Thursday, September 13, 2007

News of the Day, Thursday, September 13, 2007

  • Good news in the latest report on coke and the Mexican government’s apparently successful crackdown on its passage into the US, raising prices and diluting quality. Interesting points in the coverage, even if it leaves out the recent success Colombia has had whacking its drug lords. Seems that around 75% of coke users don’t get punished for it. That’s fair. Also, as the price and scarcity go up, so does violence over what’s left. That’s unsurprising. But where was the analysis of any drug displacement, that is, of coke users switching to other things? The story makes it sound like coke is the only problem drug out there. And the lack of any hoohah about pot use increasing as a result when the opportunity to pound home the anti-pot argument is so obvious is also noteworthy. Make no mistake—it’s a good thing, but this is another story with a lot of dogs that didn’t bark that shows how limited our treatment and understanding of what we’re doing in our War on (Some) Drugs really are.
  • Doesn’t this sound awfully familiar? “. . . researchers found that a confusing sales pitch alone -- such as one utilizing technical jargon, confusing terminology, or large and confusing product assortments -- does not lead to greater consumer interest. Rather, it increases the ‘need for cognitive closure’; consumers will grasp for easy-to-process or unambiguous information that has direct and obvious implications for judgment and behavior. Furthermore, the researchers found that this need for cognitive closure will cause particularly susceptible consumers to ‘freeze’ their judgments, that is, hold them with a high degree of confidence and refrain from considering additional evidence that could potentially threaten closure.” The “sales pitch” referred to here deals with business products, but it describes how most corrections sentencing policy gets sold as well to me.
  • Turns out even the woman who only served seven months for killing her preacher husband doesn’t think it was enough time.
  • Human Rights Watch gives chapter and verse to the ineffectiveness of most sex offender legislation and proposes sensible ways to deal with them better, which means they’ll get nowhere (Corey Rayburn Yung gives his typically sensible take here, which means he’ll get where?) Meanwhile I had missed where a fed judge in NC dumped on the constitutionality of “civil commitment,” and Corey got quoted prominently there, too. Maybe he IS getting somewhere. See what blogging can do for a career? Berman, Yung, me . . . okay, scratch that last one.

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