Monday, March 10, 2008

Discovering Blogging

Before this quarter I was unfamiliar with internet blogging. Several months back we were asked if we had ever posted on a blog before. At the time I had not. Now I feel far more knowledgeable about blogs and their purpose.

I learned that blogs can be a great way to learn about a certain topic. To write a blog I believe that you have to put a little research and thought into your writing. Anyone can read your blog so naturally you want to provide accurate and interesting information. Even by reading someone else’s blog you can learn a great deal.

I also discovered the popularity of blogs this quarter. Blogs have really revolutionized marketing, advertising, and communication. Blogs have given common people the opportunity to permanently voice ideas to a worldwide audience. Blogs are a way for readers to become closer to the writer. Now you can read someone’s work, ask them a question, and get a response. The ability to get this close to a writer was nonexistent before blogging.

Writing my own blog this quarter has been different from any other writing that I have done before. Writing on a blog to me seemed slightly less personal. Obviously when writing on our blogs we at least have a small audience of readers, for this reason I filtered certain personal information. I don’t believe that it is required to filter personal information. Several other bloggers in the class actually did the opposite. Their blogs were entirely about personal information. This is the beauty of blogging. The ability for anyone to write about whatever they feel like. The versatility of blogging is what makes it so popular. Before this quarter I was unfamiliar with blogs; now I see their immense significance in our culture today.

Internet Blogging: Better Get Use to It

Has Internet blogging revolutionized journalism today? I believe that it has. Internet blogging has become a worldwide gateway to giving and sharing information. Because the popularity of internet blogging is still on the rise, it will continue to be a source of news in years to come.
Internet blogging allows anyone to share information or an opinion to an unlimited audience. It has become a way for fans to reach their idols, a way for Star Wars nerds to argue with Star Trek nerds, a way to find out the latest bonehead mistake by Britney Spears, or simply a way for someone keep a personal journal. The versatility of internet blogging makes it applicable to anyone. Anyone with internet access can express their views and opinions on blogs. However, there are several negative aspects to internet blogging. The potential illegitimacy of information on a blog is one downfall. Because anyone can put anything on the internet, some sources may not be true. Also, blogs can be a way to spread rumors and gossip, or they may be biased towards an opinion. Some blogs are completely slanted to one side of an argument; this can cause the information on the site to be slightly biased. Internet blogs are not perfect, but are they a huge factor in our society today? Yes, there is no doubt that they have altered the way information is exchanged today.
Why is internet blogging becoming such a huge source of information in our society? Obviously the increasing amount of access to the internet has helps flame its popularity. Sites like facebook and myspace have helped introduce a younger audience to some form of blogging. Blogs on fan sites for musicians and other celebrities have helped connect the fans to their favorite celebrities. Internet blogs have become a way to access a wealth of information through links. A good blog will direct you to more information on the subject through links to other websites; Blogs are now a spider web of information connected together like a trail of tiny threads.
The popularity of Bogging has exploded within the last ten years. In the CNN article “Blogging Goes Mainstream”, Charles Kilby (Terra Lycos' director of product marketing) states "We want to take what has been an underground phenomenon and introduce it to the masses.” The versatility of blogs gives blogging the potential to grow around the world. There are blogs on the internet right now that cover almost any subject that interests you. Blogging has an unlimited audience worldwide, and thus has an unlimited growth potential.
Blogging certainly has become a powerful force in our society. It has grown to be danger to even large businesses due to the potential of negative blog reviews of their products. David Kirkpatrick writes in his article “Why There’s No Escaping the Blog”, “Blogs are challenging the media and changing how people in advertising, marketing, and public relations do their jobs. A few companies like Microsoft are finding ways to work with the blogging world--even as they're getting hammered by it. So far, most others are simply ignoring it. Freewheeling bloggers can boost your product--or destroy it. Either way, they've become a force business can't afford to ignore.”
Not every aspect of internet blogging is positive. There are several problems with internet blogging. One such problem is the bias of information. This is not a downfall of blogs though; every other news source also suffers from this problem. Every report on TV or in the newspaper has the potential to be bias towards an opinion. In the article “Attack of the Blogs” by Daniel Lyons, Bruce Fischman (a lawyer in Miami for targets of online abuse) states, “I'd say 50% to 60% of attacks are sponsored by competitors.” With this many blog attacks online the potential for bias information is more likely. This only means that the information that you look at on blogs must be filtered carefully, just like any other source of information.
Internet blogging started out as an underground revolution, but has grown to be a massive force in our society today. It will continue to become a larger source of information in the future due to its vast audience. The internet will continue to expand around the world to more and more people. With this increase in internet access, blogs will continue to thrive and grow for many years to come. Is this good for our culture? I believe that it will only help common people share and express opinions worldwide.

