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Facebook Billionaire Explains Why He Backs Prop 19 (forbes.com)
59 points by edw519 on Oct 9, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments



So, is his opinion more relevant for having that much stock in facebook?

I'm all for a more realistic stance on drug (ab)use, the United States has way too many people serving prison sentences on grounds that in most other jurisdictions would merely get you a slap on the wrist.

So even if I agree with the ideas behind proposition 19 (and I think it doesn't go far enough, why should there be an age limit, smoking has no age limit, neither does drinking, but selling cigarettes and booze to minors is an offense in many places) I don't see what his (theoretical) riches have to do with it, other than that he can spend some money on causes that he sees as worthy.

Personally I think that wealthy people sponsoring political causes is a terrible way to run a country, sometimes that will lead to things good for everybody, but most of the times I would expect such wealthy backers to support legislation that benefits them or their corporations.

As for Mokovitz having that much money, he doesn't, he's got a bunch of Facebook stock, and that's not exactly the same as having money in the bank.

Of course that goes for many people on the Forbes 400, but I'm thinking that $70,000 may not be as much of a pittance as you might expect based on the numbers thrown around there, I don't think he won't be able to go shopping on Monday but I also don't think it is below the radar for him.


He's probably sold a bunch of that stock on the second market. FYI, drinking absolutely has an age limit! In fact, in some states, the ticket for underage drinking is more than for possession of weed.


That's only 15 states, in the rest of them underage drinking in a private setting is either explicitly allowed or not on the books (so in a gray area).

I got that here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_drinking_age

Which may of course be out of date.


Absolutely true. It's a common misconception that the drinking age in the US is 21; federal law mandates that states outlaw the sale of alcohol to those under 21, but states have varying laws regarding the consumption of alcohol by minors.


You're portraying this wrong. Only 19 do not restrict underage drinking at all. 15 ban it in all cases and the rest have certain exceptions for location and family members. The majority ban underage drinking in most cases, not allow it.


> (how to lie with statistics)

Right, I'll just leave it at that.


Yeah I deleted that immediately after posting because I thought it was too hyperbolic (despite being a great book).


I still don't see how what you wrote conflicts with what I wrote though.

If

   19 states allow it

   15 ban it completely

   the rest have exceptions for location and family members
Then it stands to reason that a majority of the states allow it in some form just as much as a majority (but a smaller one) forbids it in some form.

Because it was more complex than just that single number (the 15 that completely forbid it) I included the link so you can verify for yourself that only 15 states have an outright ban.

What is considered a 'private setting' and a family situation is not for me to decide, we're talking about consumption here, not about sales.

So in 35 states drinking by minors in some settings is legal, and in 19 of them there are no restrictions.

By the same logic, in 31 states there are some restrictions on alcohol consumption, and it is completely forbidden in 15 of those.


Right, but in those states where some drinking is allowed, there are far more places where it isn't allowed than where it is. I think it's disingenuous to phrase exceptions in the active sense.


I think the inference is supposed to be "Look, this well-off, exceptionally productive (in a monetary sense) member of society supports marijuana legalization. It isn't just a bunch of layabout potheads and criminals!"


Would that be balanced by an equally well off exceptionally productive member of society if they were against?


I don't think it would, because that would be unsurprising. There isn't any perception that the only people who oppose the law are potheads and criminals. When you're busting a stereotype, showing that people who never fell under the stereotype also don't fit it isn't very enlightening.


When campaign money is considered free speech, then yes, some people have more than others. Opinions are more valuable when they can influence others. You can go door-to-door and reason with everyone you meet, or you can buy advertising space and ram it down their throats - which is more efficient when you only need a majority.


Yeah, I'm afraid I really don't see the relevance. I'm sure he also has opinions on Roe vs Wade, Bush vs Gore, Coke vs Pepsi and who should have won America's Next Top Model, but I don't see the relevance, and am concerned that some people may be upvoting the story just because they agree with this particular proposition.


> So, is his opinion more relevant for having that much stock in facebook?

No, but currently in our society, for better or worse, his status as a celebrity sure does.


The fact that he has accomplished so much makes his opinion more relevant to me, and certainly much more relevant than random commenters on the internet.


