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Nixon and Elvis: War on Drugs

Most of the people I know in the US have lived their entire lives after the War on Drugs started.

John Ehrlichman, Counsel and Assistant to President Nixon:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Interviewed in 1992 by journalist Dan Baum, author of Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure, full quote in “Truth, Lies, and Audiotape” by Dan Baum (2012). You can read the book’s first chapter here. The first chapter covers some interesting side topics, including the genesis of Cheech and Chong. It also covers Lloyd Johnston’s annual survey of 2,200 high school students:

What drugs have you used? Johnston’s survey asked. Have you used them in the last year? The last month? The last week? How accessible are drugs? Johnston also included questions about alcohol and tobacco.

When the questionnaires were processed, it emerged, unsurprisingly, that tobacco was the-most widely used drug among high school students and about a third of them smoked it every day. Alcohol was next, predictably, with about one-fifth of the students drinking once or twice a week and another fifth once or twice a month.

What surprised Johnston was that nearly 80 percent of the group had never smoked marijuana. Barely I percent smoked every day. Other drugs were hardly visible; neither heroin nor cocaine had ever been tried by nine-tenths of the sample. The kids were pretty clean: black, white, rich, poor, grind, and dropout.

This was news, Johnston thought. In the book he and his team rushed together, Johnston wrote that “there certainly was not a widespread “epidemic, of illegal drug use among these high school students as the popular press had suggested.” His interpretation: American youth are “less radical” and “more traditional” than their public image would indicate. “In fact, their continuing adherence to traditional practices—namely, the-widespread use-of alcohol and cigarettes—may ultimately be the most important fact about youthful drug practices to emerge from this study” (emphasis in the original).

Now, granted, I was eight in 1968, but it sure seemed like things went obviously truly crazy for a few years between then and 1974 or so.

The photo, where President Nixon met with Elvis Presley after Elvis requested to be made a federal agent at large to help fight the war on drugs. Irony, of course, given the role of drugs in Elvis’s own shortened life span.

One of the books that formed my thoughts on America’s drug policy was Thomas Szasz’s Our Right to Drugs., which is basically a libertarian look at drugs (and suffers from many of the libertarian perspective problems, granted). What stuck with me is one of the analogies he used. When someone injures themselves skiing, we don’t call it ski abuse. When they injure themselves with a chainsaw, we don’t say they have a chainsaw problem. But if they injure themselves with drugs, it’s abuse. Why should one get special pejorative language?

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

elloras-cave-blog-header

Ellora’s Cave founder Tina Engler (pseudonym: Jaid Black) flounced off Twitter after being called out on her Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemings beliefs (that it was a romantic relationship and the two were married) and her transphobic comments.

Yesterday was quite the day. Too bad I screencapped the wrong stuff, missed half of the best stuff, and lost bandwidth entirely just as @pubnt returned.

The Anne Rice Facebook post issue was still going sideways.

The Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemings Issue

So there’s a new book (short story length, apparently) about Thomas Jefferson and (his slave) Sally Hemings and their BDSM “relationship.” It’s paranormal.

Jaid Black/Tina Engler got involved in this one.

http://twitter.com/fangirlJeanne/status/575776131556601856

http://twitter.com/AlishaRai/status/575724052360359936

And so did Jenny Trout, who doxed the hell out of it far more than I could on limited internet time/bandwidth while away from home.

The earlier start to this is last week’s Stephanie Dray incident, covered by Jeanne here and Aya de Leon here. Both cover a lot of similar ground, but both are worth reading. Updated to add this link: Roslyn Holcomb? What she said.

Today’s piece that ties all of these things together, though, complete with a neat little bow, is this one from Moonlight Reader:

And that, my friends, is the hill that Anne Rice has chosen to die on. She hates Jenny Trout so much that she will support that crap over Jenny. And she hates the “bullies” so much than anything that they think is bad, she must go on record as calling good. Even if that thing that is “good” is a disgusting rape fic about a 14-year-old black enslaved person who was raped by her 44 year old white owner for decades.

And, in related news:

http://twitter.com/KarLyn_P/status/575705998305820673

Getting Back to Thomas Jefferson for a Moment…

http://twitter.com/deirdresm/status/575743115354505216

Correction: it was Thaddeus Kosciuszko.

http://twitter.com/ataglanceRMC/status/575830342235389953

Transphobia

First, let’s have a trans* man speak, shall we?

http://twitter.com/LogoTV/status/576089108998713345

Jaid Black/Tina Engler also showed her transphobic ass yesterday.

http://twitter.com/AlishaRai/status/575719601008480257

…and…

http://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/575793459681828864

…and…

http://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/575789689107410944

There’s more, but I didn’t screencap it all.

First: what Courtney said.

I wrote a piece last year about my evolution in thinking about transgender folks. About three decades ago, when I first learned about trans issues, pretty much everyone was railroaded into being pre-op or post-op.

The trans* community doesn’t all fit into neat categories that cis people like Tina Engler/Jaid Black define, though. Nor should they.

