"Sometime in the next decade, New York will be awash in casinos. I wonder if the politicians and business leaders who wanted them will be sorry."
This is what you get with government who enacts legislation with no thought of the long term consequences. People seem to buy the instant gratification scheme. But it is just that...a scheme. A political scheme.
To the person stating addiction is not a disease because of lack of organ involvement?! I gather you also feel mental illness is not an illness? Why therefore is there such a high genetic disposition for alcoholics? Why is it from day 1, when an alcoholic takes that drink, it initiates a craving for another, & another, whereas a non alcoholic can drink a half of a drink and leave it? You might want to read the AA Big Book.
It seems to me that the complainants in the original Arizona case were not deprived of anything. They should have simply used the free market to obtain another photographer. Hurt feelings do not trump the freedoms afforded everyone in the exercise of their conscience or religion. Would the writer force
conscientious objectors to carry a weapon or a pro-life doctor or nurse perform an abortion? The first amendment of our Constitution protects all of us, thank God, or Allah , or Vishnu or L Ron Hubbard, or Voltaire or every other Upper West Side humanist!
The authoress states that "the Constitution doesn't give us the right to impose our religious beliefs on other people." This isn't exactly false, inasmuch the Constitution doesn't really have anything to do with relations between private individuals, one way or the other.
However, it is more accurate to say that the Constitution explicitly forbids a transient political majority from imposing its values and beliefs on the rest of us. Yet that is PRECISELY what Obama and Sibelius seek to do. And it is precisely what happens when the state willfully and knowingly violates the conscience rights of a small business owner.
On balance, this column presents a strong argument for strictly limiting the power and reach of government. Let us hope it portends a welcome change in editorial direction!
Why should the government have the power to fine or throw in jail:
• A vegetarian graphic artist who refuses to produce posters for a butcher shop?
• A banquet hall proprietor who won't book a Boy Scout function because he dislikes Scout policies?
• A hotel manager who refuses to host a conference of climate change deniers?
• A pizzeria owner who won't deliver to a union-busting law firm?
• A photographer who turns away fur-wearing clients?
• An accountant who won't service a business that exploits people with gambling addictions?
• A contractor who turns down a remodeling job for a tobacco shop?
• A caterer who won't take part in a function if alcohol is present?
• A mechanic who refuses to help out operators of fracking equipment?
• A commercial landlord who refuses to lease to a business that sells tobacco products?
• A bodega owner who refuses to provide customers with a certain periodical because it contains superstitious material like horoscopes? (Oops!)
"The objects of the discrimination are lesser beings, not worthy of service – or protection."
Like the bakery in NM that was forced to sell a wedding cake to a gay wedding against the owners's religious beliefs, or be forced out of business? I wonder why they aren't worthy of protection.
A requirement of my office cleaning job is that I clean the restrooms. Not long ago, I found a pill on the floor in a restroom. I wondered what it was, so I took it home and identified it. I don't remember the exact drug name, but the purpose given was to relieve anxiety and to help prevent panic attacks.
Personally, I had to give up taking an anti-depressant because after several years it didn't really work, yet the side effects continued.
These types of drugs are not addictive like alcohol and we would all be better off to just "buck up" and not be on them.
"It isn't drug addiction that kills addicts, it's drug prohibition. Addicts who get a steady supply of pure morphine or heroin at a known level of potency and clean hypodermics, can live long, happy productive lives."
The argument against this, of course, is that alcohol is legal and highly regulated, and it is the most abused drug, and has destroyed very many lives.
ON DRUG "ADDICTION"
Drug "addiction" is not a disease. A disease manifests itself as a breakdown of one or more of our organs due to any number of internal or external factors. Drug addiction may seem to manifest itself as a disease because continued use of certain drugs is damaging to our organs: for example, the harm done directly to the lungs by cigarette smoke or to the liver by alcohol.
The term "addiction" simply implies a biological change of brain connectivity. This new connectivity causes the drug addict's brain to behave differently than someone whose brain has not been modified by addiction. Furthermore, addiction does not imply a simple cause-and-effect relationship between the drug and the resultant behavior: if it did, intervention by other drugs or behavior modification therapy would be much more predictable and successful.
In fact, the addict's brain as an organ is working just fine, doing what it has been reprogrammed to do: create a demand for the drug of choice, and release large amounts chemicals that induce pleasure to the user when the drug is used - dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, in particular.
This is not to deny that some drugs act directly on our organs, such as the heart, as in the case of amphetamines. Their impact on the brain is less of a rewiring than to create a sudden increase in neurochemicals that stimulate existing brain functionality.
