------------------------------------------------------------------- It's Time For New Tactics In America's War On Drugs (Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins writes in The Star-Telegram, in Fort Worth, Texas, that she thinks we're starting to see a major change in the old 'Zeitgeist' on the issue of drugs. This is one of those seismic shifts when the unsayable suddenly becomes sayable, when we notice that the emperor is wearing no clothes. The main problem with the war on drugs - you've probably noticed - is that we're losing. We're also seeing the start of a consensus that it's time to try something else.) Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 17:02:55 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Column: It's Time For New Tactics In America's War On Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: The Drug Policy Forum of Texas http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/ Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Copyright: 1998 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas Pubdate: Monday, 16 Nov 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/ Columnist: Molly Ivins, Fort Worth Editorial Columnist Note: Molly Ivins is a columnist for the 'Star-Telegram.' You may write to her at 1005 Congress Ave., Suite 920, Austin, TX 78701; or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. IT'S TIME FOR NEW TACTICS IN AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS AUSTIN -- Heads up, team: I think we're starting to see a major change in the old `Zeitgeist' on the issue of drugs. This is one of those seismic shifts when the unsayable suddenly becomes sayable, when we notice that the emperor is wearing no clothes. The main problem with the war on drugs -- you've probably noticed -- is that we're losing. We're also seeing the start of a consensus that it's time to try something else. One way you can tell when one of these major shifts is happening is when some of those speaking out are so respected and respectable that they give cover to others who are more conformist. The Lindesmith Centre in New York has marshalled an impeccable set of world citizens behind the simple proposition that the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself. Among those who signed that declaration are Walter Cronkite, former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, Nobelist Oscar Arias, and on and on and on. There are also several indications that the people are well ahead of the politicians on this one. On Election Day, medical marijuana initiatives passed in Washington state, Alaska, Arizona (second time), Oregon and Nevada -- this despite drug czar Barry McCaffrey and the rest of the drug war establishment swearing that this was tantamount to legalizing heroin. The people are perfectly capable of deciding that relieving the suffering of the dying is not the same as supporting the Medellin cartel. Notice, too, that Jesse "the Governor" Ventura, the crackerjack populist surprise in Minnesota, was elected in large part by young people who like his libertarian straight talk on drugs. Of course, our normal politicians are frozen on this issue. Liberals have been drug-baited for so long that they live in terror of the dread accusation "soft on drugs." And the law-'n'-order conservatives have been making hay at the polls with this cheap scare stuff for so long that they're hooked on it. Fortunately, the libertarian wing of the right has made uncommon sense on the issue all along, and even establishment conservatives like William F. Buckley are open to reasonable discussion; there's a real chance here for conservatives to seize an important issue and do major public service at the same time. Just to give you an idea how petrified the libs are on this issue, note President Clinton's performance -- he fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders not for advocating legalization of drugs but for suggesting that it should be studied! And he stopped Donna Shalala, secretary of health and human services, from implementing a clean-needle program -- an obviously sensible public health measure. The liveliest recent polemic on the subject is Mike Gray's book `Drug Crazy: How We got Into This Mess & How We Can Get Out of It.' Gray has some horrifying reports on how deeply the drug war has corrupted law enforcement across the country. He also makes a strong case that the war on drugs is just as disastrous a failure as was Prohibition, with exactly the same consequences in the growth of enormous criminal empires. However, it may be that debating legalization will simply turn out to be polarizing and futile while it takes the focus off the need to at least reform drug regulation. For starters, we could consider decriminalizing marijuana, rethinking the mandatory minimum sentences that put small-time users in prison for years while leaving major dealers untouched. Another idiotic injustice that needs to be addressed immediately is the disparity in sentencing between crack cocaine -- mostly used by inner-city blacks because of its cheap street price -- and the powder cocaine favored by wealthy whites. Same drug, gross inequity in sentencing. In-prison drug treatment programs make far more sense that the usual litany of more money, more cops, more prisons, longer sentences, etc. Well short of legalization, any fool can see how we could spend anti-drug money more effectively and fairly. That's a mandatory minimum in itself. Our poor frozen political establishment does in fact replicate Prohibition. President Hoover appointed a commission to study Prohibition back in 1929, and after 19 months of labor, the commission reported that it was a disaster area - and recommended no changes. A columnist known as F.P.A. summarized the finding in doggerel: Prohibition is an awful flop. We like it. It can't stop what it's meant to stop. We like it. It's left a trail of graft and slime. It's filled our land with vice and crime. It don't prohibit worth a dime. Nevertheless, we're for it. Time for new tactics and strategy, and anyone who says so is not soft on drugs but strong on common sense.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Finds New York Parade Rule Unconstitutional (Reuters says a federal judge, ruling on a lawsuit brought by a member of the Million Marijuana March, which was denied a permit to march down Fifth Avenue in New York City, struck down part of the city's parade ordinance because it could be used to restrict free speech. US District Judge Leonard Sand said a provision of the ordinance was unconstitutional because it failed to set a deadline for the approval of parade permits. The lack of a time frame could allow the police department to delay action on granting a permit, stopping or altering some marches.) Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 17:04:50 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Wire: Judge Finds New York Parade Rule Unconstitutional Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (email@example.com) Source: Reuters Copyright: 1998 Reuters Limited. Pubdate: 16 Nov 1998 JUDGE FINDS NEW YORK PARADE RULE UNCONSTITUTIONAL NEW YORK (Reuters) - As New York honored astronaut John Glenn with a huge ticker tape parade Monday, a federal judge struck down part of the city's parade ordinance because it could be used to restrict free speech. U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand said a provision of the ordinance was unconstitutional because it failed to set a deadline for the approval of parade permits. The lack of a time frame could allow the police department to delay action on granting a permit, stopping or altering some marches. Sand said he was striking down the provision because delays could be based on the subject matter of some parades. He said he was particularly troubled by two recent cases in which the department delayed action on police brutality marches. "A scheme such as this one, where the police department may routinely grant applications either immediately or only after extensive delay, is dangerous precisely because it lacks consistency and predictability," he said. While municipalities can restrict demonstrations and offer alternative routes because of safety and traffic concerns, it is a violation of free speech rights to ban them for content. Cheering crowds lined Broadway Monday for the parade honoring Glenn's return to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Just last month the city hosted another ticker tape parade honoring the Yankees for winning the World Series. However, some groups organizing smaller protest marches have had a more difficult time staging their events. The current suit before Sand was brought by a member of the Million Marijuana March Organization. The police department denied the group's application for a march on Fifth Avenue and offered an alternative route. The provision in question requires permit applicants to submit a written application to the department at least 36 hours before the event. The police commissioner is directed to grant permit requests "after due investigation," but no time limit is set. "We believe the governing law indicates that delay can easily lead to the suppression of speech in certain circumstances," Sand said. As an example he cited The Coalition Against Police Brutality's application for a permit March 12 for a March 31 parade. The police department did not approve the permit until March 30, the day before the event. No permit letter was sent out until that date. The judge said he reviewed 22 applications filed within a month of an event and found eight of the applicants were given 10 or more days of notice prior to the event, and seven were notified at least three days in advance. He also cited a parade permit requested by the October 22 Coalition Against Police Brutality. That group applied for a permit Sept. 13 for the Oct. 22 event. The applicants did not receive a response until Oct. 14. Another judge in a separate case involving that march ruled in October the one-month delay was "unconscionable" and created a "strong inference" of content-based regulation. *** [ed. note - This ruling seems directly applicable to the Portland Hemp Fest, which has been similarly plagued by police-state rule-making.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study Finds Companies With Drug Testing Have Lower Productivity (A press release and abstract from California NORML summarize a new study by Edward M. Shepard and Thomas J. Clifton of the Le Moyne College Institute of Industrial Relations, "Drug Testing and Labor Productivity - Estimates Applying a Production Function Model." The survey of a sample of 63 firms in the computer and communications equipment industries found that both pre-employment drug testing and random drug testing had a significant negative effect on worker productivity.)Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 20:00:00 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org, R1obert@aol.com, email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Drug Testing Flunks Study Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Study Finds Companies With Drug Testing Have Lower Productivity Companies that use random or pre-employment drug testing have significantly lower productivity than comparable companies that do not, according to a new study by Edward M. Shepard and Thomas J. Clifton of the Le Moyne College Institute of Industrial Relations ("Drug Testing and Labor Productivity: Estimates Applying a Production Function Model," Research Paper #18, September, 1998). Despite the widespread adoption of drug testing by government and industry in recent years, there has been very little rigorous scientific research on whether drug testing has a beneficial or adverse impact on worker productivity and safety. Shepard and Clifton accordingly surveyed a sample of 63 firms in the computer and communications equipment industries using an econometric model to determine the impact of their drug testing policies on productivity. They found that both pre-employment drug testing and random drug testing had a significant negative effect on worker productivity. While cautioning that their sample was small and not necessarily conclusive, the authors noted several reasons why drug testing might have negative effects on productivity, for instance, by wasting resources or hurting employee morale. Drug testing detects use, not impairment, and some studies have indicated that drug use may be associated with higher productivity in some workers. Another possibility is that companies with poor productivity or management are more likely to adopt drug testing in the first place. The authors conclude, "At the very least, the results contained in this paper cast serious doubt about claims that drug testing can significantly boost productivity." ABSTRACT The use of pre-employment and random drug testing by companies in the United States has grown rapidly during the past decade. This paper provides statistical evidence about the economic effects of drug testing programs by applying a production function model to a test sample of 63 firms within the computer and communications equipment industries in the US economy. The sample of firms comes from