Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Lazy Link-Based Post
(1) Last One Speaks points us to this story about one of our favorite topics, absinthe. The article mentions efforts to recreate the taste of 19th Century absinthe. How could one do that? Some of the original (full) bottles have turned up. Another point mentioned in passing is that the recent liberalization of anti-absinthe laws is largely due to EU pressure on member countries. While I am all in favor of legal absinthe, I am less enamored of liberal vice policies being foisted upon reluctant countries under the precepts of free trade, because I think that such a practice holds the long-term potential to harm both vice and trade policy. (One relatively recent example of this tendency was the trashing of the WTO by some US politicians after the internet gambling case was not going the US's way.)
(2) Mark Kleiman notes the absurdity of the concern that some drug traffickers might take advantage of a semi-amnesty that has been floated for paramilitary fighters in Colombia. The dealers would qualify if they also had engaged in some killing, but some of them who didn't so engage might try to claim that they are cold-blooded killers to be in on the deal. Declare a substance to be evil, and all perspective is lost: there are no obvious standards by which to judge activity related to the evil commodity. So otherwise outrageous policies -- such as arresting people for possessing small quantities of the substance -- are seriously considered and adopted. Speaking of such arrests, Alan Heymann of D'Alliance points to an article out of the University of Maryland about the duty of dorm resident assistants to call the cops when they get a whiff of an unapproved substance. The resident assistants must be very proud of their contribution to law and order as they see their 19-year-old charges led out in handcuffs on a Friday night.
(3) Oral arguments in the medical marijuana case at the Supreme Court took place yesterday, of course; Pete keeps us posted.