Bobby Jindal Enlists Religious Right For Advice On Family Issues

Bobby Jindal says he is not interested in running for the 2012 Republican nomination, but he continues to compete with early front runners Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin in going after the support of the religious right. I’ve previously noted his support for teaching creationism in the public schools. The Bilerico Project details Jindal’s lastest moves to the extreme right:

In December, Jindal announced the formation of the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family, billed as “an entity within the executive department that serves to propose programs, policies, incentives and curriculum regarding marriage and family by collecting and analyzing data on the social and personal effects of marriage and child-bearing within the state of Louisiana.”

In other words, Jindal’s Commission is going to be looking at – and making recommendations regarding – marriage and family issues within the state. And a quick look at some of those appointed by the Governor to serve on the panel leaves no doubt that, in the end, the line-up will do nothing more than promote an extreme, anti-gay agenda that sets back, blocks and battles any attempts to recognize or respect Louisiana’s same-sex families.

Among those who have been appointed by Jindal to serve on the Commission are Tony Perkins (who hails from Baton Rouge), the president of the anti-gay advocacy group known as The Family Research Council . . . Gene Mills, executive director of the far-right Louisiana Family Forum . . . Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund . . . and numerous members of the clergy. All, Jindal has said, “have significant academic and/or professional expertise” on issues of marriage and family.

And each has a long history of spouting anti-gay rhetoric, too.

Perkins and Mills, especially, are vociferous anti-gay advocates, and have been the driving forces behind attempts to ban legal protections for same-sex couples. And on his website, Mills promotes publications with titles such as Morally Straight, Protect Your Children, and Three Myths About Homosexuality. All are inflammatory, inaccurate and outrageously biased papers that demean and degrade lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. (The Family Research Council’s list of similarly harmful publications is too long to list in a single blog entry.)

Every family in Louisiana should be alarmed by Jindal’s “Commission.”

Following the passage of Proposition 8 in California, and a successful bid to strip same-sex couples of adoption rights in Arkansas, there is little question that Perkins and Mills, especially, will push for similarly anti-gay measures in Louisiana. By giving the movement to deny lesbian and gay couples adoption rights a facade of credibility via a gubernatorial panel, the two will no doubt use the resulting recommendations to spread inaccurate, unproven and harmful rhetoric about the issue . . . and then push their anti-gay agenda in the legislature, and at the ballot box.

Governor Jindal is setting Louisiana up to be one of the next battlegrounds in the fight for family equality.

Following his decision to roll-back an LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination order implemented by his predecessor, the Governor is now taking another, unmistakable step to the right in an attempt to shore up a base he believes he may need down the road.

Besides pushing the agenda of the religious right, Jindal has something else in common with Sarah Palin. Both might campaign on their abilities related to defense against the dark arts. While Palin has been blessed to be free of witchcraft, Jindal is into exorcism. Vote Republican in 2012 if your main concern is fighting witches or demons.

SciFi Weekend Part III: Doctor Who, Torchwood, 24, and the Television Returns of Lorelai and Lizzy


Part I reviewed the return of Battlestar Galactica and Part II featured information on Lost. I will conclude this expanded version of SciFi Weekend with briefer comments on additional shows, as usual moving beyond science fiction.

There is some information available on the next Doctor Who special, which will air around Easter.Tardis and Torchwood Treasures previously posted this information:

The name of the next special is Planet of the Dead and the episode itself has been written by both Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts. It is expected to air around Easter and filming for the episode will begin on the nineteenth of January next year. The episode will feature two characters called Malcolm and Christina and U.N.I.T will also be making an appearance. Rumours also suggest that parts of the episode will be filmed abroad in Tunisia.

Additional information was provided by Russell T. Davies, who also says it is time to introduce new monsters after the last two episodes involved Daleks and Cybermen:

“After the events of Journey’s End and The Next Doctor, I think it’s time to get away from the past and have an adventure with lots of new elements. And lots of fun too! The next Special should be a nice antidote to Christmas, with a bit of sunshine if we’re lucky. And with not one but two alien races that you’ve never seen before.”

American viewers of Doctor Who either must wait months after episodes are broadcast on the BBC or illegally download the episodes. The third season of Torchwood will consist of only five episodes to be broadcast this summer on consecutive nights, but they have finally figured out the only way to reduce  illegal downloads. BBC America will broadcast the episodes a few hours after they are broadcast in the U.K.

24 returned but despite the decision to shut down CTU and move the show to Washington, the show rapidly returned to a similar format with Jack teaming up with Tony,  Bill Buchanan, and Chole. The twist is that they are working on their own due to conspiracies in the goverment which have infiltrated the White House and the FBI. There is more question this season as to whether Jack’s use of torture is right or wrong.

Sometimes viewers take the show too seriously, forgetting that it is only a television show. Media Matters notes that some conservatives even have tried to use a fictional show to justify their support for torture. On the other hand, I sometimes receive comments that I should not cover 24 due to its portrayal of torture. While liberals who argue this do have a point, they also must remember this is fiction, and that hopefully most people can still consider the real issues surrounding torture. Not even all conservatives blindly believe everything they see on the show. Conservative blogger Rick Moran has discussed the question of whether this television show increases the use of torture, and of whether torture works:

Jack Bauer may be the first fictional character ever to be accused of inspiring real life war crimes. This charge was not made by some obscure left wing blogger but by U.S. Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, the dean of the United States Military Academy at West Point, along with several senior FBI and CIA agents who have conducted thousands of interrogations in their careers. Their verdict was simple and straightforward; the torture scenes in the show were affecting the way that cadets at West Point as well as troops in the field were approaching the interrogation of prisoners.

Finnegan said that he’d like to see a show “where torture backfired.” All the experts agreed that torture, even when used in the show’s “ticking bomb” context, would never work. They pointed out that the fanatics, knowing that the bomb would go off soon, would simply hold out, secure in the knowledge that their suffering couldn’t last much longer.

They also pointed out that terrorist prisoners actually looked forward to torture as the first step towards martyrdom. An interrogation professional would never use it and would, instead, take the opposite tack of trying to build a relationship with the prisoner, drawing him out gradually by gaining his trust. Besides, the “ticking bomb” scenario itself was totally unrealistic and would never happen in the real world.

It is a dubious proposition that a fictional TV character would cause our soldiers to forget their training and their upbringing just to imitate Jack Bauer. The evidence is purely anecdotal, presented by people with an obvious agenda. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that they felt compelled to speak out against Bauer’s almost casual approach to violating the law and their concern that people get the wrong idea about the best way to interrogate prisoners.

As the show questions the fantasy of torture being effective, it also might even question the ultimate fantasy of the show–that Jack Bauer is invincible. Kristin reveals that there might only be one additional season of the show, there might be a movie after the eighth season, and that they might even blow up the whole world, and Jack Bauer with it.


24 might not be the only show which concludes with movies. A movie version of Jericho is in the works, and if it is a success perhaps the show will be brought back once again. Jericho was canceled after the first season but returned for a second season after protests from fans. Moonlighting might be returning as a television movie for its 20th anniversary.  Bryan Fuller is also hoping to have a movie of Pushing Daisies to wrap up the show. Meanwhile, fans of Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone will have to wait until summer to see the final episodes of these canceled series.

Heroes returns with a new chapter, and after problems with the last chapter Tim Kring is hoping viewers will return. The next chapter. Fugitives, was written so as not to require knowledge of previous stories. Fringe is also returning, and Sci FI Wire has some spoilers on the conclusion of the season.

Previously Mad Men had been renewed but series creat0r Matthew Weiner had been holding out on returning. After months of negotiations a deal was reached in which Weiner will return for two seasons for a seven figure deal.

Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls will be returning to television. Entertainment Weekly reports:

We’re one step closer to getting another weekly TV date with Gilmore Girls‘ Lauren Graham. (Pause for cheers. And… we’re back.) Though we were under the impression NBC was developing a comedy for the actress, Variety reports that ABC has greenlit production on an untitled half-hour pilot in which Graham will play “a self-help guru who teaches women how to live a stress-free life — but struggles to follow her own advice when her boyfriend dumps her.” The show, which features Will & Grace‘s Alex Herschlag and Arrested Development‘s Mitchell Hurwitz among its exec producers, sounds promising, right? I know we can’t let our Gilmore love lead us blindly into TiVo season passes (see: Amy Sherman-Palladino’s ill-fated The Return of Jezebel James), but this set-up could give us Lauren the way we like her: smart, supportive, sarcastic, self-deprecating, slightly neurotic, seriously funny, and above all, at the center of the story. In movies, she’s been “the wife.” On stage, she’ll be “the girlfriend.” (She’s expected to make her Broadway debut as Miss Adelaide in a spring revival of Guys and Dolls.) But on TV, she’ll always be “the star.” Make her self-help guru a fast-talking pop-culture connoisseur, and it’s my favorite show.

