Category Archives: The Drug War

There and back again

Sort of a Hobbit adventure, our just over two thousand mile Amtrak trek through five states in seven days: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. At a cost of about a dollar a mile for a private room with meals.

No dragons encountered, however. Just occasional problems, some more annoying than others, like the empty soda bottle that rolled out from under our bench seat, and worse the delay in trying to get the lowered upper berth put back because Bar was feeling claustrophobic and breathless in the lower double one.

Or the broken WiFi and broken electrical outlets on the Amtrak-subsidized Greyhound bus (which advertises leg room but doesn’t provide it for six-footers) from Albuquerque to El Paso (nevertheless with an excellant 50ish black male driver) to spend the night and catch the Sunset Limited the next day back to Austin. No WiFi on our trains but convenient working electrical outlets. And Bar said Albuquerque’s spectacular Andaluz Hotel had a soothing vibe.

Basically, the trip was a lot of fun, though we might next time stretch out the 566-mile Austin to Newton, KS, portion. Spending the night in Oklahoma City, for instance, but with the problem of where to go/what to do (a good public library perchance?) after checkout at noon—with fourteen hours to go four hours to Newton for a 2 a.m. departure west.

As it was we were exhausted by the time we got to Newton but enjoyed the 424-mile Newton to Trinidad stretch in our bedroom (a four-hour nap) and  breakfast in the dining car. Scrambled eggs and orange juice (and fellow Amish passengers with blond triplet boys) approaching destination Trinidad, Colorado, with snow-capped twin peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Trinidad was a surprise as there was no station to admire, no covered shelter at all, just dumped on the paved siding. The city’s negotiations with Amtrak for a station not going well they say. Fortunately, it wasn’t precipitating. We drew a blank on a call for a taxi, to the number on the Amtrak sign, and finally decided to walk the two blocks to McDonalds where the manager knew who to call: Monica!

The lovely Monica became our taxi, in between taking care of her three children and husband, in her family’s white mini-SUV. Otherwise there are no taxis in Trinidad. None. It’s a tiny, antique tourist town built in the 1850s. There are however numerous motels to choose from (a few welcoming potheads but most not) and more than twenty “dispensaries” of marijuana. So I guess it evens out for those with what the heads call “couch-lock” (where “you actually become the couch” and don’t feel like moving). We enjoyed some of that, chewing watermelon-flavored gummies from Freedom Road.

Take an ounce of good bud home with you, someone suggested. Oh no, I don’t want to go to prison. Locals said the cops of New Mexico watch for cars with out-of-state plates leaving Trinidad, and find reasons to stop them. And the DEA has been known to search bedrooms on trains not leaving Colorado. So we just enjoyed it while we were there and took peace-of-mind home with us.

Trinidad gets lots of pot tourists, the locals told us, mostly from Texas. But its monopoly will be gone when the New Mexico legislature gets around to also legalizing weed. Texas may take a lot longer, I think.

For now the Austin to Trinidad trek is worth it. The stations are clean (some, like El Paso’s Union Depot (circa 1904) and Oklahoma City’s old Santa Fe station are spectacular marbled monuments to rail) and all have conspicuous security guards to keep the peace.

The Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, and Sunset Limited trains were clean but a bit shabby from all the deferred maintenance imposed by Congress. And the freight-dinged tracks are very bumpy in spots. The federal pols spend money on the Northeast coast trains and rails for themselves while imposing cuts, and otherwise neglecting passengers in flyover country. The bedroom attendants (mostly black women for us) and dining car waiters (mostly black men for us) were overworked.

Could be, however, we’re on the cusp of a passenger train renaissance, judging from all the passengers who packed the Sunset Limited’s cheaper coach seats from L.A. to New Orleans. Our private room segment (that dollar-a-miler) was 576 miles of Texas, mostly in the dark—seeing the sunset over the Davis Mountains (old Apache country) but missing the views on the 300-foot trestle over the Pecos River.

But we’ll do it all again.  Of course we will. It was fun.

Legalizing weed? Trump is for it

“On the first great-weather day of Spring 2018, President Donald Trump has committed to withdrawing federal objections to the legalization of marijuana, reports Tom Angell of Marijuana Moment.”

It was a great weather day here, too, though a cold front and thunderboomers marred it somewhat. But this is startling news, after AG Sessions’ gungho drug war rhetoric. Maybe he really is on the outs and may resign over this.

“This is huge, as it would unambiguously allow states to pursue legalization without worrying about a federal crackdown such as the one proposed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the start of this year. ”

Via Nick Gillespie at Reason

UPDATE:  Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy doesn’t trust Trump or the House GOP on this.

