Linky Friday #51


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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70 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    D1 — the more typical objection is the Confrontation Clause.

    D3 — I’ve seen more than enough head-turningly good-looking female officers about in the past several months. What’s up with that? “Gee, officer, is there any way I can get out of this ticket?”Report

    • When I lived in Colorado, I saw the confrontation clause objection A LOT. Now that I (alas!) live in Illinois, I hear of it almost never. I imagine t least some people still have that objection here, but the local media seem to cover it less.Report

  2. Avatar James K says:

    P3: Cultural products often translate poorly, and I would imagine political shows translate particularly poorly. Just one more reason why I find it strange that US networks feel the need to remake foreign shows with a US cast and setting.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Sometimes I do wonder what standard we could use to call Colorado’s weed experiment a failure.

    You’d think that there ought to be one.Report

    • Avatar dhex says:

      some cute kid gets killed because someone else is an idiot and that’s probably where your failure benchmark will come from.

      that said someone told me earlier this week that there are joints in colorado who do only extractions, and they’re making pounds – yes, pounds – of bho a week. i don’t know if that’s a recipe (ha ha get it) to bake a cake that reads “america: being great” or disaster.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        (googles BHO)

        Ooooohhhh….that seems like a recipe for disaster. In that now weedheads can blow up their houses and set themselves on fire like methheads and crackheads.

        Also, there’s no reasonable lethal dose for THC (under normal circumstances it is impossible to ingest enough to kill oneself)…but I imagine that BHO tinctures coming in at 60+% THC may test that theory, or at least bring to light other unpleasant side-effects.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Also, there’s no reasonable lethal dose for THC.

        I don’t know why, but this reminds me of the elephant killed by LSD overdose:

      • Avatar dhex says:

        i’m not talking “kid overdoses” but more like “3 year old is killed in traffic accident by moron who is dabbing while driving” or “five year old eats pot brownie, drowns in pool” etc.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Yeah, I’ve read about that elephant nonsense before. Here’s a pretty readable summary:

        I’d think awarding these guys a posthumous Ig Nobel might be in order, except they killed an intelligent animal by massive drug overdose for literally no reason (“hey, maybe if an elephant is tripping total balls, it will resemble musth!”).


      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Well, so far, there have been a handful of “toddler found high” stories where the kid somehow got her or his hands on a particularly potent brownie.

        I’ve not heard of any deaths related to car accidents either (but I’m out here in Maryland rather than closer to home).

        I just realized, the other day, that I hadn’t heard any stories that made me say “yep, that’s it. That’s the experiment. It’s over.” and I thought that was good news until I asked myself what one of those stories would look like…

        And I’m still not sure I can come up with an answer. And I don’t know if that, like with Prohibition, we know that the War on Drugs is such a bad/dumb/stupid policy that getting rid of it has *SO* many downsides ending that the downsides that pop up in their stead are trivial or if it’s due to a blind spot I have.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        (googles BHO)

        You’re an expert on every obscure band that can kind of manage to plug in their guitars, but you have to look up the president?Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Get back to me when Barack drops his first single.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Ah, my old friend Shelley. I wonder what she’s up to these days (oh, I have a bunch of Facebook email notifications for pictures of her new baby, awesome). That “study,” if it can be called that, really is disturbing, particularly because it was an elephant. I feel guilty from time to time because, as an undergraduate, I was a research assistant for a study that involved me giving cocaine (and in the pilot, amphetamines as well) to quail. And I hated those evil little buggers.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        And there’s no question that BHOs are evil.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Some cute kid gets killed because someone else is an idiot and that’s probably where your failure benchmark will come from.

        One of Colorado’s former mountain sheriffs, a long-time advocate of legalizing marijuana, used to include something like the following in every presentation he made: “Every week, I or one of my deputies was called to a home to restrain somebody who got drunk and decided to take out his problems on his wife or kid. We have never been called in to restrain someone who got high and decided to beat up his wife or kid.”

        On the near order of 10,000 people die in the US every year in traffic accidents involving alcohol, including about 125 in Colorado.

        Kids in the foster system getting beaten to death by a drunk caregiver is common enough that people in general no longer get outraged over it.

        How many teenaged girls are raped every year where alcohol plays a role?

