Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Choose your mosques

The controversy surrounding the "Ground Zero Mosque" is deeply depressing. President Obama gave a reasonable explanation of why the community and religious center should be allowed to be built, but the vitriol directed at both Obama and the building is shocking.

Ignoring the actual Constitutional text ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"), I was under the impression that the new wave of Conservatives wanted smaller government, i.e. less government interference. Why, then, demand the government stop the construction of this project? It calls to mind other small government conservatives, such as New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who recently took over control of Atlantic City, or on a lesser scale, the tea party members who deride other people's handouts while continuing to take for themselves.

I don't mind people holding opposing views to my own. I mean, certainly I disagree with the views themselves, but there is a certain level of respect for people who live by their beliefs. The phonies, the hypocrites, the connivers - I don't care for them. If you're a small government conservative, then be that way. Keep the government out of our religion, out of our marriage, out of our reproduction. Be consistent. Don't use government only when it is suitable to oneself, and don't use government to oppress others.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for whatever faults he may have, illustrated the point perfectly:
“The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.
Otherwise, just drop the pretense and be like me. If I was ruler, I would be a terrible fascist, and all would be crushed under my relentless heel. The country would quiver and shake at my cold, calculating callousness! I would bathe in the blood of my enemies, and then I would bathe in something else to get the sticky blood off of me. And then I would laugh!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The cleanest drug

In the good old days, people used to smoke a joint to get high, or if they were particularly 80s, do a line of coke. Maybe drop some acid, maybe shoot some heroin with a dirty, HIV laden needle. Safe, fun stuff. Kids these days, though, they do all kinds of weird shit. They suffocate themselves, they take their parents' prescription pills, they huff propane(?!).

I understand that it's a lot cheaper to inhale whippets (not the dog), but that can't be good for you. Last year I read about this great new drug, and it is full of amazing things. Are you sitting down?

It's called tap water. And it's hot.
Around the world, scientists are finding trace amounts of substances—from sugar and spice to heroine, rocket fuel, and birth control—that might be having unintended consequences for humans and wildlife alike.
* * *
After a person has taken drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy, active byproducts of these substances are released into the sewage stream through that person's urine and feces.

These byproducts, or metabolites, are often not completely removed during the sewage-treatment process, at least in Europe, said Sara Castiglioni of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy.

That means the drug-tainted wastewater can enter groundwater and surface water, which are collectively the major sources of drinking water for most people.
I know what you're thinking. "Europe? That's a whole 'nother world. How am I supposed to get access to that?" Don't worry, my friends, it is now available Stateside.
In Philadelphia, the water department has not informed its 1.5 million users that traces of 56 pharmaceuticals or their byproducts — like the active ingredients in drugs to treat depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, fever and pain — have been detected in the drinking water, and that 63 pharmaceuticals or byproducts had been found in the city's source watersheds.
Enjoy the rest of your summer by putting away the bong or the rubber cement, and instead enjoy some fresh, poorly processed water straight from the best drug dealer in town, the kitchen sink.