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February 2011
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Open Thread

bullet image End this absurd war by Glenn Garvin at the Miami Herald. Great piece featuring a LEAP’s Kyle Vogt.


bullet image Illinois Blacks More Likely to Get Prison for Drugs

An Illinois state panel found Monday that Illinois blacks convicted of low-level drug possession offenses are much more likely to be sentenced to prison than whites. According to the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission, 19% convicted of drug possession were imprisoned, while only 4% of whites were.

The disparity was even worse in the state’s most populous jurisdiction, Cook County. While statewide, blacks were five times more likely to be imprisoned for drug possession than whites, in Cook County, the figure was eight times.


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34 comments to Open Thread

  • Cannabis

    The drug war is working as designed. A lot of African Americans can’t vote after a drug conviction. Funny thing is, if one can put it that way, that Democrats support the drug war, so they are supporting the disenfranchisement of those most likely to vote Democratic. Have they demonized druggies, and DHFs in general, to the point that they forget that they are imprisoning their base?

  • darkcycle

    Many of you know that I am a stay at home Dad. What you may not know (if I’ve said it before bear with me) is that my adopted son is from Ethiopia. One of the biggest drivers for my activism is the knowledge that the drug war is an excuse to warehouse young African American men in prisons.
    When he gets older, what exactly am I going to tell him about the Police? My two grown Caucasian children I had no such conundrum; I told them what every other (white)parent tells their child. I told them that the Police were there to help people. That if they were ever in trouble, or lost they should go to (or call)a Policeman. When they were older, I told them if they were ever the victim of a crime, in an accident, afraid of or hurt by someone, that they should immediately call the Police.
    Now what the fuck should I do? If I’m really going to give him the tools he needs to survive, I need to tell him: If you’re hurt or in trouble, DON’T call the Police. Call family. If you’re the victim of a crime, damn sure don’t call the Police. They will just as likely take you to jail for something you didn’t do, that possibly didn’t happen at all. They may charge him with the crime he was trying to report! That happened to my friend Greg. Not to mention the very fact that being a black man at the scene of a crime, he may just be shot by nervous officers just arriving at a crime scene! How the hell am I supposed to handle this?…’cause this is our fucking reality.
    I’m gonna have to tell him that to succeed he has to not only be better than any white person in his chosen field, but he also has to avoid any encounters of ANY kind with authorities.
    I really do wonder how I’m going to deal with that if this doesn’t change, and damn soon. He’s two now, but I’m fifty-one, and I know that this is taking too damn long.
    There, thanks. I’ve been waiting to unload that for a while.

  • vicky vampire

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/01/the-cost-of-meth-prohibition/70565/
    Look at this story now states looking at making cold medicine
    products with pseudophdrine prescription only,WTF SO MUCH FOR SMALLER GOVERNMENT read comments from this story very good one starts out and I quote from a Steve Johnson quote (Our Government is dangerously insane) please he is probably understating it it much worse,I have no words for it right now. Oh yes this adds to health care costs too.

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/02/02/nyc-expected-to-ban-smoking-in-parks-beaches/
    Then in another story New York City Council imposes further smoking Bans on state, folks in that state are calling Mayor and counCil Nanny and Police state, Yeah smoking is very unhealthy but Christ, wake up people show some back bone rebel a little your freedoms are Fraking disappearing.

    Yeah sorry Pete for going off topic but this just Royally pisses me off. Yup black people do not trust Police at all can really blame them.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      They never grasp that people in the black market take the path of least resistance. If Oregon makes it a prescription and practically eliminates meth labs it’ll work just as well for all 50. Umm no, the meth cooks are just going to go to the next easiest method of procurement. Did you know that when you cook synthetic THC that the labs blow up even worse than meth cooking? Chased at least one FDA approved dronanibal manufacturer clean out of the business.

      I saw Steven Colbert complaining about this issue when he had a cold. He said he was mad at himself for just taking the easy way out. He went out and bought the needed lab equipment, went down to the black market meth vendor and bought some, and reverse engineered it to get his pseudoephedrine so he could get some relief from his cold.

