Drug Policy

The Michael Phelps Witch Hunt Gets Surreal

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Earlier this week, Jacob Sullum noted that the Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff's Department went out and arrested eight people on marijuana charges allegedly associated with the now-famous bong photo of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Attorneys for two of those eight are now speaking out about how they were arrested.

"He's sitting there on Saturday, and 12 cops kick in the door with guns drawn, search the house, and find 5, maybe 6 grams of pot," Harpootlian said about his client, who was arrested in the first raid at the Wells Point Drive home near Ballentine.

"They never asked him, 'Who sold you the pot?'" Harpootlian continued. "They were asking, 'Were you at the party with Michael Phelps? Did you see him using marijuana?' It was all about Michael Phelps."

The charges resulted from Saturday's raids and are not connected to the November party that Phelps attended.

Harpootlian, the former top prosecutor for Richland and Kershaw counties, and McCulloch contend Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is conducting an overzealous investigation of their clients to try to get evidence against Phelps.

"The sheriff's department is deploying resources they are normally reserving for major drug dealers and major criminals," said McCulloch, also a former prosecutor…

Harpootlian said his client, whom he noted is on leave from USC, is "scared" because of the enormous publicity surrounding Phelps.

"He's being treated more harshly than any kid anywhere in the country," Harpootlian said. "The only reefer madness is being done at the sheriff's department."

According to Harpootlian and McCulloch, police seized four laptop computers, a desktop computer, a computer storage drive and a cell phone, mostly to search for incriminating photos of Phelps.

I guess they can at least be thankful Sheriff Leon Lott didn't send his tank.

Another glorious moment in America's drug war.

NEXT: Soda Tax Pops

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  1. Rolling Stone cover: Phelps crucified on a cross of ganja, the wound in his side weeping hash oil.

  2. I’ve fallen into a rabbit-hole. That must be it.

    Today I had a day-mare about having my child removed from my custody because I allowed to go outside and play, and she broke an arm, and I was hauled in for child abuse because I did not take her to a government approved playground.

    Am I just paranoid, or are we headed down that road?

  3. Leon Lott,
    I only say this because I care.
    Seek professional help immediately.

  4. I’m just waiting for the Congressional perjury charges to be brought against Phelps for not disclosing his “doping” at the White House congratulations ceremony for being the best-goddamned-olypmic-athelete-ever. I mean, Tejada and his batball are so integral to the fabric of our nation, we need to stand this Phelps guy up and knock him down hard, for NationalSecurity’s sake, ya know.

  5. Yo, fuck Leon Lott AND his tank.

  6. Seriously, what’s this asshole sheriff’s problem? Is he shocked, *shocked* that pot smoking happens in his county? Is it because Phelps was in town and didn’t drop by the station to sign autographs?

  7. Well? What’s it going to be? Will this be too far? Will people finally say enough over this? Or will “we’ve got to butt fuck Phelps for the children” be generally accepted?

  8. What’s the fun of being rich and famous if you can’t do drugs and anonymous women? Really, what’s the point?

  9. Is Lott hoping to get praise, medals of honor and a book deal out of this? These are tremendous lengths to go to over a bong hit.

  10. Seriously, what’s this asshole sheriff’s problem? Is he shocked, *shocked* that pot smoking happens in his county? Is it because Phelps was in town and didn’t drop by the station to sign autographs?

    The sheriff wants to be famous. No one ends up in national newspapers as a ridiculously over the top “tough on crime” sheriff twice. My guess is he’s either angling for a job providing color commentary to FOX’s Greatest Police Shootings, or a political career.

  11. @Warren: based on Lott’s resume, “we’ve got to butt fuck Phelps for the children” seems to be his M.O.

