Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

Some Californians will vote to legalize marijuana because, they will say, “Pot smoking hasn’t hurt me, man.”

We must ask them: How do you know?

They could be addled by this psycho-active drug and think they were perfectly OK.

An art professor once told us laughingly about his young painting students, who produced art while they were high on cannabis. The drug had no positive effects, he said, but “they think they’re doing wonderfully.”

Here’s another story, much closer to home: We knew a young man whose powers of recall and calculation were on the wizard level. You could hold an electronic calculator in your hand and ask him any long-division problem – say, five figures into seven figures – and he would say, “Do you want the answer in fractions or decimals?”

If you answered, “decimals,” he would say, “How many places?” And before you could punch the numbers into your calculator, he would give you the correct answer. He also had a photographic memory, which once saved him some valuable possessions when he was out hitchhiking.

One time, a guy who gave him a ride asked him to run into a convenience store to get a soft drink. While he complied, his “benefactor” drove off with his backpack and other items. Too bad for the thief. He had shown our friend a court summons, and the young man remembered the thief’s name and address, the summons number and the date, time and place of the court hearing. When the bad guy showed up to meet the judge, he also met a sheriff’s deputy who arrested him. The stolen goods were recovered.

In college, our young friend began to smoke marijuana, enjoying its hallucinogenic effects. He quit, however, when he realized his mental powers were declining. He couldn’t do those cerebral gymnastics anymore, and his memory was slipping. Fortunately, he recovered.

As Nov. 2 approaches we expect to receive letters advocating the “libertarian” approach to California Proposition 19, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those over age 21. They will argue that pot’s outlaw status – like the outlawing of alcohol in the 1920s – has contributed to the rise in crime.

Well, perhaps. And perhaps I could buy the libertarian approach if libertarians – and society as a whole – were willing to go all the way. They would need not only to allow the use of the drug but also agree not to meddle with its long-term effects. There could be no state-funded rehabilitation programs. Druggies would be allowed to lose their jobs, take up other drugs for which marijuana is a proven gateway, overdose, starve or otherwise meet their ends. Their families would have to sink or swim on their own.

Having saved the costs of “saving” drug abusers, the libertarians still would have to deal with the inevitable consequences of “reefer madness:”

  • increases in crime,
  • juvenile delinquency,
  • family dissolutions,
  • other social costs, including the establishment of a permanent drug underclass. As druggies died off, younger recruits – minors – would take their place. The nation’s experience with tobacco shows this would be the case.

Should Californians pass Proposition 19, the Golden State would be able to count on an endless stream of pot heads telling us, “I’ve been smoking weed for years, man, and it hasn’t hurt me, man.”

Media matters: Let us give our Credulous Reporting Award to the Washington Post for its yarn about a White House report on the Obama “stimulus” program. It’s online teaser announced, “Bad news for stimulus haters,” and the story’s headline said, “Report gives stimulus package high marks.”

It wasn’t until paragraph seven that the reader learned the report was prepared by Vice President Joe Biden. Somebody kindly remind the Post of the maxim: Consider the source.

Reuters moved a big story about a study in the American Sociological Review that “found” “predatory lending aimed at racially segregated minority neighborhoods led to mass foreclosures that fueled the U.S. housing crisis.”

The loans in question, said the story, “carry unreasonable fees, interest rates and payment requirements.” This demands a new entry in the Blind Partisan’s Dictionary:

predatory lending – The granting of loans to persons who are unable to repay them; a practice guaranteed to bankrupt the lender. See predatory borrowing.

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