Monday, April 14, 2014

Week of 04/14/2014

Memo To GOP Contenders:
Don’t Provoke The Willfully Ignorant

– by David Matthews 2

I have a really simple message to the GOP wannabes in Georgia.

You know that Internet saying of “Don’t feed the trolls”?

Well the same applies to Georgia’s willfully ignorant.

You know who I’m talking about, right?  All of those people that hate thinkers and hate thinking.  The ones that didn’t make it past high school… if that.  The ones that hold a special kind of disgust for higher education and for those that were able to attend it and actually get the sheepskin.  The ones that scrambled to support Chick-fil-A and “Duck Dynasty” when they cried “persecution” like a child not getting that extra ice cream scoop.  The ones that should be wearing the “I’m With Stupid” tee-shirts with the arrow pointing up.

You know… the ones that really like Sarah Palin and think she’s the greatest woman to have ever existed and “goddamn those who think otherwise!”

Yeah, you know those folks.  Just pop into your nearest Wal-Mart if you need a refresher.

Well, the GOP here in Georgia really need to be careful about aggravating them.

I know that’s hard sometimes, because they’re really easily offended.  They have really thin skins.  Sometimes all you have to do is show them a globe, or say the word “evolution”, or bring up the historical fact that they lost the Civil War.  (They’re really sensitive about that last part.)

Or sometimes it’s reminding them that you have something that they don’t.

David Perdue made that mistake recently.  He’s the cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue, and he thinks that his business experience (along with his family’s political connections, wink-wink) will make him the ideal person to replace outgoing Senator Saxby Chambliss. 

Perdue likes to brag about his resume.  He likes to mention that he turned a few companies around and made them profitable.  He likes to tout the fact that he’s a supposed “outsider” going up against a field of career politicians that have done nothing to fix what is wrong with the country.

But then Perdue screwed up.  Apparently he made the comment that one of those other contenders really isn’t qualified to be senator because she doesn’t have a college degree.

Bad move, Mister Perdue.

You do know that there is no educational requirement to be a United States Senator, right Mister Perdue?  Go ahead and pull out your little pocket edition of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution and go over Article I and all of the Amendments pertaining to the qualification of U.S. Senators and you’ll find there’s no mention at all of education.  You can have the IQ of a twig and still be qualified as long as you’re over thirty and a resident of the state you represent.  (Don’t tell me you don’t have one of those little “Pocket Constitution” things, Mister Perdue.  All good little GOP members wave them around nowadays like bibles.)

Then there’s the candidate that he tried to “disqualify” in his comments.  Karen Handel may be a career politician, but she’s also a favorite of the anti-abortion crowd, not to mention the willfully ignorant.  And apparently she’s also a friend of Alaska’s former governor and failed VP nominee Sarah Palin, who has been endorsing her since Handel tried to run for governor in 2010.  Oh, and she knows how to play the “poor victim” card too.

Put those things together, Mister Perdue, and what do you get?  You get a rapid-fire retort from Governor Palin that is so jam-packed with anti-intellectual buzzwords and catchphrases that I’m honestly surprised that nobody in the background shouted “Word Yahzee” when it was over. 

Not only was the take-down so anti-intellectual that it became pro-retarded, Mister Perdue, but it also made you look like an effete elite intellectual snob when it was done.

I think the word that you’re looking for here, Mister Perdue, is “Ouch!”

Now let’s get brutally honest here… if you are a GOP contender, then you really should not be pointing out the ignorance of the willfully ignorant, especially here in Georgia, for several reasons.

First, because the willfully ignorant do that all by themselves.  In fact they’re really very good at it.  Look at all of the people that think that pre-historic man used to ride atop dinosaurs simply because they saw it on a cartoon called “The Flintstones”, or still believe that the sun revolves around the Earth.  Like I said earlier, it sometimes just takes showing them a globe.

Second, as Mister Perdue found out the hard way, when you use your education to go after those without one, it opens you up the counter-attack that you are an effete elite intellectual snob; automatically lumping you in with the most liberal of liberals like Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  You know how cons and neo-cons despise the Clintons and Obama?  It’s not just their policies; it’s also their pedigree.

