Friday, August 10, 2007

News of the Day, Friday, August 10, 2007

  • Here's intelligence at its best. The county exec of Detroit's home county (surprise, a former DA, not of the "good" kind) responds to a MI proposal to change some felonies to misdemeanors in order to reduce prison demands by urging residents to buy UZIs. Yes, it's a too common example of one level of government just dumping its problems on another under the guise of a well-thought plan, but even the locals there aren't all rising up and getting in line for that semi-automatic. Not yet, anyway.
  • Speaking of MI, Detroit is seeing a rise in the price of cocaine. Not sure why, especially since other drugs don't seem to be being used more. Might be a switch by users to pot, which, in a cost-benefit sense, is still a win, if not for the drug enforcers. Of course, the US Drug Czar says it's happening around the country, thank god we have a Drug Czar. If I trusted him any further than I could throw him, I'd start getting hopeful. As it is, I'm waiting for more evidence, and from more sources than his. (h/t CrimProf Blog)
  • Speaking of drugs, a British story argues for a separation of illegal drug user from legal ones in the stats on "drug-related deaths." Makes a lot of sense, policy-wise. I'm not up on how we do our counting here in the US. Anybody know if it's a problem for us here, too, or not? Let us know.
  • "Governing Through Crime" again. Want a pay raise as a teacher in NV? Well, get the training to be an auxiliary police officer in your school! And get to wear the gun in class as well!! (And never turn your back on that inevitable problem child you always get every year.) I've been thinking seriously about a career change lately. This could be cool.
  • Finally, here's research that indicates that the continual increase in cigarette taxes has had a genuine impact (in a good way) on cigarette smoking. This is good, clearly, on a variety of levels, but it points out once again that we're missing out on a major, nonincarcerative way to reduce pot use as well. Yes, black markets for cigarettes have formed and need to be cracked down on, just as would happen for pot if we legalized it and taxed the bejeesus out of it. But the legality of it could delegitimize much of the illegal distribution and encourage reduction and elimination of use, just as it has with tobacco, maybe even producing as much (or more) deterrence than the highly costly and highly selective threat and use of incarceration as the alternative. Might be worth letting a few states pilot. Wait, gotta go. Just saw a pig flying by my picture window.

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