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Sep 25

Ladies & Gentlemen of the jury in the court of Public Opinion, I would like to take a long moment to explain a viewpoint I have in order to clear any misconceptions you may get from me from any posted links, rants or associations.

The subject at hand: Marijuana legalization, and my support of such.

My manifesto here, as it has become, is my opinion based on information I’ve found after asking a lot of questions and doing some lengthy digging. I don’t want you to take my word as “gospel” so to speak, but rather use it as a footstep for your own fact-finding.

First off, you must understand that my support for the legalization of marijuana is solely limited to that. I’m supporting a legalization effort, and awareness of such. I’m not condoning any illegal use/misuse in any way, nor am I suggesting that I use/don’t use in any way because that’s not the point. What I am saying is that I believe the laws around marijuana need to be changed.

My fellow citizens, as a population of a nation, we have been LIED to. We have been made to fear something with absolutely no basis for this fear. We (all) additionally pay astronomical amounts of money each year and ruin hundreds of thousands of lives needlessly, all while blindly ignoring facts, or living without the proper knowledge as to the facts of marijuana.

The rest of the world is slowly waking up regarding the true benefits and truth behind the myths of marijuana. I stand hopeful that America can do the same.

I could write novels reiterating information I’ve read over the last year regarding marijuana from a recreational and medicinal usage standpoint, and hemp (not to be confused with something that is going to get you high) as an industrial product, but I’ll simply post a few links here and encourage you to enlighten yourself should you be interested.

Industrial hemp:

http://naihc.org/hemp-information/286-hemp-facts

General marijuana facts:

http://norml.org/

http://www.mpp.org

(please don’t confine your education to the popular links above, but they are good starting points)

What are my pet-peeves & what is driving me to this?

1. Federal laws & State laws directly conflict & contradict each other. Federally, marijuana is illegal. Period. End of story. It is federally classified as a Schedule I drug next to LSD, Meth, Heroin and a whole host of other nasty drugs, all of which have “no known medical uses” (which is obviously untrue for marijuana based on the government synthesizing their own version of it for medical use, but I digress to another tangent.). Interestingly enough, among less restrictive Schedule II drugs, you’ll find cocaine, morphine, opium and much more. Anyhow, back to my point… Federal laws trump State laws. At the moment I write this, 16 states + Washington DC have medical marijuana laws which allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients, and (somewhat) removes patients from prosecution for possession and use at a state level. HOWEVER, since it’s still Federally illegal, the DEA (or any other Federal agency) can, at any moment, arrest and prosecute ANYONE using, growing, selling, distributing marijuana, even in states that say it’s legal. To put this ridiculousness into perspective, imagine some guy from across town, coming over to your house, kicking down your door and grounding your kids for watching spongebob because he doesn’t think they should; yet you find it perfectly acceptable in your own home… Crazy eh?

2. Marijuana has repeatedly been classified as “less dangerous” than Alcohol and Tobacco by multiple agencies (private & govt) around the world (and when you go back to the Sched I, Sched II classifications above it’s just mind boggling). Both alcohol and tobacco are legal, readily available and widely used. From multiple sources and studies, roughly 50,000 people die annually from alcohol poisoning (we won’t go into “alcohol related” deaths, just looking at toxicity). Over 400,000 people die each year from smoking tobacco. Yet marijuana has been proven to be non-toxic. Yes, that’s right all you “drugs will kill you” educated folks, you literally CANNOT FATALLY OVERDOSE on marijuana! There has not been a single recorded death from a marijuana overdose. However, there have been multiple deaths from Marinol, which is a synthesized version of marijuana originally patented by the US Govt (and later sold) but remains the only FDA approved THC based painkiller (which is quite interesting since sched I drugs which marijuana is have “no know medical uses”).