    The success that the Department has had in the community since that time can be measured by the civic and community oriented boards and committees that have asked for Sheriff Lott’s participation, to wit:


    * D.A.R.E. America – Board of Directors
    * Fight Crime- Invest in Kids – Advisory Committee, Washington, DC
    * Cooperative Ministry – Advisory Board
    * Communities in Schools – Advisory Board
    * Boy Scouts of America – Indian Waters Council – Board of Directors
    * SC Public Safety Coordinating Council – Chairman

    * American Heart Association – Industry Leader Division
    * March of Dimes – Luxury Lockup – Chairman
    * American Red Cross – Division Chair
    * SC Center for Family Policy – Board of Directors
    * SC Council for Conflict Resolution – Advisory Council

    * Special Olympics – Board of Directors
    * National Safety Council
    * National Federation for the Blind

    * SC Military Department – Colonel – Provost Marshal
    * American Legion Post 6 – Commander – S.A.L.
    * Retired Military Police Association
    * Employee Support for Guard and Reserve – Board of Directors
    * Association of the United States Army – Palmetto State Chapter

    * 2004 “SC Sheriff of the Year”
    * 2004 “Strom Thurmond Award of Excellence in Law Enforcement”
    * 2004 SC Law Enforcement Officers’ Association – “Toughest Cop”
    * 2004 SC Vocational Rehabilitation Association – “Citation for Individual Contributions” (accessibility rights for people with disabilities)
    * 2002 Palmetto Pride (SC Governor’s Beautification and Litter Control Program) – “Outstanding Leadership in Litter Enforcement”
    * 2002 SC Victim Assistance Network – “Silver Scales of Justice”

    * 2001 Martin Luther King, Jr. – “Drum Major for Justice Award”

    * 2000 SC Association of School Resource Officers – “President’s Award”
    * 2000 SC Association of Crime Prevention Officers – “Administrator of the Year”
    * 1999 “Carolina’s Toughest Cop”

  12. “”He’s sitting there on Saturday, and 12 cops kick in the door with guns drawn, search the house, and find 5, maybe 6 grams of pot,” Harpootlian said about his client, who was arrested in the first raid at the Wells Point Drive home near Ballentine.”

    Dude, if I were in any way connected with the Phelps bong hit, living in that county, I would abstain for a little while…I certainly wouldn’t have any weed on me or in my house or effects for a while.

    Don’t get me wrong, these folks do NOT deserve arrest either way, these laws are immoral.

    The sheriff is something else. It’s almost seems like he sees the fact that someone in his jurisdiction broke the law and that everyone knows it as some kind of slap in his face that he must wreck personal vengance.

  13. Sheriff Leon Lott, what a guy; all the morals of a child molester combined with the brain of a goldfish. Can someone tell me again why its illegal to set people like Lott on fire?

  14. * 2004 “Strom Thurmond Award of Excellence in Law Enforcement”

    LOL.

  15. Warren, I think this backfires on the prohibitionists. Even some hardcore evangelical nanny-staters I know are saying this is too much, and that maybe if Michael Phelps can smoke pot at a party and win gold medals it could be OK. I hope Phelps takes one for the team (the charges I mean, no conviction of course) and this blows open the marijuana is evil myth and we can finally get it legalized.

    My question regarding Phelps is, if he had been proven to be smoking pot in Amsterdam, would Kellogg’s have dropped him? Would anyone care? I mean, so many people posting on other sites that are not as angry as we are, think what he did is bad because it’s illegal, not because it’s a drug. People seem more concerned that he broke the law than how. So, if he smoked pot where it is legal, does this all mean anything? We might be blessed that he smoked pot in the county of a big time prohibitionist sheriff douchebag.

  16. 2002 Palmetto Pride

    Keep chasing that rainbow, Sheriff Lott!

  17. RCSD’s 1st amendment record:

    The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is committed to ensuring that its employees perform their duties with professional competence and discipline. The integrity of RCSD is enhanced by open communication between citizens and the department. Therefore, all complaints, whether by citizens or employees, will be accepted and fully investigated. At no time should an RCSD employee discourage, intimidate, or otherwise coerce anyone desiring to file a complaint. However, persons filing false or frivolous reports are subject to criminal prosecution[sic]

    Orwell must be pissed he didn’t get to witness this. But rest assured, I’m sure “frivolous” is a well-defined legal precedent…

  18. * Special Olympics – Board of Directors

    That’s it! We need to get some Special Olympics Champion to smoke pot in a dorm room.

  19. For those keeping score at home, people should be aware that Dick Harpootlian is the former head of the SC Democratic Party.

  20. No dogs shot? Man, they are lazy in South Carolina.

  21. Anyone have any extra seeds they can plant in an obscure part of Lott’s backyard? Give some grow time and then call the drug police. There’s got to be ways to frame jackasses like this.

  22. Dick Harpootlian sounds like he should be living in San Diego.

  23. Dick Harpootlian

    *snerk*

    I mean, that is one seriously funny name. I can just see the cops around the station trying to keep a straight face, Life of Brian style.

  24. “He’s sitting there on Saturday, and 12 cops kick in the door with guns drawn, search the house, and find 5, maybe 6 grams of pot,” Harpootlian said about his client, who was arrested in the first raid at the Wells Point Drive home near Ballentine.

    So Lott is willing to risk the lives of these kids just to build a case on the lowest possible drug charge, all because of Phelps celebrity status? The judge who signed off on these warrants should be removed from office. What are the odds of any of these guys being dangerous enough even pretend to justify these tactics?

    I’d like to fantasize that this would backfire and make the public realize how foolish the drug war is, but I’ve seen too self-righteous sports parents who think that this is the “right message” to fool myself.

    According to Harpootlian and McCulloch, police seized four laptop computers, a desktop computer, a computer storage drive and a cell phone, mostly to search for incriminating photos of Phelps.

    What fucking good would those pictures be? They have the one infamous shot already, and even that would be worthless absent Phelp’s admission.

    I hope the kids didn’t have any schoolwork or need to do any on those computers, because they’re never seeing those again.

  25. OK I only have enough time to write one well-thought-out letter, so whom shall I write it to?

  26. “He’s sitting there on Saturday, and 12 cops kick in the door with guns drawn, search the house, and find 5, maybe 6 grams of pot,”

    See! See what the fraud and scourge known as the “metric system” hath wrought on our fair land?

  27. What Phelps needs is for a Nobel Prize winner–preferably in something real like physics–to get caught on tape in a similar manner.

  28. I mean, I’m a libertarian and everything, but I’ve never touched the stuff myself and still think this is totally insane. I’ve got friends with advanced degrees who were major stoners in college and even in high school. Not to mention the general population here at Hit & Run.

    Stop the madness! Arrest the people in our government–now that would do some good.

  29. OK I only have enough time to write one well-thought-out letter, so whom shall I write it to?

    mark, it better not be to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, because if they deem it

  30. So I guess that the search and seizure is reasonable because of “Celebrity”

    Ask where their search warrant is, they can just say “Celebrity”

    Nothing matters, not rights, not these guys’ future, just “Celebrity”

  31. For 7 years we had an emergency war on terror. Now we have an emergency effort to save the economy. Yet is all these supposed crises, the government still finded time and money to waste on the drug war.

  32. EDIT:

    OK I only have enough time to write one well-thought-out letter, so whom shall I write it to?

    mark, it better not be to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, because if they deem it false or frivolous, they’re coming after your computers.

  33. Ruining the lives of college kids to save the children. Seems worth it to me.

  34. What can actually come out of this (law enforcement-wise, I mean). I am not familiar with the laws of SC, but it seems like 4 kids will pay a $250 fine or something and that’s it.

  35. Seriously, what’s this asshole sheriff’s problem?

    He’s seriously jealous of Joe Arpaio. He’s trying to turn his county into “Maricopa East”.

    Or, he’s just a limp dick piece-of-shit and this is what he does.

  36. Prolib:

    Francis Crick Discovers DNA on LSD:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_16532_5-greatest-things-ever-accomplished-while-high.html

    Not a bastion of journalistic integrity, I admit, but still…

  37. Phelps is becoming the Terri Schiavo of marijuana. In each case, an extreme political faction (pro-life fanatics or drug warriors) is running amok with opportunistic bullying and condescension.

    I’m not pro-life, but at least I can credit pro-lifers for making some sophisticated philosophical arguments against abortion and euthanasia. Marijuana prohibition, on the other hand, can never make sense to an honest, intelligent person. In this regard, the Phelps case is the greater outrage of the two.

  38. Phelps should be paying these guys’ legal bills. And he should get up on his hind legs and do it openly.

  39. What fucking good would those pictures be? They have the one infamous shot already, and even that would be worthless absent Phelp’s admission.

