Thursday, October 28, 2010

Op-Ed in the NY Times yesterday -

From the New York Times yesterday regarding California's proposition 19. I posted the article here in its entirety BECAUSE IT MAKES SENSE!

Op-Ed Columnist

End the War on Pot


Published: October 27, 201

Nicholas D. Kristof

I dropped in on a marijuana shop here that proudly boasted that it sells “31 flavors.” It also offered a loyalty program. For every 10 purchases of pot — supposedly for medical uses — you get one free packet.

“There are five of these shops within a three-block radius,” explained the proprietor, Edward J. Kim. He brimmed with pride at his inventory and sounded like any small businessman as he complained about onerous government regulation. Like, well, state and federal laws.

But those burdensome regulations are already evaporating in California, where anyone who can fake a headache already can buy pot. Now there’s a significant chance that on Tuesday, California voters will choose to go further and broadly legalize marijuana.

I hope so. Our nearly century-long experiment in banning marijuana has failed as abysmally as Prohibition did, and California may now be pioneering a saner approach. Sure, there are risks if California legalizes pot. But our present drug policy has three catastrophic consequences.

First, it squanders billions of dollars that might be better used for education. California now spends more money on prisons than on higher education. It spends about $216,000 per year on each juvenile detainee, and just $8,000 on each child in the troubled Oakland public school system.

Each year, some 750,000 Americans are arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Is that really the optimal use of our police force?

In contrast, legalizing and taxing marijuana would bring in substantial sums that could be used to pay for schools, libraries or early childhood education. A Harvard economist, Jeffrey A. Miron, calculates that marijuana could generate $8.7 billion in tax revenue each year if legalized nationally, while legalization would also save the same sum annually in enforcement costs.

That’s a $17 billion swing in the nation’s finances — enough to send every 3- and 4-year-old in a poor family to a high-quality preschool. And that’s an investment that would improve education outcomes and reduce crime and drug use in the future — with enough left over to pay for an extensive nationwide campaign to discourage drug use.

The second big problem with the drug war is that it has exacerbated poverty and devastated the family structure of African-Americans. Partly that’s because drug laws are enforced inequitably. Black and Latino men are much more likely than whites to be stopped and searched and, when drugs are found, prosecuted.

Here in Los Angeles, blacks are arrested for marijuana possession at seven times the rate whites are, according to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance, which favors legalization. Yet surveys consistently find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks.

Partly because of drug laws, a black man now has a one-in-three chance of serving time in prison at some point in his life, according to the Sentencing Project, a group that seeks reform in the criminal justice system. This makes it more difficult for black men to find jobs, more difficult for black women to find suitable husbands, and less common for black children to grow up in stable families with black male role models. So, sure, drugs have devastated black communities — but the remedy of criminal sentencing has made the situation worse.

The third problem with our drug policy is that it creates crime and empowers gangs. “The only groups that benefit from continuing to keep marijuana illegal are the violent gangs and cartels that control its distribution and reap immense profits from it through the black market,” a group of current and former police officers, judges and prosecutors wrote last month in an open letter to voters in California.

I have no illusions about drugs. One of my childhood friends in Yamhill, Ore., pretty much squandered his life by dabbling with marijuana in ninth grade and then moving on to stronger stuff. And yes, there’s some risk that legalization would make such dabbling more common. But that hasn’t been a significant problem in Portugal, which decriminalized drug use in 2001.

Likewise, medical marijuana laws approved in 1996 have in effect made pot accessible to any adult in California, without any large increase in usage. Special medical clinics abound where for about $45 you can see a doctor who is certain to give you the medical recommendation that you need to buy marijuana. Then you can visit Mr. Kim and choose one of his 31 varieties, topping out at a private “OG” brand that costs $75 for one-eighth of an ounce. “It’s like a fine wine, cured, aged, dried,” he boasted.

Or browse the online offerings. One store advertises: “refer a friend, get free joint.” And the world hasn’t ended.

One advantage of our federal system is that when we have a failed policy, we can grope for improvements by experimenting at the state level. I hope California will lead the way on Tuesday by legalizing marijuana.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meet the Gubna.

Myself, My neighbor Ryan, and the soon to be governor elect of Colorado ,and the current Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper. Taken tonight at a rally at Steamworks in Durango.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall in Durango

Puppies are easy, easy like Sunday morning!

