First of all, I apologize for mis-remembering the CA status on Salvia divinorum. There IS a bill to prohibit sales (AB 259) BUT it ONLY applies to minors. When even some of the sources on the Erowid vaults are supporting this sort of bill, I have to say that it’s not one I will ask to pursue. It leaves the plant unscheduled for adults, and this does seem relatively reasonable.

Second, SB 1499. The bill failed in committee but a reconsideration was granted. (If you can believe that). Maybe it was a hot day in Sacto when they were considering the bill? Supposedly the reconsideration was for today but it wasn’t heard.

Third, AB 1634. That was a mess. The good news– only a dozen supporters. The better news, at least a hundred opponents. And a dog, Laddie (You know him as Lassie). the bad news, Levine offered an author’s amendment on the fly to change a “shall issue” to a “may issue” thus caving Machado and passing the bill. So on to Appropriations. It stops there for a short while, then on to Senate floor and back to Assembly since there were changes (my feeling is a gut and amend should go back through the whole Assembly process but oh no of course not) The LPC continues to oppose this bill on the fact that no due process is involved. It also forces owners to have at the ready their spay or neuter info. While I have that for two of my dogs, and will for a third as he is due for his surgery, I never had proof for my dear Mustang, and doubtless this will be true of other dogs.

Fourth, there was a bill to issue a bond for courthouse improvements (I missed the number) that was for, get this, FIVE BILLION dollars. Get THIS. In testimony they revealed that only SOME of the supposedly CRITICAL improvements will get covered by this. The lady from San Fran Courts went so far to say, “We’re only high priority, so we’re basically SOL?” (Yeah, she said that) Umm, hello Sacto, don’tcha think that you’ve got a few too many crimes on the books when you can’t keep up with even a wad of cash the state can’t afford? Hello? Is any intelligent life still out there?

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(Warning, this one could get long. And it’s not completely political.)

A few weeks ago I pruned a mugwort in my yard. It really was pretty overgrown. What happened after that has opened up so many cans of worms that I’ve lost track.

See, I’d planted that herb because of its numerous references in the herbal literature to it’s ability to ease one’s Moontime. Since I get more than my fair share of the monthly dose of pain and since I can no longer use Tylenol and since I *still* haven’t been able to get my mind wrapped around which homeopathic might actually work, well the monthly dose of pain is something I’d love to ease a little. Somehow I’d managed to sail right past the Culpepper references to causing a “merrye time” which is something like Elizabethan code for “This one will have you sailing high as a kite, so have fun”

Yep, mugwort is psychoactive. To make matters more interesting, at least several of the active ingredients including the psychoactive portion are available by dermal contact. So back to pruning the now 4′ tall plus mugwort in my yard. It’s a hot day, my pores are wide open sweating, and I have crushed mugwort stems that I’m pruning.

I think you can see where this went. “Gee, Mike, this is weird. I feel kinda spacey… and kinda extra psychic too” was about what I said. All I wanted to do was lie down and pull a blindfold over my eyes and just… well… you know…. Anyhow, long story short, yes I was having a Culpepper version of a merrye time. About a week later, I decided on a more controlled and conscious experience (I might add, late at night) and that was also extremely interesting. It’s not exactly your normal dream to feel like you’re sleeping surrounded by tall mugwort plants, or to see the energy pattern of a leaf with your eyes quite closed. But I digress.

In the week that passed between experience number one and number two with the mugwort. I turned among other things to YouTube and to the videos of people tripping on this that and the other. I found an excellent series called “Sacred Weeds” and I found a bunch of home footage of people tripping on OMG Salvia 100x FIRST TIME stuff. Gah. The Sacred Weeds one got my attention big time– after all, mugwort is generally considered as a weed too. Unfortunately they didn’t have a mugwort episode, they covered Amanita, Salvia, Blue Lily, Henbane and I think another. To that list I would certainly add Datura/ Jimsonweed, Belladonna, Ayahuasca, and others as weedy plants that have a psychoactive side in some form of preparation. (To my knowledge mugwort is the only one available by raw dermal contact. Henbane requires a fat of some sort as the component is hydrophobic iirc)

Anyways about the same time a friend of mine (*looks over his way*) decided to try salvia. Now he’s rather experienced in matters of plants with a kick. Some of them, I’m not certain they were legal. But he’s always been safe about it and he is looking for the spiritual too so it’s cool. (I really probably ought to add that mugwort is my very first personal foray into this field. Drugs have never really been a part of my life aside from my morning mug of English Breakfast) Apparently the salvia experience went well for him.

