Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) appears set to oppose a bill increasing access to a lifesaving anti-overdose medication because of concerns rejected by public health experts that it could encourage more drug abuse, according to the bill's chief sponsor.
Fatal heroin overdoses in Maine quadrupled from 2011 to 2012. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse overdoses from heroin and other opioids like morphine. State Rep. Sara Gideon (D) is sponsoring legislation that would place the drug [naloxone], which is sold under the trade name Narcan, in the hands of police, firefighters, at-risk users and their families.
With statistics like those above, why wouldn't any caring public servant not want to provide all possible life-saving options to all first responders? Do they send firemen to fires without water? Do they send cops out on the street without guns? So why this stand by the governor, and why now?
Part of the problem is this man is insane. He's no stranger to controversy. For a quick refresher course on his antics, he's the man who had some words for Democratic State Senator Troy Jackson, whom he battled over the state's budget.
"Senator Jackson claims to be for the people but he's the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline," LePage told Portland station WMTW.
So now who's shoving something where it doesn't belong without lube? Here's LePage's twisted logic: he believes increasing the availability of Narcan will lead the drug user or drug abuser to have this feeling of invincibility. Therefore, why save their lives? Why should we keep alive someone who's a drug user?
Ask Janis Joplin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, River Phoenix, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cory Haim, Lenny Bruce, Billie Holiday, Heath Ledger, Jimi Hendrix, Chris Farley, Curt Cobain, Whitney Houston, or tragically so many more. Maybe the cost of carrying the drug on first responders is a concern. But think of the value these drug overdosers' lives would have had for all of us if they had lived. You can't put a price on a life, but this GOP ultra-conservative believes he can. And he's not alone. Maybe they need to look at this:
In 2010, police and firefighters in Quincy, Mass., started carrying Naloxone as part of their standard equipment -- a scenario similar to that envisioned in Gideon's bill. Since then, Naloxone has been credited with reversing 188 overdoses in Quincy alone, and the head of the Boston suburb's police narcotics unit has become a Naloxone evangelist.
People of Maine, you deserve better. Whatever your reasons for putting your life into this wachadoo's hands, he has certainly not earned your trust. Make sure your state representative knows that the cost of saving lives is nothing compared to what a living person can contribute to you and the rest of society.
video below at end of post
There's never a time when the unpredictable Chris Matthews isn't opinionated. That's what he's best known for and he's made a niche for himself being just that -- outspoken and oftentimes outrageous -- on his MSNBC show, HARDBALL. He's so self-inflated in importance he oftentimes loses sight of logic and reason. He's the aging old dog that has been gifted with a relatively meaty bone and doesn't let you get near it with his growling and barking. Even after the bone's been chewed clean of the last hint of anything to eat, even its aroma of past pleasures, he's protective.
Yesterday was a case in point. Now it's a bit unusual for him to disagree, even somewhat reluctantly, with President Obama. He will, from time to time pick around the edges, but as a general rule he allows the President to make his own decisions and justifies them with the Big O's surrounding himself with qualified minions to help him form intelligent choices.
Chris took exception to Obama's coming out publicly and stating what a vast majority of Americans and pillars of the scientific community have been saying for years now. Pot is not good for you in general, but it's no more harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
That wasn't strong enough this time for Matthews. He decided that scientific evidence isn't good enough in this case. So he traipsed out two of the Kennedy clan -- newer generations of the Camelot crew -- Christopher Lawford and Patrick Kennedy. Both recovering addicts -- but not from pot -- from Alcohol and pills.
In Matthews' mind, and perhaps to these fine, brave gentlemen, one addiction is the same as another. And I'm not sure they're wrong. Addictive personalities can be just as harmful whether the vice is drinking, drugs, sex, video games, pornography, eating, et.al. The bottom line is anything can get you high if abused. That's the point of the book that Lawford was really on the show to promote. He wasn't there as an expert, but rather a survivor who was trying to sell his book, which Matthews gladly promoted at the end of the interview. If that makes you know more than someone else, fine. But surviving a 12 step program doesn't make you a counselor. It makes you a veteran.
