March 17, 2004

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten

* Excellent Denver Post editorial on the continued failure of the US Drug policy. an excerpt:

"In the early 20th century, labor leader Samuel Gompers set forth his reasons to Congress why opium should be criminalized: 'Opium gives the Chinese immigrant workers an unfair advantage in the labor market.'

"Racists in Congress supported drug criminalization in order to suppress the 'Jew peddlers,' while the State Department's 'opium commissioner,' Hamilton Wright, urged criminalization of cocaine on grounds that it turned African-Americans into rapists of white women.

"On such specious and racist foundations were drugs criminalized. (It is perhaps not an irony that today, at a time when African-Americans struggle for economic opportunities, they make up 90 percent of those actually prosecuted and incarcerated for minor drug offenses. The devastating impact on the families, social fabric, and economic opportunities for African-Americans is virtually impossible to measure.)

"Indeed, drugs were considered only a 'minor medical problem' prior to criminalization in 1914. In the 1920s, Congressman Richard Hobson was one of the first to realize the specious justifications for criminalization and its terrible consequences: 'Ten years ago \[before criminalization\] the narcotic drug addiction problem was a minor medical problem. Today, it is a major national problem, constituting the chief factor menacing public health today.'"

*

Will Oldham on Bonnie Prince Billy and Bonnie Prince Billy on Will Oldham.

* Easily one of the most amazingly jaw-dropping statements made during an Administration of jaw-dropping statements: Bush on John Kerry informing the media that foreign leaders are backing him, not Bush: "If you're going to make an accusation..., you've got to back it up with facts." Apparently, Bush is above the schoolyard dictum: practice what you preach.

* And, you can dress him up, but you can't take him out: Dress-Up Jesus:

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