A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t)

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Dear America,

I take it back. I don’t apologize.

Because you know what? It’s none of your goddamned business. I work my ass off 10 months per year. It’s that hard work that gave you all those gooey feelings of patriotism last summer. If during my brief window of down time I want to relax, enjoy myself, and partake of a substance that’s a hell of a lot less bad for me than alcohol, tobacco, or, frankly, most of the prescription drugs most of you are taking, well, you can spare me the lecture.

I put myself through hell. I make my body do things nature never really intended us to endure. All world-class athletes do. We do it because you love to watch us push ourselves as far as we can possibly go. Some of us get hurt. Sometimes permanently. You’re watching the Super Bowl tonight. You’re watching 300 pound men smash each while running at full speed, in full pads. You know what the average life expectancy of an NFL player is? Fifty-five. That’s about 20 years shorter than your average non-NFL player. Yet you watch. And cheer. And you jump up spill your beer when a linebacker lays out a wide receiver on a crossing route across the middle. The harder he gets hit, the louder and more enthusiastically you scream.

Yet you all get bent out of shape when Ricky Williams, or I, or Josh Howard smoke a little dope to relax. Why? Because the idiots you’ve elected to make your laws have have without a shred of evidence beat it into your head that smoking marijuana is something akin to drinking antifreeze, and done only by dirty hippies and sex offenders.

You’ll have to pardon my cynicism. But I call bullshit. You don’t give a damn about my health. You just get a voyeuristic thrill from watching an elite athlete fall from grace–all the better if you get to exercise a little moral righteousness in the process. And it’s hypocritical righteousness at that, given that 40 percent of you have tried pot at least once in your lives.

Here’s a crazy thought: If I can smoke a little dope and go on to win 14 Olympic gold medals, maybe pot smokers aren’t doomed to lives of couch surfing and video games, as our moronic government would have us believe. In fact, the list of successful pot smokers includes not just world class athletes like me, Howard, Williams, and others, it includes Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, the last three U.S. presidents, several Supreme Court justices, and luminaries and success stories from all sectors of business and the arts, sciences, and humanities.

So go ahead. Ban me from the next Olympics. Yank my endorsement deals. Stick your collective noses in the air and get all indignant on me. While you’re at it, keep arresting cancer and AIDS patients who dare to smoke the stuff because it deadens their pain, or enables them to eat. Keep sending in goon squads to kick down doors and shoot little old ladies, maim innocent toddlers, handcuff elderly post-polio patients to their beds at gunpoint, and slaughter the family pet.

Tell you what. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll apologize for smoking pot when every politician who ever did drugs and then voted to uphold or strengthen the drug laws marches his ass off to the nearest federal prison to serve out the sentence he wants to impose on everyone else for committing the same crimes he committed. I’ll apologize when the sons, daughters, and nephews of powerful politicians who get caught possessing or dealing drugs in the frat house or prep school get the same treatment as the no-name, probably black kid caught on the corner or the front stoop doing the same thing.

Until then, I for one will have none of it. I smoked pot. I liked it. I’ll probably do it again. I refuse to apologize for it, because by apologizing I help perpetuate this stupid lie, this idea that what someone puts into his own body on his own time is any of the government’s damned business. Or any of yours. I’m not going to bend over and allow myself to be propaganda for this wasteful, ridiculous, immoral war.

Go ahead and tear me down if you like. But let’s see you rationalize in your next lame ONDCP commercial how the greatest motherfucking swimmer the world has ever seen . . . is also a proud pot smoker.


Michael Phelps

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255 Responses to “A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t)”

  1. #1 |  Dave Krueger | 


  2. #2 |  Robin | 

    Not sure how anyone could argue with that.

  3. #3 |  Steve Horwitz | 

    THAT is the rant of the week, no matter what else happens. Beautiful, Radley, just beautiful.

  4. #4 |  claude | 

    Hell yeah.

  5. #5 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Epic. Gonna blaze one in honor of that.

  6. #6 |  Greg N. | 

    Beautiful, Radley. A masterpiece.

  7. #7 |  Our Dumb Blog » Blog Archive » Balko, Phelps and Pot | 

    […] Wow. […]

  8. #8 |  Greg N. | 

    Can someone with a facebook account post this on Phelps’ page? Or send it to him somehow? I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Plus, this sounds like a reason.tv segment waiting to happen.

  9. #9 |  j.d. | 

    post of the year. of any blog. damn. this just owns.

  10. #10 |  Greg N. | 

    Also, everyone should post a link to this on sports message boards everywhere.

  11. #11 |  Andrew | 

    ::standing ovation::

    Great work, Radley.

  12. #12 |  Gorgeous. | 

    […] What Radley said. […]

  13. #13 |  bob42 | 

    Buy that man a Guinness.

    Simply Brilliant!

  14. #14 |  Justin | 

    Where did you read the 55 years figure? As a fan, I’ve been worrying about the impact of football, but this sounds even worse than the concussion issue. What causes life expectancy to be so bad?

  15. #15 |  Mike | 

    Awesome. I’m linking to it from every website I write for.

  16. #16 |  Anastasia | 

    I’m utterly floored, Radley. Floored on the floor and I can’t get up. But why the mean swipe at CouchSurfing? :(

    I CouchSurf. Go ahead and tear me down if you like. But I’m not apologizing.

  17. #17 |  Burrow Owl | 


    Well said, sir.

    Methinks I’ll have to rethink my usual disdain for hero worship.

  18. #18 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    I second Justin’s point. I think I may have read that former offensivel linemen in the NFL have an average lifespan of 58 years, but players of other positions have lifespans similar to average americans. So the overall average is probably somewhere inbetween. The potential reasons for shortened lifespans of O-linemen are steroid use and obesity. I think a lot of them have heart conditions.
    Other than that, great rant, though.

  19. #19 |  aaron | 

    You should cross-post this on HnR, Radley. Great, great stuff.

  20. #20 |  Mike Riggs | 

    Pardon my brevity, but: A. Fucking. Men.

    I have goosebumps.

  21. #21 |  Radley Balko | 

    #s 14 and 18


    A 1994 study of 7,000 former players by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found linemen had a 52 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than the general population. While U.S. life expectancy is 77.6 years, recent studies suggest the average for NFL players is 55, 52 for linemen.

  22. #22 |  Reggie Hubbard | 

    Amazing rant Radley.

    I truly believe you are one of the voices that will help end the drug war for good.

  23. #23 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The wanton destruction of people’s lives for nothing more than smoking pot is proof that we live among people who willingly allow and often support cruelty for the sake of cruelty. So when I hear American’s all up in arms over injustices to the poor, to those in distant countries, and to minorities, I’m less than impressed with the sincerity of their crusade.

  24. #24 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    Ok, I stand corrected. Thanks for the link. That is pretty startling.

  25. #25 |  Tim C | 

    Man, fucking A! If there’s a punch you pulled in writing this, I sure can’t think of what it is.

    Think Fox News will run it as a column?

  26. #26 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I said at the time that I wish Bill Clinton had the balls to say pretty much that. Unfortunately, Hillary probably wouldn’t have let him borrow them for such…

  27. #27 |  Jason Briggeman | 

    And in a rival narrative of the weekend: “The kid who once sold drugs on a street corner had grown up to become MVP of a most remarkable Super Bowl.”

  28. #28 |  THOUGHTS ALOUD | 

    Hypocritical BS…

  29. #29 |  THOUGHTS ALOUD » Hypocritical BS | 

    […] magazine, has posted a delightful rant about the Micheal Phelps pot smoking flap entitled, “A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t),” which is a masterpiece: Dear […]

  30. #30 |  EdinTally | 

    *thumbs up

  31. #31 |  Mister DNA | 

    I would have enjoyed Bruce Springsteen’s half time show a lot more had he stopped in the middle of a song and read this aloud.

  32. #32 |  Radley Balko pens a letter on behalf of the greatest swimmer ever « Muse Free | 

    […] 2, 2009 by Abhishek Wow. Just wow. Dear […]

  33. #33 |  Aspasia | 

    Yes! That! The only reason I’m mad at Michael is because he didn’t pass it around. Dude! I thought we were homies! :P

  34. #34 |  Billy Badass | 

    Fuck Yeah

  35. #35 |  Jo Nathan | 

    Well said. Bravo!

  36. #36 |  swimfan66 | 

    Applause. Boundless Applause

  37. #37 |  andy | 

    You HAVE to check out his facebook page. It’s great to see people offering this olympic record breaker some sound advice on the dangers of marijuana. Makes my blood boil to an extent.

  38. #38 |  Douglas Willinger | 

    The speech Obama ought to give:


  39. #39 |  Ash | 

    Found this on Reddit. Excellent post!

    Damn I’m out of Rizla

  40. #40 |  Mike H | 

    Let’s line up our past and present Drug Czars and send them to the next Olympics.

    Then we’ll see how many medals they manage to win with their flabby fucking sanctimony.

  41. #41 |  Omar | 

    @ #34 Mike H

    “Then we’ll see how many medals they manage to win with their flabby fucking sanctimony.”


    Yes, well on the scale from Burrito Tester to President of the USA, I’d say the Drug Czar isn’t that far from the bottom. The Drug Czar ONLY gets points for not being a bum because he had the motivation to rise up in an evil organization full of other self-diluted losers.

    Other than that, I wouldn’t trust any jerk appointed to his spot with my laundry.

  42. #42 |  Ron | 

    “You’re watching 300 pound men smash each while running at full speed, in full pads. ”

    In full pads! Wow!

  43. #43 |  Ben | 

    I posted this on Phelps’ facebook wall. With reference to Radley and TheAgitator, of course.

    Hope you don’t mind Radley.

  44. #44 |  Stephen | 

    I think there is probably a correlation between size and life expectancy. I would bet that the life expectancy of all 300 pounders is statistically less than the life expectancy of 180 pounders. Still, I’m sure football knocks off a few years. I know I exercise less now because of old high school football injuries that have come back to cause me pain.

    Great rant Radley. I’d like to see Phelps take a big bong hit right before kicking everybody’s ass at a swim meet. Would they then start calling it a “performance enhancing drug”? :)

  45. #45 |  Eric Berlin » Blog Archive » Put that in your pipe and smoke it | 

    […] Michael Phelps was caught at a party smoking pot, and apologized for it. Radley Balko has a better idea. […]

  46. #46 |  mdub | 


  47. #47 |  M. Zinnen | 

    “Because the idiots you’ve elected to make your laws have have without a shred of evidence”

    Might want to edit out that second “have” before everyone starts posting this across the internet….I don’t want to have to read about the long-term deleterious effects of pot smoking on editing ability. Otherwise, great rant.

  48. #48 |  Fritz | 

    Awesome post, Radley.

  49. #49 |  Chris M | 

    Well done Radley.

  50. #50 |  Nick T | 

    Can I add a “suck it” or a “bam” or perhaps a “how you like me now!?” to the end of that when I share it with friends?

  51. #51 |  parse | 

    Radley, you have the letter addressed to “Dear America” and write Yet you all get bent out of shape when Ricky Williams, or I, or Josh Howard smoke a little dope to relax.

    Obvously, not all Americans get bent out of shape when athletes or other celebrities smoke pot, and I realize you meant it as hyperbole. But I think it’s worth considering how many Americans actually do think this is a problem. The media coverage certainly suggests Americans are united in their outrage over the behavior of Phelps and others, but I’m skeptical that such is really the case.

  52. #52 |  D. Goetz | 

    Mr. Balko, I think you, like everyone commenting here, have missed the point entirely. What Phelps did was wrong, and not only should he apologize, but he should face our moral (and possibly legal) sanctions. This isn’t about whatever “rights” you think you have, this is about SAVING THE CHILDREN!!! That takes precedence over everything else, including your conjured-up “rights”. And if SAVING THE CHILDREN necessitates that everyone in society be turned into children, then how much nobler will our cause become, now that we have so many more children to save? The wanton, heartless disregard you and your ilk show for the most helpless among us chills me to the bone. Or it would, if my moral superiority and righteous indignation didn’t keep me toasty warm.

  53. #53 |  Does Pot Demotivate and Cause People to be Couch Potatoes? « BuelahMan’s Redstate Revolt | 

    […] But that is just me. Maybe something like this from The Agitator makes more sense: […]

  54. #54 |  BuelahMan | 

    Nicely done!

    Cross posted at my place.

  55. #55 |  BuelahMan | 

    I believe that the children need to be saved from the likes of the ignorant and imbecilic folks who believe the propaganda that D Goetz puked up.

    Save the children?

    What a maroon!

  56. #56 |  Drugs and Sports: A Recipe for Success? | 

    […] Radley Balko pens a “Letter From Michael Phelps” arguing that great athletes deserve to get high […]

  57. #57 |  A Letter We’d Like to See (But won’t) « The musings of an Australian classical liberal in Washington DC | 

    […] Read the whole thing. […]

  58. #58 |  Jeffrey Smith | 

    Wait a minute. 40% of Americans have tried marijuana? Is this like the old joke about 90% of men having masturbated and the other 10% lie? There’s no way the figure could be that low.

  59. #59 |  claude | 

    “I believe that the children need to be saved from the likes of the ignorant and imbecilic folks who believe the propaganda that D Goetz puked up.”

    Re-read his comment again… this time with your tongue in your cheek. ;-)

  60. #60 |  Windypundit | 

    Fuckin’ A Right!

  61. #61 |  dg | 

    Well said. This should be in every newspaper.

  62. #62 |  The Democratic Republican | 

    @ Jeffrey Smith: I would guess the 40% is probably right. I, for one, have never tried it, but I couldn’t agree with Radley more.

    The hypocrisy isn’t just those who have tried pot and then get indignant (in other words, your normal, worthless politician); it’s the people who put all kinds of horrible substances into their bodies but would NEVER try marijuana because it was sent straight up from hell from the devil.

