Sunday, August 29, 2010

Prop 19 bull shit

Everybody who isn't living under a rock knows that California is having a democratic vote on whether or not people should be allowed to use marijuana for recreational purposes. Obviously, it's fucking stupid to oppose such a legislation.

Exhibit A:
All of the claims made in this article are extremely ludicrous and intentionally misleading. However, there is one that stands alone:
Marijuana is a dangerous drug. It may have treatment value for some conditions, but as with most pharmaceuticals, dangerous side-effects are possible.

The fourth-leading cause of death in America today results from reaction to prescription drugs. Recreational use of marijuana will make this situation worse.

What an idiot. Claiming that marijuana is a pharmaceutical--with dangerous side-effects nonetheless--is completely insane. Marijuana is a plant; just like corn and wheat. Following the author's logic, since soup has medical benefits. Therefore, if we legalize it, we will have additional deaths from soup since pharmaceuticals (since soup has medical benefits it therefore is a pharmaceutical) can cause death.

Besides, marijuana doesn't even have deadly side effects.

However, There is some evidence from human studies that long-term marijuana use
can have adverse effects, although it seems that the spectrum of these
effects is narrower than previously thought and mainly centers around
cognitive (intellectual) function.

A paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) vol.
287 No. 9, March 6, 2002, pp. 1123-1131) found that long-term cannabis
users performed less well than shorter-term users and controls (people
who didn’t use cannabis) in tests of memory and attention. The
long-term users averaged 23.9 years of use, compared with 10.2 years
in the shorter-term users. You can find an abstract at the American
Medical Association web site: , but access
to the full text requires subscription to the journal. Note that the
comments associated with the article (links to them are underneath the
abstract) indicate that some other investigators do not agree with
this conclusion.

Another study published in a Canadian medical journal (CMAJ 2002 Apr
found that: “Current marijuana use had a negative effect on global IQ
score only in subjects who smoked 5 or more joints per week. A
negative effect was not observed among subjects who had previously
been heavy users but were no longer using the substance. We conclude
that marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global
intelligence.” This study compared IQ scores of individuals aged 9-12
years before they started using cannabis, with their scores at 17-20
years. Light users, former users and non-users showed a gain in IQ
over the same period.

One reason for the decreased IQ and memory in consistent heavy users
could be the fact that long-term cannabis use has been found to
decrease blood flow to the front areas of the brain (Neurotoxicology
and Teratology 2001 Sep-Oct; vol 23 pp. 437-43 Frontal lobe
dysfunction in long-term cannabis users by Lundqvist T, Jonsson S,
Warkentin S. of the Division of Medical Neurochemistry, Lund
University Hospital, 221 85, Lund, Sweden

A study published in Public Health and Nutrition, June 2001, vol. 4
pp. 781-786 (Dietary intake and nutritional status of US adult
marijuana users: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey. By Smit E, Crespo CJ. of the Department of Social
and Preventive Medicine, SUNY School of Medicine, University at
Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.
) found that marijuana users have lower levels of carotenoids in the
serum. The authors concluded this was associated with different
dietary habits: “We found higher cigarette-smoking rates and higher
consumption of sodas and alcohol, specifically beer, among marijuana
users than among non-current marijuana users. Marijuana users also
consumed more sodium, fewer fruits, and more pork, cheese, and salty
snacks.” Carotenoids are important anti-oxidants which help to
prevent cancer and other diseases. An increased risk of these
diseases might be due not so much to marijuana use itself as to the
lifestyle led by many who use it. Better attention to nutrition, in
order to ensure a good intake of fresh fruit and vegetables,
particularly the red, yellow and orange ones, will help to boost
antioxidant status (see below)

A review of various studies came to the conclusion that: “Regular
marijuana use can lead to extensive airway injury and alterations in
the structure and function of alveolar macrophages, potentially
predisposing to pulmonary infection and respiratory cancer.” Alveolar
macrophages are cells in the lungs that help clear away debris and
bacteria. (Current Opinions in Pulmonary Medicine, March 2001, vol 7
pp 43-61, Airway effects of marijuana, cocaine, and other inhaled
illicit agents. by Tashkin DP of the Division of Pulmonary and
Critical Care Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles,
California 90095-1690
) Again, to counteract these effects, a diet high in antioxidants
would be helpful.

