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Fulton Files 

Fulton’s Quarter Column of Drugs and Deficits

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That American drug sentencing laws dole out more prison time to drug dealers than the majority of convicted rapists get is tragic, but some drug studies are plain ridiculous. In the case of Ecstasy, known in chemists’ circles as MDMA, we may never know when it’s time to party. And, while the nation’s ever-ballooning current fiscal deficit of $550 billion and counting is also tragic, political leadership attempting to whisk it away is also ridiculous. In the case of Vice President Dick “deficits don’t matter” Cheney, we may never know when it’s time to pay the bill because, hey, who says we have to?

& ull; Take another tablet and conduct another study: Most recently, Dr. George A. Ricaurte told Science academic journal that his past study determining Ecstasy’s adverse effects on laboratory primates was flawed because, oops, he wasn’t using real MDMA. Now psychiatrists are once again singing the chemical’s praises as a possible way to relax patients just enough to talk about their neurosis. But not so fast, because another recent study led by lab-coated Poindexters at Britain’s University of Newcastle upon Tyne reportedly demonstrates that you really, really don’t want to ingest MDMA because it increases your chances of short-term memory loss by a whopping 23 percent. Either way, we in Utah have nothing to fear. This time last year, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff held a press conference with Miss Teen Utah 2001 warning about the dangers of “club drugs.” You absolutely do not want to get between Shurtleff and a cause. Otherwise, he might fax a press release.

& ull; Drugs and religion. Is there a difference? Should there be? Readers who paid attention to dueling Jan. 6 daily newspaper stories on Mario Roberto Hernandez and his wife, Janeen Beck Hernandez, might have noticed a curious difference between the two. While Salt Lake Tribune reporters Matt Canham and Pamela Manson mentioned the fact that the Hernandez couple, who pleaded guilty to individual counts of drug-money laundering, served LDS Church missions, Deseret Morning News reporter Angie Welling made no mention of the couple’s religion in her shorter account. Coincidence? Necessary? Discuss.

& ull; Why blame the young? Another Deseret Morning News article, this one in early December, reported that a 76-year-old Weber County woman was arrested for alleged involvement in methamphetamine dealing.

& ull; Money talk: Democrats will pound President Bush over free-spending ways that once seemed so anathema to Republican principles. That is, once Howard Dean climbs out of the mire of his dismal third-place Iowa caucus showing. For presidential hopefuls, that’s a necessity, even if they turn around to do more of the same. For now, it’s the International Monetary Fund—usually the bugaboo of left-wing street protestors during WTO conferences—that’s taken to grave concern over our falling dollar, reckless tax cuts and Brobdingnagian deficits. “With U.S. net external debt at record levels, an abrupt weakening of investor sentiments vis-à-vis the dollar could possibly lead to adverse consequences both domestically and abroad,” the evil IMF stated.

& ull; Heeere’s Johnny: For Sex Pistols fans (those of us old enough to remember), it was recently announced by NME news that John Lydon will make his first appearance on a Brit reality show titled I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here. Lydon will reportedly bug the hell out of other cast members in the Australian wild.

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