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Medical marijuana, stolen copper among topics eliciting comments

Medical marijuana sparked a flurry of recent comments by MinnPost readers, along with such topics as Third District DFL candidate Ashwin Madia, the state budget deficit and North Side copper thefts, the first project financed by the new MinnPost Watchdog Journalism Fund. Here’s a sampling:

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In response to Robert Whereatt’s April 10 post, “Medical marijuana: A politically risky vote?” Barb Jacobs suggested:

Budget-deficit-be-gone idea: slap a “user fee” on the sensimilla. Voila, two problems solved!

Karl Bremer asked:

If those supporting medical marijuana are being called “soft on drugs,” why aren’t those opposing it being called “soft on pain and suffering?”

And an excerpt from Judy Anderson‘s comments:

Given the growing support for medical marijuana from some of the most prestigious health organizations in the world, Governor Pawlenty’s negative stance seems particularly ignorant and barbaric.

Ultimately, the politicians who have demonstrated such hostility toward the historical and scientific record of marijuana as a medicine will go down as some of American history’s biggest dunces and/or liars. …

Earlier this year, the American College of Physicians, the largest medical specialty organization in the United States, representing over 124,000 members, released a historic position paper on medical marijuana calling for:

1) Legal protection for medical marijuana patients.
2) Reconsideration of marijuana’s federal classification as a Schedule I drug (banned for medical use).
3) Expanded research.

The American College of Physicians publishes the “Annals of Internal Medicine,” the most widely cited medical specialty journal in the world, and joins [a large number of] national and international medical organizations in supporting immediate access to medical marijuana.

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John Krogstad added this to Joe Kimball’s April 10 Political Agenda item, “GOP taking no chances of a surprise ‘Sen. Ventura’ “:

I am sure Norm and Al are just shaking in their boots. This nonsense is nothing more than a bald attempt to sell [Ventura’s] new book. Personally, I wouldn’t check it out of the library.

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David Weidt
appreciated Eric Black’s Monday post, “Well-spoken Madia worked his brains out for DFL nod”:

Thanks so much for your fine effort in reporting the story of the 3rd District DFL convention. Apparently, this was not important enough for any other media outlets.

Glenn Miller
differed:

Wow. I haven’t read an article in a long time in which someone is irrelevantly described as “dark-skinned” and a woman is described as “bright” and “attractive.” Interesting bit of retro-style journalism within the cyber realm. I understand that journalist Black is trying to show the differences between 3rd Congressional District candidates Madia and Bonoff — especially in regards to the homogenity of Hennepin County’s western suburbs — but there must be a more contemporary way of doing so.

B.D. Maginnis
added:

Of course a die-hard liberal like Black breaks it down by ageist / sexist (even size-ist!) specifics.
Liberals are all about dividing and separating people into “categories”. Then they can prescribe the various ointments for what ails them.

I do look forward, as one of the “homogenous western suburbanites,” to Madia’s imminent defeat.

Neither Bonoff nor Madia bring anything close to what the wonderfully tall, white and respected Ramstad has provided us for many years.

The last thing we need in our “homogenous” western suburbs is more government intervention from the likes of Madia.

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Robert Moffitt commented on Susan Albright’s Monday World/Nation essay, “Food vs. fuel: Fast-rising costs raise specter of hunger”:

I challenge the exaggerated “food vs fuel” claims, and I’m not alone.

There has been a lots of finger pointing and accusations made (often by organizations or businesses that are raising prices or cutting services) that biofuels cause higher food prices, but very little independent research. While it is certainly a factor, I believe it’s not the largest factor in price increases.

One of few studies that has looked at this is a study by Robert Perrin of the University of Nebraska. His study, which was not funded by the ethanol industry, found that in the past five years, U.S. food prices have increased by 16 percent. He could only link 2 percent of that increase to ethanol production.

As for the comments from the finance ambassadors from India (which is taking advantage to the weak dollar to buy record amounts of U.S. grain) and Saudi Arabia (er, no comment), you have to take those in context.

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Craig Westover
opined on Steve Scott’s April 11 post, “Progressive Christianity is getting back onstage.” Here are excerpts:

The difference between God and a politician (pick your favorite target) is that God doesn’t think he’s a politician.

While it is politically correct and nonpartisan to say God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, perhaps the less Gnostic interpretation is, He is both — that part of the job description of “God” is ability to transcend Manichaean divisions of good and evil, not ignore them.

Nonetheless, the left and the right take fundamentally different approaches to politics and religion.

On the political right, the moral question is, “How does one reconcile one’s faith with politics?” The rise of the religious right has corresponded with the rise of the secular left. There was no clamor against same-sex couples, for example, until the religious right felt its beliefs demonized and threatened. The political activism of the right is in defense of its religious traditions.

