Up in smoke.

The blues jam I mentioned yesterday was family-friendly and included everyone from babies to seniors, but it was impossible not to note the smell of marijuana in the air from time to time. As we were leaving, I looked around and saw two men in their 60s, passing a joint back and forth.

There’s been some good data published in the last year on the difference between black/white marijuana use (not much) and punishment for same (a whole lot). I thought of that when I read today that Michael Brown “had marijuana in his system,” which led to the usual cocked eyebrows here and there, as though being stoned — or, as this story points out, not being stoned, but only being guilty of having consumed marijuana sometime in the last month or so — explains everything.

I get up pretty early these days, and sometimes I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, and I will turn on my iPad and check Twitter. Ferguson keeps burning. I find this terribly depressing. So does Charles Pierce, it would seem.

You should also read this Ta-Nehisi Coates piece:

We are being told that Michael Brown attacked an armed man and tried to take his gun. The people who are telling us this hail from that universe where choke-holds are warm-fuzzies, where boys discard their skittles yelling, “You’re gonna die tonight,” and possess the power to summon and banish shotguns from the ether. These are the necessary myths of our country, and without them we are subject to the awful specter of history, and that is just too much for us to bear.

When is this going to end? Who can make this situation right? Maybe the National Guard. But I doubt it.

Some slightly less depressing bloggage. The hipsters vs. family models of urban development.

How much is $100 worth in your state?

What’s Tuesday worth? We’re about to find out.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |

32 responses to “Up in smoke.”

  1. Sherri said on August 19, 2014 at 1:52 am

    The ridiculous racial disparity in enforcement and sentencing was a big factor in the push for legalization of marijuana in Washington. The ACLU was one of the major sponsors of the initiative.

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  2. Dexter said on August 19, 2014 at 2:56 am

    A friend’s parents live in a gated community in Florida. It’s one of those where the condos surround a golf course. Golf carts are everywhere, as the old folks drive them inside the gates, everywhere. From what he told me, these retirees are catching up on what they may have missed in their careers: all the time in the world to stay stoned as long and often as they desire. My friend’s mother told him that way over half the residents (by her guess maybe 60%) openly smoke weed as they drive their carts, and security officers pay no attention at all. Drive one drunk and cause any damage, instant long-time suspension of cart-driving privileges, however.
    The mom told my friend that it’s difficult playing a round of golf for all the duffers telling stories and laughing and slowing down the process. “May we play through?” is the mantra of that gated community.
    I am enjoying Jon Voight and Steph DuVall’s interactions on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan”. Steph plays “Shorty”, a terminally ill cancer patient, a former safe cracker, who has access to all the weed he needs, and he shares with Voight’s Mickey Donovan character in a seedy rooming house where Mickey is condemned to live by his parole officer (Wendell Pierce). They share joints and it gets really funny. DuVall has been around for years but I never paid attention before this show.

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  3. David C. said on August 19, 2014 at 6:26 am

    I couldn’t be paid enough to live in any of the states where $100 is worth significantly more. How odd.

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  4. Alan Stamm said on August 19, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Thanks for linking to Charles Pierce’s Esquire gem with this bulls-eye:

    “It is plainly time for Chief Thomas Jackson to go to the dog track with his name pinned to his sweater. If there’s something else he could have done to inflame an already volatile situation, I can’t think of what it is.”

    We benefit from your insomnia.

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  5. Wim said on August 19, 2014 at 7:53 am

    You have to understand that to Jay Nixon and the Republicans who run the state, the problem of Ferguson is one of bad press. They are not troubled, as you might think, by international dismay at the deployment of armored police, but rather by domestic criticism of Nixon coddling those people. Hence the swift return of the armored vehicles and sound cannons and gas masks. Jay Nixon has national ambitions that would be wounded by seeming weak in this matter, or God forbid, letting those people get away with this. Nothing is going to make this right, because no one in power would reap any benefit from righting it.

