Hail To The Shroom?

Hail To The Shroom?
Posted by FoM on April 19, 2001 at 09:33:02 PT
By Joel Miller 
Source: WorldNetDaily
With a former president that "didn't" inhale and a current president rumored to have sported a coke moustache in his more reckless years, I suppose that none of us should have been surprised when you got busted for drug possession Sunday in Burbank, Calif. After all, your Emmy Award-winning show, "The West Wing," centers on the presidency and is known for its well-written dramatic moral quandaries and political dilemmas. 
Rather like your present predicament, I think. Just so you know, I watch the show most every week with my wife, who's been a fan since the show's inception, and we have friends who tape the ones we miss. That was why my retinas popped when I read the headline about your arrest when an airport luggage search turned up, according to Reuters, a "quantity of hallucinogenic mushrooms in your carry-on baggage." At first, I thought this might go a long way to explain the casting of Martin Sheen as president. I would think that Cuban ambassador would have been better -- and certainly closer to the actor's political convictions -- but, then again, you're the creator. That's when my second thought came: After going through the usual legal rigmarole, according to reports, you posted $10,000 bond and were released on your own recognizance a few hours later. Sweet deal. Thing is, many people arrested on drug offenses can't post bond and bail jail; they're stuck -- even though most have done nothing worse than you have. Which leads to my proposition. Why not do a "West Wing" episode on the drug war? On legal inequalities, on overreaching police enforcement, on asset forfeiture, on drug-courier profiling, on ... whatever. There are more angles here than a well-cut diamond. I went back in CNN's online archive and found a comment you made about an early draft of your screenplay for the movie, "The American President." "I'd really fallen in love with my own voice and went on talking for a while," you said. "I was also enjoying being the president; I was starting wars, ending wars [and] fixing the economy. I had opinions about everything." What about the drug war? Got an opinion there, Aaron, especially after being nabbed for carrying some shriveled garden growths in your luggage? If you miss this opportunity to fashion an entire episode or two against drug-war lunacy, then I'll be forced to agree that the mushrooms, in fact, have had a deleterious effect on your mind. It's actually a perfect fit for the direction of the show. Granted, "West Wing" is liberal-leaning; the addition of Republican Ainsley Hayes to the lineup was a bone tossed to right-wingers like me and commentator Ann Coulter, after whom she's patterned. But that's why it'll work. Think civil liberties. The drug-courier profiling angle is a sure-fire win here; minorities are the people typically wronged by profiles. Asset forfeiture is a good one, too. People lose their property -- no criminal charges need be filed as forfeiture falls under civil court jurisdiction -- and can't get it back without indebting themselves in a legal fight against their own government (regardless, by the way, of whether they are actually in the wrong). No-knock raids are especially juicy with possibilities. What if a political rival sent an anonymous tip to D.C. police that Toby was brokering cocaine for White House personnel and running a powder shop inside his apartment? D.C. SWAT could show up, burst in unannounced with the excuse that the overweight staffer might be flushing baggies down the john if they knock, and just start shooting. Maybe an officer dings Toby in the ribs. Now, you've got high drama as Toby sits in the operating room, while during- and after-shots deal with what went wrong, why it happened and how this amazingly messed up system could allow an unfounded rumor to blossom into a near-death experience for an assistant to the president. It's great TV, Aaron. Don't miss your chance to influence the drug-war debate. Maybe we'll send this idiotic policy down the pot faster than Toby can flush his unsubstantiated illicit product. --Joel PS: If you need a libertarian for story consultation and the like, I'm available. To: Aaron Sorkin From: Joel Miller Re: Possible "West Wing" episode Joel Miller is the commentary editor of WorldNetDaily. His publishing company, MenschWerks,recently published "God Gave Wine" by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. Source: WorldNetDaily (US Web)Author: Joel MillerPublished: Thursday, April 19, 2001Copyright: 2001 Inc.Contact: letters worldnetdaily.comWebsite: Article:West Wing Producer Faces Drug Charge Articles - Joel Miller
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on April 21, 2001 at 04:04:10 PT:
Greetings, Mr. Miller
As someone who is a 'habitue' of this site, and have read many of your works posted here, I'd just like to express my admiration for your gutsy willingness to grab this particular bull by the proverbial horns. Few journalists have dared venture where you have, save to add to the general noise of the 'signal to noise' ratio that surrounds the DrugWar. Sadly, it seems that too many of your craft are willing to be bought for a mess of pottage rather than infuriate their 'sources' - who often view them in much the same light as Kleenex or bathroom tissue.Your bleeding-edge articles on the DrugWar have shined a light upon the photophobic cockroaches that have had run of the political house here in the States for far too long. I believe that it is no accident that Georgie Too has waited so long to announce MISTER (He's not a General anymore) McCaffrey's replacement; the issue is becoming a politically sensitive one. One that merits a lot more thought than that represented by a mindless rubber-stamping of a political hack's meal ticket as a reward for his dog-like loyalty. The issue of the DrugWar in the States is starting to receive the consideration it has long been due, but seldom accorded.Thanks largely to people like you.Please keep up the great work.