The aspen grove across the way.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here comes the sun

When we saw him at Ft. Lewis last spring, he claimed that this was the happiest song he knew of.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vikes / Pack, Sunday Nitro

The big game, on national TV this Sunday night from Lambeau. The spread - Vikes +3 with a 44 over/under. We'll see. Last year, you may recall the vikes beating the pack at home in one of the pack's worst losses of the season. Truly a glorious day. Here's to a repeat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vikes beat the Cowboys, Bears, Lions, and Pack loose

Yesterday was better than Christmas. The Bears and Lions get beat in close games, and the Pack drops a heartbreaker to Miami at home in overtime. Ha! The purple headed warriors showered themselves in glory at the dome, beating the worthless Cowboys. Take that, America's team. This was what the team needed heading in to next weeks national game at Lambeau. Go Vikes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Goblin Valley S.P., Utah

Check this sign out. Good thing we had a *vicious* goblin-munching doodle with us!

Three happy goblins, one is furry!

She sat on a goblin's head! (he looks upset)

This would be very cool at night in a full moon.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bob Marley Break

Little Wild Horse Canyon

The schmig stepped up and organized a trip out to Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon. I had not heard of either, but I am sure glad we went. Little Wild Horse is an easily accessible slot canyon cut through the San Rafael swell in south central Utah. There is a nice loop hike the exits out Bell Canyon, the next one over. It had rained heavily a few days earlier so there were some stretches of standing water in the narrows. There are also a dozen or so obstacles to get over/down along the way. We took it pretty easy and the hike lasted ~5hrs. The October weather was perfect, and earlier in the season, this would have been a scorcher.
Erica & Adam.

Rufus, Ollie, and a Schmig!

The puppy *LOVED* it and spent the days jumping in mud puddles and running back and forth "exploring" the canyon. He's gonna make a good trail dog for sure.

The Narrows.

More crazy rock features.

We ran in to our neighbor, Ben, half way through the hike.

The campsite on BLM land just outside Goblin Valley State Park.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Brewing 'Reggaemilitus' Stout

Decided to brew a batch based on a clone recipe for Sierra Nevada's version of Stout. I just wanted a dry, hoppy, easy drinking stout for the fall weather.
This was my little filthy brew-buddy for the day. He was a huge help!

The Mash.

The Boil.

O.G. 1.068 (recipe called for 1.066) on a 5 gallon batch. Not too shabby. I'll post the details if it comes out ok.
That's right, Mark Sanchez is gettin' dirty tonight when the Vikes lay the beat down in New York. The odds on the game reversed with the addition last week of Randy Moss, with the Vikes a 4.5 point favorite with a 40 point over/under. It's gonna be a big one on Monday Night!

Rodgers gets popped as 'Skins hustle Pack in OT

In another blow to their season, the Pack are reporting that Jermichael Finley is going in to have his knee scoped, Nick Barnet will have (possibly) season ending wrist surgery, and Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion in the last play of Sunday's loos to the Redskins. Rough day for the Pack. While I never want to see a guy get hurt, I do hope that Rodgers gets fielded in "The big helmet" next week. Ho Ho, Pack Buddies! Any more starters drop out, and it's going to be even harder to beat Detroit next time!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Moss to return to Vikes, Pack said to forfeit NFC north as of 3pm CDT

Hola Pack-Buddies! And with a quick bye-week manouvre, the Vikes pull Moss out of New England and back into the dome. He ain't 24 any mo, but dude has legs, height, hands, and attitude. Anybody else remember when he wiped his crack on the upright at Lambeau? It was a thing of beauty. In related news, the Pack and Bears have reportedly conceded the NFC north as of 3pm CDT. Next Year, fellas.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Signs of Fall in Durango

A sure sign that despite the warm weather, fall is here. On stage left sits my first attempt at Sauerkraut, complete with local juniper berries in the jar. To the right of that is this years batch of hard cider, made with molasses, brown sugar, cinamon and cranberry juice - that one should be potent! To the right of that is the "Red X" Hempen Ale, a Robust Porter made with hemp seed and cascade hops. Finally, on stage right, a yeast starter growing out some Sierra Nevada Yeast (*THE* chico ale) for a SN Stout clone I plan on getting to later this week. I'll post the recipes if they warrant posting. Check out the "Brewing" category for some of the recipes I have used in the past.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Durango to Silverton RR

Took a private ride up the tracks today.

The weather was perfect and the colors were below prime in town, at prime in Cascade, and just past up top.

My kind of work!