Bud

Weed has become a billion-dollar industry in Colorado, raking in $996 million in taxes. Of that, $35 million will be put to school construction projects. One can only imagine the perks of living in a state with that much extra money in taxes would mean for homeless, school children, infrastructure and lower-taxes on residents as whole. It is both shocking and devastating to see these opportunities for state and federal revenue to not be immediately pursued as the rest of us citizens watch Colorado reef the benefits.

This lends to itself to the idea of what if marijuana was legal and taxed at the same age and rate as alcohol? Certainly, the economic benefits – projected $50 billion federal revenues and growing – would be enough to sway even the strictest marijuana enforcers. However, it appears that the economic benefits and research behind this non-harming-to-others drug is not enough. The propaganda the War on Drugs waged against it, making it a Schedule 1 drug joining the ranks of heroin, was not enough. No matter how conveniently Congress lifted the medical marijuana ban on marijuana, because it was costing more not to, the stated reasoning was never recognizing marijuana’s bullshit reputation as a Schedule 1 and recognition that it is safer than both alcohol and cigarettes.

But you already knew that didn’t you? Seven-in-ten Americans understand that weed is more harmful than alcohol. And if weed became legalized on a federal level,63% believe that alcohol would still be more harmful to society. If you haven’t already agreed with the majority statements, let me explain why….

No one has ever, nor could ever, die from an overdose on weed. While over 30,000 people die from overdosing on alcohol each year. How many millions of people have died because of alcohol poisoning since our country’s formation? Due to lack of official records dating that far back we can only guess.

Have you ever heard about those people who get too drunk so start a fight that then ends in legal fees? Well, marijuana is not a violent drug. In fact, the more weed inhaled the more non-violent its users become because being high results in unproductivity more than anything. Making it a great drug for hoodlums to be on because they won’t do ANYTHING except sit and watch cartoons.

But don’t let reasoning be the element that convinces you because it’s certainly not what will convince Congress with the millions of dollars in lobbying the alcohol and cigarette industry put into banning legalization of the herb. Look at the billion of dollars Colorado has made with it’s budtenders having nowhere to put the money because banks (federally backed) refuse to take the money.

Mo’ money mo’ problems. Soon, the federal government which is nearly 20 trillion dollars in debt, would like to make a dent in lowering that soon.

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When she says”Yes” and Title IX says “No”

 

Newly defined by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right (OCR) sexual harassment is “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.” This leaves out the two major elements considered standard in sexual harassment definitions: that the conduct be offensive to a “reasonable person” and that the conduct be severe and pervasive. Under the OCR definition, therefore, any mention of something sexual could be deemed as sexual harassment if anyone all takes offense. Because Title IX is in charge of federal funding for universities, one can imagine why now nearly every university has switched to operating by this new definition.

The new definition creates immense liability for universities where sexual exploration of its college students is considered a right of passage. College’s sexual exploits are fantasized by the young teenage boys discovering their bodies for the first time and young girls picturing themselves in a romantic, erotic experience. However, with college and intoxication being nearly understood as one and the same experience, what does that mean for safe sex?

The current generation of students were taught ‘“No” means No’ meaning if a woman said no she did not want to have sex. However, in response to the newly defined sexual harassment universities are now operating by ‘“Yes” means No’ meaning which even to a sober person is confusing. The line currently is that if a woman drinks more than 3 drinks in a span of two hours, she is “binge drinking” and despite maybe being fully coherent she is to be considered “incapacitated.” Despite her buzzed or drunk seductions for sexual interaction, any form of such is an “absolute no” and would be considered sexual harassment because of her incapacitation. What if she wants it and doesn’t press charges you ask? Well if and when a Title IX coordinator becomes aware of this issue, (as we have seen with past victims of sexual harassment) the perpetrator (fondly known as the penetrator) will be charged by the university which will result in suspension or expulsion.

As any reasonable person would ask, how would a male student (intoxicated or not) know how many drinks another female has consumed? Other than obvious signs of clear intoxication and recklessness (which most likely do not happen at 3 drinks), how is a man to know? The fact that he is not. The recommendation for male students is to not have any sexual acts of any kind with alcohol present because you never never know.

