Has Anyone Started A Roger Goodell Pool Yet?

roger-goodellHow long until Roger Goodell exits the NFL? This month? This week? This evening? I suspect his time is short.

I don’t have to rehash this story. What Ray Rice did was inexcusable.

The question now is, did Roger Goodell do the inexcusable too? I think so.

Forget AP’s revelation for a moment. Nothing in the tape released by TMZ offers anything the commissioner didn’t know earlier. Rice, as reported, was up front about the fight. He was charged with a violent crime. He knocked his girlfriend unconscious with his fist!

How did seeing the TMZ elevator video change that? The only difference was now we could see what the NFL already knew! That was their worry — not what Rice had done, but that we knew.

And, again, this is regardless of whatever tape they did or didn’t see. They knew this was a brutal act by a 206 pound athlete based on Rice’s own admission.

Goodell will leave the NFL a wealthy man. I just saw a report he made $29 million in 2011. Don’t cry if he loses his job.

Violence against women is a scourge which must be stopped. If Rice’s punishment serves as a warning to others, so be it. The same goes for any punishment Goodell receives in his role as whitewasher and enabler.

Pot: The Big Surprise

potIf you asked 18 year Geoff if marijuana would ever be sold legally in the United States, the answer would be, “No!” Granted, he was probably stoned at the time. But even grownup Geoff is surprised at what just happened.

Unless you have no short term memory, you probably know marijuana sales became legal in Colorado on January 1. Medical marijuana (wink, wink, nod, nod) was already legal in Colorado and a bunch of other states.

Conventional wisdom says governments are risk averse. Pols don’t want the blame should legalization go bad. The status quo has much less downside.

So, again, big surprise this would happen.

Some friends are worried about their children. Valid concern. I don’t want my doctor/dentist/airline pilot going to work stoned either. Will legalization change that? No.

Too many people are in jail for simple drug offenses. They’re not from everywhere. We enforce our laws more stringently against the poor and non-whites. That’s unfair.

This morning in the Times, David Brooks wrote in opposition to Colorado’s change. He told stories of his teen years, when he was stoned–which he now regrets.

Only luck and privilege kept him from going to jail. That’s what today’s drug laws do.

Business is brisk in Colorado. There are lines to get in.

The price of pot, predicted to fall over time, has gone up. The AP reports one dispensary selling 1/8 ounce for $70.

Doesn’t anyone else find this a bit surreal? People are walking into stores and buying pot! Through my entire life those who govern have said exactly the opposite. Some still do.

Big surprise, all of it.

Too Much Courtroom Detail For Me

I wonder if our justice system was formulated with the thought this type of criminal act could exist?

I’m not sure my point in writing this. I guess I just want to make sure I’m not alone. Has anyone else heard too many details in the Michael Jackson and Petit Family murder stories?

I was watching CNN two Saturday’s ago. Fredericka Whitfield (WTNH alumni) intro’ed a package on the Petit Family Cheshire home invasion. Because it was a national audience the reporter went into voluminous detail setting up the story.

I didn’t get much more than a minute into the retelling before I changed channels. I couldn’t take any more.

It is still difficult for me to comprehend the horrendously depraved acts that took place that day. I wonder if our justice system was formulated with the thought this type of criminal act could exist?

Two nights ago as I drove home listening to the World Service of the BBC (via Connecticut Public Radio) they presented a story on the Michael Jackson/Conrad Murray trial. I listened to a few seconds of Jackson’s slurred, drugged out voice before looking for some music.

This is what $150,000 per month buys? You get propofol and your physician gives up any claim to having a soul.

I found listening just too painful. It felt as if I was being asked to watch a ‘snuff film.’ No!

I’m a believer in cameras in the courtroom and a free and open press. That doesn’t mean I want to always see what’s going on.

Things Are Seldom As They Seem

We often fix the obvious when we really should be looking deeper.

Not everything is as it seems. If you hear the murder rate has gone down is it safe to assume there’s less violent crime?

A few years ago the wife of a friend, she an ER doc, pointed out it’s not fewer assaults but better treatment that gets this result!

We’ve got so much traumatic injury experience (because of an increase in violent crime, but also battle experience from Vietnam forward) that death can be held off. That was sobering to hear then and still resonates.

With that in mind let me recommend a short article from Mother Jones (MoJo to the cognoscenti)–The Counterintuitive World. Part of the article relates to RAF experience with airplanes during World War II.

if a plane makes it back safely even though it has, say, a bunch of bullet holes in its wings, it means that bullet holes in the wings aren’t very dangerous. What you really want to do is armor up the areas that, on average, don’t have any bullet holes. Why? Because planes with bullet holes in those places never made it back.

I suspect there’s an easy TSA/airport lesson to be learned here. I’ll let you figure that out on your own.

We often fix the obvious when we really should be looking deeper.

Pot’s On The Ballot In California

It should pass because people shouldn’t be arrested or sent to jail for having marijuana.

I’ve actually wanted to write about this for a while but kept putting it off. Then I read a tweet from a graphic artist/photographer I follow:

Dear California, Legalize Weed and Tax the Profits. You’ll have money after that.

In case you haven’t heard California, where a few hundred thousand signed petitions is pretty much all you need, is putting pot on the ballot. Passage could “turn medical marijuana dispensaries into all-purpose pot stores, and the open sale of joints could become commonplace on mom-and-pop liquor store counters in liberal locales like Oakland and Santa Cruz.” That’s the read from the Associated Press as quoted on Wikipedia.

It’s tough to believe a marijuana tax would bail California out of its budget morass. My Twitter buddy hints at that and many in California openly make the same claim. The state is so deep in the hole there’s little prospect of climbing out in the near term even with $1 billion or more in new revenue some project.

That’s not why this proposition should pass. It should pass because people shouldn’t be arrested or sent to jail for having marijuana. It’s a ridiculous punishment for a fairly benign act.

Back in 1966 I was invited to a friend’s house. As sixteen year old Geoff watched some friends lit up a joint. I started to leave, but not before I told one of my friends, someone I’m still friends with and who will read this blog entry, if I ever heard he was smoking pot I’d call the police!

I was sixteen. It was a dumb thing to say and I didn’t call the police. But what if I had? How would his life changed had he been arrested, tried and convicted as the felon he most certainly was?

Unfortunately, even today, the most likely way marijuana will screw up your life is if you’re caught with it. I sense there aren’t a lot of stoners throwing bricks through car windshields or getting violent because they’re high. My recollection is pot led to music and cookies. The worst part of pot was it made you a law breaker.

As California gets closer to its election it will be interesting to hear the arguments on both sides and the position of the federal government. Possession and sale of marijuana is a federal crime so there is a serious conflict that could nullify a ballot box vote.

For the last 15 plus years I have been a guest speaker for a drug prevention program in Prospect. My views on California are not in conflict with my reasons for going to the Community School every year. Pot, alcohol and tobacco are still a bad mix with kids. They need to learn peer pressure is not insurmountable. You can say no.

When I was in college in the ‘heady’ late 60s I was sure pot would be legal by now. In my 30s and 40s I figured there was no political upside to removing the legal penalties and possession would remain a crime forever. Right now I am just plain surprised it’s on the ballot.

Note: The Connecticut Marijuana tax stamp shown above is real! Though the possession and sale of pot is against the law in Connecticut this tax allows an additional civil penalty to be assessed by the Department of Revenue Services. I don’t claim to understand how it works, how it’s enforced, or whether the state sells any tax stamps as collectors items.