Tag 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 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.

Reducing drug sentences

Finally, something our Little Barry Hussein does that I can agree with.

Although it would be better if he had the guts to champion, and the negotiating skills to push through Congress an end to the drug war. Of course he doesn’t, and therefore he won’t.

But commuting the disproportionate federal prison sentences for minor drug dealers (people caught with more than a small amount are blithely assumed to be dealers) is better than nothing.

The courageous badge gang in action

Surely you have noticed in those sycophantic “news” photos in your local rag that the courageous badge gang’s drug busts and frequent murders always involve some modest little home like this one.

Ever seen them take down a mansion? Me neither. And I’m sure it’s only a coincidence that our latest president is a former dope smoker and coke snorter whose prep school buds also, somehow, managed to avoid arrest.

That legal marijuana business

I’m as skeptical as Megan McArdle about the feds “allowing” the people of Colorado and Washington to get away with voting to legalize pot. They didn’t allow Arizona to control its own border with Mexico, remember? Even those so-called secession petitions to the White House were petitions, which is to say they were asking for permission to secede.

We’re simply not the Land of the Free that the flag wavers and patriotic song-singers like to pretend. The feds shackled us years ago and threw away the key.

The Tenth Amendment crowd like to write about the power of the states but, trust me, the states will do what Uncle Sugar says before they’ll give up, say, their federal highway and Medicaid money. For all the amusing talk around here about secession, Texas would be first in line to obey.

Washington’s legalization of pot on the alcohol model will be the easiest for the D.C. drug warriors to stop. They simply won’t allow the state’s licenses for growing and selling to mean anything. They’ll shut down the first business that tries to use the license and, if necessary, jail the executives. Risky investment, that one.

Colorado’s legalization will be trickier to overcome, since it wisely allows individuals to grow their own cannabis. Them as has the nerve, that is.

The DEA will simply get the always-compliant local badge gang to crank up their helicopters (or, maybe, their new video-carrying drones) and overfly neighborhoods to spy out any new crops amongst the tomatoes and sunflowers. And rely on neighborhood snitches to report the basement growers.

Labor intensive, sure, but a few spectacular urban court cases with big fines or long prison sentences should be enough to get the point across: the feds have billions of our tax dollars to spend and they like nothing better than to waste it on their ridiculous drug war which has given many cops employment and fancy new military weapons and, not incidentally, lined the pockets of the corrupt.

Instapundit raises the specter of “jury nullification” in these presumed upcoming federal marijuana indictments. That sounds good but requires individual jurors to stick their necks out so Uncle Sugar and his bully boys can chop off their heads. Not likely to happen.

If there really were a lot of bold Americans out there, who did more than whine on Facebook, there’d be a lot more than the ten percent of the eligible population that now volunteers for the military.

All in all, I doubt this legalization is going to work for long, unless the people of a lot more states (say thirty or more) vote to do the same at the same time. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t want to personally test it by lighting up a joint in a public park in downtown Seattle or Denver. But, like they say, there’s always that ten percent: folks who never seem to get the message until it’s too late.

UPDATE:  Now, if the Republicans really want to Take Back The Joint…

Obama: an authentic hypocrite

Obozo didn’t just inhale. He smoked marijuana extensively in high school and college. He also snorted cocaine when he could get it.

But now that he’s president, he’s hypocritically continuing the federal drug war that’s jailing people who get caught at it: a disproportionate number of them young black men. Cretin.