October 26, 2006


Shh! Testing in progress...

The irrepressible Bill Maher is questioning the need to piss off library volunteers re: what they do or don't do in their free time from their unpaid job.

"They're not flying planes," says Maher of the vols, whose average age is between 60 and 85. "they're showing the homeless how to use the microfiche readers. For free."

Maher says the only people who profit from this are the stockholders of the drug testing company, which rakes in $33 a head. "Money the library would otherwise just waste on books," he said.

After the testing was implemented, the library's volunteer base went from 55 to 2. Read the rest of Maher's thoughts HERE

One commentor to Maher's post pointed out that it's not just the test company that stands to gain. "It benefits the insurance companies," they wrote. "If they get a false positive, Granny is SOL. No coverage for her. Sure they might not be doing risky stuff, but that age range has lots of health problems, which can be expensive."

A local official admits that their public risk management insurance carrier says they should treat volunteers no differently than paid employees. "This is just the days that we are in, and we know that there are some people who aren't happy about this, but it is something we are requiring if anyone wants to volunteer." said Levy County Coordinator Fred Moody.

Regardless of any stance on the morality of drug use/abuse, this is what it has come to in the American War on Drugs, and it's not really surprising to me that it's economic interests fueling this. IMO, these pathetic, costly and constitutionally suspect measures do squat to interdict drug abuse problems (here's a good debate if you care to read more). And with respect to the "morality" crowd (actually it's pretty much contempt), where is your compassion, conservatives?

I agree with another commentor in that I believe most of those who volunteered at the small (and surely underfunded) Levy Country Library are elderly residents who wanted to feel useful and help their community. And it would not surprise me to learn that county elected officials are exempt from the urine tests.

I'm glad to see that most of the volunteers refused to be pawns. But as someone who, in safe, sane and private leisure time occasionally draws from the calumet and who once lost a much-needed job as a result of this crap, I am compelled to ask of the rural, predominantly conservative Republican Levy County seniors: what was your view on drug testing before they required YOU to pee in a cup? Is it beneath you but perhaps good enough for "those druggies" to drop their drawers within hearing distance of a complete stranger?

What say you now that Big Brother has reached your doorstep? Of course - you didn't submit to the testing and walked away with no skin off your ass. But what if you needed a job to pay your rent and feed your kids, and they asked you to pee in a cup so you could serve waffles to drunks and stoners at 2 a.m. for $5.15 an hour?

Your test wasn't required at all. Many others must submit to this indignity and invasion just in order to work and survive. Of course there's always QuickClean tabs and the like to help folks sneak by under the radar, but that just perpetuates the cycle of bullshit.

I could certainly go a lot further on this, but suffice it to say I agree with
Paul Armentano, senior policy analyst at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC:

"Employees should be judged by the quality of their work, not by the quality of their urine."


There are definitely certain government jobs for which drug testing is a must. This isn't one of them.

Yes, it's one thing to test airline pilots, but all these other peeps? Ridic. Here's an idea: judge employees by the JOB they do, give them competency tests, etc. I'd rather have my kid taught English by a language god who smokes a bowl on the weekend than by some farooking idiot who can't even write a sentence but never drinks or smokes.
American War on Drugs = American War on America.

Excellent point about the probable hypocracy of these volunteers. They probably thought it was a great idea to keep the druggies out of Wal-Mart. I've known folks that supported drug-testing but not for themselves. Pilots, bus drivers, air traffic controlers, THAT makes sense. This does not.
Until science can offer up a test that accurately determines if some one is PRESENTLY under the influence of any drug, then I do not support testing for anyone.

What's the difference between an off-duty pilot getting shitfaced drunk at his buddy's weekend barbeque and a school bus driver toking up with his pals on a Friday night?
When will he be on-duty? You know very well that if you really tie one on on Saturday night, you can still be a little off your game on Monday morning. If you do it on a regular basis, it can cost lives. I wouldn't let my brother "Drinky McDumbass" drive me anywhere at any time......
You raise an interesting point, Joe. Alcohol, which is legal for adults to possess and consume in a fashion that does not place others in harm's way, has far worse effects (and I daresay a greater addiction factor) than pot, which is not legal to possess or consume. It's poison discrimination, I tells ya!

FTR and for numerous reason I won't get into here, I think pot should be decriminalized, not absolutely legalized. But there is absolutely no chance the law enforcement lobby could be convinced to tolerate that until there is a "Mary Jane breathalyzer."
You should see the insipid "debate" about legalization that I just exited over at Lucy's. This Julia person is against two things.... legalization, and using anything resembling a fact to back her argument up. She'd make a great sidekick for Rush.
"What's the difference between an off-duty pilot getting shitfaced drunk at his buddy's weekend barbeque and a school bus driver toking up with his pals on a Friday night?"

Nothing. But why is it assumed that the only drug they are testing for is marijuana?

There are other drugs that the testing screens for, and, frankly, WRT airline pilots, etc. I damned well want to know if the guy behind the stick is also a habitual heroin user.

BTW, before you jump my shit, I am pro the legalisation of marijuana and against the war on drugs as it is being presently conducted.

And before anyone chimes in and says that there is no way an airline opilot would be able to fly and shoot smack at the same time, think again. Heroin addivtion knows no societal or occupational boundaries.
I agree WRT to hard drugs and being high on the job. I'd get pretty pissed off at the stoner welders who would always be high at work (something I never did). The meth heads were even worse. But I lost a job simply because I got random tested after one of the infrequent times I toked ON MY TIME.

I guess it could be argued "It's illegal," or "just get a job that doesn't random test," which I have in fact done, though not for that reason. But to me that doesn't solve the overall privacy issue and, as I indicated, any user can pass clean on a test if they are smart enough.

It's a conundrum, but overall I am on the side of privacy, and I deem this as another way the insurance industry has got us by the balls.
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