Hilary Duff also returns to television in Barely Legal. It sounds like the concept is something along the lines of Lizzy McGuire goes to law school so she can sue Doogey Houser.

Several characters from Veronica Mars are being reunited in Rob Thomas’  new series Party Down, and Kristen Bell might even make an appearance.

SciFi Weekend Part II: Lost in Time


The two genre shows with the most compelling mysteries both return this month. I already discussed the return of Battlestar Galactica in Part I of SciFi Weekend. Lost returns this week and many hints as to what to expect have been published.  TV Guide had an article (which I have not been able to find on line) in which executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse discussed ten episodes of the show which are important to understanding what happens in the upcoming seasons. I will briefly summarize the key points:

Season One: In Walkabout we  learned that Locke had been confined to his wheel chair before coming to the island. “Locke and his relation to the island is very central to the fifth season.” White Rabit showed Jack’s father Christian appearing alive on the island. “The fact that Christian’s wearing white tennis shoes is a mystery which will be answered this season.” In Deus Ex Machina Locke pleaded with an island and then a light appeared. This will be revisited and “we will learn the whole nature of why the Swan hatch exists.”

Season Two: The 23rd Psalm showed that the smoke monster could pull memories from a character’s life. We will learn more about the smoke monster this season. A giant four-toed statue is seen in Live Together, Die Alone. We will have to wait until the sixth season to find out what this statue means.

Season Three: Time travel will play a big part in the upcoming seasons. Desmond is shown to experience time in a nonlinear fashion in Flashes Before Your Eyes. The episode introduced Fionnula Flanigan and suggested that characters could not change their ultimate fate. We will see Fionnula again and she turns out to be “important in the overall storytelling of Lost. The Man Behind the Curtain showed some of Ben’s back story on the island. We will see more of Ben’s life and the Dharma Initiative this season.

Season Four: The Constant showed more of Desmond’s nonlinear experience of time, along with Faraday’s experiments. Desmond’s consciousness from 1996 inhabited his present body when he attempted to leave the island on the wrong bearing. We will see that incorrectly entering or exiting the island will play a crucial return when the members of the Oceanic Six attempt to return, and that the island “pulled off one doozy of a masquerade.” The Shape of Things to Come showed the power struggle between Ben Linus and Charles Whidmore. We will see more about this power struggle and whether neither or both are either bad or good guys. Everything is important in There’s No Place Like Home including the scenes involving Jacob. Locke’s faith will continue to be tested by the island and/or Jacob with “great personal sacrifice.” We will see Locke’s death midway thorough the season but the question of what the island wants from Locke won’t be seen until the sixth season.

If reviewing ten episodes for clues is too much, Entertainment Weekly looks at the clues in five episodes. Most of the episodes overlap with those mentioned above. The one episode which was not mentioned above is Cabin Fever from Season Four which showed Locke’s early life, including an encounter with  Richard Alpert who never seems to age–or was he traveling in time? Alpert apparently will be an important character this season.

Maureen Ryan also interviewed Lindelof and Cuse with the discussion including matters such as the importance of time travel, and the hazards this presents:

How do you keep the show grounded in emotions and characters, when it seems as though this season is poised to unspool a lot of the mythology and time travel and so forth? Is that a tricky balance to achieve?

Cuse: I don’t know if it’s a tricky balance. I think that this is what we always saw as the natural evolution of the show, that it would have more overt science-fiction and fantasy elements [as time went on] and that was sort of always our plan. I guess we would say our model is any of a number of great Spielberg movies, maybe even “E.T.,” as a primary example of a movie that has, obviously, very extreme science-fiction and fantasy elements, yet at its core it’s a deeply emotional story. We hope that even though we’re introducing these elements, we’re staying true to our central premise, which is that we’re making a character-based show.

Lindelof: I think the fun part for us, and this is not so much a challenge as something we hold ourselves to, is the idea that the characters react to these crazy things in real ways. So if you’re explaining to Sawyer something about time travel, he’s not going to say, “Oh, that makes sense.” He’s going to say, “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard and I don’t like it and I don’t want to be on the time-travel show.”

