When the 1972 The National Commission On Marihuana And Drug Abuse titled its study: Marihuana: A Signal Of Misunderstanding (http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm) and recommended legalizing adult use of cannabis, people were surprised ["Prof almost got pot past Nixon," UVA News, November 20, 2007]. Instead of the fictions made up by the drug warriors for over 30 years, The report was based on science and extensive field research, so the truth came as a shock.
The report showed that marijuana was virtually harmless and should not be prohibited.
President Nixon threw the National Commission report in his wastebasket without reading it and declared a "War On Drugs" as a campaign ploy a few days later.
Here we are 35 years later and politicians are still using marijuana as a campaign tactic, despite the fact that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol (which does cause serious brain damage and insanity after prolonged excessive use).
Nixon wanted tough marijuana laws to attack the "hippies" opposing his Vietnam War. Who are the drug crusaders targeting now? The sick, the dying and the nonviolent.
Supporting marijuana prohibition requires scientific blindness and moral bankruptcy.
Daly City, California
No Victoria in Virginia
I was glad to read that the trails at Mint Springs have been restored and I look forward to hiking them next spring ["County restores 5.2 miles of trail," Government News, November 27, 2007]. The organizations and individuals (especially Carlos Otoya) well deserve the recognition they received for their work. I would like to correct the story passed on by Ranger Rollins regarding the Queen of England (Victoria) and the Albemarle Pippin apples. She did indeed allow Albemarle Pippins to be imported into England without being charged an import duty, but she never visited America, much less Mint Springs to pick one from "the tree behind where the playground is now." In 1832, Andrew Stevenson, the American ambassador to Saint James Court, and his wife, Sallie Coles Stevenson (a native of Albemarle), received a quantity of the apples from home and sent Victoria two dozen, which was how she came to know of them. She loved them and gave permission for them to be brought into the country for many years without the usual tariff. The version you reported was undoubtedly the result of the usual erroneous elaboration of true stories to make them seem more personal or believable, or to attribute them to a particular person or place, as is the case with many urban legends.
David Y. Miller
Echoing the echo
Vinegar Hill was—underscore "was"—an African-American neighborhood in Charlottesville until in the 1960s when, in the name of urban renewal, this entire community was demolished.
Since I moved from Los Angeles/Flagstaff a few years ago and became a resident of Charlottesville I have heard much about what used to be the African-American community in Vinegar Hill. It is only now, after reading Scott Weaver’s article "The echo of Vinegar Hill" [November 27, 2007] that appeared in C-VILLE Weekly and the book In the Streets of Vinegar Hill by William James that I feel like I understand, not only the demolition of this Vinegar Hill neighborhood but how it has and continues to negatively impact and, in certain ways, define African-American life in Charlottesville.
Now I am aware of the black Vinegar Hill of the past because of James’ research and passionate telling of the Vinegar Hill story. This story reveals how some 600 African Americans and 18 white families, 30 black businesses and the Zion Union Baptist Church that was the social network center and conscience of the black community that occupied a 20-acre tract of land just west of what is now Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, was completely destroyed.
The white leaders of Charlottesville of that period claimed that the area was being demolished because it was "blighted," a justification ploy leaders of many cities have used to eliminate black neighborhoods, including the Bronx, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles, where this was done to allow a private university to expand. James noted that the Vinegar Hill area was not blighted. But, perhaps, what is a greater travesty is that African Americans were deprived of the right to have access to make productive use of that land as they had before the neighborhood was demolished. Today the Omni Hotel, the Federal Courthouse and restaurants occupy the land that African Americans once owned or controlled in a significant way.
It is refreshing for me to hear the voice of an African American, a rarity in Charlottesville, speak out on an issue of this magnitude, even though it is about the past. However, its legacy, as evidenced in the present life of African Americans living in Charlottesville, is a power to be reckoned with. James is correct in saying to us, "Don’t just blame, but analyze what really happened. Don’t rationalize it; and don’t diminish it."
I look forward to seeing James’ play, Vinegar Hill Revisited. In the meantime, I will re-read his book In The Streets of Vinegar Hill. It is a must read for anyone, both black and white, who wants to know the real story about Vinegar Hill and African Americans, and hopefully gain the awareness that what happened in Vinegar Hill will not be allowed to be repeated. "Lest we forget!"
Uriah J. Fields
Lifting up the little guy
I am writing to commend you and to thank you from myself and other Kucinich supporters who are CONSTANTLY looking for pieces in the media that reflect positively on Mr. Kucinich and his campaign ["I am a candidate of the mainstream," Government News, December 4, 2007]. So…THANK YOU!