Obviously, marijuana smoked as joints and mixed with tobacco could
carry all the health risks associated with cigarette smoking. The use
of marijuana alone might be implicated in cancer. However, one review
concluded that: “While there is no doubt that marijuana smoke contains
carcinogens, an increase in cancer among users has thus far been
anecdotal. Because of the long latent period between cancer induction
and initiation of cigarette smoking, the full story is yet to be
told.” (International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, July 1998,
vol. 1 pp 71-80, Health aspects of cannabis: revisited. by Hollister
LE. of Harris County Psychiatric Center, University of Texas-Houston,
Houston, TX
) In support of this statement, I only found one recent paper in
Medline describing a case of cancer in one marijuana user. This in
itself is not absolute proof.

L E Hollister also concluded that: “Many older concerns about adverse
effects on health (chromosomal damage, 'cannabinol psychosis',
endocrine abnormalities, cardiac events, impaired immunity) no longer
seem to elicit much interest. Continuing concerns about the adverse
cognitive effects of chronic use indicate that these can be
demonstrated by proper testing; some studies suggest that they may be
long-lasting. Although cannabis does not produce a specific psychosis,
the possibility exists that it may exacerbate schizophrenia in persons
predisposed to that disorder.” i.e. the effects tend to be more on
brain function than on other diseases, and it could worsen the status
of people who have a tendency to schizophrenia.

I have not found anything specific about diet in relation to marijuana
use. However, a diet rich in antioxidants will tend to counteract the
effect of many toxins and thus would probably be helpful against the
toxic effects of marijuana. This is a diet rich in fresh fruit and
vegetables, with perhaps additional (although not extreme) intake of
vitamins A, C and E. Red wine is also high in antioxidants :) and so
is green tea.

Tl;dr It's well worth the risk

LASTLY, even if this cunt had been right, so what? He is clearly assuming that its government's job to regulate safety. If that's so, why does government allow us to live in populated cities? Or own guns, or go rock climbing on our vacations?


Random Labor theory of value rant

the labor theory of value states that the only source of value is labor, by which is meant that it alone can add more value than it had itself. Marx called that difference between the value embodied in labor and the value that labor added to production 'surplus value', and saw it as the only way profit is made.

He gave two proofs of this, one "negative" proof by process of elimination of the unique characteristics of labor, and one" positive" based on a general theory of commodities; the negative proof is by far the most widely known and used, and it's the one I'm going to talk about.

It follows that labor is unique among commodities, in that what's sold isn't the laborers themsleves (excepting the case of slavery, obviously), but their capacity to work, a commodity Marx referred to as "labor-power", the value of which was the means of subsistence (what's required to reproduce labor power), ie it might take four hours of labor a day to produce the goods needed to keep a worker alive.

What a factory owner, for example, receives in exchange for paying for that labor-power isn't the labor-power itself, however, but actual work. If you produce the means of subsistence in four hours and you work an eight-hour shift, you've worked twice as long as it takes to produce the value of your labor-power and the extra four hours of work is "surplus labor", which accrues to the factory owner and provides the basis for his profits. Since there isn't any commodity other than labor where you can distinguish the commodity itself from its "commodity power", every other commodity consumed in production transfers its value to the product, and labor is the only source of profit.

This also means that the rate of profit is directly related to the rate of surplus value, where the rate of surplus value is defined by the ratio of the labor time required to secure the means of subsistence to the labor time actually performed, eg in my factory example the ratio is 1:1, four hours of necessary labor to four hours of surplus labor. The rate of profit is defined as the ratio of surplus (hereafter "s") to the sum of the inputs required to generate a surplus, those inputs being necessary labor and the means of production. Necessary labor he called "variable capital" (hereafter "v") because it could increase value, and the means of production he called constant capital (hereafter "c") because it couldn't.