        If marijuana is held to the same standard as alcohol, it’s almost inconceivable that it can ever be deemed a failed experiment.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        not sure which is worse:
        to be raped, and then later “not be sure if it was really rape”
        or to just “go with the flow” even though you don’t really want it.

        Both alcohol and marijuana (along with MOST illegal drugs) are rape drugs.
        Why else do you figure teens want ’em?

        Guys have this “magic” idea that drugs make “girls want them more.”
        More honest guys (or adult ones) understand that simply because it’s easier
        to get what you want, doesn’t imply consent.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:


        “If marijuana is held to the same standard as alcohol, it’s almost inconceivable that it can ever be deemed a failed experiment.”

        i feel you (and i loved you in get carter!) but it’s not like people are rational about substance laws. when that dabbin’-while-drivin’ guy gets into a frontpage accident it’s going to be seized upon as why this drug is different than alcohol, even if the comparison is stupid because there’s plenty of seriously awful drunk driving stories every week in america.Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller says:

      Ultimately, I think it’s kind of subjective. How do you weigh the costs of fewer marijuana arrests vs. the costs of increased marijuana use (if that indeed ends up happening)? Or, for that matter, the benefits of more people being free to enjoy marijuana? David Brooks would answer these questions differently than I would. Ultimately, I think you have to defer to the democratic process–if a large majority of Coloradans feels that the tradeoff wasn’t worth it and legalization caused more problems than it solved and manage to get it repealed, than I’d say it has to be judged a failure.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        There’s a sort of bias, there — you won’t see the people NOT getting arrested. You will see any high idiots.

        Humans are biased towards what’s in front of their face now, not what’s no longer there.Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller says:

        @morat20 True, although we do manage to embrace legal alcohol. Maybe that’s an alternative measure–if rich yuppies start smoking pot at dinner parties (along with other forms of elite social acceptance), legalization will be a success?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Alcohol was kind of grandfathered in. If it weren’t already thoroughly integrated into society, it’d be illegal (or regulated to an extreme). Much like cigarettes.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        Actually, it’s not that it’s grandfathered — it’s just when it was banned, too many people scoffed at the law.

        You cannot enforce a law that the bulk of society cheerfully breaks. You can maintain it, for a while, under the “Well, only the wrong sorts are getting jailed for it” or because a loud minority supports the law and the majority is opposed, but not terribly motivated…

        But in the end, all it does is breed contempt for the law in question, which leads to more and more open breaking of the law. Sooner or later cops stop enforcing it (or enforce it more and more selectively, obviously so even to supporters of the law) and it becomes defunct or repealed.

        In the end, we as a society aren’t willing to give up booze. We’ll place limitations and restrictions and laws to mitigate against some of the bad effects, but we won’t toss the stuff.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Including speeding?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        How much lag was there between the time that alcohol was in widespread use and when attempts were made to ban it? Alcohol prohibition was exceptionally unsuccessful because it was already so commonplace. So it became grandfathered in. The longer something is legal, available, and in widespread usage, the less likely any sort of attempt at banning it is going to be even remotely successful. So it becomes grandfathered in.

        If something as dangerous as alcohol were to be introduced today? They’d pass a law tomorrow. Cigarettes? Ditto. Ban it (or regulate it to an extreme) before it becomes as commonplace as alcohol would be the first order of the day.

        Another example is Tylenol. We’d scoff at the notion of banning it. But that doesn’t mean that something needs to be more dangerous than Tylenol in order to ban it. Tylenol is grandfathered in. It was out there before we set the threshold that would ban it (or set it behind a counter, at the least).Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        Kim: Yeah, speeding. have you noticed how many people habitually drive over the speed limit? It seems that society has decided the REAL speed limit is about 4 mph faster in cities, about 7 on freeways. At least in Texas. And cops rarely bother to ticket anyone doing 77 in a 70 or 44 in a 40. Because they’d never stop writing tickets.

        Frankly, I deeply suspect that when speed limits are set it’s anticipated most drivers will exceed them by 5% or 10%.


        I don’t see pot following a different trajectory than alcohol, though, and it’s never been legal. Not in living memory. But despite the reflexive “OMG, DRUGS BAD” knee-jerk, a giant chunk of America just…ignores the law.

        And cops pretty much accept it. Pot busts became tickets, or just cops just confiscating it. Unless you were a minority, of course.