    Great example: In the classic “Okie from Muskogee,” Merle Haggard makes fun of hippies that smokes pot but talks about how Okies enjoy White Lightning (i.e., moonshine that will burn the skin off your tongue).

  63. #63 |  Greg N. | 

    Also, everyone should adapt this rant into letters to the editor around the country. Write them and send them in today while the story is still fresh.

  64. #64 |  CapnMidori | 

    Enjoyed the letter immensely! If only that had been what was said…

    Also, for folks wondering about the football players’ life expectancies, this interesting article went up last week about a study being done on dead players: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/26/athlete.brains/index.html?iref=newssearch Might help explain why they die so young…

  65. #65 |  Curmudgeon | 

    My first thought when I saw that Phelps got caught toking up was about those moronic “you’ll never get anywhere if you smoke pot” commercials. It is too bad he doesn’t have the guts to say this himself!

  66. #66 |  O’DonnellWeb - This is not a homeschooling blog. » Blog Archive » Elsewhere on the Internet (February 2nd 10:05) | 

    […] The Agitator » Blog Archive » A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t) – […]

  67. #67 |  Tarnished gold? - Page 4 - Southern Maryland Community Forums | 

    […] Nucklesack Nah its him, he’s come out and Apologized for it The apology we should have seen (link) […]

  68. #68 |  Ben | 

    Great example: In the classic “Okie from Muskogee,” Merle Haggard makes fun of hippies that smokes pot but talks about how Okies enjoy White Lightning (i.e., moonshine that will burn the skin off your tongue).

    Or make you go blind. (Methanol is bad, mmmmkay.)

    Also can happen with Apple Jack if it’s made wrong.

  69. #69 |  Andy | 

    Phelps use (and apparent enjoyment) of marijuana shows just how dangerous this drug can be. This drug is so addictive and tempting, even an Olympic hero would risk destroying this career over it. This is all the more reason why we need to escalate the war the drugs; this drug needs to get off the street before more of america’s best and brightest fall victim. I propose a two fold approach. First, police need to be given broader powers to investigate and arrest marijuana users. Second, harsher penalties should be legislatively mandated so marijuana users cannot get off scott-free.

  70. #70 |  Javier | 

    Thank you for writing this!

  71. #71 |  Erik | 

    How crazy are things getting?

    I would venture to say that this would be going even worse for him if he had been photographed smoking LEGAL tobacco.

  72. #72 |  Tim C | 

    #44 Stephen – performance-enhancing drug – Daily Show in the Kilborn days ran a teaser when that Canadian snowboarder got caught smoking pot…it ended with something like “Olympic officials began to suspect he was smoking pot when they found out…he’s a snowboarder. More at 11.” I tried to find this on YouTube….

  73. #73 |  Cynical In CA | 

    That stands on its own as a great essay.

    It would be killer if Phelps himself would sign it. But even if it had been written in 3rd-person, it would still be an effective piece of writing.

    But for now it is Phelps’ business, and it is BUSINESS. Phelps has a lot riding on endorsement deals, which are now presumably in jeopardy because of this (non-)incident. His apology, from a business perspective, is most likely intended to preserve these contracts.

    Swim a mile in his trunks before casting judgment, but I wouldn’t expect to see Phelps signing on to Radley’s letter anytime soon.

    Such is life in these United States in the 3rd Millennium.

  74. #74 |  The "War on Drugs" - Duelz Debate Forum | 

    […] Radley has some of the best writings around. However, this has got to be his grand masterpiece. The Agitator

  75. #75 |  Travis | 

    The two google ads at the tope of this page:

    Weed Drug Rehab
    Research-based programs for the best results in the United States.

    Libertarian Internships
    Paid internships in public policy, journalism, film, production & more

  76. #76 |  jamie | 

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  77. #77 |  What Phelps should have said « Robbie’s Blog | 

    […] Athletes, Drug War, Drugs, Michael Phelps, Olympics, Politics, Prohibition, Sports Radley Balko drafts a letter for Michael Phelps. Excerpt: Here’s a crazy thought: If I can smoke a little dope and go on to win 14 Olympic gold […]

  78. #78 |  Omar | 

    @#73 Cynical In CA

    I totally agree. Phelps would be out of his mind to do anything but apologize. And that’s the tragedy.

    Us standing here saying “look, here’s another successful smoker” as loud as we can makes it a little more likely that the next Phelps will be able to write something like Radley wrote above. Until our national mood shifts, we have to read apologies.

  79. #79 |  albatross | 

    Cynical has it right, I think. Many lies are required in public in the US right now, and this is one of them. That’s an enormously bad thing for our society in all kinds of ways, but it’s true.

  80. #80 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    #69 | Andy | February 2nd, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Uh-oh, sounds like Andy’s got a job in drug enforcement and he’s nervous about losing his meal ticket – he might actually have to get a real job that produces something if the war on pot ends!

  81. #81 |  davidstvz | 

    ok radley, I’ve been resisting for years, but you’ve finally forced me to register for digg

  82. #82 |  Eric Ogunbase | 

    You know who I feel bad for? Everyone who competed against him in the pool.

    “You mean I’ve been training my whole life for these events and I STILL got my ass kicked by a dude who smokes the chronic?!”

    I couldn’t care less about Phelps smoking weed. Hell, if I were swimming miles each day in a pool, eating 12000 calories and having my photo taken everywhere, I’d probably cut loose and smoke weed too. People really shouldn’t be this upset. If he were injecting HGH…well, that’s another thing.

    You know, people weren’t even this upset when Marion Jones admitted using performance enhancing drugs. What the fuck?

  83. #83 |  Chris in AL | 

    I think the largest part of this farce is that our national mood shifted decades ago. We the people have shown over and over that we quickly and easily ‘forgive’ these things. We don’t care.

    We have shown repeatedly that we don’t care when our athletes, musicians or movie stars smoke weed.

    We gladly go see movies about weed and cheer at every rock or country song that mentions weed.

    When any comedian or talk show host even refers to weed, the audience cheers.

    We do not boycott or deny our business to any company just because some spokesperson they used smoked weed

    We elect leaders that smoke(d) weed and we regularly vote in favor of decriminalizing it, or legalizing it, or allowing it for medicinal purposes.

    The truth is, never has it been more evident that our leaders do not care what the national mood is than in the debate over weed. They know that we don’t care Phelps smoked. They know we intend to cheer just as hard for him in the future. It did not tarnish his accomplishments or our opinions of him. We will still buy the products he endorses. He has to apologize because he is getting pressure to apologize, and he is getting that pressure because a handful of people who do NOT reflect the national mood might write a letter.

    And he is pressured to apologize because he knows how it worked out for Willie Nelson to just say “Yeah I smoke it and I don’t care what anybody thinks.”

    I think it is time for our laws to shift to reflect the national mood on weed.

  84. #84 |  BamBam | 

    The truth is, never has it been more evident that our leaders do not care what the national mood is than in the debate over ______.

    From the Declaration of Independence:

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

  85. #85 |  Carl | 

    Great article.

    Visit below for a little more on the subject:


  86. #86 |  Andrew Griffin | 


    Fuck the Govt

  87. #87 |  Russell Barth | 

    phelps is a punk bitch.
    not for using pot, but for apologizing.
    fuck him and his family of hangers-on….

  88. #88 |  Tannim | 


  89. #89 |  Robby Burns | 

    I can’t believe all the sycophants!
    This society is doomed with this type of thinking.
    I’ll agree that there are many problems with this nation and the issues are complicated, but if you think I’m going to tell my kids it’s OK to smoke dope, well….it’s just plain dopey!

  90. #90 |  Cynical In CA | 

    I appreciate the positive comments, Omar and Albatross.

    Carl, I read panzramic’s blog post and his idea of exposing journalists to the same scrutiny as they profit from in hounding celebrities is fatally flawed.

    The average person’s interest in the personal lives of celebrities is several orders of magnitude greater than his interest in the personal lives of “journalists,” unless said “journalist” happens to also be a celebrity (think Dan Rather or possibly P.J. O’Rourke as a stretch).

    I don’t think it is even too much to say that there is absolutely zero interest in a run-of-the-mill “journalist’s” personal life, rendering comparison meaningless, and thus panzramic’s idea meaningless.

  91. #91 |  Sesquiculus | 

    It is no more ok for your kids to “smoke dope’ than it is for them to smoke cigaretts or drink alcohol. But if your kids are of adult age, it is nobody’s business but theirs.

    Usual estimates are that alcohol contributes to about 100K fatalities a year in the US. The figure for tobacco products is about 400K deaths. For all all other drugs of abuse, the fugure is about 5-8K. For marijuana in all its forms, the figure is zero.

    Basically, the War on Drugs was shown to be failed social policy decades ago. The only thing that keeps it going is that so many jobs in the criminal justice system are dependent upon it. Marxism at its worst.

  92. #92 |  The Volokh Conspiracy | 

    A New Meme: …

    Instapundit reader Dale Britton emails: “I think it is incumbent upon Obama to nominate Wesley Snipes for something immediately.”Update:Reader Eliot Wi……

  93. #93 |  Armeetoad | 

    To paraphrase: “I detest what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it.” I heartily agree, sir. I, too, am weary of every individual with the slightest bit of fame or fortune or achievement, being forced to apologize for some slight misstep. (Conversely, however, I am also intensely weary of said group of individuals offering lame apologies for serious offenses – but I digress.) Has the media become our society’s moral compass? Frightening thought, isn’t it?

  94. #94 |  Michael Phelps-HIT IT! - Mind If I Do A J? | 

    […] Michael Phelps-HIT IT! The Agitator

  95. #95 |  Balko Nails It « Moody’s Pen | 

    […] a comment » So Michael Phelps smoked pot. Reason magazine’s Radley Balko on what Phelps should say to America. Dear […]

  96. #96 |  Cobalt | 

    Hear, hear.

  97. #97 |  Robin722 | 

    AMEN!!! There are so many more important issues this country should be concerned about than a 23 year old smoking a little pot. Get a grip and if you are concerned about what kind of a role model Michael Phelps is for all the young kids out there….he’s great… he’s a NORMAL 23 year old and he’s HONEST!

  98. #98 |  Concerning Phelps « Matt Zeitlin: Impetuous Young Whippersnapper | 

    […] a more eloquent recitation of this point, check out Radley Balko’s wish for what Phelps would […]

  99. #99 |  Cut the sanctimony about Michael Phelps - Orange Punch - OCRegister.com | 

    […] a few hypocrites claim to be concerned about his health. I was going to do an extended rant, but Radley Balko of Reason (and his own blog) has done it for me, with the letter he wishes Michael Phelps had written. A few […]

  100. #100 |  Closet Rebel | 

    Awesome rant! I am so bloody tired of famous people always having to apologize for any little thing. For once, DON’T SAY SORRY! Of all the things he could ingest to party with, ganja is the safest, hands down. Michael is still a great athlete. Now he’s cool too!

    Our laws in this country are beyond stupid with regard to drugs.

    Andy, see you in the unemployment line when you lose your job busting otherwise law-abiding citizens for toking up. I’ll be the one taking your application behind the counter :-)

  101. #101 |  J.T. | 

    Bravo, Sir! That kicked ass.

    I put your letter and link here on a few Libertarian forums and everyone is going nuts over it so expect some more comments and traffic here.

    That really is a great friggin’ piece of work. Bravo again.

  102. #102 |  Ya Gotta Believe » The best letter you’ll never see. | 

    […] Anyway, it’s from The Agitator and called “A Letter I’d Like to See But Won’t” […]

  103. #103 |  “He was the gold medal winner of bong hits.” « The NorLa Blog | 

    […] Radley Balko writes what he’d like to hear Michael Phelps say: I don’t […]

  104. #104 |  TomC | 

    Well said and well done! Pity we can’t stop the looters from stealing our hard earned money through taxation as well.

  105. #105 |  Lazlo Toth | 

    Tch, this is all nonsense. Marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug; we know this because you can get into a lot of trouble for using it (because it’s so dangerous and addictive), but people do it anyhow!

    Alcohol, on the other hand, is safe, legal, and non-addictive, because the only people who get in trouble for drinking alcohol are people who use so much that they harm themselves. That’s why it’s not illegal — because using it is normal! See how simple it is? ^___^

  106. #106 |  Danny | 

    Now if the real Michael would have the cojones to say something like that…

  107. #107 |  Screw off | 

    Well that pretty much sums up my opinion on the whole issue.

  108. #108 |  Michael Phelps’ Letter to America « Chris’ YA Blog | 

    […] Michael Phelps […]

  109. #109 |  Monica | 


  110. #110 |  trevor | 

    Fucking. Awesome.

  111. #111 |  Jenny | 


    grow up who ever wrote this.

  112. #112 |  Superface | 

    Hell yah!!!!! I read this post on WeedTRACKER and everyone loves it.
    ROOR needs to sponsor Phelps!!!

  113. #113 |  ChrisD | 


    Here is a ball. Perhaps you’d like to bounce it.

  114. #114 |  GreginOz | 

    If pot is illegal why does my dealer take less time to service me than a pizza delivery dude takes to deliver my munchies? Hmmm…maybe if we make pizza illegal it will get to me quicker?

  115. #115 |  Gazza | 

    Howzabout everyone who’s in favor of legalizing cannabis contact Phelps’ sponsors to let them know they’ll boycott if they DO drop him. Let them know you don’t think marijuana is anything anyone should have to apologize for.

    Anyone have a list of Phelps’ sponsors/endorsements?

  116. #116 |  Super Happy PeopleId « Moving Violations | 

    […] of rationalism, Radley Balko over at The Agitator has the only sane response there is to the Michael Phelps pot […]

  117. #117 |  Super Happy People « Moving Violations | 

    […] of rationalism, Radley Balko over at The Agitator has the only sane response to the Michael Phelps pot […]

  118. #118 |  corbo | 

    Don’t try to make him into a pot crusader. He’s just another dude who lights up once in a while. He apologized in hopes that he wouldn’t lose endorsements as a result. Big deal.

