Wednesday, July 19th, 2023


The War on the War on Drugs

There's not much doubt that the war on drugs has been a bitter failure, both in terms of what's it's done to American cities and to the often war-like environments in regions that produce drugs. But like drugs themselves, kicking the drug war habit is not easy. And just decriminalizing drugs might not be the high we're after. Jim Hinch in The Atlantic: What Happened When Oregon Decriminalized Hard Drugs. "Early results of this reform effort, the first of its kind in any state, are now coming into view, and so far, they are not encouraging. State leaders have acknowledged faults with the policy's implementation and enforcement measures. And Oregon's drug problems have not improved ... In a nonpartisan statewide poll earlier this year, more than 60 percent of respondents blamed Measure 110 for making drug addiction, homelessness, and crime worse. A majority, including a majority of Democrats, said they supported bringing back criminal penalties for drug possession." But is it too soon to give up on alternatives? From bad to worse back to bad doesn't seem like a good route.


Arctic Circle Jerks

The melting ice that will open up new trade routes near the Arctic Circle is well on the way to creating a new version (and region) of the cold war. And in this version, China has a stake as well. The spies and intrigue were in place before the ice broke, and the whole region is being shaken and stirred. WaPo (Gift Article): An Arctic ‘Great Game' as NATO allies and Russia face off in far north. "The war in Ukraine and the dramatic deterioration of Western relations with Moscow have put the frostbitten borderlands between Norway and Russia on heightened alert, while increasing the geostrategic importance of the Arctic."


There’s a New Sheriff in Crown

"In rural communities like Clay County — dominated by farmland and economic hardship — some sheriffs rule like kings. They can arrest anyone they choose, smear reputations and hand out reprieves and other favors. They have enormous latitude to hold people in jail as long as they please and they answer to no one, typically facing little press or prosecutorial scrutiny." Sheriff Eddie Scott has taken full advantage of his power, managing to enter office, and stay there for more than a decade, despite numerous accounts of sexual abuse. NYT (Gift Article): Where the Sheriff Is King, These Women Say He Coerced Them Into Sex.


Suburbanite Life

"A handful of Red Light District residents set up a website called Stop De Gekte ("Stop the Madness"), where they upload videos and photos of worse-for-wear visitors urinating in public, collapsed in doorways, and drunkenly singing into the early hours. But people differ on how to tackle this problem." Time: Inside the Controversy Over Amsterdam's Plan to Move Sex Workers to a Suburban 'Erotic Center.'


Extra, Extra

K Hop: "Before bolting into North Korea, King was being escorted to an airport outside of Seoul where he was expected to board a plane bound for Fort Bliss, Texas, to face military disciplinary action." What we know about the very strange story of the the U.S. soldier who crossed into North Korea.

+ BiBi Cue: "Finding consensus on controversial areas of policy means taking the time you need. For significant changes, that's essential. So my recommendation to Israeli leaders is not to rush. I believe the best outcome is to continue to seek the broadest possible consensus here." Tom Friedman in the NYT (Gift Article). Biden to Netanyahu: Please Stop Trying to Rush Through Your Judicial Overhaul. Build a Consensus First. (I don't think BiBi is gonna listen.)

+ The Herr Club for Men: "Their praise of National Socialist tenets and of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime is very apparent. If you look at their social media, it's full of pro-Nazi, pro-Hitler rhetoric and and iconography." NPR: 'Active club' hate groups are growing in the U.S. — and making themselves seen.

+ Putin Stole Their Youth: "Kids didn't start the war in Ukraine. They aren't fighting it. They won't be responsible for ending it. Yet they have suffered deeply and quietly: They have had little say in that awful matter." A video of kids who have lost a father in the invasion of Ukraine.

+ Things Get Real for Fakes: "Michigan's attorney general filed felony charges Tuesday against 16 Republicans who acted as fake electors for then-President Donald Trump in 2020." (Now get the leader of the crime ring.)

+ Yacht Rocked: "Lost at sea for months on a disabled catamaran, with no way to cook and no source of fresh water but the rain, Australian Timothy Shaddock said he expected to die." Adrift for months, Australian and his dog lived on raw fish until Mexican fishermen rescued them. (This guy will never order sushi again.)

+ Throwing (Away) Shade: "The trees were apparently cut sometime over the weekend ahead of Monday's renewed picket lines near Universal property, igniting concerns and theories about whether or not the trees were cut intentionally in an attempt to discourage protests during 90-degree heat." Did Universal Studios trim trees to mess with striking workers?


Bottom of the News

"While people across the globe have long enjoyed tacos on Tuesdays (and other days), the term 'Taco Tuesday' has actually been trademarked for more than 40 years by Taco John's, a fast-food chain from Wyoming. The company on (when else?) Tuesday announced that it would abandon the United States Patent and Trademark Office registration for the popular term. CEO Jim Creel said in a statement that paying millions to defend the trademark didn't 'feel like the right thing to do.'" (Now I'm having second thoughts about trademarking Weed Wednesday.)