Dennis would not say that he doesn’t feel marginalized because that is the kind of honorable and noncynical man that he is.
I, however, have a different take, firmly believing that he would be the "front runner"—hands down—if he got the coverage of the "celebrity" candidates.
I hope that when Congressman Kucinich gets to Virginia that you will be able to get more up close and personal to learn more about his stances on issues (which are ALWAYS first and foremost in his heart and mind!) and draw attention to those who have NEVER EVEN HEARD HIS NAME thanks to the semi-blackout by the corporate media with their own agendas for ignoring him.
Thank you, again. You have done a great service to this country by the writing of your positive article on a TRUE patriotic, Constitution-loving American hero!
Robert Alan Brown
Spreading the scam
The December 4, 2007 C-VILLE proudly proclaims to join other alternative weeklies in "spreading the word about global warming" ["Publish or perish"]. Unfortunately, what is spread is alternate to many scientific studies. The various contributors are given free reign to proclaim all sorts of opinions as facts without accompanying scientific data, or in spite of well-recognized contrary data. Remember we are talking about a 1-degree F increase over the past 100 years. The manmade global warming panic is the product of theoretical computer-generated climate scenarios and the UN’s IPCC apparent drive to prove a preconcieved point of view, irrespective of conflicting science.
Bill McKibben parrots Al Gore’s comments on the warmest years on record. Why does he ignore the report this past August by NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and "our foremost climate scientist," according to Mr. McKibben, correcting this error. This is the same Dr. Hansen who told Congress in 1988 that by the year 2000 the Earth would warm by 0.3 degrees C and sea levels would rise several feet. The record has shown a 0.1 degee of warming and a sea change of 1"!
This past August, Dr. Hansen acknowledged a systemic flaw in NASA’s temperature data processing since 2000. The revised data now show 1934 as the warmest recent year. The new ranking shows only three of the top 10 hottest years are from the past 10 years. Although 80 percent of manmade CO2 has been generated since 1940, the net warming is about 0.2 degrees.
There is no proven linkage between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global temperature. The infamous Mann hockey stick purporting to show this linkage was discredited years ago and even the IPCC no longer mentions it. Computer models so far do not account for variations in solar radiation of various types, changes in the orbit of the earth, or cloud complexity. Water vapor is the No. 1 greenhouse gas.
Hurricane Katrina is cited as evidence for manmade global warming. Based on what? Hurricane expert Dr. William Gray notes that there were 39 U.S. landfalling major hurricanes of Cat 3-4-5 between 1925-1965 and only 22 in the same time length between 1966-2006, even as CO2 levels were increasing.
It is fortunate that Mr. McKibben is not trying to show Al Gore’s recruitment film to school kids in England. A British court ruled this past October that the film represents partisan political views containing nine-plus factual errors. The school children must be warned of the political propaganda content of the film before viewing it. Mr. Gore’s Nobel Prize was not a science award but a peace prize awarded by the current ruling party of Norway, even as he stands poised to make a financial windfall from it as he has joined an investment firm.
President Bush is shown linked to the nonratification of Kyoto. Unmentioned is the fact that although President Clinton signed the treaty in 1998, he never sent it on to the Senate for ratification during the remaining three-plus years of his presidency.
A recent report from The University of Western Australia disputes the doomsday computer predictions that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are in danger of sliding off, lubricated by melt water. Data from hundreds of thousands of years shows such collapse as impossible according to this researcher.
Even the IPCC notes that Antarctica is in a 50-year-plus cooling cycle with increasing snowfall each year. One small peninsula of ice calving makes all the alarmist headlines, although it is a very small fraction of the total Antarctic continent.
Global warming winners? Farmers: Global warming is linked to more rainfall; CO2 increases provide free increased natural fertilization and crop increases. The Public: saved from severe winter flu, heart attacks shoveling snow, bone fractures from falls, car accidents on icy roads, and enjoying lower winter heating bills.
Renewable energy sources, such as ethanol, have driven basic food prices up for everyone, but impact most heavily on the poor. Wind and solar sources require huge amounts of land, displacing native habitat and agricultural land area. Hugh amounts of tax subsidies are doled out to promote these technologies, which can only provide a few percent of our growing energy needs. Wind sources still need conventional power plant back up when the wind fails.
The current IPCC meeting in Bali highlights the agenda of this UN group. All proposals feature demands from third world countries for a massive wealth transfer to them from the industrialized nations.
All this for what John Coleman, founder of the TV Weather Channel, has called "the greatest scam in history" in his recently published paper.
Charles G. Battig, MD