Summary and Response to Freakonomics

Constantly in our country decisions are being made by our leaders. Each citizen in the United States only has a vote to determine who the leaders will be. We do not personally vote on the issues; we simply try to support someone who will best represent how we feel on certain issues. Our representatives are the individuals who vote and set the direction of our nation. The decisions that they make affect every citizen’s daily life. Unfortunately, I believe that some decisions made by our leaders have been based on false information. One such bad decision is the criminalization of marijuana.
One blog post conversation about marijuana legalization I found on the web is located at freakonomics. The post, titled “On the Legalization-or Not- of Marijuana,” actually contains the opinions of six different individuals. These opinions differ and show both sides of the legalization argument. The main author is Stephen Dubner, and the other five are Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Dr. Robert DuPont, Allen St. Pierre, Dr. David Murray, and Richard Lawrence Miller. Several authors are for legalization and several are against it, so both sides of the argument are presented. All of the authors in this post did an excellent job presenting their argument in short paragraphs. They got right to the point and presented their opinion on the topic.
The main author- Stephen Dubner- starts the post off explaining why he thinks marijuana should be legalized. The scenario that Stephen Dubner writes about (if alcohol and marijuana were just now discovered) brings out a great point that I agree with. I believe laws concerning alcohol would be stricter, and laws concerning marijuana would be more lenient if the two substances were just now discovered. If you take away all the predetermined false information that most individuals associate with marijuana, I believe that people would see the effects of alcohol on an individual are more dangerous than the effects of marijuana. The second author Dr. Lester Grinspoon brings out the argument that laws concerning marijuana were founded on myths. Many of these myths are unfortunately still believed by people today. Allen St. Pierre (the fourth author) discusses the possibility of legalizing and taxing marijuana. He discusses how ignorant government is by taxing tobacco and alcohol on every level, but allowing such a widely used product (marijuana) to go untaxed. I agree with him, a taxation plan would be necessary for marijuana to be legalized in the United States. Richard Lawrence Miller, the last writer, doesn’t really argue any case. He states that we have become so stubborn on issues that we refuse to see the facts. I do agree with him entirely; this is applicable to any disagreement. I think that before we make a decision, we should scrutinize and take a look at both sides of the argument.
There are two authors that discuss why marijuana should not be legalized. Dr. Robert L. DuPont (The third author) states that marijuana should not be legalized, because if it is legalized more people will use it and that will cause problems. However, I’m not sure what problems would arise if more people used marijuana. The snack food industry might see an increase in profits, but that’s not really a problem. It’s not certain that marijuana use would increase if legalized. I believe it would, but I don’t believe that in any way would it corrupt or destroy our society any more than what alcohol and other drugs have already done. The fifth author (Dr. David Murray) discusses the dangerous effects of marijuana. The problems that it causes and how it can lead to dependencies on other more dangerous illegal drugs. He states that marijuana is too dangerous to legalize due to its effects.
This blog post summarizes the main points of the entire marijuana legalization debate. Both sides of the argument are presented well, but there are a few areas that I don’t agree with. The second author compares legalizing marijuana to eliminating the speed limit. I don’t think you can compare the dangers of driving a car at 200m.p.h. to smoking weed. Driving a car ridiculously fast puts your self and others into immediate physical danger. Smoking weed only puts the user in danger of getting into trouble with the authorities. He also states that if legalized weed would become more assessable to youth, like alcohol and cigarettes. Marijuana is already more available than alcohol to youth, because it is illegal. I know from experience that getting weed in today’s high schools is easier that alcohol. For a kid to get alcohol they have to get someone over 21 who is willing to buy it for them. To get weed they just have to get a drug dealers phone number. No drug dealer is going to ask for an I.D., as long as they get their money. I believe that within several generations the public will have discovered that marijuana is not dangerous and it should be legalized.
It was once thought to be a fact that marijuana was dangerous thus it was outlawed and has remained outlawed for decades by the federal government. I think through time many people have discovered (some through personal experience) that it is actually not dangerous. Still some, for one reason or another, feel that it is hazardous. I feel that when compared to cigarettes, alcohol, and even legal prescription drugs, it is not. Our current government is working hard to keep marijuana illegal, by influencing the public into thinking that it is a dangerous drug using anti-drug ads, and programs. For example one commercial I saw was set in a fast food drive through. The commercial showed a group of young people pulling out of the drive thru. Just as they do this a little girl on a bike rides out in front of their vehicle, and they slam on the brakes skidding to a stop just before they hit the girl. The next scene shows them pulling out of the same drive thru smoking a joint. This time when the girl rides out in front of the vehicle they hit her before stopping. The first time I saw this commercial I had to laugh simply because of how ridiculous it is. I couldn’t believe the brainwashing bull shit that was being pushed. I don’t think there is any statistical data to back up the message that marijuana will effect your reflex driving. The other message I got from the commercial was, by using marijuana you’re putting other peoples lives at risk. By using marijuana you will probably hurt someone. I think that it’s unbelievable and shocking that we are so clearly being exposed to a message that is untrue. Unfortunately, this message gets through to a lot of people.
I believe that right now there are too many people who think that marijuana is too dangerous to be legal in this country. I will take at least several decades before there are enough people that realize it was criminalized based on myths. Even then I do not think it will be legalized unless the government can find a way of making money off of it. Taxing it would most likely be the only way for that to happen. For now we are forced to live under laws that were formed based on untrue ideas, and laws that we didn’t vote to establish. The unfortunate part of all this is that I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
Today, most people are willing to simply form an opinion based of false information or on what someone around them believes. I think that before a decision is made concerning this topic, you must first look at both sides of the argument. I have looked at both sides of the argument, and I believe that marijuana is not dangerous and it should be legalized in this country. I hope that before you make a decision concerning this subject, you would look at both sides of the argument as well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rock and Roll

