January 23, 2007

do something pretty while you can

unknown, 1999, bloomington, indiana

* Froomkin: Bush goes from hero to goat. excerpt:

"After six years of striding onto the House floor like a conqueror, President Bush will arrive for Tuesday night's State of the Union Speech deeply unpopular and politically crippled.

"The most vivid symbol of the new order of things will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi literally looking over his shoulder. With Pelosi's Democrats now in control of both houses of Congress -- and some members of the president's own party peeling off as he pushes stubbornly ahead in Iraq -- Bush will find his friends far outnumbered by his foes.

"The pomp of the State of the Union address and the deference given to Bush's office will prevent the night from turning into an outright rout.

"But as a defensive measure, White House speechwriters are said to have crafted a speech that avoids the traditional laundry list of proposals and applause lines that would almost surely have fallen flat -- or even led to boos and groans -- given Bush's new circumstances.

"To some extent, what's amazing is that it has taken this long."

* It's time for a new strategy for the drug war. excerpt:

"The president's new plan for the Iraq war stems from the lack of success in bringing security to a sizable number of Iraqis. Seeing that and recognizing the American people's patience on that front is wearing thin, the president took a new look at how he was conducting that war. After decades of an even worse failure in the drug war, it's time for the government to rethink that war as well.

"Recent reports show an increase in the amount of heroin from Afghanistan flowing into the United States. A Drug Enforcement Administration analysis showed that in 2003, 8 percent of the heroin seized in the U.S. came from Afghanistan, but in 2004 that number jumped to 14 percent.

"In addition to more heroin coming into this country from Afghanistan, the DEA reports that drugs from Colombia and Mexico are flowing across our southern border.

"Although it's difficult to prove interdiction efforts aren't working, we haven't seen any reports of there being shortages of illegal drugs in our communities.

"Besides failing to keep drugs off the street, the drug war is detrimental to our national security.

"Many officials note that the illicit drug trade finances terrorism.

"That's a fair point, but it's 180 degrees off course.

"It blames drug users for all the money in the illegal drug trade, when prohibition is responsible for the huge amounts of money to be made selling drugs.

"Banning a product doesn't make it go away; it creates a black market for it, which increases the price. Terrorists take advantage of the higher price by entering the drug trade to raise money for their operations. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has simplified this; it hires out its members to drug cartels for security.

"The way to get terrorists out of the drug trade is to take away the profit incentive.

"The drug trade doesn't finance terrorism, the drug war does. If the U.S. and other nations stop treating personal choices such as drug use as crimes, many problems would disappear."
"We believe some sort of sin tax to help offset costs of drug use is preferable to the wider war of drugs the nation has been waging for decades.

"After four years of war in Iraq, the American people tell pollsters they're tired of what they see as the same results for the billions we've spent, so the administration is reconsidering its tactics.

"After four decades of a failed drug war, isn't it time to take a fresh look at what's not working on that front?"

* "Whether I admit it or not, I write to participate in the delusion of my own immortality which is born every minute. And yet, I write to resist myself. I find resistance irresistible." -- Mark Strand


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