Third, and the most critical of reasons, is because the anti-intellectuals are also essentially the GOP’s base.  These are the people you need to suck up to, Mister Perdue.  They’re the ones that will show up at the polling place come primary time, especially when they feel “obligated”.  And it doesn’t take much for them to feel “obligated”.  Just look at what they did concerning Chick-fil-A and “Duck Dynasty”.

Making matters worse, Mister Perdue then actually called Ms. Handel up to apologize for his comment.

I know common sense says that this is the right thing to do, but in the world of GOP politics this is actually the wrong thing.  Cons and neo-cons, which dominate the GOP, consider an apology to be a sign of weakness. 

Cons and neo-cons do not apologize.  Ever.  Even when they are wrong.  Even when they know that they are wrong, their egos will not allow themselves to recognize it.  They will instead double-down on their original assertion, no matter how asinine it may be.

There is a way that Perdue could have salvaged that thread if he didn’t apologize.  He could have pointed out that Ms. Handel attended two colleges but never finished them, like a “certain senator” in Illinois that started but never finished his first term before running for President.  Or, for that matter, a “certain governor” in Alaska who quit in the middle of her first term after her failed VP run.  He could question Handel’s commitment to “follow through” on something.  He could have even questioned Governor Palin’s hokey anti-intellectualist attitude as being part of the problem with the GOP of late and as to why they’ve been losing political ground.  All of that was thrown out the window with his display of what is essentially political cowardice.

I understand that Mister Perdue wants to be different than the other GOP contenders.  He wants to stand out as someone that could actually get things done.  That’s commendable.  Unfortunately for him, the people that would really appreciate that are usually not the ones that show up at the ballot box for the GOP primary.  The ones that usually vote in the primaries are more like the people that listen to Sarah Palin and Karen Handel than they do the voices of reason.

And that is one case of ignorance that could seriously affect Georgia’s voice in Washington.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week of 04/07/2014

The Demise Of XP
– by David Matthews 2

This week marks the end of an era…

It is the end of a mainstay for computer users both young and old.

This is the week when Microsoft pulls the plug on its Windows XP operating system.  And, sadly, I don’t think there will be a reprieve this time around.

XP was released in 2001, just a month after 9/11.  Of course some people complained about it.  Because, you know, it’s a Microsoft product, and haters will hate.  But it persevered.  It served as the connection between the old Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems that was previously promised but just didn’t happen.  It was the one operating system that could be used for both business and personal users. 

It wasn’t perfect, but back then Microsoft didn’t give up on it like they did with Windows Millennium Edition.  They churned out bug fixes and service packs.  They came out with a special Media Center Edition to take advantage of the growing online media services.

And then the “new shiny” came out; the next operating system… and the first thing that Microsoft wanted to do once that happened was to kill XP.  And they almost did it, until XP users got a reprieve.

Microsoft claimed that they kept XP around because of the “threat” of Linux-based netbooks.  However, this commentator dares to suspect that the reason had more to do with the problems with that “new shiny” called Windows Vista and the backlash surrounding that demand that users upgrade ASAP in the middle of the Global recession than with any perceived “threat” of competition.

Here’s a little word of advice to Microsoft execs: when you have businesses cutting budgets and staff to the bone and people are struggling just to keep their homes, they’re not going to be in the mood to suddenly upgrade to the “new shiny” just because you have it on your schedule.

But now the folks in Redmond are going to go through with it for real.  No more reprieves.  No more stays of execution.

XP will die this coming Tuesday, April 8th.

And I am here not to bury XP, but to praise it.

Let’s get brutally honest here… whether you like Microsoft or not, you cannot deny that XP has served as a pretty reliable operating system for PC users for twelve years.  Not perfect.  Not great.  But certainly reliable.  Right now over ninety-five percent of the world’s ATM machines are running on Windows XP.  2 Big 2 Fail may be greedy, manipulative, and corrupt, but they wouldn’t risk the money they fleece on an operating system they couldn’t count on.  That should tell you something about its reliability.

