SASHA SHULGIN … Get ready for a Telluride visit of one of the most legendary psychonauts of our time, twice featured at the Telluride Mushroom Festival, a DEA-licensed chemist who has single-handedly invented hundreds of mind-altering substances and bio-assayed them, a writer whose quasi-fictional books PIHKAL and TIHKAL provide detailed recipes for most of these hallucinogens – with accounts of his personal experience testing them on himself and his wife Ann … Just this past week Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin was honored in San Jose, California, at “Psychedelic Science in the Twenty-first Century” sponsored by the Multidisclipinary Assocation of Psychedelic Studies <www.maps.org/conference>. His birthday party at this prestigious gathering, that included many names familiar to Telluriders through the annual Mushroom Festival here – Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Stanislaw Grof, Dr. Ralph Metzner, Dr. Rick Doblin and a host of others, was one of the high points of the event. I’m hoping Mushfest Staffer Mike Logghe, who attended, will have some impressions to share with us next week … Even the New York Times had a story about the renewed interest in the medical and therapeutic uses of what have long been illegal drugs in this country – as a prelude to this conference <www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/science/12psychedelics.html?ref=todayspaper> … But mark your calendars. This coming Memorial Day weekend Mountainfilm is bringing Sasha to town in connection with a brilliant new documentary about this amazing man by New York filmmaker Etienne Sauret, Dirty Pictures <http://dirtypicturesthefilm.com> … Don’t miss this one!!!
COUNTY BUDGETS … As I explained last week, the fiscal crunch that led to layoffs in town governments of Telluride and Mountain Villages is stalking the county. Next week I can talk about what I learned attending a Colorado Counties, Inc., meeting in Denver, where I chair a Public Lands Steering Committee. Suffice to say CCI’s staff are working hard behind the scenes to see that Colorado counties don’t eat it with a huge withdrawal of federal funds (thousands in our county alone). It’s a complicated issue involving a complex federal formula for bringing federal money to counties with federal land within their boundaries (Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes, or PILT). It appears that Dem state legislators decided to change state laws and in so doing triggered a changed federal policy that’s collectively lost Colorado millions in anticipated revenue. And that’s just the latest bad news … An even bigger fright, hanging over counties and school districts and special districts of all kinds, stems from the latest right-wing attempt to cripple (if not completely kill) government in Colorado – ballot measures 101, 60 and 61 … It appears that folks of a deeply conservative bent believe government strangles free enterprise, chokes off entrepreneurs and destroys personal initiative. In their minds government should only be about security, internal and external. They support a strong military and well-funded law enforcement. But little else … Social security. Personal education. Family welfare. Environmental protection. Those are all seen as outside the realm of what government should really be involved in … A few years ago TABOR, the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, was passed as a first step in knocking back what many conservatives (led by real estate speculator Doug Bruce of Colorado Springs) saw as runaway state spending and increasing involvement in “inappropriate” areas of social relations. The current fiscal crisis the state faces has its roots in TABOR and several other bits of regulation that, working together, have made it near impossible for the state to recover from the latest downturn – what has been called the “racheting down” effect of Colorado’s current fiscal constraints … Now along comes Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 on the upcoming November ballot. If you think government needs to shrink and safety nets and enviro laws are spiraling out of control (but huge military spending is a wise investment in our kids’ future), then these are the measures for you … I’m in government, so I’m biased. But make no mistake. If even one of these measures passes, there’s one thing I can promise you as your representative – reduced services. And layoffs of local government employees … So, if you think shrinking government is the way to nurturing a strong economy, then join the teabaggers and pass these three measures in November – 101, 60 and 61 … But if you think government is meant to help regulate the excesses of a corporate economy based only on profit as well as to help balance the needs of all our people – rich, poor and middle class alike – then get educated and help defeat the right-wing idealogues behind these kill-government proposals.
OOPS … Blame my wayward typing. I managed to screw up a critical word in Hardly Able’s essay on patriotism two weeks ago. So let me repeat a critical sentence or two from that essay – which makes up the crux of Able’s point – that it’s not just hardware that makes for a strong military but an educated, healthy, and environmentally sound society …. I somehow managed to repeat “economically” twice, which made the piece completely confusing. Here’s the kernel of Able’s thought in two sentences, with “militarily” added in the right place.
PATRIOTISM REVISITED… “So, first-rate educational, healthcare and environmental programs are the most important attributes of a country’s ability to compete militarily in the world. I think it naturally follows that a country’s ability to compete economically in the world is also directly effected by these attributes.”
THE TALKING GOURD
-for Pablo & Dusty
In spite of crushing
nothing can stop
the hyphae’s blue fuse
& bursting into fractals.