This policy of protecting women by infantilizing their “Yes’” into “No” is unrealistic as there is no way to enforce this policy that will not result in a class-action lawsuit. But how do you protect women who “are drunk and incapacitated to give sexual consent”? Hope this doesn’t shock anyone, but often the point is to have drunken social encounters. Ask the women living in New North who go to non-USC housing apartments to “pregame” social events on the Row. Pregaming is no considered necessary as hard-alcohol has been banned from social activities severely detouring the opportunity to get drunk at a party. That’s why women get drunk before they go to parties. The problem here is two-fold: women can be drunk while still high functioning and classy AND when pregaming occurs there is literally no way for a male student to know how many drinks have occurred.

The infantile definition of sexual harassment creates a climate where intoxicated men are needed to “baby sit” women because we are not commanders of our own bodies.

If I say, “Yes” intoxicated or not, I want you to fuck me.

First Amendment

It is not far-fetched to assume nearly every citizen in the United States is aware of the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech. However, just as what moves a society forward, the time are a changing….

There was once a time where party themes added an element of decoration and fun, but now, it is an occasion that is highly scrutinized. This past Halloween, Erika Christakis, a lecturer and resident overseer at Yale, crafted an eloquent email inviting the community to intellectually engage as they considered their costumes for the holiday. She pulled on her experience as a specialist in child education and understanding of historical Halloween practices when she asked her residences if there was any room for a child to be provocative. She cited the university experience as one that once existed as a safe space but have increasingly become places of “censure and prohibition.” Her husband Nicholas, a professor and other residence overseer, urged students to either look away from an offensive costume or to tell the person wearing it was offensive saying, “free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.”

While Christakis might have went all fine and dandy, the bar for where society has set as “okay” is clearly dependent upon generational. As the university is a an amazing experience of intergenerational attitudes in an academic space, it is important to stay vigilante to the climate at hand. There is no massive Facebook update for what is okay or wrong in society as it is constantly changing. That’s why it is especially important to communicate with others so that one can understand it what is and what is not okay.

It’s Not About Gender Equality

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/10/opinions/women-should-register-for-draft-ben-ghiat/

The problem with arguments about including women in the United States draft as a token of gender equality is that gender equality is a metaphysical concept that has zero bearing on biology. Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s piece in CNN is a classic example of a tunnel vision argument for why women should be included in the draft.

First, she cites that “with women cleared for combat roles, the 1981 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the subject will not hold for long.” Second, “that the military for which women would be registering is now a more equitable institution. Women shoulder similar burdens to men throughout the military bureaucracy.” Finally, because “many women have been de facto involved in combat situations even though they were officially banned from combat.” She insists that because a select group of women “joined Special Operations troops in the field in Afghanistan in 2010 had an ambiguous status” means that all women ages 18-25 can meet these standards and be justly drafted as a whole. She leaves her reader asking “If it’s reserved only for men, what message does this send about gender equity?”

Ben-Ghiat fails to realize the harsh truth, true equality between the sexes has never and will never exist on a physical level. For all our biological similarities, our differences are too great to be equal. Until women get testosterone shots pumped into their veins and psychological conditioning from birth, there will be clear differences in male and female performance. Until then, combat is not an equal opportunity to survive.

In 2013, the United States Marine Corp’s a Force Integration Plan confirmed the stark disparities. They examined all male and mixed-gender combat groups. All female combat groups were not researched. Overall, the all-male combat groups performed 69% better than mixed-gender combat groups. The all male groups were not only stronger and faster but they were more likely to hit their targets and six-times less likely to get injured than woman. In combat groups, each individual’s ability or dependability puts the entire group at risk.

Not only were mixed-gender combat groups 69% worse than all men, but active-duty females are 23% more likely to experience sexual assault than men. It is unacceptable to join Fox News pundits’ rhetoric saying, “Well duh, what did they expect? They’re soldiers.” So far, the military uses a rape report system that is either unrestricted, allowing anyone to know about the accusation putting both victim and their career in jeopardy or restricted which keeps the accusation private but fails to charge the assailant. The many limitations of filing restricted include: ineligibility of military protective order, ineligibility of Expedited Transfer to a different unit or base, and lack of accountability which defeats the purpose of filing anything confidential.

