Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They Just Don't Get It

From Talking Points Memo-

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI): GM's Rick Wagoner is just a "sacrificial lamb."

Wagoner, in fact, is the CEO who doesn't believe in global warming. IOW, too dumb to walk and chew gum. But he might be a little smarter if people he associated with, like Governor Granholm, would challenge his stupidity. And she's the Democrat!

We are so screwed.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why Legalize?

Every major commission, over more than a century, has found that the costs of prohibition outweigh the benefits. At a time when schools and health care are gasping for funding, how do you justify spending the money on prohibition?

It’s like a form of rot. Now people have treatment programs for a non-existent “marijuana addiction”. The Feds audited one of these treatment programs in 2007 and found that one in ten hadn’t used pot in the previous year, and more than one in three hadn’t used it in the previous month. Naturally, the treatment people are always warning us of the terrible dangers if pot is legalized.

As for whether big business makes a bundle on pot prohibition, the ‘third rail’ nature of the issue should tell you they do. You might think beer and tobacco companies would hurt the worst, but actually big drug companies are making the most. A months supply of Dromolol for a cancer patient costs over $600. Anti-spasmodics, pain relievers, anti-depressants, anti-emetics- add it up and you’re talking money that makes brewery revenues look like “small beer”.

Drug prohibition is what you call a multi-dimensional problem. It provides funding for gangs and terrorists. Some of the money is used to bribe policemen, prosecutors, and legislators. It prevents the use of cheap and effective medications. It expands the presence of the police and has made Swiss cheese of our Bill of Rights. It costs a lot of money which, like bad DNA, replicates expenses, turning ordinary people into hardened criminals condemned to “treatment” for an addiction they don’t have.

And those were the “successes” of prohibition. On the negative side we have the destruction of the family by long prison terms- seeding an entire generation of sub-par performance, poverty, and in all likelihood, abuse of legal substances.

The cost over the past 30 years- over a trillion dollars- would have been sufficient to build solar and wind power for the entire US- even with the less efficient technology of the past. If we had done this, the world would be coming to us to buy, and we would be lending them money, instead of the sadly reverse situation in which we find ourselves.

Maybe the California prison guards have the most realistic take on the matter- presidents come and presidents go, but as long as pot is illegal, the prison guards will have a veto on the California governor. And that’s something they’re ready to fight for.

The Stupidometer

I just looked at a weather forecast from the Times, predicting late-season rain and snow. Appended, a 112-comment thread consisting, probably, of mainly comments saying that if it's snowing, global warming must be over. I didn't have the heart to actually read. Sometimes the stupidity just hurts.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Connect the Dots

First, a little quiz. Raise your hands if you think doubling the cost of transportation could trigger a recession in an economy that spends 66% of its energy on transportation.

That of course, is what happened when gas prices doubled last year. That wasn't part of a long-term trend, it was a bubble driven by fears of an Iranian war, fears driven by the obvious eagerness of the Bush administration. To make a few billion, oil traders and *others in the oil business* bid up futures until we were spending every available dollar on gas.

Then, as credit cards maxed out and mortgages went into default, the markets crashed and the Bushies pitchforked $700 billion to their friends on Wall Street. Nice work if you can get it.

So that was your 2008. 'Wham, bam', but no 'thank you, ma'am' from this crew. Being a Republican means never saying you're sorry.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Serendipity

Whether they know it or not, in just a few days the Seattle P-I morphed from dinosaur to beehive. Linking to local reporting around Puget Sound, readers of the P-I website could choose from a tasty menu of longer and more local stories- that have big implications for the region as a whole. The new ferries chief, a medical marijuana trial, the tribes versus the state on saving the salmon- local reporting is better, but the stories are hardly local.

There's volumes to unpack here, starting with the possible improvement of outlook for the small town paper and the big city daily, which now can focus, as in our federalistic form of government, on what they do best. And really, when metro areas go over a million, how could it be otherwise?

Whether the management at the P-I sees this or not is a different question. Enjoy it- and encourage it- while you can. It may not last forever.

Sunday, March 15, 2009