WOPOTY Candidate: James Backstrom

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Minnesota District Attorney James Backstrom is making an impressive early run at the 2009 Worst Prosecutor of the Year award.  Backstrom, you may remember, is the prosecutor who sent threatening emails to his county medical examiner because she had the audacity to testify and let her staff testify for the defense in other jurisdictions (to my surprise, I see that last week he was publicly reprimanded for those emails).

Backstrom’s latest effort toward winning the award is this spectacularly awful op-ed arguing against a bill in Minnesota that would allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana to alleviate pain and suffering in their final days. The bill was so narrowly drawn, it even excluded from its list of acceptable users cancer patients who might use the drug to combat the nausea for chemotherapy.

That wasn’t enough for Backstrom, who argued that the bill still “sends a message to our children that [marijuana] is safe to use when it is clearly not.” The op-ed, which Backstrom wrote on behalf of several law enforcement agencies, employs all the usual drug warrior nonsense, including grossly overestimating the amount of usuable pot you can expect from a typical plant, repeated scare quotes around the word “medical,” and the circular reasoning that marijuana is dangerous and addictive because the government says it is.

The Minnesota Independent has a good refutation of Backstrom’s op-ed, though they appear to have misspelled his name.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the bill this weekend, rather insultingly proclaiming his compassion and empathy for the sick in the process. Pawlenty cited law enforcement organization opposition to the bill as his primary reason for vetoing it.

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33 Responses to “WOPOTY Candidate: James Backstrom”

  1. #1 |  Greg N. | 

    W(hy)TF are law enforcement organizations allowed to lobby for or against legislation in the first place?

  2. #2 |  Aresen | 

    May Backstrom and all those he spoke for (and the gutless Gov. Pawlenty, too) contract painfully, incurable cancers.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    Well! It looks like John Edward may have to give up his title of “Biggest Douche in the Universe”.

    Oh! Let’s mine his letter for bullshit! So… much… bullshit… gotta select the prime turds…

    “While Minnesota’s law enforcers have great compassion for persons suffering from cancer, AIDS, MS and other serious diseases…”

    Sure! At least until that ‘compassion’ starts to tip over their cash cow… which is farming civilians for sweet, sweet, drug lootz!

    “There would be no dosage information, no user instructions, no warnings about the consequences or risks of misuse,”

    It’s really easy. You roll it into joints and smoke it. When you get high enough, you stop. You can’t get addicted to it, you can’t overdose on it, and you don’t develop a tolerance to it. It’s one of the safest drugs ever.

    Sure, there are people that abuse it, hell, there are people that abuse Pizza.

    Bottom line: Law enforcement NEEDS pot to be illegal so they can continue supporting themselves in the manner they have become accustomed to. THAT is an addiction, they’re overdosing on it, and far too many people have developed a tolerance to it.

  4. #4 |  hamnburglar007 | 

    #1, the idea that law enforcement agencies should be barred from petitioning government is far more odious then the bill they just vetoed. I do understand where you are coming from though.

  5. #5 |  hamnburglar007 | 

    I just reread my previous post, the thing that was odious was the veto, not the bill itself.

  6. #6 |  Frank | 

    Backstrom is a douche.

  7. #7 |  swizza | 

    Topic should be WPOTY, not WOPOTY, to make the acronym correct. You’re going to use it more in the future, so should get it corrected now :)

  8. #8 |  Chuchundra | 

    John Edwards is nowhere near the biggest douche in the universe. Not that he isn’t a douche, just that he’s a pretty small one, all things considered.

    I think your douchemeter needs recalibrating.

  9. #9 |  CharlesWT | 

    The Minnesota Independent has a good refutation of Backstrom’s op-ed,…

    It also has some unusually good comments for a news web site.

  10. #10 |  Aresen | 

    @ Chuchundra #8

    At some point the douchemeter maxes out (unless you have one of those fancy new ones that goes past the 100% douche reading.)

    ;)

  11. #11 |  JS | 

    Bob #3 “Bottom line: Law enforcement NEEDS pot to be illegal so they can continue supporting themselves in the manner they have become accustomed to. THAT is an addiction, they’re overdosing on it, and far too many people have developed a tolerance to it.”

    Brilliantly said!

  12. #12 |  claude | 

    “John Edwards is nowhere near the biggest douche in the universe. Not that he isn’t a douche, just that he’s a pretty small one, all things considered.

    I think your douchemeter needs recalibrating.”

    I dunno about that. Cheating on your cancer stricken wife while running for president and preaching moral values is pretty damn douchey.

  13. #13 |  Drug policy predictions « Muse Free | 

    [...] May 25, 2009 by Abhishek To add to the list of depressing news for the day, have a look at the sorry fate that the medical marijuana bill in Minnesota suffered. [...]

  14. #14 |  Adam W. | 

    @#8
    You don’t watch South Park, do you? ;)

  15. #15 |  Remembering the Real Victims - Economics - | 

    [...] this Memorial Day, it is somehow fitting that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has vetoed a bill that would have allowed "terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana to [...]

  16. #16 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    @ Aresen #10

    At some point the douchemeter maxes out (unless you have one of those fancy new ones that goes past the 100% douche reading.)

    Political douchmeters start at eleven.

  17. #17 |  Aspasia | 

    Wow, how hypocritical of Pawlenty. He used to smoke up big time not too long ago.

    @Bob #3: “Sure, there are people that abuse it, hell, there are people that abuse Pizza.”

    Yeah, university students abuse the hell out of pizza. Sometimes while high on pot! Heh.

    “Bottom line: Law enforcement NEEDS pot to be illegal so they can continue supporting themselves in the manner they have become accustomed to. THAT is an addiction, they’re overdosing on it, and far too many people have developed a tolerance to it.”