    Other pictures may show a bunch of other harmless kids that can be hassled. Cops gotta make themselves feel big and important somehow, and kids are far less dangerous than, ya know, actual criminals.

  40. I think a good point is that for all his toking, the guy has the lung capacity of a blue whale! I’ve never partaken, but how bad a drug can it be. The guy is freakin aquaman.

  41. P Brooks,

    Phelps should be paying these guys’ legal bills. And he should get up on his hind legs and do it openly.

    It would probably open him up to a criminal conspiracy or witness tampering charge. They are trying to get those kids to roll on him; paying for a good legal team could easily be considered a bribe.

  42. I’m never going to smoke pot with a famous person as long as I live, the risks outweigh the fringe benefits.

  43. It would probably open him up to a criminal conspiracy or witness tampering charge.

    I don’t think it would; there’s barely a civil suit anywhere that doesn’t have the insurer paying the defendant’s attorney, and that’s not conspiracy or tampering.

    Besides, these people are criminal defendants – they can’t be made to testify anyway. Just what evidence is being tampered with.

    To be a criminal conspiracy, there has to be some kind of agreement to do something, you know, criminal. Defending yourself against a criminal charge is not a crime, so I’m not sure what the conspiracy would be about.

  44. What if that famous person was Scarlett Johanssen, and she needed to keep her mouth occupied afterwards?

  45. Interesting point, Sugarfree.

  46. In my libertopia, that sleazy fuck Lott would be the one hauled up on charges for tampering with, i.e., intimidating, witnesses. But that’s pretty unlikely.

  47. It’s sad that the accountability of government actors seems to be decreasing at all levels of government. The local fools see what the feds get away with and act accordingly.

  48. I wonder- how many unsolved murders are there on the books in Lott’s jurisdiction?

  49. Those guys are idiots. Everyone in the world knows Phelps was smoking weed at your house. Maybe you should expect a visit by the cops. Sanitize your damn apartment dumbasses.

  50. Way to treat an American hero. He wins 12 Gold Medals for his country and this is how he gets treated? This sheriff needs to be thrown in jail before he ruins anymore lives.

  51. Maybe Lott is like a meta dude, he is just pushing the envelope as far as fucking possible, wondering when people will actually question this shit. “Maybe they’ll care when I get a tank with a 50 caliber machine gun on it…NO!??!?! Damnit, maybe they’ll care when I work my damnedest to arrest Michael fookin Phelps…(awaiting response)”

    Fred Phelps and Michael Phelps…what is the relation?

  52. mark | February 13, 2009, 3:59pm | #
    OK I only have enough time to write one well-thought-out letter, so whom shall I write it to?

    Make it out to Lott. Whittle the edges down on the letter until they are extra sharp in hope that he may cut himself and die an excruciatingly painful death.

  53. That APC of Lott’s has a .50 cal and that’s all lethal and stuff. Do you know why the APC is no longer being used by the military? It’s because the armor on the typical M-113 can be “swiss cheesed” by a .50 cal. It also lacks firing ports for the squad inside to deploy thier weapons. In other words, the people inside have to dismount in order to fight. It is not an urban combat vehicle as Lott will find out if his county ever has to deploy it for riot control.

    It is also a very large financial albatross around any county’s neck and I’m surprised that the citizens put up with the cost and the intimidation it produces when people in his county have lost jobs and are being forclosed on.

  54. The FBI needs to investigate this sheriff; he is obviously on some sort of extreme narcotic.

  55. That APC of Lott’s has a .50 cal
    ____________________________________________
    Really a .50 cal really! I can not think of one time in the past ten years, or really EVER! that a sheriff or non milt entity would everneed a .50 cal APC mounted Automatic weapon. It can only be used against a massive attack, and a .50 cal will swiss cheese just about anything, and it will go clean through most houses!

  56. Really a .50 cal really! I can not think of one time in the past ten years, or really EVER! that a sheriff or non milt entity would everneed a .50 cal APC mounted Automatic weapon. It can only be used against a massive attack, and a .50 cal will swiss cheese just about anything, and it will go clean through most houses!

    It’s also extremely hard to aim the first shot well, since you can’t sight down the barrel of a M2 from a turret. Standard military procedure is to guesstimate on the first burst, then walk it in on subsequent bursts.