Today I would like to look at one of the most notorious effects of marijuana. On my last post I looked at drugs in movies; this week I decided to focus on marijuana and another form of entertainment- music. On a web page called Marijuana Uses, Peter Webster writes “One of the more remarkable effects noticed in the state of consciousness brought on by marijuana use is a greatly enhanced appreciation of music. The effect seems to be almost universal, and does not seem to fade with experience in the use of marijuana, as do certain other effects typically noticed by novice users.” Many musicians have embraced this effect of marijuana, and produced music to appeal to marijuana users. Certainly musicians like Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, or even Snoop Dogg stand out as a few of the obvious musicians to associate themselves with drug usage. I believe there are a large number of musicians have specifically targeted marijuana users as their audience. Certainly since the jazz and rock and roll movements drugs have become an influence on musicians worldwide. Legendary Music Festivals, like Woodstock, known for drug usage have been permanently pressed into our cultures history. Locations like Haight-Ashbury became famous for “psychedelic rock” concerts. Since that time drugs have continued to be an influential part of the music scene. Today, I think it’s hard to separate the drug use and music development worldwide.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Guest Post:

Here is a question that I have, why can’t marijuana be legalized but carry similar punishments as alcohol? Alcohol carries similar characteristics while under the influence as marijuana, so why is one illegal and one isn’t?

I think marijuana should be legalized because there are responsible people out there that will use but not put other peoples lives in danger. That is just the same with alcohol, there are responsible people out there that only drink in the comfort of their home or at least have a DD. Why can’t there be laws that legalize marijuana but keep people in check while using. Why can’t you set up checkpoints the same as you do for people under the influence of alcohol? Why can’t you have a law about having a lit joint in public, which is kind of like an open container? If people want to do things in the privacy of their own homes that should be ok. Even have state licensed stores that sell the marijuana and this way it can still be controlled by the government.