On top of all that, female military veterans are six times more likely to commit suicide than non-military females. These high sexual assault rates on duty and high suicide rates after suggest there is something the military needs to address before the inclusion of drafting women. Adding more women to a problematic system won’t fix the problem.

The Women Problem

After the close call in Iowa’s primary, rumors spread of Clinton’s campaign shake up. Everything from firing her campaign manager to using Former President Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speech writer seemed to be on the table. However, none of the rumors expected what actually happened. In an attempt to bolster the Clinton’s crippling campaign, she brought in feminist powerhouse Madeline Albright to introduce a rally in New Hampshire. This would have been fine except Albright took a jab at those who supported Sanders insisted a true “revolution” would be a female President.

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Ms. Albright said of the broader fight for women’s equality. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign got publicity, but not the kind she hoped to expect. Although, after all the scandals associated with her name I hesitate to imply she could be surprised. After the immense backlash of Albight’s comment in the media and among young Democrat supporters, Albright then issued a statement in New York Times Op-Ed saying,

“I absolutely believe what I said, that women should help one another, but this was the wrong context and the wrong time to use that line,” Albright said on an  published Friday in the New York Times. “I did not mean to argue that women should support a particular candidate based solely on gender. But I understand that I came across as condemning those who disagree with my political preferences. If heaven were open only to those who agreed on politics, I imagine it would be largely unoccupied.

What are the odds that in the same week, Gloria Steinham also “misspoke” on the Bill Maher show saying, that women are more politically active as they get older “but when you’re young, you’re thinking, “Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.” Steinham then went to “apologize for what’s been misinterpreted as implying young women aren’t serious in their politics.”

These incidences reflect a much larger issue in society for young women; that women over the age of 40 are trying to speak for young women. The inability to have agency in the political spectrum is its own kind of sexism, one that has thus far been uncomfortably tip toed around on the campaign trail thus far. Perhaps the most surprising detail of the recent events is how disconnected these notable women in the feminist movement sound. An icon like Steinham blatantly saying that young female supporters of Bernie have based their vote on attraction to men, is sexist. And despite it defying Steinham’s feminist life work, these thoughts come from somewhere and even the strongest women are susceptible.

There is a large disconnect between female Democrat voters. The older generations views it as a woman’s turn, as Hillary’s turn to be officer-in-chief. The younger generations do not have the experience of time to understand it as Hillary’s turn, especially seeing her defeat to a Junior Senator in the years prior. As a young female Democrat voter, I believe the internet and social media can help explain this large divide because it really boils down to how people are getting their information.

Hillary Clinton has strong support with women fifty and over who have are very familiar with her journey to presidential candidacy. These older women are not as familiar with the internet as they are with standard news media. Bernie Sanders has strong support with younger women who are more familiar with Hillary’s loss to President Obama, Benghazi scandal as well as her adulterous husband. Millennial women’s perceptions are defined by 9/11, the Iraq War, and the economic collapse of 2007-2009. They are the same women who voted for Change during Obama’s campaign and there is no doubt why they vote Sander’s campaign of Hope. Now, Hillary’s pragmatic campaign is fighting against Hope. These women have grown up with unprecedented rise and capabilities of technology and are not connecting to Hillary’s ‘pragmatic’ case. It’s not that young women don’t believe in a female President, they don’t believe Hillary will put the country in a progressive enough direction with her “that won’t work” attitude.

Not Exciting Enough

Article author Molly Roberts suggests that to many Democrats, Hilary Clinton does not “belong to enough categories of disenfranchised people” to make here exciting. She goes on to argue how if Hilary were black, gay or poor more people would be likely to vote her and that the card she and so many people in the older generation have counted on for so long – her being a woman – is no longer enough. Finally, she makes a plea to that the criticism Hilary endures is too much and that before any woman is in the White House people are overly scrutinizing the “kind of woman” who might get there. As a Millennial woman who identifies with the Democrat party, I have to argue with this article in its entirety. Roberts suggests that Millennials are out to vote for the “hot” disenfranchised people for Presidency and that Hilary being a woman isn’t “hot” enough anymore. The honest truth is, Millenials understand Hillary from about 1994 on – maybe not even that far back. While her husband’s policies brought a time of economic prosperity (which only some of Millennials remember) everyone knows about her husbands multiple affairs with women other than Hillary. They are mentioned in high school textbooks and continuously referenced by journalist and academia casually. However, to Millennials – especially Millennial women this is not a casual matter.