As long as the different characters on our show have real reactions to the things that are happening around them, [it works]. I think if every single character on the show basically accepted that it’s their destiny to be on the island, with all these characters sitting around talking about their destiny all the time, [that doesn’t work]. Whereas our show — really, Locke is the only one who cares about the island. Jack cares about Jack, and Kate cares about Kate, even Hurley only cares about being jinxed most of the time.

You guys have opened up the time element of the show in this really interesting way, but how do you stop it from becoming a giant story problem? You know, “If a train left Pittsburgh going 50 miles an hour, and another train left Dallas going 25 miles an hour…” How do you make that time element clean and clear for people who might have trouble with it?

Lindelof: Carlton and I spent five weeks last year just breaking “The Constant,” with the entire writing staff. The reason it was so tricky was all these things you’re talking about, in terms of, “If Faraday told Desmond in 1996 to tell Penny to call him in 2004, wouldn’t she say to him …”

And then eventually, you get to a point of saying, “Are we breaking any rules, according to the rules we set, is it emotionally viable, and is it confusing?” So when we were sitting down to talk about Season 5, we were like, “We’re essentially breaking ‘The Constant’ every single week now.”

I think since we’ve gone through the process the first time, we learned valuable lessons. It is very challenging to do clean time-travel stories where you can’t change the future, but also rewarding when we accomplish it.

Obviously you accomplished that with “The Constant.” The reason that worked so well was because, as you were saying, it wasn’t about time travel per se, but about this relationship between two people. Did you know that was special when you were writing it?

Cuse: I think when we wrote it, we realized it was really hard [to do]. The reason, as Damon said, it took us five weeks to break the story was because we were relentless with each other about making sure that the story — we would not consider the story to be finished until it had emotional resonance.

We had to deal with all the consciousness-traveling craziness, but ultimately we felt the story would only be successful [under the following conditions:] Not only did the time-travel stuff have to make some sort of sense and follow its own logic, but there needed to be a really genuine emotional payoff. And it took a long time to get to a place where we felt both goals were accomplished. To echo what Damon said, that really became the template for us in terms of what our goal is this year.

Yes, time travel provides a really cool device that allows us to tell what we consider to be some really great adventure stories. But at the heart, these stories are really about the characters and what we’re most interested in, on a character level, is how are they affected by the consequences of time travel? That’s really what the show explores.

And the entire season isn’t overtly about time travel. It’s an element, but I think it would get really boring [to focus too much on that]. We’re not interested in — every week, you climb into a time machine. That’s not what the show’s going to be.

Part III of SciFi Weekend will look at shows including  Doctor Who, Torchwood, and 24.

SciFi Weekend Part I: Are We All Cylons?


Sometimes a Great Notion, the mid-season premier of Battlestar Galactica, answered some questions but raised even bigger questions. This does contain major spoilers, but I would think that anyone who plans to watch the episode later already realizes they need to avoid any on line discussion of the show.

The fleet, along with their new Cylon allies, landed on Earth at the conclusion of the previous episode before a several month hiatus. They found a planet which had been destroyed, and early in this week’s episode it was established that it had been destroyed in a nuclear attack about two thousand years earlier. There was a series of real shockers as we learned more. Toaster Cylons were found, but they were a different model than was known, initially suggesting that humans of Earth had built their own Cylons which proceeded to destroy them.  The story became even more complicated when they found that the inhabitants of Earth were actually Cylons. With the theme of things reoccurring, has the fleet arrived on the Earth two thousand years after our destruction (and are we therefore Cylons), are they our ancestors, or is there more than one place known as Earth?

I was a bit puzzled how they established that Earth had been settled by Cylons  from the remains considering that they couldn’t differentiate humans from Cylons infiltrating the fleet. Finding that the thirteenth tribe which settled Earth was a Cylon tribe totally changes the time line in which we believed the human-appearing Cylons were a recent development. This also means that there were many more models of Cylons besides those we have seen and the one so far unidentified model.

Another shock came when Starbuck found her own crashed Viper along with her dead body. We knew all along that there was something fishy about the manner in which she went to Earth and later returned, but this creates more questions as to how her body, along with Viper, were recreated. Does this mean she is yet another form of Cylon, or is someone also now resurrecting humans? Is there really even a meaningful difference between humans and Cylons?