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  6. beb said on August 19, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Charles Pierce and Ta-Nehisi Coates are both good. Another illumination point about Ferguson is how the town raises revenue — through traffic fines.

    It’s like a neverending war on Black People.

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  7. brian stouder said on August 19, 2014 at 8:24 am

    As I understand it, regular folks are (rightly) angry that nobody has yet been arrested for this.

    The regular people therefore march and protest and mingle and pray and cajole and demonstrate –

    until the sun goes down and the people who want trouble (both in uniform and civilian) get their way.

    My assumption – possibly wrong – is that when they arrest and try the guy who shot the kid, the daylight crowds will dwindle, and the troublemakers will have to either retreat or else stand out, and the trouble will evaporate

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  8. Julie Robinson said on August 19, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for all the good wishes yesterday; I send them back to y’all too.
    I’m still pretty sure I blinked and it was 35 years later. I can’t have been married that long, because that would make me…old.

    And as areas schools have all begun now, I’d like to send our former governor back for remedial English instruction. Backstory: as governor, Mitch Daniels decimated the state education model while appointing trustees to Purdue, who conveniently returned the favor by naming him PU President. Last week he gave an interview in which he stated that the local campus (a hybrid of IU and PU) had no place doing research or hosting doctoral programs.

    Cue outrage at the local campus, led by professors who rightly pointed out, among other facts, that Daniels himself approved a doctoral program in nursing at our campus. And now he has retracted himself and put his foot in his mouth at the same time.

    The money quote: “My recent radio interview comment was more concise and general than it should have been as I discussed the role and importance of our distinct campuses,” he said in an email sent Monday to several IPFW leaders. http://jg.net/article/20140819/LOCAL/308199989

    Concise and general at the same time? Back to class for you, Mitch!

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  9. coozledad said on August 19, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Repressive regimes, no matter if they’re a cracker armored division out of some bumfuck, don’t care about compliance. It’s detrimental to their aim of stirring shit to further their own authoritarian aims.

    A police department equipped with armored vehicles and automatic weapons can and will deploy agents provocateurs. To paraphrase Daniel O’Connell, the Ferguson police will cherish and foment treason at this dreadful period, and allow the traitors to be at large with impunity that treason my ripen into an extinguishable insurrection. It’s a time honored way of making the most of your pissy ideas of power and control.

    The US can’t let a bunch of hick Missouri cops plunge the whole country into the troubles.

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  10. Jolene said on August 19, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Last night on Twitter, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, said that police sources told her they had more than a dozen witnesses who confirm the shooter’s version of events, which, I gather, is that Mike Brown charged the officer and did not stop until he was dead. I can only imagine what will happen if the prosecutor or the grand jury find no probable cause to arrest and indict Darren Wilson.

    By the way, does anyone know what determines whether a prosecutor files charges directly vs. taking the case to a grand jury to seek indictment? Must consult Google.

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  11. Jolene said on August 19, 2014 at 9:20 am

    “reporter said,”not “reporter, said.” So annoying.

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  12. brian stouder said on August 19, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Even if that story is substantially true – killing the kid sounds like murder, to me.

    Is this all the better the police there are trained?

    That in a fight, their first resort is – empty your weapon into the person?

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  13. Kath said on August 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Dexter – What is it with retirees and pot? A friend of mine’s parents are retired and live on a lake in northern Minnesota. Their pot dealer sits out in the middle of the lake in a pontoon boat, and the lake residents boat out to buy weed.

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  14. Charlotte said on August 19, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Seriously? White, blonde CNN reporter asks her black co-anchor “why don’t they just use water cannons?” I thought this was a Saturday Night Live spoof at first: http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/cnn-anchor-suggests-police-use-water-cannons-on-ferguso-1623716431

    I have to say, I’m actually shocked at the racism among people I know — my parents, I’m used to that, and even my beloved stepmother who is only 8 years older than I am and who feels that “they go to far” — but my peers? Who keep going on about molotov cocktails and property damage as though that justifies gunning down an unarmed teenager?