 

Our mothers, sisters and friends fight every day for us to develop into strong, independent woman. This ideal woman we are striving to be does not tolerate men who cheat. While our grandmothers and great-grandmothers considered a woman to be strong if he stayed to keep the family intact and weak to leave, times have changed. Millennial women view Hillary not only as weak for staying with her adulterous husband, but doing so to be part of a greater political machine which is not “in” right now during the time of insurgent campaigns. I see Hillary Clinton and her millions of dollars in Goldman Sachs funds for what it is; her actions speak louder than words during a campaign where both candidates are so well-versed they can manage to say nothing at all. The real shame is I don’t even agree with Bernie Sanders all that much but, I don’t trust Hillary. I don’t trust her to make the choices someone with a heart and soul to make. During the debates, she is robotic and acts entitled to the nomination.  It’s the entitlement she continuously portrays that is killing her. Millennials saw Hillary Clinton lose the election to a Junior Senator. If it wasn’t her time then, why is it her time now?

 

Public Intellectual

 

Nate Silver is not only a true pundit as he navigates the internet universe to construct data-proven, logical (yet, often shockingly surprising) opinions but, he is also a beacon of hope for those tired of baseless, opinionated banter and starved of substance. When Americans ask, “Who’s going to win the Superbowl?” an aggressive, cult-like testosterone filled reaction often ensues, leading many to believe this is more than the mere act of tossing a football – this, is war. However, with over half of America’s sports fans – upwards of 70 million people – believing God will determine who wins the Superbowl, maybe it is a little harsh to criticize their baseless opinions when it – what they call, “faith” – is the core of their religion. Either way, Nate Silver his paving the way as a statistician for popularizing the integration of data in hot-topics of opinion.

Silver, despite his humble beginnings in Lansing, Michigan, has stretched his abilities farther than his suburban roots. He knew he wanted something different so instead of attending Michigan State or University like most of his peers, he went to the liberal University of Chicago where he was exposed to a different way of thinking. Surrounded by a multitude of people, culture, and opinions he was not inside his white-picket fence anymore. This diversity fueled his passion to decipher the cluttering noise of differing opinions and use silent numbers to understand the facts before developing one.

Before becoming the well-known man he is today, his career path took a few interesting twists and turns enabling him to gain the life experience, maturity, and a certain je ne sais quoi that gave him his start. After graduation, he took the cookie-cutter corporate job at a consulting firm but quickly grew bored. He then started a website, “The Burrito Bracket” that rated local Mexican restaurants on the same item of food and whichever experience was more divine would advance to the next bracket. However, this taste-bud driven lifestyle did not satiate him. He then sought his hand at online player and made six figures a year but his turn came up and he sought the luster of data-driven excitement.

He enjoyed discovering the story the numbers prophesied and went to work with Baseball Prospectus – a company devoted to revolutionizing the interpretation of baseball statistics. As any observant, knowledgeable employee would, in 2003, Silver hit a home-run when he formualized an upgraded interpretation of baseball stats. PECOTA, also the name of Kansas City Royals second-rate infielder, stands for “Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.” Using players’ performance statistics, PECOTA predicts performance in several major categories as well as the market values of players. Silver managed PECOTA from 2003-2009.

In his spare time from analyzing baseball statistics, he found interest in the 2008 Presidential race heating up. Amidst the United State’s Great Recession beginning in 2007, both candidates were spit-firing about which party was to blame and who would make the economy great again. Weekly polls and forecasts varied, fluctuating between leads and ties which was effective in keeping the uninformed public engaged. However, as a public intellectual, Silver was not going to sit on the couch with a deteriorating bag of chips to help him digest each week’s new poll. He decided to interpret the data for himself using a bi-partisan algorithm. His formula consists of giving each poll a weighting based on their previous predictions track record, sample size and recentness. The higher previous predictions were accurate, the higher the weighting for the poll. Next, to ensure context, regressions are considered in the demographics of each state’s polls and are able to take into account state’s that have no recent polling data. Finally, the election is replicated 10,000 times for each update to generate a statistical assessment based on historical data. It is with this formula that a baseball statistician accurately forecasted the 2008 electoral map predicting 49 out of 50 states on his new website, 538. Its mission statement is to

most broadly, accumulate and analyze polling and political data in way that is informed, accurate, and attractive. Most narrowly, to give you the best possible objective assessment of the likely outcome of upcoming elections. – Nate Silver, 538.

