Quick Takes

“bullet” Fun with numbers. Check out this interesting Data Rider — a probability engine for computing correlations between large numbers of factors. The chart compares prevalence for certain factors within states to the death rates in those states. Note where marijuana use falls.

The 25 states with the highest Marijuana Use rates have an average Death Rate 8.3% lower than the other 25 states. The odds of that happening by chance are about 70-1. The 25 states with the highest Death Rates have an average Marijuana Use rate 24.2% lower. The odds of that happening by chance are about 257-1.

Of course, remember that this says nothing about causality — it’s only a correlation. Tons of other factors could be involved. Still, it’s fun to speculate.

[Thanks, Brad]

“bullet” Three Men Who Had No Reason to Run. The case dealing with the death of Sean Bell is continuing in the courts. A stark reminder of the collateral damage in the drug war.
And again, even though it is proper to determine whether the police officers acted inappropriately, where is the court for looking at decisions higher up setting up such a situation?
“bullet” The governor of Illinois is out of control when it comes to the budget, making all sorts of wild threats (like drastically cutting education) so that the legislature is considering adding a recall option to the state law. But all the states are in budget problems and they’re just going to get worse: As the Economy Falters, So Do State Budgets. Cutting down on prison populations can be a significant source of relief.
Every time now that our local paper has an online article about somebody getting 10 years for a drug offense, I add a comment to the article reminding people what that will cost us at least $23,000 per year for imprisonment, not counting enforcement and court costs.
“bullet” You’d think we’d realize how completely screwed up the drug war is when the general population is turning to the traffickers for basic material and spiritual needs.

“They are very generous,” Bishop Carlos Aguiar was quoted as saying in a local newspaper Saturday.
Aguiar, who heads Mexico’s Catholic bishops’ conference, said drug traffickers pour money into poverty-stricken towns where the government lacks funds to build roads or provide electricity.
“The drug smugglers build things that mean a lot for these communities,” he said. “Many times they will build a church or a chapel.”

“bullet” None of this would happen if people smoked pot instead: Police tear gas crowd at college party

Police early Sunday used tear gas to disperse a crowd at a large party near the campus of Michigan State University after fights broke out and officers were pelted with bottles and cans.

Officers would never get pelted with bongs and rolling papers.

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