  119. #119 |  johnbpt | 

    Fucking brilliant. Perfect.

  120. #120 |  Dave Baker | 

    First of all, brilliant (fictional) letter. We all know why M.P. can’t write such a letter but we all know that such a letter expresses an undeniable truth. How many episodes of Intervention on A&E have dealt with someone’s “horrible” pot addiction that is destroying their lives? NONE. How many episodes have dealt with alcohol addiction destroying someone’s life, tearing apart their family, and alienating their friends? Just about every other episode.
    I could be the poster child for the debate on the decriminalization of marijuana. I nearly drank myself to death with good ole Jimmy Beam. When I quit drinking 7 years ago my tolerance was up to a fifth a day. Well, one day I couldn’t get out of bed due to alcohol poisoning and I promised myself I’d quit drinking if I surivived that day. True to my word, I haven’t touched a drop since Feb. 9, 2002. Fast forward a year and half and my house is getting raided by 4 narcs and I end up with a felony conviction for growing pot in my back yard. That raid on my house and my criminal record is the ONLY negative fallout I’ve ever had from pot whereas I am perfectly free to go down the street and buy this stuff that nearly killed me. Not to mention that I have to watch commercials where people who drink this brand of beer or that brand of whiskey are all beautiful and hip and super-nifty-cool and everything is just sexy and all smiles… while the homeless guy on the corner wants a dollar and change to get himself another double duece in a brown paper bag. Yet because I’m growing this stuff that never made me piss my pants or wake up feeling like I’d been beaten with a bat in my sleep or caused me to swerve all over the road, I get my privacy invaded by four strangers, a felony conviction, five years of probation, and I lose my voting rights (which I, big lazy pot smoker that I was, had exercised in every election since I was 18. Oh, and I’ve written four novels, a three act play, and I’ve read my poetry in Seattle, N.Y., Boston, Chicago, etc. And I’m creating a specialized dictionary which, for obvious reasons, I won’t go into detail about but to call “dibs on the new dictionary!”, haha.) So all of you sanctimonious asses who think it’s fine to have a martini when you get home from work while simultaneously supporting my persecution for getting my buzz in a different form… I sincerely hope you rot in hell. That said, you are a very slim minority and the fact that billions in tax payer money is spent on raiding people’s homes and incarcerating them for pot is ridiculous and hypocritical. Before I go, I’ll point out that G.W. Bush, in his final days in office, pardoned two people who were convicted for dealing marijuana. Doesn’t that seem a bit odd given the so-called horrible nature of this drug? And considering the “horrible” nature of this drug, just how did M. Phelps win all those gold medals? Was he swimming to the corner store for all those potato chip munchies he was having? Good day to all you reasonable people who see the double standard and know that it’s total BS. The rest of you- I already said where you can go…

  121. #121 |  Defixiones | 

    Completely lost for words.
    If only Phelps had the guts to come out and say something like that.

    And Dave Baker, you weren’t too bad yourself, loved your post.

  122. #122 |  billextreme | 


    So now when Phelps is saying this, I can tell my 11 year old son to start smoke pot. Great… I have never done this myself, but if the great phelps say its ok, then it must be.

    Mamma mia…


  123. #123 |  The Zach Bell Show » Blog Archive » If Only He Had Character | 

    […] its a letter that’ll never be authored by the guy it should be authored by.  From The Agitator, no analytical comment or description is neccessary.  This is simply the best thing I have read to […]

  124. #124 |  Rhayader | 

    Hey billextreme, you can tell your 11 year old son to smoke pot if you want, but in my mind that’s a little too young. Do you let him drink at 11? Probably not. But will you have a problem if he wants to crack a beer when he is 21? I doubt it.

    Marijuana is no different (well, actually it is different — it’s safer). While an 11 year old kid shouldn’t be toking up, what is the issue with a 23 year old guy ripping a bong? Is he putting other people in danger? Giving himself an unfair advantage in his sport? Heading down a trail of heroin and crack addiction? No, he’s relaxing on his time off. Big freakin’ deal.

  125. #125 |  Mark Phelps « Guido’s | 

    […] http://www.theagitator.com/2009/02/01/a-letter-id-like-to-see-but-wont/ […]

  126. #126 |  bud | 

    To Robby Burns: Don’t be stupid! Tell your kids the truth! Drugs are bad Mmkay? But tell ’em that it’s all bad until your are old enough to make up your own mind. If it was ALL made legal the chances of your kids taking drugs would drop 90%. Illegal drug dealers don’t card and stupid parents can’t figure that out!! You should be showing your kids how not to get arrested!

    WTG Radley!

    visit leap.org

  127. #127 |  HippyFish | 

    Good stuff. Just good stuff.

  128. #128 |  A great article… « Al Jahom’s Final Word | 

    […] A great article… Filed under: Larf, Liberty, Thicko Culture, Uncommon Sense — aljahom @ 5:52 pm .. about the stupidity, ignorance, futility and counterproductivity of the War on Drugs. Written in the context of an imagined open letter from Michael Phelps – who recently proved that it is possible to be a world class athlete and smoke a bong – there are lots of links to depressing episodes of police brutality, state incompetence and the latent evil of bureaucracy in the USA – of which there are string echoes in the UK. A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t) […]

  129. #129 |  Eric | 

    “Yet you watch. And cheer.”

    Then they cheer as they realize they get millions of dollars for playing a game while other people freeze to death in the streets.

    But otherwise, yeah, good rant.

    Remember kids, taking drugs to feel better about yourself is bad, unless the drugs are advertised on TV and sold by a corporation, then it is your patriotic duty to down as may pills as you can fit in your gob.

  130. #130 |  Emily | 

    Brilliant. Nothing else needs to be said.

  131. #131 |  Withers: Let’s not get too heated over Prop 8 money | 365 Gay News | 

    […] A note to Olympic champion Michael Phelps: here is an “apology” you really should give. var […]

  132. #132 |  Jo | 

    YES! Glad I’m not the only one thinking this!!

  133. #133 |  The Crossed Pond » Dear Michael Phelps | 

    […] Radley Balko even wrote your letter to America for you. Dear America, […]

  134. #134 |  Dave Baker | 

    Hey billextreme, what’s with the anti-Phelps crusade? You’ve got all the negative BS gathered together on a facebook page and you write these judgmental condescending things on the page. (In very poor English I might add. Oh the irony. Did you come out stupid while remaining straight, narrow, and sober your whole life?)
    Phelps works hard when he has to work hard and relaxes in the free time he has earned through his hard work.
    The articles you link to from your petty sad sorry facebook crusade all have “anonymous” quotes from partygoers. Talk about questionable slipshoddy reporting. Does the term “lack of credibility” mean anything to you or is that too thick with implication for someone who can’t even get the present participle verb form correct in a sentence? Well, that’s a rhetorical question since it obviously is too much for your limited capacity but a legitimate question is: Have you ever had a drink of alcohol? If so, what is the difference between you getting a buzz in that manner and someone gettting a buzz through marijuana? (And skip the legal issue, we all know that is a difference. But it is the ONLY difference and that gets to the heart of the matter.)
    Perhaps you are one of the DEA or prison employees who wastes 17 BILLION DOLLARS OF TAXPAYERS’ MONEY every year raiding good honest citizens’ homes or incarcerating good honest citizens who do all of the other things good honest citizens do with their lives. We could use that money to give all of the public school teachers a much deserved raise. That would be productive and help our children. It would get better pay for the people that are teaching your 11 year old son.
    I was working a job, paying my bills, writing books, going to movies, going out to dinner, going on dates, etc., when my house was raided because I chose to grow my own pot as opposed to wasting time and money by buying it from a dealer. What do you do different with your time that makes you more of a value to our society? What have you done that is so beneficial that allows you to look down and condescend to M. Phelps who has won 14 Olympic gold medals to honor the United States? Who will testify on your behalf that you are worthy and a bright spot to your community?
    Look at all the strangers on this board alone that don’t even know M. Phelps but who are defending him. You’ve got one faceless little facebook “friend” on your anti-Phelps crusade page. You’re a sad pitiful little bity man. Go to hell, sincerely, and take your high horse with you.

  135. #135 |  Douglas Willinger | 

    It is good to see blogging on the same wavelength!


    Only I would never use the term “dope” to refer to Cannabis, rather then its appropriate use referring to the drug war’s average supporters.

  136. #136 |  Karen | 


  137. #137 |  Iolanthe | 

    Andy, you don’t know what “sycophant” means, do you?

    You also do not know the first thing about cannabis.

    Moreover, you come across like some Marxist Nannystater who adores government so big it can spy on every aspect of our lives.

    A successful healthy bright young guy decides to indulge in a little mild (albeit illegal, for the most ridiculous historical reasons) intoxicant at a party — an intoxicant that will do him far less harm than an equivalent dose of beer — and you’re ready to lock up most of the US, blathering along about “addictive” and “dangerous”.

    You need to arm yourself with some real facts, not crud from ONDCP and NIDA. You are on the wrong side of history, and the wrong side of truth. That ought to bother you.

  138. #138 |  Iolanthe | 

    billextreme, do you tell your 11-year-old that he should start drinking beer?

    No. Responsible use of intoxicants, whether beer, vodka, or cannabis, begins in young adulthood.

    I don’t see where admitting that cannabis is as safe (actually, far, far safer) as beer is opening the door to pot-smoking by 11-year-olds. Your kid should be leaving both alone until he achieves young adulthood. Expect him to be trying both, no matter *WHAT* kind of government-approved BS you’ve been telling him, by the time he’s college-age.

    Your kid will respect you more, and listen harder, if you don’t indulge in silly dishonest hyperbole, passing on a bunch of long-disproved Old DEA Agents’ Tales about the HORRORS OF POT!!!

    Yes, billextreme, your government has been lying its ass off about cannabis, for decades, hoping that folks like you would go along. Wake up.

  139. #139 |  Toby | 

    Right fucking on. Reminds me of another great opponent of the drug war:

    “A young man on acid today realized that all matter is energy condensed to a slow vibration… we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively… there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.”

    – Bill Hicks

  140. #140 |  One Fine Jay » Michael Phelps is my hero. | 

    […] course Radley Balko has the fictitious letter that we would all want to see, but what are the chances of that, […]

  141. #141 |  A Dirty Hippie » I got mentioned in an article about Michael Phelps | 

    […] http://www.theagitator.com/2009/02/01/a-letter-id-like-to-see-but-wont/ […]

  142. #142 |  God | 

    I totally agree with your letter. I have even joined the Facebook group that supports Michael Phelps becoming an advocate for cannabis awareness.

    I gave you cannabis to consume, not to put your colored men behind bars while fattening the pockets of legislators.

    Please join me, God, in this facebook group.

  143. #143 |  Matty | 

    SLAM!!! Of course this won’t really change anything. Only the course of time and a much more understanding generation of people will.

  144. #144 |  Please join Agitator | 

    Phelps should say
    “I was smoking weed at that party. In fact, I have smoked weed quite a few times in my life nd it doesn’t seem to have really affected my ability to perform. My 13 gold medals speak for themselves. Among other people who have admitted smoking pot are President Obama, Santonio Holmes, Bill Clinton and many other upstanding citizens. The fact is that this drug shoudl be legal. It is only due to what are essentially bribes from the pharmeatical and alcohol industries payable to senators and representatives that it is not. I will do what is right and stand up for this cause because I have tons of money, am the greatest olympian ever and refuse to just be one of the sheep.”

    I have joined the facebook group dedicated to Michael Phelps smoking cannabis and the need for him to be an advocate for cannabis awareness.


  145. #145 |  Fantasy Politics « Beware The Man | 

    […] What Michael Phelps and his publicists SHOULD be saying.   […]

  146. #146 |  matt | 

    absolutely golden

  147. #147 |  The Democratic Republican | 

    For all those saying what a bad role model Phelps would be for your kid, let’s get to the real effing issue:

    Who made it your business to call the guy a role model? You want him to go out and make your country look good and make you feel better about your life and then you live with this delusion that you have some kind of ownership over him. You don’t. If you don’t like his personal life, don’t watch the next Olympics.

    Athletes are entertainers paid to do what they do on the field. They are not your role model, friend, pal, buddy, or anything of any emotional significance to you.

    Please worry more about your child learning to be obese, alcoholic, abusive to women, or whatever vice you may have on a daily basis rather than one picture of a guy you will never meet.

  148. #148 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    @69 Andy | February 2nd, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Phelps use (and apparent enjoyment) of marijuana shows just how dangerous this drug can be. This drug is so addictive and tempting, even an Olympic hero would risk destroying this career over it. This is all the more reason why we need to escalate the war the drugs; this drug needs to get off the street before more of america’s best and brightest fall victim. I propose a two fold approach. First, police need to be given broader powers to investigate and arrest marijuana users. Second, harsher penalties should be legislatively mandated so marijuana users cannot get off scott-free.

    Andy, I do believe that might be the best troll I’ve ever seen. I realize that sarcasm is a tough sell in print without hints. You get a 10/10 for fooling so many posters.

  149. #149 |  mick martin | 

    …i only swim on water, i don’t walk on it…

  150. #150 |  My sentiments exactly. « My Beautiful Wickedness | 

    […] I ran across this Radley Balko piece on Michael Phelps and I thought I’d pass it along. I never was a pot smoker. I hung out with a lot of pot […]

  151. #151 |  jackl | 

    Well done, Sir!

  152. #152 |  Michael Phelps photographed taking a bong hit. - Page 4 - TideFans.com | 

    […] Michael Phelps photographed taking a bong hit. The Agitator Blog Archive A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t) A letter Michael Phelps should write to America. I have to agree with 100% of […]

  153. #153 |  Heather | 

    A lot of people agree with point of this proposed letter. I tuned into some sports talk shows and was suprised to hear a good number of sports fans defending Michael Phelps.

