Category Archives: research

old people invented pot smoking

the only reason it’s not legal now is that the old people who fell for the ‘reefer madness’ propaganda are still alive.  once they’ve all got alzheimer’s, the old farts who take over will have no such objections.

Marijuana use by seniors goes up as boomers age

By MATT SEDENSKY Associated Press | Posted: February 24, 2010 3:30 pm

MIAMI —- In her 88 years, Florence Siegel has learned how to relax: A glass of red wine. A crisp copy of The New York Times, if she can wrest it from her husband. Some classical music, preferably Bach. And every night like clockwork, she lifts a pipe to her lips and smokes marijuana.

Long a fixture among young people, use of the country’s most popular illicit drug is now growing among the AARP set, as the massive generation of baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s and ’70s grows older.

The number of people aged 50 and older reporting marijuana use in the prior year went up from 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent from 2002 to 2008, according to surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The rise was most dramatic among 55- to 59-year-olds, whose reported marijuana use more than tripled from 1.6 percent in 2002 to 5.1 percent.

Observers expect further increases as 78 million boomers born between 1945 and 1964 age. For many boomers, the drug never held the stigma it did for previous generations, and they tried it decades ago.

Some have used it ever since, while others are revisiting the habit in retirement, either for recreation or as a way to cope with the aches and pains of aging.

Siegel walks with a cane and has arthritis in her back and legs. She finds marijuana has helped her sleep better than pills ever did. And she can’t figure out why everyone her age isn’t sharing a joint, too.

“They’re missing a lot of fun and a lot of relief,” she said.

Politically, advocates for legalizing marijuana say the number of older users could represent an important shift in their decades-long push to change the laws.

“For the longest time, our political opponents were older Americans who were not familiar with marijuana and had lived through the ‘Reefer Madness’ mentality, and they considered marijuana a very dangerous drug,” said Keith Stroup, the founder and lawyer of NORML, a marijuana advocacy group.

“Now, whether they resume the habit of smoking or whether they simply understand that it’s no big deal and that it shouldn’t be a crime, in large numbers they’re on our side of the issue.”

Each night, Stroup, 66, says he sits down to the evening news, pours himself a glass of wine and rolls a joint. He’s used the drug since he was a freshman at Georgetown, but many older adults are revisiting marijuana after years away.

“The kids are grown, they’re out of school, you’ve got time on your hands, and frankly, it’s a time when you can really enjoy marijuana,” Stroup said. “Food tastes better, music sounds better, sex is more enjoyable.”

The drug is credited with relieving many problems of aging: aches and pains, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and so on. Patients in 14 states enjoy medical marijuana laws, but those elsewhere buy or grow the drug illegally to ease their conditions.

Among them is Perry Parks, 67, of Rockingham, N.C., a retired Army pilot who suffered crippling pain from degenerative disc disease and arthritis. He had tried all sorts of drugs, from Vioxx to epidural steroids, but found little success. About two years ago he turned to marijuana, which he first had tried in college, and was amazed how well it worked for the pain.

“I realized I could get by without the narcotics,” Parks said, referring to prescription painkillers. “I am essentially pain-free.”

But there’s also the risk that health problems already faced by older people can be intensified by regular marijuana use.

Older users could be at risk for falls if they become dizzy, smoking it increases the risk of heart disease, and it can cause cognitive impairment, said Dr. William Dale, chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

He said he’d caution against using it, even if a patient cites benefits.

“There are other, better ways to achieve the same effects,” he said.

Pete Delany, director of applied studies at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said boomers’ drug use defied stereotypes, but is important to address.

“When you think about people who are 50 and older, you don’t generally think of them as using illicit drugs —- the occasional Hunter Thompson or the kind of hippie-dippie guy that gets a lot of press maybe,” he said. “As a nation, it’s important to us to say, ‘It’s not just young people using drugs, it’s older people using drugs.”‘

In conversations, older marijuana users often say they smoke in less social settings than when they were younger, frequently preferring to enjoy the drug privately. They say the quality (and price) of the drug has increased substantially since their youth, and they aren’t as paranoid about using it.