The rate of surplus value (s/v) is assumed to be constant across time and industries, as well as that the competitive forces of markets will lead to the replacement of labor with machinery (c). So for any production process c becomes larger with time, thereby decreasing the ratio of s to c+v, thus reducing the rate of profit. This means that, regardless of the efforts of capitalists, the rate of profit inevitably falls; to which their response would be to lower wages, eventually leading to revolution and a communist society.

That's the theory, anyway, but if you look a little closer you see some major inconsistencies. For one thing, there's no reason in practice that a rise in c couldn't result in an increase in s/v so that the rate of profit doesn't fall over time.

Another is what's called the "transformation problem", which arises from the fact that it's the rate of profit rather than the rate of surplus that motivates capitalists: if labor is the only source of surplus value and rates surplus value are constant across industries, industries with a higher than average ratio of labor to capital should have a higher rate of profit. But in a competitive capitalist economy, this can't apply in equilibrium since lower rates of profit in capital-intensive industries should lead to companies moving out of them and into labor intensive ones in order to maximize their rate of profit. His solution was to assume that capitalism is a "joint enterprise", such that capitalists earned profits proportional to their investments regardless of what industry they invested in. However, he never explained why perhaps the most competitive social system ever developed should wind up behaving so cooperatively, with capitalists sharing a uniform amount of profit.

There's also the fact that all non-labor inputs have to have been produced at some time in the past: even raw materials have been extracted using a combination direct labor as well as commodity inputs, and those inputs also reduce to a combination of direct labor and commodity inputs. You can do this indefinitely, but no matter how far back you go you can never eliminate commodities entirely, except maybe if you allow for the possibility of magic. Therefore, if value is in some sense the essence of a commodity, it can't be derived from labor alone. Both labor and commodities are the source of value.

So even though it's used as an attack on capitalism as well as a prediction of its downfall, it fails to even provide a coherent model of capitalism, much less any reason why it will inevitably fail and be replaced by communism. What's so bad about the labor theory of value is that it's a failure, basically.

First post.

I wrote this a few weeks ago, and I wasnt sure what to do with it, or perhaps what to make of myself. This looks like the place. Here you go, I present my arguments, in bullet form, why Spongebob Square pants is the perfect girl.

1. Hes low maintenance. No matter what happens to him, he never needs validation from anyone, for anything. He never asks Patrick to tell him who he is, never uses his friction with Squidward to bolster his own ego. All his energy is focused outward, albeit usually with mixed (and hilarious) results. He never complains about those results either, just trudges ahead with blind, infectious optimism.

2. Hes a good cook. In fact, he makes unquestionably the best burger in Bikini Bottom. People come from everywhere to the Crab Shack for one of his Crabby Patties. How rare is a girl who can cook, and enjoys it?

3. He lives in a pineapple. Imagine having crazy sex in a giant pineapple. All that gooey, sweet, sugary awesomeness providing both full body lubrication and a certain fun kinkiness. Sex inside almost anything else wouldnt be anywhere as much fun. An orange would sting. A tomato would stain. While were on the subject, do you want variety in your lovin? Hes got HUNDREDS of holes, and hes not shy about himself or hung up in any way. He also plays dress up. Weekly. And usually twice on Saturday mornings.

4. Hes comfortable with his job. Mr. Crab pays him shit and he cares, never bitches. Never comes home and says to his pet snail if that dude Squidward dont get off my ass, Im gonna kill him! The pineapple is a harmonious place because Spongebob checks that shit at the door.

