Maptalk-Digest Sunday, December 27 1998 Volume 98 : Number 505
US: CT: Inmates Make The Reading Connection
From: "Tom VonDeck" <>
Sea Urchins And Human Sexuality
From: Richard Lake <>
FLASH: Author Laurence Cherniak on MAP CHAT Tonight
From: Richard Lake <>
ART: Grandparents recruited to help fight war on drugs by talking with chil
ART: Groups mobilize to push for lenient drug policies
Subj: US: CT: Inmates Make The Reading Connection
From: "Tom VonDeck" <>
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998 07:19:20 PST
Source: Hartford Courant
Date: Saturday, December 26th, 1998
newshawk: Tom Von Deck
Author: George Watson
US: CT: Inmates Make The Reading Connection: Prison Program Lets Dads
Speak Volumes To Their Kids
note: Under the first photo(front page) it reads "Though his father is
in prison, Jason DeLeo Jr., 6, can read with him because of a program
that connects children and their fathers through books."
under the second photo, it says, "Jason DeLeo, 26, participates in a
program at Brooklyn Correctional Institution in northeastern Connecticut
in which inmates read to their children through videotapes and weekend
Behind the bright-red brick walls and chain-link fences topped with
curling razor wire, Jason DeLeo sits with slightly hunched shoulders
before a video camera.
Despite his ruggedly handsome looks and perfectly coiffed hair, DeLeo,
26, is no movie star.
He's a convicted drug dealer banished to prison for a decade following a
1995 police raid of his Waterbury home, where he had stashed enough
crack cocaine to supply several addicts for at least a year.
As DeLeo's soft eyes peer into the camera lens, his hands grasp a book
filled with vibrant cartoons and words surrounded in white bubble-like
drawings. He reads aloud.
Fast forward a few weeks: Six-year-old Jason DeLeo Jr. sits with
crossed legs, only 3 feet form a television screen. His younger
brother, Tyler, is on a couch, playing with a plastic figurine. The
same book rests on Jason Jr.'s lap, and his head bobs back and forth
from the opened book to the TV, where he watches his father. The boy's
eyes shine while his lips move silently.
He's reading along with Daddy.
Father and sons were brought together recently through a program at
Brooklyn Correctional Institution in northeastern Connecticut. The
medium-security prison is continually trying to teach inmates to read -
a difficult proposition in itself - and the videotaping program is an
offshoot of that.
"Those who can't read often don't come forward, and they slip through
the cracks," said Jean Hansen, a teacher at the Brooklyn prison, which
is home to about 475 inmates. "This can help the inmates learn to read,
and then it also makes a connection to the child."
That's evident on weekends when the visiting room fills with a cocophony
of sounds from playing children. At one time or another, about 80
inmates can be seen sitting in chairs, children on their laps, as they
read aloud from a children's book.
Because of strict eligibility requirements, only a handful of inmates
have participated in the videotape program at the Brooklyn prison. The
program, which is duplicated at a few other state prisons in
Connecticut, was started five years ago by the Brooklyn prison's
principal, Brinda Van, and is based on a similar one run by nuns in San
Salvador. Eligibility hinges on the inmate's enrolling in the school
and depends on the nature of his crime. Inmates involved in crimes of a
sexual nature or crimes involving children are not allowed to
DeLeo leaped at the chance to be videotaped. Since being sent to jail
in 1996, DeLeo has been a model prisoner eager to change the direction
of his life.
He receives his bachelor's degree in sociology from Charter Oak State
College in Newington, and he was recently accepted to Southern
Connecticut State University - the first known inmate at Brooklyn to do
so - where he plans to get his master's degree in the same subject.
Don't get the wrong impression here: DeLeo never leaves Brooklyn. He
corresponds with the colleges, and Hansen Acts as a liaison, helping him
with his homework, research, and administering tests.
"He's very motivated," said Ed Gubbins, a counselor supervisor at
Brooklyn. "A lot of guys are just doing their time. They're in and out
of jail their whole life."