      It’s going to help keeping the doctor’s waiting rooms full too so kwitcherbellyaching.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Well we’re fucked. Today may be a true “damn the guys from NORML got caught tooting cocaine with the drug czar” turning point kind of day. What’s the definition of “critical” condition nowadays anyhow? Really, sounds like meth to me, BWDIK?

    ……Calif toddler critical after ingesting pot resin……

    /snip/ “The San Joaquin County sheriff’s office says the father, Alfonso Correa, and Juan Zambrano, both 20 years old, were taken into custody around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, nearly seven hours after emergency medical technicians found the girl lethargic and suffering from seizures.” /snip/

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/02/02/state/n163222S32.DTL&tsp=1

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Wow, that really demonstrates why the What about the children fallacy is so powerful. People like me getting voted thumbs down left and right, and accused of not caring if a little girl is going to live or die. Well what good are children if you can’t eat them and grind their bones for bath powder anyway? I love little children! Baked, broiled, or deep fried, and the leftovers make great sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch.

      So many Know Nothings seem to think that if A=B then B=C is a perfectly valid piece of algebra. 3 times through 8th grade and they never did figure it out.

      Not to mention how shocking I find it that there are so many in San Francisco who don’t know that cannabis resin is hashish, sheesh!

      • Maria

        Yeah. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been accused of being a straight up psychopath who doesn’t give a damn about children. All because I’ve said “it’s not a reason to continue the drug war” or even more controversial “no, turning society into children and putting us into prison in order to save one childs life? It is NOT a valid trade off.” Now puppies… I’ll gladly plug myself into the machine to save the puppies! 😉

        If they give a damn about children they should call for a ban on aspirin, hot stoves, dogs, drain cleaner, trees, and electrical sockets.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    DC, why not just skip telling him that he’s black? My sister adopted my nephew in 1971 and made that mistake and he was never able to come to grips with it. He was the only one in our family that had a problem with his being black. So just keep that shit away from him cause what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him. If he doesn’t know that he’s black he won’t have those problems anyway.

    The other option is to move to Canada.

    • darkcycle

      Duncan, I’m not worried about HIM, this little guy has more going for him in the human competition than I ever did. His dad is a short, funny looking white guy who doesn’t get along well with others. This kid is tall, REALLY good looking, and has a smile that just makes your day everytime you see it. And he’s got a solid portion of luck, too, went from being abandoned at a Police station in Addis Ababba two years ago th the U.S. and a set of parents who’ll take care of him. So many African children wind up fighting and dying for some warlord, or in poverty and disease….
      There are some people, you know, just seem to bubble up to the top, whatever they do. That’s Asha. And it ain’t just because he’s mine, mind you. Sixteen years working with all sorts of children, and I can tell you the traits that make for success…he’s got ’em all.
      No, this stressor belongs to me, cause I can already tell you, nothing is holding this kid back.

      • Duncan20903

        It may not be much comfort but it’s hard for me to imagine barring a most extreme set of circumstances and happenstance that his life in the US (or Canada) would be anything but better than his life would have been in Ethiopia. Isn’t the life expectancy there something like 33, with a third of the population living with HIV, or has Mr. Gates managed to make a dent? I guess if we can force those people to keep their things in their pants and start going to a christian church instead of practicing idolatry that they’d live longer.

        (working on a private note to you, but with my apologies, obsession always has priority to friendship.)

    • darkcycle

      In Canada he’d be white? Oh, great WHITE North..I get it now…

      • Duncan20903

        No, not quite what I meant. He just wouldn’t have to find out that he’s black. Those Canuckistanis are much too polite to mention something like that. Those people are just too damn civilized. I find it shocking more black people don’t pack up and move up there just to increase the quality of their life.

