Moving the Mexican Border
The whole point of setting the border between Mexico and the United States at the deepest channel of the Rio Grande was that the river was not supposed to move. That was the thinking in 1848 [...] [more inside]
"When anything had to be changed or repaired, it appeared to pain him physically. For twenty years the bar sagged in the middle like a plough mule’s back. A carpenter warned him repeatedly that it was about to collapse; finally, in 1933, he told the carpenter to go ahead and prop it up. While the work was in progress he sat at a table in the back room with his head in his hands and got so upset he could not eat for several days." A history of McSorley's Old Ale House
from the 1940 issue of The New Yorker.
"Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades.
Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates ... we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates ... Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may
be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates." (Press Release
) [more inside]
80 years ago
the "Noble Experiment" was repealed by ratification of the 21st Amendment. And everyone kept right on drinking...
The finder of this note if the 18 Amendment has bin [sic] changed have a good Drink on us.
- E. Daniher
"You, too, can get to the promised land. [...] Perhaps greater lies have been told in the past century, but they can be counted on one hand. Racial caste is alive and well in America." The New Jim Crow
by Michelle Alexander
In an apparent reversal (err, 'clarification') of the Oct. 2009 'Ogden Memo
), the DEA has has issued a new memo
stating that "Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law." [more inside]
History repeats itself and medical pot clubs have a historical precedence
. [more inside]
contrasts a utopian society that freely farms and consumes a pleasure giving flower with a society where the same flower is illegal and its consumption is prohibited. The animation is a meditation on the social and economic costs of marijuana prohibition.
"Women and men drink together in a bar? Well, then, you have to have bathrooms for the women.
That's the invention of the powder room. That's a phrase that actually comes from Prohibition. They could tuck a tiny little room with a toilet and a sink underneath a stairwell or in a corner. Table service in bars can also be traced to Prohibition, because men and women together, they're not bellying up the bar, but sitting at a table. And the dance band: if you have only men in a bar, you're never going to have a five-piece jazz band there; but you are going to if you have men and women who might dance together." Daniel Okrent and the history of Prohibition. [more inside]
He was elected at the nadir of the worst depression in history; 25% of the workforce was unemployed, two million were homeless. Yet in the face of this, he made us an optimistic and far-reaching New Deal, creating among other programs a federal minimum wage, social security, and the FDIC. He pulled us out of dire financial straits and, when our country was called upon to fight in World War II, he brought us to the cusp of victory. In his unprecedented thirteen years in office, he cemented his undisputed legacy as one of the greatest presidents in American history. But before he could achieve any of this, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a promise to keep — a promise to the "wet vote," whose indispensable support he had called upon
in 1932 during his first presidential campaign when he promised to repeal the 18th Amendment
and end Prohibition
. And thus, as legend has it, immediately after his first fireside chat
from the White House in March 1933, Roosevelt turned to his two top aides and said, "I think it's time for a beer.
" And yes, indeed
, it was
. [more inside]
On 5 December 1933, 75 years ago today, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the Twenty-First Amendment of the United States Constitution, signalling the end of the Prohibition era
"An open society must be prepared
to listen to those who offer a critique of its conventional wisdom—and our conventional wisdom about drugs and addiction should be no exception."
"A bad way to make a living."
A series on the history and ecological impact of strip mining
in southeast Kansas during the early 20th century that includes articles, photo galleries with sound files, and video slideshows about the region. The area, known as the "Little Balkans,"
because of the large Eastern European population that worked the mines, was a large mining community
that has given the US the second largest electric shovel in the country
, a home to one of the largest socialist newspapers in the country
(called Appeal to Reason
and founded by Julius Wayland
) as well as the Little Blue Books series
started by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius
in 1919. Oh yeah, it was also
--second paragraph-- the place that most of the bootleg alcohol
that fueled the Kansas City Jazz Scene
of that time
was from as well. Of course, if you should ever find yourself in SEKS, and you eat meat, go to either Chicken Annie's or Chicken Mary's
[transcript] since they're only a few miles apart in their modern incarnation. The legends you hear growing up there aren't always true
, but it doesn't matter because the onion rings are fantastic. And yes, in some ways all Kansas has left is history
With all the public smoking bans
coming in effect over the past few years, the anti-tobacco movement seems en route to achieve its favored objective: prohibition
. Michael Siegel
keeps a careful eye on them at The Rest of the Story
Today, April 7, is the 73rd anniversary of the end of Prohibition,
marking the day in 1933 when FDR signed emergency legislation to allow the sale of beer (and reportedly had the first public delivery of beer sent to the White House). Breweries all over America are celebrating Brew Year's Eve.