        But then, pot’s legal status WAS tied up in a lot of race relations stuff in the first place.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I don’t think MJ will follow alcohol’s trajectory, either. What I’m saying is – not unlike what you are saying, as best as I can tell – since MJ was never so widely available, it is more subject to regulation than alcohol. Alcohol, due to its ubiquity prior to legislation of the sort to ban it the way that MJ was banned, is not subject to as much regulation. Which is what I meant about “grandfathered in.” It’s already out there, everywhere, and so there it will mostly stay. MJ decriminalization, to the extent that it occurs, will be done more cautiously. In small part, I think, to prevent it from becoming as ubiquitous as alcohol.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        actually, we did raise the speed limit around here…
        *blink* google says we’re raising them AGAIN soon.
        Learned Something!

        There’s some set % allowed (it differs from timing to radar guns…)
        due to accuracy of measurement.

        Then there’s the “socially acceptable”Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        The problem with that theory is the general public has, in increasing numbers, experienced pot and realized it is LESS dangerous than alcohol.

        Treating it as more dangerous is pretty pointless. And people tend to ignore pointless laws unless they fear the penalty.

        Something like what? A quarter or a third of Americans have smoked pot? A sizable minority does so regularly? That’s WITH the potential for large fines or jail time.

        A law that even 10% of the country ignores is not a law that can last.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        So do you think the public will want pot to become as widely available and easily produced and distributed as alcohol is now?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I think the governments will want pot to become as widely available and easily distributed and *TAXED* as alcohol is now.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        @will-truman I do. I think there is great demand for the stuff, and the David Brookses of the world aside, general acceptance of the idea that that the typical marijuana high is roughly as intoxicating, and thus roughly as dangerous to public safety, as an alcohol high. The irony is that tobacco is becoming harder and harder to consume.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I’ll take that bet. Twenty (or 30 or 40) years from now, I still don’t think we’ll see ads for pot on TV like we do beer, I don’t think we’ll have national corporations mass-producing the stuff, and I don’t think it will be legal to openly purchase and possess in all 50 states like alcohol is now. On the last part, I suspect laws will be regularly ignored, but that’s not the same thing as not having laws because people will go to prison for it (if they’re the wrong kind of people).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @burt-likko I do think there’ll be some interesting public-establishment laws saying that you can smoke pot (and maybe even hookah and cigars)… but not cigarettes.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I still don’t think we’ll see ads for pot on TV like we do beer

        I think we will, however, see ads for establishments. “Come on down to Rocky Mountain View (formerly Rocky Mountain High but we got a C&D letter like you wouldn’t believe). We’re at 5th and Vine, look for the guy who looks like John Denver wearing Groucho glasses on the side of the building.”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I agree on that. Which brings me to another thing: They probably won’t be sold at convenience stores like beer and cigarettes.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        Yes, I’d say within 20 years at most it’ll be fully legal. But I don’t see it being mass-manufactured for one simple reason — it’s just way, way, WAY too easy to grow.

        I suspect the market will be more like…craft breweries, as opposed to Budweiser.

        I do suspect that underage use will be hit as heavily as under age drinking, at the very least, and it’ll be treated pretty much identically when it comes to selling, purchasing, or using — although how on earth they’ll actually determine if you’re too high to drive is beyond me, so I suspect it’ll be “high at all”.

        But yeah, I just can’t see large scale, mass market distribution of pot. Derivatives of the plant (it’s got more uses than smoking the stuff) might make it worth large scale cultivation, but for recreational use?

        Nah. I just can’t see it being worth the money. To sellers or buyers. Boutique, small-scale stuff (distribute to a city or ten at most, not even regional) pushing their particular hybrids or whatnot, but again: Pot is ridiculously easy to grow.

        Tobacco is HARD to grow outside of the proper climate. Brewing your own booze is a PITA — or at least a serious hobby. Growing pot? Plant seed, wait a month. As long as it’s outside, it’s practically impossible to kill it.

        There’s a reason they call it “weed”. It grows like one.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Like I said, I’ll take that bet. I don’t think it’ll even be legal at the national level. But if it is available, distribution will still be more tightly regulated because (if nothing else) regardless of whether we sell beer and cigarettes at convenience stores, I believe there will be residual opposition to selling pot there (in part because, really, we shouldn’t be selling cigarettes at these places either, but the man with the cane and the thinning gray hair makes us).

