Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wild Kingdom


“From the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger, all animals are to be found in men and each of them exists in some man, sometimes several at the time. Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls. God displays them to us to give us food for thought.”

- Victor Hugo

This past weekend I was sitting here at my qwerty working on the last blog post and a movement out the window caught my eye. Bald Eagle was on the ground out in the grass field right in front of the house, maybe 100 yards away. And he was tearing at something with his beak. I grabbed my camera, put on the telephoto and opened the front door...

... knowing I should have gone out the back door and used the house and the trees for cover. But I didn't.

As soon as I opened it, the front door squeaked and the eagle alerted. As soon as I stepped out the door the eagle took off, its' prey dangling from those huge talons.

But so heavy was whatever it had that Eagle couldn't get but a few feet off the ground. It landed maybe a quarter mile away out in the rye grass (the seed farm around me has rye to my east and fescue on the south and north fields). As I watched through my camera I saw that it had a goose. And the goose wasn't dead...

When I moved to get closer Eagle flew away from his prey.

I stopped and waited. Soon enough Eagle took off, flying back to the meal he was determined to eat.

Then he dove and came in at the goose skimming the top of the grass...

Goose was loose! Goose was still alive. But Eagle wanted Goose.

The end result of this pursuit, of course, was never in doubt...

And to get himself alone with Goose, Eagle flew off, across the road and away from the pesky yahoo with the camera.

I can only offer up a "thank you" to Marlin Perkins, host of the old Wild Kingdom TV show. It was nature programs like his and those to follow - the National Geographic specials, Jacques Cousteau and the many others - that influenced in no small part my love for nature's ways.


“What fates impose, that men must needs abide; It boots not to resist both wind and tide”

- William Shakespeare


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not me, or...


“Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.”

~ Bob Marley

I know, I know... but I can't stay off the "drugs" topic. Actually I can but there is so much about life today that involves drugs. Legal drugs and illegal drugs.

Let me explain...

Today is April 20th. 4/20, or 420. You know, the unofficial stoner holiday. Today is also the anniversary of the Columbine mess. It's also Adolph Hitler's birthday. Now if that isn't a mix that deserves to have their strings intertwined...

Oh yeah... I'm going to throw random urinalysis into this mix. I hope nobody minds.

So... how does cannabis, Hitler, the Columbine massacre and random drug testing tie together?

For me it was a matter of watching the evening news, listening to my son talk about his day and how all that ties into my work history.

Hitler we all know. Columbine, most folks know about. Pot? Yeah, we all know at least something about that (even if if what we know is wrong). And drug testing? Hang on, I'll get there.

The Rise of Adolph Hitler

I'm not a big Hitler fan, so if you want to know more than what is common knowledge, do your research. There is a lot out there... Google shows almost 6 million hits. What we do know that I need to mention is that Hitler was a master manipulator of fact and the media. He gained his power through a tactical campaign of manipulating public opinion. A lot like the campaign against cannabis.

"OK, Allan", you say, "how does Columbine tie into this, other than it happened on April 20th?"

Oh c'mon. Give me a hard question.

We don't really know what triggered seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to commit such an horrendous act against truly innocent kids. Kind of like we're not sure what exactly triggers kids into doing drugs. But we have some ideas. Chief among them is that kids need recognition. They need to be noticed and paid attention to. They need the parents around them to take their lives seriously and work with all the hormones, growth and childhood angst that the kids are dealing with. But we adults too often don't do these things. And subsequently we miss a lot. We miss the signals that kids send.

Lord knows I do. I'm a single dad w/ two teenagers... a broke single dad with two teens. And thus I've just tied random drug testing into this. When I was fired last summer I wasn't fired for bad work habits or being inefficient. It was just the opposite. I hadn't been fired from a job for 25 years. In fact I have been fired twice in my life. The job I lost was a retail position. I worked in hardware. As a retail salesman, I shine. I'm helpful, intelligent, friendly, even indulgent when that is what is needed.

Which is easy to do... within limits. Some folks just can't be pleased, but after over 40 years of being involved with the public on a business level I have to admit 98% of us just want honest, helpful assistance when we have questions. Kind of like kids...

Now here is where drug testing comes in. I'm not just pissed about losing my job, I'm beyond incensed -- but no worries about going postal, I use cannabis and engage in stress relieving activities - like writing this blog - and working on my photography. Speaking of which... a photo break:

And I guess I've got a case of the mung sai because that firing is not right. Don't get me wrong, I'm not whining, I've learned to roll with the punches... but that failed drug test ties right into students. I think the figure is now 15% of our school kids are drug tested.

So, let me ask: do you approve of drug testing our school kids for drugs?