3. Prescription painkillers currently available, used for those who have debilitating long-term pain are some of the absolute worst things you can put in your body. Many of them have ravaging long-term use side-effects which are simply not present in marijuana. More importantly, the addiction rate/probability is also astronomical in currently available prescription painkillers where studies have continually failed to prove addictive properties with marijuana. Here’s the big catch. When you start doing research on this you will see “Drug Treatment” statistics which are pretty high. However, what you don’t see is that the overwhelming majority (think high 90% rate) of those who “seek treatment” are not seeking it voluntarily and DO NOT NEED IT! They’re going because they were busted for simple possession and a court gave them the option of being “rehabilitated” or sitting in jail or a large fine. “Admit you’re a communist and we will let you go”.

4. Dollars and Sense – Not even looking at the larger “War on Drugs”, but simply focusing on Marijuana Prohibition, the US spends an estimated $10,000,000,000.00 (that’s $10 BILLION DOLLARS) annually, and incarcerates over 850,000 people annually (with this number going on the rise each year) on marijuana charges. Out of those, almost 90% are simple possession charges. If legalized, regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, the estimates are a REVENUE of +$22 billion annually while eliminating $10B in costs. Which makes more sense? Locking almost 1 million people up mostly for a simple small possession which costs about $10k each basic booking, or generating revenue? This is a clear $32 BILLION dollar difference in the nation’s economy. All while reducing over-crowded prisons, making room for violent offenders whose terms are cut short to house a kid (generally a minority) who grew a plant or had a couple of ounces of marijuana. And yes astute reader, I played the ‘race game’. Facts are facts, and the facts are that blacks and latinos are arrested and charged far more often than white people are when it comes to marijuana possession/use, while the usage percentages are about the same.

5. “Marijuana, the Gateway Drug” – This cry has been used for decades to support the continued criminalization of marijuana. Let’s apply some logic to this, just simple logic… Marijuana is the 3rd largest “recreational drug” utilized in the country, right behind the top 2, alcohol & tobacco. It has been used by around 100 million people in this country. Most of the people who read this have at one point or another tried, used, or still use marijuana. Out of those, and you, how many have moved on to harder drugs? Where are the 100 million heroin/meth/cocaine/lsd users? They simply don’t exist. There is no correlation between the two. This has been statistically proven multiple times.  Further, for those reading who have tried it and think it’s a “gateway drug”, which did you try first?  Marijuana or Alcohol/Cigarettes?  If you want to apply the gateway theory go back to your own roots for it.

6. “Think of the Children” – Yes, let’s think of the children. Do we want to continue telling them that the world is flat?!? NO! We don’t! So we need to stop lying to them about marijuana, and start educating them about it. Further, when you start getting concerned about marijuana being available at the local dispensary, drug store, gas station, etc and worried about your kids getting their hands on it, think back to your school years, or simply ask your kids which is easier to get – Alcohol or Marijuana. The fact is, surveys continue to show that among middle and high-school aged kids, marijuana is easier for them to get than alcohol or tobacco. One can surmise that once removed from the ‘black market’, the availability to minors would be reduced significantly. Yet you’re naive to think you will ever remove availability to kids. Whether legal or not, regulated or not, kids can and will always get tobacco, alcohol and yes, marijuana and other drugs. However, when it’s at the top of the list of availability and the current policy is failing to provide any results, something should be done indeed. In general, people following the law have a reason to care who they’re selling to; people who are selling illegally don’t have such a vested interest in their clients.

Ultimately, I could go on for quite a while as to why I believe marijuana should be legalized and isn’t this “big bad demon” that ONDCP makes it out to be which, in turn we pass down through generations. However, I would rather simply encourage you to educate yourself on the matter and make your own decision. I offer up my point of view here to provide some context and perspective into my support for this cause.

Additionally, I figured I would put this out there so that you might better understand that I’m not some Harold & Kumar – Hollywood portrayed stoner who just wants to get baked; but rather consider that perhaps I may have family or friends with long-term health issues who would greatly benefit from medical marijuana. Or maybe I have people close to me who are discriminated against like they’re crack addicts for simply getting busted with a tiny amount of pot at one point or another in their lives.

