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Things I'm Thinking 07/03/13

Calum Hayes |
July 3, 2013 | 8:27 a.m. PDT


Editor's Note: "Things I'm Thinking 07/03/13" is part of Calum Hayes' summer opinion series, Things I'm Thinking.

Tom Cruise's birthday is fittingly the day before America's. (MTV Live, Wikimedia Commons)
Tom Cruise's birthday is fittingly the day before America's. (MTV Live, Wikimedia Commons)
1. I’m thinking I want to start by responding to the most common objections raised to the piece I published over the weekend about why we shouldn’t legalize marijuana

- “The drug war is expensive.” I don’t deny this point at all; it simply doesn’t have the sway on me you want it to. Money has never, and will never be justification enough on its own to create or change a law. Every one of the crimes we hope to prevent in this country comes with a financial cost. Simply saying that it costs money to prevent people from smoking weed is nowhere near enough motivation to legalize it. The second this country starts doing everything based on the cheapest option is the second I move.

- “The drug war is ineffective, people smoke weed anyway.” So you believe any time a law does not 100 percent stop the actions it is designed to stop we should abolish it? I shouldn’t need to go into detail here because it seems fairly clear how faulty that line of reasoning is. It is the same weak argument people make against gun control. If you really think a law not being fully effective is reason to abolish it, as far as I’m concerned, you should have to spend a week talking to rape victims about that belief.

- “Alcohol is worse than marijuana and it's legal, so weed should be legal, too.” This is the ultimate logical fallacy I have been presented with: to say that because we have acted wrongly in one instance, it is thus acceptable to act wrongly in a second similar instance. This is to say that because we wrongly applied the death penalty to person A, we should now wrongly apply the death penalty to person B. The “other things are bad too!” argument is lazy and tired. 

In the beginning of the piece, I listed all of these things as regular objections, and then stated that they left me unconvinced. Unfortunately, that sentence seemed to have been lost on those who read the column. I’m thinking I wanted to do my best to clear those things up here.

2. I’m thinking if I was an NBA general manager I wouldn’t sign Dwight Howard. First lets look at the statistics (from Bill Simmons May 24 column): 

2011: 22.9 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 59% FG, 60% FT, 227 dunks, 26.1 PER (2nd in NBA)

2013: 17.1 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 58% FG, 49% FT, 187 dunks, 19.4 PER (36th)

For clarification, PER stands for Player Efficiency Rating. An attempt to determine a player’s value to his team based on a per minute basis. As you can see, in two years Dwight Howard went from the second best player in the NBA to number 36. In two years, his scoring dropped off by nearly 25 percent, his rebounds fell by nearly two a game and his free throw percentage dipped to such an abysmal point that teams were intentionally fouling him in the first quarter. Yet, even with this decline, the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors are clamoring to offer him a max contract, 88 million dollars over four years. On top of those four teams, the Los Angeles Lakers will be offering Mr. Howard 117 million dollars over five years (as Mr. Howard’s last team, LA has the right to offer him more money and a longer contract.) 

We could just look at the decline in Mr. Howard’s numbers and I wouldn’t sign him to what is going to end up being a huge overpay to a past his prime center who has spent the last nine years being abused in the low post. However, it goes much deeper than that. Dwight Howard spent this past season trying to recover from back surgery. Dwight Howard is seven feet tall and weighs 270lbs. I understand the argument that another summer off will finally allow Dwight to get healthy and the back wont be an issue, but if my 6’ 185lb dad, a man who rode some 5,000 miles on a bike last year, is affected by back issues, something tells me a 7’ 270lb man who makes a living based on his ability to run and jump wont be bouncing back from that surgery.

Finally, Howard is arguably the most immature player in the league and a notorious coach killer. So far in his free agent recruitment he has received a call from Jack Nicholson telling him to stay with the Lakers and has been offered a TV show by Time Warner cable in LA if he stays. You know who makes decision based on celebrities and being shown something shiny? Children. I’m thinking maybe the reason Dwight Howard isn’t ever going to win a championship as the star of a team is because he’s more worried about having a TV show than learning to shoot free throws.

3. I’m thinking Anthony Weiner’s campaign office sounds like the kind of place we should all be trying to intern. When confronted by a voter on a petition Weiner supports, one of Weiner’s interns responded, “It’s just a couple of dick picks.” Confirming that Weiner’s decision making when it comes to quick-thinking staffers is far superior to his decision making when it comes to how to use a cell phone. I’m thinking we should all be rooting for Weiner to stay in this race; he’s the gift that keeps on giving.

4. I’m thinking it’s all too fitting that Tom Cruise’s birthday is one day before America’s, as the two are remarkably similar. Dabbling in a religion that doesn’t make a lot of sense? We all know America has been there at one point or another. Making a little too much noise someplace he shouldn’t? The Middle East can tell you all about that. Flexing our muscle and showing off from time to time? Check. 

However, at the end of the day, Tom Cruise shares all of America’s best traits. He is willing to do what is necessary, even if it isn’t easy. He’s always there for his friends, and most of all, he works as hard as he possibly can to take care of those who count on him. I’m thinking it’s perfect that Tom Cruise’s birthday is the day before America’s, because Tom Cruise is America. 


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