Singer Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose on October 4, 1970. The anniversary prompts me to make an unkind observation that I was tempted to make after reading all of the tributes and expansive rhetoric praising “The Wire” actor Michael K. Williams after he died of an overdose of fentanyl and heroin on September 6. For at least a hundred years, anyone who takes heroin does so knowing that it is addictive and frequently fatal. My attitude toward Joplin, Williams, John Belushi, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Holliday, and many other artists who have killed themselves this way involves more anger than sympathy. The world was robbed of their gifts because they were reckless. In the case of black artists, they endanger their admirers by creating a romantic aura for what is, in the final analysis, stupid and irresponsible conduct. How hard can it be not to start using an addictive substance that you know might kill you? The fact that the drug is illegal should be a big clue.
1. And speaking of the joys of recreational drugs...In a new study published in Psychological Medicine, researchers in the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Mental Health and the Institute of Applied Health Research found a strong link between “general practice recorded cannabis use” and mental ill health. Senior author Dr. Clara Humpston said: “Cannabis is often considered to be one of the ‘safer’ drugs and has also shown promise in medical therapies, leading to calls for it be legalized globally. Although we are unable to establish a direct causal relationship, our findings suggest we should continue to exercise caution since the notion of cannabis being a safe drug may well be mistaken.”
Continue to exercise caution? Who’s exercising caution? Popular culture and upper-middle class whites have been issuing pro-pot propaganda for half a century, while mocking government efforts to discourage widespread use and acceptance of another destructive recreational drug. Now nearly every state is on a path to legalize it, especially because they smell tax revenue.
2. KABOOM! Here is what Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), the chair of the House Budget Committee, said on CNN yesterday regarding the Democrats’ 3.5 trillion infrastructure and anything-else-they-can-tie to it bill:
“The number itself is meaningless. I mean, I read Joe Manchin’s statement, I’ve listened to him, he has no understanding of how the federal government monetary system works when he compared it yesterday to his household income, that has no relevance to what we can do. It’s not a question of what we can afford. The federal government can afford anything that it feels it needs to do and right now that’s what we ought to be focused on. So that’s kind of the position I took in the budget committee, that’s the position I will take going forward.”
Yes, an elected official actually said that in public, and there goes my head. Well, heck, if the federal government can afford anything, I don’t understand why it isn’t paying for everyone’s food, a nice big home with a swimming pool for every citizen (and illegal resident too!), a nice cushy yearly income whether someone works or not, automobiles, porn…no asset inequality! I had no idea that paying for all this wasn’t a problem!
These are the people running out government. We have entrusted them with the welfare of the nation. They say things like this, and people believe them. How many?
3. Goodbye to an ethical ex-child star. Former Disney child actor Tommy Kirk of many childhood favorite films— “Swiss Family Robinson,” “The Shaggy Dog,” “The Absent-minded Professor,” and of course, “Old Yeller”—as well as the original “Hardy Boys Mysteries” on TV—died last week. His career was derailed in his early 20s by drug and alcohol problems and being gay in an era where Disney stars had a wholesome image to uphold. When the calls stopped coming, Kirk quietly moved on with his life He quit drugs and started a carpet and upholstery cleaning business. Except for an occasional movie role as a lark, he limited his show business activities to autograph conventions. The Disney Company named him a Disney Legend, an honor recognizing extraordinary contributions to the company, in 2006. Kirk always was open about accepting responsibility for his career’s collapse, while others in his circumstances have been bitter. “I don’t blame Disney for firing me,” he told one interviewer. “I was on drugs, and I was fooling around in ways totally incompatible with a family-oriented studio. I’ve accepted it. I’ve accepted the fact that my career was ruined by my behavior and no one and nothing else.”
4. “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!” After NASCAR driver Brandon Brown won at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama over the weekend, NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast tried to interview him while fans were loudly chanting, “Fuck Joe Biden!” in the background. Like the loyal state media hack she is, Kelli did her best to obscure reality from the TV audience, saying to the racer, “As you can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Let’s go Brandon!'” Nice try.
5. ‘U.S. Senator takes advantage of a law when she has a right to do so’ isn’t even newsworthy, much less scandalous. Nevertheless, someone at Fox News thought it was fair and balanced to take a cheap shot at U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a disabled U.S. military veteran, with the headline, “Democrat Tammy Duckworth slammed for getting tax break on her Illinois home.” That’s “slammed” by Fox News, when you get right down to it, though they rely on a single ill-conceived critique by a Chicago paper to justify the clickbait. [The original headline, which Fox was apparently shamed into changing, was “Democrat Tammy Duckworth hasn’t paid property tax on her Illinois home since 2015, report says.”] Fox’s own story makes it clear that like 27,000 homeowners in Cook County, Duckworth is the beneficiary of one of the exemptions that the Illinois General Assembly has passed. Duckworth, 53, pays no property taxes because she has a disability rating of 70% or higher as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth lost both legs and some use of her right arm after the helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-fired grenade in Iraq in 2004. Some guy thinks she makes too much money to warrant such a break. Well, work to change the law, then. Every U.S. citizen has every right to reap the benefit of the law when they are eligible, and Duckworth’s sacrifice in service to her country justifies relief from property taxes, or any taxes at all, if a legislature so decided. [Pointer: valkgrrl]
6. That’s a good boy! Want a biscuit? In Coweta County, Georgia, a home intruder was killed by the homeowner’s two dogs. When the owner returned home last, he discovered a dead man on his front porch. The dead man had a criminal record, and it appears that no charges will be filed against the owner…or the dogs. When new reports suggested that authorities might put the dogs down, emails and phone calls poured in objecting. Now it appears that they will be returned to the owner. After all, the owner could have legally shot a burglar, but the dogs were going to be punished for protecting the owner’s home? Justice appears to have prevailed. This is especially note-worthy because the dogs, based on their photos, both appear to be some variety of pit bull mix.