Cut Chris Christie slack on medical marijuana — he’ll need it when Rand Paul is done with him

Chris Christie should be taken to the intellectual woodshed for any number of things — and he will, in time, by guys like Rand Paul — but one of them is not a New Jersey bill on medical marijuana.

The New Jersey governor has now indicated that he’ll sign off on a medical marijuana bill with some slight alterations.

The governor signaled that he would sign the bill if the Legislature made two changes:

– That edible forms of marijuana would be available to qualified minors only, not for everyone;

– That both a pediatrician and a psychiatrist should sign off on a child’s prescription

Current law allows New Jersey patients to get medical marijuana, but the bill, S2842, would eliminate a limit on the number of marijuana strains that the state’s dispensaries can cultivate — ostensibly making it more likely that they would carry versions that certain patients seek.

It also would simplify the application process for minors, who currently are required to obtain three letters of support — from the prescribing physician, a pediatrician and a psychiatrist. The bill would require minors, like adults, to obtain a single letter.

I never really understood Republican opposition to medical marijuana. If a guy’s kid has some weird disease, in which the symptoms can be alleviated by using the drug, and a doctor signs off on it, why would anyone seek to deny him? Why has marijuana been arbitrarily deemed completely off limits, when countless Americans pop pharmaceutical drugs into their mouths on a daily basis? Many are arguably more dangerous than pot.

It seems that the public policy decision that would maximize individual freedom and liberty in this case would be to allow such a drug to be available to sick individuals (and, dare I say it, the nation at large?). Why do we arrest nonviolent criminals for possessing marijuana and then put them in cages with deranged thugs who are violent? Making a drug legal doesn’t mean that we have to actively promote it as a society; it just means that it is available.

Individuals who grow up in strong healthy families generally don’t abuse drugs. When you treat people like adults, they tend to act like adults. When you deny people something, human nature makes them more curious about the thing being withheld from them. People who experiment with pot have not caused the moral degradation of our society; people who play sociological experiments with other humans through public policy have degraded our society.

Conservatives who spend time, money and resources attacking Chris Christie in the coming months and years over his stance on medicinal marijuana will be wasting just as much time as … kids who smoke pot in basements. There are plenty of things to intellectually club the New Jersey governor of the head with. His habit of annoying people who want to be his ally? Check. National security? Check. Losing faith in the free market when disaster strikes (i.e., his sudden fondness for price controls after a hurricane)? Check.

Perhaps George Will put it best:

“Well, actually there is a rising libertarian stream that Chris Christie has said is ‘a very dangerous thought,’” Will said. “So let’s be clear about what libertarianism is and what it isn’t. It is not anarchism. It has a role in government. What libertarianism says — it comes in many flavors and many degrees of severity, and it basically says before the government abridges the freedom of an individual or the freedom of several individuals contracting together, that government ought to have, A) a compelling reason and B) a constitutional warrant for doing so. Now, if Mr. Christie thinks that’s a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say that Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have somewhere to be that doesn’t involve doing drugs of any kind.

Chris Christie, who called Dr. Mariano a ‘hack,’ owes her an apology after his stomach surgery

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie goes on Dave Letterman and eats doughnuts, but then has the nerve to tell accomplished doctors to "shut up" when they discuss his weight. No, Gov. Christie — you shut up.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie goes on Dave Letterman and eats doughnuts, but then has the nerve to tell accomplished doctors to “shut up” when they discuss his weight. No, Gov. Christie — you shut up.

It was only three months ago that N.J. Governor Chris Christie responded to Dr. Connie Mariano’s concerns about his weight by saying she was “just another hack who wants to be on TV.”

At the time, here is what I said regarding the guy who is so smart that he diffuses the “war on women” mantra by telling a successful female doctor to “shut up.”:

Gov. Christie has no self-control when it comes to calories. He has shown no self-discipline when it comes to exercise. Those faults also rear their ugly head every time he channels MSNBC’s resident blowhard Chris Matthews during a testy press conference or town hall meeting. He is not presidential material, he cannot at the present moment inspire the nation, and he would be crushed by Hillary Clinton in a landslide if the stars ever aligned in such a way as to pit the two of them against each other for the highest office in the land. Conservatives need to start working now to take him out of the running.