Here’s where things go from the personal to the political.

So far in most states Salvia divinorum is still quite legal. (there are some laws actively going through the legislatures. My understanding is that the CA one is dead but I do need to double check that one). Also so far as I know, there’s no laws against henbane, mugwort, datura, belladonna, or Blue Lily. Of course, I probably need to add that we just don’t know much about the safety of Blue Lily and we definitely know the dangers of even a hair too much henbane, datura or belladonna. Nature imposes Her own laws there.

Now compare that to the laws on marijuana, Amanita, or peyote.

Do you see a logical disjunct? Of course you do. Both categories of plants will give you a merrye time or at least have you seeing visions of mugworts in your bed and swirling bands of energy-color before your eyes. Neither category is exactly without risks. But one is legal, the other not.

There really is no other difference.

I might add that enacting a law against mugwort especially would be a comedy of errors. Many of these weeds are “weeds” precisely because they will pop up almost anywhere. I’m reminded of the time I saw a baby palm tree (Washintonia filifera) popping out between two sections of the sidewalk outside a Del Taco– some plants will grow *anywhere*. Mugwort, datura, henbane, belladona, and marijuana do/could all fall easily into that category. It’s kinda like enacting a law against Ephedra– Mormon tea (ephedra) is not an easy plant to be rid of! It’s native to some pretty tough territory. It’s grown an accordant nature. Anyone care to bet how much this factored into it becoming legal once again?

Frankly, I think the human race is hard-wired to crave alterations in brain chemistry from plant alkaloids. Whether nicotine, caffeine, cannabinoids, or opoids, I really think people are drawn to this sort of thing. I think this is at the core of why the Drug War hasn’t worked– it’s kinda like forcing a gay person to go straight– it’s just not how the brain is wired. We in society have been so controlled to accept a very rigid definition of acceptable behavior for so long that bucking the trend is seen as revolutionary by some and downright evil by many.

To the latter group I say– it used to be considered normal and acceptable to sacrifice doves as a sin offering, to watch people literally hack each other to bits in the arena, for people to use a katana in the public square as a form of suicide. Things change. Some of us like to play with the concept of change in many ways in other parts of our life, and frankly on the scale of things being a little merrye on mugwort is a trifling matter in the high-stress world we live in.

End this hypocrital, schizoid War on Drugs.

Since I expect an uptick in traffic all of a sudden, I would like to cross-pollinate some of my friends, since I know some of you have never met.

Most of you probably know Muddy Thoughts is Mike’s blog. Remember, Seebeck comes from Zeebeck which comes from an even older German derivation which essentially translates into “seabasin”. Or mud. It’s therefore impossible to drag our good (?) name through the mud– we are already there and you will just get tired.

Libertarian Action is going to be a low-post focused blog put out by my friend and long-time LPRC activist Gene Trosper. He definitely is into the activist part of being a Party.

I’m Jus’ a Little Dizzy is a partially political blog put out by my friend “Diva” Desiree “Dez” Hickson. Those of you who were in Denver may have heard her speak before the Monday session.

Anarchist Bitch is the somewhat snarky, always controversial window into the inner workings of the LNC blogged by Angela Keaton. Warning. Angela may be a woman but she is fully empowered and if you even think of ogling her or making her do your will– she will kick your ass. Don’t go there.

Time to wade into more substantiative waters. Although it’s certainly true that bills on balloons and other small things comprise an annoyingly large percentage of Sacto’s time, sometimes matters of major substance are in the queue.

Same-sex marriage is one of those.