The rewiring process in the brain continues with continued use of the drug or drugs that cause the rewiring. The rewired brain remains rewired even after the drug user ceases to use drugs. This explains "relapses." All the therapeutic treatment in the world is not going to cause the brain to return to its original, unmodified state, in a matter of weeks, months or even years.
As a result, the rewired brain continues to create a craving for the substance that created the intense pleasure so familiar to the user long after drug use ceases. Resisting is a matter of willpower generated in other higher-level brain functionality. However, the lower-level brain functions usually win this battle of wills, as they have a much more powerful impact on behavior.
You experience this sort of battle yourself whenever you find yourself in a situation where your brain is demanding that you urinate, and you are in a situation that doesn't allow it, at least in an unembarassing fashion. If you can't extricate yourself from this situation, you are going to pee your pants, regardless. And drug users will eventually find themselves in a situation from which they cannot extricate themselves.
One solution for the addict is to find activities that are pleasurable, but do not have harmful side effects, either on themself or others. Falling in love with someone is a good start; mountaineering is another; caring for other people will work too. Anything that produces a lot of good feelings to replace those that were being generated by the drugs. Our body doesn't care how they are generated, but we do.
Garrett A. Hughes
It isn't drug addiction that kills addicts, it's drug prohibition. Addicts who get a steady supply of pure morphine or heroin at a known level of potency and clean hypodermics, can live long, happy productive lives.
Some high functioning addicts - Charles Dickens, Frank Sinatra, Florence Nightingale, the great surgeon William Halstead, Irving Berlin.
These treatments for drug addiction are inhuman treatment as addicts perpetuate until death usually with these regimes..
The problem with all western governments is that they are overridingly influenced by the ultra-financially powerful pharmaceutical giants. So much so that they control government policy on hard drug treatments and where of course they supply methadone et al that provides billions of dollars in revenues. But they don't care about the harm that this treatment does and only look at the bottom-line. That is why this maintenance treatment policy goes on infinitum as it creates vast profits for big Pharma. Indeed governments go out to suppress all information concerning a 'cure' for these terrible treatment drugs that enslave addicts for life through dependency. There is no humanity in this form of treatment only profits as addicts spend a lifetime on treatments that are more addictive than the drugs they purportedly try to eradicate. But wouldn't it be good for once that a western government did something out of the ordinary and stopped supporting big Pharma and introduced a 'cure' that is available at a cost of a mere 10% of present treatment regimes. Then addicts would come off hard drugs for good and thereafter lead a normal life in society and give something back. But will a single western government rebel against the powerful pharmaceutical cartel, I very much doubt it as they have our politicians and leaders in their back pocket. That is what is called democracy where big business rules supreme. For an introduction of what is going on and the 'cure' that is available readers should visit - http://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/what-successive-governments-and.html
Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation
Your article is moving and all too real. I do believe that many people do use drugs as a form of self medication, but it is only a fraction of initial users. Probably a greater fraction of those who are already recreational users begin to use in this way. Whatever the intial reason, we have proven that that which that which alters brain function can all too often also end up controlling it.
Also, there is frequently no bright line separating prescribed drugs and illicit drugs with respect to abuse and dependancy, they are frequently part of one slippery continuum.
It is easy to feel depressed by all the bad news. It's also possible to miss some of the good things that are happening. The key to long term solutions may be to draw energy from the good to overcome the bad. It was heartening, for instance, to hear of the adoption by Action for a Better Community (a long standing force for good in Rochester) of the Cure Violence model developed in Chicago. There are programs focused on students, like Rochester Mentors and the Borinquen Dance Company. As Martin Edic mentioned, there are federal funds coming in for revitalizing the spaces cut off 50 years ago by the Inner Loop. Young entrepreneurs are staying in the area, starting companies and getting support and mentorship from established business people.
Yet, as you say, here are problems that seem intractable, and may well be if we don't come together. What's missing is a collective sense of being in this together and a leadership voice that says, "Let's declare what we are FOR and work together on building energy and support for that. " There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss what we are against.
What if City were to call for a gathering of all segments of our community into a very large scale conversation, in the form of a Future Search or a World Cafe? I imagine one to two-thousand people in the Convention Center all invited to come together to answer a few basic questions: What do we want for our community? What do we share in common with each other across all our differences? What are we willing do together to bring about a future worthy of us and our children's, children's children?
Other cities have done this (Seattle comes to mind). We can too.
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