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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who really benefits from a minimum wage increase?

The minimum wage debate will be bitterly argued about for a while—months, perhaps a year—and then like a bolt of lightning—the decision will be handed down. The fact that the argument has been started is enough to call this a fait accompli. The future is ten bucks an hour to start. It will probably be a progressive increase, perhaps over a three year period with the minimum wage increasing about one-dollar per year. This means that a minimum wage worker who now earns $15,000 per year, will next year be earning $17,000, and $19,000 the next, and so on. Whether they pass the increase or not, these minimum wages workers aren't going to be very well off either way. So what's the big deal?

Prices rise, not incrementally, but exponentially. It works like this: a farmer grows an ear of corn and he will be paid about six cents for that ear of corn. (Today's price for a bushel divided by 70 ears per bushel.) By the time that ear of corn finally winds up in the produce aisle of your local grocery store it will cost you anywhere from fifty cents to one dollar. That's a ten- to fifteen-fold increase from farm, through various middlemen, logistics, and finally to retail. What if the farmer were to be paid double the price? If the price paid to the farmer for that one ear of corn were increased merely another six pennies, by the time we paid for it at the store it would cost nearly two dollars, and that's a lot of money for one measly ear of corn. Each time the ear of corn passes through someone's hands its price doubles. You'll find this true in all areas of industry, manufacturing, construction, finance, etc.

I remember twelve years ago when Tennessee sales tax rates were increased by 1%. The next day the vending company that stocks our snack and vending machines increased the price of a 12 ounce soda from 50 cents to 65 cents. That's a thirty percent increase because of a one percent sales tax increase. These kinds of cascading increases based on the cost of doing business are inevitable.

The facts are indisputable. When you increase the minimum wage, prices for every good, for every service, for housing, cars, utilities, health care, entertainment, you name it, go up correspondingly. It's not just the price of a Big Mac or a movie theater ticket that will go up by as much as 50 percent; it's everything! So how are these minimum wage workers better off now that everything costs more? They make more, they pay higher taxes, everything costs more. They're still paddling the same leaky canoe.

Unfortunately, the rest of us are even worse off. I remember the last time there was a minimum wage increase. Since I already made more than the minimum wage, the only effect for me was that everything started costing more, yet my pay stayed the same. The labor unions understand this concept quite well. This is why unions ubiquitously demand that employers peg their graduated pay-scales to the minimum wage. So if you're in a union and the minimum wage goes up by 30%, congratulations! You just got an instant 30% raise.
The Center for Union Facts analyzed collective-bargaining agreements obtained from the Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards. The data indicate that a number of unions in the service, retail and hospitality industries peg their base-line wages to the minimum wage.

The Labor Department's collective-bargaining agreements file has a limited number of contracts available, so we were unable to determine how widespread the practice is. But the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union says that pegging its wages to the federal minimum is commonplace. On its website, the UFCW notes that "oftentimes, union contracts are triggered to implement wage hikes in the case of minimum wage increases." Such increases, the UFCW says, are "one of the many advantages of being a union member."
What a great reason to belong to a union! It's the main reason that unions desire minimum wage increases. The fact that union leaders use their vast horde of cash—which they forcibly extract from union members' paychecks—to help elect like-minded politicians is—from their point of view—pretty smart.

You just can't beat a system like that! It's called naked force, and when you think about it, it's pretty ugly. If the President and Congress could manage to pass enough minimum wage increases, pretty soon the entire nation would be clamoring! to join up with the AFL-CIO.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Me hate robots! Me Bash!

People have always had an innate distrust of new things, new technology, things that are not fully understood or out of our own direct control. You see this "Frankenstein" paradigm quite often in movies: The Terminator, The Matrix, War Games, Jurassic Park, 2001 A Space Odyssey, just to name a few. It makes me wonder if there's something in our DNA that makes us fear our species will go the way of the dinosaur, or perhaps the Neanderthal? And how diabolically fateful—if in our magnificent hubris—we end up creating the very ones who replace us?
Artificial intelligence could lead to mass unemployment if computers develop the capacity to take over human work, experts warned days after it emerged that Google had beat competitors to buy a firm specialising in this kind of technology.

Dr Stuart Armstrong, from the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, gave the stark warning after it emerged that Google had paid [$500m] for the British artificial intelligence firm DeepMind.

