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SB 269 and COMPASSIONATE USE

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN TEXAS WITH SB 269

In January of 2017, SB 269 was sent to the Heath and Human Services Committee of the Texas Legislature for review.  Filed by Senator José Menéndez (D),  the proposed legislation would expand the compassionate use program beyond low-THC (CBD).  Legal exceptions would allow medical grade cannabis under strict consultation and recommendation of a doctor. SB 269 would also increase the number of debilitating conditions that qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program (T-CUP).

“Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients,” said Senator Menéndez. “This is legitimate medicine that can help a variety of sick people, from the grandmother suffering from cancer to the veteran coping with PTSD after returning home from war.”

“Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients,”

IS T-CUP A VIABLE PROGRAM?

If SB269, or any other medical cannabis legislation, does the State of Texas have the ability to administer the program?  Under the current legislative plan, the Department of Public Safety would continue oversight, and monitor, enforce, and regulate the program.   But the current program is ineffective:  Even those who qualify for the program claim that the quality of the product and dosages are often inadequate.

“My son Miles would qualify under the T.CUP program.” states Debbie Tolany in support of the bill.  “However, it’s not an effective treatment for his disease because he needs stronger and more reliable medicine than what is allowed.”   Tolany supports Senator Menéndez’s bill because under current regulations, her son still suffers.  He needs medical cannabis.”

In addition to intractable epilepsy, cannabis has been shown to treat PTSD symptoms, without the side effects of dangerous anti-depressant medications.  Texas is home to 1.7 million veterans who are left out of the current program. After years of sacrifice and valor, the state needs to honor our nation’s heroes by granting them access to medicine that would treat PTSD, TBI, and other wounds of war.

MEDICAL CANNABIS IS A SAFER ALTERNATIVE

Medical cannabis has proven to be a safer and more effective drug than many prescription painkillers currently offered.  “Psychotropic and opiate based drugs have lasting and dangerous side effects for many veterans,” said Kate Cochran-Morgan, retired Hospital Corpsman Fleet Marine Force 3rd Class, Petty Officer. “As a service member in the United States Military, I fought for our country’s freedoms.”  Cochran-Morgan supports and advocates expansion of the Compassionate Use program.  “My fellow veterans and I should have the freedom to use medical cannabis to treat the diseases that still haunt us.”

CANNABIS:  A TOOL TO FIGHT THE OPIATE EPIDEMIC

The Texas Compassionate Use Program statistics shows a correlation between a reduction in prescription drug abuse by allowing alternative medicine. “Doctors should be able to recommend cannabis to their patients if they think it will help alleviate their suffering,” said Amanda Berard, a retired Army medic and current nurse in San Antonio. “This is especially true with regard to treating chronic and severe pain. We are facing an opiate epidemic in terms of addiction and overdose death.”  Berard also notes that states allowing access to medical cannabis for chronic pain have seen a reduction in the number of overdoses.

“COMPASSIONATE USE”  IS AN INSIDIOUS TERM OF PROHIBITION

The term itself begs the question of the intent of “compassionate use” laws. “Compassion should not be exclusive” Senator Menendéz claims.  Yet these programs are ineffective and restrictive, offering little comfort or compassion.   It does allow a state to offer a pathetic (pathos) appeal to anti-prohibitionists, while maintaining its 20th century stance on cannabis.  Senate Bill 269 will  provide real relief for those who need it most .

“It is time Texas steps up to the plate on behalf of our sickest patients.”  – Sen. Jose Menendez

http://www.khou.com/news/local/state-lawmaker-filing-bill-to-legalize-medical-marijuana/363540886

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/texas-senator-files-bill-to-expand-use-of-medical-marijuana/364433984

 

CANNABIS LAWS AND REGULATIONS

PA HIGH BANS CLASSIC LIT HUCKLEBERRY FINN: “It made students uncomfortable”

WHAT ELSE WILL BE BANNED OR BURNED IN A TRUMP AMERICA?

The LA Times recently reported that a Pennsylvania High School will remove The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the eleventh grade curriculum and school library.  Commenting, the school claims that the book “offends” the students.   This action supports white supremicist historical revisionists’ efforts to deny the existance of slavery in America.  Interestingly, such action is certainly in line with the Trump Administration’s bigoted stance, and his supporters are wasting no time in following the reality-show producer’s lead in the free expression of hatred, bigotry and lies.

Mark Twain was a white man who promoted freedom and abhorred enslavement. His story exposes of the insufferable behavior of a white male dominated South angered by the loss of the civil war.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn plainly tells how white male anger manifests into violence, poverty and segregation.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a rich commentary against slavery and  bigotry.   The important lessons of this book are never to be forgotten.

