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Why ‘Treme’ isn’t ‘The Wire’

15 Mar

I’ve got a long interview with David Simon, the man behind both ‘The Wire’ and ‘Treme’, in the current issue of The Progressive. Check it out here.

David Simon, at the New Orleans racetrack

This Is Your Time Wasted on Anti-Drug Ads

11 Oct

Originally uploaded to Flickr by ApeLolz

With methamphetamine use soaring in Montana in the early ’00s, a group called the Montana Meth Project tried to fight back with a series of TV, radio and print ads depicting the damage the drug can cause. Montanans were bombarded with images of adolescent prostitutes and vicious criminals – and in recent years, meth use has apparently declined in the Big Sky state. Success, right?

Actually, probably not. A recent University of Washington study found meth use was already dropping – as it was in neighboring states – and that the ads had “no discernible impact on meth use.” (As the invaluable sums up.) That should come as no surprise. As I reported a while back, even the federal government’s many lavishly-funded anti-drug ad campaigns have been found to accomplish essentially nothing.

LA Times Love for a Worthy Magazine

2 Jun

A nice bit of recognition for Miller-McCune magazine, for which I happen to be a contributing editor. Including a shout-out for one of my pieces therein:

Miller-McCune stakes out provocative ground. One piece looked at safe-injection drug sites in Vancouver. It suggested addicts could find better outcomes with government cooperation, not crackdowns. As a subhead declared, “Let Junkies be Junkies.”

Jamaican Drug Lord Takes on Government

24 May

Seems Mexico isn’t the only North American country where drug gangs aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with security forces. When the Jamaican government tried to extradite alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke (yep, apparently his real name), his gang soldiers attacked three police stations and have so far killed two cops and injured more. Authorities have declared a state of emergency in parts of Kingston. U.S. prosecutors say Coke sells loads of cocaine and marijuana¬† in the States, where he uses the proceeds to buy guns to send home to Jamaica. Good thing pot is illegal but guns aren’t, eh?

Souder Resigns, Stoner Students Rejoice

18 May

Goodbye, Mr. Souder

I’m not only enjoying Republican Rep. Mark Souder’s resignation – after he was outed for having an affair with a staffer – because he’s another moral hypocrite caught in the act. I’m also delighted because now we can say goodbye to one of Congress’ most hardhearted and bullheaded Drug War cheerleaders. As the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim says,

“Souder championed and vigorously defended perhaps the least forgiving law on the federal books: the denial of federal student aid for any student convicted of drug possession, no matter how minor.”

That law cost at least 20,000 kids their student loans. Way to teach America’s youth a lesson, Mark.