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Garland Robinette

Tune in to "The Think Tank" for independent, intelligent discussions with experts on matters of news, politics, science and much more!

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Twitter: @garlandWWL
Email: garland@wwl.com

Posts from February 2013

Garland blog: Take care of yourself!

The photo above on the left is me in August of 2011.  I was going through chemo to fight a life-threatening disease.  I was bloated, overweight, and had no energy.

The photo above on the right is me, more recently.  It's the product of living healthier and keeping the right attitude...and never, never, quitting.

We all have ups and downs.  But please know that living healthier is more than just physical. 

As I mentioned in my other blog today, Mr. Alan Watts, a counselor for young graduating students who still don’t know what to do with their degree or their lives.  His concept--“it is better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”  Please, indulge me for three minutes and listen to his talk.  It’s perfect for the “Think Tank” process…I promise you, it’ll make every parent (and, hopefully, their children) think…

 (6) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Education
People: Alan Watts

Garland Robinette: Tough Questions for All Parents. Tough Solutions Proposed.
1.30.13 - How many of us worry about sending our children to universities…even if we’ve put the money away?  Do you cringe like I do, when you hear reports that claim the cost of a college education may not be worth the price?  My guess—the answer for most of you is YES.
Well, let’s explore the debate.  First, let’s consider a very interesting approach by Mr. Alan Watts, a counselor for young graduating students who still don’t know what to do with their degree or their lives.  His concept--“it is better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”  Please, indulge me for three minutes and listen to his talk.  It’s perfect for the “Think Tank” process…I promise you, it’ll make every parent think…

And how interesting; I just read a report in the New York Times by Milton Friedman, that expresses doubt that our current education system will deliver the future we need.  In one paragraph I think Friedman points to the future problem that Mr. Watts may have the, or at the least the partial answer to the threat.  Friedman asks, “How do we adapt?   It will require more individual initiative.  We know that it will be vital to have more of the right education than less, that we will need top development skills that are complementary to technology rather than one that can be easily replaced.”  Friedman’s talking about technology takeover and how we must constantly change and educate ourselves just to keep up, or we become obsolete.  More jobs, fewer people needed.   But, what about jobs that robots and lower pay can't compete with…jobs we produce with our creativity…jobs that can't be exported?
I guess the immediate questions are simply this:  if we have a child who likes horses, do we encourage them to open a dude ranch?  If we have a child who loves to kayak, should we open a river guide tour group?  Isn’t that what Mr. Watts is saying, you need a passion to find your bliss.  You can wake up every day dying to get to work because you have a like that will make your very short life carry a rare state of bliss. Many times history points out a, like also attracts fame and fortune.  So, if we encourage our children to make a living doing something they like, even if it means little or no college…could that a better pathway toward success?
At this point I don’t know if I have the parenting skills to know if the Watts line of action is a good idea.  But I do know that Mr. Watts thinks in a direction I’ve never considered…and that, my friend, is the bottom line, of a Think Tank.  I hope this makes you think too.
 (1) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Education
People: Alan WattsMilton Friedman

Garland Robinette: Believe it or not, I'm with Jindal on this one
Garland@wwl.com - 2.18.13   Louisiana I love you, but you confuse me sometimes. You don’t want to pay any more taxes.  You want a reduction in crime.  You don’t trust government and law enforcement.  BUT, you’re all for a system that does almost none of the above…It’s called THE WAR ON DRUGS.

Let’s take a look at the “benefits” of this on-going war:

1.    The U.S. has about 5 percent of the world’s population, but houses almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.  http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2237

2.     Overall there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than 6 million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.  (How do I know?   Pat Robertson told me so: TIME magazine’s “Incarceration Nation.”)  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2109777,00.html

3.    The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens.  That’s 7 to 10 times more than all other developed countries.  http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2013/01/11/in-the-magazine/trends-and-opinions/prison-system.html

4.    Louisianas holds the title of world’s biggest prison machine.  You read correctly.  The world!   http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/05/louisiana_is_the_worlds_prison.html

5.    Nearly two-thirds of Louisiana prisoners are nonviolent offenders.  The national average is less than half.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/opinion/blow-plantations-prisons-and-profits.html?_r=0

7.     Louisiana has privatized many of its rural prisons to corporations that require a certain amount of inmates in order to show a stock holder profit.  So a reduction in crime would be a reduction in criminals, which would violate the mission statements of for profit prison corporations.   http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/05/17/the-economics-of-for-profit-prisons/  
So, let’s go back to the beginning:

1.    You don’t want to pay more taxes.  Well, yes, you do.  You love the fact that we’re tough on crime.  It costs a WWWWwhole lotta money, but that’s o.k., because we get?????