If my support in this effort costs me your friendship, well, I’m sorry that we are at an impasse. If you happen to agree with me, I encourage you to get involved however you can in bringing marijuana legalization to light in your area. Even if it’s simply by reposting this manifesto to your friends and family.

With kind respect.

-Jeffery

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Dec 08

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m an Apple junkie.  If Steve Jobs packaged herpes in aluminum and glass and put an Apple logo on it, I’d stand in line to buy 2.  But I’d like to share a little insight as to why I dig Apple so much.

First off, their stock is seriously helping insure my early retirement to a private island.  Frankly the amount of money I’ve made from it has really kept up with the crazy amounts I’ve spent with them, so it’s a wash and free technology to me, but I don’t want to distract you from my point.

What brings me to writing this post is a transaction  I completed mere minutes ago.  To back up a few years.  On 01/20/2008, I bought a 17″ MacBook Pro which was my first Apple ever.  It set me back $2575.08 and was the best MacBook Pro that was available the day that I bought it.  23 minutes ago I sold that MacBook Pro for $880. That’s right, a computer almost 3 years old which I sold for 34% of its original price.

I have never owned a PC that has lasted 3 years let alone retained value!  And the entire time I owned this MacBook Pro, I have not had one single problem.  Not a hardware problem, no software issues, nothing.  It has been ROCK SOLID reliable and perfect in every way.

So why sell it?  Well, my needs have changed dramatically over the last year, and I no longer need the screen size and bulk of the 17″ MacBook Pro.  So instead, I’m replacing it with the ridiculously thin and smoking fast 13″ MacBook Air.

If you’re interested in reading more of my thoughts on Apple and why you should throw away your miserable PC for one, read here.  http://www.kufalk.com/?p=33

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Oct 12

What is it about homosexuality that people fear so much?  How is this such a threat to your lives?  Because LOVE is somehow bad and creates wars?  Maybe Love fucks up an oil rig and spews a few billion gallons of crude onto your beaches?  Or is it that Love crashes a housing market and spirals a nation and subsequently a world downhill financially?  How is it that ALL of these incredibly significant things can go on in the US, yet people still bother to worry about human beings loving each other in the way they choose to?  I just cannot get this…

Moving to Midtown, (what I’ve termed, but in reality, it is) the “Gay Mecca” of Atlanta has been nothing shy of a unique experience and this weekend was no exception.  This weekend was the 40th annual Gay Pride festival.

I’m no stranger to Pridefests or gay people.  We have encounted quite a bit of both through the various places we’ve lived and traveled to through the last 20 years.  But I’ve never really been smack-dab in the middle of it.  So by God, we were going to take advantage of the fun!

On Saturday we made our way over to Piedmont park amidst THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people just being themselves (including the 2 “You fags are gonna burn in hell! My God says so!”) people holding signs outside of the park.  It was so awesome to be around people who wanted nothing but relax and be themselves.  Without being hated, harrassed, laughed at, refused, denied, cast out, etc etc etc.  And it didn’t matter whether you were straight, gay, bi, trans, undecided.  Everyone simply ‘was’.

After walking through hundreds of vendors including more gay churches than I could count, we made our way over to a large pavillion to watch a gay couples “dedication” ceremony.  In which, probably around 50 gay couples exchanged vows and committed themselves to each other for life.  It was exciting, beautiful and sad.  I greatly struggle with the fact that a man and a woman can go to a place of worship, judge, justice of the peace, etc, and either “before God”; or completely and totally leave “God” out of it, get “married”.  Yet 2 men or 2 women cannot.  I have a tough time understanding how my love for my partner is any different from theirs, and why it should legally be treated any differently.

