Pubdate: Sat, 24 Aug 2002
Source: Times-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2002 The Times-Herald
Author: Mike Steed
Note: Middle section drug policy related


Mercifully, the Georgia primary elections are over. Some real news
came out of last week's event with what some would term an upset victory by
Judge Denise Majette over the flamboyant, (and "loony" according to Sen.
Zell Miller), Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney. This race in one little
Congressional District brought joy throughout the State and in non-Islamic
quarters throughout the country. Majette's voting record promises to look
very much like McKinney's but she appears to have enough sense to know when
to shut her mouth and doesn't appear to be beholden to fundamentalist
Islamic interests. McKinney's loss can be attributed in large measure to her
style of confrontational, in-your-face rhetoric.

Speaking of in-your-face style, Congressman Bob Barr lost a seat for himself
and maybe for the Republicans when he chose to abandon the newly drawn
Eleventh district where he already represented 70% of the people and move to
the newly drawn Seventh where he represented only 17% of the population. It
was his choice. He can take little comfort in that his move gave venerable
Speaker of the House Tom Murphy two reasons to be happy. Murphy was
determined to live in a district not represented by Bob Barr and the
candidate Murphy backed in his home district, liquor magnate Roger Kahn,
eeked out a primary victory over former Congressman, Buddy Darden.

The primary election battles had such vile advertisements while the
candidates were opposing members of their own political party, one shudders
to think how nasty it will be when Democrats turn on Republicans and
vice-versa. Some of us will be tempted to write-in Mother Teresa before this
election cycle is over in November.

* * *

Dirty campaigns aren't the only sign of the times. There was a recently
reported survey conducted by the National Center of Addiction and Substance
Abuse demonstrating that it is much easier for teens to purchase marijuana
than to buy beer or cigarettes. At the same time, the anti-drug use message
seems to be having some effect among teens. The survey also reveals that 63%
of the students said their schools are "drug-free." This is the highest
percentage since 1996. These data begin to make a case for continuing and
increasing the education on the dangers of drug use while restricting the
distribution by having it available only through controlled outlets just as
is the case with beer and cigarettes.

* * *

There was another sign of the times I noticed when reading the local
obituary section in the newspaper. People my age are always checking that. I
was surprised to see a little phrase attached to the end of the obit
reading, "friends may sign the register book online at www.(name of funeral
home)." Imagine, we can sit around clad in our boxers and pay respects to
our deceased friends from the comfort of our own home. How convenient. How

A few years ago an undertaker in California constructed a drive through for
viewing the deceased. That way, you never had to get out of your car. Just
drive by, toot your horn in respect, and go on your way feeling good about
yourself that you had "been by the funeral home."

* * *

And finally, a sign of the times that is simply so far out it begs for
commentary. The crowd of people who would never eat anything that ever had a
face, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (P.E.T.A.), has begun a
campaign to ban fishing. They have filed lawsuits attempting to ban fishing
in certain state parks since fishing causes pain to the fish. I know some
fisherman around here who would be glad to cause some pain to P.E.T.A.

My very first newspaper column dealt with P.E.T.A. Their campaign those many
years ago was centered on catching tuna in "dolphin safe" nets so the
precious and friendly dolphin wouldn't be harmed. I asked the rhetorical
question, "Who's looking out for the tuna?" It seems I have my answer.

P.E.T.A. works harder at destroying themselves with such idiotic ideas than
any other lunatic fringe in our society -- with the possible exception of
our political parties during primary elections.
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