I think that the possible explanation to all of this is the government doesn’t want to deal with it. It is easier to classify it as a drug and that it’s illegal than to have to worry about people bringing up the question about other drugs. The government is worried that if they legalize marijuana where does it stop. Well, sorry to say but its never going to stop. There will always be questions on drugs and what their affect is on people.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I don't feel like posting anything serious today, so i thought i would write about some movies. There are a number of movies and even tv shows that have marijuana references in them. Some movies you watch and afterwards you wonder what drug inspired those visuals. Some of my favorite movies of all time have drug references in them.

Most of the odvious classic drug reference movies that come to my mind are comedies. Half Baked, or any of the Cheeh and Chong movies. I actually found a list of popular movies with drugs in them on wikipedia. I noticed on this list that most movies with drugs in them were made from the '90s on. There of course are exceptions, but the majority are newer. I think the reason for this could be that we are getting used to drugs more and more in our society. It's no longer something that we try to hide or avoid. Drugs are out in the open, and putting them in movies just helps relate to the audience. More people now know the effects of certain drugs, so making a movie scene with them is much easier for the director.

Marijuana references have even made their way into our tv shows. One of the most odvious being That 70's Show. Smoking weed in the basement on a popular tv show. Probly not acceptible 30 years ago. Also the classic Simpsons episode on the issue of medical marijuana. Acceptible and funny today, even though weed is still illegal. I think it just shows that more and more people are getting comfortable with drugs or drug references.

Anyways, there are some great movies on the list I linked to above, so if you have a chance take a look. See if a few of your all time favorites are on there. Here is my top ten movies with drugs list. American Beauty, Breakfast Club, Clockwork Orange, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Half Baked, Natural Born Killers, Pulp Fiction, Requium for a Dream, Spun, Super Troopers. Really hard to choose with so many great movies.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Laws founded on myths

Today I would like to present another argument for marijuana legalization in the United States. The laws established in this country outlawing marijuana possession and use are based on false information about the drug. The first laws concerning marijuana were based on the mind-set shown in movies like reefer madness (1936). A movie that today is comedical to most people. Unfortunately many people still believe some false "dangers" of marijuana. I think that anyone who has any experience or knowledge of the drug would agree that it's not addictive, it would not cause you to randomly commit a violent crime, and it will not make you forget committing a violent crime. Marijuana laws in this country were formed based on the idea that marijuana is more dangerous than heroine. Now that these laws are already in place, the government makes a massive amount of money from marijuana fines. To keep this money coming in every year they keep the public believing that marijuana is extremely dangerous. All the government funded commercials and anti-drug programs influences people to believe that marijuana is a serious and dangerous problem. I believe it is working, most of the public believes that if you use marijuana you will commit crimes, and eventually destroy your life. Just like any other drug, marijuana can alter your behavior; however, the drug is not addictive, and does not cause you to commit violent crimes. The only laws that you will break because of marijuana are the laws against possession or use. Laws that were formed not based on facts but on myths. Yet, for some reason these laws are still in place. I believe they will be for many years to come. I don't think that the public will be brainwashed forever; within the next several generations the common public will have realized that marijuana is not dangerous. Perhaps then the laws in this country will come to question and perhaps be overturned.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

gateway drug?

I have been reading several articles about marijuana being a gateway drug. This means that by using marijuana you make yourself more likely to start using other more dangerous drugs. I don't entirely agree with this theory. Using marijuana does not in any ways mean that you will move on to other drugs. I think that nicotine and alcohol and even caffeine are the first steps to drug addictions, not marijuana. Marijuana has not been proven to be addictive, but these other legal drugs are. I think that the government for some reason has targeted marijuana as the drug that is giving our country most problems. I believe that it is considered a gateway drug because it is the most common illegal drug. Most people drank milk before they drank alcohol, so it must be milk that makes people drink alcohol. Of course that seems ridiculous, but that is how I feel like they treat marijuana. The government 1.2 billion dollar a year anti-drug budget to me is going to waste. Instead of focusing on marijuana, focus on drugs that are damaging and ruining peoples lives. I know more people messing up their lives hooked on prescription pills, than destroying their lives abusing weed. The anti-marijuana campaign statistically was recently show to be non-effective anyway. Statistics show that marijuana use has increased in our country. It just seems like a waste to me to target marijuana as the main cause of drug problems in this country when to me it is obviously not.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Effects of marijuana vs. Effects of alcohol

Effects of marijuana vs. Effects of alcohol
(Names have been changed to protect the innocent-or guilty, I guess)

Based on personal experience, I believe that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana. However for some reason alcohol is legal in this country and marijuana is not. I had some experiences with marijuana when I was younger, and I never did anything violent or irresponsible as a result. It did have several effects on me; however, I don’t think that it is nearly as dangerous as alcohol.