Sunday was the Pride Parade which conveniently ran about 200′ from our doorstep.  We walked out and pulled up a curb.  The parade ran around 3 miles from start to end, and had an unbelievable amount of people, cars, floats in it.  It went on for 1 hour and 40 minutes, and was easily the longest parade I’ve seen in my life.  As the parade wrapped up, we walked down Peachtree st, littered with rainbow confetti, pieces of bubble gum, condoms and political flyers.  Walking through this, looking at the thousands and thousands of people all simply wanting to be themselves, it’s impossibly hard to imagine that there are even MORE people who say they cannot.  Yet still, only *TWO* people showed up to hold their “Hellfire & Damnation” & “Filthy Perverts” signs.  It really made me wonder.  How many people would actually show up to an “Anti-Gay” parade?  You know, full on floats, costumes, tossing candy, propaganda, all that shit.  My bet is that very few would.  Yet the voting majority sits at home, quietly, conveniently; just waiting for the chance to cast a vote to refuse someone else the right to openly, freely and LEGALLY Love and be Loved.

So this weekend, we stood up, we went, AS A FAMILY.  We went to show our PRIDE in NOT being afraid of gay people! 

And this is what I ask of you, gentle reader.  If you’re not afraid of gay people SHOW IT!  If you can’t stand up and cheer on a gay pride parade, fine.  Show it with YOUR VOTE FOR EQUALITY!  If you ARE afraid of gay people, seriously stop and evaluate exactly why.  What is it about someone choosing to love another that threatens you, and what gives you the right to remove the most basic rights of theirs? 

Live and let live; Love and let love.  It’s high time we put the bullshit bigoted homophobic nonsense aside and started acting like we’re all one species.

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Jun 09

Warning – this post may very well be riddled with profanity, poor attitude and seeming intolerance for mankind.  Read at your own risk.

We recently decided to downsize our McLives, by selling off pretty much everything we own *FILLING* a ~3700 sq-ft house in the burbs around Milwaukee, WI, and move to a 1200 sq-ft loft in downtown Atlanta.  In this, we held a massive estate sale which helped shed off the some 2000 items we had to sell.  While the sale was a a great success, we still had a few hundred items that needed to move.  Our next step was eBay and Craigslist.

At this point, I think it’s safe to assume that pretty much everyone on the planet has bought/sold something on eBay.  Me, I’ve been buying & selling on eBay since 1999 and have had great success.  I’ve gotten pretty proficient at understanding that people want to actually UNDERSTAND what they’re buying, and enjoy having their questions answered.  I like eBay.

While we listed around 200 items on eBay, eBay’s 2 downfalls for me at this moment are:
(1) 9% selling fees + Misc fees and PayPal fees (which eBay owns), all combining to eat ~15% or so of my hard earned internet yard-sale profits.
(2) I have a bunch of stuff that’s too big to ship.

That brings us to Craigslist…  Now, if you’re not familiar with it, Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) is a “free” (Sidenote. Nothing is free, as this blog will clearly post out) classifieds website most notably famous for rampant prostitution, a couple of which were highlighted by stalker/murder outcomes.  But hey, the world’s a tough place and CL is mainstream, so I figure what the hell.

The following are highlights from my experience.  These are ACTUAL, true to life stories…

My Check is Good! - This could be the dumbest statement that could possibly be uttered.  I don’t know you, so what the hell makes you think I’m going to trust you or your word?  Seriously!  You don’t think a serial killer gets a lot of victims by saying “Jump in this van so I can bludgeon you to death, rape your corpse and then send it through a wood chipper” do ya?  As a testament to how little I trust you, you’ll note how I hold those 50′s & 100′s up to the light to see the strip through them.  But hey, don’t be offended, you can’t trust me either.  I never disclosed that we were well armed when you walked through the door, but it’s all good since I figured you were too.

