News Roundup for 12/18/08

Guy smoking giant pipe
I blame adult role models

-Headline of the day-
"More 10th-Graders Are Smoking Marijuana Than Cigarettes."


I mean, "Boo!"

Hell, I don't know what I mean. It kind of strikes me as one of those good news/bad news things. I mean, if I had to choose which I wanted kids doing, I'd go with the non-addictive pot without thinking about it too much.

According to the report, "In the just-released [federal Monitoring the Future] survey, 13.8 percent of 10th-graders reported smoking marijuana in the past 30 days (considered 'current use' by researchers), while just 12.3 percent smoked cigarettes. For 8th and 12th grades, cigarette use still exceeded marijuana, but the gap narrowed to insignificance."

The results demonstrate the failure of the federal government's attempts to put down drug use among teens. In fact, it's a tremendous failure. The article tells us that "the rate of current marijuana use has nearly doubled among 8th-graders," while "cigarette use dropped like a rock, with current cigarette smoking dropping from 14.3 percent to 6.8 percent among 8th-graders." The article refers to Bush drug policy as a "train wreck." Looking at the numbers, it's hard to disagree.

Here's a crazy idea; find out what the antismoking people are doing and do that. Because whatever we're doing sucks. As it is now, it's like the 70s all over again. The Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd I could take, the Bee Gees, not so much. And don't even get me started on Cheech & Chong... (Alternet)

-About those "Illinois politics"-
The Rod Blagojevich scandal has put Illinois politics in the spotlight and a lot of people have decided to declare it the most corrupt state in the union. The problem is, it's not. In terms of corruption conviction per 1,000 residents, it's sixth in the nation. More corrupt that the "most corrupt state in the union" are -- in order from most to least -- are Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Ohio. Noticing kind of a trend there? Yeah, these are all -- with the exception of Ohio, which is still close -- red states. Illinois is more corrupt than most states, but it's far from the most crooked. According to the report, "All four of the most corrupt states in the union are red states, and three are in the deep south. And the third-most corrupt state just reelected the Republicans' leader in the senate, Mitch McConnell."

To be fair, in terms of a lack of corruption, the results are bipartisan. The bottom five are Utah, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Oregon. Weirdly, my own state of Wisconsin is more corrupt than California (?), but less corrupt than Maryland (??).

Either way, we've got better cheese. And that makes it all worthwhile. (MoJo Blog)

-Bonus HotD-
Yeah, I've been abusing the "Bonus HotD" headline lately, but this one is totally worth it.


"‘Incompetent’ is the top word that Americans associate with President Bush."

See? I told you. In a new Pew survey, "incompetent" is the first word that pops into 56% of respondents' minds to describe President George -- up 35% from 2004. Other words that leap to mind are "idiot" (27%), "arrogant" (23%), "stupid" (16%), and -- my personal favorite -- "ass," favored by 9% of Americans.

The second most popular word to describe our jugheaded POTUS, however, is "honest," chosen by 31% of the people. That's down 4% since 2004, though -- talk about your slow learners. A couple of oddities jump out at me here; both "Christian" and "excellent" score zero -- down 14% and 11% from 2004. "Leader" drops 22%, with 8% using it now, opposed to 30% then -- the biggest drop of any word in the survey. No word is anywhere near as popular as the 56% scored by "incompetent."

Hey George! How's that big legacy project workin' out for ya? I guess we shouldn't be all that worried that Bush will be able to rehab his reputation among historians.

After all, he is incompetent. (Think Progress)

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