    The main stream media attempts to whip up hysteria is not going as well as they would like it to go. I think this may be another positive example of how the internet is making it more difficult for the msm to set the tone or control the vibe about social and political issues.

  154. #154 |  Nothing Wrong « Howling Point | 

    […] mandated to prove the impartiality of the system, please read the best post out there.  The letter he should have sent.  [via] Chuck posted this on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at  9:39 am.     […]

  155. #155 |  “Bluntly Speaking…” | 

    […] my own commentary, I’ll just lazily re-post a brilliant letter written by Radley Balko from TheAgitator.com Dear […]

  156. #156 |  jose blanco | 


  157. #157 |  Oguillory | 

    …….if what I think is happening……and we are in for a society shifting, culturally shocking economic depression…….me thinks the drug war may be on it’s last legs……not only would legalization of all drugs boost tourism and the economy, it would reduce monies spent on incarceration, the justice system etc., and frankly, when it gets really bad, the children of boomers could care less if pot was legal……so tick, tick, tick…..their time is numbered..



  158. #158 |  jesse | 

    RAW TRUTH, i agree with everything he said, fuck anyone who thinks they have the right to tell us we can’t smoke pot. i smoke pot daily,and still maintain all A”s and B”s in school.

    oh and props to phelps, i bet he can take the biggest bong rip than anyone

  159. #159 |  J Booth | 

    WAY TO GO !!!

  160. #160 |  Lo | 

    Hey Dave Baker, alcohol almost killed me too. I took the less tradition, but newly popular “young female quickly escalating to death-inducing levels of drinking before age 25” route, which comes with its own challenges but gets you sober young, unless you die, which most of us do. I was fortunate to stop at 23.

    Then after 3 years sober I had a bit of a health crisis. I decided to try pot instead of chemotherapy-style drugs — since facing death several times, I usually choose the option least likely to cause my death. Completely ostracized from AA, I somehow managed to not drink despite near-daily marijuana use for the last two years. Not only has cannabis helped substantially with my medical condition, it’s had the awful side effects of reducing my anxiety, beating 20-year-long depression, and getting me off state disability & back to work. The horror!

    I hope that you have the opportunity to smoke cannabis freely & legally someday. I’m a medical patient here in Cali, and the liberation from the stigma & paranoia is awesome!

  161. #161 |  Pmes | 

    They have no case….. I roll my own cigarettes and they look like joints. They aren’t and a photo would prove nothing. I also have a sheesha pipe (hookah) that I picked up in Egypt. It’s a tobacco device… but a photo may lead the ignorant to a different conclusion. As to a bong, yeah, he was probably smoking weed which is fine. But, without the bong, a blood test or any confiscated paraphenillia, what can he be charged with. I’d say go to hell…..

  162. #162 |  Larry | 

    Out-of-control drug laws (especially Pot), yet another infringement on our rights by the gov’t. Add it to the ever-growing list of violations:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like “America Deceived” from Amazon, Wikipedia and Facebook.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns during Katrina.
    They violate the 4th Amendment by conducting warrant-less wiretaps.
    They violate the 5th and 6th Amendment by suspending habeas corpus.
    They violate the 8th Amendment by torturing at Gitmo.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting illegal wars without declaration.
    Impeach them all (both parties) and save this great country.
    Last link (unless Google Books caves to the gov’t and drops the title):

  163. #163 |  Dave Baker | 

    Hi Lo (haha, that was fun to write),
    My mother is from San Diego but she moved to Kentucky when she married my father. So I’m in da ‘Ville, as we say. I didn’t quit drinking until I was 30 but I did it without any group support like AA or Al-Anon (my father is a functional alcoholic and will be drinking ’til the day he dies.) I’ve always had pretty strong will power. I quit smoking cigarettes in the blink of an eye and never faultered or looked back from that decision. It took a point later in life to give up drinking but the abstinence from cigs and alcohol both went down in the same fashion. That is, I went, “This is fucking going to kill me! Oh shit, I should stop!” And so I stopped. I occasionally smoke pot despite the raid on my house but other than that, I’m pretty much just a coffee junkie, lol. It’s funny, when I was busted for growing, the court ordered me to attend X-many hours of AA. I’m sitting in there listening to the same people over and over tell the same anecdotes over and over at different meetings and I’m thinking that all of that was behind me and I never needed the group thing but there I was wasting my time because of this other substance that never fucked me up. The irony had more sharp curves than an ampersand. Anyhow, I’m working on a non-fiction book right now (hit page 175 yesterday) about the detriment in my life from being sexually abused when I was 11. I called the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Louisville Metro Police Department twice in 2007 to report this pedophile and I never recieved a return call!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, while four narcs replete with a helicopter raided my house over some pot plants, I don’t even get a mother fucking return call about a child molester living in a middle class neighborhood in the heart of a Louisville suburb. Anyhow, that will all be put into the history of our great upstanding society soon enough. As my editor said, “I think the writing in Stilborn Hearts is on par or even better than the writing in Once Removed.” Once Removed is my (unpublished, if any publishers are reading this!) masterpiece. It demonstrates “a breakthrough to genius” is how an English Lit. Master’s Degree holder described it. So the whole hypocrisy of the hallowed War on Drugs will have that blaring misapplication of faux-justice thrown right in its shit-eating face.
    American Public Policy report, via Louisville KY: Raid the guy’s house that’s growing pot but don’t worry about the child molester.
    Anyhow, I’m glad you’re doing well enough and I hope the medical ordeal has already breached the summit and that the darkest days are behind you.
    As I wrote in one of my poems:
    “We all know real currency is simply human attention.” So keep your friends close and appreciate their company when things
    are darkest. For my part, I’m sending you my most benevolent vibes.
    Until then,

  164. #164 |  Keith Wester | 

    Michael is Right,
    Where do we ( The Public ) get off passing judgement on a man who has worked so hard to get where he is at personally and publicly. America clean up your own backyards & closet’s, before you get so high & mighty and throw your 2 cents in on what he may or may not do in his private life. America place your anger where it belongs, like for instance Wall Street, Unemployment & The Housing Market just to name a few. Get a clue Everyone “Pot” is not the root of all evil & decline.

  165. #165 |  Commentary on Phelps and Pot... - SoWal Beaches Forum | 

    […] Phelps should have said. The Agitator

  166. #166 |  Baron Mordo | 

    Our high school team won the division championship in baseball in 1969 with a 23-4 record. I was All State pitcher, and we had three other people all state. All the pitchers and three others smoked pot. Better than drinking. Enough of these idiotic USA drug laws, that now have seeped in the Netherlands of all places.

  167. #167 |  coffee | 

    i wonder if someone sold the photo to that British tabloid…

  168. #168 |  Fritzburgh | 

    ::standing ovation::

  169. #169 |  Michael Phelps Reportedly Photographed Hitting Bong - Page 3 - IH8MUD Forums | 

    […] only he had the balls (brains?) to write something like this in response: The Agitator Blog Archive A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t) __________________ 1982 BJ-42 RHD; an "on the road" work in progress 2002 Mazda […]

  170. #170 |  former_bonger | 

    There was once a time when I hoped that this debate would have not have been possible by this date. In the 70’s I remember watching “Pumping Iron” and saw Arnold hitting a big fatty after his Mr. Olympia title. State’s were decriminalizing marijuana for small amounts for personnal use. WTF happened? Len Bias died from cocaine abuse. And Nancy Reagan said “just say no”. And everything got lumped into one big category. I achieved an education and professional status despite hitting a bong. I also raised 2 great sons who have no substance abuse issues. I admit that I have made mistakes in my life, but alcohol was the problem, not weed. Do you realize that there is a natural receptor on brain cells for the THC molecule? That suggests that THC played a role in our natural evolution on this plant. The presence of a specific receptor on our brain cells is not by accident. It is a result of natural selection in the evolutionary process. It’s time to move on to more important subjects.

  171. #171 |  P.A. Hinkel | 

    Michael~ YES-!! I, among many, are So for what You have said.No frickin’ apologizes…NO Reason, my friend~
    geeze, I trained to be a top runner in N.M. ) ran with the best. I trained for many years to be on the ‘Top 10 List’ and Nat’l Champion in Tae Kwon Do, so I do realize what training is about…Not to Your extent though, but I do have that sense. Good Fuc**ng for YOU!!. You have the big ‘ol balls to stand up to say this. I am completly behind You! yes, I’m a ‘baby boomer’ and also have been a very competive althete. I have also worked within the school districts for many years but I do very much stand behind what You said!! Once again, Yes!! Good for YOU and what YOU SAID and stated!! GO~Michael!! Patricia Hinkel-

  172. #172 |  P.A. Hinkel | 

    What a bunch of B.S. on the use of mj..get a grip! There are Way toooo many hipocrites blabbing on and on! look at your own shit is what I say!

  173. #173 |  P.A. Hinkel | 

    Whooaa–there’s Way too much B.S. from those whom cannot deliver….. Michael is among Those Whom can Stand Up!! there are tooo many blah-blah-people!

  174. #174 |  Hooch | 

    This would have made Peter McWilliams proud!

  175. #175 |  Winter’s Haven » Link One, Link Two, Link Three | 

    […] Michael Phelps is observed smoking marijuana. He apologized, but I like Radley Balko’s response better. I think this is the most beautiful rant I’ve ever […]

  176. #176 |  Mike Cunningham | 

    I couldn’t have said it better. It’s too damn bad Phelps didn’t come up with that response. I, personally, butt heads with anyone who spouts the lies that our once great government disseminates about Cannabis. Walters, our “Drug Czar”, is a LIAR of the worst sort. Their day will soon be over. My best friend also uses cannabis as a crutch/substitute to get him off a life threatening bout with alcoholism. It is working! The World would be a much better place if everyone substituted Cannabis for alcohol. I admit, I do like my wine. sorry.

  177. #177 |  Blog Antagonist | 

    I wrote about the same issue today, but you did it much more cleverly. Bravo. And, well said.

  178. #178 |  Thomas O. Anderson | 

    If Phelps had actually written these words, he could have been an “eternal revolutionary hero.” But by backing down, he’s just another “temporary shill” for the Matrix.

  179. #179 |  Dave Baker | 

    Check out the article in the link below


    If you all really want to support Phelps, let’s start boycotting Kellog products for their decision to dump Phelps as a sponsor. There is only one language these people understand. I wouldn’t be surprised if some major stockholders at Kellog own shares in the alcohol and/or pharmaceutical industries. Regadless, if they think they will lose customers by keeping him, let’s MAKE CERTAIN that they lose customers for shunning him.

  180. #180 |  Chris Brunner .com » Blog Archive » Why You Should Boycott Kellogg | 

    […] Kellogg has dropped Michael Phelps because someone found a photo of him smoking pot. Phelps apologized, but here’s the letter he should have written instead: […]

  181. #181 |  Karen | 

    I, too, am so angry that this man is being vilified for the harmless act of smoking pot. To think his promising career and possible future gold medals hang in the balance makes my gut wrench; how ignorant, ridiculous, hypocritical, unfair and inapproprate. It’s time for those of us who feel it is WAY past time this country lifts it’s prohibition of marijuana to come out of the closet and make some noise. I know I’m gonna. What a travesty.

  182. #182 |  Mr. Darcy | 

    Dear Mr. Radley Balko:
    Perhaps I should know, but just who is Mr. Phelps? And why does anyone care if he likes to imbibe with something so arcane as a “bong”? Surely sir, your rant is misdirected, the use of an illegal substance should be questioned and the user punished, where appropriate. If you wish it otherwise, why not work diligently by using your modest writing skills to change the law(s). Despite your obvious wish that it was otherwise, we are sir, still a democracy. Your opinionated prose, appeals to the choir and the choir are most certainly ignorant of reality. If Mr. Phelps had been photographed shooting heroin or smoking a crack pipe, I am certain your reaction would take on a far different tone. The Phelps person is a fool and trapped in an untenable position. You sir, are pompous hypocrite and will never attain Mr. Phelps’ status no matter how droll you consider your writing to be.

  183. #183 |  David Berger | 

    *Standing ovation*

  184. #184 |  Something is Different: How the Media is Covering the Phelps Scandal | Box Score Beat | 

    […] Balko of The Agitator wrote a fictional post entitled “A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t).” The post, written as a […]

  185. #185 |  Rhubarb Koznowski | 

    Some confusion here…not unexpected. Kellogg has responded to the use of marijuana with typical authoritarian knee-jerk behavior. What they fail to realize, and this is affirmed by some of the preceding posts, is that the cannabis controversy is not about a drug. It is about money, and power. So many people get caught up in the debate about the harmful effects of pot versus alcohol and other substances that they lose sight of the real issue here. The Powers that Be use marijuana as a ‘gateway’ drug. The gate is the user’s front door, or possibly a window at three o’clock in the morning. The odor of pot is a handy excuse to wear body armor and masks, sporting a badge and kicking in the entryway. The ‘drug’ is innocuous, yet curiously testable for a month with a urine sample. Alcohol on the other hand returns a negative response after about seventy-two hours. For more facts (and fiction), go to http://www.drcnet.org. This is the premier site on the internet for unbiased information about drugs and their culture.
    It’s a real shame…I liked their cereals. Now I too will boycott them.