DeLeo promises that won't happen to him. If he can get his master's
degree, DeLeo wants to work with children and teenagers once he gets out
in 2006. But he's hoping for an earlier parole.
"I know I can be a positive infuence," DeLeo said. "I had the Lexus,
the money, the cars. I think if someone was there when I was growing
His voice trails off as he takes a moment to contemplate his past.
"Who knows?" he said as his head shakes. "I was a stubborn kid."
Years before, DeLeo had his chance at a good life. he attended Central
Connecticut State University for three terms and played football for a
term at an upstate New York college.
But the lure of drugs became too much. He dropped out, lived with the
mother of his two sons, Luziara Rivera, and sold crack on the streets of
Waterbury. Then, with the knock on the door by police, who found him
with 2.5 pounds of crack cocaine, his freedom evaporated.
Now he says his life is his children. His drug dealing took its toll on
the relationship with Rivera, and that has since ended. But they're
statyed close, mostly because Rivera, 25, wants the boys to know their
That's why she let the kids, Jason Jr. and Tyler, 4, watch the first
video about a year ago. Many nights, the tape was viewed before
bedtime. The same will happen with the second tape of their dad reading
four books, which arrived in the mail earlier this month.
"Jason made a mistake," said Rivera. "he's not a bad person. I'm not
going to hold them back - anything for the best interest for the boys."
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com
Subj: Sea Urchins And Human Sexuality
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998 14:09:36 -0500
MAPer (or more properly, Canadian MAPer,
http://www.islandnet.com/~creator/cmap/) and university student Dave Haans
reacted to the Reuters wire story "U.S. Study Shows Marijuana Can Affect
which was printed in his local major Canadian newspaper. This is what many
MAP folks do, of course. It is why we provide the news clipping service.
But instead of just writing a Letter to the Editor he contacted the
newspaper's ombudsman (which some newspapers have, but few respond so well)
who responded to the wire service's drug war propaganda spin story below.
Way To Go! Dave! One Letter to The Editor, OPED, or contact with an ombud
at a time, we are pushing back the drug war propaganda machine.
For many of us, that is what MAP is all about.
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Pubdate: Sat, Dec 26 1998
Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Copyright: 1998, The Toronto Star
Section: Editorials and Opinion
Author: Don Sellar
SEA URCHINS AND HUMAN SEXUALITY
Discreetly placed on Page A34, it was the kind of news story that
could inspire animated discussions at the office water cooler.
The headline alone - Marijuana can affect fertility, damaging sperm,
U.S. study says - might have prompted a few readers to reconsider
certain recreational activities, if it already wasn't too late for the
But the 200-word Reuters article, as printed Dec. 17, delivered less
biting and, indeed, more indigestible news than the headline had so
To the science-challenged occupant of this chair, the story proved
incomprehensible, if not mildly confusing.
It all began nicely enough, with a breathless revelation that Dr.
Herbert Schuel and some colleagues from the University at Buffalo have
shown how ``active ingredients in marijuana can affect fertility by
damaging sperm function.''
But in the second paragraph, scientific jargon reared its ugly
The wire service reported that ``natural body compounds'' known as
anandamides, which are ``similar to compounds found in marijuana, may
be important for helping sperm get to and fertilize an egg. And
cannabinoids in marijuana are similar enough to anandamides to confuse
Anandamides are especially elusive critters. The word anandamide isn't
in the new Canadian Oxford Dictionary, or in six medical dictionaries
that The Star's library keeps in stock for just such
So much for the doctrine of plain language in journalism.
Regardless, determined readers could soldier on to the next revelation
in this story: ``Human sperm contain receptors, a kind of chemical
doorway, that the active ingredients in cannabis can use.''
With this image deeply planted in readers' heads of cannabis
ingredients passing dangerously through a chemical doorway in human
sperm, Dr. Schuel himself made an appearance in the story.
