In the Face of the Drug War’s Total Failure, Can California’s Legalization Battle Kick-Start a Movement for Change?Written on September 5th, 2010
Drug prohibition is remarkably ineffective, costly and counter-productive — it has cost people their lives, and put millions behind bars. Is the tide turning?
September 5, 2010 | Prohibition has failed — again. Drug prohibition has proven remarkably ineffective, costly and counter-productive. 500,000 people are behind bars today for violating a drug law – and hundreds of thousands more are incarcerated for other prohibition-related violations. There is a smarter approach usually called harm reduction. Reducing the number of people who use drugs is not nearly as important as reducing the death, disease, crime, and suffering associated with both drug misuse and failed policies of prohibition.
Ethan Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE, the leading organizations in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs, grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. He received his BA, JD, and PhD from Harvard, and a Master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. He authored COPS ACROSS BORDERS and co-authored POLICING THE GLOBE: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations.
Russian Spies, the Religious Right, Casinos, Mob-Style Killing: Jack Abramoff and the GOP’s Unbridled, Shameless GreedWritten on May 30th, 2010
May 30, 2010 | If you need any more motivation to get active-like-it-matters in the fight to get big money funders and lobbyists out of politics, see Alex Gibney’s new film, CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY. With Indian casinos, Russian spies, Chinese sweatshops, and a mob-style killing in Miami, it follows super lobbyist Jack Abramoff from Beverly Hills High to federal prison.
Gibney’s work as a director includes JIMI HENDRIX AND THE BLUES, GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON, ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM (nominated for an Academy Award), and TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE (winner of the Oscar for Documentary Feature). He was Executive Producer of NO END IN SIGHT (also nominated for an Oscar), and producer under Martin Scorsese of the PBS series, THE BLUES. A rough cut of a documentary on former NY governor Eliot Spitzer was recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.
May 12, 2010 | For some, the Federal Reserve is the right place to house any new regulatory powers contained in financial reform legislation. For others, the Fed is at the center of all that ails us. In fact, over 95,000 have signed a petition at auditthefed.com.
“In a major victory for transparency at the Federal Reserve, the Senate passed on Tuesday an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders that directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct a top-to-bottom audit of all emergency actions by the Fed since the start of the financial crisis in 2007. In addition to the audit, the Fed for the first time would have to reveal by Dec.1, 2010, the identities of banks and other financial institutions that took more than $2 trillion in nearly zero-interest loans.” — from the office of Sen. Sanders, 05/11/10
William Greider, author of Secrets of the Temple, perhaps the finest book on the Federal Reserve, termed the Sanders-Paul audit bill the “first breach in the wall,” adding, “it promises to keep alive popular demands for more fundamental reforms.” Greider challenged Greenspan and Paulson long before it was fashionable, and has written lately about restructuring the Fed. Now national affairs correspondent for the Nation, Greider was for 17 years the national affairs editor at Rolling Stone, and spent 15 years at the Washington Post. His latest book is Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country, and he wrote the introduction to Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover, by the editors of the Nation.
March 20, 2010 | Most of the discussion about health care these days focuses on politics. This interview talks about the need for reform and the value of reform, but it is also about the practice of medicine.
Atul Gawande, bestselling author, Harvard professor and an innovator in best practices for the World Health Organization, still performs 250-plus surgeries a year. A copy of Sylvia Plath’s poem “The Surgeon at 2 a.m.” stands on the desk in his office.” Her surgeon’s words: “I worm and hack in a purple wilderness.”
“That poem captures the surgeon,” Gawande says, “as a merely human, slightly bewildered and benighted person in a world that is ultimately beyond his control.”
Medicine is just one area of our world that is becoming so complex even the most expert professionals struggle to master their tasks. In his new book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Gawande offers a disarmingly simple remedy: the checklist. Now being adopted in hospitals, the 90-second practice has shown to cut fatalities in surgery by more than a third.
Raj Patel has worked for the World Bank and WTO and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against them. He is a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, a researcher at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) and the author of Stuffed and Starved. Though recently heralded as the Maitreya (or chosen one) by members of Share International, Patel protests he’s just an ordinary bloke.