    I guess I’ll just go take the manic puppy for a walk.

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  15. nancy said on August 19, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Brian, it is standard procedure that once you open fire, you keep shooting until the threat is neutralized. I’ve seen many comments by war vets that the headshot Brown suffered was common in battle — it’s usually the last one, as the body is crumpling.

    Seniors and weed is a story waiting to be told. One of my colleagues said his 72-year-old mother asked him to get her some, that she “wants to try it.” I told him to try for a strain that won’t make her dizzy, because that’s one story he doesn’t want to tell in the ER when she’s lying there with a broken hip.

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  16. brian stouder said on August 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Nancy – the head-shot-as-he-crumples makes sense, and I’d not heard that before.

    The initial story of “struggle for the gun” is seriously undermined, though.

    Still seems to me that this needs to go before a jury, and not end up in the ‘circle file’.

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  17. Heather said on August 19, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Charlotte, I was pretty disheartened by my own boyfriend’s comments. He’s a liberal guy living in a poor African-American neighborhood in Chicago, where he sees the long-term effects of poverty and racism firsthand, and yet he still was arguing about the best way not to get hassled by police is to not do anything wrong. To be fair, we were in the wilds of Wisconsin all last week with little access to news coverage and the details of the case, but he is so oblivious of his white male privilege sometimes, it was really hard for me not to bite his head off. I did tell him his attitude really distressed me, which at least made him think about his assumptions. Hopefully I can chip this down bit by bit.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on August 19, 2014 at 11:39 am

    We’d all be better off if we remembered the old line about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.

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  19. alex said on August 19, 2014 at 11:47 am

    The unarmed police shooting victim “going for the cop’s gun” story is as phony as the old “self-defense against gay sexual aggression” story as justification for the cold-blooded killing of gays. Fuck the lazy media for even entertaining it as a real possibility.

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  20. Sherri said on August 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Back the Michael Brown story up a bit, before the possible “going for the gun” part. A couple of kids were walking down the middle of an empty street in their own neighborhood. Cop come driving up and tells them to get out of the middle of the street. Ask yourself, what reasonable scenario can you construct that ends with a cope shooting an unarmed person six times?

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  21. J. Bruce Fields said on August 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    “The hipsters vs. family models of urban development.”

    Uh, we can’t build small apartments or big buildings, because those are for rich hipsters. So, let me guess, prohibiting big new apartment buildings is the path to affordable housing? Good luck with that.

    (Yes, I can believe that cities that are less dense are also more affordable. That doesn’t mean that within a given city you can get affordability by mandating less density.)

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  22. Hattie said on August 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    The boomers are getting old, but that doesn’t mean they intend to grow up. They are spoiled and self indulgent. Talk about a blanket condemnation, but honestly it’s all I see. And they haven’t worked hard. That’s crap. They always have had it easy, as a group. I’m a little older, born in ’39, and was brought up with a lot of restrictions. So I’m not inclined to experiment with drugs, sex, etc. especially not in old age. I think that’s grotesque and unbecoming behavior and that’s a fact. All right, I’m an old pooperoo, but I can face myself in the morning!

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  23. Peter said on August 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Julie, then you don’t want to look at last Sunday’s Tribune: They had quite the homage to Mitch and all of the wonderful things he’s done at Purdue to bring it up to par with their Big Ten colleagues – and doing that without raising tuition. Just cut back staff and raise them fees. I couldn’t bring myself to read the article.

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  24. brian stouder said on August 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Mitch Daniels’ antics could drive one to his brother Jack.

    First on the guy’s resume’ is that the guy was W’s budget director – which is akin to being proud of having been the guy who steered the HMS Titanic to its fate.

    Purdue leaps to snap him up at the end of his gig as governor of the Great (if politically benighted) State of Indiana, and my fine young son begins his (somewhat stunningly expensive) post-secondary education at an institution that Daniels just finished pissing all over.