And let me ask that question again: do you approve of drug testing our school kids without a warrant?

See... for me the crux of the matter is what it says in the Bill of Rights

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What does that say again?

"no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"

A search without a warrant is unConstitutional. It is fairly plainly written, even a forklift driver/window cleaner can understand that. So what is the problem with the Supreme Court? They may be scholars of law but they don't know shit about common sense, apparently:

Supreme Court hears arguments in school strip-search case

Supreme Court justices on Tuesday revealed sharp differences over whether Arizona school officials acted properly in strip-searching a 13-year-old girl.

Conservative justices stressed schools' need to combat drug abuse. Other justices suggested that the specific search, involving ibuprofen, might have gone too far. The court's final answer will guide educators nationwide, as the justices determine when standard constitutional protections give way to school safety.

"Having an aspirin tablet does not present a health or safety risk," Justice David Souter said.

Justice Stephen Breyer added that the strip-search of eighth-grader Savana Redding may have been "a little extreme," and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg conveyed dismay at the search's intrusiveness.

See... no one asking "were the parents present?"

C'mon, what are we teaching our kids? Big Bro' knows best? And of course all this discussion of teens, school and drugs brings me me to this little nauseating tale:

Goose Creek Raid

I'm not even going to say much about that... I try real hard not to swear in my writing.

For me, having been fairly intensely involved in drug policy reform for over a decade now I've got my school of hard knocks degree in drug policy. And what I've learned makes me sick. Really. A lot of what I know seems like it should be common knowledge. But I watch mainstream (network) news and I know it is more a case of what we aren't told than us not wanting to know. Things that you have to dig a bit to find. Regional happenings that don't move past the national filters.

There are way too many stories to tell 'em all here, but a couple have gnawed at me and won't let go, so I will use tham as prime examples of why I fight this Prohibitionist scourge. I believe drug Prohibition to be a real debacle, man made. And man can end it. But here, meet Donald Scott:

Ranch-coveting officials settle for killing owner

Early on the morning of Oct. 2, 1992, 31 officers from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol, National Guard and Park Service came roaring down the narrow dirt road to Scott's rustic 200-acre ranch. They planned to arrest Scott, the wealthy, eccentric, hard-drinking heir to a Europe-based chemicals fortune, for allegedly running a 4,000-plant marijuana plantation. When deputies broke down the door to Scott's house, Scott's wife would later tell reporters, she screamed, "Don't shoot me. Don't kill me." That brought Scott staggering out of the bedroom, hung-over and bleary-eyed -- he'd just had a cataract operation -- holding a .38 caliber Colt snub-nosed revolver over his head. When he pointed it in the direction of the deputies, they killed him.


Despite a subsequent search of Scott's ranch using helicopters, dogs, searchers on foot, and a high-tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory device for detecting trace amounts of sinsemilla, no marijuana --or any other illegal drug -- was ever found.

And even more than my own calamitous direct contacts with the drug war the case of Zeke Hernandez just continues to act as a catalyst to maintaining a voice on the topic of our drug policies.


Zeke's story was one of the first I had heard about innocent civilians directly killed by our drug war (Prohibition 2.0). Equally as sad... Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta. Kathryn was a near 90 year old black grandmother shot by police who broke down her door on a drug raid based on a perjured warrant and rubber stumped by a judge. She had no drugs. She did have a pistol...

But she lost the gun battle, the police planted drugs and... well, here, you read it:

Kathryn Johnston: A Year Later
92-year-old woman's death has done little to curb the use of paramilitary police tactics around the country.

[...] everything about the Kathryn Johnston murder was corrupt. The initial arrest of the ex-con came via trumped-up charges. The police then invented an informant for the search warrant, and lied about overseeing a drug buy from Johnston's home.

Ms. Johnston didn't actually wound any of the officers. They were wounded by fragments of ricochet from their own storm of bullets. And there was no marijuana. Once they realized their mistake, the officers handcuffed Ms. Johnston and left her to bleed and die on the floor of her own home while they planted marijuana in her basement.

And the names of those with similar stories just gets longer and has become a litany...

Drug War Victims

It is not just what we are teaching our kids but what we are passing on to them. Do we really want to hand them a system that we've forgotten to stand up for? A system with laws based on lies? A system that says "even though you haven't done anything wrong we need to make sure, so just pee in this cup." A funny thing here is how those who have been heavily involved in setting up the system that seeks mandatory drug testing are also those who are the captains of the drug testing corporate world.


Carlton Turner was once the United States' drug czar (under Reagan.) After this, he became a very rich man as an advisor for drug testing companies. His partner, Peter Bensinger is a former head of the National Institute on Drug Awareness. Another partner was Robert Dupont, also a former NIDA director. Former White House drug advisor Donald MacDonald now owns Employee Health Programs, which contracts MROs to drug testing programs.

