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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three 572

circletimessquare writes "The Obama administration opened a discussion forum in January of this year which has become an electronic suggestion box. It is now entering stage three, following brainstorm and discussion phases: the draft phase, in which the top subject matter is codified into suggestions for the government. 'Ultimately, the visitors advanced more than 3,900 ideas, which in turn spawned 11,000 comments that received 210,000 thumb votes. The result? Three of the top 10 most popular ideas called for legalizing marijuana, and two featured conspiracy theories about Mr. Obama's true place of birth.'"
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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three

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  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Starlon ( 1492461 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:01PM (#28433855)
    The Government's leading expert on marijuana says legalize it. He claims it causes less damage to society and health than both tobacco and alcohol. Look him up. His name's Dr. Donald Tashkin.
  • Really?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:04PM (#28433889) Homepage Journal
    Hmm. Our economy is a disaster. We have two wars going on with no real plan to get out of either. We have a health care problem in this country that nobody has proposed a meaningful solution to. The national debt is increased every year with no end in sight. We have multiple states on the verge of financial ruin. Our national infrastructure is falling apart in many ways and places. Our education system is falling behind further every year.

    And several critical countries around the world are increasingly unstable; including one that is developing nuclear weapons and ICBMs that could reach our country.

    And for some reason marijuana is an important issue? Are you kidding me? I don't see how it could possibly be more relevant than any of the issues I already listed. If we could solve all of them, then I would be comfortable with our national government looking into this "marijuana issue" (whatever the hell the issue is). But until then I don't see why it merits the time of our government.
  • by Toe, The ( 545098 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:04PM (#28433895)

    The article gets it right in saying it is a "suggestion box." All we can do is suggest to our rulers what we want them to do: they still get to decide. This is still not democracy. It's barely even a democratic republic.

    If you want real democracy, please consider joining the Metagovernment [metagovernment.org] project which is a collective of projects [metagovernment.org] working to make governance a truly open system for everyone.

    Also, consider attending Participation Camp [mudball.net]. The virtual meeting started this morning, and there will be a brainstorm session [gmane.org] tomorrow morning (1500GMT, ie 11:00 AM Eastern).

  • by PottedMeat ( 1158195 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:24PM (#28434115)
    I don't want a democracy. I don't want a democratic republic. I want a REPUBLIC.

    Too few people know the difference.
  • Re:Really?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:44PM (#28434339)
    Right. Because we all know that today no one smokes marijuana on a regular basis. I don't think that you would see an astronomical amount of new users if this was legalized similar to how even though tobacco is legal less than 20% of adults smoke. Current figures say that 6% of the US adult population uses marijuana (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/FASTATS/druguse.htm), assuming a non-radical climb, you wouldn't have a societal level of use. Similarly, alcohol does a lot of that stuff, yet more people use it and its legal.
  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jank1887 ( 815982 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:47PM (#28434371)

    Just for kicks:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=author%3AD-P-Tashkin [google.com]

    And cherry picking one result just to fan some flames:

    Pulmonary hazards of smoking marijuana as compared with tobacco
    TC Wu, DP Tashkin, B Djahed, and JE Rose - N Engl J Med. 1988 Feb 11;318(6):347-51

    "We conclude that smoking marijuana, regardless of tetrahydrocannabinol content, results in a substantially greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and tar than smoking a similar quantity of tobacco"

    Yes, there's more to it than that. And yes there are 612 items listed under that google search. And no, I didn't read through them for a counterpoint. Feel free. But I have no problem believing him to be a gov't funded expert. (note that doesn't make him a government expert.)

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:53PM (#28434427)
    Every way? Now lets not exaggerate. Have you any idea how much time and energy has gone into getting people to give up Tobacco now that they're accustomed to it? Or to get people to drink responsibly?

    Sure it may turn out to be more or less harmless, but this is the same sort of poorly formed logic that leads people to conclude that we ought to legalized the possession of all forms of firearms. It's easier to change our mind to allow it if it proves to be safe than it is to get people to give it up should it prove to be dangerous. Remember it's the burden of proof of those that want legalization not those that view it as being harmful.
  • Re:Really?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Starlon ( 1492461 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:06AM (#28434527)
    The problem with grouping driving under the influence of marijuana with alcohol is that you don't build the same tolerance to alcohol. The so called high you get from marijuana goes away after continual use, much like many medicines that come with the warning about operating machinery. Driving on marijuana is a totally different creature than driving while drunk, and should not be zealously grouped with the leading problem with mis-operating motor vehicles. I can guarantee you sleep deprivation and driving is more harmful than marijuana and driving, especially once the person's used to marijuana and no longer experiences the high, like is the case with most medical marijuana patients. Recreational smokers space out their smoking so they experience the high.