Obviously this topic is going to require a number of posts to cover correctly, probably at least five

First, a little background. Same-sex love is certainly nothing new. The Greeks were well-known for their variety of erotic (hmm, which is a Greek word in itself) relations in the ancient era. It’s arguable that the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians, among others, also knew of this. Certain Native American tribes would call this trait “Two Spirit” and in some it was a sign that the person might become a medicine holder (such as a caretaker of particular Pipes or other regalia) or even a shaman. I could go on, but fair to say, same-sex relationships are about as old as relationships of any ilk.

However, in the modern era the (in my opinion, mistaken) idea that marriage is ONLY between ONE man and ONE woman as the Bible (again, in my mind, this is a case of bad translation) seems to purport. But, mistakes and language errors aside, this has been the legal view for some time. Those who are gay or lesbian (and otherwise queer, but this issue is certainly weighted to the G and L parts of the spectrum) have had the short end of the stick for some time. (As, for that matter, those who have a polygamous, polyamorous, bisexual, or otherwise non-vanilla lifestyle) While the legal atmosphere is certainly much improved since the days when you had to be legally married before you could share a roof together, it’s still been a struggle in a world where the Mrs. thing means rather a lot. Society attaches a lot of carrots to the title, supposedly in hopes that the people would stay together and produce the next generation.

Now I’ll be the first to say that having kids is made immeasurably easier by having a second parent in the mix. Mike is an extreme worker/commuter– so I spend huge chunks of time alone. I can see some of what it must be like for single parents, and it makes me glad that Mike is here if only for a few hours a day. BUT, and this is a really large BUT, relationships should be about a whole lot more than producing kids and protecting property within a line. Women are no longer chattel, thank goodness and it’s time that we as a society evolve our understandings of marriage to match. Oh yeah, by the way, if kids DO happen to be in the mix because of a previous marriage or adoption or whatever, in my mind having a lesbian or gay partner as the kid’s other parent is just as good as having two hetero parents. Better, if the force of having to act hetero to be in a telationship was causing strain for the first parent.

Really, we’ve so run out of excuses to admit that we have a sector in society who have been denied marriage for far too long.

With all this in mind came the decisions

City and County of San Francisco v. State of California

(A110449 [Super.

Ct. S.F. City & County, No. CGC-04-429539]); Tyler v. State of California

(A110450 [Super. Ct. L.A. County, No. BS-088506]); Woo v. Lockyer (A110451

[Super. Ct. S.F. City & County, No. CPF-04-504038]); Clinton v. State of (A110463 [Super. Ct. S.F. City & County, No. CGC-04-429548]);

California

 

Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund v. City and County of San

Francisco

(A110651 [Super. Ct. S.F. City & County, No. CPF-04-503943]); Campaign for California Families v. Newsom

(A110652 [Super. Ct. S.F. City &

County, No. CGC-04-428794]).  These were tried together and the net result was the ending of hetero-only marriage in California.

Of course, this could come to a crashing end in November with an initiative that would redefine marriage as being only between one man and one woman.

It’s going to be an interesting year here for marriage and I hope to cover this in some depth in the next posts (in this category, this will be over time)

Some days reading email while my tea steeps is enough to wake me. This morning is one of those days. Some semi-substantiative amendments were published concerning AB1634 AGAIN. After our ability to comment. Levine just won’t stop squirming until it’s all said and done. Now a major opponent has gone neutral, winds are shifting every which way, and things are crazy.

You’re probably all aware of those silly metallic-colored balloons that are quite large and sometimes shaped into hearts or other silly shapes, saying “Happy Birthday” or “Get Well Soon” or whatever. This is the now-endangered species called the mylar balloon. Mylar is actually a polyester type material, the metallic part is an aluminum coating that is often applied. If you want to know what mylar is like without the aluminum, look at the seal on a yogurt container. That’s usually made of mylar too.

Apparently the fracas centers on the fact that when this aluminum coating tangles into power lines, the result is sometimes a power outage. Now, right now in Riverside it probably went over a hundred degrees today. It’s hot and I am definitely inside blasting the A/C to make it feel like eighty. I definitly would not appreciate a power outage. That would be… bad. If it was caused by a runaway balloon, I probably would not be happy about that.

But banning them is NOT the answer. Irresponsible handling is the problem, so what’s the answer?