  186. #186 |  Dave Baker | 

    Dear Mr. Darcy,
    You are an ass of the highest order. Your asshood is most prominently displayed in your phenomenal ignorance of the person who recently won the most gold medals ever achieved by an athlete during the course of a single Olympics.
    Your crowning asshood is then further engendered with your use of such stuffy words like “imbibe” and “arcane” as if you are trying to talk around the silver spoon in your mouth and fart around the gilded stick up your ass. Furthermore, your contention that a bong is “arcane” seems to place you in some numinous nether world during your formative years where people’s only differentiation in their choice of a buzz (used to forget that all of their friends are the kind of bland hapless snots who frown on those who don’t know which fork to use with the salad) is whether they want their martini dry or not.
    You condemn Mr. Balko’s writing skills as being modest while demonstrating the kind of “talent” which is perenially demonstrated by people whose only champions are those of friends and family and whose own writing is only in existence as a result of priviledge and blue-blood nepotism.
    And who in the world decried the democracy that we live in? You pen retorts to contentions that were never made. Decrying that those who are elected are answering the bought-and-paid-for wishes of a greedy few in exchange for some good old fashioned misleading propaganda is hardly a denouncement of democracy. Indeed, it would be just the opposite as brainwashing seems to be more in the realm of dictatorial regimes aimed at keeping the truth off balace in the minds of the masses.
    And what does “the choir are most certainly ignorant of reality” even mean? That’s just a string of senseless words more akin to rambling in one’s sleep than it is akin to a meaningful sentence.
    Then you make a statement which is completely out of bounds of anything that Mr. Balko has addressed. What in the world does shooting heroin or smoking crack have to do with the pot smoking Olympian that has won 14 gold medals (that your too stupid to know about)? To make such a claim is specious at best. I might as well say, “Mr. Darcy, you could hardly speak with such a contemptuous tone if all of the readers of your epistle knew that you had strangled your own mother with a pair of her panty hose.”
    See what a stupid statement that is since you didn’t kill your own mother? Likewise, nobody is advocating for the decriminalization of heroin or crack so don’t place words in Mr. Balko’s ink well so that you can then add another artificially bloated sentence to your already floundering rebuttal.
    Mr. Phelps is only a fool at the hands of a thousand fools who came before him and shook their sebaceous palms under a spit shined table in an agreement to talk out of both sides of their mouths to obedient twits like you. What’s untenable is the demonization of that which cuts like a feather beside the definitively deleterious substances you no doubt sip from with your obsequiously puckered lips. Take a minute to put down that glass full of hypocrisy-on-the-rocks and, on behalf of the persecuted masses of harmless pot smokers, kiss my ass.
    Consider my own droll writing to be a sign of my eternal disdain for square headed atavistic knuckle dragging dolts such as yourself.
    You calling someone pompous is classic. What could be more pompous than the tone you take, as if you are channelling Cervantes in your writing while you don’t even achieve the level of some mediocre pulp fiction? Even your choice of a handle is pompous… “Oh Mr. Daawceee, good sir, I can’t genuflect low enough to bid you all the high esteem one of your good breeding is entitled to.”
    And before I go, I’ll advise you to look up the word hypocrite. Though it isn’t so complex an idea as, say, irony, you have managed to mangle the concept somewhere between the hollow space inside your ears and the launch pad for the words that come out of your stridently duplicitous mouth.
    Good day, Mr. Daaawceeee, may you choke on a cocktail onion and turn four shades of purple before an indifferent flock of the fine company you keep.

  187. #187 |  Rogue Medic | 

    Mr. Darcy wrote, Surely sir, your rant is misdirected, the use of an illegal substance should be questioned and the user punished, where appropriate. If you wish it otherwise, why not work diligently by using your modest writing skills to change the law(s).

    Well, Mr. Darcy, I guess you are not familiar with the use of satire to make a political point. Mr. Balko wrote an excellent satirical portrayal of the hypocritical and destructive nature of the War on Drugs. Not misdirected, at all. Your comment, on the other hand, is an example of a misdirected rant.

    Mr. Darcy also wrote, Despite your obvious wish that it was otherwise, we are sir, still a democracy.

    Mr. Darcy, the US is not a democracy.

    Mr. Darcy further wrote, Your opinionated prose, appeals to the choir and the choir are most certainly ignorant of reality.

    Mr. Darcy, is there no end to the hypocrisy in your opinionated and inaccurate prose.

    Mr. Darcy continued his mistakes with, If Mr. Phelps had been photographed shooting heroin or smoking a crack pipe, I am certain your reaction would take on a far different tone.

    Mr. Darcy. You are creating imaginary situations to be able to pretend to have some moral superiority to Mr. Balko. You do not.

    Mr. Darcy apparently ran out of wind, long before Mr. Balko. He finished up with, The Phelps person is a fool and trapped in an untenable position. You sir, are pompous hypocrite and will never attain Mr. Phelps’ status no matter how droll you consider your writing to be.

    What kind of untenable position is this multimillionaire multi-gold medal winning young man in? Your last line just continues your hypocrisy. You are a pompous hypocrite and will never attain Mr. Balko’s status no matter how droll you consider your writing to be.

    You, Mr. Darcy, had many valid possibilities for criticism. After all, no work is perfect. In stead, you chose to create problems that do not exist. You made a big show of criticizing these straw men. Now, you just look pathetic.

  188. #188 |  The Briefcase » SCOTUS arguments, judicial nominations, dope, and other stuff | 

    […] coupled with promises that he had seen the error of his ways.  The always-reliable Radley Balko has a letter he thinks Phelps should have written instead.  An excerpt: Here’s a crazy thought: […]

  189. #189 |  Clark | 

    The greatest & most enduring tragedy repeated endlessly by the outrageous perpetuation of lies & propaganda re cannabis is their net effect on those (especially young people) who discover that they ARE lies & propaganda: we lose their listening, & therefore face an unnecessarily difficult task in convincing them of the very real dangers of TRULY dangerous drugs, i.e. alcohol, crack, meth, etc.

  190. #190 |  Heather | 

    If MP ever did write a litter like this I’d lose a hell of a lot more respect for him than I ever did when I saw the photo.

  191. #191 |  Dee | 

    Oh grow the hell up…
    Why don’t you do something productive with your time besides writting fanasy gripe letters .

  192. #192 |  Steve | 

    You’ve got a new subscriber.

  193. #193 |  Dave Baker | 

    Heather, could you explain your position a little (or even a lot) further? You make a blanket statement without any substantiation. Given the validation of the opinions on the other side of the divide that have provided reasoning for their posititions, yours is rather inefficacious.

    Dee, do you not consider the unjustifiable persecution of good citizens that is empowered by the expenditure of billions of dollars of TAX PAYERS’ MONEY to be a cause worthy of editorial criticism? Certainly, your own puerile retort to Mr. Balko’s work doesn’t give good footing to your quip that he should “grown the hell up…”.

    As well, it would be informative regarding your two’s moral authority to know if you enjoy a mixed drink or a beer on occassion (or even frequently, for that matter)? And/Or do you have a significant other who enjoys a good drink on Friday evening after a long hard work week?

  194. #194 |  Tracy | 

    See this article in the Washington Post if you want to be heartbroken. SWAT team broke into a mayor’s house and shot his two dogs over 32 lbs. of marijuana that wasn’t intended for this family. Oops.


  195. #195 |  nobodysaysBOO | 

    thax for the GOOD SENSE!

  196. #196 |  Dee | 

    Nope I don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t feel the need to alter reality by using illegal drugs. Even if it was legal, I wouldn’t use it or see the point of them.
    Part of being an adult is facing stresses and dealing with them without needing to dilute your brain .
    There are millions of ways to relax and have a good time without
    using drugs or alcohol.
    MP should be removed from the Kellogg campaign because lets face it, the majority side with me in the fact that thinking weed usage is stupid.
    Really , would you give up multi millions of dollars in endorsments to smoke pot. That is what MP just did, so that tells everyone how stupid it really is…..

  197. #197 |  Dave Baker | 

    Here’s a list of the product brands which Kellog’s produces. Please do your part to right this illogical, irrational, and unjustified witch hunt, persecution, and defaming of the Olympic hero and great American Michael Phelps by boycotting all of the products produced under the following brand names. For my part, I’ve always enjoyed Eggo waffles but just yesterday I began purchasing the off brand. A fortuitous windfall is that I saved money in the product switch! In these tough times, every little bit helps.

    • All-Bran® Products
    • Apple Jacks® Cereal
    • Austin® Cookies and Crackers
    • Carr’s® Products
    • Cheez-It® Crackers
    • Chips Deluxe® Cookies
    • Club® Crackers
    • Crunchmania™ Products
    • Eggo® Products
    • EL Fudge® Sandwich Cookies
    • Famous Amos® Cookies
    • Fruit Flavored Rolls
    • Fudge Shoppe® Cookies
    • Gripz®
    • Hydrox® Cookies
    • Jack’s® Cookies
    • Jackson’s® Cookies
    • Keebler® Cookies and Crackers
    • Keebler® Grahams Crackers
    • Kellogg’s® Cereals and Snacks
    • Kellogg’s™ Cereal Straws
    • Kellogg’s™ Cocoa Krispies® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Corn Flake Crumbs
    • Kellogg’s® Corn Flakes Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Corn Pops® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Cracklin’ Oat Bran® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Crispix® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s™ Crunchy Nut™ Granola Bars
    • Kellogg’s® Froot Loops® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Frosted Flakes® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Honey Smacks® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Keebler Cookie Crunch™ Cereal
    • Kellogg’s™ Live Bright™ Brain Health Bars
    • Kellogg’s® Low Fat Granola
    • Kellogg’s® Mini-Wheats® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Mueslix® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Nutri-Grain® Products
    • Kellogg’s® Product 19® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Raisin Bran® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Raisin Bran Crunch® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Smart Start® Cereal
    • Kellogg’s™ Smorz™ Cereal
    • Kellogg’s® Special K® Products
    • Kellogg’s® Stuffing Mix
    • Kellogg’s® Yogos® Snacks
    • Krispy® Saltine Crackers
    • Morningstar Farms® Veggie Foods
    • Morningstar Farms® Natural and Organic Veggie Foods
    • Murray® Cookies
    • Murray® Sugar Free Cookies
    • Pop-Tarts® Toaster Pastries
    • Ready Crust® Pie Crusts
    • Rice Krispies® Cereal and Treats
    • Sandies® Cookies
    • Scooby-Doo!® Crackers
    • Soft Batch® Cookies
    • Themed Snacks
    • Toasteds® Crackers
    • Town House® Crackers
    • Vienna Cremes® Sandwich Cookies
    • Vienna Fingers® Cookies
    • Wheatables® Crackers
    • Worthington® Loma Linda® Veggie Foods
    • Worthington® Veggie Foods
    • Zesta® Crackers

    Michael, you are an amazing athlete and a one of a kind patriot and you do not deserve to be persecuted for your harmless actions enjoyed during the free time your rightfully earned with all of your immense hard work. Hard work the likes of which most people could never understand, comprehend, or duplicate.

  198. #198 |  Rhubarb Koznowski | 

    You make many valid points. Unfortunately for you, they are poorly thought out and furnish worthy arguments against your position.
    For instance: “Part of being an adult is facing stresses and dealing with them without needing to dilute your brain .
    There are millions of ways to relax and have a good time without
    using drugs or alcohol.”
    Your assertion that the use of drugs to relieve stress is somehow juvenile behavior flies in the face of the daily consumption by mankind of everything from green tea to Paxil. Civilization has been using various substances to alleviate stress for many years. It is not valid to link this behavior to your hazy measure of ‘adulthood’.
    “There are millions of ways to relax and have a good time without
    using drugs or alcohol.” Yes, and there are just as many ways to have a good time while using these substances.
    “the majority side with me in the fact that thinking weed usage is stupid.” This is simply a blatant attempt on your part to justify your position. There is no unbiased data to support this statement.
    “Really , would you give up multi millions of dollars in endorsments to smoke pot.” (sic) Michael Phelps gave up nothing. He was brought to task by the Kellogg Company for failing to uphold the standards they set. I doubt he would have freely participated in this matter if he had a choice. He certainly made a bargain that he violated; that is unfortunate on his part and also less than profitable for the Kellogg Company. The contractual obligation that he unwittingly broke is his failure to uphold the moral standard set out by Kellogg.
    The saddest part of this affair to me is his unwillingness to take a stand against this moral hypocrisy.
    I do not smoke pot, nor drink. This has little to do with the argument. Debate should be based on reason. If your position is that clearheadedness is the only path to enjoyment of life, I simply do not agree.
    Have a great day!

