Ronald Bailey Argues It Is Crazy to Subsidize Activities that Might Harm the Climate

warsaw walkoutIt’s crazy to pay people to burn more
fossil fuels if one is concerned about man-made global warming. At
the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP-19) of the
U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw,
one of the best ideas for lowering the emissions of greenhouse
gases is to eliminate billions in consumer and producer fossil fuel
subsidies. Eliminating agricultural subsidies would lower the
emissions of nitrous oxide that also contribute to global warming.
Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey points out that cutting
these enormous subsidies would not only help reduce any future
global warming, it would definitely cut tax bills.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/ronald-bailey-argues-it-is-crazy-to-subs
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Come for the Argument That Casual Drug Use Shouldn’t Be Treated Differently Than Alcohol, Stay for the Spirited Comments

Yesterday,
I posted a column
at Time.com arguing that casual drug use
shouldn’t be seen as categorically different than casual alcohol
use.

The news hook, of course, was Rep. Trey Radel’s pleading guilty
to cocaine possession after getting nabbed in a Washington, D.C.
drug sting (great use of police resources, by the way, nabbing a
guy buying a few grams of coke in a Dupont Circle bar from an
undercover cop).

I document in the piece that exceedingly few people who use
currently illegal drugs go on to become regular users of those
substances, much less addicts. Even Radel, a conservative
Republican from Florida, didn’t say he was a cocaine addict –
instead, he blamed his decision to buy coke on his alcoholism.

Here’s a snippet from my article:

Prohibitionists typically deny the very possibility of
responsible or voluntary use of currently illegal substances. They
argue that drugs such as coke, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine and
even marijuana are verboten precisely because they simply can’t be
used casually. Any use either already constitutes abuse or quickly
leads to it. “Drugs are not dangerous because they are illegal,”
former drug czar William Bennett and former Health, Education and
Welfare Secretary Joseph Califano wrote in a 2011 Wall
Street Journal
 op-ed, “they are illegal because they
are dangerous.”

Nearly 50% of people have tried an illegal drug at least once,
yet most don’t repeat the experience. With cocaine, most who have
tried it not only don’t go on to became addicts under even the most
expansive possible definition of the term, they don’t even go on to
become regular users.

According to the
latest National
Survey on Drug Use and Health
, 14.5% of Americans ages 12 and
older have tried cocaine at least once, but just 1.8% report using
the drug recreationally in the past year. And just 0.6% have used
it in the past 30 days, which would seem to be the minimal
definition of a casual user.

The same pattern is true for heroin, which is typically talked
about as magically addictive. Fear of the drug is surely one of the
reasons why just 1.8% of Americans have ever tried it at all. But
only 0.3% report using it in the past year and just 0.1% in the
past month. That pattern simply shouldn’t be possible if these
drugs were as addictive as commonly thought.


Read the whole thing here.
 And check out the comments
section, where a thoughtful and full-blooded discussion is taking
place over the question of whether drugs should be illegal and
whether people can in fact use these substances responsibly.
Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals,
foreign terrorists, and corrupt law enforcement officials is
seriously compromising our future,” writes one commenter, while
another says, “
You’re only addicted when you can’t
afford it.”

Opponents of legalization are well represented too, but I think
it’s a sign of the times that Time.com is not only open to running
articles titled “What’s So Bad About Casual Drug Use?” but readers
are seriously debating the merits of a major change in federal
policy.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/come-for-the-argument-that-casual-drug-u
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Come for the Argument That Casual Drug Use Shouldn't Be Treated Differently Than Alcohol, Stay for the Spirited Comments

Yesterday,
I posted a column
at Time.com arguing that casual drug use
shouldn’t be seen as categorically different than casual alcohol
use.

The news hook, of course, was Rep. Trey Radel’s pleading guilty
to cocaine possession after getting nabbed in a Washington, D.C.
drug sting (great use of police resources, by the way, nabbing a
guy buying a few grams of coke in a Dupont Circle bar from an
undercover cop).