Well, first off, did you actually know what a menace these innocent balloons actually were? I confess I’d never heard of this until now. I think if the public had merely been informed over the years “Be careful not to allow balloons to get loose, especially near power lines” people would have at least tried to be careful. Oh sure there would have been the usual malcontents letting them go on purpose, but that could have been handled as a penalty, perhaps one that would help defray the cost of repairing the outage.

First problem. California doesn’t like to think that people can do the right thing. No, we need a mandate!

The previous solution was a mandate that all such balloons be sold with a weight that would prevent it from flying high. Not a bad idea, if you’re stuck in the Mandate Illness System Syndrome. The problem was, the type of weight was never specified. Turns out, they were usually tied to lollipops or toys. Kids like my son love the challenge of a knot– off came the knot, out came the toy, and the balloon was free to do its will once again. Apparently this just didn’t help matters much. Or maybe the power companies were getting lazier. It’s kinda hard to tell. After all, I’d been of the impression that raptor strikes and high winds were bigger threats to the state power grid.

So along has come SB 1499.

Please join the legislative team in opposing this nanny-state legislation.

Apparently an attempt at redistricting reform is hitting the ballot this November. This oughta be freaking hilarious. See, the current system in CA is highly corrupt and gerrymandering means that about 9 of 10 offices are so weighted to one or the other party that they are virtually untouchable. The districts themselves look more like linguini than like coherent boundaries.

The “reform” would put 5 D’s, 5 R’s, and 4 “others” on a council that would only make unenforceable recommendations. The trick of course is that 9 of 14 must agree. This basically means that the boundaries of a recommendation are going to have to please either the D’s or the R’s. It doesn’t look that this will accomplish anything.

It gets extremely annoying when proposals of this nature come out. What is perhaps more annoying is that huge hordes of the voting public look at this and think that real reform is happening. Frankly, to me this is just another attempt to keep the power grab going under the thinnest kismet guise of “reform”

How pathetic.

Here’s another legislator’s dirty little trick that should be relegated to the trash heap– the gut and amend. Levine came out with his amendments– really it’s a whole new bill. We had scarcely 90 minutes to do everything– thank goodness Mike found a chance to work everything.

It’s literally possible in this state to start with a bill regulating grease haulers and wind up with a bill about mylar balloons. Or turn a mandatory spay and neuter atrocity into a “the owner has to s/n if the neighbors complain about the animal” which just seems blatantly unfair. Basically it amounts to mob rule over pet owners. And appatently the complaint can be about anything. To me, this also amounts to a BSL because of people’s fears over Dobies, Rotties, and the Bull Terrier breedings. I’m not worried mostly because I have a good relationship with my neighbors to the south and I think they like our (fairly quiet, never get loose) dogs. But I recognize that this won’t be true for many people, and it’s not always justified.

Oh, I wish gut and amend did not exist. I wish there was a required time frame between when a legislator must publish his comments and when we the citizenry must have our comments in. (Like, maybe, a day? That seems a little more reasonable) People wonder why the system is so broken? It’s all weighted in the legislators’ favor– they’ve made it that way in little chunks over time. That’s designed to keep YOU out of the puzzle.

They like it that way.

Do you?

I won’t rehash the gory details from last year but Lloyd Levine’s horror, AB 1634 is due for republication of amendments prior to being heard in Senate Local Government next Wednesday. The amendments are due by 7:30 supposedly and the fax deadline is 10 AM. Hahaha. Like you’re supposed to get an analysis done that fast.

Why is it that the sleaziest Assemblycritters know all the coolest parliamentary tricks in the book to keep their bills alive? If it weren’t so aggravating to watch, the trick book would be an amazing thing to watch. Seems like Levine has memorized every page. Thank goodness he’s out at end of session.

On another level, would we perhaps have a cleaner system if it were simplified, for instance eliminating the “hold call” that allows the final publication of a vote to be delayed by hours until recalcitrant critters get their arms twisted, or the arbitrary fax deadlines that sometimes barely overlap the publication of amendments? I wish I knew.

Here I will hopefully be blogging everything from actual bits of garden stuff to politics to rants to whatever.