    It’s nothing but a toy for his personal collection and a way to get his face on teevee. Sure, he can’t use it, but he sure as shit can buy it on the taxpayers dime. If I lived in his district I’d make it my life’s mission to get his ass fired.

  57. Dunno if this is true, but is was published in The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper. In the sports section, no less.

    The latest FBI statistics show violent-crime rates for Columbia – part of Richland County – were nearly three times higher than the national average and nearly twice as high as those for the state. For purposes of comparison, the only jurisdiction with a higher violent crime rate than South Carolina was Washington, D.C.

    Priorities, you retarded piece of used buttwipe, priorities.

  58. That last line was mine and should have been out of the blockquote.

  59. According to the sheriff department’s own Web site, Richland County has approximately 55 unsolved homicides going back several decades.

  60. Hank,

    Didn’t you know that Marijuana can be a gateway drug to murder?

    Seriously, in these days of declining tax revenues, is this a good use of tax dollars, paying these sheriffs for such trivial stuff?

  61. A couple of questions for the sons and daughters of the South –

    1) Do you get irritated by other Americans looking down their nose at you, joking that you are all a bunch of ignorant yokels?

    2) What are the odds of Leon Lott getting re-elected as sheriff?

    As you can see, the questions are somewhat related.

  62. J sub D, and I was about to wildly applaud The State for its incredibly smooth switch between journalistic reserve and provocative bitch slap.

  63. * 2004 “Strom Thurmond Award of Excellence in Law Enforcement”

    Is that for making twice your quota of “driving while black” arrests?

    -jcr

  64. I’m not going to participate in this survey myself, I don’t live in his jurisdiction.

    But if you feel inclined, the sheriff as an open, fill-in-the-blank web form for this question:

    4. If you don’t feel safe, what can the Sheriff’s Department do to make your community safer?

    Place your answer here:

    http://www.rcsd.net/survey1.htm

  65. “He’s being treated more harshly than any kid anywhere in the country,” Harpootlian said”

    Ignorance is bliss

  66. I share the author’s attitude toward the enforcement of the law. Why breaking t6he law is patriotic, especially if one can indulge oneself to the fullest. Laws after all are only for the little people.

    Why in fact obey or recognize the rle of law at all? After all do you not wish the free sale of drugs? Do you not wish to exercise your freedom and rights just as we do here in Cali?

    And I wish to thank my partners that facilitate the drug trade. It demonstrates the full meaning of what libertarians cherish.

  67. Holy crap, I expected the Michael Phelps deal to blow over. Apparently not.

    Pablo Escobar,
    Screw off.

  68. J sub D | February 13, 2009, 7:10pm | #
    A couple of questions for the sons and daughters of the South –

    1) Do you get irritated by other Americans looking down their nose at you, joking that you are all a bunch of ignorant yokels?

    2) What are the odds of Leon Lott getting re-elected as sheriff?

    As you can see, the questions are somewhat related.

    Dude, do you really want to play that game? I’ll see you a Leon Lott and raise you an Eliot Spitzer. What’s this other card? A Michael Bloomberg, maybe?

  69. alan,
    I think J sub D lives in Detroit.

    Not that that’s much better. B

    But it’s not New York.

  70. Economist:

    So jealous of you of J sub D and his luxury double wide eh?

    Please do advise of what your next order will be the usual cocaine or the heroin?

    The sons of Detroit and Wayne County have much to be proud of, why their mayor was a proponent of yours and free drug use. It must be a proud thing to have such a shinning example. I do pay hommage to such as you.

    And remember no checks or credit cards accepted.

  71. economist | February 13, 2009, 10:54pm | #
    alan,
    I think J sub D lives in Detroit.

    Not that that’s much better. B

    But it’s not New York.

    And I don’t live in South Carolina. As you know we kicked that Shelbyville of a state down the road because they refused to abide by our laws banning first cousin marriages.

    JsubD made it a regional matter so any state North of Maryland would have done as an example. I don’t know many politicians from Michigan except for Dingel and Kwame, wait, wtf, there is a huge Reb history up Michigan way.

  72. New York was on my mind though because they may have the strictest drug laws in the country, and the recent matter concerning salt does not inspire confidence in the enlightenment of their leaders.

