Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kinkade's Genocide

Thomas Kinkade ("Painter of Light") died on April 6, 2012. I am at a loss for how this "obituary" for Kinkade came to be at something called The Daily News (technology news, gadget news, etc.):

As word of Kinkade’s black genocide widespread Saturday, fans flocked to a small galleries to buy his work.
“It’s funny beautiful. We’re struggling with our own emotions, nonetheless the open is entrance in and usually shopping art off the wall,” pronounced Ester Wells, art studio executive at the Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery in Pismo Beach, Calif. “Right now, people are usually entrance in and shopping all in our inventory.”
Many business paid for art as a reverence whilst others pronounced it was a intelligent investment: they feel his work will right divided be value more down the road, Wells said. Others stopped by usually to contend how contemptible they were to listen to of his death.
“We’re starting to remove a great artist to the universe yet we’ll never dont consider about him,” Wells said, adding that she thinks Kinkade will be remembered as an additional Norman Rockwell
Kinkade regarded Rockwell as his beginning hero. His mother had a large pick up of copies of Saturday Evening Post magazines, he pronounced in a autobiography on his website.
“The scenes were sentimental and brought behind unequivocally happy memories for people,” pronounced Marty Brown, who owns 4 galleries in Southern California that sell Kinkade paintings. Brown’s galleries had already had a record sales day by noon on Saturday, he said.
The business ranged from extraordinary people who’d seen headlines of Kinkade’s genocide on the headlines to longtime collectors purchasing a integrate of more pieces.
“Some people are entrance and shopping a integrate or shopping their initial piece, or usually shopping something. But they all feel flattering bad, to discuss it you the truth,” he said.
Kinkade had a air blower base that was unprecedented, and he done collectors out of the many people who brought his art in to their homes. [more]

Ostensibly this was originally written in English, since the authors are cited as Associated Press writers in Phoenix, AZ and Chicago, IL. But was it then translated into, say, Japanese, and then re-translated back into a non-native speaker? We may never know.

via Jeffrey Vallance's Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Case for Legalizing All Drugs REDUX

Jeffrey Miron appears to be in the news, adding some momentum (I hope) to a growing movement to at least decriminalize marijuana use. From The Huffington Post (April 17, 2012):

More than 300 economists, including three nobel laureates, have signed a petition calling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco. [more]

I am not sure $13.7 billion is it, if one also factors in the potential millions (billions?) saved by users of marijuana who no longer have to pay fines or lawyers to defend them in court. All that money can go back into the economy. And with legalization could come potentially tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of new jobs in legal marijuana growing and selling. Perhaps Miron's findings address these issues, too.

At the end of the Huffington Post piece, I was pleasantly surprised to see Glenn Greenwald interviewed by the libertarian Nick Gillespie about Greenwald's study about decriminalization of all drugs in Portugal. It is a success by every important measure: harm reduction, popular support, and cost savings. I repeat, it is a success.

The Case for Legalizing All Drugs

The legalization question from the Summit of the Americas isn't off everyone's radar. BigThink has "Is Legalization the Answer to War on Drugs?", a great clip of an economist named Jeffrey Miron who advocates for the legalization of all illicit drugs. That's right, not just weed. Miron would also legalize heroin, Ecstasy, crystal meth, PCP, LSD, and cocaine. How about sniffing glue?

I generally favor marijuana legalization, but not necessarily anything more than decriminalization of other drugs. I've never felt that PCP, for example, should be legal, or any other drug that induces dangerous psychotic behavior. Individual use of crack cocaine, on the other hand, could be simply decriminalized, so that users aren't literally penalized for simply screwing up their own bodies and minds.

Furthermore, I see a difference between marijuana and drugs like PCP in their recreational potential. Pot is no more, and probably less, dangerous than drinking a few beers, both in the damage done to one's own body and in pot's practically nonexistent risk of fisticuffs produced by mind alteration. PCP, on the other hand, is far more dangerous than a few beers in every way.

But Miron has me more than halfway convinced that even foul drugs like PCP or meth should be legalized. When it becomes clear that drug cartels are terrorists, whose very existence depends upon prohibition, it also becomes clear that legalization will, as Miron points out, virtually eliminate drug trade-related violence, improve quality controls of the drug (through regulation), and reduce social harms associated with the drug trade (like cycles of desperation that precipitate crime and poverty).

Click here to view BigThink's short video of Jeffrey Miron.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Hopeless Case is Made in Colombia

The Secret Service prostitution scandal has cast a shadow on Obama's diplomatic trip to the Summit of the Americas. That same shadow will most likely obscure Obama's unfortunate remarks about drug legalization to Colombian President Juan Miguel Santos:

The capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries if they were allowed to operate legally without any constraint could be just as corrupting, if not more corrupting, than the status quo. [more]

Note the fallacy Obama employs in saying that the drug trade would operate "without any constraint" if drugs were legalized. Apparently, Obama's zeal for deregulation of big business has caused him to neglect the fact that absolutely no credible opponent of the War on Drugs--and there are many of us--supports total deregulation of drugs. It's an absurd argument that drug cartels would thrive if their product was legal, and I think under the surface Obama knows it.

President Obama has also acquired the same historic amnesia about Prohibition as other War-on-Drugs proponents. Outlawing booze created organized crime in America. Thank you, moralistic fanatics!

Note, too, that amidst the bizarre doublespeak about "having a legitimate conversation about the laws that are in place" while simultaneously ruling out legalization, Obama made this ominous comment to President Santos about "dealing with demand" in the United States. Read "dealing with demand" as "locking up more black and poor people" for using drugs. That's all that that means:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Riposte Re-Post

I originally posted this video a couple of years ago. Slovenly at the Anti-Club in 1987 doing "Orange Crush" off After the Original Style. Yours Truly is grooving big-time in front of the stage. I also happen to be flanked by the woman who would later marry me. It wasn't until I watched this video, by the way, that the influence of The Fall on the Slovs really became pronounced in my consciousness.