  199. #199 |  Dave Baker | 

    First of all, let’s get the variables aligned here. We aren’t talking about illegal “drugs”. We are talking about one drug. One is not a plurality. As well, alcohol and marijuana both do the exact same thing to the user. So, let’s not leave it out there that illegal drugs(sic) do something beyond the influence of widely used and accepted alcohol products.
    That cleared up, I certainly wouldn’t say they “alter reality” as reality is whatever the case at hand happens to be. Reality isn’t going to move aside no matter what one finds to put into their system.
    Your righteous claim that there are “millions of ways to relax and have a good time without the use of drugs and alcohol” is cetainly verifiable. But the fact of the matter, or the REALITY of the situation, is that there are thousands of liquor stores and bars in my city alone. I can walk to two dozen places from where I’m sitting and have a glass of wine, a beer, or a mixed drink. In alignment with that REALITY is the fact that innocent citizens are killed every week all around this country by people driving home from all of the bars in this country. One of my highschool teachers killed a man a dozen years ago because she was drunk and driving home late at night. About 40 miles away, in 1988, a man named Larry Mahoney killed 24 children and 3 adults while disfiguring 12 children from horrible burns suffered in the fire caused by the head on collision of his drunk-driving route down the wrong way of an interstate highway.
    Despite these incidences and similiar incidences every week of every year as well as less dramatic personal destruction at the hands of physiological dysfunction from alcohol, millions of Americans (who are neither as sanctimonious nor as sober as yourself) do enjoy inebriating their consciousness with alcohol. So, given that FACT OF OUR REALITY, just what exactly is the difference when someone chooses to enjoy a similiar inebriation of consciousness with a substance which is much less destructive both to the person using it and to innocent people at large on the roads? If our counrty wasn’t engaging in a blatant prejudice and glaring inconsistency concerning its persecution of users of the one substance and its televised endorsement and marketed consumption of the other (undeniably more harmful) substance then your sanctimonious position would have some credibility. But given the REALITY of the REAL WORLD beyond my front door, it is very clear that, UNTIL THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE WILLFUL PATRONS TO THE BILLION DOLLAR ALCOHOL INDUSTRY EVERY YEAR DECIDE THAT THEY TOO WILL REFRAIN FROM INEBRIATING THEMSELVES WITH ALCOHOL THEN YOU HAVE NO LOGICAL POSITION FROM WHICH TO FORMULATE A VIABLE DEMONIZATION OF MARIJUANA USERS. That is, IT IS THE EXACT SAME THING BUT FOR THE NATURE OF THE SUBSTANCE ITSELF. All acceptance to alcohol, which is indeed accepted and even celebrated in cool-and-ultrahip commercials full of beautiful people, undermines any and all resistance to the persecution of people who smoke marijuana.
    You say that MP just gave up multi-millions of dollars to smoke pot. That particular stance can be taken with the aid of huge blinders to many facets of the larger picture. One of those would be that some greedy cretin who will never accomplish a fraction of what Phelps has accomplished resorted to underhanded backstabbing to earn a buck for a one-of-a-kind photo. Isn’t it odd that nobody has taken credit for this amazing photograph? As well, without that photo as proof of his marijuana usage, you and none of the hypocrites who enjoy a glass of wine while judging Phelps would ever know that he smoked pot. That is, there is no actual demonstrable evidence to his usage which shows through in his amazing and unparalleled physical feats in the water. So that fact shows how STUPID the demonization and criminalization of marijuana is and that fact precedes and trumps your accusation of his stupidity. The stupidity you accuse him of is dependant upon the incipient stupidity of people such as yourself. So that is on you but for the fact that you and the powers-that-be, in your sanctimonious self-righteousness, see fit to persecute someone who is a perfectly upright and positive citizen and then you manage to sleep well at night in your glass houses.
    Furthermore, barring the existence of a photograph or first hand witnessing of the act itself, a drug tests using someone’s blood is crucial to noting someone’s marijuana usage. There is no distinction of these people in their mannerisms or speech or conduct in the populous and yet still you would maintain that one should be persecuted for this behavior? Regardless of no manifestation of detriment to the wider society such as driving the wrong goddamed way down an expressway, and despite a much less destructive force upon one’s personal health than alcohol, you would still endorse the persecution of people who do exactly what hundreds of millions of fellow Americans do with their wine, beer, martini, rum and coke, etc. except that they use a different substance? Is that what you are saying?
    And you failed to answer the second part of my question which, I note, you eagerly offered up an answer to the first part. That is, does your significant other, your mother, your father, your son, your daughter, your best friend, your friendly co-worker, etc., enjoy a good drink every now and then or every weekend or every evening after work? I’m not passing judgment on them for doing so. It’s understandable but it would be relevent to our discussion to know this.

  200. #200 |  Kelly Thomas | 

    Excellent letter. Ignore the naysayers like Mr. Darcy, who may have a large vocabulary but little logic.

    I couldn’t care less what athletes do or don’t do to their own bodies. It’s none of my business. I don’t buy things based on slick advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsements, nor do I waste money paying to watch mindless recreational activities. It’s too bad so many people do, because this over-marketing of a product is passed onto a consumer.

    Michael Phelps may have broken a record or two, but it hardly makes the world a better place. I do not owe Michael Phelps endorsement money because he competed in the Olympics and won a bunch of medals, nor should I have to pay more for a product I want because he endorses it. Perhaps we should not be arguing whether or not he deserves to lose his endorsements, but rather why we add billions of dollars to the cost of goods we would have bought regardless of a celebrity endorsement.

    This letter that never was signifies all that is wrong with our world. Instead of telling the media and naysayers to mind their own business, Michael Phelps proved to be a coward. If people actually stood up for their beliefs, the world would be a much better place. Instead, we have a global society that allows those who have seized power to run around unchecked, making rules and laws that do not apply to them, only the sheep. Instead of doing something to stop the decimation of our basic human rights, the genocide of the Palestinians, the destruction of Iraq, and the rape and torture of those who don’t think like us, people are taking the time to protest the actions of an Olympic medal winner who took a bong rip or two.

    How sad.

  201. #201 |  Mr. Darcy | 

    Dear Mr. Baker

    Oh my, how truly boorish you must be; to begin a communiqué using crass insults, peppered with gutter-speak, sadly illustrates a common-day trend of pandering to the lowest common denominator. After eight excruciating years of the most vile, corrupt junta this country has ever endured, you Mr. Baker appear to relish in such depths of mediocrity.

    I will allow you a modicum of leeway because your obvious fervent belief in the wonders of “pot”, betray what one can only presume to be an abundant use of the drug; resulting in your mind being full of fanciful notions as you closely ponder your navel. Disquieting as this may be, you do show willingness to write passionately, albeit lacking in serious content. Unfortunately Mr. Baker, you prove to be an ordinary “pot” advocate who would deny the freedom you wish for yourself to other citizens who want to enjoy heroin, cocaine, opium or any other drug they choose. So it is without surprise you chauvinistically write: “nobody is advocating for the decriminalization of heroin or crack”. Exactly! You prefer to have draconian laws specifically for whom you consider second-class citizens, as long as you are able to wander aimlessly about with a spliff dangling from your smug lips.

    As you draw on another big fatty Mr. Baker, you may do well to consider that mocking me for honestly admitting to not knowing who Mr. Phelps is and why I should care, shows a typical lack of tolerance to anyone who does not beat the same drum as you. It is the likes of your narrow-minded stance and inept routine that will prevent intelligent drug laws to be written in this country for many, many years to come.

  202. #202 |  Dee | 

    I don’t care what artificial rationale your using to try to denfend dope smoking, it’s a dumb irresponsible thing to do….
    You can drink a beer without getting drunk. You cannot smoke weed without getting high- so no, they are not the same.
    I don’t do either anymore, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke weed. Have I in the past, yes, but then I grew up and decided I couldn’t be an irresponsible teen forever.
    Paxil and other prescription drugs are there for people that have chemical imbalences- not for people to escape reality . Do some abuse presciption drugs yes, but and that is a problem. The story isn’t aimed at that so that’s really moot.
    Think what you want but the grown up world doesn’t put up with potheads. They weed them out with drug tests- FOR A REASON.

  203. #203 |  Lillian | 

    Let’s back him up with more than just our words. How about not buying any of the products that have dropped their endorsements of Michael… and let the companies know why you’re not buying their products anymore.

  204. #204 |  Dave Baker | 

    Dee, you say “You can drink a beer without getting drunk. You cannot smoke weed without getting high- so no, they are not the same.”

    But therein your attempt at logic breaks down with all the alacrity of Mr. Darcy’s hopes of being an admired essayist.

    “Drunk” is a relative term and one whose lower parameter is subject to the determining disitinctions of those who would want, for whatever reasons, to classify one as being “drunk”. A clear example of this ambiguity is in my own state of residence, several years ago, one’s breaching of the legal status of Driving Under the Influence was lowered from a blood alcohol level of .1 to that of .08. So there we have the very definition of “drunk” being changed for the purposes of adjudication in the legal system.
    The more appropriate and veritable classification, one that is applicable to all substances of an innate altering of one’s state of mind, would be whether or not a change takes place upon use of the substance. To use the lay term, let’s say that one feels a buzz. Now, though one or two or three drinks leaves one below the legal limit of intoxication, it is completely erroneous to say they don’t give one a “buzz”. The proof of this fact is the act itself because if the taking of these drinks leaves one as one was prior to their consumption, why in the world would people pay this ungodly amount for said drinks? To do so with no other pay off than the flavor of the drink itself is a ridiculous contention. Are you saying that people pay $8.00 for 1.5 ounces of a drink over ice with ten cents worth of a mixer simply because it has the rather unpleasant flavor of bourbon, vodka, or gin? That’s a ludicrous point. People pay so much for alcohol because it gives them a buzz even if they have the responsible character to refrain from over indulgence and the subsequent headlong fall into drunkenness.

    And now, too, you admit to using in the past but you’ve moved beyond it? So now that you’ve made this great paradigm shift in your own personal composition, you can point back at others and say “Tssk tssk. That’s a no-no and you get what you deserve.” As well, I can’t help but ask, now that you’ve forsaken the selfish indulgences of adolescence and young adulthood, what is it that you do to better the world at large. Do you feed or cloth the mendicants in the street? Offer your warm company and healing hand for the sick? I only want to know because you seem to be devaluing time spent in a particular fashion by others whose time is rightfully their own to spend and, by default, substantiating your own life choices and appraising it’s value as more viable to the worthy progression of humanity.

    Mr. Darcy, you are a collassal fop. Even more so than I previously detected. Who even says “Oh my, how truly boorish…” What an incredible caricature of the self-satisfied and incredulous genteel dandy you are. You must walk about turning your pale powdered nose up at every mundane indication of anything that doesn’t align with the fashionable metropolitan reflection you see of yourself in the mote around your limestone castle. Robert Altman called, he said to get back in the Gosford Park script where you belong.

    You remind me of one of my favorite lines from Moby Dick. When Queequeg and Ishmael are moving for the docks to search for a ship to sign upon, the foreboding, if prescient, Elijah jumps out to warn them away from the doomed Pequod. Ishmael finally has his fill of the naysaying and with a dimissive wave of his hand says “Ahh, it’s the easiest thing in the world for a man to pretend as if he has a great secret in him.” You are just such a person and I’m quite sure that all the company you keep plays along with the facade and indeed renders up one of their own. What terrible dry drab company you must be. The slow deliberate talking James Lipton of your little highfalutin world where you’d just as soon crack a fart as a smile. I’m going to do you a favor even though I’d give the homeless guy down the street everything in my wallet before I’d so much as acknowledge your presence. This is my favor: Nobody that knows you takes you seriously. You’re a figment of your own imagination and that you’ve always come of short of any true profundity in the big wide complex world teething with aphorism like sun on the tip of every blade of dew drenched grass is no more lost on those around you than it is down in the empty echoe chamber of your barren mind.
    To put it less delicately, go fuck yourself you stiff shirt sack of shit. I’m all for people not marching to the beat of my drum. I relish the wide wonderful variation of human particularity. However, I take all the offense intended by those conniving human abysses of rapaciousness who would see fit to raid my house for the design of their own foray into El Dorado though it means oppressing my own freedom to spend my time and life in this reality however the fuck I want when I am doing nothing at all to bring harm to others. And anybody who thinks that the criminalization of marijuana is about anything at all but the weilding of huddled power in the pursuit of personal wealth
    and fortune is as slow as you are easy to mock, Mr. Daawceee, suh.

  205. #205 |  Dee | 

    Wow, have you read your words and how you rationalize everything into a state of acceptability to you. When exhibit behavior like this it is usually because they are addicted to something. Hummm….
    It’s sad. Seriously sad.

    No need to reply, it’s nonsense to come back because you’ll never see the absurdity of it all until it’s forced upon you wether it be a significant emotional event or something else.
    Good luck .

  206. #206 |  Rhubarb Koznowski | 

    Dave Baker, I was going to reply to Ms. Baker until I read your letter. No way can I match what you said. Dee is a sanctimonious troll and any further debate of her ludicrous position is truly a waste of time. Let’s go smoke a joint to clear the air…oops, I gave up smoking some fifteen years ago. Terribly addictive, ey?

  207. #207 |  Scott | 

    Dave, you sound like a nice young guy with a lot of energy .
    I like your energy, but I have to say you are really going to
    extremes to make this seem OK.
    People most certainly can drink to not get a buzz. To say the opposite shows your youth. My wife and I go out to dinner, comedy clubs , bars and so forth and I buy drinks because I like the taste. I’m never looking to get buzzed or drunk and haven’t been so in about 15 years. I like to go have a drink with friends.
    Not looking to get a buzz, and haven’t since I become a person that was responsible for things besides just me. It sounds like you haven’t hit that point in your life yet. I’d guess that it’s just you and your wife, no kids yets, right? You can think that kind of life is droll and fake but to most of us it is called adulthood after kids.
    Don’t assume that everyone that doesn’t smoke pot is high and mighty, because well, you know what they say about assuming.

    As far as pot. Phelps had conduct clauses in his contracts. He KNEW about them and made the choice to smoke it up anyway. It was dumb of him…period. Plain and simple. MIllions out the window because he made that choice to get high.
    Kids look up to people like Phelps, he has an obligation as a role model, an American that has worldwide recognition, and to his companies to walk a straight line while his name was in the limelight. It isn’t that hard to do. If he did this 2 years from now it probably wouldn’t have been made such a big deal but he choose to do this weeks after signing his endorsments . The companies felt duped. More Moms buy cereal than anyone else. What mom will want to buy cereal with a pothead on the front- because that is how parents will look at it. His pot smoking got almost as much coverage as his swimming did. That is how this country rolls. Knowing that it would probably be plastered all over tarnation , Phelps STILL decided to make a poor choice. So yea, he has what came to him.

    If you have kids you should understand this. If you don’t, I’ll bet you once you do you’ll change your thoughts, almost everyone does.
    Would you want your kids doctors or nurses or teachers smoking pot. Or your doctor doing surgery on you after getting stoned or after a long fun night of partying?
    Come on, smoking pot is dumb dude.

  208. #208 |  Mr. Darcy | 

    Dear Mr. Baker

    One can only imagine if you were fortunate enough to encounter a “collassal(sic) fop, before you ran screaming for refuge in the burly arms of your big, ugly, hairy sister you would play dead in the hope that he would not ram his prized walking cane up your decaying anus.