He was quoted as saying that scientists have known for 30 years ``that
very heavy marijuana smoking has a drastic effect on sperm production
within the testis, which can lead to higher rates of
``Our new findings suggest that anandamides and THC in marijuana smoke
may also affect sperm functions required for fertilization in the
female reproductive tract.''
Then, before a frightened reader could say, ``What great stuff - tell
me more!'' the story came to a screeching halt, after some more
tortured prose about the complex interactions of cannabinoids,
anandamides, sperms and receptors.
So what was Schuel studying? The ombud asked several Star staffers in
an informal, non-scientific survey.
All four said they thought Schuel was studying humans.
He was studying the effects of marijuana-like substances on the sperm
of sea urchins.
As Dave Haans, a graduate student at U of T with an interest in drugs
and drugs policy, pointed out in an e-mail, the story in The Star had
``It does not say whether this was an animal or human study. It does
not say what the sample size was. It does not say whether these
results are even applicable to humans.''
Good points all three.
Nor did the story explain that the study had been funded by the U.S.
National Institute on Drug Abuse and published last Aug. 2 - more than
four months ago - in Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Haans said the ``bold'' scientific claims in the story are unfounded
and misleading - particularly the researcher's statement that science
has known for 30 years that heavy marijuana use has a drastic effect
on sperm production that can lead to higher rates of
``In fact there have been no epidemiological studies which have shown
increased infertility in marijuana-using humans, and studies of
overall reproductive rates have found no reduction in reproductive
rates in countries where a higher rate of marijuana use is found.''
To Haans, the skimpy news story ``doesn't give even a minimum of
information needed to determine whether what the article says is true,
or another case of U.S. drug war propaganda.''
The ombud is in no position to judge Schuel's intensive work with sea
urchins, and won't try. But readers of medical science news deserved
better than the shallow, jargon-encrusted story that was dished up on
The Star's Ombud
Subj: FLASH: Author Laurence Cherniak on MAP CHAT Tonight
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998 20:26:23 -0500
Just talked with Laurence by phone, and he will be joining us tonight, 6:00
p.m. on the west coast, or 9 p.m. eastern time.
Join us on MAP CHAT at:
For those who may not recognize the name, I have snatched the following
from his website. His books with their unbelieveable photos have brought me
many hours of joy.
One of LAURENCE CHERNIAK's, most acclaimed accomplishments is an amazing
set of books. (The first two books in this series are entitled The Great
Books of Hashish and The Great Books of Cannabis). They religiously record
the TRIBALISTIC and RITUALISTIC behaviors of the HEMP CULTURE. Written and
photographed for all the world to see. His startling photos are found
amongst the book shelves of many universities, (often under lock and key).
They contain the largest amount of accurate information by any single
individual. CHERNIAK's are the most in-depth, rarest, photographs on this
subject. His material has been featured in dozens of magazines, many other
author's books, movies and several other forms of enlightening media which
can be found in many prominent museums or in the archives of many public
and private libraries throughout the world.
"Regardless of the point of view from which anyone approaches the subject
these books are a valuable addition to our library on human behaviour." -
Dr. RICHARD EVANS SCHULTES, Director of Harvard's Botannical Museum.
"I first saw Laurence's books in the early '70's. They were the finest
quality books, color photos and explanations that I have ever seen on
cannabis and hashish. No one, it seems to me, even comes close to
Cherniak's comprehensive photos and editorials. All these years have passed
and Laurence can still be proud of having the finest photographs of
cannabis and hashish I've ever seen. I GREW UP ON THESE BOOKS." - JACK
HERER, Author, The Emporer Wears No Clothes.
"....CHERNIAK has fed us numberous cover photos. His 4 centerfolds in a
row, from more than a dozen is a precedent; as well being our only ever
International Correspondent. He has provided the world with the definitive
books on one of our favorite subjects." - HIGH TIMES MAGAZINE. The Cannabis
Cup that Laurence presented at this year's 11th Annual Awards was, of
course. "The HASHISH Cup."