Dennis Day, 61, an attorney in Columbus, Ohio, said when he used to get high, he wore dark glasses to disguise his red eyes, feared talking to people on the street and worried about encountering police. With age, he says, any drawbacks to the drug have disappeared.

“My eyes no longer turn red, I no longer get the munchies,” Day said. “The primary drawbacks to me now are legal.”

Siegel bucks the trend as someone who was well into her 50s before she tried pot for the first time. She can muster only one frustration with the drug.

“I never learned how to roll a joint,” she said. “It’s just a big nuisance. It’s much easier to fill a pipe.”

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u can’t make this up

wow.  pat robertson, head of the ‘end of the world is nigh‘ faction of wacko xians, got himself a gold mining concession in africa.  how’s that for conflict of interest?  why does he need tax free gold if the end times are here?

Televangelist denies ‘quid pro quo’ with ex-Liberian president

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 4, 2010; 7:49 PM

The revelations came in the midst of Taylor’s U.N.-backed trial on 11 counts of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s 1990s civil war. Taylor is accused of directing a Sierra Leonean rebel group, the United Revolutionary Front, in a campaign aimed at securing access to the country’s diamond mines. The rebel movement stands accused of committing mass atrocities in the West African country in the late 1990s, including the mutilation of thousands of civilians.

Prosecutors at the Special Court for Sierra Leone contend that Taylor offered concessions to Westerners in exchange for lobbying work aimed at enhancing his image in the United States. They maintain that he also spent an additional $2.6 million paying lobbying and public relations firms to influence in his favor the policies of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Under cross-examination, Taylor said that Robertson had volunteered to argue Liberia’s case before U.S. officials and that he had had spoken directly to Bush about Taylor. He also confirmed that Robertson’s company, Freedom Gold, signed an agreement to exploit gold in southeastern Liberia, but that it never generated any profit.

“Mr. Taylor, indeed at one point you said that you can count on Pat Robertson to get Washington on your side,” the lead prosecution counsel, Col. Brenda Hollis, a former U.S. Air Force officer, said to him.

Taylor replied, “I don’t recall the exact words, but something to that effect.”

A spokesman for Robertson, Chris Roslan, confirmed that Robertson was awarded a gold exploration concession by the Liberian government during the 1990s. But he said that there was “no quid pro quo” to provide the government with anything in return. Roslan said that Freedom Gold is no longer in operation and has never found any gold.

“This concession was granted by the Liberian government to promote economic activity and alleviate the suffering of the people of Liberia following a terrible civil war,” Roslan said, adding that Robertson never met Taylor or paid him any money. “Freedom Gold accomplished this by employing some 200 Liberians in addition to providing humanitarian efforts, including free medical care and installation of clean water wells for area residents.”

and a snippet from another washington post article:

Pat Robertson’s Gold

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, September 22, 2001; Page A29

in May 1999, Robertson, through Freedom Gold Limited, an offshore company registered in the Cayman Islands but based at CBN headquarters in Virginia Beach, signed an agreement with Taylor and key cabinet members allowing the for-profit Freedom Gold to explore and receive mining rights in southeastern Liberia, where gold is believed to be in the ground.

It’s a great deal for Liberia, which is now an economic basket case thanks to the long civil war and Taylor’s corruption. It’s also good for Freedom Gold, which was formed by Robertson in 1998. Liberia — and for all practical purposes we’re talking Taylor — gains 10 percent ownership of Freedom Gold.


Freedom Gold is committed to spend $15 million during the exploration phase, but he said it has yet to spend anything close to that amount. The deal with Liberia gives Freedom Gold exploration rights for five years, and an additional “20 years to mine it,” Mathews said.

and that’s not all.  gold is one thing, but diamonds are forever, and saintly, vow-of-poverty pat robertson has his hand in diamond mines as well.