2.    Reduction in crime.  Oh wait, sorry, we’ve got the promises, but few results.  It’s only been that way about 40 years, but we’re assured salvation’s coming every day.

3.    You don’t trust government?  Well, yes, you do.  Who the hell do you think backs the plan that costs you so much in taxes?

4.  You don’t trust law enforcement?  Ohhh yes you do.  You’ll back a system that has the potential to put your children in the world’s biggest prison system for a chemical addiction.

OK, given all the above…Your favorite conservative Governor must be making you feel schizophrenic.  Here is Bobby Jindal’s latest headline:  “Jindal seeks release for nonviolent drug offenders.”   That’s right.  Bobby Jindal will agree to “let some nonviolent drug offenders out of prison early if they complete an intensive treatment program." http://www.wwl.com/pages/15547262.php?contentType=4&contentId=12407071 

Now, before you go calling him “Pyush-liberal-commie-Jindal,” how about we check to see if this idea has ever been implemented.

Portugal July 2001:  Decriminalized every imaginable drug from marijuana, to cocaine, to heroin. . (Did not make legal…decriminalized.  Distribution and trafficking is still a criminal offense.)

Many thought Lisbon would become a drug-tourist haven.  Others predicted usage rates among youths to surge.  Studies from 2001-2007 suggest they were wrong on both. 


Let’s compare Portugal’s decriminalization to the “benefits” of incarceration:

1.  17% reduction in HIV cases among drug users. Sounds like a reduction in health costs.
2.  Drug use among adolescents declined.
3.  Street value of drugs decreased.  Sounds like a reduction in the kill-for-profit motive.
4.  The number of drug addicts in Portugal was cut in half over the study period.
5.  Police say that they’ve been freed from focusing on low-level users, which gave them the chance to focus on dealers and importers, the kingpins.

6.  In the mid-to-late ‘90s, at the peak of the Portugal drug problem, about 1 percent of Portuguese were a problematic drug user, was hooked on heroin or some other drug.  The studies show a drop of 50%, while the population has gone up about 10 percent.
But unlike conservative-liberal websites, let me direct you to the converse of this argument. NPR:  “Mixed Results For Portugal’s Great Drug Experiment,” January 20, 2011.  http://www.npr.org/2011/01/20/133086356/Mixed-Results-For-Portugals-Great-Drug-Experiment

According to this report the number of drug users in Portugal went down, but as of today have gone back up.  The author gives a detailed report on both sides, but some evidence does suggest that when Portugal’s citizens are interviewed about their lifetime drug history they are more forthcoming because they know they won’t be prosecuted, thus an increase in honesty, not usage.

The fact of the matter is any arguments can be culled from the internet to fit your dogma.  This website tries not to do that.

But let’s go back to lists.  Are these really the “benefits” you want?  Do you really not care to trade violence, incarceration and the attendant costs for addiction treatment?  

Do you really believe law enforcement, when they trot out the media for a look see at the latest cache of weapons, drugs, and derelicts, and tell you this is evidence that the war on drugs is working?

Do you really think non-profit prison corporations and their behind-the-scenes power brokers are going to allow a reduction in crime that would allow a reduction in corporate-shareholder profits?

Now, explain this one to me.  We are a society that said “hell no” to the prohibition of alcohol.  After prohibition was lifted, you would think everyone would get drunk much more.  The CATO Institute, specifically Policy Analysis No. 157, showed drinking declined after booze was made legal.  We know that in large amounts booze often leads to violence and destructive activity.  WE KNOW THIS, but we have no problem with its legality.  We know that lots of people used to kill, wound and beat others during prohibition, but they don’t now (unless they’re drunk).  WE KNOW THIS, but it’s still okay.  

Now, it’s all right to put someone in a very expensive cave for smoking a plant or swallowing a pill.  The plants and pills make one mostly stupid and sleepy.  WE KNOW THAT non-violent drugs do make people kill, wound and beat others because of the profit.  Is this okay, too?

We took the profit out of liquor.  Drinking went down and they stopped the killing.

Now, we want to keep the profit in drugs for fear we will take more drugs while killing each other?

Does this make sense to you?  In particular, that “while killing each other” part?  Really?? Tell me how.

For a change, I’m with the Governor on this one.
 (15) Comments
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Locations: LisbonLouisiana
People: Bobby JindalPat Robertson

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