MORE:  Not to be outdone by Trump, who wants to allow individual states to pursue legalization, the Dims are going for across-the-board federal decriminalization. Wonder how that would apply to states like Texas where it still is illegal.

From the Mainstream to the Mediacrats

“The media and Democrats are so close in association and so close in their philosophical views that we might as well use one word to describe both, and that’s ‘Mediacrats,'” said Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, founder of the House Media Fairness Caucus.

Works for me.

Via Instapundit

Trump, our unelected (so far) president

Some of the usual suspects are giving his staff credit for engineering Trump’s meeting with Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto. They should read Trump’s The Art of the Deal and Don Surber’s Trump The Press. It’s much more likely it was The Donald’s idea to take Pena Nieto up on his invitation before the Hildabeast did.

“President Peña Nieto invited both Trump and Clinton to meet with him to discuss immigration, and now it will look sort of like a pathetic game of catch up if Hillary accepts and meets with him second.”

The cool thing is that Trump came away looking, as he did when he beat Obama and Clinton to flooded Louisiana, and riotous Milwaukee, like a president. One uncowed by lack of political experience or humbled by the usual name-calling put-downs from the lapdog Democrat news media.

Not only that, the immigration speech he followed it with played up an angle the lapdogs have ignored. A less-permeable wall than the one we already have (yes, Virginia, we have a wall; it’s called a fence) would do more than help diminish if not stop illegal immigration. It could put the drug cartels out of business. They need our market and if they can’t get to it in sufficient numbers…

Turns out the cartels are what Pena Nieto is most concerned about, so he and Trump had common ground to stand on, whatever El Presidente’s feeling about illegal immigration. It has been, after all, a safety valve for Mexico’s ruling class, bleeding off the wretched poor who might otherwise stage another revolution.

Adds the Instapundit: “He’s turning her into Jeb, isn’t he?” Indeed he is.

I’m Libertarian!

According to this presidential candidate poll, I am. Which I warn you will take about 15 minutes to complete, unless you’ve already thought about most of what is asked. I had not.

My own answers led to four Libertarians I never heard of: Austin Petersen, Gary Johnson, John McAfee and Marc Allen Feldman. Pity they have no chance.

Of the more likely candidates I side best with our Ted Cruz, followed closely by Trump. The Hildabeast is 30 points south of Trump in my poll results, and Bernie is 32. I don’t side with her on any major issues and him only on some foreign policy ones. Not a surprise.

Via Curmudgeonly and Mouth of the Brazos, who both came down with Cruz first.

Legalizing marijuana in Canada

Mr. B. was crowing the other day about how Canada is the first country to legalize marijuana. Hasn’t actually done so yet but is expected to soon. It fit with his belief that legal barriers will continue to fall and users and sellers will no longer be punished. Not by the law, at least.

I agree, and long have, that these mind-altering substances should be legal across the board. Government has no business telling us what to do with them and, certainly, their attempts to police it for the past few decades has been a failure. All that has done is create a vast network of prisons and young prisoners whose lives have, essentially, been ruined by the state. Plus raise the street price.

However, I know from long experience that children, whose brains are still developing, have no business with it, and shouldn’t be encouraged in any way to use marijuana. Even for adults it has two major drawbacks: 1) the more you do it the harder it is to stop and 2) it is one of the world’s greatest de-motivators. It will gradually quash whatever ambition you may have.

As for Mr. B., any thought that he has for doing pot is being tempered by the realization that his father and the parents of his friends are organizing to try and turn around what schoolkids hereabouts regard as “no big deal.” It’s a very bad deal for them and we want educators to place an onus on it similar to texting-and-driving and drinking-and-driving. But I’d still like to see the government and the police butt out.

How to improve policing

Want to stop all the police killings and (apparently) retaliatory killings of police? The Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds has a solution. Even if it’s unlikely to be taken.

“(1) abolish official immunity; (2) require insurance for all police; (3) give people a choice of who polices their neighborhoods. That won’t happen, though, because it’s bad for public employee unions and it doesn’t make for appealing slogans designed to drive black [Democrat] voter turnout in November of 2016.”

Repealing the drug war or, at least, decriminalizing marijuana, would help. Also getting rid of SWAT teams. But both are entrenched now and few pols are brave enough to be take them on. They might lose their chance to keep on stealing.

Via Instapundit.

UPDATE:  The Harris County (Houston) deputy slain (at first link above) was killed by a black man who has now been arrested. As Instapundit says: HOW MANY MORE WILL DIE BECAUSE OF OBAMA’S RACIALLY CHARGED RHETORIC? First the black Virginia killer. Now this Texas one.