It turns out that just around the time Dr. Mariano was voicing her concerns about Mr. Christie’s weight, he was scheduled for “lap band” surgery.

The New York Times reports:

[L]ike some overweight politicians before him, Mr. Christie has embarked on a major effort to shed pounds at a time when his eyes are on the presidency. Saying that “a whole bunch of other things” had not worked, he revealed on Tuesday that he had undergone weight loss surgery three months ago. He is now 40 pounds lighter.

Mr. Christie, a Republican, said concerns about his family, not politics, drove him to undergo the “Lap-Band” procedure, in which a silicone band is placed around the stomach to discourage overeating.

Interesting. So the doctor to President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush looked at a guy who was laying the groundwork for a presidential run and commented on his health, and she’s told to “shut up.” And yet, that very same guy was scheduled for lap-band surgery. It seems as though if Christie was desperate enough to get such a procedure done, the smart thing to do in that situation would have been for him to shut up.

Regardless, I am not a fan of this procedure and would like to know what the “whole bunch of things” Christie tried were. Since exercise has always been a large part of my life (I was even lucky enough to manage a gym for a period of time), I’ve met plenty of people who claim to have “tried everything” when the reality is quite the opposite.

In 1991, the NIH gave a consensus statement on who should get the surgery. I asked a physician for a summary of their findings. Gov. Christie had to meet criteria along the following guidelines:

1) BMI >40
or
2) BMI of 35-40 plus an obesity associated comorbidity: severe diabetes, Pickwickian syndrome, cardiomyopathy, severe sleep apnea, or osteoarthritis that interferes with activities of daily living.
and
3) Are motivated and well informed, have failed attempts at diet and exercise, and are free from psychological disease. They should also be compliant with post-op diet and exercise routines.
Pre-operative workup requires a psychological evaluation, nutritional counseling, and a medical evaluation.
Complications include the following: infection, bleeding, band slippage, band erosion into the gastric lining, dilated esophagus, vomiting, heart burn, stomach perforation, injury to the spleen, and mechanical device failure.
Patients cannot tolerate solid foods in the initial periods after surgery and even though they are eventually transitioned to solids, they still may have regurgitation and dysphagia to whole meats and heavy breads.
Effectiveness: the adjustable lap band is extremely effective at producing weight loss, however, as many as a quarter of patients fail to shed 50% of their excess weight by 5 years. 
Sources
*Guidelines for Practical Application of Laparoscipic Bariatric Surgery from the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). http://www.sages.org/publications/guidelines/guidelines-for-clinical-application-of-laparoscopic-bariatric-surgery/

Are there people out there who have genetic disorders that cause them to struggle with their weight? Sure. But the vast majority of Americans do not fall into that category.

When most people say they’ve “tried exercising” they say it like a teenager who says he “studied” when really he just went through the motions long enough to convince himself the lie was the truth. (How can anyone study when it’s time to call the girlfriend?)

When people say they’ve tried “diets” what they are usually doing is admitting that deep down they aren’t prepared to change their lifestyle to achieve a set of desired results. Diets are temporary; your lifestyle is forever.

Over and over and over again I hear people talk about the “Western” diet. It’s bull. I’m sorry to be blunt, but that’s a crutch. Anyone with half a brain and a real desire to figure out what’s going on with their body will be able to do the research and make the changes necessary to get where they want to be.

When I turned 30 years old I started gaining weight. I had no idea why, considering I was still working out as I always had and my diet had not changed. Obviously, my metabolism slowed down slightly, but after going over my diet with a good friend it turned out that I was consuming massive amounts of sugar through fruit juices. I cut off the juices, and over the course of eight months I lost 20 lbs. The guy who never paid attention to food labels because he could burn off whatever he ate (the joy of being a long distance runner!) suddenly had to think a little about the things he was shoving down his throat. I modified my diet to deal with the new reality, and I’m in arguably better shape at 34 than I was at 30.

Who is that skinny cross country kid who could eat 3,000 calories in a sitting an laugh it off because an 8-mile run was coming later in the day? Oh, wait, that's me. Metabolism doesn't quite work that way at 34.
Who is that skinny cross country kid who could eat 3,000 calories in a sitting an laugh it off because an 8-mile run was coming later in the day? Oh, wait, that’s me. Metabolism doesn’t quite work that way at 34.