He added: “We have some studies looking into which jobs are the most vulnerable and there’s quite a lot of them in logistics, administration, insurance underwriting but ultimately a huge swathe of jobs are potentially vulnerable to improved artificial intelligence.”
There was a time, not too many years ago, when just doing the laundry was a major undertaking requiring hours of laborious effort. Can you imagine the drudgery of this? First women had to heat a cauldron of water—probably by first building a fire—then cooking a "load" of laundry for a while before scrubbing it on a wash-board. Or perhaps they scrubbed then cooked? Next there was the required wringing of the laundry out a piece at a time. Next there was the obligatory hanging it up on a clothes-line with the little springy-clips. I suspect with several loads this chore might take most of the day. When the automated washing-machine and clothes dryer were first invented, I wonder if economists worried about the fate of housewives in such a high-tech world?
The make-work bias is best illustrated by a story, perhaps apocryphal, of an economist who visits China under Mao Zedong. He sees hundreds of workers building a dam with shovels. He asks: “Why don’t they use a mechanical digger?” “That would put people out of work,” replies the foreman. “Oh,” says the economist, “I thought you were making a dam. If it’s jobs you want, take away their shovels and give them spoons.”
There's little doubt that the era of "unskilled" labor is drawing to a close. The future belongs to those who can learn and adapt to our exponentially changing world. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that people performing simple unskilled labor tasks will be losing their jobs. ATMS, self-checkout grocery lines, automated assembly lines, logistics systems complete with sophisticated robotic loading and unloading machinery, are only a few of the outliers. This trend promises goods and services delivered with fewer defects and at a lower price. This trend also demands that people who expect to have a job in the future will be required to meet higher qualifications.

For those who are alarmed by these facts and want to slow things down, I would ask them this question: what about the illiterate? Why stop at doing away with robots and computers? If we really want to give everyone a chance, why not go back to pre-literate days? Perhaps the time when grunting and bashing with a club was a way of life is the era these neo-Luddites are nostalgically longing for.

The bad news is that now that we have computers and robots to do our work there's no putting the genie back in his bottle. The good news is that this is a powerful genie that is able to grant a practically limitless number of wishes.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Who are the real bitter-clingers?

1 Corinthians verse 11: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
"He got more! It's not fair!" That's what a child says. When will the liberals finally put away their childish things? NEO-NEOCON links a story from [The Hill] about what Obama's annual State of the Union Address will focus on—income inequality.

Killing the golden goose always seems like a great idea at the time. If you think about it logically you'll understand that stealing from the rich to give to the poor doesn't just hurt the rich, it also hurts the poor. It causes the rich victim to feel resentful, angry and rebellious. It causes the poor recipients to become greedy, and stay lazy.

The rich change their business behavior in response to external factors like taxes, zoning, and environmental ordinances. At some point if the government exacts taxes or enacts laws that are too onerous the successful business owners will simply leave. Some of them will hide their earnings. Some of them will just go out of business. They'll sell their otherwise successful business—often in pieces—to the highest bidder(s).

The poor will also change their behavior in response to external factors. If [stuff] is to be given to those meeting certain poverty level criteria, the poor will change whatever is necessary in order to meet these criteria. If they're making too much at their jobs they'll cut their hours. If the "family" is making too much then one or more family members will quit their jobs. Finally, and worst of all, poor people will quit legitimate jobs to pursue so-called under-the-table jobs. These kinds of jobs are often black market operations, i.e. drugs, sex, and gambling. No record of income is made available to the state and so the very gangsters busy destroying our children by hooking them on drugs and prostituting them—and raking in thousands a month of illegal money in the process—also qualify for and take advantage of section 8 housing, food-stamps, welfare, etc.

When trying to reduce systemic poverty, well-intentioned helpers, case workers, officials, philanthropists, etc., often fail because they mistake the symptoms for the problem. Poor people are poor—they think—because they have no money. They have no money—they think—because they have no job. They have no job—they think—because they have no skills. They have no skills—they think—because of failing schools, endemic racism, single-motherhood, poverty, ad infinitum. So the solution—they think—is to throw money at the problem. If that doesn't work the solution is obviously more money.