I document in the piece that exceedingly few people who use
currently illegal drugs go on to become regular users of those
substances, much less addicts. Even Radel, a conservative
Republican from Florida, didn’t say he was a cocaine addict –
instead, he blamed his decision to buy coke on his alcoholism.

Here’s a snippet from my article:

Prohibitionists typically deny the very possibility of
responsible or voluntary use of currently illegal substances. They
argue that drugs such as coke, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine and
even marijuana are verboten precisely because they simply can’t be
used casually. Any use either already constitutes abuse or quickly
leads to it. “Drugs are not dangerous because they are illegal,”
former drug czar William Bennett and former Health, Education and
Welfare Secretary Joseph Califano wrote in a 2011 Wall
Street Journal
 op-ed, “they are illegal because they
are dangerous.”

Nearly 50% of people have tried an illegal drug at least once,
yet most don’t repeat the experience. With cocaine, most who have
tried it not only don’t go on to became addicts under even the most
expansive possible definition of the term, they don’t even go on to
become regular users.

According to the
latest National
Survey on Drug Use and Health
, 14.5% of Americans ages 12 and
older have tried cocaine at least once, but just 1.8% report using
the drug recreationally in the past year. And just 0.6% have used
it in the past 30 days, which would seem to be the minimal
definition of a casual user.

The same pattern is true for heroin, which is typically talked
about as magically addictive. Fear of the drug is surely one of the
reasons why just 1.8% of Americans have ever tried it at all. But
only 0.3% report using it in the past year and just 0.1% in the
past month. That pattern simply shouldn’t be possible if these
drugs were as addictive as commonly thought.


Read the whole thing here.
 And check out the comments
section, where a thoughtful and full-blooded discussion is taking
place over the question of whether drugs should be illegal and
whether people can in fact use these substances responsibly.
Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals,
foreign terrorists, and corrupt law enforcement officials is
seriously compromising our future,” writes one commenter, while
another says, “
You’re only addicted when you can’t
afford it.”

Opponents of legalization are well represented too, but I think
it’s a sign of the times that Time.com is not only open to running
articles titled “What’s So Bad About Casual Drug Use?” but readers
are seriously debating the merits of a major change in federal
policy.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/come-for-the-argument-that-casual-drug-u
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Today’s Alternative Anniversaries for Those Allergic to Boomer Nostalgia

Hate the oh-what-a-night nostalgia of
JFK assassination anniversary stories? Then read this
acidic Jack Shafer take
about the coverage, wash it down with
Nick Gillespie’s
skewering of Boomer narcissism
, and browse through the recent
JFK musings
of our resident conspiracy-historian,
Jesse Walker.

Or, if you prefer sidestepping the whole tawdry business
altogether and making your own anniversary memories instead, choose
among these sadly neglected Nov. 22 events from years gone by. For
instance, this 1987
broadcast-hijacking by a Chicago man dressed as Max
Headroom
:

 

Terrifying.

Prefer a more momentous conspiracy, at the highest levels,
involving murder and the mass confiscation of property? Then strap
on your Dan Brown boots and luxuriate in the 1307 Papal Bull
Pastoralis
Praeeminentiae
by the Goth French Pope Clement V,
ordering Christian monarchs to persecute the
Knights of Templar
. It’s more creepy with a soundtrack:

 

Today is the 9th anniversary of the beginning of Ukraine’s
Orange
Revolution
, the 24th anniversary of all kinds of stuff relating
to the collapse of communism (such as this
massive rally
on Prague’s Wenceslas Square), the 38th
anniversary of Spanish King Juan
Carlos
‘s ascension to the throne (Señor Franco, he still
dead!), the 70th anniversary of Lebanon’s independence from
France
, the 85th anniversary of
the premier of Ravel’s Boléro
(celebrate with Bo Derek!), and
the 155th birthday of
Denver, Colorado
.