    My man Mitch might go milk his mouse, for all I care

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  25. Dexter said on August 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Many years ago when I was about 26, I was taking my dad to the garage so he could pick up his car. I hit a bump and the sprung glove box door popped open and my ounce baggie was right there in front of Dad. ” Is that yours?” “Yep, Dad, hey, did you ever try it , like maybe in Pensacola or out in Alameda in the Navy?”
    “Nah, we got drunk once in a while but never smoked that stuff”.
    I’d bet that was the only time Dad had ever seen weed since Grandpa was puzzled by a giant plant that puzzled Grampa, and he took it into the county seat to the ag officer for ID’ing, and the officer said he had to dispose of it right away because it was marijuana. Answer given, “…well I’ll be darned” uttered, end of story.
    Mom hated hearing or seeing pot stories on TV…those two parents of mine would never touch a “stick of tea” , as the Beats called it.
    I was a casual social smoker for a few years post-army days, but quit, just feeling I had outgrown that scene, many years before I gave up booze, too. Now with asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, smoking anything turns me off at the consideration.
    My recovery group people are adamant in believing “the marijuana option” is a violation of one’s sobriety. I don’t get involved in those discussions…I quit because I was tired of the game of finding it, it was illegal, and just for me, it seemed better suited to the young adults. When the oldsters started “getting hip”, and I heard about all this, it sort of blew my mind, mon. 🙂

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  26. brian stouder said on August 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Not good


    The lead:

    (CNN) — St. Louis police shot and killed a young African-American man Tuesday after authorities say he brandished a knife.

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  27. Charlotte said on August 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Saw this on the tweeter and actually had a little laugh thinking you all might find it amusing. Not to worry Fergeson, Charlie LeDuff is on the scene (his twitter acct. of course):

    Met @Charlieleduff in Ferguson, MO… As REAL as they come. pic.twitter.com/g9EUnzBVrF” the feeling is mutual.

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  28. Suzanne said on August 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I saw the “Isn’t Mitch Daniels just the bee’s knees” article, too, over the weekend and couldn’t read it. For one thing, I wasn’t aware that Purdue needed turned around, except maybe their sports teams. They seem to be enrolling plenty of students and the graduates seem to be getting employed.
    Sure, Mitch saved money! He hired a bunch of adjunct profs (I know one) with no benefits and who didn’t know semester to semester how many classes they’d teach, and so, how much money they’d make. But, who needs to pay teachers? Right?
    I could revolutionize my household budget, too, if I’d just quit feeding my family and pets, stop running the furnace, and sell the car. The balance sheet would look great until we started starving and freezing to death. But nothing will happen to Mitch because, well, this is Indiana and Purdue is known for it’s engineering programs, not for progressive thinking.

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  29. MichaelG said on August 19, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    There is a patient in an isolation area here in a Sacramento hospital who is being tested and treated for exposure to the ebola virus. The facility is a Kaiser hospital in South Sac but no details have been released about the person. I guess, as noted by the head of the NGO for which the two victims in Atlanta worked, the cat is out of the bag.

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  30. Deborah said on August 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I had an interesting day in Taos, we have friends who are architects in the area who have contractor relationships which could be helpful in our project. But mainly I realized that about a year ago I went on my adventure at Beaver Brook where 10 of us built most of a sauna. I still have fond rememberences of that experience.

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  31. Heather said on August 19, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I was just looking at the tweets about James Foley, the missing American journalist in Syria who was beheaded by terrorists, and saw a gruesome photo I really did not want to see. My boyfriend knew him. I don’t want him to Google the news and see any of those images. How awful.

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  32. Charlotte said on August 19, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Argh Heather — I can’t imagine. I haven’t even dared to click any link for fear of that. So horrible, so sad, and such a handsome talented man. One thing too many this terrible week.

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