Well, what is the problem? Over the centuries there have been several waves of immigrants who came here with nothing. They fled from religious persecution, from famine, from oppressive regimes, and yet they became successful. They weren't inundated with a well-intentioned flood of cash and yet somehow they pulled themselves up through hard work and determination. They almost universally became successful functioning members of our American society. These immigrants are living proof that the problem isn't poverty.

I don't have any proof but—in my opinion—the problem is the poisonous culture the poor cling to. It's a self-sustaining poison of hatred and sloth. Generations of poverty stricken failures living off the government teat, skipping school, joining gangs, having unwed sex, selling and using drugs, prostituting themselves, never once cracking a book, and ridiculing, mocking, and torturing the one or two of them who honestly try to escape these miserable conditions through study and hard-work.

The poor—especially in the "inner cities" cling to their anti-culture. They revere the most thuggish, the most violent, the stupidest. They call it "keeping it real." It's my opinion that these tribes who cling so intransigently to this hateful angry poisonous culture, who absolutely refuse to—at long last—finally grow up, are in need of a more honest appellation. What do you think? Does the phrase bitter-clingers hit pretty close to the mark?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

First Law of Consequences

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is Newton's 3rd law of motion—somewhat paraphrased—though apropos. People don't often consider it, but the same is true of decisions and consequences. Every decision affecting more people than just yourself has equal and unintended consequences, sometimes even opposite consequences.

Looking through the 20-20 hindsight of our armchair-quarterback backwards-facing viewfinder it's hard to believe that the decision makers didn't foresee some of these consequences. Drugs of all kinds were outlawed through the years and as a consequence a booming underground black market was created. Suddenly those unable to prosper in our civilized sanitized sophisticated university educated modern society were handed the keys to an underground kingdom where the slyest, the deadliest, the most remorseless, the strongest became kings.

The war on drugs was a war that never should have been declared. It was a war on our own citizens and the results of that war are in. Our constitutional rights have been forfeited. Our vast national wealth has been frittered away. Our children have been seduced and destroyed. We have an armed force of fascist police untouchables who are literally untouchable:
Wine did not agree with the painkillers Mr. Peltomaa, a professor of physics and math at The Art Institute of New York, was taking after having open-heart surgery a few days earlier on April 5. “My heart started racing,” he recalled on Thursday. “I felt nervous that something was going wrong with the repair to my aorta.”

Ms. LaFont dialed 911. She asked for an ambulance and told the dispatcher her husband had had surgery. “He’s on a lot of medication,” she said. “And he’s freaking out.”

Moments later, Mr. Peltomaa was in handcuffs and Ms. LaFont was under arrest

The confusion and trouble began that day when Officer Anthony Giambra arrived at the apartment door a few minutes after the 911 call, as an ambulance and fire truck pulled up outside. Ms. LaFont started to tell Officer Giambra about her husband’s condition, but the dog broke loose and raced into the street. She went after the animal.

When she returned, Officer Giambra had thrown Mr. Peltomaa up against a hallway wall and was trying to handcuff him. The professor’s surgical wound was pressed hard against the surface, she said. She gripped the officer’s shoulder and yelled at him to stop. “You’re under arrest,” the officer told her, as another officer hustled her back into her apartment and handcuffed her.

Officer Giambra, munching a candy bar, told her Mr. Peltomaa was fine and would be home before she would. “He said he needed to teach me the lesson that you are never allowed to touch a police officer,” she recalled.

Emphasis mine.
Our tax dollars and seized assets sold at auction have financed ever more elaborate and deadly military weapons and ordnance for the police state. Our "peace officers" have embraced the dark side of the force and have become power-mad megalomaniacs never more certain of their own infallibility and importance. As the police delve and pore intently through personal emailed documents, as they eavesdrop on personal telephone conversations, and follow us like digital bloodhounds through our trail of websites and digital forums, and flex their police muscle and make unilateral decisions concerning their own personal interpretation of the letter of the law, do we ever ask how much this drug war has really cost us?

Every dollar spent would have been better off burned instead, because every decision to spend a dollar on a war against our own American citizens has had unintended, yet equal consequences.

Take a rebellious child who does what his parents have told him not to do...take a man named Adam and a woman named Eve and give them this one fruit that they're forbidden to eat...and what you'll get every single time! is called rebellion.

