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July 2007
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Open Thread

“bullet” Hinchey amendment (to prevent federal harassment in states with medical marijuana laws) may be coming up for a vote today. Jacob Sullum reminds us why we should care.

The DEA encourages and suborns perjury

Radley Balko has the latest from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The decision by U.S. Attorney Greg White to release a woman from prison and drop charges against two men could be the tip of the iceberg in a federal perjury investigation. Dozens of convictions and pending cases in which DEA agent Lee Lucas investigated and […]

Just one more reason to get rid of Alberto Gonzales

Not that we need any more… but in his testimony today, he was asked by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who has introduced a bill to reduce the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity, what the DOJ thought of it. Gonzales replied:

“Personally, as I sit here today, I’d say that where we’re at today is certainly reasonable. […]

Drug war on crack

Ian Welsh has a very good article at firedoglake: The Assault on Due Process and Civil Liberties, where he notes that the current attacks on our rights related to the war on terror and the increase in executive power didn’t just spring to life out of thin air — they were spawned from the drug war.

The joke about the ‹War on TerrorŠ is that it‰s the ‹War on Drugsá on crackŠ. As with most good jokes, it hurts and it‰s funny, because it‰s true – the ‹War on DrugsŠ is where America lost a lot of its civil liberties and due process. […]
Of course, many things did start under Bush – torture, repeal of habeas corpus and so on. But it‰s worth remembering, at the end of the day, that what has happened in the last 6 years did not happen in a vacuum – it was an acceleration of a trend that already existed towards the land of liberty becoming a land where due process was only something that some people, the right sort of people, had access to.

It is, of course, something we’ve been talking about for years.

Mother and daughter

A woman in her forties and her daughter in her twenties were smoking marijuana together in their parked car “in advance of a Nickelback concert at Centennial Park in Sarnia [Ontario], part of the Bayfest festival.”
What a nice moment. An adult mother and daughter spending some nice quality time together, enjoying a concert. It should be a Hallmark moment. Until…

Police seized 14 marijuana cigarettes and arrested and charged the pair.

There’s something really sick in our society to allow these two to be arrested (or anyone else for that matter who simply wants to enjoy some good music in a time-honored way).
The Chatham Daily News misses the point entirely in their editorial Family Values Going Up in Smoke

Call us old-fashioned, but we find it deeply unsettling when parents take recreational drugs with their kids.

No, I’m not calling you old-fashioned. I’m calling you stupid.
This mother and daughter have more family values than most people, including the editorial writers at the Chatham Daily News. And what happens to family values when you promote a drug war that rips apart families, jails parents, fills family members and steals children away?
Or is family values just for the father and son in beer commercials?
And I just want to add another point to this. There’s a reason the police go to concerts in search of drug busts. They know that people like to use marijuana when listening to music. But they don’t talk about why.
Marijuana isn’t necessary to enjoying good music. Neither is good speakers. You can listen to music through crappy little speakers and have a wonderful experience. However…
I know someone who is a genius with sound reproduction and speakers. He once invited me to his home and had me sit in “the chair.” He had built all of his speakers himself and had the exact perfect spot in this large room for the very best sound. And I admit, I had never heard sound like that before. It was breathtaking.
Marijuana affects many people listening to music in a similar way. Time shifts, and subtle effects of the music come through with a power as though a dormant tuning fork had been activated inside you. Why do you think the history of jazz is tied to marijuana?
But of course, this is just another aspect of marijuana that the government would prefer not to articulate — it doesn’t fit their propaganda of marijuana alternately causing violent behavior or making you sit for hours on Pete’s couch.
“Don’t use marijuana — it’ll make music sound like you’re listening to the best speaker system on earth and it’ll make Hostess Ding-Dongs taste like a 5-star French restaurant’s Creme BrulÚe.” Hard to sell a drug war that way.
[Tanya at Blame the Drug War reacts to this story as well.]

The Drug WarRant Annual Harry J. Anslinger Propaganda Award

Marie had a very interesting idea in comments — an annual Anslinger award. I like it. I think we might be able to do something good with this, so let’s work out some details.

Timing. What’s the best time of the year to give out the award — end of the calendar year? Some other […]

Hastert to leave?

It was a good day when Dennis Hastert was no longer the Speaker of the House. Now, Think Progress reports…

According to the Politico, columnist Robert Novak will report this weekend:

Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has indicated to a close former aide that it is likely he will not run for a 12th […]

Odds and Ends and Open Thread

“bullet” An interesting feature in the New York Tmes: The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement- Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul “bullet” Chicago Tribune article about the drug war and racism: Drug war enforcement hits minorities hardest

“There was a thought back in the 1980s that it was better to be tough on crime than to […]

Found in a bathroom in the Capitol building

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