Diamonds are Robertson’s best friend

By Ju-lan Kim


Although the financial success of CBN is well-known, one of Robertson’s lesser known organizations is his African Development Company (ADC). ADC is a private venture that invests in various land-based operations in Africa, such as mining and agriculture, with the stated goal of redirecting profits toward humanitarian projects. In Zaire, the ADC operates a diamond-mining project in the center of Zaire’s prime diamond mines and forestry concessions.

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u can’t make this up

Meet the world’s second ‘pregnant man’: Scott Moore expecting baby, ‘Miles;’ in February – report


Originally Published:Tuesday, January 26th 2010, 12:42 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 27th 2010, 9:33 AM

Read more:

Congratulations, it’s a boy – who will give birth next month.

Two proud papas are expecting a baby boy in February, London’s Daily Mail reports, in what will be the world’s second known case of birth by a “pregnant man.”

“We know some people will criticize us, but we are blissfully happy and not ashamed,” Scott Moore told the newspaper.

Moore and his husband, Thomas, were both born female and have undergone surgery to change their sex.  The transgender Californiacouple is legally married, as Moore still has his female birth certificate.

Baby “Miles”  has two brothers waiting for him, 10-year-old Logan and 12-year-old Greg, Thomas’ children from a previous relationship with a woman who has since passed away.

Moore, born Jessica, told the paper he first realized he wanted to be a man when he was 11.

“When I told my family, they thought I was crazy, but they gradually realized I was serious and allowed me to start taking male hormones when I was 16 years old,” he said.

His parents eventually paid for him to have his 36DDD breasts removed, the paper reports, but he could not afford the high cost of full sex reassignment surgery.

Moore still has female reproductive organs, and got pregnant using the sperm of a friend in June 2009, the Daily Mail reports.

Thomas, born Laura, underwent sex reassignment surgery last year. “We were so happy, we did what all gay men do when they get excited – we went shopping,” he told the newspaper.

Their story echoes that of Oregon‘s Thomas Beatie, who grabbed headlines in 2008 when he became the world’s first “pregnant man.”  Beatie, born female, had undergone 10 years of sex reassignment therapy before becoming pregnant.  Shortly after the birth of his first child, he became pregnant with another.

Moore and Thomas, who are planning a natural birth at their local hospital, are confident that their son will be able to cope with any teasing he might get about his two dads.

“We’ve been through it already,” Thomas told the paper. “My son Logan was bullied, but now he just says to teasers: ‘You may have a problem with my two dads, but I don’t, so you’re not hurting me.’ ”

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u can’t make this up

Witness: Peterson indicated he’d kill his 4th wife

Jan 21, 2010 5:52 PM EST

Associated Press Writer

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — The stepbrother of a former Illinois police officer accused of killing his third wife told a hushed courtroom Thursday that he believed he might have helped his relative dispose of the body of his fourth wife, who has not been seen for more than two years.

Thomas Morphey testified at a hearing to decide whether prosecutors can use “hearsay” evidence to try and prove allegations that Drew Peterson killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. Peterson hasn’t been charged in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, but authorities say he is the only suspect.

While the Will County hearing is about the death of Savio, Thursday’s testimony focused on the day Stacy Peterson disappeared. Prosecutors would not say why Morphey was being asked to testify about Stacy Peterson, but Will County state’s attorney’s office spokesman Chuck Pelkie said the reasons would become clear in the proceedings.

In a packed but quiet courtroom, Morphey said Peterson suggested when they talked on Oct. 27, 2007, that he intended to kill Stacy because she planned to divorce him, win custody of their children and take Peterson’s money.

Morphey said he drank heavily the next day.

“I just heard someone was going to murder somebody else,” Morphey explained.

Peterson brought Morphey back to his Bolingbrook home, went into a master bedroom and rolled out a large blue barrel that Morphey estimated weighed up to 150 pounds.

“He had me grab an end, he grabbed the other end and we proceeded down the stairs,” Morphey testified. “It felt warm.”

Morphey stopped short of saying that Peterson directly admitted murdering Stacy and he said the two men never talked about what was in the barrel. Earlier in the day, Morphey testified he had told Peterson that he always assumed he had killed Savio, but that Peterson denied it.