Call my husband - Okay, so I will take an OUNCE of blame on this one since I didn’t tell you to piss off at the first interaction.  You emailed me at 9:00am saying “Oh, I love this table. I will take it! Call my husband at XXX-XXX-XXXX after 2:00 and tell him I want it and where to come get it!”.  Sorry, I got a little bit busy during the day dealing with the 100 or so other people who wanted my stuff,  none of whom, I might add, expected me to be their personal concierge such as you did.  Yes, I got busy and someone actually came over and bought the table.  At least I had the courtesy to tell you the table was sold before I could call your beloved husband (whose name you never did give me).  Then you’re going to email me about how disgusted you are and how rude and terrible of a person I am?  Are you fucking serious?!? How about you call wal-mart and pull this same shit & see what happens.

And don’t tell me I didn’t keep my word.  You said you’d buy this, and you never did!  You Ma’am are the one who didn’t keep your word.  You had 6 1/2 hours from the time you said you’d take it to actually back up that statement with cash.  It’s not my fault you failed.

Please hold these 12 items until I move to the area in mid June (5 weeks from now)! - (a) I will be moved 900 miles from here in 5 weeks, and (b) 10 of those 12 items have had calls non-stop on them and will be gone in the next 5 hours.  Howzabout you expedite your move, have someone local come buy the stuff for you, or do your shopping once you’re in the area?!?  Honestly, if you call me or email me back & forth and it sounds like you have your shit in one sock, I’ll do what I can to make sure you get what you want, but if you can’t communicate beyond a 3rd grade level, or have unreasonable expectations, forget it.

Will you take $200 in cash?! – What? As opposed to $450 in bad checks or Gold?  How is it that you can take my ad that CLEARLY states the prices are as low as they’re going, non-negotiable, firm, etc, and think I’m somehow going to change my mind when you offer me less than 1/2 of my (already ridiculously low) price in “cash”?  Especially since this rare paper substance you’re offering happens to be the ONLY source of payment I will take!  Please, explain to me how the words “in cash” make your idiotic offer more attractive?  Oh sure, so I can take your $200 over the $450 I am asking on these $1200 chairs and I’d have $200 right?  Yeah, I suppose, but I’d get more than $200 satisfaction in you NOT having these chairs, or you going to GoodWill and spending $450 on them after I donate them (and write off $600 thank you!).

That’s okay, we decided to pass! - Really, I got the picture that you weren’t interested after the 4 days had passed since I answered your questions and you didn’t respond. I’m just glad you didn’t decide to show up on day 3 since the item was already gone.  But hey, thanks for the email letting me know.

I’m on my way! – Interesting…  Based on your area code being the same as mine, and the lack of any real accent, I thought you were local.  Yet it’s been 2 days since you said you were “on your way”.  I didn’t realize you were walking here from Montana!  Should I send a search party for you?

Now, truth be told, the experience was pretty good.  We had a LOT of people who were no bullshit kinda people.  Showed up with cash in hand and walked away with what they came for, but the people above, who were genuine people, really made this a uniquely bizarre experience.

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Feb 23

Every once in a while, something profound happens in my life. Obviously some are of greater impact than others, but yesterday, something small, yet potentially incredibly profound occurred to me.

I was in a conversation with multiple people, discussing how people rush through things in their lives in order to do something else. The example (not that it matters) was shopping at Wal-Mart as a “hit it & quit it – one-stop-shopping” experience, over going to multiple places and interacting with a greater slice of the world.

My comment on this was that sometimes I just don’t want the interaction, I want to get the shit over with as quickly as possible so I can get on with relaxing, spending time with my family, etc etc etc.

Then it hit me…

Perhaps *ALL* experience should be enjoyed and appreciated for the experience itself. Be it grocery shopping for 3 hours, or spending 30 seconds in a shop to pick up a coffee. Every experience should be enjoyed or at the least, appreciated. The good, the bad, the ugly, because that experience I’m (you’re) “rushing” to get to may never arrive. And if I (people) slowed down to appreciate every experience, there would be a hell of a lot less stress in my (our) world.

And from there, I went on to appreciate the rest of my day. And I’m still appreciating it. I’m appreciating typing this blog just as I hope you are now appreciating reading it. And I hope to slow down a bit, giving validity to every experience instead of discarding it just to get onto the next.

Have a great day.

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