Somebody tells us what to do or not to do: somebody bigger, somebody stronger, somebody older, somebody wiser, somebody with a title, somebody with a degree ... and we rebel! We have to rebel. We have to do the opposite. It's in our DNA! I don't know why. I think this rebellious imperative is hardwired in all of us.

My quick and dirty DNA rebellion theory goes like this: Imagine people ten thousand years and more ago. See them, these cave people. They were adults and children, leaders and followers, hunters and foragers, old dying and newborns nursing. They banded together, these our ancient progenitors, for protection against other bands of humans, for protection against dangerous carnivores and packs of carnivores. They banded together to help them take down game that would have been impossible to take down otherwise. They banded together to share warmth, to share learning, to mate, and share responsibilities. Each of them needed the others for shelter, for warmth, for resources.

When bands of strangers join together, immediately rules become necessary. The most important rule is that of private property. Mine not yours. My food not yours. My woman not yours. My spear, my club, my fur...not yours. We see this happening all the time in nature and what are the consequences? Rebellion. The survivors are those who successfully rebel. The wolf-pack leader is tested again and again by would-be rebels. One day a rebel succeeds and becomes the new pack leader. Deer and other horned beasts butt heads. The mating call sounds and the fights begin. Always there is the older seasoned patriarch and the young would-be rebel. It's been this way from the beginning.

Every human being on earth is descended from an eons-old genetic line of successful rebels. Watch how a teenager acts and then tell me that I'm wrong.

Let me share an anecdote with you. It's a story of two destructive young brothers who did nothing they were told, and everything they were told not to. They shared a primitive video game console and fought bitterly and constantly. Their parents were incessantly and constantly sought as arbiters in these their sibling struggles to vanquish once and for all, this their most bitter foe—each other.

One Christmas morning as they shredded wrapping paper tossing a tree's worth at their feet, they discovered that now they each had their own more modern gaming console. The parents considered themselves wise. Problem solved!

Not so fast...

"That's my game." "No it's mine." "No, you ruined my Legend of Zelda when you knocked the can of Coke over yesterday and so now this one is mine."

Yes, yes. I know... I'm virtually certain that you—dear reader—have knowledge of some magical formula which guarantees that—were you the parents of these rebellious little beasts—this anecdote would not be heading in this direction. Sadly their parents were not privy to the ingredients of any magical formula of instant child obedience. Nevertheless gamely they struggled on. They decided that there would be a new system. Each child would check video games in and out like in a library. Alas, their parents soon found out that libraries without fines, and libraries without full-time librarians, and libraries without government funding to replace missing and damaged library materials ... are doomed to failure.

Yes, yes...I know, but nowadays they're calling that "child abuse." The parents of these rebellious little darlings donned their thinking caps, once more.

There would be a new system. This time it was going to be fool-proof! Each child would have a record of ownership. He would be called upon at random intervals to show evidence of possession of each and every game in his inventory—said games to be in pristine working condition—before even the merest possibility of any new game acquisition could ever be considered. It was genius!

Not so fast...

"That's my "Goldeneye 007!" "No, it's mine." "You stepped on yours and hid the pieces in your happy meal box." "No dad, he's lying. It was him that did that. Plus, ask him where his Pokémon Stadium game is. Go ahead just ask him." "I have all my games, so I get a new game. You don't, so too bad for you." "No he's lying, dad. I have all my games except the one he stole!"

Well, dear readers, this story is as old as time itself. In this little fairytale nobody lived happily ever after, although they did live...barely. This world would be a better place if people didn't start wars. You can't win them, you know. You can win battles, win concessions, win territory, but as long as we live and breathe we never, ever, give up. The war goes on and on, sometimes to the point where nobody even remembers why.

As for the "war on poverty..." We can win that war. All we have to do, is make every single American as absolutely self-sacrificing as a wilderness full of saints, and as unendingly industrious as a hill full of ants... Yeah, sure.... that's gonna work out great.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Who is he?

He's doubtless the most important person on Earth.
Why does nobody else understand his inconceivable worth?

He already knows everything worth knowing.
Stupid teachers can't keep him from coming and going.

He likes people who do what he tells them to,
and hates people who tell him what to do.

His friends all admire his arrogant front.
as he struts and smirks and acts like a c...

