Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, May 14, 2010 8:52 pm

One good reason to legalize marijuana in the U.S.

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 8:52 pm
Tags: , ,

It would make a lot of this go away:

On Monday, just after the conclusion of a wedding ceremony, a group of armed men burst into a Juarez church and ordered everyone down on the floor. Moving quickly, they collected the groom, his brother and their uncle and led them out. When another man tried to intervene, they shot him dead. The three relatives were then thrown into a truck and disappeared. On Wednesday, state police found their bodies in the bed of an abandoned pickup in the eastern sector of the city. They had been tortured for many hours before they were killed. It was a particularly horrifying example of the fact that violence in Juarez can strike anytime, anywhere. …

A lot of the violence in the city has been characterized by this kind of symbolism. Bodies have been dumped on many occasions in lots and playgrounds near schools, with children gathering around the crime scene to watch as police bag and remove the dead. Drug rehab clinics have been the scenes of mass murders. People are shot down in broad daylight during the normal hubub of everyday life, on main streets and in restaurants. Considering this, it’s clear that what’s happening isn’t just a war between rival cartels, but a campaign of terror against the local population. The murdered groom’s father conveyed perfectly the effect of this kind of violence to the El Paso Times: “I’m confused, frustrated and in despair. My wife, she is devastated.” There really aren’t any better emotions you could hope to inspire in a population you’re trying to control. …

A week before Easter, typewritten messages spread around Porvenir that anyone who hadn’t left the area by Easter Sunday would be killed. Citizens packed up and left in droves. While no such large scale attack ever came, the assault on the social climate of the community was enough. Residents were threatened with death on the most holy day of the Catholic calendar. Like this week’s wedding murders, the sanctuary of religion was directly challenged when the main church in town was burned to the ground on Good Friday. …

In the US we talk a lot about “not letting the terrorists win” by giving in to fear. It’s very hard to look at Juarez, just over the river, and see terror not only succeeding, but ruling. In a city where US business interests play such a prominent role, it’s harder still to talk about defending democracy when the mayor of Juarez, Jose Reyes Ferriz, keeps his family in El Paso due to constant death threats and the country’s prominent political parties can’t find anyone willing to run in July’s mayoral elections except the man who was mayor previous to Reyes Ferriz. It would be tough to find a more fitting example of the fact that the outcome of this war won’t be any step in a new direction for Juarez. It’s a reminder that history seems doomed to repeat itself in this city that has become an allegorical ground zero for the violent, protracted stalemate of Mexico and America’s war on drugs.

In addition to all the human and economic damage being caused by the War on Some Drugs in  El Norte, that war is actually killing innocent people south of the border. But, hey, they’re brown people, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:55 pm

Odds and ends for 1/11

U.S. v. terror: Conviction rate in civilian courts? 88%. Conviction rate in military tribunals? 15%. So someone explain to me again why Dick and Liz Cheney are still getting airtime?

Harry Reid v. Trent Lott: To elaborate a bit on a comment discussion Fred and I had in a previous thread: What Harry Reid said about Obama was grossly awkward and inept, but he said it in a context of praising Obama. What Lott said, on the other hand, was praising a segregationist. These two things are not logically, linguistically or morally equivalent.

Guantanamo v. the Constitution: Those party animals at McClatchy News Service have served up a pyrotechnic package of print (with a whole bunch o’ Web stuff, too, including source documents) in observance of the eighth anniversary of the incarceration of the first terrorism suspects at Gitmo. The series touches on subjects ranging from holding, and torturing, innocent people to the Taliban’s influence within the prison (yeah, you read that right).

Generation R(ecession) v. the economy: Newsweek’s Rana Foroohar notes some interesting characteristics of people who come of age in bad economic times. Unfortunately, notes Chris Lehmann at The Awl, she draws some of the wrong conclusions.

Afghans v. everybody else: Incredibly mixed findings in this ABC News poll from Afghanistan. They hate both us and the Taliban. They almost unanimously think their government is corrupt, but they actually support President Hamid Karzai more than they used to. And they’re about evenly divided over whether civilian deaths are more NATO’s fault or more the insurgents’ fault for mingling with civilians.

Matt Labash v. perspective women: In his feature “Ask Matt Labash” on Tucker Carlson’s new anti-Huffington Post, the Daily Caller, Matt Labash calls red-light cameras “legalized rape” and calls Rachel Maddow “the sexiest man alive.” Way to court those swing voters, guys.

Dylan Ratigan v. Geithner: The MSNBC reporter/anchor is starting to carve pieces out of SecTreas Tim Geithner’s hide, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy not named Bush, Cheney or Rove.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger: Gay marriage on trial — literally: The lawsuit Perry v. Schwarzenegger went to trial today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. At issue is the constitutionality of Proposition 8, enacted last year by referendum to deny the right of marriage to couples of the same sex in Cali. Expected to last about 3 weeks — with the case likely to end up before the Supreme Court no matter who wins. Your all-purpose source for trial info is here, and if the opening arguments are any indication — which they may or may not be — gay-marriage proponents are headed for a big win.

The perfect v. the very good: Actually, the U.S. health-care debate is now more like the acceptable (if you drop the Stupak amendment) v. the bad, and the bad is winning.

Law enforcement v. the drug war: A lot of former cops, judges and prosecutors have endorsed legalizing marijuana in California, where a legislative committee is scheduled to vote on just that next week. Whether the full legislature passes the bill may be immaterial, though; an initiative to regulate and tax pot is on the November ballot and expected to pass.

Congresscritters v. reality: About six in 10 Americans say terrorists probably will find some way to strike us again. Unfortunately, that’s probably correct, but you wouldn’t know it to listen to some of the Congressional Republicans who are suggesting that 1) we should all be peeing in our pants over the guy who nearly set his crotch on fire and 2) that if you torture enough people and bomb enough civilians, all terror can be prevented.

Time v. knowledge: I am shocked, shocked to learn just how many Balloon Juice commenters did not know that the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

It’s like Vegas: What happens on Facebook stays on Facebook. Forever.

There an app for your cheapo phone if you’re a student at UNC-Wilmington, where a couple of people set out to create useful apps for the 88% of us who can’t afford smartphones.

Shorter Jonathan Alter: Clap louder and the Democrats will be fine in 2010.

Best SEC comment letter EVER: (h/t Zero Hedge)

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