Friday, April 30, 2010

Home Security System -- Is it right for you?

The New York Times notes that home security systems by themselves may not be great. But if many houses in your neighborhood have them, they tend to drive down the burglary rate. In addition, burglars who are "smash and grab" tend to leave quickly and take less. Insurance companies also provide discounts if you have a security system.

But the story notes that the police response to an alarm may be slow and superficial, just a drive down the street -- usually the officer is not getting out of the car.

We have a vicious dog, Maggie, who scares the mailman every day!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is drug enforcement making us safer?

As reported by Martha Mendoza, Associated Press reporter in Mexico City, published in the Los Angeles Times on April 26, 2010, scientists associated with the International Centre For Science in Drug Policy have issued a meta-analysis of studies that examined the linkage between intensified drug enforcement and violence. They hypothesized that more drug enforcement would reduce drug trafficking related violence, but they found that the studies showed the opposite result. They evaluated 15 studies published between 1989 and 2006.

The U.S. Drug Czar continues to reveal his cluelessness, as reported in this story:

U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, asked about the findings, said the U.S. government is shifting its emphasis toward prevention and treatment of drug abuse, but he said the prohibition on drugs must remain and enforcement must continue.

"I don't know of any reason that legalizing something that essentially is bad for you would make it better, from a fiscal standpoint or a public health standpoint or a public safety standpoint," he said.

The "shift in emphasis" Kerlikowske asserts is illusory. Look at the anti-drug budget he issued in February. The percentage of the Federal anti-drug budget devoted to "demand reduction" that was 35.0 percent in FY 2010 would increase to all of 36.0 percent in FY 2011, if the President's request is enacted. This percentage does not include the costs of the Federal prisons and other other enforcement expenses.

Bush Administration "Drug Czar" John Walters said the violence is between traffickers, and therefore indicates success! I guess innocent bystanders caught in the cross-fire should be thankful.

Follow-up 24 hours later---

The New York Times
World Briefing | THE AMERICAS
Mexico: Gun Battle Outside School
Published: April 28, 2010

Three people were killed in a drive-by shooting in front of children playing outside during recess in a kindergarten and elementary school in the border city of Ciudad Juárez on Wednesday, a local newspaper reported. Gunmen in one car opened fire on another as it traveled past the school, killing two men and a woman inside, the paper, El Diario de Juárez, reported. Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen burst into a bar in the city, took eight men or boys out to the parking lot and executed them, the Chihuahua State prosecutor’s office said. Despite the presence of more than 10,000 soldiers and police officers in the city, violence continues unabated.
A version of this brief appeared in print on April 29, 2010, on page A12 of the New York edition.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Nominee to head DEA an obstacle to state medical marijuana laws

Michele Leonhart has been nominated by President Obama to head the DEA. Since 2003, she has been the number 2 or number 1 at DEA. Since she became Acting Deputy Administrator in 2003, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Michigan and New Jersey passed medical marijuana laws (2004-2010). DEA, under her leadership, resisted all these efforts.

Earlier, beginning in 1997, Leonhart was the head DEA Agent -- the Special Agent in Charge -- in San Francisco and then Los Angeles. She was in charge of DEA as it fought the cities and counties in California as they tried to comply with the 1996 Compassionate Use Act, or instigated reluctant cities and counties to try to frustrate the will of the electorate. And in that time, until she went to Washington as Acting Deputy Administrator, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Colorado, Hawaii and Nevada enacted medical marijuana laws (1997-2000).

At what point did she recognize that it was not 1995 any longer? Just how many states would have to pass a medical marijuana law before the DEA leadership would think to ask Congress to review the placement of marijuana in Schedule I so that DEA could work with the States in helping them design and carry out their laws?

Or has Leonhart ever awakened to the fact that tens of millions of Americans are voting for these laws, and thousands of doctors are recommending marijuana for medical purposes?

If she never realized any of this, how can she be qualified to be the Obama Administration's Administrator of DEA? Certainly the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to dig into her record of frustrating state laws on this.

Now that Washington, D.C. is getting a medical marijuana law, the issue is fully engaged in the U.S. Capital. The Washington Post printed my letter to the editor on this subject.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

American Bar Association Past President (2001-2002) endorses marijuana legalization

Robert E. Hirshon, the President of the American Bar Association a decade ago, has endorsed legalization of marijuana in a column posted at CNBC, along with the comments on marijuana of a dozen other public figures.

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Marijuana in America

CNBC has an unbelievable series of articles about Marijuana in America. Here is a link to a slide show, Marijuana in America. Here you will find almost every reference that Thomas Jefferson made about hemp in his numerous account books, diaries, letters and journals.

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