Pot initiative proponents and opponents deserve each other

For the past 30-something years, especially the last 18 years here in Utah, I have made freedom my business. But I guess I have not done a very good job as its advocate because even really intelligent people either do not understand it or still choose to prioritize self-interest. Throughout these ten years of commentaries, I have described freedom in minute detail – from its essence to its processes – and, regardless of the angle, I am convinced most people (even guardians elected to serve and protect it) do not…

Why critics are wrong about opposition to Prop 2

On August 23, 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its opposition to Proposition 2, the citizen initiative seeking to create a state marijuana program. Speaking on behalf of the Church, Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Seventy said, “The Church does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana, if doctor-prescribed, in dosage form, through a licensed pharmacy.” He continued, “Our hope and expectation is to bring the broader community together, including all those who have a lot of experience and understanding in what we can…

Don’t Bogart the facts

Most Utahns do not know what it is like to smoke pot or use cannabis in any of its commercial forms. I do. I smoked lots of pot when I was a teenager – lots of it. I bought it. I sold it. It’s no secret among people who really know me and I do not mind talking about it. I do not care who knows about it. My kids know. Any close co-worker knows. I unhesitatingly reported it on my application to get a Top Secret security clearance when…

Potheads make bad laws

Now that the Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative has inched closer to obtaining a spot on the November statewide ballot, it is a good time to get absolutely real about what policies, and their societal effects, are at stake. Supporters of the measure argue that good people are being forced to break the law just to relieve chronic pain. Opponents argue that this initiative is simply the first step in a broader campaign to legalize pot, as in Colorado. So who is right? Every statewide ballot initiative permits supporters and opponents…

Pot of gold

“But let me get to the point. Let’s roll another joint. And turn the radio loud. I’m too alone to be proud.” —from the song “You Don’t Know How It Feels”, by Tom Petty (RIP) I often refer to Utah as a theocracy. I am of the belief that a majority of the elected politicians in Utah believe that their first priority is to promote and implement the moral tenets espoused by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To me, this is un-American. It is more than allowable…

Killer pain

“One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small. And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.” —from the song “White Rabbit”, by Jefferson Airplane I suffer from gout. I first noticed the problem when I was living back home in Philadelphia in the early 2000’s. In my younger days I was a rub-some-dirt-on-it kind of guy, so I did not know why I was getting this brutal, omnipresent pain in my knee. Eventually I sought a doctor’s care. Without diagnosing the problem, he…

Solving the healthcare fiasco

To solve the health care fiasco in the United States, we have to understand actual health care markets and spending; we need to establish foundational principles from which to build health care policies; and, we need to strip health care debates of politics. Short of paying cash or trading chickens for service, the private health care insurance market has served its customers relatively well. Insurance providers offer medical plans and consumers choose from those plans or not at all. As with all insurance, medical coverage is based on risk. If…

Hey Josh Kanter? It’s easy to attack the “free market” when you don’t know what it is

Just like Pee-wee Herman saying “I meant to do that”, Alliance for a Better Utah’s founder and chair Josh Kanter likes moving the goalposts and declaring victory. In an op-ed light on both facts and arguments to support his thesis, he derides the abysmal health care industry as being an example of the free market being an abject failure at delivering medicine. Let’s pick apart this exercise in how to write like an overconfident high school sophomore. One thing he does get correct is defining a functional free market, one in…

Rethinking health care for the poor

Commenting on the Senate health care bill currently being debated, conservative pundit Marc Thiessen writes, “Here is the summary of the bill that Democrats will take to the American people in 2018: Republicans voted to cut $701 billion in taxes for corporations and the wealthy, and pay for it with $772 billion taken from Medicaid for the poor — all while pushing 22 million Americans off health care. And Senate Republicans are writing the script for them. Have they lost their minds?” He concludes, “Paying for a massive tax cut…

Utah – Glazed and Sugar Infused

“What do you get when you guzzle down sweets? Eating as much as an elephant eats. Where are you at getting terribly fat? What do you think will come of that?” —The Oompa Loompas, from the film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, right after Augustus Gloop is eliminated. Two Facebook entries by two different Utah news outlets posted three hours apart on Monday have proven to me, emphatically, that Utah is the junk food junkie capital of the United States of America. Early in the day, a post told how…