Sure, there was always room for improvement.  There are some things that Microsoft did that they shouldn’t have, like integrating their own browser into the operating system.  The start-up and shut-down times were a hassle, but once things were up and running, they were pretty good.

I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret when it comes to operating systems, and this goes back to the days of Windows 95.  I had installed many an operating system in my time, and I know that, for the most part, the operating system does exactly what it is supposed to do.  When it’s just the operating system running, there are no problems.  The problem comes when you have all of those extra programs added to it.  When you have your favorite third-party game and your favorite third-party application, and let’s not forget all of those other “added features” that get installed by whatever company assembled that machine.  Everybody wants to give you something, don’t they?  They just don’t tell you how much it will cost for that “value-added convenience”.

And really, if you think about it, the operating system is sort of like a transmission of a car.  It’s important in that it gets you to where you need to be going, but you don’t really pay too much attention to it unless there’s a problem with it.  If you can get on your computer and have it do what you want it to do, be it play a game or check your email, then it is doing its job.

This is XP’s legacy.  It gave us the means to do what we want the computer to do.  And it did so for over twelve years with very few complaints.

Which is why there is a part of me that still wants to ask CEO Steve Ballmer “What did Windows XP ever do to you, other than to put billions into Microsoft coffers and millions into yours?”

No, I don’t want to give up my XP Media Center Edition computer.  I don’t want to spend the time and energy into transferring programs and files over and getting a new computer configured.  There’s too much going on for me to add that to my already-full “to do” list.

And it’s not just a new computer or a new operating system.  There’s also the matter of getting all of the other programs as well.  I need to get a new batch of Office programs, because I can’t just re-install the old Office program, thanks for nothing DRM.  I need to get new financial software.  I need to upgrade my USB hubs.  I need to get a new gigabit router.  Some of my “extra toys” will need new 64-bit drivers.  I need to go through my favorite sites again and find some way to get passwords transferred.  All of which will take time, and that’s on top of me putting in new security software – which I had to do at this time anyway – and get taxes done.  Oh, and still work my butt off eight hours a day every day.

But I suppose I don’t have a choice, do I?  No.  And neither do millions of other computer users that have gone on quite well with the systems they’ve had. 

I know someone who is still using the computer they got in 2002, and I know he didn’t really want to upgrade.  He’s firmly in the camp of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  But, needless to say, he ended up having to spend some coin over the weekend and getting a new PC just like the rest of us.

Thankfully the “end of XP” is not the physical end of the operating system itself.  Computers around the world still using XP will not spontaneously explode or suddenly not work after April 8th.  But patches won’t be automatically sent to your computer.  Microsoft is still under contract to support some computers, and they will do just that.  And if they have some patches, they’ll make them available, but you’ll have to find them yourself if you’re not one of those still under contract.

What this means is that you need to upgrade.  You need to pay some coin to your local electronics store so you can get the newer computer with the newer toys so you can stay up-to-date instead of having to do the extra work that those of us “geeks” used to do on a regular basis.

There is a silver lining to the demise of XP in that the appeal of the system has helped Microsoft execs change their mind on the “smartphone” look of their current Windows 8 system.  There’s an update ahead that will give us the old “look” and feel of the old desktop under XP, Vista, or Windows 7.  I think that will help with the transition, but it’s a pity it won’t be happening until after XP itself is “deceased”.

This article that you’re reading right now was cobbled together and uploaded to the Internet on a system still running on Windows XP. It may likely be one of the last articles written and published under XP.  With the new system and the “new toys”, I should be able to post future articles online directly.  I’m sure it will be more convenient for me, but that doesn’t always make it a good thing.  Sometimes it’s better to be reliable than just convenient.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Week of 03/31/2014

The Myth Of Self-Determination
– by David Matthews 2

There once was a young boy who firmly believed that he could fly like Superman.  He used to watch the old Superman TV programs and saw George Reeves take a running start and then fly away into the clouds with a loud “Woosh”.  If George Reeves could do that, then anyone can.