HUCKLEBERRY FINN AND JIM:  HISTORY IN REAL TIME

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn examines the segregated culture that emerged after the civil war.  Here, Mark Twain defines the reconstruction era in real time and examines the resistance to the end of slavery.   The story of a friendship between a white boy and a Freed Slave tells a truth that “historical revisionists” and “white supremists” do not want to admit.  In the post-slavery era of exclusion and segregation, even the idea of such a relationship was unthinkable, dangerously influencing young readers.  It was not long after, that prohibitionists utilized a similar “gateway” theory against beer and wine.

Bigotry is still rampant, throughout the country.  No longer confined to the Southern States, white supremacists are convinced that they are superior.  Therefore, any human rights abuses are at the fault of those at the receiving end of their spite.  Clearly, they are not to be blamed, and any evidence of such must be erased from  historical records and fading memories.

“I do not believe we are censoring” said the Friends Central School principal, according the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-pennsylvania-school-strikes-huckleberry-finn-from-11th-grade-curriculum-20151214-story.html). Instead, the school lays the decision to ban the book squarely on the students, claiming that the book “made them uncomfortable”.

huckleberrry finn

HUCKLEBERRY FINN IS A LESSON IN HISTORY AND LITERATURE, NOT A POLITICAL CORRECTNESS LECTURE

Importantly, Twain’s masterpiece sequel is a lesson in American history, literature and culture.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the most targeted books for censorship.  First banned almost immediately after its publication in 1885, the literary assault continues.  The use of the “n-word” is the most contentious element.  Today, it is considered an obscenity.  Even in the context of the times, it was a term of great racial disparity, and continued in common use well into the late 20th century.  The term had much less of the social and political power it garners today in an of age racial awareness and social media.   By not explaining this historical fact to the students, the school has committed an error in curriculum, not book choice.  Addressing the context and historical importance of Huckleberry Finn may ease students understanding of the issues addressed.

In conclusion, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells a truth that “historical revisionists” and “white supremacy” do not want to admit. Therefore, it is to the governments’ and white male advantage if posterity does not understand the importance of this book.  Possibly, any perceived offensiveness from 19th century verbiage is due to the lack of instruction in the assignment.  However, it is not surprising that a Trump America would prefer that the millennial generation never learn America’s true history.  Specifically,  they deny the suffering under brutish white male domination.  After all, these 17 year olds, exposed to the true evil of bigoted white men, will be eligible to vote in 2020.

(c) 2016 Kimmarie Rojas.

2016 Election Plan B — Is there a Morning-After Pill for this?

ELECTION PLAN B AND THE MORNING AFTER

Early ballot counts inadvertently predicted the 2016 Presidential election outcome. In a nervous and surreal suspension of time, Hillary Clinton held three electors against Donald Trump’s 19 votes, flipping collective liberal stomachs.  Watching Trump’s unexpectedly potent challenge of liberal expectations became more than a bad date.  The blue condom literally broke, with no Election Plan B to prevent conception.

Rather than spending a sleepless night in conjecture, I joined the many who quit watching during the few minutes Clinton held a marginal lead. After months of foreplay, we (the previously mentioned collective of now exhausted liberals) purposefully skipped the media’s rhetorical attempts at explaining the flawed pundit predictions and Pew polls with Polly-Ana platitudes.  I awoke the next day to news of the Trump electoral win, took a Xanax, then went back to bed to ponder a 2016 election Plan B.  No morning after pill for this election night screw.  Canada, perhaps?

Metaphorically sticking my head in the sand seemed the best advice to avoid anxious apocalyptic scenarios.  Scenarios, such as a yellow fluff of hair and a screwed-up face, screaming bigoted vengefulness with a finger on the BIG button.

IS THIS ELECTION PLAN B OR HAS NUCLEAR WINTER ARRIVED?

Ironically, the day after the election was so dreary; even the Houston sky was sad.  Checking for signs of a nuclear winter, not a single ray of sun penetrated the overcast sky.  No apocalypse, just a grey sky in an eerie show of sympathy to Harris County’s blue feminist and minority constituency.

By late afternoon, I bravely crawled out of my sheet-tent and took the walk of shame to my computer.   Megamedia speculations analyzing the largely unexpected Trump win dominated my home page.  I searched the headlines for an implementable election morning plan B–some intelligent assessment of sheer stupidity. Radio host and author Garrison Keillor caught my attention with his Washington Post opinion. In “Trump voters will not like what happens next”, Keillor analyzes the outcome and advises brooding liberals.

UNEDUCATED WHITE VOTERS JOIN THE PARTY

Keillor premises that The Donald’s largely uneducated white male supporters joined the Trump movement for the party, small “p”.  Caught up in the suddenly socially acceptable raucousness, they joined and enjoyed the madness. Let me even further surmise and clarify with a more accurate statement:  They were in it TO party.  Trump supporters were rolling on the actual festivities.  The beer, the hollering, the groping.  No one ever expected him to WIN the damn thing (2016).