His website is: http://www.cherniak.com/wildncrazycards.html
Subj: ART: Grandparents recruited to help fight war on drugs by talking with children
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1998 07:25:56 -0600 (CST)
You can bet that I'll talk to my grandchildren about drugs
when they are old enough. I will tell them just how bad
the drug war is and that jail is the last place a person
should go for any drug problem.
From the 12-27-98 Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Grandparents recruited to help fight war on drugs by talking with
By Dave Howland
The Associated Press
BOSTON -- In its war against drugs, the government has enlisted
drug-sniffing dogs, SWAT teams and the military. Now, it's calling on
even more powerful weapons: grandma and grandpa.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy has launched an ad campaign
to coax grandparents into talking to their grandchildren about the
dangers of drugs. It is part of a larger effort to get adult role models
to teach children about addiction, AIDS and violence.
"There is an air of honesty that comes through in a relationship between
a child and their grandparents," said Leigh Leventhal, spokeswoman for
the New York-based Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which is
co-sponsoring the campaign.
A nearly full-page advertisement ran this month in The Boston Globe,
featuring a photo of a young boy looking attentively at an elderly
woman, his hand on her shoulder.
"Grandparents are cool. Relaxed," the ad says. "They're not on the
firing line every day. Some days a kid hates his folks. He never hates
Leventhal said that talk between children and grandchildren about drugs
should be part of an ongoing dialogue about everything in their lives:
hobbies, schoolwork, friends.
Ruth Blackman, a grandmother of six from Boston who directs a program
that provides children with foster grandparents, said the ad campaign
"It used to be a grandparent's role was to teach grandkids how to cook
and pass on cultural and religious tradition," Blackman said. "Now,
there's a new responsibility. If you open avenues of communication, you
can talk about some very touchy, touchy issues."
The ad campaign, launched by the government in the summer, targets
children up to high school age, as well as parents and other influential
"We're trying to get the message to the grandparents, just as we're
trying to get the message to the parents: Just start talking," said Tom
Delaney, director of Boston Alcohol & Substance Abuse Programs. "It's
better than passing up the opportunity or just saying nothing."
Subj: ART: Groups mobilize to push for lenient drug policies
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1998 07:25:48 -0600 (CST)
OK, so who's side is Mark Kleiman on? (bottom of article)
From the 12-27-98 Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Groups mobilize to push for lenient drug policies
By Marisa Taylor and Susan Gill Vardon
Star-Telegram Staff Writers
When pharmacology professor G. Alan Robison launched a group in 1994 to push
for an overhaul of U.S. drug policy, he worked out of his house and could
persuade only 15 others to join.
Today, the Houston-based Drug Policy Forum of Texas has grown to 300 members
and added a Fort Worth-Dallas chapter. Robison still runs the group's
operations from his home office, but with a recent $25,000 donation from
billionaire philanthropist George Soros, he hopes that his group will soon
have a new office and staff.
"It's a big step for us," said 64-year-old Robison, now retired from the
University of Texas Medical School in Houston. "We can do a better job of
informing Texas of what we are about."
Robison's group is part of a growing army of activists -- equipped with more
funding, computer technology and better organization -- who believe that
U.S. drug control policies are unnecessarily harsh and self-defeating. These
groups want the government to drastically change the way it punishes drug
Flush with new confidence, the movement is using grassroots organizing to
push for change. Among their victories, the activists count initiatives
approved by voters in five states and the District of Columbia this year to
legalize marijuana for medical use. However, the results are being
challenged in Colorado and the District of Columbia. Voters in California
and Arizona approved similar initiatives in 1996.
These activists are not united behind a single set of changes. Some focus on
one cause, such as the relaxing of laws regarding marijuana possession.
Others embrace broader changes, such as reducing sentences for drug users or
regulating all or most drugs by setting up a legal market for adults.