So after all was said and done, Chris, who's about as current as last week's expired milk in your refrigerator, made an anti-pot stand. And I'll applaud him for that -- speaking his mind -- or what's left of it. His ability to idolize Ronald Reagan and his former boss, Tip O'Neill while overlooking all the laws these two men broke, shows that he's still got the '70s going on in his mind. But granting him that clouded thinking, he's now going after pot with a similar cloud around his thinking.
His argument is that pot is a gateway to other vices. Maybe it is, but that's like saying drinking milk leads you to over eating chocolate chip cookies or Oreos. They are really not connected, but you could statistically make an argument.
So if Chris wants to take on the 'pot is bad for you' challenge, saying that it is as dangerous as tobacco and alcohol, then why isn't he pushing for tobacco and alcohol being outlawed? Certainly scientifically we can prove these two substances are dangerous, cause deaths and are gateways to all sorts of crimes and misdeeds, not just death.
Or maybe I missed the point. Perhaps that IS what Matthews on HARDBALL was really saying. Using his own argument, that pot can be addictive and lead to dangerous behavior, tobacco and alcohol should be against the law. If what's good for the goose is good for the gander, than he should be taking his soapbox to Capitol Hill and start rallying Congress for a revisit to the Volstead Act as well as banning all tobacco products. They're as dangerous (or as safe) as marijuana.
What? That's not what he meant? Then what was he doing when he chose to argue against legalization where the usage of cannabis products are monitored and quality is checked? Hundreds if not thousands died from bathtub gin and moonshine during prohibition. That's because there were no quality controls of the products. And to get these elixirs, how many were killed in back alleys or gunned down by the likes of Capone and his lieutenants?
Today we're unfairly incarcerating people, outrageous numbers of minorities, all over a little plant that has still not been proven to be any more harmful than legally obtained alcohol and tobacco. So move the soap box to another corner, Chris. Your arguments to outlaw pot are the same ones to make cigarettes and booze illegal. I don't think you'll want to take to the air to defend that. But you did. And here it is:
Republican Trey Radel is a complicated man with a complicated life. This past week it seems he came to national attention with his cocaine bust. Actually the bust came weeks ago, the publicity only came this week with his guilty plea and his public apologies. In watching those crocodile-teared pleas for forgiveness, I couldn't get over how he constantly referred to his wife as "my rock" and his child as "my little guy." I guess they don't use first names in the Radel family, just refer to them as inanimate objects.
Now what I also learned about Rep. Radel is that he loves Rap music. The 37 year old congressman was best-known for self-identifying as a “hip-hop conservative.” In an essay for BuzzFeed, he professed his love for the rap group NWA as a teenager in suburban Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the more he talked about their lyrics the more evident it becomes that he doesn't really understand what they really meant -- but hey, he's a rebellious gangsta, we kind of get it. That should be enough.
When he takes a break, the coke snorting addict who's also a recovering alcoholic bandied about that his favorite vacation spot is Cartegena, Columbia. Is it just a coincidence that it's the cocaine capital of South America which is the cocaine capital of the entire world?
I guess to call Representative Radel a complicated man would be an understatement. As the title of this post indicates, there's a sex connection to him as well. Leave it to good old Mother Jones to share:
Radel, a tea party favorite and a Fox News radio host, came to office with an unusual background, having run a business that bought somewhat pornographic sex-themed domain names in both English and Spanish, as Mother Jones reported last year. Radel's business snagged all sorts of un-family-friendly domain names, including www.casadelasputas.com ("whorehouse") and www.mamadita.com ("little blow job").
So, as the Florida representative takes his "leave of absence," maybe its time for Speaker John Boehner to reconsider his handslap punishment and grow some balls. Get rid of this guy. This isn't the kind of man who should be representing the wonderful but politically challenged Sunshine State. They have enough problems with the likes of Marco Rubio, Alan Keyes, and Rick Scott. They can use a new representative in Southwest Florida, one who isn't sitting in a rehabilitation center but sitting in Congress, helping his constituents in this very important time of need. There's the federal budget, Immigration Reform, Healthcare, food stamps, a farm bill, sanctions against Iran -- all of these need attention, not a representative who's MIA.