So this young boy would try everything possible to be able to fly.  He would sprint, leap, jump off ledges, do everything in his mind to “will” himself to fly.  He even got a Superman costume with cape and thought that it would allow him to fly.  After all, that’s what the Warner Brother cartoon characters did!  They got an “Acme Flying Guy” costume and suddenly they could fly!

And no matter how many times he would fail, he firmly believed that he could somehow fly.  He just didn’t run fast enough or leap high enough.  He just didn’t want it bad enough or “will” himself hard enough to make it happen.

Eventually this young boy realized that it wasn’t a matter of how bad he wanted it; he just wasn’t going to fly.  Period.  He found out that Superman could fly because he was an alien from a planet with a different sun and a heavier gravity.  George Reeves never could fly; he was just held up on his stomach in front of a movie screen with a wind tunnel sound being played making it sound like he was flying through the air.  And the Warner Brothers cartoon characters could fly wearing “Acme Flying Guy” costumes because… well, because they’re cartoon characters.

But imagine what it would be like if that young boy didn’t come to that realization.  Imagine what that young boy would be trying to do if he didn’t find out that he could not fly like Superman, no matter how hard he “wanted” to.

Actually, we don’t have to wonder, do we?

No, because we see plenty of it from adults as well.

There isn’t a year that does not go by without at least one story of a young child dying because his or her parents decided that prayer was all that their sick or injured child needed in order to survive.  Not medicine, not bandages, just prayer.  And if the child dies?  Well then the parents just didn’t pray hard enough, did they?  After all, God supposedly answers all prayers; all you have to do is pray hard enough and long enough and your prayers will be answered.

A good majority of the people will tell you that this kind of thinking is asinine.  And yet, like I said, there isn’t a year that goes by that we don’t hear of at least one story about parents that let their child die because of it.

But this isn’t just some “fringe” dysfunction.  In fact, we’re hearing it more and more frequently now from the conservative and neo-conservative groups.

For instance… were you one of the millions that lost their job since 2008?  Finding it hard to get work?

Well then that is all your fault, according to the conservative and neo-conservative script!

You see, according to the script, work is simply a matter of your will and determination to get a job.  There are supposedly “plenty” of jobs out there for you to work.  The cons and neo-cons will point you to the Want Ads to say there is “plenty” of work.  All you have to do is “apply” yourself to finding a job and you’ll supposedly “get” one. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re not qualified for that work.  It doesn’t matter if some payroll and employment service has declared that anyone who doesn’t find work after a certain number of months is “unemployable”.  It doesn’t matter if you’re over a certain age.  It doesn’t matter if the company is posting the ad doesn’t really have work available.

No, according to the script championed by conservatives and neo-conservatives and newspaper editors and cable news channels, it is all just a matter of your “will” and “self-determination”.  You just have to “want” it bad enough and it will somehow be there for you.

And if you can’t find work?  Well then it’s “your” fault because you didn’t “want” it bad enough or try “hard enough”.  You must be “lazy” or “using drugs”.  You’re just a “taker” or a “moocher”.  A “deadbeat”.  A “loser”.

You think I’m kidding?  Just listen to the rhetoric from the cons and neo-cons.  Open up the editorials in your local newspaper.  Turn on Fox News or Bloomberg or CNBC.  You’ll hear that script be recited over and over and over again like Big Brother’s Ministry of Truth. 

Listen to the politicians, the elected grifters and shysters that preen themselves up like peacocks when the discussion comes to extending unemployment benefits to the people still looking for work.  They won’t necessarily have an “R” next to their name, but they will certainly channel their best Ayn Rand impersonation as they condemn those still out of work as being “quitters” and “weak”.  You’re just not “trying hard enough” in their eyes.  You supposedly need incentive.  You need to be drug-tested.  You need to suffer and be degraded and condemned because you just aren’t “trying hard enough”.

Like the parent that thinks all they need is to “pray harder” for their sick child instead of taking them to the hospital.

And this is not some new trend.  This is an extension of a rather old delusion that claims that “success” – no matter how you define it, for all you smartasses out there that hate that I’m exposing this little myth – is simply a matter of your “will” and “determination”.  “You can do whatever it is you want to do,” they would chant endlessly, “if you just put your mind to it.”

