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U.S. has lost the war on drugs

This argument should really shift away from the effects of drugs. We all know that alcohol's worse than weed, crack kills, etc., etc.

The penal aspect of this is more important. You may know someone who got busted, got locked up, and ultimately got clean. But they're an outlier. Most who go to jail for drugs are introduced to a world of violence and dehumanization previously unimaginable to them. If/when they're released, they're changed on the inside and all but excluded from the society they supposedly wronged. It's hard enough to find work now without being an ex-con.

Precluding a past offender from working, as Pitts says, is residual punishment. You may have no sympathy for that, but surely you feel for the offenders' children. And if you are hard-hearted enough not to, think of how it affects you. The society into which these inmates are released is yours, and your childrens.' Treatment isn't always effective, but neither is jail. And I'm far less worried about walking home among the recently treated than the recently incarcerated.

As far as the racial aspect of this goes, the numbers just don't lie. My anecdotal evidence, which I'm not really proud of, is that I'm no stranger to recreational drug use, but I never really feared being arrested. I doubt many kids in the inner cities would say the same.

Lastly, the worst case scenario is already upon us, all but proving the futility of the drug war. It's time for action, not mindless "tough on crime" politicking. The drug cartels are ultraviolent and indiscriminate. We should have been regulating and taxing these substances all along, and not doing so has allowed the cartels to thrive and encroach into America. Every cent we waste locking up nonviolent drug users in the name of the War on Drugs is ultimately diverted from what will be an ACTUAL WAR on drug cartels.

July 18, 2010 at 9:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

U.S. has lost the war on drugs

Trillions, huh? You know all those numbers ending with -illion aren't interchangeable, right?

July 18, 2010 at 7:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

A 60-mile walk for Mom

Thank you Barry for reminding me of Pitts' liberal agenda, and also for the AlQaeda update. I've been looking high and low for the latest info before I realized it would be here. I forget, is cancer a liberal or conservative thing? What about loss of a loved one? Charity?
Are you so alone that responding off topic to this man's completely genuine call for charitable action is the only way you can cry for help?
And KansasPerson, if his misuse of quote marks is rampant enough to annoy you, he'll probably do it in his next column, which won't likely be an account of personal loss. Maybe you could save it till then, huh?
I read this in print earlier and thought there might be a comment here regarding a local chapter of this charity or something of the like. Instead there's this ridiculous crap.

April 14, 2010 at 3:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Group urging legislators to hike cigarette sales tax by $1 per pack

Reigning in spending is always a good idea, but thanks for dusting off that ancient wisdom, Confucius. Cigarettes will always exist, but when a smoker quits, he has more cash. A pack-a-day smoker in Lawrence would have about $4-6 more per day to circulate into other, non-lethal areas of the local economy. They make smokes here in town? In KS? So really the taxes are the only good we get from them, eh? I am a smoker who supports any tax on something so pointless and so unhealthy.

April 14, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Group urging legislators to hike cigarette sales tax by $1 per pack

As a self-loathing smoker I don't feel this is really a liberal/conservative issue. It's a matter of public health. In fact a conservative could argue that smokers like me have the CHOICE to not smoke if we don't like the cost. I have friends in Boston who refuse to pay ridiculously high costs for smokes and have thus quit. Plus if they buy them there are few public places to legally smoke. The additional taxation, though not really fair, is justified by the strain smokers put on our health systems, whether public or private. Plus secondhand smoke is injurious to others.

April 14, 2010 at 2:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Xavier seemed torn

Basketball will "pan out" for X, barring some freak health issue or injury. If it isn't in the NBA it'll be overseas, where basketball is constantly gaining popularity and top tier clubs dish out better money than most people realize.
As for his last 3 years of college, he can do what notably Shaun Alexander, Vince Carter, Emmitt Smith, Joe Namath, and Shaquille O'Neal have done: get his degree while playing pro basketball. I'm getting mine while flipping burgers, so I consider his situation pretty fortunate.
And by the way, many of my burger-flipping colleagues already have degrees, and they didn't major in burger-flipping. Maybe an obscene amount of guaranteed money is more appealing than a degree that won't land you a job.

