Pot of Gold
Waste of resources: The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers ["Weed Takes Root," by David Ferrell, January 7]. In 2008, there were 847,863 marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90 percent for simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. The end result of this ongoing culture war is not necessarily lower rates of use.
The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long overdue step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.
war on drugs
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Online readers weigh in:
Do it! Let's legalize it, give the cigarette manufacturers the green light to produce the product, and tax it just as we do spirits and regular tobacco. Use the same distribution system as do the vendors of spirits, but monitor carefully the amount of drug in each cigarette, using the same quality-control system used by the cigarette manufacturers. The private prison industry is probably going to be horrified, as their profits just went out the door.
Hypocrisy: Texas will be the last state to legalize it. If they even do. Much as I love it here, the predominance of reactionary hypocrites and their blathering, self-righteous, antimarijuana rhetoric makes me sick — especially since most of the ones I know drink like fish.
The Big Score
Online readers comment on "HISD Hoops Classic: A-Hole Coach 170, Lee High School 35," by Richard Connelly, Hair Balls blog, January 6:
Haha: Your team sucks! 170-35? So how would a school district go about policing a situation like this? Do you forfeit after you're beat by 50 points? Where does a school district draw the line?
Hey, some kids and coaches need to just face the fact that they suck at basketball.
This is a great lesson for the real world. There are the haves and the have-nots. Yates has skills, and Lee does not.
Coach Hot Karl
The Yates coach should be fired: I listened to his explanation, and that dog won't hunt. No reason for this sort of issue to make the headlines. This is a poor school in terms of educating its students; this school exists for one reason, and that is sports. It's time to rethink the existence of Yates High School and a valuation of the worth of the core principles of that school.
Wahhhhh: Have fun eating your wahhhhh-burger and french cries; how about you wash it down with a nice glass of whine? Yates is a really good team. Lee is not. That is it. The Yates coach has a very good point: How can he tell his kids not to score when they train and train and train to score? Think of this beat-down as tough-love motivation for the Lee team to improve their game.
Mercy rule: Six-man football has a mercy rule where the game is over when the difference goes over 50, even if the game is called at the half. (And most of their points are in six-point increments, not two.) Sounds like the UIL needs to get one for basketball.
Overmatched: There was a 135-point difference in the score. Were the Yates players supposed to intentionally miss shots or start passing the ball to the players for Lee? Are you supposed to tell your players not to play so well and to throw the other team a bone? If Yates would have let up some and let Lee get a few more baskets, would that somehow make the Lee players feel better, knowing the only reason they got the score they did is because the Yates team let them? Lee's team was severely overmatched and there wasn't too much that Yates could really do about it. It's a hard thing on both sides, but I do know if life beats you every day, it's not going to take a day off to let you win.
Wow: Yates must have some great athletes with absolutely zero class. Any way you slice it, this is poor sportsmanship.
This is absolutely ridiculous: The Yates coach has no respect for the game of basketball. He is a disgrace to high school basketball.
The Classy Coach
Play the bench: The coach at Yates should be ashamed of himself. Sportsmanship on the high school level is No. 1. Instead of embarrassing kids, he should've played his bench, and they still would have won with no problem. This is ridiculous and it sends his players the wrong message.
Inappropriate: Wow, I guess there's a big difference between being a blogger and being a journalist. To compare a high school sports team to Nazis is at best inappropriate hyperbole. I can't help but feel that race plays a large role in this blogger and some of his defenders' "outrage."
Would you compare Bob Stoops of Oklahoma in that way, or Bill Belichick? Why must folks try to minimize the Yates basketball team's achievement? It's a shame that we can't have some constructive dialogue on race. Instead, we have shouting matches.
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Bad coaching: He didn't have to press the whole game. They should have worked on their half-court man or zone defense. In the playoffs, they will play against a team who can break their press, and then he will have to run a half-court defense. When they realize that they have never worked on it in a game or in practice, they will be in trouble, and hopefully it will be too late. There are teams that have good athletes and discipline; those teams can and will beat Yates. Therefore, their coach is not only an a-hole, he isn't a very good coach either.
The Cupcake Smackdown Cometh
Cupcakes: cute but cutthroat. That's the theme of the Eating...Our Words Cupcake Smackdown coming up on January 24. Come out and watch the carnage go down as a panel of experts and carefully selected readers blind taste-test cupcakes from a dozen Houston bakeries and restaurants. Which cupcake will still be standing after the battle? Come see for yourself at Block 7 Wine Company on January 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. We'll have door prizes galore. And be sure to bring a donation for the Houston Food Bank to receive a limited edition Eating...Our Words T-shirt. — Katharine Shilcutt