Jews. I can’t wait!

    Wonderful. Oy is absolutely right.

  • spam filter again. that was my final comment at this site. I’m bouncing.

  • Muffti should consider the vast differences in educational systems to begin with, the steps that have already been taken (and gone too far) during the current campaigns, the easy manipulability of people through allegedly independent internet media, journalists’ willingness to manipulate for whatever reason, etc. If we leave what journalism should do to blogs, we’ll soon have “official” versions versus “pamphlets”. Traditionally media only have got not only the legal access but also the resources to obtain certain pieces of information. This puts traditional edia in a position of power as far as relating information is concerned.

    Sashka, your assessment is a tad extreme, but I agree that Jews shouldn’t turn a blind eye on matters that actually are vital to them. In Europe, anti-Semitism from the poltical left has been rising over the last few years. Not everything that likes to paint itself progressive is necessarily “progressive” is actually philo-Semitic or balanced at the very least.

  • I’ll miss you, Alex. Without your commentary, the Jewish Right just isn’t represented in the same way.

  • I dunno. I sort of agree with ck’s take on it. I’m inclined by my scientific nature to believe that there is some absolute objective truth-based understanding of the universe that can be achieved – at least, within the constraints that come with accepting that what we presently know is limited and subject to change. But I’m much more antagonistic to the idea of any single, objective, “proper” journalistic rendering when it comes to reporting on human events. What we make of what we know of the world of human events is much more subjective. It’s no surprise to me that the (op-ed, surprise-surprise) columnist that Froylein linked to, the one who decried the supposed downfall of journalistic standards, was a technology writer, for instance. What does he know about human history, I wonder? Does he belive that there is a single correct narrative to our understanding of the course of human events?

    My take is that it is paternalistic to assume that the sheeple can’t find the news that’s important per se, without trying to first understand what’s important to them specifically, and why. Journalists aren’t robots. Nor should they be. Any standard that involves human judgment includes a subjective assessment that absolutely precludes a single standard of “truth”, and I think that a journalist would be naive to not accept that to some degree.

    If a good scientist can accept that what he knows of the universe is limited, then a good journalist can accept that however they present a story, it will never be immaculately objective.

  • Yeah. The internet makes available more information than ever before. It’s patently absurd and paternalistic for journalists to decry the lost sense of self-importance that came with puffing up their role of merely “reporting”, or as they like to think of it, “informing”. The more respected ones, however, don’t. They don’t see a threat as large as some people would make it out to be.

    There’s still a role for that. But humans aren’t machines and a good journalist shouldn’t pretend that any moral component of their mission is more often better restricted to a dispassionate, machine-like narrative. Some stories are inherently more emotional than others. And more are emotional to some degree, even if it’s a small degree, than are not. The day that everyone’s brain is wired up in the same way and that everyone sees everything in the same way is the day that there will be a single objective standard of truth and reporting. What a sad fucking day that will be. I hope I don’t live to see it. It sounds pretty damn depressing and Orwellian, actually.

  • The fact that any journalist or employee in their organization would even decide what’s important to report is a source of bias right there.

    Let the people decide.

  • The people cannot decide anymore as soon as they are getting pre-blended / pre-chewed food like babies. They aren’t offered the full meenu to pick from, and this has become greatly obvious. There are no excuses for that. There are standards for serious journalism.

  • “They aren’t offered the full meenu to pick from, and this has become greatly obvious.”

    Aren’t they?

    Are parts of the full menu somehow being withheld from them?

  • That’s exactly what I explained above as well as what the article I linked to (and apparently nobody bothered to read) explained.

  • A simple yes or no (on whether or not someone is actively, coercively preventing people from reporting what or how you think they should report) will suffice.

    As I noted above (and apparently nobody bothered to read), Michael S. Malone describes himself as a “technology writer”. And it’s a bit hypocritical if not solipsistic to the point of absurdity for someone who decries the proliferation of editorials to explain his case in the form of – you guessed it – a ranting editorial.

    “This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.”

    Fighting fire with fire is rather hard when you’re smothered in kerosene.

  • Anyways, this is silly. There is right-leaning media, left-leaning media, media that report on things having nothing to do with politics or even human subjects whatsoever (such as technology, eg. CNET), and everything in between. The first thing any professional must do is to wipe away their confusion between ethical obligations and abject paternalism. I have never run across a successful professional in any field that required human judgment, who didn’t accept that subjectivity is inevitable, not necessarily bad, often important and positive, and worth embracing as long as it doesn’t overwhelm your objective assessments. Sadly, some people cannot do this. They need the illusion of an absolute break between the two (objectivity and subjectivity).

    Allow me to quote the great ck:

    “A big threat to a democracy that grants freedom speech is a media that is told how it should report. Free speech requires that it be granted equally to the dumb, the biased, the offensive and those who we just don’t agree with. I have more faith in the general public’s ability to discern the truth than I do of anyone trying to impose it.”

    I agree completely.

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