several SIC code areas that comprise a portion of the "high tech" industries in the economy. An economic production function model is specified and estimated for a test industry using cross-sectional firm-level data on the presence and type of drug testing programs, combined with financial data on companies available through COMPUSTAT. The empirical results suggest that drug testing programs do not succeed in improving productivity. Surprisingly, companies adopting drug testing programs are found to exhibit lower levels of productivity than their counterparts that do not. The regression coefficients representing potential effects of drug testing programs on productivity are both negative and significant. Both pre-employment and random testing of workers are found to be associated with lower levels of productivity. The estimation procedure includes controls or corrections for capital quality and heteroskedasticity. Finally, several alternative hypotheses providing possible rationales for these findings are considered. *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // email@example.com 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114 *** [ed. note - more details about the study are included in the Nov. 19 NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release.] *** Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 21:11:49 -0500 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Steve Young (theyoungfamily@WORLDNET.ATT.NET) Subject: Re: Drug testing at work counterproductive? Sender: email@example.com Shepard, Edward, et al (September, 1998). "Drug Testing and Labor Productivity: Estimates Applying a Production Function Model." Le Moyne College Institute of Industrial Relations Research Paper Number 18. Available online by searching for the title at http://www.lindesmith.org/search.html At 10:08 PM 5/25/99 -0400, you wrote: >Can you please help me find an item I remember seeing >in the last year about drug testing in the workplace. > >I remember it was a small study [done out west?] that showed >productivity was less in a drug tested workplace. > >Thanks a bunch, >Michael Steve Young Read about the losers and winners in the drug war at: http://home.att.net/~theyoungfamily *** [Portland NORML notes: The precise URL is:] http://www.soros.org/lindesmith/library/shepard2.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- It's An Entirely New Game In Colombia (An op-ed in The Chicago Tribune by Eric Farnsworth, a former White House policy adviser, summarizes the official view that Ernesto Samper was the devil incarnate and Colombia's new president, Andres Pastrana, will be a US ally in the war on some drug users.) Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 19:43:51 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Colombia: PUB LTE: It's An Entirely New Game In Colombia Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Section: Sec. 1 Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Author: Eric Farnsworth, former White House policy adviser, Senior Adviser, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP IT'S AN ENTIRELY NEW GAME IN COLOMBIA WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Not long ago, many Americans' perceptions of Latin America revolved around images of drug training, human rights abuses, anti-democratic leaders, and guerrilla insurgences. Now, open-market democracy is the norm. Human rights are generally respected. And even though significant problems remain, the United States is now turning to its Latin American partners--rather than turning on them--to seize opportunities while working to solve those problems that continue to exist. Nowhere is this promise truer than in Colombia. On Oct. 28, President Clinton welcomed Colombia's new president, Andres Pastrana, to the White House for an official state visit--a remarkable turnaround from the previous government of Ernesto Samper, whose U.S. visa had been revoked. The election of the new Pastrana government is a watershed event in Colombia's recent history, a strong affirmation by the people of Colombia of the democratic process and an equally strong rejection of the guerrilla violence, narco-corruption and human rights abuses of the past. As a former journalist, for example, President Pastrana has spoken out on the need to improve Colombia's abysmal record of violence against journalists and freedom of the press. The U.S. government clearly has a vested interest in supporting Colombia's ongoing transition. More mature bilateral relations are a critical piece of the overall puzzle of hemispheric foreign policy, and concrete steps have already been taken by both sides. Within the context of a new partnership, President Clinton recently pledged more than $280 million in new assistance to Colombia, more than doubling last year's amount. The two presidents signed an Alliance Against Drugs, a comprehensive effort targeted at the illegal drugs trade, and established a high-level Joint Consultative Group to address bilateral issues and to consult on the nascent peace process, which President Pastrana has personally begun with the guerrillas. But absent concrete achievements in the near to midterm, it will be difficult to sustain such optimism. Colombia's two guerrilla groups have operated for decades in the sparsely populated rural areas of Colombia. They are resourceful and self-sufficient, even if they lack a coherent ideology. It's unclear, despite the best intentions of the Pastrana government and the international community, what incentive the guerrillas really have to lay down their weapons and join the political debate like the Salvadoran or Guatemalan guerrillas did. Until they do, left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries will continue the killing. It is also unclear whether the new government will be able to prosecute successfully both the war on drugs and the civil war. If it can't, it will likely emphasize its fight against the guerrillas. But because drugs are the sine qua non of the "comprehensive partnership" from the U.S. perspective, it will then remain to be seen whether cracks will begin to appear in the relationship with the U.S., and whether it will keep trying to micromanage Latin political decisions. Under President Pastrana, Colombia has begun a new course. The trick will be to turn the impressive words spoken during his visit into equally impressive deeds. For its part, the U.S. will have to demonstrate the patience, and the good sense, to help Colombia's new government succeed. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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