    Also, the fact that marijuana's illegal causes more people to drive under the high of marijuana, as recreational smokers often hide their use, and take road trips to have some privacy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:27AM (#28434681)

    Well no, irritating symptoms could simply mean that people who have chronic schizophrenic symptoms anyway sometimes get acute attacks if they use Marijuana, not that they would be symptom free. People who go through the stress of basic training sometimes initially show schizophrenic symptoms there, but that doesn't mean either that joining the Army causes Schizophrenia or becoming a pacifist innoculates one against it.
          Scizophrenics normally have a long list of things they should avoid while carefully using the medications their doctor prescribes instead. Alcohol both directly irritates schizophrenia AND negates the beneficial effects of some prescription meds. Once in proper treatment, even a patient that has found a good mix of Dr. prescribed drugs may have to change repeatedly, and their doctor is likely to tell them not to take even such normally safe drugs as Doxylamine (an over the counter sleep aid) without being observed for how it might affect them.
          The best outcome for outpatient treatment for a Schizophrenic often depends most on whether they have friends or relatives who are smart enough to spot what may be interacting with their treatment and concerned enough to get them back to the doctor early when something does.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rasperin ( 1034758 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:31AM (#28435111)
    It's been proven in countless studies that sleep deprivation and driving is more dangerous then drunk driving.
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:31AM (#28435113)
    What BKX didn't mention is there are forms of hemp that do not have the same stoner effects that could be legalized, but aren't because law enforcement can't easily tell the difference. Or at least that's the reason often cited.

    Imagine giving tobacco farmers a replacement crop that would provide them a great income and not have the same social stigma tobacco has. It might be possible that with such a change, growing tobacco for cigarettes would be reduced, naturally driving up the cost of cigarettes and further reducing usage WITHOUT government intervention, while increasing tax revenues from the sales of all the hemp products.

    Nah .. .that would never happen. Who would vote in something that gave our government less control.....

    For the record, I am for the legalization of marijuana, the stoner kind. I smoked 30 years ago and so did many people who have since stopped. It's obviously not addictive, except for those that can get addicted to anything.

    I also have glaucoma, and spend $100/month (even after insurance) for tiny bottles of eye drops to reduce the pressure. The drops sting when I put them in three times a day. I'd much rather sit out on my back patio a couple times a day and enjoy a little toke.....
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:30AM (#28435469)

    A well armed society is a polite society.

    Yep. That explains the military.

    "A congresswoman said Thursday that her "jaw dropped" when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military."

    "Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service."

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/31/military.sexabuse/index.html [cnn.com]

  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:42AM (#28435547)

    And for some reason marijuana is an important issue?

    Almost one million arrests per year ? 50 to 100,000 people or so in jail at any one time for possession ? A few dozen people killed each year while being arrested or while in jail ?
    Corruption all over the place ? Damn straight it's an important issue. And, unlike many issues, it is a purely government issue, that the government could solve in a week, if the government was interested in actually listening to what the people were saying.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by opec ( 755488 ) * on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:02AM (#28435645) Homepage
    Your post made me shiver. Narconon? More like New-Path [wikipedia.org]. I wish the dystopian futures our science fictions authors conjured up weren't coming true so devastatingly.
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:39AM (#28436161) Journal

    Fuck all of you. You still believe that schoolboy bullshit about how the country is governed? Dream on, sleepers!

    Let me spell it out for you: The United States is a "Goldman Sachsocracy" The man with the gold will sack us all over the world. [salon.com]

    Freedom? You have more people incarcerated in your borders than any nation in history. Why? It's good for business.

    I wish Americans had half the guts of 15-year-old Iranian girls! There'd have been 5 American Revolutions since 1870. Your textbook lies about the accountability of US government to the people have kept you complacent, and made you both arrogant yet ignorant and oppressed.

    They just stole over a hundred billion dollars from your earnings and your next two generations, and GAVE it to a firm that prints your money, runs your fiscal policy and just paid out the BIGGEST bonuses [guardian.co.uk] in its 140 year history.

    You live in the Matrix - and that's not a metaphor. Like George Carlin said; "They call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

    Wake up.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:53AM (#28436225) Journal

    Jesus. What do they teach you these days?


    "The Republic" is the Roman derived title of his main surviving work.

    It is a series of hypothetical dialogs, as if conducted by his master, Socrates, with his school and visitors to court, on the ideal rule for the City-State. It does NOT outline or advocate a republican form of governance. It's ideal is a Philosopher King - and models this through contrasting forms and their evolutions.

    In modern terms, Plato is a prototype for Fascism - with the good of a state being the highest form of Government - above any kind of personal interest or property - provided the state is "just". The nature of this "justness" also provides much of the food for the book's discussions.

    In it, he also issues the allegory of the cave. Interestingly, this is the model for The Matrix - which is where most of you are living your lives!

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:47AM (#28438109)

    I can't see how a monarchy can be democratic. The monarch has ultimate power and so the people do not.

    Your medieval world view is tremendously out of date. There are dozens of democratic constitutional monarchies in the world. Much of Europe, for example.

    A monarchy can be superficially democratic in order to avoid the monarchs subjects from getting pissed-off and establishing an alternate government but it's never truly a democracy if, when you've voted for something, the monarch can just say "nah, don't like that" and refuse to instigate it.

    King Baudouin of Belgium could refuse to sign a law that parliament passed. In order to pass the law anyway, Belgium became a republic for a day. However, most kings don't have that right.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:38PM (#28445799)

    Thanks for an answer to a question I didn't ask. Why is hemp not being grown in OTHER COUNTRIES on an industrial scale?

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