The central point on which the activists agree: The nation's war on drugs
has failed. Boosting the movement's once-shaky credibility, a wider range of
voices, including more prominent ones, are joining in. Well-known supporters
include Stanley Marcus, the 93-year-old former chairman and chief executive
officer of Neiman Marcus; former television anchorman Walter Cronkite;
former Secretary of State George Schultz; former New York Police
Commissioner Patrick Murphy; and Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton
Conservatives such as William F. Buckley are joined by liberals such as
former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.
Even some who once led the drug war -- including police officers and
judges -- have come to embrace the movement.
"It's the most promising time in 20 years," said Keith Stroup, executive
director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
"Without question, during the last three or four years the debate has been
But those involved in the push for less-punitive drug policies are still a
minority -- and are depicted by many government officials as an ill-informed
fringe group that refuses to acknowledge that drug use is harmful.
"One group would be the libertarian right and the second is the traditional
left -- one group that philosophically wants to get rid of all laws on
drugs, the other group that is always hostile to the drug laws for different
philosophical reasons," said Charles Blanchard, chief counsel of the Office
of National Drug Control Policy, the agency that doles out federal funds
directed at combating illicit drugs.
Many continue to brand leaders of the movement as radical and self-serving
baby boomers who want to use drugs but don't want to face the consequences.
"The truth of the matter is if you look at the faces, it's quite an
unchanged group," said Jill Jonnes, a historian and author of Hep-Cats,
Narcs and Pipe Dreams. "Most of them are a bunch of aging baby boomers."
Now, both sides in the debate are attempting to win support of the American
"Most people are in the soft middle, and it's a battle for the hearts of
that soft middle," said Bob Maginnis, senior director of national security
and foreign affairs for the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council,
a conservative advocacy group against decriminalization of drugs.
Americans do appear to be torn on drug control policies.
In an analysis of 47 national surveys on drugs conducted between 1978 and
1997, Harvard School of Public Health researchers Robert J. Blendon and John
T. Young identified the "paradox" of future drug policy. Most Americans do
not see the country's problem with drugs as lessening. But at the same time,
they support spending more money generally in the same way it has been spent
"What you have is the bulk of Americans feel drugs are a crime issue and
that the national character is affected by drug abuse," Blendon said. "In a
sense, they believe that America would be a different nation if drugs were
to be legalized. That's what makes it such a tough issue."
The public began questioning the success of the nation's drug control
policies in the 1990s as drug use among youths began increasing after a
20-year downturn. The questions have taken on a new urgency as heroin use
among young people has reached historic levels, and more teens have
experimented with cocaine.
Those who are calling for changes argue that policies have to be overhauled
because the government is wasting billions of dollars on a battle it can't
win. Indeed, they say, the war on drugs has made the drug trade only more
profitable, without significantly decreasing the supply. And by demonizing
drugs, the government is unwittingly luring curious youths to experiment
with them, they say.
"Let's be blunt: The drug war has been lost," said Don Erler, a Tarrant
County businessman who considers himself a staunch conservative. "You could
try certain draconian methods which would make it theoretically possible to
win the war, but we would have a society so totalitarian that no one would
want to live here."
Perhaps the movement's strongest argument involves the dramatic increases in
the prison population.
Since the war on drugs was declared in the 1980s, the state prison
population has zoomed from about 500,000 to 1.5 million, according to Marc
Mauer, assistant director of the Sentencing Project, a national nonprofit
group that conducts research on criminal justice issues.
Activists say that the growing number of incarcerations for minor drug
offenses is expensive and succeeds only in tearing apart families. Many say
the war on drugs has done more damage than drugs have.
Howard Wooldridge, a 47-year-old retired police officer who lives in Keller,
said he became disillusioned with the drug war during a 15-year law
enforcement career. As a patrol officer in Bath, Mich., near Lansing,
Wooldridge said he grew frustrated with handling burglaries and violent
crimes committed by drug users. He said he also became concerned about what
he believed was a widespread policy of officers violating constitutional
rights in searches and seizures.