I truly hope that Gov. Christie’s surgery is successful. I wish he would have gone a different route, but now that it’s done and over with I hope that he leads a long and healthy life with his family and friends by his side.

With that said, I still can’t help but believe that his weight problems have more to do with a lack of self-discipline than with malfunctioning biological processes — and while he might tell me to “shut up” because I’m not a medical doctor, I would counter that it is his own press conferences and bizarre outbursts aimed at constituents that have led me to such a conclusion.

Is it cathartic to see union thugs get an earful from Christie on occasion? Sure, but that doesn’t make his politics or his approach right. And it’s really not kosher when a governor goes around trying to discredit medical doctors for making astute observations about his weight, only to then take drastic measures behind the scenes trying to rectify what he wanted everyone to “shut up” over.

Gov. Chris Christie owes Dr. Connie Mariano an apology. It’s really that simple. And if he does so, I’ll give him a cookie. Or a piece of broccoli. Or some black beans. Whatever goes easiest post lap-band surgery.

Chris Christie: Hack attacks Dr. Mariano, creates first 2016 ‘war on women’ ad in process

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie goes on Dave Letterman and eats doughnuts, but then has the nerve to tell accomplished doctors to "shut up" when they discuss his weight. No, Gov. Christie — you shut up.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie goes on Dave Letterman and eats doughnuts, but then has the nerve to tell accomplished doctors to “shut up” when they discuss his weight. Way to close the gender gap there, winner.

Dr. Connie Mariano was the doctor to President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. She’s an accomplished woman. She recently expressed concerned about N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s weight, particularly if he were to one day become the president of the United States.

Christie’s response? He created the first “war one women” ad, should he decide to run in 2016:

“If she wants to get on a plane and come here to New Jersey and ask me if she wants to examine me and review my medical history, I’ll have a conversation with her about that. Until that time she should shut up.” Christie also added that the she’s “just another hack who wants to be on TV.”

Wrong, Gov. Christie. You’re a hack. A fat hack. You’re a bully whose shtick will never play outside New Jersey. And I say that as a guy whose mom is a Jersey girl, and I say that as someone who spent summer vacations as a kid playing arcade games along the boardwalk in Ocean City. I have the Italian Ice and mini-golf stories to prove it.

What kind of idiot watches Mitt Romney get pummeled by the false “war on women” narrative, and then decides the first thing he’s going to do to start the new year is to tell a highly intelligent, accomplished woman that she’s a “hack” and needs to “shut up”? The list of video and audio clips of him telling off women is already extensive, but he doesn’t need to add to it. Even worse, Dr. Mariano detailed a phone conversation she had with him shortly afterward, in which Gov. Christie essentially yelled at her until he was out of breath before hanging up. Smart move, genius.

Dr. Connie Mariano looked after the health and wellness of three presidents, but N.J. Gov. Chris Christie calls her a "hack." Let me ask my Magic 8 Ball if Mr. Christie is an idiot. Answer: "Without a doubt."
Dr. Connie Mariano looked after the health and wellness of three presidents, but N.J. Gov. Chris Christie calls her a “hack.” Let me ask my Magic 8 Ball if Mr. Christie is an idiot. Answer: “Without a doubt.”

Just as Gov. Christie has a problem with food, he also has a problem with the adulation that has come his way from liberal media outlets for lighting into the Republican Party. But just how Sen. McCain found out that it was all a ruse in 2008, Mr. Christie will be destroyed overnight by the same late-night comedians he’s yukking it up with now.

Gov. Christie has no self-control when it comes to calories. He has shown no self-discipline when it comes to exercise. Those faults also rear their ugly head every time he channels MSNBC’s resident blowhard Chris Matthews during a testy press conference or town hall meeting. He is not presidential material, he cannot at the present moment inspire the nation, and he would be crushed by Hillary Clinton in a landslide if the stars ever aligned in such a way as to pit the two of them against each other for the highest office in the land. Conservatives need to start working now to take him out of the running. A good start would be to come out in droves for the 2014 midterm elections.