Savio’s body was found in an empty bathtub in her home in 2004. Her death had initially been ruled an accidental drowning – until Stacy Peterson’s disappearance led officials to exhume Savio’s body, conduct another autopsy and conclude Savio was the victim of a homicide.

The story of the blue barrel has been central in Stacy Peterson’s case. Numerous search parties over the years, including divers, have focused on finding it, but it has never turned up.

In court, Morphey said he had not wanted to go with Peterson, in part because he didn’t want anything to do with what Peterson did. Morphey did not explain why he agreed to help him.

According to his testimony, the two men took the barrel, put it in Peterson’s SUV and Peterson drove Morphey home.

“‘He said, ‘This never happened,'” Morphey testified. “I said, ‘I won’t tell a soul.'”

Nevertheless, Morphey said he later told his girlfriend, brother and a neighbor. He said he was stressed out, nervous and drinking more than normal.

Morphey said he didn’t contact the authorities because he wasn’t sure the incident would be handled fairly due to Peterson’s job.

“He was a police officer,” Morphey said. “I thought, ‘What would be the point of calling 911?'”

Morphey said his fear led him to overdose on the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in an attempt to end his life.

“I felt everything was coming down on me,” he said. “I’m still scared to death.”

In a cross-examination, Peterson’s attorneys raised questions about Morphey’s mental state and whether was a credible witness.

Morphey suffers from a bipolar disorder and has admitted to drinking too much as well as problems with drugs. On Thursday prosecutors presented evidence that buttressed what Morphey said happened. That included video footage and witness interviews showing that both men made a trip to Starbucks around the time of the alleged blue barrel incident.

Peterson’s stormy marriage with Savio was mentioned Thursday in afternoon testimony.

A son from Peterson’s first marriage to Carol Brown described watching Peterson in 1993 dragging Savio into the house by her hair.

“She was screaming for help,” said Eric Peterson, who described Savio as drunk. “He was pulling her down the stairs.”

Eric Peterson, who once spent weekends with Savio and Peterson, has been estranged from his father since 1993.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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u can’t make this up

Ex-mistress says minister admitted killing wife

Jan 19, 2010 5:26 PM EST

Associated Press Writer

WACO, Texas (AP) — A minister drugged his wife, handcuffed her to the bed under the guise of spicing up their marriage, then smothered her with a pillow until she died, his ex-mistress testified Tuesday at his murder trial.

Vanessa Bulls said Matt Baker, then a Baptist preacher, had talked about killing his wife and making it look like a suicide. His wife, Kari Baker, had previously attempted suicide, Bulls said.

Bulls told jurors she did not help Baker plan the murder or participate in it, but she never reported it to authorities because she was afraid of exposing the affair that she said began about two months before Kari Baker’s 2006 death. Bulls, 27, also said she was afraid of being arrested for knowing about Baker’s plans but not stopping him.

Bulls said she understood “what he was capable of” but tried not to think about it as she continued seeing Baker for about three months after his wife’s death. She said Baker told her he was happy with her so he would not harm her.

“He was and still is a manipulative liar who took me in my vulnerable state and made me believe everything he said,” said Bulls, who has been granted immunity from prosecution.

Baker’s attorney Guy James Gray told jurors last week that Kari Baker’s death, initially ruled a suicide, only became a murder case after authorities found out about his affair. Baker, who faces up to life in prison if convicted, has maintained his wife committed suicide because of severe depression.

Under cross-examination, Gray asked about the account Bulls gave to several law enforcement authorities over the last four years, including some details that differed from her testimony Tuesday.

Bulls acknowledged that during those interviews she had repeatedly denied the affair and knowing anything about whether Baker killed his wife. She even said she “didn’t tell the whole story” to the grand jury but didn’t explain why or when she decided to do so.

“He’s never going to admit guilt, even if he’s found guilty,” Bulls told jurors. “I’m setting things right.”