In other news, marijuana prohibition has continued in the US for almost 70 years
. There's a Nevada initiative
on the ballot this November to end it -- by allowing the legal cultivation and sale of marijuana.
"Somewhere in the Bible it is said: "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off." I used to think the remedy somewhat radical. But to-day, being imbued with the wisdom of the prohibitionist, I have to acknowledge that, if the Bible in general, and that passage in it in particular, has a fault, it lies in its ultra-conservativeness. What? Merely cut off my own right hand if it offend me? What business have my neighbors to keep their right hands if I am not able to make mine behave itself ? Off with the lot of them! Let there be no right hands; then I am certain that mine won't land me in trouble."
So wrote Percy Andreae in 1915 when arguing against Prohibition
. That excerpt is at the OSU Prohibition History site
, along with such delights as Prohibition Party Cartoons
(check out this adorable camel
: "Vote as if your vote would be the last straw"
). At the LOC, along with this page of Prohibition information
, and this panoramic shot of the 1915 Anti-Saloon League of America
, there is also this reminder of the link between temperance and women's suffrage
. If you don't want to join The Temperance Crusade
in song, or admit that (I Never Knew I Had A Wonderful Wife Until The Town Went Dry)
, you can listen to these mp3's at the LOC: The Drunkard's dream
, The Drunkard's child
, and, of course, Goodbye, booze
. Prohibition and moonshining
; the rise of bootlegging gangs
; more primary sources at the National Archives
. And no post on prohibition or temperance would be complete without Carrie Nation's Hammer
The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition
by Jeffrey Miron of Boston U.. So far, endorsed by 500+ economists, including Milton Friedman.
*End prohibition and save $7.7 billion in govt. expenditure.
*Tax its sale, like alcohol, and generate $6.2 billion in revenue.
"After the War on Drugs - Options for Control
is a major new report examining the key themes in the drug policy reform debate, detailing how legal regulation
of drug markets will operate, and providing a roadmap and time line for reform." It's concise and reasonable, but is this report from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (Google News lookup)
really "the first practical road map
for a benign drug policy that must follow the collapse of drug prohibition"? ... "No countries have yet legalised any drug covered under the U.N. convention" - will anything change anytime soon?
The Prohibition Party.
Wow, these guys could do some serious damage to the presidential election of, say, the 4-H Chapter of North Dakota.
Today marks the first time in 84 years that citizens of Pennsylvania are allowed to buy alcohol on a Sunday
. Of course, it's only at state-approved stores, and only in selected suburbs.
This vibe is free.
The anti site
. Don't get busted
! Just a little Buzz
? Take the initiative
Carry Nation: Extreme Temperance Advocate
"A female figure dressed in black appeared on Topeka's streets on January 26, 1901. A dark veil shrouded the woman's face but couldn't disguise her from the city's populace, who immediately recognized her as one of the country's foremost temperance advocates. Carry Nation had arrived in Topeka.
For the next three weeks she and her followers smashed saloons in an effort to close all the city's illegal "joints." She was threatened by howling mobs, beaten by wives of saloon owners, and repeatedly arrested and jailed. The violence she initiated quickly spread all over the state, and had a lasting effect that endured for many years."
While some EU countries are negotiating peace after their failed war on drugs, US legislators keep on the old Prohibition path.
Just yesterday I noticed the new "My Anti-Drug" campaign included the careful discalimer that "all drugs, even marijuana" are morally wrong to take. Equating the harm and effects of all controlled substances isn't helping kids, it just makes them ignorant. Of course, most Americans' Anti-Drug is alcohol.