        The age limit will be lower for pot than beer, though. So that’ll be one advantage MJ has.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        “Land of the free” no more, I say.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I haven’t read the study, but how big are the long term changes to neuroanatomy from chronic adolescent marijuana use as compared to the long term changes to neuroanatomy from chronic adolescent alcohol use? I would be that, in the worst case, they’re pretty similar. I’m not sure what their relative abuse liabilities are among adolescents (I believe that, for adults, alcohol’s is significantly higher than marijuana’s), but if I’m not mistaken, the abuse liability for marijuana is much higher for adolescents than adults, which, combined with the research to which Will links would seem to suggest that enforcing age restrictions would be the best way to go.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I haven’t read the study, but how big are the long term changes to neuroanatomy from chronic adolescent marijuana use as compared to the long term changes to neuroanatomy from chronic adolescent alcohol use?

        Are you asking for a friend? 😉

        This doesn’t get at the total answer (comparison to alcohol), but Gupta had a special on where they touched on it, and it’s definitely not good for developing brains. The stereotype of the fried stoner who has memory issues (basically, Floyd from True Romance) has some basis in fact. I certainly don’t want my kids smoking it unless they are all grown up.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        not good for developing brains

        Sorry to reply to myself, but I wanted to amplify this a little. In the same Gupta special they featured a little girl who was having repeated, constant, debilitating seizures, which a cannabis tincture nearly eliminated so that she was able to function and start being a little girl. There was also a guy (not sure of his age, but he was driving, so he was at least in his teens if not early twenties) who had a painful diaphragm spasm (think violent, constant hiccups) that smoking cannabis alleviated, allowing him to wean off a whole rack of painkillers and muscle relaxants that were expensive, addictive and carried the possibility of OD.

        So even in some cases of child use, the side effects *may* be worth it (what are some memory issues, compared to being completely incapacitated? Also, the strain the girl was using was low in THC but high in CBD, which may have different effects on neuroanatomy).Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      Saying that ceasing to lock up individuals for the imaginary, non-violent, victimless crime of possessing or selling marijuana is an experiment is a little bit like saying emancipation was an experiment.

      Prohibition is the experiment. And it has already failed.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      If there’s a significant rise in marijuana usage (and/or particularly marijuana usage among teens), and in health effects that have been associated with marijuana (e.g., lung cancer, schizophrenia), and there is not a significant decrease in law enforcement costs, proportion of people in prison, or crime levels, then it was a failure.

      If there’s a rise in marijuana use or associated health problems and there IS a decrease in crime and in law enforcement costs – then whether legalization was a success or failure depends on the size of those changes and your own opinion of what’s a reasonable trade-off.

      Unfortunately, the health effects are something we really can’t have a good sense of until around a decade down the road, by which time the policy would be too entrenched to reverse even if it did fail. The short-term trends to look at are overall marijuana use, teen marijuana use, and crime statistics.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        And obviously you’d have to compare Colorado to other states, and track statistics over a longer period of time than just before/after legalization, in order to capture trends that are unrelated to the marijuana law or that were in existence prior to legalization.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:


        I always assumed that people inclined to schizophrenia deliberately sought weed out, as it allows some degree of self-medication. As such, I’d hope that any study that counted people afflicted would also ask “did you move to Colorado in the last X years?” (where X was between the start of 2014 and whenever the question was being asked).Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        People with Schizophrenia typically chain smoke because nicotine apparently has a mild anti-psychotic benefit for them.Report

  4. Avatar Murali says:

    I actually think the “ebooks are reading you” phenomenon is pretty cool.

    In America, you read ebooks, but in Mother Russia Scribd, ebooks read you!Report

  5. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    L5: I have yet to get anyone who claims that food stamps are corporate welfare to endorse their abolition.Report

  6. Avatar Glyph says:

    [M3] Patrick Kennedy is setting off alarm bells.

    “There are a lot of ‘unintended consequences’… that will make them ponder whether this was the right decision,” Kennedy said, predicting more traffic accidents

    Those are some extreme, apocalyptic scenarios he (and his buddy Sabet) is concerned about. He sounds paranoid. Perhaps he’s high.