Bulls said she met Baker in the fall of 2005 at church and that their affair began in February 2006 after he convinced her to have counseling sessions because of her divorce. She said Baker disparaged his wife, making fun of her weight and saying she was a horrible mother to their two children because she was depressed about the cancer death of their middle child.

“He said he wanted her out of his life,” Bulls said, adding that Baker told her divorce was not an option because it would mean he could never preach again and he was concerned that Kari might fight for custody of their kids.

Bulls said Baker talked of various ways to kill his wife: a drive-by shooting, hanging her and making it appear to be suicide, and tampering with her car brakes. Once when Kari was late arriving home, Baker told Bulls that he “started getting excited that maybe she did have a wreck and he wouldn’t have to do anything,” the woman testified.

Baker even put drugs in his wife’s milkshake one night but she complained that it tasted funny and didn’t drink it, Bulls said. He also told Bulls that he ordered Chloroform online, Bulls told jurors. He obtained the prescription sleep aid Ambien secretly from his mother-in-law’s house, Bulls said.

She said Baker decided to kill his wife on a night she was trying to spice up the marriage. Baker said he emptied the casings of sexual enhancement drugs he referred to as “horse pills” then refilled them with Ambien, Bulls testified. She said Baker told her that his wife took the pills, unaware that he had switched the medicine. He took the real pills.

Bulls said Baker handcuffed his wife to the bed, kissed her until she fell asleep and then kissed her forehead, telling her to give their deceased daughter a hug or kiss for him. Baker then smothered her with a pillow, but she gasped for breath, so he put his hand over the pillow directly over her nose until she died, Bulls testified.

According to Bulls, Baker said he then typed and printed a suicide note and rubbed Kari’s hands on it in case authorities tested for fingerprints.

Bulls said she began to feel trapped with Baker because he said he was a preacher, so no one would believe her if she told. Then she broke up with him and urged him to turn himself in.

“He became irate. … He said, ‘I killed my wife for you and now you’re leaving?'” Bulls told jurors.

She said about a month later, Baker called to ask how she was, in what she described as “the creepiest phone call of my life” because he sounded completely normal. She said she reiterated that she wanted nothing to do with him.

“He said, ‘I miss you.’ … I said, ‘You’ve got to turn yourself in.’ He said, ‘God has forgiven me.'”

Bulls’ testimony was to continue Tuesday afternoon.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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you can’t make this up

Staggering amount of prescription drugs found in Brittany Murphy’s bedroom: report


Originally Published:Tuesday, December 22nd 2009, 12:30 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 22nd 2009, 1:49 AM

A staggering trove of powerful prescription medications was recovered from Brittany Murphy’s bedroom after her untimely death, investigative notes obtained by reveal.

The notes from a Los Angeles County coroner investigator say Murphy, 32, had been complaining of shortness of breath and severe abdominal pain for seven to 10 days before she went to the bathroom about 7:30 a.m. Sunday and collapsed.

Her mother found her on the floor a half-hour later, according to the notes, and Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, attempted to revive her by placing her in the shower.

“Large amounts” of prescription medications were found on Murphy’s nightstand, and the coroner also found “numerous empty” bottles of prescriptions written to Murphy, her mom, Monjack and unidentified third-party names, the notes said, according to TMZ.

The drugs included the anti-seizure medication Topamax, anti-anxiety medications Klonopin and Ativan, pain relievers Vicoprofen and hydrocodone, depression medication Fluoxetine and hypertension medication Propranolol, TMZ reported.

The shocking report follows an interview Monjack, 39, gave to Access Hollywood in which he hit back at suggestions that he was a bad influence on the “Clueless” star.

“My world was destroyed yesterday,” Monjack said.

He said his wife’s mother found the body in the bathroom.

“Her mom screamed for me and I ran. Then called 911,” he told the celebrity outlet.

Coroner spokesman Capt. John Kades told the Daily News that investigators booked the medications into evidence.

He said Monday’s autopsy found no obvious cause of death and that a final determination may take up to two months. .

Murphy’s estranged dad, Angelo Bertolotti, demanded a full probe.