As Professor Barack Obama
taught us
, we are the anniversary we’ve been waiting for, so
there’s no need whatsoever to accept other people’s historical
priorities. Nominate your favorite Nov. 22 alternatives in the
comments, and I’ll update the post with good ones.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/todays-alternative-anniversaries-for-tho
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A.M. Links: Obama, Reid Were Against Nuclear Option Before They Were For it, Saudi Police Arrest Men For Offering Free Hugs, Miley Cyrus’ Parents Not Worried About Her Drug Use

  • Yesterday, Senate Democrats invoked the so-called nuclear
    option to prevent Republicans from filibustering most
    presidential nominations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, President Obama
    and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
    were against the “nuclear option”
    before they were for it.
  • Officials in the Philippines have raised the
    Typhoon Haiyan
    death toll to more than 4,900.  
  • Religious police in
    Saudi Arabia
    have arrested two men for offering free hugs.

  • Miley Cyrus’
    parents are not worried about her drug use.
  • The number of
    homeless people
    in the U.S. has declined for the third year in
    a row.
  • A
    Tennessee county judge
    has said that drug testing judges would
    be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Follow Reason and Reason 24/7 on
Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
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can also get the top stories mailed to
you—
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Have a news tip? Send it to us!

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/am-links-obama-reid-were-against-nucle
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Kurt Loder Reviews The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
 is in some ways a rerun of
the first film—nearly two and a half hours of teenage
action-romance. But it’s a better movie. The producers have brought
in a new creative team to punch things up. Their wisest hire was
director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend), who whips the
story along in a tightly focused style: the picture never sags or
wanders. It’s still a movie aimed at fans of Suzanne Collins’
best-selling YA novels—and of Jennifer Lawrence, naturally—but even
viewers dragged into it kicking and screaming are unlikely to be
bored out of their minds. Well, not entirely, says Kurt Loder.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/kurt-loder-reviews-the-hunger-games-catc
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November 22: A Black(beard) Day in History

Edward Teach, BlackbeardOn a November 22, fading into the fog
of the past, the world lost a colorful figure whose abbreviated
career and death at a young age are bound to be long-remembered. I
refer, of course, to Edward Teach, better
known as the pirate, “Blackbeard.”

From a home base in North Carolina, the British-born Teach
terrorized Charleston, South Carolina, as well as ship-born
victims, into submission. Literally, he terrorized them,
relying on a monstrous appearance, with lit, smoking fuses inserted
in his masive beard, and fears of what he might do, to
separate captives from their money. History says he rarely actually
hurt anybody in order to extract treasure.

This is not to say he was a good person. Like, say, a government
official, he took what did not belong to him with threats of
violence, subsisting on that which had actually been earned and
produced by others. Unlike any government official, however, he
never claimed a right to do what he did—he simply stole what he
wanted from those weaker than himself.

Remarkably, Teach’s piratic adventures lasted only two years,
coming to an end in 1718. He is believed to have been in his late
thirties when he died. The pirate’s colorful personality guaranteed
him a life long after death. But then, people have a certain
weakness for predators.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/november-22-a-blackbeard-day-in-history
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Brickbat: I’d Rather Not Go Blind

A survey of staff at the United
Kingdom’s National Health Service found that a third of
ophthalmologists and ophthalmological nurses believe patients are
unnecessarily going
blind
 because of delays in treatment. More than 80 percent
of those surveyed said their clinics didn’t not have the capacity
to meet demand.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/brickbat-id-rather-not-go-blind
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Brickbat: I'd Rather Not Go Blind

A survey of staff at the United
Kingdom’s National Health Service found that a third of
ophthalmologists and ophthalmological nurses believe patients are
unnecessarily going
blind
 because of delays in treatment. More than 80 percent
of those surveyed said their clinics didn’t not have the capacity
to meet demand.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/brickbat-id-rather-not-go-blind
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