April 10, 2010 at 2:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

An emotional exit: Teary-eyed Xavier Henry declares for 2010 NBA Draft

Okay, haters….
This is real simple: Xavier Henry is projected as a mid first round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. After being selected he’ll sign a contract for (x) amount of dollars. Before the 2011 NBA Draft, the league and the players’ union will have renegotiated the collective bargaining agreement. This will likely mean a pay decrease for rookies. So (x) could be lower for Henry in 2011 even if he was to return and have an improved sophomore campaign. The same applies to 2012 and 2013. These circumstances, which are clearly beyond his control, would PUNISH him for staying in college.
Thus, his best option is to cash in now. Pro scouts say he’s ready and that the lesser points of his game are outweighed by his strengths. If you say otherwise, you’re saying you know more than professionals trained to assess NBA prospects, which is just kinda dumb.

People are still bitter from the end of KU’s season, and I think X, with all that talent and soon all that $, is an easy scapegoat. But the team we all love so much is comprised of human beings, living in the real world and trying to do what’s best for themselves and their families. Xavier Henry was a good, sometimes great, freshman basketball player at KU, and I’m happy he came here. If you want to say he’s not a Jayhawk, I don’t know what that means. I like to root for the group of guys Bill Self puts on the floor every game. If ALL you root for is the Jayhawks, and your appreciation of those guys ends once they stop wearing that jersey, you should just cheer for the mascots. They come back every year.

April 8, 2010 at 5:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

An emotional exit: Teary-eyed Xavier Henry declares for 2010 NBA Draft

1) The NBA and NCAA collaborated to FORCE talented, capable players like X into an unpaid year of college ball. So why direct all this hostility at a 19-year-old kid following the rule against his will? If he has to play at the collegiate level, I'm glad it was here where his dad played, and not at a Calipari sleaze factory. The one-and-done rule is deeply flawed, but don't blame the kid. And don't blame the coach for bringing him in. Bill Self knew he was gonna be gone, but he also knew what he could contribute.
2) Have a heart. Watch his press conference, and you'll see that leaving his coach, teammates, brother, and the fans who have embraced him is not that easy for him. He even admitted that he didn't think he would like Lawrence, KU, or college ball in general, but the fans here made him feel differently. Why tarnish that with salty, ignorant comments?
3) Anyone who thinks X robbed playing time from less talented guys on KU's roster needn't worry. They will develop like guys did in the old days, as underclassmen, which will make them more productive upperclassmen. Those guys aren't going to the NBA anytime soon, but they would if they could. And so would you.
4) Staying would be financially unwise. You go to college to prepare for a moneymaking career. X is ready for his moneymaking career now. College isn't going anywhere, but his youth, and all of ours, is. He could possibly be a lottery pick. He could get hurt before he gets paid. The NBA's labor issues don't bode well for 2011 draft picks. I hate that people have the nerve to say he's selfish to secure his future rather than entertain them with his highly marketable skill another year FOR FREE.
5) Everyone saying he’s not ready probably isn’t a big NBA fan. Ready to do what? Develop with pay, rather than pro bono? He is 19, with the height and build of a prototypical NBA 2-guard, and his jump-shot is damn near perfect. He may not create a lot for himself off the dribble, but that’s less valuable in the NBA than Sportscenter highlights would indicate. He won’t be Durant, or Lebron, or Carmelo, but he will be a productive spot shooter in the Association for a long time.
6) I think KU is the last of the top tier programs to have a OAD player. I know Duke just won a title with a senior-led squad, but overall the game is changing. There are still a couple elite, undecided recruits considering KU and a handful of other programs. I pray they don’t see the nasty comments people made about X. That may drive them, and their talent, elsewhere.

April 8, 2010 at 5:33 a.m. ( | suggest removal )