Really?  Because I was that young boy that once believed that he could fly like Superman.  And no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I put my mind into it, no matter how much I willed myself to fly, I couldn’t.  “Whatever it is”, you say?  To hell it is, I say!

As an adult, I have come across many a supposed “multi-tiered” or “multi-level” or “poly-phased” business “program” - which goes under many names as long as they don’t have to admit that it’s a pyramid scheme - that takes the myth of all-powerful self-determination to another level.  It tries to sell the idea that anyone can be a salesperson and be able to sell not only a product, but to also sell the idea that you can recruit other people to be a salesperson to sell the same product.  And all of this “success” is supposedly only limited to your “will” and your “self-determination”.  Except that it doesn’t work like that.  And I’ve seen that on more than one occasion by people that had all of the self-determination in the world and yet got nothing in return but aggravation.

Let’s get brutally honest here… while determination and will help propel a person forward, these thing alone are not enough.  No amount of will and determination can command the fates and forces of the universe to do your bidding, never mind the will and determination of other human beings.

I do not have the power to force a company to hire me, no matter how bad I “want” that job.  I can convince them I have the tools, but they have to first “want” to consider me.  I can send out a million-billion resumes, make phone calls, shake hands, go down each and every business and personally ask if they’re willing to hire me, but if they all say “no”, then there is nothing I can do to change that, no matter how much I “want” them to hire me.

So you tell me… if the final power of employment is not in my hands, then why am I being burdened with the end result?

Essentially what this myth of self-determination does is it shifts the ultimate responsibility away from those with the power to make it happen.  It’s “our” fault if we don’t find work, while the people that pride themselves as “job creators” take no responsibility whatsoever in actually creating those jobs and are not held to account when they refuse to.  Instead, they get rewarded, while we’re branded as being “lazy” and “drug-addicted” and lacking those mythical “soft skills”.  That should be a crime against humanity itself if there ever was one.

Much like the over-religious parents that delude themselves into believing that prayer can substitute for medicine, we have been suckered into a delusion that “self-determination” is all that we need to get what we want.  But beating yourself against a societal wall doesn’t always make the wall break, no matter how much you “want” it to.  It takes others to help make it happen.  Otherwise you’re just bashing your own head in for nothing but the merriment of those that get off playing such games on us.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week of 03/24/2014

New Rules Needed For Sequels
– by David Matthews 2

So Pixar, the animation studio that used to have some kind of connection to Disney, then did work for Disney, and then became fully owned by Disney, has announced they are working on the sequel to their 2004 hit movie “The Incredibles”.

When I first heard the news, I had some skepticism.  I’d like it to work, and I really hope they would keep the same chemistry and some of the characters that really made the original movie the success that it was.

But then the second thought that went through my head upon hearing that news was…

“Why?”

Oh, I already know the answer to that question.  It’s the same answer that applies to every other sequel that is made in Hollywood.  That answer is “Money!”  It’s always been about money and being able to suck every last dollar that studios can get from the great unwashed.

But, other than that eternal reason, why would there need to be a sequel to “The Incredibles”?

It was a good standalone story.  It pretty much resolved all of the underlying issues by the time it went to the end credits.  There wasn’t anything left hanging with it like some movies tend to do.  There really is no reason for Disney and Pixar to do a sequel other than because of the universal answer of “Money”.

And that got me thinking about some of the other movies that ended up as sequels.

“Ghostbusters”, for instance, didn’t really need a sequel.  It was a standalone story that answered pretty much all of the questions asked of it in the beginning.  Nor did “Caddyshack”, “Meatballs”, “Police Academy”, “Lethal Weapon”, “Friday the 13th”, “Nightmare on Elm Street”, or “Oceans Eleven”.  And that’s just scratching the surface.

That’s not to say that the sequels were just as good as or even better than their originals.  In some cases they were worse, like in “Caddyshack 2”.  For every “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” there were others more like “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment”.

