Teens and Pot. A new study published in the “Journal of Clinical Psychiatry” confirms long-standing research that regular use of marijuana harms memory. However, the new study says that at least some of those impairments quickly reverses if the user stops. The research involved 88 participants between the ages of 16 to 25. These young people said they smoked pot at least weekly. The group that stopped smoking marijuana for 30 days showed significant improvement in the ability to learn and recall new information. The improvement happened almost immediately. The sample size in the study was small, but the research is significant, especially when you consider that, according to the study, “13 percent of middle and high school students use cannabis, and rates of daily use increase between grades eight and 12.”
Where’s the Diversity? An article in the Nov. 12 New York Times calls the new class of Democratic freshmen a “diverse” group that “span[s] the philosophical spectrum. However, a closer look reveals that on a scale of 1 to 100, this group is spread between 1 and 25. The person who is arguably the most “conservative” of the new Democratic majority, South Carolina’s Joe Cunningham, is unequivocally pro-choice, opposed to the defunding of Planned Parenthood and to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This article is clever propaganda, which – alas – is what we have come to expect from what used to be the nation’s newspaper of record. To give the Times a bit of credit, and as an antidote to that article, I commend to you Thomas Edsall’s editorial “The Democrats’ Left Turn Is Not An Illusion.” He puts the issue in a (slightly) more realistic perspective.
Due Diligence? The Irish singer Sinead O’Connor has converted to Islam. In 1992, she famously tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II, in part because of what she called the Catholic Church’s treatment of women. One wonders if she’s heard anything about how women are treated under Islam. In a recent speech, a former Muslim woman, Aynaz Anni Cyrus, who has become an outspoken critic of Islam, said, “Under Islam I was raped, I was put in prison, I was lashed, I was beaten, I was sold into marriage, I was literally broken down into pieces and I had to build myself back up.” She was responding to charges she is Islamophobic. “Do you really think my fear is irrational?” she said. “I have every single right and reason to fear this ideology.” One wonders if Sinead O’Connor has done her research.
Veterans Remembered. With Veteran’s Day so recently passed, it seems appropriate to remember, too, that tomorrow is the anniversary of what we call the first major battle of the Vietnam War, the Battle of Ia Drang. It was the subject of a best-selling book, “We Were Soldiers Once… And Young,” written by Col. Hal Moore, who led American troops in the battle, and Joe Galloway, a journalist who was “boots on the ground.” The book was the basis of the movie “We Were Soldiers.” (To read my interview with Randall Wallace, the movie’s screenwriter and director, click here.) One of the key players in that battle was Ed “Too Tall” Freeman. Freeman, who stood six feet four inches, was therefore “too tall” for flight training until the military raised the height limit. He then went to flight school and while a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, repeatedly risked his life at the Battle of Ia Drang. He received the Medal of Honor for ferrying in supplies to embattled American troops, as well as carrying out the wounded. His role in the battle figured prominently in the film “We Were Soldiers.” Ed Freeman died in 2008 of Parkinson’s Disease. Next week (Nov. 21) would have been his 91st birthday.