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Comment #6 posted by Rambler on April 19, 2001 at 21:54:44 PT
Not on that network
Joels' suggestions for future episodes of this show areexcellent,,but the reality is;The day that a corporate controllednetwork would allow a primetime show to portray the drug war ina bad light,will never come.It's about as likely as Barry McCaffrey hosting Saturday Night Live,or Dubya cancelling Plan Colombia,andapologizing to all the poor peasants that are being showered with poison,and then admitting defeat,humbly turning over the whitehouse to asuprized Al Gore,  nice thoughts.I like Joels writings.
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Comment #5 posted by DdC on April 19, 2001 at 20:04:22 PT
Thanks Joel
Reality is a terrible thing to waste. I don't watch much TV and try to avoid sit coms and drama shows even more. But any dose of reality is a good thing. What you bring is a good thing and I thank you for it. And FoM for bringing it to our home.As for the critics. Everybody wants to be one. Lite up and Lighten up.LOLPeace, Love and LibertyDdC
Why do YOU think they call it DOPE?
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Comment #4 posted by Robbie on April 19, 2001 at 18:48:33 PT:
Joel Miller
I must start out by saying I had no idea you might read my post. Well, that's not relevant.Thanks for explaining, and I must say again that I agree with the thrust of the article and of other articles you've written. I was simply concerned about associating usage with certain terms, even if it is G Dubya :-)While I have you here, I do appreciate at least two situations from "The West Wing" though I'm not a regular watcher of the show. The first one was the first scene in the first episode where a woman is smoking a joint. I was astonished to see that. I also caught the episode where the faux President's Surgeon General advocated legalization of marijuana. What that president did, as opposed to Bill Clinton, was give his Surgeon General a little credit and not fire her for telling the truth.Maybe this whole mushroom incident will cause Sorkin to become an activist.
Eat, smoke, and be merry!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 19, 2001 at 18:06:36 PT
Thank You Joel
You are young ( or I am old ) depends on how you look at it and have a unique way of writing and I like it. One Toke Over The Line was one of my favorite.
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Comment #2 posted by Joel Miller on April 19, 2001 at 13:58:42 PT:
Bush's reckless years
I can assure Robbie that I have no intention of "painting drug users in a bad light!" I don't have any fundamental disagreement with the right of folks to ingest whatever they want, intoxicating or not.My choice of the words "reckless years" is not a slam on drug users, as if simply doing cocaine were reckless in and of itself. Bush has admitted to very reckless behavior earlier in his life, including an alcohol abuse problem that he admits nearly trashed his marriage. The problem, mind, wasn't the booze, or even the drugs (the use of which he has been less than forthright about discussing); the problem is what he did after taking them. He couldn't "hold his liquor" as the saying goes -- that's a behavior problem, not a substance problem.I have nothing against people who use drugs -- and I wasn't even hinting that I do -- merely trying to use a catchy hook at the lead of an article to get people to read. Folks know about Bush's past indiscretions and would immediately connect with a reference to it, just like they'd immediately connect with Clinton's non-inhalant marijuana use. It's not a jab at users, just something to lead folks into the body of the article. Anyone who's read my material knows my writing style and my position on drugs. I do not think users are less than anybody and never talk as such. There are simply visual cues that readers can quickly understand and use as a context-forming base for understand the greater argument in a particular piece. The argument is that drugs should be legal. Drug laws violate people's fundamental liberty and bring chaos to our legal system.I want to see that overturned.
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Comment #1 posted by Robbie on April 19, 2001 at 13:22:24 PT
I appreciate most of this article. It's very true that "The West Wing" can be a huge "bully-pulpit" in and of itself. Showing the white power structure just how hard it is to live on the other side would open debate like nothing else.But Mr. Miller, would you please stop painting drug users in a bad light! With...a current president rumored to have sported a coke moustache in his more reckless years...Why was he necessarily more reckless? Reckless would be driving a car at 140mph. Reckless would be picking fights with bigger people or one person picking a fight with five. Etc. Why is drug use reckless?With your characterization of users as being somehow "less _____" than everyone else, you will fuel the other side to perpetuate this insane war. They will continually remind you of your own misgivings about users.I appreciate that you're trying to help, but please pay attention to your choice of words.
Get up, Stand up! Don't give up the fight!
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