    Truth be told sir, not only are you out of your league but you display a moribund delight in exposing your frailties as commentator. Do pull yourself together man! That you have no wit is obvious. Your unreasonable obsession for marijuana is a burden you will have to live with until you are ready to accept help, or some benevolent sole allows you into a treatment facility without conditions.

    Mr. Baker, I am not one to take offense at the rants of the proletariat, but you sir, over-step the mark by usurping the name of a dearly beloved friend and confidante. The late, gracious and supremely wise, Mr. Altman would, I have no doubt made it so that you would never ever get a table at Orsay, (as if you could ever be allowed into such a society tableaux!). Choose your targets carefully sir!

    That you need to prove your peculiar disguised fascination for all things queer, is astonishing, even to one as worldly wise as I. Although, your unquestionable disdain for those who will always remain better than you is extraordinary and quite unnerving.

    “To be so foolishly ignorant must be a handicap when dressing for dinner”, the late great and quite wonderful Robert Morley said to me one evening while partaking of a juniper berry martini at my chambers in St. James, many moons ago, most likely before your parents were born. I relish those words because dear Robert had argued the merits of drug taking with the most brilliant minds of the day. His was of course, able to present his case and hold steadfast without ever resulting to bawdy language. The use of profanity has long lost its charm or even shock value. You sir, are unable to attempt a valid point or counter an argument without resorting to Anglo Saxon verbiage.

    Trust me, my dear paranoid wretch, no one wants to raid the dreadful hovel you call a house or oppress your so-called freedom. You are an insignificant wisp or burp who clambers for the attention an arrest would bring. However, be clear, when you write: “the fuck I want when I am doing nothing at all to bring harm to others” you ignite the wrath of not only me but all good people who do not share your selfish, ignorant and wanky ideals.

    To put it simply Mr. Baker, you are so far out of touch with reality you actually take time to respond to me…and obviously I know so much better than you. My dear, if you are competent, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  209. #209 |  bill | 

    This is an epic win!

  210. #210 |  Phelps rapes 20 sexting teens then eats live puppy | 

    […] The Letter We Wish Michael Phelps Would Write __________________ I wish my butt were an oven so I could cook shit. […]

  211. #211 |  Support Michael Phelps » The letter Michael Phelps should have written | 

    […] This would really cost some sponsors, but it would sure feel good. February 7th, 2009 | Category: Positive | Leave a comment […]

  212. #212 |  Dave Baker | 

    Mr. Daawcee, I believe you’ve got your head so far up your seatside that it popped back out of your neck.

    “Truth be told, sir…” I picture a little thought bubble containing those words glued to a spring loaded bobble head for sale in a crossroads antique store that smells like old women and some kind of floral scented cream.

    “Mam, how much is this little bobble head? He would look great glued in the middle of my van’s dashboard.”
    “Oh that’s dumb old Mr. Daawcee. Well, he’s not worth very much. You can have him for a dollar fifty.”


    I’ve smoked pot twice in the last six months. Hardly an addiction by even the most stringent of standards, so you and that retarded cunt I’ve now bequeathed with the sobriquet of TweedleDee can let go of your tautological point of contention. The addiction angle is as viable as you are credible. And the whole absurd
    “rationalization” angle from TweedleDee doesn’t even make sense unless mere thought itself is to be considered self-delusion. (Which, for the pair of you, might actually seem likely on account of how rickety the mechanisms seem to be turning up your respective bell towers.)

    Oh gee, I’ve invoked the name of a brilliant dead film director. Well, fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a Kansas son… I’m sure an old moth ball such as yourself will be joining him soon enough so you can tell him all about the cardinal sin when you get there. While your babbling on to your betters, tell him on my behalf that I truly enjoyed the entire oeuvre (if I might cross pollinate the verbiage of one medium into that of another, Mr. Bobblehead Daawcee) of his career.

    Why does it not surprise me that you try to lay some exclusive claim to one such as Mr. Altman? You are exaclty the type of Poindexter that would embody some kind of squatter’s rights on such exemplary works and feign the notion that all that came from his hands was prologue in your own. Two peas in a pod, no doubt. But who the fuck has ever heard of you but for your fictive life spilt from the Ms. Austen’s pen. (Or would that be a quill?) I’m quite sure you have forever been just a step behind the greatest minds of your waning generation but in actuality your ersatz wisdom is merely dumbfounded and muted and you are perenially going “Oh yes, that is too true. I was just about to declare it so myself.”

    And while we’re on the subject of you going gently into that good night, I’ve got Mr. Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf queued in my DVD player to watch sometime this coming Sunday. That is, if you will grant a prole such as myself the esteemed honor of partaking… no, basking in the erudite conations of yet another master of the silver screen? Oh please oh please oh please.

    You know, at some point what was in front of you got under you and you never even saw it until it was behind you. Now it’s just something that you convinced yourself must have happened but it never did. C’est tout finis Mr. Daawcee.

    Indeed I’m a crude rude Anglo-Saxon proletariat mutt. I’m as common as a fucking cold and as stubborn as winter ice. I’m so ubiquitous you couldn’t find me on a map. I’m as egalitarian as dirt caught up in some redneck’s shitkicker. What it comes down to is, Mr. GosfordParkOrsayMorleyForayToTheChaletChardonayDarsay, I’m fucking real and you put on so many airs that you cease to even exist in the middle of the little whirling dirvish you’ve orchestrated. “Oh, shucks! What do I say now? What’s the RIGHT thing to say? What would I say if I were me? If I were… real?” A juniper berry martini? Really? You know I dug up some hard old gravel strewn yellow-brown clay out of the front yard of the property I used to have and hand planted a dozen and a half junipers along the roadside for a windbreak, some privacy, and as an aesthetic improvement to the view of the one lane road running on back to the handful of neighboring properties on the dead end lane. And it was a propery where this strange wolf-gray dog that weighed 95 pounds came along one day and I suppose some higher power directed him there because he sat on my porch for 3 days in 10 degree weather with nothing to eat and he wouldn’t leave. So that fourth morning when I got up some time in early December and he was still sitting on that cold poured concrete slab, I figured he was set on it being his home as much as mine so I put him in my truck and we went into town and I bought some dog food and I had him for 12 years before I had to put him down on account of the arthritis that had him to where he could hardly walk with the back leg all filled with buckshot from a wound he picked up somewhere and sometime before we ever came together. But years before that, while we were still out in that house where I nearly drank myself to death, and where I wrote my first great poem, and I wrote my first book, and I wrote my first play, we used to go hiking out into the 6000 acre park that surrounded my property and I felt like one of those tall old Hickorys or tall old Oaks or tall old Sycamore Maples except I had my legs to move me about and they had their giant mess of roots slipping like fingers through soft hair into the same back breaking dirt that I dug into up in my yard to plant those junipers. In that house that was the only place I’ve ever lived that I could see myself saying, “Yeah, I could make this my home for 40 years and I could die sitting on the big cedar deck I built on the back of the house resting on those uprights I hollowed out the post-holes for with the same two hands I wrote my poems with.” That’s how much I loved that place. And instead of taking a bunch of antidepressants, that numbed my mind and diluted the thoughts I liked to trap on the page when they were worthy of such, I smoked pot. And instead of spending my money on some pot that maybe someone between Kentucky and Mexico had been shot over and instead of wasting my time and gas driving around town trying to find that pot that maybe someone had died over, I grew my own. And one day four meathead assholes replete with a helicopter raided my house and I ended up with a felony conviction over it which I took in stride because really who gives a fat flying fuck about the front of rectitude of bovine assholes who get sadistic pleasure out of invading some harmless guy in a quiet house in the middle of a million trees. And the Alpha male of the pack asked me if I wanted to pay it forward and let him in on the “higher up” in some great conspiracy he had conjured up in his infinitesimally reductive mind. So I said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I suppose you’re too stupid figure out that I’m growing this weed to smoke.” And then they proceeded to take sandwich bags from my kitchen, where everybody in the whole fucking United States has sandwich bags, and they proceeded fabricate on the police report that they had confiscated scales that weren’t in my house.
    Well, that house and that property never were the same after that and I wrote my next book in a house down by the Ohio River in a house built in 1899 in the first settlement to what would eventually become Louisville. And I suppose that is what it is and I suppose I could have really dealt with such a moral authority of a power structure that persecutes certain birds of a feather while other birds of the same feather pitch their nests all over town. I mean, I was dealing with it and I had moved on from having the paradise I’d created while knocking a few years off the longevity of my lower back sinking the round-pointed shovel tip into that rock hard clay of my yard. But there came this point in time in 2007 when I finally breached a certain point in my maturation and I was this side of an incredible revelation about my formative years two and half decades ago. So I mustered up a great amount of courage and I called the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department to a report a pedophile, a sexual molester of children. And I waited two weeks without a return call in lieu of the message I had left. So I called them again and after being yelled at for mentioning that I had already called them, I was directed, yet again, to an answering machine and I left yet another message. And here I am 18 months later and I haven’t heard back from the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Louisville Meltropolitan Police Department regarding a pedophile, a sexual molester of children in their jurisdiction. So then the moral authority allowance kind of dried up like the brittle hide of an old dead snake.
    I’m living in a world where even the application of justice to the manifestation of evil is trumped by the greed of some gaggle of vapid assholes. So, no Mr. Daawcee and Ms. TweedleDee, it’s not paranoia encroaching on my ponderance and it wasn’t a wretched hovel they raided. It was a beautiful place where every spring I used to watch this same piliated woodpecker swoop from tree to tree in search of ants and such in the crevices of the bark. And once I saw a rattlesnake as long as I am tall and he was moving along with all the carefree speed of an old man shuffling along inside of an aluminum walker. And there was an odd poplar tree grown into a hard right angle where I’d sit up on the western slope with my dog beside me and I’d watch the sun go down before hiking home in the bluish light. The only thing I’ve got left from that life are my poems, that play, and that first novel and a Hemingway cat who showed up one day much like my dog and kind of imposed herself on me much the same. Well, I’ve got all that and a big boiling cauldron of hate which I’m more than adept at articulating. In fact I’m on page 175 of that very tale and should the finished work be bowdlerized by the likes of uptight cunts such as yourselves, I would venture it might see its page count cut in half. But that’s one home of mine that won’t be raided.
    So go fuck your good hole with something fine and barbed and keep at it until your masticated guts are piled up around your feet so high you trip over your useless insides to get away from yourself.

    Be good Mr. Koznowski, may we meet again in the cyberwild west

  213. #213 |  Mr. Darcy | 

    Dear Mr. Baker

    If you ever have the misfortune to steer further off course than you already are and venture into my orbit, I promise you sir, I will see to it that you take a large dose of comeuppance, the likes of which you will revere for as long as the gods allow you to defile this fine planet. In reality, you will of course turn about-face and run as fast as your scrawny appendages can carry you, if you were able to realize being in the same zip code as I. Alas Mr. Baker, for you this would prove rather arduous because, dear sir you have not the slightest idea as to my visage. I, on the other hand am fully equipped to recognize you at more than twenty paces. Not least of all because of your remarkable pong. Why, I can smell it from here, and I may add the stench has increased ten-fold since you began reading this incomparable missive.

    Leave the saber rattling to grown-ups Mr. Baker so we may get back to the original argument: You are in agreement with the notion that a certain Mr. Phelps, whose athletic abilities you hold in high esteem, who was photographed with a bong, should not apologize for his behavior and companies such as Kellogg should not penalize him. Moreover you advocate the decriminalization of marijuana and expect the world to agree with you, but you are horrified by the notion that all drugs should be legal. Your fatal mistake Mr. Baker is obvious to all but you and the sheep who cry like infants if they cannot get their selfish poxy way. Enough, dear puss-encumbered sloth! Dribble your intermittent stream of putrid nonsense from your flaccid pen as often and as long as you are capable. Remember, you will forever be looking over a wall at me in awe.

  214. #214 |  Rogue Medic | 


    You write, Dave, you sound like a nice young guy with a lot of energy .
    I like your energy, but I have to say you are really going to
    extremes to make this seem OK.

    Mr. Baker is going a bit far. I would suspect that the irrational, arbitrary, and draconian drug laws have had a significant effect on him, or on someone close to him. Then again, maybe he is just very empathetic. Empathy is something that we could use more of in our attempts to educate people about the risks of all drugs, not just those that fail the political popularity contest.

    People most certainly can drink to not get a buzz.

    I agree with you, that Mr. Baker is making an unwarranted conclusion about the motivation of people consuming alcohol.

    On the other hand, the same is true of marijuana. There is no more reason to believe that people only smoke to get a buzz, or to get high, than there is to believe that people consume alcohol only to get a buzz, or to get drunk.

    As with all drugs, the amount consumed has a lot to do with the effect on the body, in this case, particularly the brain. Alcohol can hardly be shown to be a less powerful drug than marijuana. When one consumes enough to kill himself, that is just the extreme of acute alcohol toxicity. Where does this happen with marijuana? People may die from impaired behavior, but they do not die from direct toxicity. Alcohol kills by both methods. So, claiming that one cannot smoke marijuana and not get high, or get a buzz, is disproved by your example of responsible alcohol consumption. If one can consume a more powerful drug, alcohol, without getting a buzz or getting drunk, it makes no sense that a less powerful drug cannot be consumed as responsibly.

    I expect that you will disagree with my claim that marijuana is a less potent drug. If so, please provide some supporting evidence of this greater toxicity. I used the example of the directly lethal effect of alcohol at high doses, something that does not happen with marijuana, but there are other ways of establishing potency. Please provide some evidence to support your position.

    Kids look up to people like Phelps, he has an obligation as a role model, an American that has worldwide recognition, and to his companies to walk a straight line while his name was in the limelight.