He's never really done anything to be proud of,
but arrogant pride fits him like a hand in a glove.

"Why should I?" is his first answer to any request,
and then, "You can't make me, so just give it a rest."

To the ends of the earth, he would trudge,
to avoid the onus of work he does begrudge.

Others don't understand. The problem isn't him.
Every problem he has is only because of them.

If he has gone to the trouble of coming up with a lie,
don't question his story and don't ask him why.

His vocabulary is quite limited unfortunately
"Responsibility" isn't there, only synonyms of "me."

If it's his, it's his. Don't you touch it you fool.
If he wants it, he'll take it, "whatchu-gonna do?"

The whole world is always riding his back.
He wishes just once they'd give him some slack.

If you won't let him have what he wants, well then,
you've just declared a war you can't possibly win.

It doesn't matter how much you do for him today,
because—after all—he never asked you to anyway.

If he leaves a mess for you to clean up, well
you shouldn't have started in on giving him hell.

He'll only do what he wants to, that's it and that's all.
arguing with him is like arguing with a brick wall.

As his hopes for the future slowly die away and turn to dust,
forgive him for his rages, his dismay and his lusts.

It's not his fault you didn't hand him the world in a cup
it's yours for demanding that he should one day grow up.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to ensure political debates are fair?

I was browsing through my morning list of blogs that I follow, when I clicked on THE OTHER McCAIN. The story is about Ed Schultz's assertion that Republicans are afraid of him and won't talk to him. Ann Coulter called him out on Twitter and shortly thereafter Rosanne Barr jumped into the fray.

Wouldn't it be great to watch Ann Coulter demolish Ed Schultz or Rosanne Barr? We all know that in a fairly moderated debate she could, too. The problem is that it wouldn't be fairly moderated. The audience would be packed with lefties who'd laugh for long minutes after the lamest Rosanne Barr wisecrack or Ed Schultz comeback. The cameras would pan around showing gleeful liberal audience members acting worse than a troop of baboons just handed a whole bunch of bananas. As the laughter finally died down, the moderator would promptly change the subject. Shut the conservative down. Laugh him out. Interrupt as often as necessary. Try to rattle him, make him come unglued. Throw the conservative off his game. That is the essence of every mainstream media debate between a conservative and a liberal.

The liberal debater, the moderator, and the audience are all on the same team, meanwhile the conservative is all by him- or herself. When the conservative is on point, making his point, or defending his point, it's the moderator's and the liberal debater's job to interrupt and knock him off his stride. At times when the facts and the logic are clearly and inarguably on the side of the conservative, the interruptions and antics from the other side are almost like a tag-team filibuster.
Although the question of who won the second presidential debate itself remains up for debate, a newly released study is declaring President Obama champion of what it calls the “interruption debate.”

The study by Chapman University and the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University finds Mitt Romney was interrupted 59 times during the debate [October 16, 2012] by either Obama or moderator Candy Crowley of CNN.

Obama was interrupted 43 times during the 90-minute debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

“President Obama may have benefited in the short run by adopting a much more aggressive style,” said Robert Lichter, president of the nonprofit, non-partisan organization. “But so many interruptions push the boundaries of civility in political debate.”
Romney is an experienced debater and after he'd spent a year or more debating other presidential hopefuls in the Republican primaries, he had certainly sharpened his debating skills. He showed that during this Candy Crowley moderated debate. He gave as good as he got, interrupting both Obama and Crowley repeatedly. But when it's two against one, you just know it isn't going to go the way the loner hopes it will.

When we watch it at home it's like a train wreck happening and we're powerless to affect it. The TV audience can hoop and holler, whistle and shout their approbation, dissatisfaction, and outrage, but those of us at home just have to sit there and seethe impotently and furiously as our candidate is beaten-up by some tag-team travesty of a moderated debate.

Have you ever heard of Godwin's Law? In any heated on-line debate, as the thread gets longer, the probability of a Hitler or Nazi reference approaches certainty. When this happens the debate is over and the one who brought up Hitler or Nazis is declared the loser. There should be some common sense rules like this for debates. If you play spades and habitually underbid, you're penalized for sand-bagging. It's in the rules. If you're in a political race and your debating style is habitual interruption, after sufficient interruptions, your microphone ought to be shut-off, kind of like the way a two- three- or even five-minute hockey penalty works.