Without knowing it at the time, his forecast and website would dramatically change the course of his life by transforming into a public intellectual.

Nearly overnight, Nate Silver went from being only popular in a niche baseball market to a national forum. The accuracy of his 2008 Presidential Campaign results were unprecedented and the national news took notice. His website 538, named after the number of votes in the electoral college, increased from 800 web traffic views per month to over 2.5 million. 2008 was a monumental year for Silver, his blog was the first to ever be selected as a Notable Narrative by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. It was also the years’ Weblog Award Winner for “Best Political Coverage.” The Huffington Post named it as the “Number One of Ten Things that Managed to Not Suck in 2008, Media Edition” and the New York Times also gave a shout out, describing it as “one of the breakout online stars of the year.”

In 2012, Silver outdid himself (and everyone else) by accurately forecasting all 50 out of 50 states. In 2013, realizing Nate Silver’s forecasting potential, ESPN bought the site FiveThirtyEight and made Silver Editor in Chief. Today, the site FiveThirtyEight has become one of the ultimate resources for politics, poll analysis, economics, and sport statistical analysis. Its lack of bias is refreshing to the civil war seen between the Republicans and Democrats on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC News and the testosterone filled rants by many ESPN newscasters. Fortunately, the 21st century technology consists of the internet rather than the forecasted suburbs underneath the ocean; this gives Silver and other public intellectuals an unprecedented forum to reach citizens. In Stephan Mack’s piece, “The ‘Decline’ of the Public Intellectual (?),” he argues the purpose of the pundit is “simply to keep the pot boiling,” and with easily accessible platforms such as Blogger, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and many more (and more to come), it is easier than ever for the public to be aware.

Being a public intellectual takes time. The public does not have the extra 40+ hours in their week to devote to crunching data, no matter how relevant it is or could be to their lives. The public intellectual is crucial in a democracy because it empowers people with knowledge to make an informative opinion each time they have the opportunity to engage whether that be on social media platform, at a local level in a town hall forum, a state ballot, or national election. Without public intellectuals to do essentially the “dirty work” for the public, sifting through endless piles of data and gaging their validity, the public would have opinions based on misinformation and emotion. If you ask someone with no context of an issue whether they are pro-life or pro-choice, they will say, “Pro-life. I’m not a murderer!” However, if you disclose that a society without pro-choice is directly correlated to higher crime rates, prison incarcerations, mental illness, and lower lifetime income, some opinions will change. Knowledge is power.

In the United States’ competitive, capitalistic market that places little value on an individual’s personal time – the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has no maximum amount of work hours for employees 16 years and older – Americans are spending an average 45 hours a week working and 42 percent of Americans did not even take a vacation last year. This work-a-holic environment does not promote the public to develop into public intellectuals, but rather encourages people to keep their head down and mind their business as to not endanger their already deteriorating leisure time.

That’s where Nate Silver comes in, spending hours of his day synthesizing complex data to arm the public with indisputable information so when they share their opinions they mean something more than mindless, emotional banter.  It is likely that businesses and even government do not want the people to become armed with this knowledge. Imagine a United States where each citizen was a public intellectual on any subject or topic. Well, yes, we would be well informed. But, can you imagine our current business structure and government running the way it is currently? It would be highly unlikely that we would allow Donald Trump, a misogynistic and xenophobic presidential candidate, to be a frontrunner for the Republican party. I also doubt that we would operate on the two-party presidential system where winner-takes-all. If the United States citizens were all public intellectuals my guess would be that we would move towards a more parliamentarian platform, where different issues would characterize different parties and each would be represented as a percentage of the total population.

So who will win the Superbowl? Well it certainly won’t be because the Broncos have ‘better’ Christians on their team. Also, we can pray all we want for the Lord to pick the next President but, there’s an increasing chance an atheist Jew might be it.