The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other peacetime nation in the world. According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics the number of US residents behind bars has now reached more than 2.3 million. We are losing an entire generation of young men and women to our prisons. Our nation’s ineffective and wasteful “war on drugs” plays a major role in this. We must place a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and prevention. We must de-criminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment and prevention in our communities as well as in jails and prisons. […]
I have studied the issue for decades and recognize that our “War on Drugs” has failed. In fact, because our War on Drugs drives up the price, it encourages violence. Prohibition simply doesn’t work. It only creates thousands and thousands of Al Capones. Prison should be for people who hurt other people, not themselves. We don’t jail people for merely drinking. We jail people when they drink and drive or hurt another human. […]
1. While recognizing the harm that drug abuse causes society, we also recognize that government drug policy has been ineffective and has led to frightening abuses of the Bill of Rights which could affect the personal freedom of any American. We, therefore, support alternatives to the War on Drugs.
2. Per the tenth amendment to the US Constitution, matters such as drugs should be handled at the state or personal level.
3. All laws which give license to violate the Bill of Rights should be repealed.
Kind of unusual, wouldn’t you say? Three major-party candidates taking strong positions in opposition to the war on drugs (along with Bill Richardson’s support for medical marijuana). Admittedly, they’re three fringe major-party candidates, but still… it’s pretty impressive. And Gravel and Kucinich even put their positions out boldly right on their candidacy web pages (I’m not sure why Paul hasn’t done that, but he’s certainly been an extremely strong advocate for reform.)
Sure, when it comes to the actual election, we’ll probably have to choose between a drug war cheerleader and a drug war apologist, but let’s enjoy the moment.
In recent films V For Vendetta and Children Of Men, the U.K. is a near-future police state. How near is that future?
Britain risks “committing slow social suicide” by allowing the Big Brother state to take over its citizens’ lives, the leading privacy watchdog will warn tomorrow. Information Commissioner Richard Thomas will publish a report highlighting the “creeping encroachment” on civil liberties by the Government and official bodies.
The report accuses ministers of creating a climate of fear through increasing use of CCTV cameras, the computer tracking of shopping habits and plans for ID cards.Mr Thomas, who three years ago warned that Britain is “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”, argues that his fears may have already been realised.
It is difficult to tell whether Mr. Obamaâ€™s religious and political beliefs are fused or simply run parallel. The junior senator from Illinois often talks of faith as a moral force essential for solving Americaâ€™s vexing problems. Like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and John Edwards, his fellow Democratic candidates, he expresses both a political and a religious obligation to help the downtrodden. Like conservative Christians, he speaks of AIDS as a moral crisis. And like his pastor, Mr. Obama opposes the Iraq war.
His embrace of faith was a sharp change for a man whose family offered him something of a crash course in comparative religion but no belief to call his own. â€œHe comes from a very secular, skeptical family,â€ said Jim Wallis, a Christian antipoverty activist and longtime friend of Mr. Obama. â€œHis faith is really a personal and an adult choice. His is a conversion story.â€
The grandparents who helped raise Mr. Obama were nonpracticing Baptists and Methodists. His mother was an anthropologist who collected religious texts the way others picked up tribal masks, teaching her children the inspirational power of the common narratives and heroes.
His motherâ€™s tutelage took place mostly in Indonesia, in the household of Mr. Obamaâ€™s stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, a nominal Muslim who hung prayer beads over his bed but enjoyed bacon, which Islam forbids.â€œMy whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim,â€ said Maya Soetoro-Ng, Mr. Obamaâ€™s younger half sister. But Mr. Obama attended a Catholic school and then a Muslim public school where the religious education was cursory. When he was 10, he returned to his birthplace of Hawaii to live with his grandparents and attended a preparatory school with a Christian affiliation but little religious instruction.
In one of the first deals related to the Virginia Tech shootings, Plumeâ€™s Cherise Davis has bought world rights to Roland Lazenbyâ€™s April 16: Heartbreak in Blacksburg from agent Matthew Carnicelli. Lazenby, a journalism professor at Virginia Tech, will use the perspective of students on campus, in particular his own journalism students who helped supply the mainstream media with information via their student-run Web site planetblacksburg.com, to provide context for the events and describe the recovery and resilience of the campus community. Three of Lazenbyâ€™s students will co-author the book and a portion of the proceeds will be given to the victimsâ€™ fund at Virginia Tech and to support journalism education at the university. Plume will publish this summer.