Isn't that a great idea? There could be an incorruptible organization—perhaps with special uniforms—who referee our nation's most important debates. They would be valued for their absolute attention to rules and scoring and would never take sides.

Do you find it odd that millions of dollars are spent every year paying impartial referees to ensure that ultimately meaningless sporting events are played fairly according to the rules, yet for something as important as government election races which are so absolutely and fundamentally necessary for the well-being of the country, we have nothing? There are no referees, umpires, linesmen, etc., in politics. Instead we have the mainstream media, and that's like letting Jimmy Fallon umpire a Red Sox game!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Is democracy fundamentally unworkable?

The USA has a theoretically free economy governed by representatives theoretically elected by the people. Goods and services are theoretically supposed to be bought and sold without over-regulation by the government in charge. Well, right away people in the know—bureaucrats, lawyers, and politicians—begin to start blinking while they're thinking. There's this round of clearing of throats and pulling at collars with hands half-raised in semi-objection. The people in charge would be unable to wholly agree with that idealized description of our current state of affairs.

You have to have all sorts of licenses to operate any business. If you have employees, the list of regulations and taxes and overbearing bureaucratic nonsense starts to become absurd. So scratch free economy. And while the people are supposed to be able to choose who they want to represent them, if they happen to live in a blue-state and they're a Republican or a red-state and they're a Democrat, their vote is completely meaningless.

My friend Grant has an opinion. Or maybe it's a prophecy? He believes that we will never again have a Republican president. "Well," I asked him, "what if there's a Democrat president and the economy collapses? You don't think the people are going to demand something different?" Grant said, "It doesn't matter. There's never going to be another Republican president." He wouldn't engage with me in the whys and why nots. I suppose it wasn't a feeling easily put into words. It was just his opinion, his gestalt of our cultural climate.

I get it, though. I totally get it! Look at the current tempest in a tea-pot. The constant headline drip drip drip drip of Bridgegate. This media behavior sure does bring back the memories. You may remember Herman Cain? The left saw him as a threat in the 2012 primaries and they annihilated him. A series of women began to come forward claiming carnal knowledge of this would be supreme executive. Herman Cain never stood a chance. He had a good life with wife and kids and he valued them more than some hypothetical pie-in-the-sky position that he only had a slim chance of gaining anyhow. So he quit. He threw in the towel. This was Fear-Factor, and Herman was not going to eat a bowlful of rat-fetuses. Sometimes it just isn't worth it.

The problem—perhaps the unworkable problem—is that people are stupid. They have an IQ of only a hundred or so and right off the bat you know they're barely qualified to make decisions like coming in out of the rain. So why on Earth would we let idiots like these decide how to run something as awesomely complicated as the United States of America?

Well, it's obvious to me that our founding fathers were hopelessly naïve. They considered all the available ways of ruling and determined that the people would do best if they ruled themselves, if every American had a voice. They never imagined—how could they have ever imagined—a mind-bending force like our current main-stream media? Show a man paradise in living color, complete with a full orchestra beating its pathos against his ears and what chance does he have to resist? Especially since he's a total moron anyway. The rat hears the bell and the rat pulls the lever. It's just as simple as that. BOOM! I've just described the entire strategy of the Democratic party.

The Democrat party platform is a promise: More cheese. There are two solutions. Get rid of the walking talking cheese dispensers or rat poison. I bet you know which one I pick?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Colorado's dangerous experiment

Depending on who you ask, marijuana in Colorado seems to be a big success. To the stores that are nearly or already completely sold out, legal pot is the greatest thing since ... well, actually, I can't think of anything. To the state, salivating over its estimated tax receipts, it's a triumph to be savored! And to the people who wander curiously into the pot stores—most of whom have probably never smoked pot before—it is no doubt strange exciting and exotic! However, for those of us who know better, it's the sad slow start of a slow-motion train-wreck, where the engineer driving the train is asleep at the controls and the passengers are having the time of their lives.

I won't need to do any research for this post. I know just about everything there is to know about illegal marijuana, and so I also know what the results of this dangerous experiment are going to be. It seems as though America the collective—as controlled by the 53% who don't pay any income-taxes—has charted a deadly course through all sorts of dangerous experiments. As gay marriages are celebrated throughout the land—not with a glass of champagne but with a doobie—it is all of us who will be the ones left to experience the full results, as well as the side-effects of this horti-cultural folly.