        Want to bet that there’s a higher ratio of blacks in custody than whites in Canada? How much do you want to lose? I’ll take that action all day long and laugh at you behind your back when I pocket your cash. IIRC it’s .07 % of white adults in US Prisons and 4.8% of blacks. I may be a little off but know for a fact the US is less that 1% white, approaching 5% black in prison or under “supervision”. I’m not even betting “less disparate” than the US*, I’m betting that the percentages are a straight up statistical match. e.g. .0346% and .0349 match statistically. We can hire a deviate to figure out the standard deviation if needed.

        (*oh what a sucker bet that would be, who wants the other side? I’ll bet you, but you have to prove that you actually own some money and third party because I find that hard to believe, unless you’ve just won some lottery game.)

  • re Medipot: is there a magic tipping point where when we reach a certain number of MMJ states, fed rescheduling is mandated?

    • Duncan20903

      umm, no. The DEA ignored it’s own administrative law judge way back in 1988. Why would the start listening to evidence at this late date?

      • thanks D – thought I read that somewhere (notwithstanding US Patent 6630507)…
        j

      • Duncan20903

        I searched the USPTO for “cannabinoids” and got 4,917 items returned. Now that’s just the US not even worldwide. I can’t think of a reason other than medicine to patent a cannabinoid.

        Did you know that the US Government was the original patent owner for dronanibol, aka Marinol?

  • Duncan20903

    Smoke free pets. Gotta save Fido from 2nd hand smoke. No, I’m not making this up. I can’t sleep, the clowns will eat me!

    Tobacco, Secondhand Smoke, and Pets

    In recent years, studies have concluded that tobacco and secondhand smoke are not only dangerous to people, but also to pets. Specifically, with respect to secondhand smoke, researchers have found that exposure to tobacco smoke has been associated with certain cancers in dogs and cats; allergies in dogs; and eye and skin diseases and respiratory problems in birds, according to the researchers.

    http://www.no-smoke.org/learnmore.php?id=623

  • Duncan20903

    Is this a modified What about the children fallacy? The What about the puppies fallacy? Doesn’t anyone care about the puppies?

    @Berwick Traven Feb 2

    “Growing operations have caused a variety of troubles in our neighborhoods. The wiring in buildings is often substandard, among other things, starting fires from the overload. Just this past week, an East Oakland grow house burned, killing a dog and her newborn puppies, but it’s not a problem to city government.”

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_17265739

  • Windy

    Duncan, just a personal anecdote, but I smoke cigarettes, I smoke outside at home but I do smoke in my car. I had a dog (Cockapoo, 40 lbs) who passed away in November she was 2 months over the age of 17 when she died. She was with me nearly every time I went somewhere in my car, for a few years, we spent two to three days in a row, each month, all day long in my car as I went about my job photographing houses for sale for a local monthly real estate book. We went to Seattle to visit my daughter every month or so and sometimes twice a month, we went on longer out of town trips, too, not to mention nearly daily trips running errands. If my smoking in my car, with her in there too, caused her any harm it never showed up in her extra long life, she was super healthy until the last couple months, when she got frail. And she lived about 3 years longer than her expected lifespan.

  • Duncan20903

    Fun with software censorship. Well pardon my potty mouth!

    Comment Not Posted. Your comment included the following inappropriate language “for sale, in stock”.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/02/BA741HI1AN.DTL#ixzz1CuvjoKMA

    Big pharma sure has done a wonderful job in keeping the people in the dark about the existence of medical meth, the fact that it’s FDA approved for school children as older than age 6, and the fact that it is almost certainly in stock and for sale at the last pharmacy which you frequent.

    • Duncan20903

      More fun with censorship software. Pete, you got me busted!

      Comment Not Posted. Your comment included the following inappropriate language “darkies”.

      Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/02/BA741HI1AN.DTL#ixzz1CvAJT9S5

      “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others. (except Harry)”

      “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

      “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

      “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

      “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

      “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

      • Duncan20903

        Oh my, even more fun with censorship software. Is this a picture perfect example of irony?

