Saturday, January 29, 2011

California dreamin'

A state never left out of controversy, California is about to play host to the most marketable marijuana product yet to hit pharmacy shelves: marijuana soda.

"Canna Cola," the new marijuana product courtesy of a company that finds its THC roots in Soquel, Calif., is not the first of its kind to see the light of day. It is, however, the first low-dose version of the product with a marketing strategy comparable more to that of actual soda companies (more along the lines of Sams Cola, not soda juggernauts Pepsi or Coca-Cola) than the generic "mooch off of the elderly" strategy of most drug companies.

Said to be the light beer of marijuana drinks, Canna Cola is a 12 ounce drink containing 35 to 65 milligrams of THC - significantly less than its competitors. The drink will launch in Colorado next month, with eventual plans for a California release.

With marijuana legal for medical use in 15 states, and constantly being challenged and debated in public forums (see: Proposition 19), is this just one more step forward for making marijuana use socially acceptable? After all, the labels of the product don't scream "heal me" so much as "deal me." One becomes especially skeptical, after hearing reports of how easily obtained medical marijuana is in the states that have legalized its usage.

I won't speak for or against the legalization of marijuana on a national level, but I will say that in a time of economic downturn and in a nation that, in all actuality, already abuses the drug in mass quantitities anyway; it wouldn't be the end of the world if one day the momentum turned in the direction of legalization.

And for those of you currently stuck in states where medical marijuana is still illicit, don't fret - you've still got your Mountain Dew.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lady Gaga hints at pseudo-political album

Lady Gaga has an ironclad reputation of being music's latest weirdo-in-chief, and it looks as if the meat dress monster that is "Gaga" aims to maintain that title in 2011.

Gaga at last lifted her shades and "leaked" the full lyrics to her upcoming single and title track of her new album "Born This Way," set to premiere on February 13. The track, which takes an unsurprisingly political tone following her well-known advocation of "don't ask, don't tell" policy repeal, has already garnered enough online buzz to see the track name trending on Twitter.

"No matter gay, straight, or bi / Lesbian, transgendered life / I'm on the right track baby / I was born to survive," belts the pop singer in the bridge of the song.

This is a notably stark contrast to the direction the artist's previous singles have taken - that is, it's noticeably less ambiguous, and strangely to-the-point for a pop culture icon that loves to keep people guessing.

While the lyrics of the song are more all-inclusive than the blurb above suggests, it is one of the first pop songs of the age to tackle the tolerance of homosexuality in a direct manner. Furthermore, not since Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia" has the issue really been tackled at all in pop music. And, if the celebutante's comments on her new album being the "anthem of our generation" are any indication, this will be one of several politically-inspired tracks we'll see on the album when it releases in May.

But is it Lady Gaga's place to stand as a champion for gay rights, or any political movement, for that matter? Is her image and undeniably "sketch" reputation too polarizing to win over new allies in a largely conservative, "baby steps" type of nation?

Voice your thoughts below.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Jed Clampett, meet Josiah Bartlet"

President Obama delivered his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, his first address to the nation since Republicans won a landslide election and regained control of the House of Representatives. Yet despite all of the important food for thought President Obama fed the American citizenry, one headline seemed to top them all.

Since the custom of an evening broadcast of the annual State of the Union began in 1947, audiences have looked forward to the rather amusing divisiveness of their elected officials. You know, in lieu of the usual scripted drama that would normally be airing at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday evening.

But this year, "Jed Clampett" and "Josiah Bartlett" - that is, congressional Republicans and Democrats - decided to shake hands and halt the gunfire by agreeing to sit next to one another during the speech, rather than clustered together in the usual juvenile fashion.

In fact, this was such big news, that CNN found it relevant enough to take a poll on the "issue." And what did they find, you might ask? Seventy-two percent of Americans believe this is a good idea, while 22 percent are opposed to the concept.

Now, I realize that CNN loves to put out polls for the sake of doing so, and I'm further aware of the fact that Americans love to tease a good shit-show (watching the wave of partisan ovations is always fun), but 22 percent of people really don't believe two people with differing party affiliations and political views should sit next to each other? Is courtesy and respect really such a foreign concept to the general American public?

When it comes down to it, it seems silly that CNN (and every other news organization that reported on this so heavily) should put so much emphasis on such a high school type of topic. Any partisan feelings within Congress are as much perpetuated by the mass media as they are by the people within these chambers. No one needs to glorify the simple act of sitting down next to your colleague during a speech as being the "turn of the tide" for American politics. Get a grip.

And sure enough, when the time came for President Obama's speech, the partisan applause continued nonetheless. Only instead of a neat and organized display of partisanship, it was scattered throughout the sea of egotism. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) popped out a forced smile-turned-angry-grin as she watched John Boehner (R-OH) sit in the chair that she once called her own, and John McCain grimaced at President Obama's declaration that " American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love." And do I even need to mention Michelle Bachman's (...T-MN?) out-of-the-blue, gasp-worthy response on behalf of the Tea Party caucus?

It's politics as usual, folks. Move along.