I'm glad Radel's getting help. But he should be doing it as a private citizen, not a sitting US Representative.
Justice, in Florida, seems to be as elusive as the mythical unicorn or Big Foot or even the famed Sasquatch. Sometimes supposedly spotted, but never actually caught. Fortunately for Southwest Florida's U.S. Representative Tray Ragel, he was in Washington D.C. when he committed his crime and his arrest took place. But what if he wasn't? What if he was home in the Sunshine State. Would justice have been any different?
Ask unarmed Black Trayvon Martin in his confrontation pistol packing white George Zimmerman in Florida. Or how about Marissa Alexander, the African-American woman who was arrested and sentenced to 20 years for discharging a firearm as a warning shot while being confronted by her abusive husband using the privileges of Stand Your Ground, in Florida?
Florida is a strange state and the case of Florida Rep. Trey Radel is the latest piece to the "What's up with Florida?" puzzle.
Rep Trey Radel (R-Fla.) pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning to possession of cocaine before a D.C. Superior Court judge and will be on supervised probation for one year.
He faced a maximum of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, but instead got probation. Now I'm not against that sentence. What I am wondering is what if Trey Radel was Black. First off, let's look at how the arrest went down:
The Associated Press, citing an unnamed DEA official, said Radel allegedly bought cocaine from a dealer in the Dupont Circle (Washington suburb) area who had been previously arrested as part of a federal probe. “Later that night, federal authorities went to his apartment and informed him that he would be facing criminal charges related to his purchase of cocaine,” the AP said.
If he had been in his own So. Florida district, do you think federal authorities would just go an knock on a Black citizen's door and "notify" him that he'd be facing criminal charges? More likely, his front door would be busted in by 10 armed agents, he'd be thrown to the ground, shot if he struggled and his entire home tossed for any other possible violations. If they didn't find any, they'd either have physically assaulted the cuffed man or planted something on him or his place, most likely a weapon so they could boost the charges.
And what about the wrist slap penalty? Rehabilitation is cheaper and more effective than imprisonment. We should all be for that. But that option is offered far less for Blacks than Whites.
According to the Human Rights Watch:
I'm just saying, maybe there's something to be learned from this congressman's case and sentencing. Be white and don't be in Florida.
It sure would be nice if the law enforcement would add compassion and patience to their skill set list -- like they did for Trey Radel. But I'm not sure Florida is ready for that. So luckily for the congressman, he picked a good place to get nailed.
The Republicans are in such a hurry to destroy the Affordable Care Act (I'm getting tired of giving into the misleading Republican nickname for the law) that they can't see the forest through the trees or as they'd prefer to mock, you can't see the doctor through the patients. These GOP'ers just don't get it. They would prefer to stick their head in the sand than face the music and dance.
So, clever satirist and political cartoonist Mark Fiore has made another 2 minute episode of Dogboy & Mr. Dan. It's smart, funny and boy, does it pack a wallop. Now if only John Bonehead and Eric Cantorwont would carve out a few minutes from their hectic schedules of misinformation and obstruction to check this out, maybe they'd actually learn something. Oh, but that would be crazy. Wait. Crazy? Mental health is covered under the new healthcare law -- the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act --now that the provisions are finally taking effect. All Republicans should take advantage of it. And they don't have to worry about it being a pre-existing condition. The ACA has fixed that loophole.
I know it's a lot to ask of them, but hey, would you like to see what the Republican Talking Machine is blathering about? Sometime the truth hurts. Under the Affordable Care Act, Bonehead and Cantorwont would actually be covered for that, too.
Just click on the picture below, and you'll be whisked away to a few minutes of fun satire:
Oh, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack
The Political Carnival T-Shirt
Modeled by @suzannegypsy
Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
The Political Carnival is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Photographs on The Political Carnival site (please read):
Photographs from other sources sometimes appear on TPC for humorous or illustrative purposes. As it is not our intention to use these images in any inappropriate manner or to infringe upon any rights held by others, anyone holding legal rights in the use of these images who wishes to have them taken down please contact us immediately requesting such removal, with which we will comply promptly.