        Comment Not Posted. Your comment included the following inappropriate language “libtard, republitards”.

        Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/02/BA741HI1AN.DTL#ixzz1CvK6nsV6

        “A recurring theme on these Internet threads are that the Demotards are our friends, and the Republitards are our enemy.”

        (is this better?)
        “A recurring theme on these Internet threads are that the Demotards are our friends, and the Repugnicants are our enemy.

  • darkcycle

    I like Liarcrats and Refiblicans.

  • davidtvz

    I’ve been reading an excellent book called “The Next 100 Years” and I’m starting to think that the drug war is sticking around precisely because it destabilizes Mexico and South American countries (but Mexico especially). I don’t think it got started for that purpose (our leaders are that intelligent and nefarious), but now that it’s here, it’s a convenient way to keep Mexico from becoming any sort of challenge to us any time soon.

  • denmark

    Good answer Windy, with you all the way.

    Are there any other medical marijuana patients on this site?

  • the end of Scared Straight…

    Md., Calif. Suspend ‘Scared Straight’ Programs

    Maryland and California prison officials said Friday they have suspended youthful offender diversion programs featured on the television show “Beyond Scared Straight” after the U.S. Justice Department warned they could lose federal funding.

    – snip –

    The Justice Department said a study of nine such programs concluded they don’t deter teenagers from offending. In fact, the youths were more likely to offend, according to Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson and Jeff Slowikowski, acting administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    “In light of this evidence, the U.S. Department of Justice discourages the funding of scared straight-type programs. States that operate such programs could have their federal funding reduced if shown not to have complied with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act,” the federal officials wrote in an op-ed piece published Monday in The (Baltimore) Sun.

  • DdC

    Drug dogs false alert over 200 times in UC Davis study
    Sat, 05 Feb 2011 01:51:02 By: Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator
    One of the favorite tools of law enforcement officers looking to bust cannabis consumers is the K-9 unit (or as George Clinton once called ‘em, the “dope dog”). These dogs are highly trained to use their super sense of smell to detect narcotics and explosives. Paired with a handler, they are often called in to search suspect vehicles in traffic stops and signal, or “alert” when contraband is detected.

    Marijuana Testing State Services Applicants: It’s Just Wrong!

    [The following blog post was submitted to the NORML Women’s Alliance by Anna Diaz. NORML’s commentary appears in italics below.]

    Urinalysis, the most common form of non-impairment drug testing, unfairly targets marijuana consumers because it screens for the presence of inert byproducts that may be detectable for days, weeks, or even months in former users. This is a discriminatory policy that sanctions individuals who may have consumed cannabis at some previous, unspecified point in time, while most other forms of illicit substance use to go undetected. Further, most marijuana consumers are responsible, hard-working Americans. NORML believes that it is arbitrary and counterproductive to single these people out for punishment simply because they fail a urine screen.

    Warrantless GPS Tracking Facing Fourth Amendment Challenges
    Feb 2 2011
    Recent federal and state court decisions that overturned narcotic convictions of suspected drug dealers as a result of law enforcement using warrantless GPS tracking devices to watch suspects have triggered an intense debate over the Fourth Amendment, which provides citizens against unreasonable search and seizures.

    Marijuana Activists Fight DEA Efforts to Eviscerate Medical Privacy
    Jan 31 2011
    The Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs filed an emergency motion this week to halt efforts by the federal government to gain access to the records of several Michigan medical marijuana patients.

    • I love the dog study… in fact, it makes me grin. I was thinking “yeah but 200 times out of what, a million?” I had no idea but speaking of monumental failures… thanks D! I’ll puff one on that sweet note…

  • DdC

    Drug Czar Warns Against Taking Bath

    The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.

    Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.

    It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

    Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.

    To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

    Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
    ~ Frederick Douglass

    Marijuana Backers To GOPers: Why Not Cut The DEA Budget?
    With Republicans in the House looking to cut down on spending in the next fiscal year, supporters of legalizing marijuana have a suggestion for where they should start — the Drug Enforcement Agency’s budget.

