Monday, March 05, 2007

News of the Day, Monday, February 5, 2007

  • Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article on the "grow houses" that are popping up more and more in suburbia. Grow-houses – a spacious incarnation of the old grow-room – have proliferated like suburban-garden gnomes, as antidrug squads have chased growers off remote mountainsides and out of cornfields. In these basements, lights hum with thousands of watts across a sea of plants lodged in a hydroponic soup of nutrients. Upstairs, there's usually no furniture, police say, except a cot, a chair, and a rabbit-ear TV. "It's the most impressive thing I've seen in 20 years of law enforcement," says Lt. Jody Thomas of the Fayette County Drug Taskforce. Will these places end up like meth houses have, back on the market after the busts go down with the new buyers unaware and leaving bags on carpets that they later take through security checks at airports to be swabbed down and they come up positive and the buyers get hauled off proclaiming their innocence and the drug guys say, "yeah, sure, fella," and . . . sorry, a little carried away.
  • U of MI researchers find the brain areas that distinguish "want" from "like," with implications for drug users and those who want to stop them. "The U-M study reports that the brain divides wanting and liking into separate circuits for the same sweet reward. Natural heroin-like chemicals (opioids) in a few brain "pleasure hotspots" make individuals want to eat more of a tasty sweet food, and make them like its sweet taste more when they eat it, the study says. The same thing happens with addictions to drugs, sex, gambling and other pursuits involving "brain reward" circuits."
  • On the heels of a recent takedown by Grits for Breakfast of the nonsensical fiscal analysis prepared for a proposed TX sex offender law, the Dallas Morning News does some real reporting and details why Grits isn't the only one skeptical. And even better, the reporters researched and passed along what the expected fiscal and population impacts are for other states. Too often state policymakers get to act as if they live on islands without experience from other states to point them away from bad ideas. This is what corr sent policy reporting is supposed to be under a functioning First Amendment.
  • While in the wonder that is TX, let us just note that nearly 20% of their released sex offenders are missing, even with public registries. The reasons are given, but you can probably guess them. At least pay a visit to the link and see how many you got right.
  • The public defenders in MO have backed off their plan to stop accepting new clients under a high caseload and low budgets. Both sides got some face-saving but I'm not holding my breath that the situation's really going to improve. Budgets get tight, defense gets the first cuts. Who's going to complain?
  • Major depression can lead to major drinking. Except men taking antidepressants don't do it. Women do. Interesting research but more clearly needed. And do we start giving drunk guys antidepressants now?
  • Who says policies don't have impact? WY implements a bill to run off the sex offenders we're told are flocking there in winter to take advantage of its previously lenient policies and, boom, the next day, the gov't guy running the state's registry proclaims the law a success. "We've already had one call from a registrant who said Wyoming is becoming too tough on sex offenders and he's moving to another state," he kindly lets us know. Already, one call!! From a itinerant sex perv who considerately calls in to let the state know it's too tuff for him now, by golly. Who needs data and research anyway?
  • Finally, the American Academy of Pediatricians is telling anyone interested in, you know, experts that subjecting kids to drug testing, either in school or at home, is almost always a bad idea. False positives. False negatives. Lost trust, confidence, staying at home when you've lost trust, confidence. That stuff. Not to mention that it tends to just be counter-productive. Hmm, counterproductive. . . where have we heard that before in corr sent?

No comments: