Friday, April 21, 2006

Decline of Western Civilization—Part V I--Everybody knows there's no sanity clause

Look, we sat in the back room smoking a joint and this is the best we could come up with--The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday there was “no sound scientific studies” to support the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The announcement, of course, directly contradicts a study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science which says exactly the opposite. Strike another blow for the Bush administration’s war against science. It also is another in a long situations in which the states have assumed leadership in American society because Washington is a lost cause. Think Massachusetts and health care. Eleven states have legalized medicinal use of marijuana and have repeatedly told the federal government to shove its objections. The Supreme Court ruled that the feds can arrest anyone using marijuana even if they are complying with state law, but that decision is unlikely to last very long. The Supremes are getting older and you know, some get sick and... A spokesman for the Institute of Medicine said the FDA statement was wrong--which it is.

Go To Jail. Go Directly to Jail. Yahoo! Sent you--Yahoo!, the ubiquitous Internet company has now helped the Chinese government send a third pro-democracy Internet writer to jail. Reporters Without Borders has obtained a copy of a verdict in the case of Jiang Lijun, who was sentenced to four years in prison for exercising free speech. Yahoo! helped the police finger him. According to the rights organization, Yahoo! is responsible for squealing on most of the people the group is defending. Yahoo! and Google, which has also sold its soul, claim they have no choice if they want to do business in China. Yes they have. They can move their servers out of the country. Or not do business there. They really do have choices. We all do.

Look, skepticism is a psychiatric disorder and we just happen to have a little pink pill--A study at Tufts University found that 56% of the 170 experts who put together the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the bible of psychiatry, had a monetary relationship with a drug company. I know. I know. You find that hard to believe. Do keep in mind we’re talking about an industry that comes up with a drug first and then finds a disease for it. According to the Tufts researchers, 95 of the experts who worked on 1994 edition of DSM had at least one monetary relationship between the years 1989 and 2004. Usually, it meant research funding. Lisa Cosgrove, the lead author, said that doesn’t mean there was influence but it does mean the manual doesn’t have a disclosure policy. People using the book need to know this. One defender, Michael First of Columbia, said the drug companies had absolutely zero influence on the contents. This is the book that lists dozens of normal human attributes as diseases for which--wait for it--there just happens to be a drug. Uh huh.

1 comment:

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