Off-topic, but I went to see what does this billionaire do nowadays: http://www.asana.com

Sounds interesting, but what's wrong with their web pages? Both Chrome and Safari seem to cut the bottom part of the text.

There seems to be Javascript snippet to resize the blog but it ain't working. And they use iframe for blog content, why? Maybe they are developing some new technology and used it to implement their own blog. Seems that tech ain't production ready yet,

There's even a comment:

I assure you, we typically write nicer code than this. This is git-it-done hacktown. -jr


That is weird. I'm also creeped out by any company that has as many 'advisors' as they do employees (10 emp, 13 advisors). But then again, maybe that is how these companies work...


Those are angel investors as well as advisors.


Sounds like Chandler. http://chandlerproject.org/vision

Maybe one of these days someone will succeed in this space. It would be nice.


Why do so many folks use "overcrowding" as a rationale for keeping innocent people out of prison? Is that really the best reason you can come up with? If there was room for them, would it be fine? Would you legalize legitimate crimes because jail was full?


Overcrowding is the most tangible effect the voting public cares about, because everyone understands there are limited resources and at some point you have to make a decision who you want to keep in jail and who you don't.

I would say most people really don't care if an innocent person is in jail. But they do care if someone they consider a threat is let out because someone they don't consider a threat is taking up a spot.

Remember you're not dealing with rational beings, you're dealing with voters.


Of all the rationales, that's a poor one. How about:

- Forcing it onto the black market makes producing marijuana the most profitable use of lots of land that would otherwise be used for non-crime related agriculture.

- Locks up lots of people for non-violent offenses, ruining lives.

- Deprives the state of Billions of dollars in tax revenue

- Wastes billions on the nearly impossible task of enforcement

- Leads to US military intervention all over central and south america, which leads to puppet regimes, corruption, and tremendous amounts of human suffering.

- Marijuana proceeds fuel the expansion of criminal orgs that also practice human trafficking and import harder drugs. Legalization will destroy many of these organizations.

- Promotes the emphasis on alcohol as the recreational drug of choice in America, when in fact Marijuana generally has fewer adverse side effects.


The only reason that ultimately matters is that poking smot is not wrong, and putting innocent people in jail is. All that other stuff is incidental.

If it helps the cause, then use it, but I think most of it just confuses the issue, and opens it up to more fallacious counter-arguments. If we argue that certain unethical things should be stopped because they are impractical, then what do we say about the ones that are practical?


Such as?


You want reasons it might be practical to imprison innocent people? Homelessness, insanity, youth, unpopular opinions, unpopular religion, guilty friends or relatives, wrong place at the wrong time, looking suspicious, bad taste, ugly, body odor, to name a few.


> Wastes billions on the nearly impossible task of enforcement

Rarely mentioned is the cost to law enforcement, in lives.

How many police officers have died fighting with criminals over pot? Cannabis should be legal, no one needs to die over it.


Marijuana proceeds fuel the expansion of criminal orgs that also practice human trafficking and import harder drugs. Legalization will destroy many of these organizations.

will it really destroy them? it seems like they will be able to provide the same product for a much cheaper price because it will not be taxed.

i don't know much about this proposition, but would it still be considered illegal to be in possession of marijuana not sold/taxed by authorized dealers? would anyone really be able to tell whether a person is in possession of marijuana that came from an authorized dealer or from a gang member?


A commonly cited estimate is that fully half of the income of the Mexican drug cartels comes from marijuana. If you deprive them of that revenue they won't go away, but their influence will surely be substantially weakened.


Imagine if marijuana were farmed using truly modern big-agricultural techniques. The price would be significantly lower, so even if you added on a nice profit for the company and a tax it would likely still be cheaper and significantly higher quality than black market product.


Well they are not technically innocent are they? If marijuana possession is illegal and they got caught with it, then they broke the law. You can say that the law is unjust of course, but if the law is on the books, they are not innocent of it.

Overcrowding can be a good argument because it basically argues that whatever social ill the marijuana prohibition aims to cure is not worth the cost of keeping all these people in jail.


People have an obligation to disobey unjust laws.


I'd guess because many people opposed to marijuana legalization are also frequent complainers about their taxes going to 3-square-meal-a-day criminals in prison. Inform them that a huge portion of people in prison are there just for having pot, and taking them out would save them tax dollars and better the economy, and you may convince them to help legalize it.




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