Today is a nicely mixed bag:
1. Mother Jones on the prison-industrial complex
A nice, thorough piece on the oddity that labour unions (largely aligned with liberal Democrats) are also a powerful force amplifying America’s extraordinary attempt to incarcerate their poor. I’ll probably return to this one later.
2. Noah Smith on rent-seeking and extractive institutions.
This is a good one. Finance has always profited disproportionately to its contribution to the economy; but that disproportion has become very significantly worse lately. Noah has a look at some possible arguments of causality.
3. WaPo has an important graph
In one infographic, illustrating why the US deficit really isn’t Obama’s fault, no matter how often the GOP try to claim it is.
4. Jonathan Chait on Bob Woodward on, as far as I can tell, strong medication.
Definitely coming back to this one. TL;DR is that Woodward is talking rubbish and getting paid good money to do it.
5. Ball, rolling.
A round-up of things about the gathering pace of challenges to marijuana prohibition and the WoD generally. Since I last looked we’ve got:
- “… legislative committees in New Mexico and Hawaii approved bills to decriminalize marijuana possession and Oregon lawmakers introduced a legalization bill. Yesterday, Rhode Island legislators held a hearing on a bill to—surprise! — legalize and tax marijuana.” — Josh Harkinson
- 67% of California would like the Feds to stop screwing with their cannabis industry, please. Also, 54% now favour full legalization, which is new.
- Tim Dickinson predicts the next states to legalize; Oregon, California, Rhode Island, Nevada, Alaska, Maine and Vermont, to be precise. Lots of good stuff in the article.
- A (narrow) majority of Americans support legalizing cannabis. Support for more limited legal use and regulation has for some time been much higher, with some surveys putting it above 80%.
- And, of course, Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) have recently put the first federal legislative trial balloons up for the prohibitionists to shoot at.