    Detroit, huh? Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, Meg and Jack White, Eminem — I’m going to assume JsubD faux culture war was a well played tounge’n’cheeky bit of irony.

  73. J sub D:

    Well Columbia has about one tenth the murder rate of DC and about 8 per cent of Detroits. Guess Southerners need to be taught a good lesson about how to kill people. Why in DC we can’t solve murders because there are so many. Heck we don’t even bother to enforce our drug laws, much less bother with tax collection.

    That’s why the Kennedies love DC, they can wallow in blow up to their necks.

    Y’all come down and visit in DC. Sniff, sniff, its got the best blow in the North. Just ask Teddy.

  74. Marion,
    You may want to double check the Mason-Dixon . . .

  75. Before we got the sorry ass Panthers, the ‘skins were considered the home team around here.

  76. “Please do advise of what your next order will be the usual cocaine or the heroin?”

    Actually, I don’t use cocaine or heroine. However, I don’t make it my business to regulate what drugs other people use. Get your facts straight, you obnoxious little prick.

  77. Why do I picture Sheriff Lott rolling through the burbs’ of Richland County in his “Peacemaker” in search of Phelps? Paranoia?

  78. Economist:

    Ican understand your need to deny the obvious you ungrateful cretin. All these years of delivering to your doorstep and this is the thanks we get? You make it your business to pass judgement on others you festering gob of hypocrisy. So shoot up. Your comments are better understood and more easily excused.

    Rationalizing evil in the name of civil liberties is so gay. Try to be more coherent.

  79. Wasn’t America at one time the Home of the Free?

  80. Folks, “Pablo Escobar” is “Thomas Jackson” and “Curious George” a LGFtard Drug Warrior who is too fucking stupid to parse 1) being against the War on Drugs and 2) advocating universal drug usage. Also, he thinks marijuana use = heroin use. This is definitely one troll that deserves starvation, especially since he’s been around here long enough to know about constantly changing handles to avoid INCIF.

  81. ‘Phelps is becoming the Terri Schiavo of marijuana.’

    I must have missed the part where Terri Schiavo went crashing through people’s doors. It was my understanding that she preferred a more sedentary lifestyle.

    ‘A couple of questions for the sons and daughters of the South –

    ‘1) Do you get irritated by other Americans looking down their nose at you, joking that you are all a bunch of ignorant yokels?’

    To be sure, I cringe every time a vice-crusading Southern governor gets arrested for seeing hookers, or when a Southern governor gets impeached an removed from office for soliciting bribes. But what can you expect when Southerners elect action-movie stars to the governor’s mansion? After all, New York, Illinois and California are quintessentially Southern states.

    Sheriff Arpaio is also an embarrassment to Southerners. I wish Arizona weren’t south of the Mason-Dixon.

    And the Puritanism is shocking – where do Southern politicians get off, banning trans fats (like in New York City, which is just next to Little Rock, Ark) and forbidding fois gras (like in Chicago, which is just next door to Birmingham, Ala)? What is wrong with them?

    Not to mention the anti-self-defense laws passed in the Northeastern states of the U.S., which are actually Southern, you know.

  82. I wish Arizona weren’t south of the Mason-Dixon.

    Good thing it isn’t – the MD line only goes west to the end of Pennsylvania.

  83. domo,

    Next you’ll tell me that New York, Illinois and California *aren’t* quintessentially Southern states.

  84. Mad Max-

    Very good points. I grew up in Newport, Rhode Island and have lived in Massachusetts for going on 19 years. I have been fortunate enough to spend considerable time in 4 other states and to have visited all the states save Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and the 2 Dakotas.

    I have never understood the Northeast corridor’s, particularly the New York/southern New England, conceit/superiority complex. It is one thing to actually be superior and have attitude about it. Its another thing entirely to regard yourself as superior when all the evidence points in the opposite direction. Look at New England, New York and New Jersey. Look at the gross dollars poured into their public schools and their infrastructure. THen look at the performance. Look at the decay, the blight and the the size of the public sector in those states. It is depressing. How one can have an attitude of superiority about that is a puzzler.