    Why does he have an obligation? He has whatever is in a contract. He may advertise alcohol and be removed from some of his other contracts, which may prohibit him from endorsing any drug. If he decides to advertise for a major brewery, would that be wrong. If this is the case, why are brewers some of the most prominent advertisers at sporting events? How is it OK for the organization to make money advertising a drug, alcohol, but not OK for an athlete to do the same.

    We do our children a disservice, when we encourage them to make heroes out of athletes. Athletes are human. Humans will continually fail to meet expectations. Especially the expectations of those, who put these humans on a pedestal.

    The role models for our children are their parents. It is by personal example that we live up to that responsibility. One way of violating this responsibility is to lie to children about things that they will experience. In high school children will see plenty of people smoke marijuana, since we have made it easier to obtain than alcohol. They will be see that the portrayal of marijuana as worse than alcohol, and worse than cigarettes, is just not backed up by reality. The drug laws are an example of not dealing with reality.

    The companies felt duped.

    How do you know what the companies felt? How do companies feel?

    That is how this country rolls. Knowing that it would probably be plastered all over tarnation , Phelps STILL decided to make a poor choice. So yea, he has what came to him.

    You are correct. He should have considered that a friend might try to profit off of such a picture. People make the mistake of trusting the wrong people. As for, That is how this country rolls, I do not believe that Americans are inherently hypocritical. We just need to live up to Churchill’s belief, that we will do the right thing only after trying everything else. We seem to have done everything else. Perhaps it is time to try the right thing, to allow adults to make decisions based on information – not propaganda or prosecution.

    If you have kids you should understand this. If you don’t, I’ll bet you once you do you’ll change your thoughts, almost everyone does.

    My child is now an adult. I did not lie about the safety of alcohol, or the dangers of marijuana. I do not use marijuana, but occasionally consume ale. I see no reason to punish others for having different tastes.

    Would you want your kids doctors or nurses or teachers smoking pot. Or your doctor doing surgery on you after getting stoned or after a long fun night of partying?

    I do not care if doctors or nurses consume marijuana, as long as it does not affect their work. I know plenty, who do consume marijuana. It does not appear to affect their work.

    I feel the same about alcohol. I know far more, who do consume alcohol. I know several, who have their work affected by alcohol.

    If a doctor, or anyone else, injures your child, would you be glad to find out that it had only been an error due to alcohol? You perpetuate the error, that an illegal drug cannot be used responsibly, because it is illegal. This is a fraud that we need to stop. This sets a horrible example for our children.

    Why do so many children do not listen to their parents?



    Double standards.

    We have laws against driving while intoxicated, regardless of the drug. Legalizing drugs would not change that. Legalizing drugs would not suddenly make it acceptable to drive while intoxicated. Legalizing drugs would not suddenly make it acceptable for doctors and nurses to treat patients while intoxicated.

    Come on, smoking pot is dumb dude.

    So is hypocrisy, but it is not illegal. So is drinking alcohol, but it is not illegal.

  215. #215 |  Justin | 


  216. #216 |  Joe | 


  217. #217 |  Kira | 

    I understand that some people want Marijuana to be legalized and some wish it to remain illegal, but what about those of us who read all of these fanatical, and sometimes inane, and definitely not-getting-anywhere arguments and think: Who cares?

    I have smoked pot, I didn’t like it. I don’t care if you do or don’t. I don’t care whether you think it’s evil incarnate and convince your kids of the same. I don’t care if my kids do it, although I will warn them that it is illegal.

    Why are we arguing over this when there are more important things?

  218. #218 |  Julie | 

    Amen brother! Amen!

  219. #219 |  Mallory | 

    That was amazing. Thank you for such a wonderful letter. I am part of NORML, and proud of it. You all sacrifice so much, so why not some leisure time?

  220. #220 |  Rogue Medic | 


    Why are we arguing about this? The people portraying marijuana as evil, are making those who use marijuana break the law in order to indulge.

    Although these same people often view more dangerous drugs (alcohol and cigarettes) as acceptable to use. We should try to prevent hypocrites from making the rules.

    People are having their futures ruined because they use a drug that is not politically correct. This is more dangerous than the drugs.

    We have an economy in bad shape, but we could make a big difference with legal marijuana – and legal means taxed the way alcohol and cigarettes are. We could divert money from the DEA to fight violent crime, terrorism, . . . . We would have tax income.

    We are filling our prisons with people, who should not be in jail. We are spending billions of dollars to Fight the War on Drugs, rather than try to educate people about the dangers of drugs. We are releasing violent criminals, because of a lack of prison space. Some of this lack of prison space is due to the mandatory sentences for drug crimes. Whom do you prefer to be out in the community with your relatives (grandparents/parents/children/grandchildren), the non-violent marijuana smoker, or the violent criminal?

    The You’ll never amount to anything argument is contradicted by this case with Michael Phelps, as well as Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. I’m beginning to wonder how many more Presidents we will have before we have a President, who has not smoked marijuana.

    We are preventing research into the effect of smoking marijuana in cancer patients. Depriving cancer patients of a treatment, that may be very effective, should not be a political decision. We need to allow research and find out if marijuana is medically useful.

    In spite of the abundant evidence of the abysmal failure of the War on Drugs, we continue to pretend that the War on Drugs is not harmful.

    We are encouraging a disrespect for the law and for authority, with these abuses of the law and abuses of authority.

    How can we expect people to respect the law, when the law is blatantly used as a political tool?

    How can we expect people to respect authority, when authority is blatantly used as a political tool?

    This foolishness is very destructive to America.

  221. #221 |  Episode 29: The Mother-in-Law of All Debts | Liberty Week | 

    […] Michael Phelps reactions: Radley Balko at The Agitator Doug Bandow at National Review Paul Armentano at the NORML blog Ethan Nadelman of […]

  222. #222 |  Rich Brooks | 

    I love the un-ironic Google Ads for drug treatment centers and 12 step programs running on the side of this letter.

  223. #223 |  Carl | 

    Cynical in California,
    My proposal on the blog was not actually serious. Obviously nobody cares what journalists do, they are boring. It was meant tongue in cheek. I just would like it if they held themselves to the same standards as the people they try to destroy.

  224. #224 |  Volter | 

    Don’t bother sending it to him, or posting it on his myspace/facebook. He won’t appreciate it, he’s just another spineless apologetic piece of garbage, who is far too typical of the average pot smoker. He made himself clearly understood when he groveled like some common criminal, apologizing for doing something that harmed no one. Anything he says in contradiction to that original statement will have no sincerity, he’ll just be saying it to appease people.

    I find it confusing that pedophiles have no qualms about standing up for their beliefs, (the right to emotionally and mentally harm children who aren’t mature enough to choose for themselves) whereas pot smokers, who aren’t harming anyone through their use of a plant that grows out of the ground, huddle in fear in the corners, lying about their beliefs.

    It’s almost like a role-reversal, the people actually committing heinous acts against other humans are more willing to admit what they do than people who aren’t harming anyone.

    While i don’t shout it from the rooftops, i myself do not hide what i do, and have done, because it’s not harming anyone, and is therefore none of anyone’s business but my own. Pot smokers need to be proud and outspoken, not shy and scared, we’re just using a plant, we are NOT the cause of the nation’s (or the world’s) problems.

  225. #225 |  420 | 

    LEGALIZE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  226. #226 |  thomas.h.pickering | 

    Good piece…this is just the usual bickering BS from the same crowd that loves you one minute and find’s fault with you the next. He made this country proud is the bottom line…and as I was posting on my site..the Sheriff Lott of that county in SC and all the extensive investigation work they are calling “typical” is another line of BS…they know damn well they dont investigate and spend 10’s of 1000’s of dollar’s to make cases of someone that took a hit off a bong or a joint…this is crap in it’s purest form. They are inverstigating this crap to only get publicity and wear their badges of courage to say they are combating illegal narcotic’s. And no…I dont smoke pot…I’m too damn old!

  227. #227 |  Joey | 

    Great letter. I didn’t really think much about this issue until eight people were arrested. Over a picture. If it is true the bong or pipe was for sale on Craig’s list, that was stupid; but all the sexual services for sale on that site are much more harmful.

    Dave Baker, you sound so interesting and I like your writing very much. If you will have it I would like to offer some friendly advice. Mr. Darcy is completely messing with you. Nobody really thinks/talks/writes like that. Not worth getting upset over. Most importantly – you must physically go to the authorities! Just go there. A face goes a long way. They won’t be able to blow you off. It makes me very sad that you were molested, but it does make me feel better that you like the way trees grow, are kind to lost animals and quit drinking.

  228. #228 |  Grow Up, America | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine | 

    […] is the letter Michael Phelps should have written. If […]

  229. #229 |  CRB | 


    I love you.

  230. #230 |  A Letter I’d Like to See (But Won’t) - just me | 

    […] for taking a few bong hits at a party. In that vein, I present to you an excellent blog piece, A Letter I’d Like to See (But Won’t). It goes without saying that I couldn’t have said it any better myself. No comments for […]

  231. #231 |  Nik | 

    I, for one, think marijuana should be legalized particularly for medicinal use. Never used it, but it’s not as big of a deal as most people make it out to be.

  232. #232 |  Atanu Dey on India’s Development » Blog Archive | 

    […] bigotry of the public, I feel envious and wish I had written it. Here’s one for you — A Letter I’d Like to See (But Won’t) — if you like that sort of thing. But first, the background: The Olympic swimming sensation […]

  233. #233 |  Ajit Srivastava - Polite Indian » What A Rant!!! | 

    […] Awesome Rant […]

  234. #234 |  Oscar goes to… India « Thoughtcrafts Sriks6711 | 

    […] 24 February, 2009 Treat this as a guest post by Sudhir Tailang (editorial cartoonist of ‘Deccan Chronicle’) or whatever for it is quite apt and could be the basis of an award speech on the lines of this rant… […]

  235. #235 |  Slumdog Oscar goes to… India « Thoughtcrafts Sriks6711 | 

    […] 24 February, 2009 Treat this as a guest post by Sudhir Tailang (editorial cartoonist of ‘Deccan Chronicle’) or whatever for it is quite apt and could be the basis of an award speech on the lines of this rant… […]

  236. #236 |  Mike | 


  237. #237 |  eddy blinker | 

    hurrah hurray

    puts a whole new meaning to my renewed line of business ideas
    aka ” church supplies “.

  238. #238 |  alicia | 

    that is just pure honesty wow!!!!

  239. #239 |  links for 2009-03-01 | Yostivanich.com | 

    […] The Agitator » Blog Archive » A Letter I’d Like To See (But Won’t) The letter Michael Phelps should have written. (tags: michaelphelps drugs politics usa society culture olympics) […]

  240. #240 |  Brendan | 

    Amen. I just got caught for “drug paraphernalia” (a pipe) at my college and am facing a minimum of about a semester’s suspension and risk having my significant scholarship revoked, precluding me from attending the school altogether. I feel Michael Phelps’ pain. This country’s priorities are so bass-ackwards sometimes.

  241. #241 |  Radley Balko on what Phelps should say | NORML's Daily Audio Stash | 

    […] 2nd, 2009 at 12:54 pm | By: Radical Russ As my British friends say, “spot on!”  Radley Balko at The Agitator has nailed it with a sledgehammer: Dear […]

  242. #242 |  The greatest swimmer of all time (or a stoned, addled addict?) « Muse Free | 

    […] I cannot resist the temptation to republishing the statement Phelps ought to have made (instead of that grovelling apology) when he was caught smoking pot a few months ago. Courtesy the inimitable Agitator: […]

  243. #243 |  It’s 4:20 somewhere, right? « Parenting Teens Blog | 

    […] ETA: AMEN! […]

  244. #244 |  Lash back | The Kosmopolitan Online | 

    […] pen to e-paper. Thankfully, Radley Balko summed up my thoughts for me, and I post his entire piece here, since it really needs to be […]

  245. #245 |  Mark, Glenolden, PA | 

    Cannabis Prohibition: A Masterpiece in Brainwashing


  246. #246 |  KT | 

    Actually, Ricky Williams used marijuana to help his body heal from the merciless beating a power running back sustains. Having spent thirty-five years destroying my body as a union carpenter, I can attest to the miraculous powers of cannabis, especially as regards arthritic knees, hips and elbos. When I don’t smoke I get a lot gimpier quickly.

  247. #247 |  jolrfdcasn | 

    Bad boy Michael. You can say “sorry” all you want, but it’s to late. Get a reality check. You are 23 years old and I’m only 13…even I know what’s right and what’s wrong. You were my hero but, now I just can’t stand to hear your name. You need to be pulling weeds, not smoking weed. I know you made a mistake and I can forgive you, but I also want to forget you. -Live life without weed and you will succeed.

  248. #248 |  jolrfdcasn | 

    Put a pool in it Phelps.

  249. #249 |  Jordan | 

    Phelps…Love your family. Train hard. Get back in the pool. Concentrate on school. Don’t think about drugs. Smile often (to light up your day). And Come back on top.

  250. #250 |  Lash back | The Kosmopolitan Online | 

    […] pen to e-paper. Thankfully, Radley Balko summed up my thoughts for me, and I post his entire piece here, since it really needs to be […]

  251. #251 |  Hint: it’s not because he smoked pot. Or because he shaves himself and wears a Speedo. | Create Awesome | 

    […] Why Michael Phelps is a Pansy This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged idiots, rights, war on drugs by admin. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  252. #252 |  What Phelps SHOULD say | Miscellaneous Heathen | 

    […] Balko weighs in on the non-troversy of twentysomething aquatic wunderkind Michael Phelps getting high. This entry […]

  253. #253 |  paikster | 

    that is the best speech ever

  254. #254 |  » An Apology Letter David Hoffman | 

    […] The Agitator has a suggestion for the apology letter Michael Phelps SHOULD send. […]

  255. #255 |  A righteous rant « Linkmeister | 

    […] letter Michael Phelps should write. Tell you what. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll apologize for smoking pot when every […]