Political Animal

Ann and Michael

ANN AND MICHAEL….You know, conservatives have actually been pretty good over the past few days in their willingness to disown Ann Coulter and Michael Savage. They deserve credit for this.

Which makes it all the more unfortunate that media critic Brent Bozell had to ruin their streak with this childish “But they do it too!” column about l’affaire Savage. Says Bozell:

Wishing death on people hasn’t always been a damaging career move. In fact, if you wish death on conservatives, there’s no problem at all.

How pathetic.

Legalizing Cocaine

LEGALIZING COCAINE….Mark Kleiman writes today that legalizing cocaine is a bad idea because it would put a lot of coke dealers out of work and would devastate the earnings of crack whores.

OK, OK, perhaps I’m oversimplifying a bit here, but he really does say that. Good thing he’s not running for president, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you just love to be in charge of creating the TV ads for his opponent?

On a more serious note, Mark is basically making the argument that legalizing cocaine would cause cocaine use (and cocaine addiction) to rise, which is clearly a bad thing. He has certainly convinced me that this must be true, but it still leaves the basic cost-benefit analysis open since we don’t know how much cocaine use would rise.

My problem is that the devastation and cost of our current drug regime is so bad that it’s hard to imagine that legalization would, on balance, make things worse. That might just be a failure of imagination on my part ? after all, no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse ? but I still need some persuasion on this point. In fact, Mark himself, although he favors other policy measures, admits that:

Legalization at a low price would probably succeed in reducing overall crime, and might well be a substantial boon to poor minority neighborhoods now wracked by cocaine dealing, though at what would very probably be a very high cost in increased cocaine abuse. It is even possible, though I doubt it, that low-price legalization would represent a net improvement over today’s version of prohibition.

Has anyone done a serious (but not too horrifically lengthy) policy analysis that compares the cost of increased cocaine use with the benefits of legalization? And is there anything close to a consensus view on this within the drug policy community? Back to you, Mark….

UPDATE: John Isbell reminds me to remind my readers that Mark is a public policy professor at UCLA and specializes in drug policy. I couldn’t resist having a little fun with him, but his opinions on this subject should be taken seriously.

Jessica Lynch: Feminist Pawn of the Washington Post?

JESSICA LYNCH: FEMINIST PAWN OF THE WASHINGTON POST?….It looks like the Army is about to make it official. Tomorrow they are issuing a report about what really happened to Pfc. Jessica Lynch:

The Army’s 15-page report officially will debunk accounts that Pfc. Lynch emptied two revolvers at her attackers and was shot and stabbed before being taken prisoner of war. In fact, she was riding in a Humvee that was struck by a projectile during a frantic attempt to escape the ambush. She suffered “horrific injuries,” said Pentagon sources familiar with the report.

….Pfc. Lynch also was pulled from the wreckage and taken to [a Nasiriyah] hospital. “Lynch survived principally because of the medical attention she received from the Iraqis,” one source said.

The original heroic version of the story was reported by the Washington Post, and Kathryn Jean Lopez of NRO asks:

Could the story they painted been motivated by their agenda vis-?-vis women in the military? Shocking, I know.

Is that going to become the official conservative spin for this? That the Post was just promoting its radical feminist agenda?

Do conservatives have some gigantic brain trust buried deep inside a mountain near Cheyenne that comes up with this stuff? I mean, first we get David Warren’s peculiar thesis that when George Bush said “Bring ’em on” he was really just trying to shoo terrorists away from civilization and over to Iraq. Now K-Lo absolves the military of misleading the media about Lynch by proposing a tortured right-wing fantasy about the Post’s secret feminist conspiracy.

Sigh. I guess tomorrow we’ll find out whether this trial balloon manages to spread throughout the blogosphere. I can’t wait.