    How about social grace? Civility? It is not even close. We (New York?New England) are far more rude and far less polite than the native denizens of the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

  85. In a roundabout way, many answered my first question, “Do you get irritated by other Americans looking down their nose at you, joking that you are all a bunch of ignorant yokels?”, with a resounding “yes and fuck you J sub D”. Although I merely asked the question, apparently it hit a raw nerve.

    Yet my relaterd second question, “What are the odds of Leon Lott getting re-elected as sheriff?” remains oddly unanswered.

    Why that is, I can only surmise.
    šŸ˜‰

  86. JsD,

    Since I don’t live in South Carolina, or in Sheriff Lott’s county, I don’t know what the political situation is like. I’m from North Carolina – a whole nuther state. Of course, Southerners are basically interchangeable. I’m sure that people in Pittsburgh wouldn’t mind in the least being blamed for the behavior of the New York City Council – after all, Northerners are basically interchangeable, aren’t they?

    In New York, I have on several occasions had the following experience with one of the locals. When they learn I’m from North Carolina, they say that they have a friend/relative who lives in North Carolina. Usually, this friend/relative moved from New York to North Carolina. Apparently they think that life would be better for them in North Carolina than in the Empire State.

    Sadly, someone who moves from New York to North Carolina tends to lower the average intelligence of both states. The fact that they’re smart enough to leave means they’re more intelligent that the New York average, but the fact that they’re New Yorkers means that they will pull down the North Carolina average.

  87. J sub D-

    The fact that this guy was ever elected is both a joke and damning to the county. Most who post here, IMO, agree. There are some of us here who are every bit as enraged about the WoD, in general, and this sheriff’s actions, in particular, as you are.

    As to your question hitting a raw nerve, sure, it appears that it did, with some. If you lived in New York/New England, and not in the Detroit area, I would probably be a bit ticked off as, well I just can’t stand our superiority complex. There is no question that I grew up in an environment that did not look favorably upon the South. Thankfully, I was exposed to competing influences growing up in an international city-including military families who either had roots in the South or had been stationed somewhere in the South.

  88. State per capita income rankings (2004).
    State violent crime rates ranking (2004).
    State college grad rates ranking (2003).

    If DC is counted as a state, it is number one in all three categories.

    I’ve lived in the east (South Jersey), South (Virginia Beach, and Pascagoula, Mississippi), California (San Diego and Ventura), Northwest (Seattle), Great Lakes (Detroit and Chicago) and the Maryland Eastern Shore (Salisbury).

    All have positives and negatives, I chose to retire in Michigan but would rank Seattle, Chicago and San Diego higher.

    I’d rank Mississippi and Marylands Eastern Shore tied for the bottom.

    YMMV.

  89. ‘I chose to retire in Michigan’

    The Michigan state motto should be “America’s Favorite Retirement Destination!”

    And I know someone who grew up in Michigan and moved to North Carolina to work. Why he skipped out on the bountiful Michigan job market I don’t know.

  90. Sadly, I would have to agree with J sub D’s analysis. Mississippi sucks.

  91. “New York was on my mind though because they may have the strictest drug laws in the country”

    there is, thankfully, a small glimmer of hope on that issue, as the coalition to get rid of the rockefeller laws is (slowly) growing in strength.

    it’s weird here; draconian penalties and delivery services and all that jazz.

  92. Baked Penguin:

    We all know you are really Jason Blair in drag. Why not just fess up now. And you are also the Economist, Shrike and the other people who never grew up. Keep trying peon.

  93. :: Obligatory Texas is better than you and your shitty North and South. :: (Note: It is not part of either one.)

  94. Lott is obviously a dick and what he is doing further illustrates the ridiculousness of the WOD, but I can’t help but chalk some of this up to karma. Maybe the kids shouldn’t have been dicks and take the picture in the first place. They fucked Phelps so it seems poetic in a way that they now find themselves equally fucked. That’s what happens when you break party code.

  95. :: Obligatory Texas is better than you and your shitty North and South. :: (Note: It is not part of either one.)

    The states of the confederacy and their dates of secession.

    * South Carolina (December 20, 1860)
    * Mississippi (January 9, 1861)
    * Florida (January 10, 1861)
    * Alabama (January 11, 1861)
    * Georgia (January 19, 1861)
    * Louisiana (January 26, 1861)
    * Texas (February 1, 1861)
    * Virginia (April 17, 1861)
    * Arkansas (May 6, 1861)
    * North Carolina (May 20, 1861)
    * Tennessee (June 8, 1861)

    Nuff said.