5. He manages his emotions. Weve all seen Spongebob flip out. Weve all seen chicks flip out. The difference is that Spongebob Squarepants STAYS FOCUSED. He may explode. His eyes may shrivel up like raisins. He might pull off his own legs and arms and beat himself with them in total panic and frustration. He never loses sight of what hes flipping out ABOUT, though. Every girl Ive ever met starts out being mad about the dish I just broke, or the amount of beer I may have drunk at her family reunion (we all need help through the hard times, my Lord, my Lord) but 15 minutes later its why havent we bought a house yet, why arent I home more, why arent I home less, why arent I more communicative, and what about those boobs I was staring at back in May of 2002. Do ya feel me, boys?

6. Hes devoted. Patrick is an idiot, but he finds a way to relate and have fun. Mr. Crabs is a jerk, but he gets past it and has a healthy work ethic. Hes maintained a healthy platonic relationship with a displaced female squirrel. Even Squidward, despite all his efforts to the contrary, has a neighbor he can count on any time day or night. (Aside: Squidward is a douche bag for not recognizing this)

7. He knows how to have a good time. Boy does he ever. He likes eating contests, farts, TV, singing, hiking, playing with his body, sports (did you see the snail race? better than Hoosiers), and just generally acting stupid and laughing about it. im telling you, hes got to be totally awesome to hang out with.

8. Hes comfortable with his body. So hes not the ideal shape. Hes a square. But he never complains. Youll never hear the phrase height-weight proportional uttered from those yellow lips (anyway his height-weight proportion is geometrically perfect, a fact which I am sure can be proven mathematically). He dont give a shit. He just buys the right clothes (square) and looks great and thats the end of it. No endless questioning about why the universe shaped him the way he is. No internal battles. Just a simple square man with a healthy simple outlook.

9. Hes a virgin (Id bet). You say experience means everything? I say bullshit. Comfort and communication trump experience every time. Working at your sex life is only possible in a situation dominated by these two traits and amplified by a sense of adventure. Spongebob has always demonstrated these characteristics. Now, what do you want? A willing accomplice or the trick somebody else taught?

10. He doesnt drink, smoke or do drugs. Actually, I do enjoy the occasional cocktail or cigarette, and as you may have guessed, I have been known to puff it down a little and watch shows like, say, Spongebob Squarepants (WTF, what did you do this morning that was so important, Mr. Smartypants?), but the thing about our man Bob is that theses things dont rule his life, and couldnt you just imagine that first date at a bar? Somehow the idea of kicking two shots of Makers Mark back with Spongebob Squarepants is totally mesmerizing. You think hed sit there and bitch about his exes? No way. Hes much more a load up the jukebox and kick up his heels on the bar kind of guy. Hell take his lumps for it (case in point, the Motorhead bar in the movie, where the fascist biker dudes kick his ass but he comes out grinning) but I bet the night would be hilarious. Imagine him pulling in a big drag and blowing it out all his orifices. Imagine him talking to that drunken barfly you always see and making that old bitch laugh. Youd get to do all this shit with him for the first time.

11. He demonstrates good parenting skills. Did you see the episode where Spongebob and Patrick find a lost baby scallop and decide to raise it as their own? No?!? Well, allow me to elucidate. Patrick takes on the male role and he sucks at it. He sneaks off all day and night to watch TV at home while Spongebob, as the mother figure (complete with apron and heels), holds the family together. He does all the cooking, cleaning and baby-raising, all the while carrying an admittedly strained smile on his face. Not to say Im looking for a wife to do it all and let me watch TV (um, hmm), its just that he demonstrates such strength and good humor. The episode ends with a happy, well-adjusted scallop flying off (?) into the sea-sky and a presumably happy well-adjusted scallop life. Its not that Spongebob might make a good mom. Spongebob is a good mom.

Im sure you all are going to think I am a pedophile (why? Because I happen to be a little bit in love with a 6 year old boy cartoon character?) Im sure youll all write me and tell me what a misogynistic jerk I am (just substitute the words girl for boy and boy for girl throughout and Im sure my argument applies cross-genderally. There. Feel better, huge bull dykes with nothing better to do?) Im sure Ive sabotaged my e-mail account, but I wanted to do it. Im in love, and people in love do and say stupid shit.
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