The clamor of pot-heads throughout the realm has been unceasing over the decades. These people want to convince everyone that marijuana is safe compared to all the harder drugs, and even as compared with alcohol. Whatever. Go peddle that line of b.s. to somebody who's a little more naive than yours truly. I was a pot-head for more than a decade. But even more important, I grew up as a boy and then as an adolescent watching the effects of marijuana on my uncle, and my uncle-in-law and all their friends. Stoners and getting stoned was what they did, all they did. Everything else was secondary. My uncle dropped out of college. My uncle-in-law was a fairly talented guitarist and according to my grandmother—who was a retired 9th grade English grammar teacher—he was also a certified genius. Well, you couldn't tell it by me.

What is marijuana's greatest danger? You'll hear various scare stories from various experimenters and pot-dilettantes, but for those of us with real experience—those of us who finally escaped its languorous lethargic carefree trap—the greatest danger, the society killing danger of marijuana is that it destroys the will. It removes almost every bit of self-motivation from a person. We are all required by custom, by necessity, by honor, by creed, perhaps even by coincidence to perform various tasks, learn various facts, attend various events, and finally—and most important—pay various debts. A pot-head would rather get high than do any of that stuff, but worse, the pot-head probably will get high rather than do any of that stuff.

Comparing alcohol to marijuana in any meaningful way is doomed to failure, but for those of you who aren't aware of the differences, I'll go into them briefly and then discuss why these differences are so important.

First of all people can't grow alcohol like they can marijuana. I can't stress that singular difference enough. The manufacture of alcohol is difficult. It requires specialized knowledge and expensive equipment. If you do it wrong all your time and money will be poured—quite literally—right down the drain. Furthermore, there's a store on every corner that sells some form of alcohol and there's probably even a liquor store within a mile or two of your house. Alcohol is cheap and comes in convenient cans and bottles that take half-a-second to open. The reason people don't make their own alcohol is because making it is more expensive than just buying it.

Now, it doesn't really need to be said, but I'll say it anyway. Planting a seed in some dirt and watching it grow doesn't take much know how, much money, much effort, much time or trouble. Furthermore because both the legal and the illegal price of marijuana is so absurdly exorbitant, why wouldn't everyone who wants to smoke pot just grow their own?

At this point I'm going to do a little thought experiment. Coloradans are allowed six plants per household. Perhaps the rules of this new Colorado law define what exactly one plant is in some absolutely unambiguous way, but allow me to muddy this—no-doubt—crystal clear water just a little bit. The most important thing to understand is that the connoisseur pot-grower's recommended method of manufacture is known as cloning. You take a small cutting of a mature plant and encourage that cutting to grow roots of its own. This in effect creates a tiny duplicate of the original plant. This cutting has the same genetic blueprint as its parent—in effect they are still the same plant, but with separate root systems. A marijuana plant is an annual plant. As the seasons change and autumn begins, the marijuana plant flowers or buds. The buds are prized for their THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. With an indoor plant, you can adjust the light cycle using curtains or light barriers to cause one part of the plant to bud, while at the same time leaving the rest of the plant in full artificial daylight 24-7—and growing like a proverbial weed, might I add.

A truly imaginative marijuana aficionado could use the techniques described above to craft an elaborate six-plant arboretum with that days harvest ripening on the vine so-to-speak. Imagine a life-sized sea-turtle Chia Pet seeded with a thousand clones. This particular formation would resemble a huge round shrubbery, and who is to say whether this genetically homogeneous artistically rendered vegetative sculpture is one plant or one-thousand?

How will the state make money on something so easy to grow? How will the state regulate marijuana consumption by adults and especially by those under the legal age when pot gardens are ubiquitous in better homes and gardens? How will the marijuana commissaries turn a profit when neighbors feel comfortable borrowing an ounce of pot like Ms. Mary Jane might borrow a stick of butter?

Furthermore, why on earth will the people of this state bother to do anything at all, when they can instead spend the day sitting in front of the television stoned out of their mind while munching on their munchies that they paid for with a Colorado EBT card?