Prohibition and violence

Does it strike you that Mexico is suffering from the same violence the US prohibition era spawned: Capone on steroids? Daily Kos has an interesting take.

Two men hanging from a highway overpass fighting for turf, the right to sell someone north of the border some marijuana. Does this make sense?

The problem is, can we reach a more sensible drug policy in this current era, driven by moralist prohibition politics and “get tough on crime” intransigence? Most of state prison spending is related to substance abuse.

“Incarceration has not been definitively shown to reduce crime rates. Bruce Western at Harvard University recently found that only 10 percent of the crime decline in the 1990s was due to increased use of incarceration.7 Between 1998 and 2007, states that had the greatest increases in incarceration rates did not necessarily see a corresponding drop in crime rates. Some states (Maryland Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas) lowered their incarceration rates and still experienced a drop in crime rates.8 Such uneven results do not support continued over-reliance on incarceration, particularly in a time of fiscal crisis.”

Justice Policy Institute, “Pruning Prisons: How Cutting Corrections Can Save Money and Protect Public Safety,” (Washington, DC: May 2009), p. 5.…

This Ugliness

Health care reform is stepping, staggering forward.

Will the ugliness of the debate end? Unfortunately, it’s just as likely that the ugliness has just begun.

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reported this morning on a shameful commentary from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK:

“What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight,” he said. “That’s what they ought to pray.”

Milbank relates Coburn’s comment to Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, who has been in ill health. Coburn watched expressionless as Byrd shouted “Aye” on the vote and pumped his arm triumphantly in the air, 60 votes assured to move the health care bill forward.

It’s really a challenge to listen to Coburn’s type of hateful speech from people who profess to be Christians. It’s difficult why they fail to understand how the parable of the Samaritan applies to assuring health care for their neighbors. No nonsense accepted about the Samaritan being an individual act of charity; Christ delivered the parable to enlighten a people not a person.

Yes, Sarah, we have no tomatoes

I’m not sure which story from Sarah Palin’s visit to Salt Lake City is more telling.

  1. That Sarah had a hairdresser called to the Monaco HotelĀ  and then stiffed her fee, tip and even the valet parking ticket.
  2. That the Costco where she went for a book signing removed tomatoes from the shelves.

An aide for the jet-setting Sarah Palin book-signing bus tour (yes, that’s an oxymoron, isn’t it) did ask for an invoice after being called on #1. Rhonda Halliday of Images Hair Studio and Day Spa says she’s giving Sarah the benefit of the doubt that this was just an oversight. Hmmm, things you could do with dye to make someone seem more like themselves.

Just 550 people showed up for Sarah’s book signing at a Costco. Customer Helen Rappaport thought well that, despite the crowded parking lot, that she was able to get to the pharmacy counter without waiting. But then, she couldn’t buy tomatoes.

Thoughtful Costco management had removed tomatoes from the shelves, seeing as how someone from Minnesota, home of Pawlenty, Bachmann and an embarrassed Humphrey family for God’s sake, chucked a tomato at Sarah Palin during her Mall of America appearance. Rappaport had no such intention; just wanted some grape tomatoes.

Now that was thoughtful of Costco management. But, just thinking and being familiar with Costco, you know that they have pies!