Friday, May 2, 2008

HELP the Police!

No, you read the header correctly. It's completely worth it, though.

Hat Tip: Jim Harper

Another Victim of the Drug War

I'm tempted to start a body count on how many lives the "War on Drugs" takes excepting --if only because they are less sympathetic -- the 1000s who have died on the streets as a result of gang warfare which is fueled by illicit drug sales. There have easily--EASILY--been more fatal casualties in the "Drug War" than the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. This is just the latest I've heard about...and perhaps one of the more tragic:

A musician who was denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law to ease the symptoms of advanced hepatitis C died Thursday.

The death of Timothy Garon, 56, at Bailey-Boushay House, an intensive care nursing center was confirmed to The Associated Press by his lawyer, Douglas Hiatt, and Alisha Mark, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason Medical Center, which operates Bailey-Boushay.

Dr. Brad Roter, the physician who authorized Garon to smoke pot to alleviate for nausea and abdominal pain and to stimulate his appetite, said he did not know it would be such a hurdle if Garon were to need a transplant.

Yes. If you smoke weed, for medical purposes no less, you will be denied a life-saving organ transplant. Yet, and as a Yankees fan it pains me to say this, as a life-long alcoholic baseball legend you can get a liver spite of the fact that your habitual and grossly irresponsible drinking to excess over a span of decades killed your liver.

As incidents like these pile up, the already dubious "moral" cause for the "War on Drugs" erodes rapidly.

Hat tip to Radley for following this story.

R.I.P. Timothy Garon

Thursday, May 1, 2008

D.C. Madam Dies in Apparent Suicide

George Carlin once asked: "Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. So why isn't 'selling fucking' legal?"

Well, I can't answer that question. And it seems Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman dubbed the "D.C. Madam," ended her own life while awaiting sentencing for "selling fucking."

According to the Washington Post, Palfrey, 52, was facing around 4 to 6 years for her conviction on federal racketeering charges.

The details of her "crime":

Palfrey ran her business, Pamela Martin & Associates, by telephone from her California home, and authorities said she grossed about $2 million from 1993 to 2006, splitting the money about evenly with her escorts. They said she employed at least 132 women over the years, dispatching them nightly to clients in homes and hotel rooms in the Washington area.

Yes, that awful, dreadful woman gave "socially polished, college-educated women" gainful employment providing a service to men (and maybe other women, I suppose). Oh, I'm sure there are some wives and scorned ex-lovers who are going to relish this news -- but it seems to be a tragic waste of taxpayers' money (i.e., the investigation and prosecution) and one woman's life just because some men stepped out with call-girls.

I don't have a moral problem with prostitution, but I personally find it disgusting. Furthermore, I would feel personally degraded if a woman were pretending to enjoy--shall we say "my company"?-- for $250.

But to each, their own.

So, one woman is dead. Her family mourns. Lives have been tarnished; reputations destroyed.

Can someone please explain to me what the hell was accomplished by all this?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Noose Trend?

After the Jena 6 mess, nooses have sprung up all over the place, like Columbia University , University of Maryland, and now...the Secret Service???

WASHINGTON — The Secret Service has placed a white agent on leave after a black employee reported finding a noose hanging at the service's main training facility outside the nation's capital.

The service has acknowledged "an allegation of misconduct" at its Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, Md., and that an employee was placed on administrative leave last week pending the outcome of an investigation. The employee is a veteran agent with the service, according to fellow agents.

The noose was found by an African-American officer in the uniform division during the week of April 14, according to those familiar with the incident.

That division protects the White House and surrounding grounds.
I dunno if they are going to charge this person with a hate crime -- it wouldn't be the first time for a noose incident. I'm loath to endorse the prosecutions of "hate crimes" per se-- particularly when it is a non-violent offense such as this. (Maybe willful intimidation or something?) But if Brooke can be arrested for bopping and questioning authority, this agent could certainly use some abrupt face time with a wall.

If I may step out of traditional libertarian mode for a moment, however, let me say that crap like this makes me question the state's monopoly on the use of force. I know, I know...impartial actors to mediate disputes between self-interested parties, yadda yadda yadda. While all that is valid and I support it FULLY on a rational and professional level, it doesn't change the fact that some people just deserve an ass-kicking.

But, thankfully, we live in a nation of laws and thus personal feelings must take a back seat to law and order-- provided the law is justified. I'm guessing, and I'm not a lawyer, that if the suspended agent does, in fact, earn a trip before a judge, he'll be charged under Title 18 U.S.C. Sec 245 § 1(c):

1) This statute prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference, or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person or class of persons because of their activity as:

c) an applicant for federal employment or an employee by the federal government

Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life or may be sentenced to death.

A year in federal prison for intimidating a man whose job it is to protect the President of the United States (all criticisms of the sitting chief executive notwithstanding)? Yeah, I can deal with that.