On the left, the question seems to be, “How does one incorporate religion into one’s ‘progressive’ politics?” By its nature, ‘progressive’ politics is aggressive politics seeking change — the kind of change that threatens the religious right. One can infer from this article that the religious left feels somewhat outside of the political debate and now seeks to inject its faith to support of its politics. …

The right puts politics in service of faith. The left puts faith in service of politics. It’s ironic; the more noble sentiment is also the more destructive of both faith and politics.

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Charlie Quimby commented on Monday’s Community Voices essay, “Headlines tell the tale: ’08 budget deficit is child’s play next to Quie’s ’80s challenge,” by Mitch Pearlstein:
 
Gov. Quie said, “we solved the problem” and I don’t think he was using the royal we. We could use more that these days.

And John Olson recalled:

Wasn’t the composition of the House at that time 67-67 with Rod Searle (a Republican) as speaker?

One thing to bear in mind is that we did not have the modern conveniences of fax machines, cellular telephones, PDAs, personal computers (OK, the original IBM was just becoming noticed) or the Internet.

Constituency groups in those days had to do the old-fashioned phone calling, bulk mailings, newspaper ads, holding news conferences and praying for column inches, etc. Or, if you were a constituent, you called your elected official or sent a letter. No e-mail. No blogs.

Now, anyone can move terrabytes of information within seconds to preset e-mail lists, phone lists, SMS messages, etc. And it’s done 24/7.

I cannot imagine what it would have been like if today’s technology would have been available to lawmakers, policy analysts, advocates and opponents, and constituents alike in that era.

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Eve Borenstein
added this to Scott Russell’s Monday post, “Proposed standards may get pushback from nonprofits”:

Great article! I’m confident that the Charities Review Council’s impending refinement of standards will prove to be ahead of a curve that is developing across the country. Rich Cowles’ comments about the need to not have donors look to percentage of program expenditures are not surprising. In too many quarters, the need for charities to spend appropriately on management tasks has been overshadowed by pressure to push up one’s program percentage.

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John Pieper appreciated Ed Huyck’s April 10 post, “Interact’s play explores the brain — through the heart”:

Thank you to you and the audiences that have come and viewed the show. I’m deeply appreciative of the people who come and laughed and cried with us.

I think this play will become even more important in the months and years to come as we are seeing more and more young veterans surviving the war, but still changed by their traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress.

These are our children, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts and grandchildren coming back to us after serving their country. They too will know this change. I sincerely hope that our efforts can give them and all a candle of hope in a world of confusion and darkness.

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Loretta Holscher took issue with Jay Weiner’s Tuesday post, “A stomach-turning Olympic dinner with Mia Farrow”:

Mr. Weiner could use a reporting trip to Darfur. Did I sense a disconnect between his upset stomach and his emotional tendencies to minimize horror with his choice of the word “theatrical” to describe Mia Farrow’s presentation? Given what she has seen, I am amazed that she can contain herself at all.

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James Nordgaard praised Tuesday’s Community Voices piece, “My time in a madrassa,” by Marcia Lynx Qualey:

I want to thank you for your tone in your piece. All too often — including right here on MinnPost — I see the response to hatred, anger, ignorance and xenophobia with just more anger and hatred. Too infrequently do I see a response that serves to educate, and defuse the anger and prejudice.

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Keith Nordeen commented on Mike Mosedale’s April 10 story, “On Minneapolis’ North Side, copper-theft epidemic adds to mounting housing problems,” the first Watchdog Fund project:

I thought investigative journalism was a dying art due to cost controls and readers’ lack of attention span. Congratulations to Minnpost for funding this piece.

John Hoff added:

I’m over on 6th Street North, fighting hard to turn my block around and keep the empty houses secured until somebody buys ’em. And, yes, I called the police on a couple scrap metal guys who were going around with a baby cart loaded with hunks of aluminum siding and an aluminum door.

The problem is not just the scrap metal thieves but nobody watching the houses or — worse yet — nobody calling 911 when they see metal theft happening because, like it said on those T-shirts they used to sell on the North Side, “Rule No. 1 Of The Streets: No Snitching.”

Carrie Newhouse
weighed in:

This is not a new problem on the Northside. I have been working with investors there for years who have had copper stolen from homes they wanted to buy or were trying to rent or sell. The bigger news is the problem is spreading. The tougher times get, the more we will see desperate people looking to get a few dollars. The more we see people abandon their homes instead of trying alternatives (short sales and deed in lieu of foreclosure) we will continue to see copper and scrap thieves. And we may see even bigger problems with these vacant homes.


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Susan Lesch
commented on Mike’s Monday follow-up story, “Who steals copper? Kwan Manasseh, others like him”:

The Minneapolis copper thief I met at the University during the early 1990s looked like a young Keanu Reeves and dressed like Steve Jobs — one never can tell. As others have said, congratulations on your Watchdog Fund and this article. Best of luck to Mr. Manasseh.

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