    For law enforcement, busting criminals is good business

    Civil and Human Rights

  • awhile back ez made reference to how the violence in Mexico is generally restricted to certain states and most of the country remains mostly unaffected… I read this BBC story last night:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12194138

    and it makes this point:

    Take, for instance, the northern state of Chihuahua, on the border with the US.

    In 2007, there were 244 drug-related deaths. The same figure for 2010 was of 4,427 victims – it grew by an astonishing 1,800%.

    The state is home to Ciudad Juarez – the city across the border from El Paso, Texas – where 6,437 people have lost their lives in drug-related violence since late 2006.

    That one city of less than 1.5 million people was the location for more than 18% of the total number of deaths nationwide in the same period.

    Other badly affected regions were Tamaulipas, in the north-east of the country and also close to the border with the US, and Sinaloa, on the Pacific Coast and home to Mexico’s most wanted drug baron, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

    Meanwhile, in states like Tlaxcala, only 13 people have been killed in the conflict since 2006; in Yucatan, the total figure is 26.

    This is a point that the Mexican government seems keen to highlight – the violence is confined to very specific areas and other regions are almost completely spared from the killings.

    In fact, 70% of the homicides, the database shows, have taken place in only 85 of the 2,500 municipalities around Mexico.

  • DdC

    How do you say the “will of the people” in Montaneze? Or that politicians only “represent” the views of the majority? The importance of voting? Or maybe wtf is this message to the childrens…

    [url=http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread26300.shtml]Bill To Restrict Medical Marijuana Draws Fire[/url] [i]By Charles S. Johnson
    CN Source: Billings Gazette February 01, 2011 Helena, MT[/i]
    A proposal to make it harder for people to get medical marijuana cards for severe and chronic pain drew plenty of opposition and little support at a hearing on Monday. Senate Bill 170, by Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, would require a panel of three physicians experienced in pain management to review and ultimately decide whether to approve or reject another doctor’s recommendation that a patient be authorized to use medical marijuana for severe and chronic pain.

    [url=http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread26304.shtml]Medical Marijuana Repeal Draws Crowd of Opponents[/url] [i]By Cody Bloomsburg
    CN Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle February 03, 2011 Helena, MT[/i]
    Montana’s medical marijuana law is flawed but repeal is not the answer, according to most of those who testified Wednesday on the Legislature’s first bill to scrap the voter-approved act. Supporters of repeal told members a House committee that voters today want to scrap the law, but Ken Lindeman, a medical marijuana patient and caregiver, cited the numbers of anti-repealers as his proof. “If the voters didn’t want (medical marijuana), then how come every committee meeting we come in and outnumber them 3-to-1?” he asked.

    [url=http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread26303.shtml]MMJ Repeal Draws 3 Times The Opponents[/url] [i]By Charles S. Johnson
    CN Source: Billings Gazette February 02, 2011 Helena, MT[/i]
    By a 3-to-1 margin, opponents outnumbered supporters of a bill Wednesday that would repeal Montana’s 2004 voter-passed law legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the state. At issue before the House Human Services Committee was House Bill 161, by House Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade. The preliminary count of people signed up to speak showed 86 opponents and 28 supporters of the bill. The committee took no immediate on the vote.

    [url=http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread26307.shtml]House Panel Endorses Repeal of Marijuana Law[/url] [i]By Charles S. Johnson
    CN Source: Billings Gazette February 04, 2011 Helena, MT[/i]
    The House Human Services Committee voted 10-5 Friday to repeal Montana’s 2004 voter-passed bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana. All of the committee’s 10 Republicans voted for House Bill 161, by House Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade. All five Democrats opposed it. The bill now heads to the House floor for debate Tuesday, barring any last-minute scheduling changes. “I am pleased to see the Human Services Committee supports this incredibly important bill, and I look forward to it passing the full House of Representatives next week,” Milburn said.