One particular evening I witnessed several good examples that demonstrated the differences between the effects of alcohol and marijuana. I was playing video games at my friend’s apartment after work with two other friends, Otis and Milo. It wasn’t that late when Otis, Milo, and I decided to leave. We decided to smoke in the parking lot outside of the apartment before we left. After we had smoked a while in my car Otis and Milo got so hungry they begged me to take them for food. They rode with me, so I drove them to get food. We went to McDonalds down the street, and tried to order food without laughing too much. We didn’t succeed at not laughing, but we did somehow succeed at ordering the food. We pulled around, got the food and left McDonalds. As we were pulling out Otis asked if we could stop at KFC too. I just busted out laughing thinking that he could not be serious, but he was serious. After some begging on his part I pulled into the KFC drive thru and again tried to order food again without laughing. I managed to get the food ordered correctly, so I pulled around. As soon as we got the food and left there Milo, now finished with his McDonalds, asked to stop at Taco Bell. I ended up stopping at three fast food restaurants right in a row. It felt to me a “munchies” scene from a movie like Half Baked. Thankfully that was the last fast food stop we made.

After all that I ended up stopping at Circle K on the way to my house to get a slushy to drink. While I was waiting in the checkout line I noticed a man in the parking lot belligerently yelling into a pay phone outside. I couldn’t hear what he was saying inside, but it was obvious that he was drunk by the way he could barley keep his balance. He began to quickly pace back and forth in front of the store. The clerk informed the few people in line that the cops were already on their way to talk to the man. The police arrived just as I was buying my slushy, and the guy continued to make a scene, yelling something about finding a woman. The cops were trying to talk and calm the guy down when I left. I brought Otis and Milo back to my house so they could finish consuming their food, and I could enjoy my delicious slushy.

By now it was around one in the morning, but my roommate wasn’t around. Several minutes later a cop car pulled up, and to my surprise my roommate got out of the back seat. Otis and Milo began to get paranoid at the site of the police walking up to my door. They knocked on the door and I answered. They asked “do you know him”, pointing to my roommate, and I answered “yes, he lives here.” They responded “well, he’s yours now.” I asked what happened, and they told me about picking him up outside a bar. Apparently he was pissing in the street and didn’t have a ride home. I told the two officers that he would be fine now. The cops left and my roommate stumbled in and sat down. I assumed he had drank way too much, and when began to speak I found that I was exactly right. His sentences were a jumbled mess of swear words, mostly featuring various forms of the “f” word. After a few minutes he began to beg me to take him to McDonalds. After some persistence I gave in and got ready to take him to McDonalds. While in the drive thru at McDonalds for a second time that night, I noticed a guy in the car behind us had a beer in his hand. There was a woman with him driving the vehicle. Then while I was ordering food the guy started yelling something. His words were slurred so I couldn’t tell what he was saying. It did however sound very similar to the language my roommate was currently speaking (a mixture of incoherent swears.) After ordering the food I pulled ahead to the window, and suddenly the car pulled around me past the drive through window. The guy got out of the vehicle with the beer bottle still in his hand and tried to get in the door. Obviously since it was two in the morning the door was locked. He literally slammed his beer into the ground and started to punch the glass door. When he couldn’t break or even crack it he climbed back into his car and they drove away. Everyone in McDonalds had stopped working and they were staring at the door in disbelief. When the girl at the window handed me the food I mentioned that perhaps they should get that guys food order right next time. She half smiled and said “yea, he was not very happy”. I drove home and went to bed, I had experienced enough for one evening.