Hell, Jaid’s definitions don’t even cover a lot of the biologically intersexed, which my husband covered rather well in an essay on the definitional problems of “man” and “woman”. While this was written to point out how flawed Prop 8 was, every bit is just as true today.

And then the Flounce.

Tired of being called out (for good reason), Tina Engler decided to delete the @JaidBlack Twitter account.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

Some years ago, Rick and I sat listening to a panel of some TV writers talking about their experiences in Hollywood. Neither of us remember the writer in question or the name of the proposed show, but we both remembered the punch line, and I think it’s an important one.

It’s one of those that’ll stick with you.

Before Buffy, the proposed TV show (never produced) about vampires was going to feature a major character who was a Moor, centuries old, educated at Oxford. Or maybe Cambridge.

One of the network execs giving notes said, “He doesn’t sound black.”

Writer explains character’s background and education.

Network exec says, “How will they know he’s black?”

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)
The Norway massacre has hit the household hard. Rick's father was born in Norway, and we visited the country all-too-briefly in 2008.

Even though we were literally there for just a short day -- something like 10-4 -- we saw the smallest fringe of multiculturalism. As we were headed back to the docks, a bunch of brown school kids were chatting in a mix of Norwegian and Arabic. One of them smiled at us and asked, "Where are you from?"

I was so tempted to ask the same, but I resisted. After all, they probably had lived in Norway most of their lives.

Norway's current economic boom is related to recently-discovered oil reserves, thus bringing in people from other cultures who've worked on oilfields. It's different than some other countries and their sources of immigration; Norway's typically been a poor (and cold!) country, so it hasn't exactly been an immigration hot spot.

Anyhow, back to current events....

Marcel Gleffe risked life and limb to help rescue about thirty kids. He says he feels absolutely terrible that he didn't save more people. Sadly, that's the image that may stick with him, even though it's not his fault at all. Another article here.
deirdre: (Default)
My former co-worker Faruk Ateş rips into some jerks, wrapping up with the following translation.

"I am too lazy to expand my world view to include the possibility that I may have unconsciously treated women and minorities unfairly my entire life, and it wears me out that you’re trying to get me to understand this."

I suppose I should call this TechnicalConferenceFail.

Update: Faruk's post, "A New Kind of Conference.
deirdre: (Default)
I'm tired today (thanks to the 5:11 a.m. phone call), and thus I'm just going to link to the Laughing Squid post.
deirdre: (Default)
I had been thinking about MLK day when I woke up, and I was pondering what I was going to say, then the day got derailed by other events. I listened to NPR some today, and this story about East Texas then and now was worth a listen and/or read.

I'm not saying there are no problems, but sometimes it's good to be reminded that there is progress.
deirdre: (Default)
I'm thankful for all of you as well as my awesome family and workplace. Thankful I got to go on such an awesome trip to clear up some things for my books.

This post from Rose about why she celebrates Thanksgiving is worth a read.

Glad that even though my car was totaled, everyone's okay. The car had begun to develop "personality" and I was just about to drop money on a brake job, so thankful I didn't do that beforehand. Also, Rick's fine and out of the hospital. He was under observation, but every test turned out okay.

I'm thankful that this internet thing has brought me more awareness of the everyday struggles I don't have, a few of which were listed by Scalzi in this post (though some of those I do have to think about).

[livejournal.com profile] rm posted something interesting about Thanksgiving myths, so here's a repost.

And Rick saved a Daily Show clip that's totally worth reposting. I'm glad there's someone out here to really makes McCain's DADT stance look as ridiculous as it really is. "It gets worse." Brilliant.
deirdre: (Default)
Fail.

They could use the one my grandmother worked on and be better off. But no, that's "old." (Likely has fail of its own; I haven't read it since I was a kid.)
deirdre: (Default)
I hadn't heard about this one until somoene posted about it on a camera forum. Ten thousand Swedes demonstrated in protest.

The supporters of those elected are mostly young men; the protest was organized by a woman on her facebook page.

Go, her.
deirdre: (Default)
For the most part, I enjoyed both Easy A and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

But.

I'd have enjoyed both more, and felt like I could recommend them, if they had less obvious fail.

Scott Pilgrim had the more egregious racefail line, but Easy A had a completely unnecessary facepalm scene. Scott's more of a jerk, so it seems more in line with his character than with Olive's, and Easy A was a witty comedy in many ways. Granted, Easy A's guys were supposed to be repugnant, pretending to buy sex, but it could have been done better. (And yes, I almost want to explain or apologize it away, but it's simply not possible.)

C'mon Hollywood, buy a clue.
deirdre: (Default)
Sounds like it's blipped a few decades.
A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.
Story here.
deirdre: (Default)
In the first few seconds of this, the person of color is mostly obscured, the women are doing the work and the white guy gets to handle the computer. Since when do white guys get three maids?



(This is apparently an official Microsoft video, btw.)

Cabel's version is funnier, though.

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