Start a war and then sell the tools of that war. Wow, now there is a story we've never heard before...

And I could go on... about how the early "teen camps" were abusive failures that ended badly for too many and those who were profiting from those "camps" are also *cough* leaders *cough* in the anti-drug movement.

I could talk about a young missionary mother - Veronica Bowers - and her infant daughter Charity, were shot out of the skies over Peru

Or I might mention U.S. Army pilot, Captain Jennifer Odom and her crew and how they were shot down over Colombia and how her Commander, "Col. James Hiett, the top U.S. counter-narcotics official in Colombia, [...] was helping his wife launder the proceeeds of her cocaine smuggling through the U.S. embassy with the help of his chauffeur."

But I won't... I have to go wash my hands. Happy 420... sigh...


“I've tried everything. I can say to you with confidence, I know a fair amount about LSD. I've never been a social user of any of these things, but my curiosity has carried me into a lot of interesting areas.”

~ Dan Rather


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No pelabra Wednesday...



When even one American - who has done nothing wrong - is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril.

- Harry S. Truman


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday?


“Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”

- Will Rogers

I've seen this elsewwweb and thought "heck yeah." Mid-week... work, kids to school... it is a day when we are in the week's mid-stride, momentum maintained and life is rolling. Why stop, except for a breather maybe? I've seen the "Wordless Wednesday" blogposts where the author(s) post only photos. Sounds like a good idea. And now that spring has finally sprung I'm taking more photographs.

I think I'll be joining the "Wordless Wednesday" movement. Any complaints?

Here then from this week - just shooting around the house - a few images of flowers, harbingers of the summer to come.



While I have yet to read a novel typed by a monkey I have read things on the internet that show me that jack-asses can type.

- me


Sunday, April 5, 2009



Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

- C.S. Lewis


My daughter Robin has submitted her short story "The Blue Swing" (posted here last year) to Teen Ink magazine. She wants me to mention it because visits and votes are what will get her from online to actually being published in the print edition. So... if you are so inclined, go visit and give her a boost. Here is Robin, in full writing mode:


And while I'm at it, better get this one out of the way. This is another road trip photo. When I take these, I'm driving... but don't worry! I'm not looking through my viewfinder, I just point the camera in the general direction and shoot. Alex and Kita in the back seat:

(Alex is the one on the left)

On one of my drives in the coast range, at Alsea Falls, I stopped at this private roadside picnic area. It is a pretty nice spot along the river. I got out and was checking it out... but then I noticed the picnic table. I mean really noticed:

... and I remembered a story I had heard about one of Oregon's old family timber mills having cut a single board for a picnic table. Hull-Oakes Lumber cut this table in 1986 (and the picnic area is their company picnic site). Nothing exciting about that you say? What if the board -- that is one, single board, almost 1,000 board feet -- is 85 feet long, 34 inches wide and 4 inches thick. Now that's a slab! There are not many mills that can cut such a massive board... Hull-Oakes is a steam driven mill tucked back into the end of a valley leading up into the east side of the coast range, a real nice place.

I have found a larger venue for some of my writing. I've already posted here a bit on the drug war, but this isn't where I want to talk about that topic.

Sooo... I was talking with Tim King, editor of and they will be publishing my work there. And as drug policy is my political focus these days that provides me a great outlet with a far bigger readership. Here at Morning Donut, since I installed the ClustrMap, I've had just over 11,000 page views in 2 years or so. In the first 3 days of the article being posted at Salem-News there were 15,000 page views. (And to you folks coming here from there, welcome to my humble little corner of the wwworldwwwide wwweb).

I also received over 40 comments. Here is that article: President Used Marijuana but Mocks & Dismisses Legalization

I mean I'm not shy about being an activist. I prefer to do it privately but that defeats the whole point of being politically active, so... but it is a nice non-paying pat on the back to draw so many people (it was a record setter at Salem-News). I'm still looking for that paying gig though. sigh...

And here is a mish-mash of images, most of them I don't think I've posted before. And please remember... I am a poor and struggling single dad and I just love selling my photos. So any image (pretty much) you see here is for sale as a framed print. Just contact me.


(man... I've got coffee cake baking in the oven... mmmm... smells so good. I'll let you know how it turned out... )


"The smoking of the leaves, flowers and seeds of Cannabis sativa is no more harmful than the smoking of tobacco... It is hoped that no witch hunt will be instituted in the military service over a problem that does not exist."

-- "The Marijuana Bugaboo,"

editorial in the Military Surgeon, by Col. JM Phalen, 1943