“It just astounds me that she’s dead,” he told The News. “She was just so bubbly, even as a little girl. I don’t recall her ever having any health problems.”

“She got married and everything seemed to go downhill,” said Bertolotti.

A friend of the star echoed persistent rumors that Monjack – who reportedly opposed the autopsy – was a poor match for the saucer-eyed starlet.

“When Brittany married Simon, she cut off communication with a number of people who cherished her,” the pal told The News. “She lived in denial about him.”

“I don’t know why anyone would think that,” Monjack shot back in the Access Hollywood interview posted online. “She found love. We found love.”

In an eerie last interview, Murphy said this month that she had concerns about her frail frame. “I am a bit thinner now than what I would like to be,” she told Fox News.

Denying rumors of drug use and eating disorders, she told Access Hollywood at the same press event: “As far as having a New Year’s resolution, I’d love to have a child next year.”

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u can’t make this up

4 relatives shot dead at Fla. Thanksgiving party


The Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. — Three women and a child in bed were shot to death during a familyThanksgiving gathering in South Florida and a male relative was being sought early Friday.

Police said 17 relatives were in the house when the shootings were reported around 10 p.m. Thursday in Jupiter, a small, well-off beach town about 90 miles north of Miami that is best known as a home to celebrities including Michael Jordan and Burt Reynolds.

Jupiter Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella said officers were looking for Paul Michael Merhige, 35, of Miami. Merhige is a cousin of the 6-year-old victim, Makayla Sitton, and has no criminal record, police said.

The others killed were Merhige’s twin sisters, Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight, 33, and an aunt, Raymonde Joseph, 76, according to police.

Authorities said a fifth victim, Merhige’s brother-in-law Patrick Knight, was being treated at a hospital. His condition was not available. Another man, Clifford Gebara, 52, was grazed by a bullet and was treated by paramedics on the scene and released.

Police across South Florida and the U.S. Marshals Service were searching for Merhige. Pascarella said Merhige is believed to be driving a blue 2007 4-door Toyota Camry with Florida license plate W42 7JT.

Pascarella said police received a 911 call from a neighbor shortly after 10 p.m. Police then received a second 911 call from someone within the home.

Pascarella said the shootings took place inside the house. He said that sometime after Thanksgiving dinner, Merhige left the residence and returned shortly afterward with a handgun.

“What led to this incident, we’re not quite sure,” said Pascarella. “It did not appear there was any altercation prior to this shooting.”

Pascarella said there was an “ongoing resentment” in the family, but didn’t know the nature of the problem or whether the victims were specifically targeted.

Police said the home was owned by Jim Sitton, a photojournalist for WPTV-TV and father of the little girl killed. Sitton told WPTV his daughter was in bed when she was shot. He was at the party at the time of the shooting but was not wounded.

Yellow crime scene tape was stretched around Sitton’s salmon-colored house, located in a well-kept subdivision of stucco homes. Several cars were parked in the driveway, and a crime scene van sat in front.

Sitton told local media that his daughter was supposed to perform Friday in a holiday production of “The Nutcracker.”

“God packed a lot of sweetness into that little body,” Sitton said. “She’s just our life. I don’t know how we are ever going to recover.”

The relationship between Sitton and Paul Merhige was unclear, police said.

Phone calls to a number listed for Paul Merhige were not answered. A phone call to Sitton was also not returned.

Neighbors in the Palm Beach County community were shocked.

“Our kids walk the streets by themselves,” said 67-year-old Nicole Kemp, who did not know any of the victims. “I thought it was the safest place to live. I guess it doesn’t matter, if there’s a maniac here.”

It’s unclear where the adult victims lived. Carla Merhige was a real estate agent in Miami, said a co-worker.

“She was a wonderful agent,” said Joanna Sherman, a manager at Coldwell Banker Residential real estate. “She was very active in the community and in charities. She was just a genuine, beautiful individual. She always had a smile for everybody.”


Associated Press writers Suzette Laboy and Tamara Lush contributed to this report.

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