  96. Dammit J sub D! Let it go, bro! Go hunt some of those wild animals roaming through the abandoned neighborhoods and buildings of Detroit. šŸ˜‰

  97. I wish Arizona weren’t south of the Mason-Dixon.

    Good thing it isn’t – the MD line only goes west to the end of Pennsylvania.

    Arizona is still south of the Mason-Dixon line. Would anyone similarly argue that Los Angeles isn’t south of San Francisco?

  98. “Fellow-Citizens, in the name of your rights and liberties, which I believe have been trampled upon, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the nationality of Texas, which has been betrayed by the Convention, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the Constitution of Texas, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of my own conscience and manhood, which this Convention would degrade by dragging me before it, to pander to the malice of my enemies … I refuse to take this oath.”

    Sam Houston

  99. Dammit J sub D! Let it go, bro! Go hunt some of those wild animals roaming through the abandoned neighborhoods and buildings of Detroit. šŸ˜‰

    Lots of pheasant and coneys, I’ve seen ‘coons, ‘possum, falcons and the occasional eagle. The foxes are sly devils but you spy them from time to time. A coyote was bagged by animal control downtown about a year ago. There must be more.

    Seriosly, watching nature reclaim the land as a city dies is fascinating. The forest is relentless, abandoned houses that are not levelled are slowly eaten by the vegetation. I expect another 100 – 200 thousand people to exit the city before population stabilizes. But that’s just a SWAG.

  100. “I’ve seen ‘coons'”

  101. J Sub D, just because Texas wanted to keep black people as slaves doesn’t mean they’re part of the South. They just fought for those douchebags because they would rather be annexed to them than the Union. (Obligatory the North sucked during the Civil War, too)

  102. “You make it your business to pass judgement on others you festering gob of hypocrisy.”

    WTF? When did you see me “making it my business to pass judgment on others”? When I called you an obnoxious little prick? Hate to tell you this, but you are an obnoxious prick.

  103. “Why not just fess up now. And you are also the Economist, Shrike and the other people who never grew up. Keep trying peon.”

    Where the HELL do you get off comparing me to shrike? And which of us didn’t grow up? The person who occasionally blogs to discuss opinions on political and economic matters, or the one who blogs because he likes to throw random insults at people and he’s too much of a coward to do it to people he might actually meet?

  104. So Michael Phelps is a guy who drinks at parties smokes a little gambles on high stakes games of beer pong and is the all time greatest Olympic medal winner he sounds like a pretty cool guy to me. Michael Phelps is an American Hero. He stood tall and made America proud at the Beijing Olympics. This is how he is treated. Michael Phelps did a tremendous amount of work to achive what he did. Who can forget the pride we felt with the each gold medal Phelps won in China, how can we as Americans forget all of those things and hang a man for smoking a glass water pipe at a college party. It is time that we as a country stand up for the rights of the individual, it’s time we stand together with our neighbors and take collective control of our destinies. Write any congressman or a senator; imagine the weight of millions of emails calling for a change in policy. Lets stop them from arresting college kids at parties in America

    SunflowerPipes.com

  105. “It is time that we as a country stand up for the rights of the individual, it’s time we stand together with our neighbors and take collective control of our destinies.”

    I’m sorry, but it seems like their might be a contradiction here.

  106. Why wasn’t there a Phelps “Dope” parody of the Shepard Fairey Obama “Hope” poster 27 seconds after the photo surfaced? Is the nation so depressed nobody has the energy to pick the lowest of lowhanging fruit?

  107. Cavanaugh,

    Maybe the would be parodist’s(real word?) have been busy hiding their dogs from Lott and his “Peacemaker”?

  108. Michael Phelps is an American Hero. He stood tall and made America proud at the Beijing Olympics.

    Your definition of “hero” could use a little fine tuning.

  109. kids..now don’t think phelps is some kind of role model for you…See he is phelps and can win the olympics and smoke, but you are just you and are lucky to be able to function at the barely functioning level without any hinderances such as pot.

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