Harvard economics lecturer Jeffrey Miron has a compelling new article up on CNN’s website that lays out a practical, detailed case for why the war on drugs needs to end:

Prohibition of drugs corrupts politicians and law enforcement by putting police, prosecutors, judges and politicians in the position to threaten the profits of an illicit trade. This is why bribery, threats and kidnapping are common for prohibited industries but rare otherwise. Mexico‘s recent history illustrates this dramatically.

Prohibition erodes protections against unreasonable search and seizure because neither party to a drug transaction has an incentive to report the activity to the police. Thus, enforcement requires intrusive tactics such as warrantless searches or undercover buys. The victimless nature of this so-called crime also encourages police to engage in racial profiling…

Prohibitions breed disrespect for the law because despite draconian penalties and extensive enforcement, huge numbers of people still violate prohibition. This means those who break the law, and those who do not, learn that obeying laws is for suckers.

Prohibition is a drain on the public purse. Federal, state and local governments spend roughly $44 billion per year to enforce drug prohibition. These same governments forego roughly $33 billion per year in tax revenue they could collect from legalized drugs, assuming these were taxed at rates similar to those on alcohol and tobacco. Under prohibition, these revenues accrue to traffickers as increased profits.

Read the Whole Thing

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This is, by far, my favorite quote of the week. When asked by an insistent reporter during his second primetime press conference why he waited a couple days before speaking out on the AIG bonuses, this is what Obama said:

“It took a couple days because I like to know what I am talking about before I speak.”

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NAACP President Julian Bond gave a forceful speech at an HRC dinner on the importance of fighting for gay rights:

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I’ve been on Twitter for a relatively short time and have only come across a few truly compelling people to regularly check up on.

Well, I think I found the best Twitter feed to follow: Christopher Walken.

A sample:

Mrs. Liebowitz’s cat has gone missing again. He answers to “Martin” and walks with an unfortunate limp. This was only partially my fault.

To clarify – It’s partially my fault that the cat answers to “Martin.” I believe his name is actually “Pookie” but I won’t call a cat that.

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It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, the number of words needed to fully describe the stupidity behind a Christian children’s coloring book that contains images like this would rival Proust:

Is it any wonder that the most fundamentalist states in the south also have the worst test scores?

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It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, the number of words needed to fully describe the stupidity behind a Christian children’s coloring book that contains images like this would rival Proust:

Is it any wonder that the most fundamentalist states in the south also have the worst test scores?

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It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, the number of words needed to fully describe the stupidity behind a Christian children’s coloring book that contains images like this would rival Proust:

Is it any wonder that the most fundamentalist states in the south also have the worst test scores?

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Matt Taibbi’s new article in Rolling Stone speaks some serious truth about what truly caused our current financial crisis:

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.

You have to read the whole article — it’s brutal and filled with a lot of hard truths.

I do have to warn you — It’s hard not to finish reading the article without getting the sense that we’re completely and irretrievably fucked.

I’m really not sure at this point whether we’re ever going to learn anything truly valuable from this crisis.

Update: Rachel Maddow just covered much the same ground on her show tonight.

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