Reflecting on that entire night has led me to believe that the effects of alcohol are more dangerous than the effects of marijuana. Using my story as an example, I think alcohol obviously has a potential to cause more negative effects on people than marijuana. I do honestly believe that both can be abused by people. Both can potentially take over and ruin a person’s life. I know people who have lost their jobs due to alcohol or marijuana. Both can be dangerous, but why is one legal and the other not. Alcohol influences many people to become violent, angry, and dangerous. I have never seen marijuana cause someone to attack McDonalds because their food order was wrong, or influence them to piss in the street. Alcohol was once outlawed in this country but then it was legalized again. Based on the dangers of the two, shouldn’t the same be done with marijuana?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

why drink and drive when you can fly high?

Several people have commented comparing marijuana to alcohol. I think that most people that have any knowledge or experience with both would agree that alcohol is the more dangerous of the two. Alcohol was once outlawed in this country. I think once the government realized that they could tax it, they legalized it. I think its funny how most people perceive alcohol compared to marijuana. advertisement is a great example. Commercials on TV with alcohol show attractive people having a blast drinking together. I recently saw a cartoon anti-weed commercial where a guy smokes weed, and an alien comes and takes his girlfriend. I don't really know what they were trying to say except that smoking weed will have a negative effect on you. Alcohol, which was once outlawed because of its dangers, has been embraced in our society. I wonder if the same would happen to marijuana if legalized? I honestly believe that alcohol often brings out the worst in people. The effects of marijuana are far less dangerous, but in out society i believe it is perceived more dangerous for some reason. I think many people associate drugs as one big problem. Therefore, marijuana is lumped in with heroin, crack, and other far more dangerous illegal drugs. I don't think most people realize that marijuana is not addictive, and it's not as dangerous as alcohol. Our country has legalized alcohol, will legalization of marijuana be in our country's future? I don't see it happening soon due to the community's perception of marijuana.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

problems with legalizing drugs

There are a lot of theory's involving drug legalization and crime rate. If you look at the statistics for the prohibition, crime rate went up until the year that alcohol was legalized again. Many people think the crime rate would actually drop as a result of drug legalization. Organized crime would certainly suffer if drugs were legalized. Gangs and foreign cartels would no longer have a product to sell without competition. Obviously there would be no drug violation arrests(possession or using). Theoretically there would be less crimes by drug addicts trying to get money for their next "fix." The drugs that they are addicted to would most likely be much cheaper and easily accessible. The problem arises that if all drugs were legalized there would be more addicts. Having a higher rate of drug addicts might cause more crimes as a result of people being too messed up on drugs. Studies have shown that drug users (including alcohol and tobacco) are more likely to commit a crime than non users. If legalized would our society be overrun and destroyed by addictions? The question arises, if legalized how many people would use addictive, potentially dangerous drugs. Would there be a significant increase if the drugs were made easily accessible. I'm not sure that is a chance that we should take. If use of dangerous drugs increase due to legalization would the amount of crimes eliminated override the amount of crimes created. perhaps, but would our society be a safer place. Many people believe that it would be. I think that we have to look at societies that have legalized drugs, and decide if we want a community like theirs.

Monday, January 7, 2008

breif summary on law

most laws involving marijuana differ among states. there are a number of states today where medical marijuana is not allowed, but there are also states where it is allowed medically. the first government regulating of marijuana started in 1925. Transfer of marijuana became illegal in 1937 unless it was for medical or industrial use (in those cases it was heavily taxed). From 1952-1970 congress made mandatory 2-10 year sentencing for first time marijuana possession. The DEA was formed in 1973 to regulate drug trafficking. Recently state laws have have become less severe regarding marijuana possession. it will be interesting to see if this pattern continues in the future.

Friday, January 4, 2008

blog possibilities

I am currently a student at Ohio State. Over the course of this quarter this blog will be discussing the possibility of marijuana being legalized in the United States. I will be looking into how other countries laws involving marijuana differ from the laws in the United States. I will also look into when these laws were established, and why they were established. I will discuss my feelings towards this subject over the course of the next few weeks. hopefully this blog will help shed some light on the current laws and believes. I hope that this blog will help you develop and influence your opinion on this subject.