    No kidding. The Prison Industry will not have their main cash cow taken away.

  18. #18 |  anarch | 

    Would someone please explain what post #13 and those like it on this site mean? Thanks.

  19. #19 |  Bob | 

    #10 Aereson:

    @ Chuchundra #8

    At some point the douchemeter maxes out (unless you have one of those fancy new ones that goes past the 100% douche reading.)

    ;)

    “Greatest Douche in the universe” and “Over 9000″ are current viral memes among the geekier places in the internet.

    His Douchebag reading is over 9000!!!

    That’s impossible! Your Scouter must be broken!

    The “Greatest Douche in the Universe is from Southpark, and refers to the ‘psychic’ John Edwards, who uses cold reading to foist his douchebaggery on people.

    The “Over 9000!” reference is from Dragon Ball Z, when Vegeta is informed of Goku’s power level, which was over 9000 because of his recent transformation to Super Saiyan.

    And now you know! And knowing is half the battle! G.I. Joe!

    I’m like that episode in TNG where an entire race speaks entirely in metaphors.

    20 Quatloos for naming that episode!

  20. #20 |  Bob | 

    #17: anarch.

    Would someone please explain what post #13 and those like it on this site mean? Thanks.

    That’s a link to some guy’s blog that is referencing Radley’s blog about the original article.

    I assume it was generated by a script or something… and inserted into the comments as a way to get traffic to the blog.

    Or something like that.

  21. #21 |  Marty | 

    Backstrom must be looking to ride the usual power brokers up the douche ladder… I wish people would remember the harm these govt unions do when it comes time to vote.

  22. #22 |  Aresen | 

    Bob

    Thanks for the info. Since I watch very little TV, I wasn’t aware of the references.

  23. #23 |  Greg N. | 

    Hamn,

    I don’t mean individual law enforcement officers shouldn’t be able to lobby legislators (although something akin to the Hatch Act for cops might not be such a bad idea). I mean I don’t think any group pretending to represent “Law Enforcement” should be able to support or oppose legislation. This would include LEAP, unfortunately, but if getting rid of that organization would rid us of the pernicious efforts of all the other cop groups, so be it.

  24. #24 |  Aresen | 

    Greg N.

    Nah. Just give them all BDC* tests.

    (*Blood Donut Content)

  25. #25 |  dsmallwood | 

    Greg is correct … why should any arm of the government be able to lobby the governmnet? individuals and corporations are sentient in the eyes of the constitution. but agencies, PUBLIC SERVICE PROVIDERS, are NOT, SHOULD NOT, lobby to have thier needs met. seriously … can the NPS lobby to have land annexed into the Park Service? that would be a great job proposal, but dumb. can the Army lobby to declare a war? “c’mon, we already built all those tanks ..”

    it isn’t supposed to work that way. the job is LAW ENFORCEMENT. if they want to create the LAW, they should put down their badge and run for office.

    as private citizens they can do what they want. as arms of the govt … STHU!!!!!

  26. #26 |  World B. Free | 

    Dr. Niels Harrit: No way. You don’t expect a box of matches to be formed in a fire.

    http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20090525150347423

  27. #27 |  hamnburglar007 | 

    Greg, dsmallwood,

    I don’t think a policing agency should be able to lobby for or against legislation. I have a problem with saying that organizations that are not run directly by the government, distasteful or not, should not be able to lobby said government. That right is granted for the first amendment, and it’s in their for a reason.

    With that said, I don’t think it was appropriate that a law enforcement organization was able to influence the governor in such a way. The governor shouldn’t be kowtowing to a law enforcement organization, and that is an issue for the citizens of Minnesota.

  28. #28 |  hamburglar007 | 

    The heat has addled my brain, the right is granted by the first amendment (not for the 1st), and I’m hamburglar, not hamnburglar.

  29. #29 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I’m against chemotherapy, as it’s also dangerous for healthy children…

  30. #30 |  Danno49 | 

    I’m like that episode in TNG where an entire race speaks entirely in metaphors.

    20 Quatloos for naming that episode!

    Soketh, his eyes uncovered.

    That episode would be “Darmok”.

    I’ll throw my 20 quatloos in the kitty to buy this for the community:

    http://mealable.com/douchemeter.html

    Not that we need one to know Backstrom is off the fucking scale . . .

  31. #31 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the bill this weekend, rather insultingly proclaiming his compassion and empathy for the sick in the process. Pawlenty cited law enforcement organization opposition to the bill as his primary reason for vetoing it.

    If there is such a thing as Karma, then Pawlenty would find himself suffering from such a disease, possibly several.

  32. #32 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    I think Tanya Treadway has to be the current leader in the running for this award. Her attempt to prosecute critics of her actions is frontala ttack on democratic instiutions.

  33. #33 |  Velta Hakala | 

    If those voting against the medical use of pot to help those ill with painful diseases once had these pains in their body they most likely would change their vote.
    Read the side affects of most medications being given to these people now and side affects are much more than the side affects of pot if used for the same purpose.
    Obviously people like our governor and Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom are more concerned over votes than they are about the pain of fellow human beings.
    I suffer from painful spasms from MS and would be first in line to give legal medical pot a try for that extreme pain which is made worse by the spasms twisting a foot that is full of arthritis.
    The lack of respect for other human beings is becoming a big problem not only in Mn but thruout the US.
    Attorneys and judges put ill people in danger all the time by putting some in prison that are not a threat to anyone and could just as well be on house arrest at the defendents expense (yes, people on house arrest pay for their monitor at the rate of $85.00 a day). Think of the tax dollars that are wasted just so prosecutors can brag about how many people they have put behind bars.
    The goal should be justice at the least cost not how many more prison cells are needed for those who do not need to be there.

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