And while direct-to-video has helped tremendously with making more movies available that would otherwise be ignored, it has also facilitated the production and distribution of bad sequels that would otherwise not survive production.  Did you know, for instance, that while the 1988 movie “The Land Before Time” was a box office success, it spawned a total of twelve sequels?  Twelve!  All of them direct-to-video, and none of those twelve sequel movies were associated with director Don Bluth or executive producers Steven Spielberg or George Lucas from the original movie.

Let’s get brutally honest here… I really think that the various studios need to come up with some sort of ground rules when it comes to doing sequels.  I don’t mean laws and regulations, even thought the power-whores in Washington would love to hear that.  I’m talking about guidelines that the studios would be more prone to enforce themselves.

Most certainly there needs to be another answer to “why make a sequel” besides “money”.  Is there some sort of underlying story that hasn’t been explored?  Some thread still left hanging?

Marvel Studios certainly knew how to do that with their series of movies, starting with “Iron Man”.  A few threads were left hanging, such as Jim Rhodes staring at a suit similar to “War Machine” and saying “next time, baby”, and the teaser after the credits of Tony Stark meeting with Nick Fury and mentioning the “Avengers Initiative”.  They opened the door to a sequel but could still keep the movie as a standalone feature.  The same with “The Incredible Hulk”.  By the time they got to “Iron Man 2”, you knew Marvel had a plan for future movies and they stuck with it.  Not bad for a so-called “upstart company”, even if it’s a subsidiary of both Disney and one of the big comic book publishers.

Certainly the studios need to understand and accept that there are simply some movies that do not need to have sequels.  Some stories are self-contained.  Would you want a sequel to “The Ten Commandments”?  Or “Gone With The Wind”?  No?  Then why do you feel there’s a need to have a sequel to “Independence Day”?

I think even stricter scrutiny should also apply to doing prequels.  One just has to look at the two “Star Wars” trilogies to see there are just way too many logical errors between the two groups.  How is it that Owen Lars, Luke Skywalker’s uncle, did not remember C3PO in Episode Four when his step-brother had left the droid to his mother in Episode One and was still on the farm in Episode Two?  Little things like this cannot be ignored or dismissed.

Let’s put this in a way that the studios will understand.  Studios expect to make money off their productions.  They believe that sequels are a cheaper way to have financial lightning strike twice since they already have audience support.  Well that “lightning” can only strike twice if the same conditions are there for it to happen.  Story, attention to detail, proper casting, chemistry… these must still be present.

We’re continually told that success is a matter of hard work and perseverance.  That is the myth spread by businesses.  If that is so, then the movie studios need to heed that advice when it comes to their own works.  Sequels should not be seen as cheats, but as higher plateaus to reach only if they work harder at keeping their audience.  Only then will they deserve the continued support they get.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week of 03/17/2014

The Real Potheads
– by David Matthews 2

They say that folks here in Georgia are not the sharpest tacks in the box.  Research, sadly, continually confirms this.  Georgia always ranks near the bottom in terms of education.  Our academic institutions will spend ten times more for athletes than they will for regular students.  School boards and teachers continually complain that their budgets are getting slashed to the core, and sometimes even through that.  The only good thing Georgia educators can say about the quality of education is that they’re not in Alabama. 

This is a state that will spend more for sports stadiums than on learning.  But, hey, at least we know how to play football, right?  Not like those “elite intellectuals” up north.

Now in case you have a hard time connecting the dots between this subject and the main subject of this article, understand that we elect the politicians that think like we do.  We don’t care for those “uppity elite intellectuals”, because we’re told they’re useless in society.  Hell, we won’t even buy salsa made in “New York City” (New York City!) because some commercial told us that it was wrong.  That is how extreme we get with this institutionalized anti-intellectual stance.

So there’s this bill up for consideration in the Georgia legislature.  It concerns the use of medicinal mari--… whoops, scratch that… cannabis oil to treat people, most notably children, that suffer from certain conditions, such as severe seizures.

It seems that the “acceptable” methods of dealing with these problems – in other words, all of the drugs by Big Pharma – just don’t seem to work.  What a shock, right?  But apparently cannabis oil does work.

