Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bits and Pieces

First a comment on the Presidential dollar coins: apparently like most other Americans I do not ordinarily use these coins. In fact, I rarely even see one. However, today, fumbling through my desk, I came across four shiny new Martin Van Buren dollars. I have no idea where or how I managed to accumulate this small fortune. I decided to spend it, but ran into an unanticipated problem, the clerk did not want to accept them. This was not because she did not recognize them as dollars, but, rather, because they do not say “In God We Trust” on them. She inspected them carefully and said, “They recommend we do not accept these.” I do not know who the “they” she was referring to are. She did finally and begrudgingly accept them, but then added, “We have a President who is trying to take God out of our lives.” I found this a most interesting experience. I had not previously heard of the “problem” of not having In God We Trust on these coins. Somehow it does not seem to me to be necessary, nor, I guess, did it seem so to the Mint. I do not know if all of these dollars lack the phrase but I would assume they probably do. It matters to some people. This led me to think about the fact that there is said to be a billion and a half of these dollars piling up, wherever such unspent money piles up, because they have not “caught on.” I thought this was probably for the same reason dollar coins did not catch on the first two times they tried them and failed, simply because they did not stop printing paper dollars at the same time. Note that when Canada introduced the “Loony,” their dollar coin, they did stop the paper dollar and the coin caught on very quickly (as did their useful two dollar coin). You might think whoever it is that is behind the attempt to introduce dollar coins might have realized this, having failed twice before, but, alas, it is apparently too difficult for them. It seems to me entirely possible there might well be some resistance on the part of people who make machines that offer sodas and candy and are designed to take paper money, but I’m not sure how important this resistance might be. I had no idea it was also because of the lack of the godly phrase. As far as “The Presidents who wants…” goes I guess she must have meant President Obama. I don’t think Obama had anything to do with any of the attempts to introduce dollar coins, nor do I know why she thinks he wants “God” our of our country, but, then, I have learned that facts, reason, common sense, and even thought itself are not salient phenomena when it comes to Republicans.

This experience also led me to think about pennies. It now costs at least a penny and a half to make a penny coin. You might think that would dissuade people from making them, but it hasn’t. What with inflation and all over the past years I wonder why we even need pennies. Of course one reason is because our stores continue the absolutely ridiculous custom of pricing things at $2.99, $3.99, or even $24,999.99, sometimes even XX.98. I presume this has become so important culturally that it cannot possibly be changed without great damage to the economy. And finally, whatever happened to half dollar coins? Although you rarely encounter one anymore, they still do exist. Someone once suggested to me the reason stores don’t use them is because the cash registers don’t have enough compartments. They just use quarters instead of the inconvenience. Do they still produce half dollars? Originally, when the dollar coin was introduced, we were told it would save money because they would last longer than paper money. Now they are being phased out we are told it’s because paper money lasts longer. Somehow, I don’t believe it. I have no idea why we have such absurd problems with our money, better to ask the Money Gods.

On to another strange development, the Obama administration has recently announced that marijuana is to remain a dangerous, addictive drug, according to our current classificatory system. This is an administration that prides itself on its belief in science and wants to insure funds for more scientific research. Even a cursory glance at the scientific evidence that already exists with respect to marijuana does not support the classification they want to continue. Science and scientific research apparently does not extend to the study of a substance that has been in constant use for hundreds of years, is well known by its users to not be addictive, is far less of a problem than alcohol, and should be legalized forthwith for many reasons. Science is all very well when it comes to climate change and global warming (at least to non-idiots), but when it comes to marijuana it is magical belief that carries the day, note the absolutely silly restriction on growing hemp (that might apparently have some similar “terrible” effect on an unsuspecting public). Why is it so difficult to understand after all these years, and all the billions spent, that the so-called “war on drugs” is an absolutely dismal failure, and nowhere is this more true than in the case of marijuana, that is no doubt more widely used by Americans now than it ever was. Do you suppose this might have something to do with the pharmaceutical industry, the for-profit prisons, and law enforcement in general? Gee, really? The film, “Reefer Madness,” first introduced in the 1940’s, I believe, is still being shown. When it was shown in my High School in 1945 or 46 we immediately recognized it as piece of utterly ridiculous propaganda and knew it was simply nonsensical. To not legalize marijuana is about as stupid as not raising the debt ceiling, but, of course, we’ve got to have bodies to fill up all the prisons we’re building (instead of schools). For a time during the 1960’s I hardly knew a single person, including Professors, bankers, businessmen, students, or neighbors, as well as Hippies, that did not smoke marijuana. A very few years later virtually none of them did, so much for addiction.

Michele Bachmann claims she was “called” by God to run for President. Now Governor Perry of Texas claims he is “called” to run for President. If God is both omnipotent and omnipresent in our lives why would he call two different candidates to run at the same time? Does he/she/it not trust his/her/its own judgment? Or is it a question of cautiously covering all possibilities? Shades of The Three Christs of Ypsilanti! If you are unfamiliar with this book by Milton Rokeach, it involved bringing together three different inmates at an asylum in Ypsilanti who all claimed to be Christ to see what they would do when confronted with each other. They basically solved the problem by arguing that the other two were insane. So?

According to Rush, the all-knowing, lying fat druggie, August 2nd was chosen as the deadline for the debt ceiling because Ramadan begins on the 1st. According to idiot Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas it is because Obama’s birthday bash is on the 3rd. Sigh!

1 comment:

dburwell said...

The Martin Van Buren dollars have "In God We Trust" inscribed on the edge of the coin. In 2009, "In God We Trust" was moved from the edge to the face of the coins, so I guess our current President actually wanted to make God more directly visible on our coins. You might want to point that out to your friendly clerk.