Prior to the election, The New York Times reported a possible path to victory for Trump through the largest bloc of registered voters: uneducated white males. Their caveat to this hypothesis was that half of this demographic failed to intercourse with a ballot in the previous election, leaving 29 million sleeping votes. (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/07/us/how-trump-can-win.html).  Assured of Clinton’s win, the opposing party brushed aside any such threat, without the protection of an election plan B.   After the Election Day results, The New York Times reiterated their claim, and excused their caveat: The pre-election polls were simply unable to anticipate the large turnout of rural, white, working-class voters in key states (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/upshot/why-trump-won-working-class-whites.html), which begs the question, was it cognitive inability or technical inability? I boldly claim the former, positing that critical thinking processes were dismissed in favor of computer poll processing.

PLAN C: THE FAITHLESS ELECTORATE AND A RIGGED ELECTION

Now that he has won the Presidential election, let the Republicans deal with him, writes Keillor flippantly. Still, his benign words only temporarily comfort dejected liberals searching for an election Plan B to prevent implantation.

“I’ll accept the election results,” Trump finally acquiesces in a pre-election stump speech, his followers clapping at the ghost of a change in his contentious “we’ll see” stance. Then, after a long pause, Trump caveats his statement with celebrity theatrics: “if I win!” The crowd roars as he rants of a “rigged” election process, possibly the only truthful slip of the tongue during his campaign.   That he and Putin share a bed is obvious; the depth of their affair is unthinkably unexpected.

By the first Monday after the second Wednesday in the month of December, the time for an election Plan B passed, and an intense campaign to court faithless electorates failed (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/opinion/why-i-will-not-cast-my-electoral-vote-for-donald-trump.html?_r=0). Awaiting inauguration, Trump seems unconcerned that more than one-half of the country want’s him aborted as he fills a nepotistic and conflicted cabinet with assorted billionaires.

 THE TRUMP CONSTITUENCY:  STUPID, SCARED OR BOTH?

Although we cannot change America’s 2016 choice without changing our country’s founding premise of free elections, we can ignore the 2016 electoral choice…at least for the moment.  Then, Americans must examine the decline in intelligence and the rise in fear of our populace; or more concisely, how Americans went stupid with fear.  This socio-political phenomenon, first defined by Thomas Hobbes in the 17th century, explains how a frightened and neglected citizenry will choose a despotic leader rather than enter into a “state of nature” (1651) [i].

This is not news, yet the news missed it.  Liberal politicians and the educated electorate missed it, too. Statistical demographics of this election largely support the hypothesis that illiteracy, ignorance and fear rule too many American lives.  By capitalizing on the seething anger of under-educated eligible voters who suffered most in the 2008 recession, Trump re-enfranchised this previously quiet demographic with loud propaganda and undefined promises to “Make America Great (Again)”.

NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL FAILURE IS NO SURPRISE

“I am now going to pay more attention to teachers,” Keillor writes in his concluding sentence, positing that Trump won the presidency through the unexpected turnout of uneducated white voters. Keillor’s conclusion supports inductive reasoning of educational failure and fearful ignorance. Presently, there is plenty of support for this implicit claim.

Our educational system is broken, has failed us, and we know it.  American students rank 23rd in math and 31st in science compared to other industrial countries.  Greater than one out of every four adults read below a fifth-grade level (http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/09/opinion/bennett-stem-education/index.html). In September 2016, the Pew Fact Tank reported that uneducated white males preferred Trump over Clinton by 14 points. The same study found that educated white males favored Clinton by a 25-point margin. If the spread holds, researchers then prophesized, the 2016 election “…will be the widest educational divide in any election in the last several decades” (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/15/educational-divide-in-vote-preferences-on-track-to-be-wider-than-in-recent-elections/)

But for now, let the Republicans in power worry about Trump; roll out your yoga mats, grow some heirloom tomatoes, and read Jane Austen one more time, Keillor advises. Not necessarily the election Plan B that many would prefer, and so I caveat that advice with this thought: another election cycle is in four years. Liberals, start now to secure impenetrable protection, and have a Trump Re-Election Plan B ready.

 

[i] Thomas Hobbes’ (1588-1679) socio-political theory defines the “state of nature” as “the war of all against all“.  Only a strong, undivided political system could provide the social structure to prevent a “state of nature”, claims Hobbes. Hobbes explains this behavior by concluding that man’s greatest fear is a violent death at the hands of another [human being] (1651, Leviathan). [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellum_omnium_contra_omnes]

 

*Title inspired by @MxTr3y social media comment.

 

GARRISON KEILLOR: Trump voters will not like what happens next 

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