    Or drunk.Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    P3 – I think the writer of this article isn’t quite getting the British parliamentary system. What he writes his theoretically true but in reality, the majority in most parliaments tend to be at the beck and call of their prime ministers and the cabinet rather than vice versa. There are some parliamentary democracies that are unstable like Italy or Belgium or with more active parliametns like Israel or India but many parliamentary democracies are relatively sedate.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      They are until they aren’t. Like Margaret Thatcher. Institutionally, anyway, deposing a prime minister is more like deposing a Speaker of the House than a president or veep. That’s why I think that our House of Cards should have made the target the Speaker and not the President.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yeah Will is correct here. Most of the time the majority in Parliament toes the line, sure, but when they get angry or frightened it’s more than a problem for the Prime Minister, it’s a potentially career ending disaster.
        If Obama were a Prime Minister, for instance, he would have had to pay much much more attention to the PPACA rollout than he ended up doing because those terrified Dem congrescritters could have ended his term.Report

    • Avatar James K says:

      The other important distinction is that having instability at the PM level is not the same as having instability at the Parliamentary level.

      Having a PM rolled is not a huge problem, so long as there is another candidate who can retain the support of Parliament. This is the usual way it happens, another MP from the governing party build enough support to oust the PM and take their place. This isn’t any more traumatic to the machinery of government than a Cabinet reshuffle, and those happen all the time.

      Places like Italy have a different problem, where the whole government loses it’s parliamentary majority. That requires either a new coalition to be formed, or a new election to be called.Report

  8. Avatar j r says:

    D3: To make this work though, you first have to reduce the men in your country to a near-perpetual state of thirst and fear that they will never find a wife and have a family by adopting a ruinous one-child policy that creates an absurdly skewed gender ratio.Report

  9. Avatar NewDealer says:

    D2: Unsurprisingly I am not buying this libertarian argument because I dissent from the libertarian view of Constitutional laws and I suspect we want government to do radically different things. It has been interesting to see the GOP try and address poverty lately but being able to do so without first announcing their anti-government catcheism. Parking meters are necessary for revenue and to reduce congestion because it forces people to find alternative means to popular areas during peak times.

    L2: I’m all for this but suspect it has not happened for various reasons. One is that there is a persistent Puritan/Victorian streak in the American psyche. I think a good portion of the ruling/pundit class would be agonized in horror at the idea of a 6-hour day, idle hands are the devil’s playthings and all that. Also Keynes was wrong about workaholics. We still have a lot of people who are not happy unless they are working 80-100 (potential hyperbole) and many of these people are bosses and set the working cultures at their companies. There are a lot of rich lawyers in the plaintiff’s field and they work, work, and then do some more work. If they are men, they tend to have multiple divorces and potentially estranged children. They also can’t talk about anything but work. They are always looking for the next big case. In other legal fields and other professions, you need to change the culture away from the billable hour. As long as the billable hour is around, the culture will be for working as many hours possible.

    For hourly workers, income inequality plays an issue and so does overtime. Methland covers how a lot of working-class people started using meth when their wages were slashed and they needed to work long hours and dull tasks to make up the difference. Meth allowed them to mindless tasks for a long time.

    So I am very supportive of the idea of the 6 hour day but feel it is structurally impossible in the current economy and society unless you change a lot of things including the power of workaholics to set the culture.Report

    • The opposition to parking meters wouldn’t have been under the federal constitution, at least not to the extent it would have had any chance of defeating parking meters. It would have been based on the relationship between states and municipalities, which is entirely a function of state law, both statutory and constitutional. Finding a parking ordinance illegal would have just been a matter of saying that it was a power retained by the state and not delegated to the municipalities in that particular state. In the federal constitution, the state and federal government are at least nominally dual sovereigns; but municipalities are entirely artificial creations of state government without any independent existence outside of that state government, and exist only insofar as the state government delegates its powers to the municipalities.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      D2 is, presumably, not a Constitutional issue at all, but one concerning local charters and perhaps state laws governing the powers of municipalities, right?Report

  10. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    The T4 link about kids and tablets is brokenReport

  11. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    D2- The proposition that a higher percentage of the population distrusted the government and had more respect for the notion of enumerated powers in the early 1940s than now is laughable. By that time, the conservative movement was pretty much a minority faction even within the GOP and basically occupied the same space in political life that True Leftists do now. It was more likely that a few very passionate people were behind these suits against parking meters.Report