"What I found out quickly in police work is that officers become so obsessed
with the drug war that they bend or break or completely shatter the Fourth
Amendment," said Wooldridge, who recently joined the Drug Policy Forum to
fight for drug policy changes.
Many activists insist that they are not calling for an unregulated drug
market or for allowing children to use drugs. Instead of legalization, they
say, they prefer decriminalization and policies that reduce the harm that
drugs do to society -- such as the spread of disease, crime and
The country should gradually move toward treating drug users instead of
punishing them, they say.
Activists often hold up alternative drug control policies being tried by
countries such as Switzerland, England, Holland, Germany and Australia as
evidence that such programs can reduce the harm of drugs.
Many government officials counter that changing laws to allow drugs in a
legal, regulated market would only condone drug use -- leading to more
"I'm firmly convinced that legalization of drugs will increase its
availability and its acceptance, particularly among teen-agers, and we will
see an increase in use," said Blanchard, of the Office of National Drug
Some, including Kelly Shackelford, executive director of the Free Market
Foundation in Plano, blame the increasing demand for drugs on a weakening of
society's moral fabric. The answer is not legalization, he said, but
education and parental involvement.
Government officials are calling for stronger efforts to stop illicit drugs
at the country's borders and to arrest drug dealers, but they say that's not
the only answer.
In recent years, the federal government has been pumping more money into
prevention and treatment programs. This year, the government is spending $2
billion on prevention and $4 billion on treatment. The federal government's
anti- drug campaign for 1999 is armed with a $17.1 billion budget -- $1.1
billion more than 1998.
"We're increasing everything, but the biggest increase has been in the
prevention and treatment area," Blanchard said.
Decriminalization activists acknowledge that they face long odds because of
the stigma of drug use.
But activists have gained some financial backing and have adopted new
tactics to broaden mainstream appeal.
Soros, a New York financier, has donated $60 million -- much of it over five
years -- for projects that explore alternative solutions to existing drug
policy, including the medical marijuana initiatives and the establishment of
the Lindesmith Center in New York for research.
Activists are now careful to tell parents that they are against drug use by
minors. That's a lesson learned from mistakes of the past, when groups such
as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws alienated
parents who were worried about their children using drugs, said Stroup, who
returned to the group in 1994 after a 15-year absence.
"In the 1970s, a lot of us were young and probably a little hostile," he
said. "Now a lot of us are older, and that tempers the anger."
Older activists are joined by a growing number of twentysomethings who are
credited with helping the movement outpace the federal government on the
Internet. Many Web sites have popped up to reach mainstream America,
including one touted as "The Largest Drug Library in the World."
The government has responded with its own Internet counterattack. "Speaking
Out Against Drug Legalization," a handbook produced in 1994 to help drug
agents and others successfully argue against any move toward legalization,
is posted on the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's Web site.
In another twist to the debate, both sides are doing their own
public-opinion polling to boost their causes with hard numbers. But the
polling results differ according to the organization and how it poses the
For example, the Family Research Council concluded that "most Americans," or
55 percent, are more likely to oppose using marijuana as medicine when they
learn that better and legal therapies are available. On the other hand, the
Lindesmith Center found that 68 percent of Americans "oppose punishing
doctors" for prescribing marijuana, regardless of whether state laws permit
Others say the public is pragmatic and should resist being driven into
either camp in the emotional issue.
As the debate becomes more polarized, it may make it impossible to implement
practical reforms, said Mark A.R. Kleiman, a professor of policy studies at
the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Two stupid positions are defined and you're asked, `Which one do you want
to support?' " Kleiman said. "It's already set up that there are only two
"Americans have been systematically misinformed by both sides."
Marisa Taylor, (817) 685-3819
Send your comments to
Susan Gill Vardon, (817) 685- 3805
Send your comments to
End of Maptalk-Digest V98 #505
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