There’s just one problem: cannabis oil comes from cannabis… a.k.a. marijuana.  Marijuana has been declared illegal by the federal government, not to mention the State of Georgia and every other state with the exception of Colorado.  For almost a century, we’ve been inundated with the continual script that says that marijuana is bad, wrong, illegal, immoral, destructive, and leads to death, destruction, destitution, immorality, post-nasal drip, that “not-so-fresh feeling”, not to mention a severe case of the munchies.  It’s a “gateway drug”, don’t-cha-know?  It leads to much stronger things… like late-night runs to Taco Bell.  (Hey, someone’s keeping them open and busy at those times of the night.)

And the script is so damnably strong and so damnably all-encompassing that anything associated with marijuana is tarred with the same brush.  Marijuana paraphernalia is wrong.  Flags and stickers featuring the marijuana leaf are supposedly “red flags” to denote use.  Even hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant that has no drug effects whatsoever, has been outlawed even though all of our earlier flags and America’s founding documents were all made with hemp.

Not only does this automatic guilt-by-association part of the script include cannabis oil, but it also includes any kind of research that would validate legitimate use of cannabis oil.

Okay, so what government first made illegal, it can make legal again.  The bill proposed sets up an oversight board, regulations as to how this would be used and who would use it, and immunity from arrest for people who use it.  It doesn’t legalize marijuana itself.  It doesn’t allow the creation of “grow houses” or “pot shops”.  It only legalizes cannabis oil under certain conditions and only for certain people; and those people cannot get high off cannabis oil any more than they could get high off hemp.

The Georgia House saw no problem with it.  They passed it overwhelmingly.

The Georgia Senate, however, has been taking their sweet time getting to a vote.  In fact, with just four legislative days left (as of this column) before they adjourn for 2014, there is a possibility that they may just let the clock run out and let the whole thing die.

I’m sure you’re asking “why”, right?  Well there is some talk about a dispute concerning which company makes the cannabis oil and how much money they would make off it.

But this commentator suspects there is something a little more primal behind the reluctance to pass this otherwise no-brainer of a bill.  And that reason can be summed up in an equally primal sentence:

“Well, duh, War on Drugs!”

That’s right, boys and girls, it’s the script!  It’s that damnable script from the cult of perpetual warfare that says that the government cannot give one inch of ground when it comes to their self-serving “War on Drugs”.  No retreat!  No surrender!  No negotiations!  No compromise!  Starve the babies!  Suffer the little children!  Better to have the sick die in agony than to have their precious “drug warriors” give up the high ground!

We’re being forced to pay millions in tax money to pay for the state to go after marijuana plants and even what they call “synthetic marijuana”… which is a category that they can never legally define but “they know it when they see it”.  They’ve already given law enforcement unlimited power to void the Constitution in order to go after this stuff!  And now we’re turning around and asking legislators to allow cannabis oil – taken from the actual plant – to be used to treat certain medical conditions?

I’m actually surprised the legislation even got this far!

And if you thought that was bad enough, then try this: the actual bill doesn’t even authorize the distribution and sale of the cannabis oil!  It’s only for research into it!  Research!

There are parents that are petitioning legislators to pass this bill, hoping that it would give them access to this cannabis oil for their children who need it, and it turns out that all it does is it authorizes research for possible future distribution.

Go ahead and read the bill if you think I’m kidding.  I have read it – all thirteen pages, twice – just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.  It’s all for “continued research”!

And yet Georgia legislators are still hesitant about passing it, because doing to apparently would violate their extremist cultist stance on the “War on Drugs”!

Let’s get brutally honest here… this is the depth of stupidity we have reached when it comes to politics.  We have a no-brainer legislation that would potentially help people – children – that need it to help get through life, and that legislation is being stymied and possibly even brought to a halt because doing so goes against some asinine political script!

These are the people we elect, folks!  These are the legislators we send to the Gold Dome in our name and with our tax monies!  If they’re siding with a script over actual taxpayers over something like this, then they’re fools.  But if we continue to send them back to the Gold Dome, then they’re really not the idiots… we are. And it’s high time (no pun intended) that we wise up and realize this.