Many members of the fleet  responded with despair to the realization that their hopes of finding Earth were now destroyed. The most dramatic example was seeing Dee arrange to live out one last perfect day before committing suicide.

Throughout the episode we saw clues that the recently-revealed Cylons among the fleet had actually lived on Earth before its destruction. The episode concluded with the revelation of the final Cylon when Colonel Tigh had a vision of himself and Ellen during the attack of two thousand years earlier. Before she died, Ellen reassured her then and future husband that they will be reborn together. Why were only these five to be resurrected? Is there a relationship between their resurrection and whatever happened to Starbuck? If resurrection of the final five is possible, will we see Ellen again?

Prior to the airing of the episode, Variety had several articles on the show.  This included “luminaries in many fields” including our friend Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly’s Politcal Animal blog who wrote about the politics of the show. Steve also does a weekly radio show which discusses both politics and science fiction.

Ron Moore discussed last night’s episode with Maureen Ryan. He explained how he decided on making Ellen the final Cylon. As has been clear from other interviews, while the Cylons might have had a plan from the start, Moore did not have his plan for the series laid out until later:

Why Ellen?

There’s a certain logic to it. I sort of figured out early on that I liked the pairing of her and Tigh. [I liked] that there was something deeper to their marriage and deeper to their relationship, that it was literally a relationship that had transcended time and space, that it was very ancient that had gone on for a very long time. It was something that was [mentioned] in the pilot for “Galactica.”

And he had killed her for collaborating with the Cylons! There were layers and depths to that I felt were really fascinating, about guilt and blame and memory and responsibility, and I just really liked the way that all tied together…

When did you make that selection?

It was somewhere in the course of the third season [that the possibility was first raised.] We killed Ellen early that season and we didn’t have an inkling of that at that point. But at the point that we killed Ellen, around the same time frame, I was starting to come up with the idea that there were five Cylons that had yet to be revealed.

At the beginning of the third season, Baltar had gone to live on the Cylon base ship for a string of episodes. And it was really that plot move that threw into relief — well, once Baltar’s over in the Cylon world, why wouldn’t he see all 12 of them? How could we get around that and parcel that out? Then I had this idea, well, what if it’s not random? What if there’s a meaning to the fact that we haven’t seen the five of them? And that’s how the Final Five became part of the mythos.

Over the course of the third season, Ellen came and went in my thinking in terms of who the final five were. It probably wasn’t until we settled on the final four that I knew it was Ellen. When we got to the final four — Tigh, Anders, Tory and Tyrol — then it felt like, “and Ellen has to be the fifth.” Because Tigh being revealed as a Cylon was such a profound shift in that character, such a big leap for the show, that it felt really natural that she was also a Cylon.

It sounds like we will probably see Ellen again, but this is not clear as he might be speaking of a flash back:

So we will come to know, in this next set of episodes, who knew that Ellen was a Cylon, and that will play out in what’s coming?


So we’ll see her again. Does she figure prominently in the season?

I don’t want to give too much away, but it won’t be the last time that you see Ellen.

As Ellen knew before she died that they would be reborn, should Ellen return she might also know more about what is going on than the other four final Cylons.

While the identity of the final Cylon had been treated as the big mystery, the questions about the history of Earth and its relation to the Cylons created even bigger questions. Moore provided some hints in this series of questions, verifying that Earth had really been destroyed two thousand years earlier and whether the planet is really Earth:

The crazy thing about this is, even without Ellen, even without Dee, we also got a ton of information or clues about what happened on Earth and what happened with the Colonies in the past. I could spend an hour asking you questions about that. Tigh and Baltar are offering this theory that the Cylons are the 13th tribe and they found this planet and they called it Earth. Are we to read that as a theory or as fact?

I think you can read that as fact.

The part of the timeline I’m having trouble with is this: We know that the Colonies had a cataclysm 2,000 years ago, then we find out Earth had a cataclysm 2,000 years ago. Am I getting something wrong in how I’m looking at the history?

No, you are getting it correctly. I can say that later, as we get through subsequent episodes, there will be more explanations, and actually all this timeline stuff does lock into place. You have to read the subsequent chapters, but it will actually make sense.

We see the flashback of Tyrol in that marketplace, and it seemed like a planet full of lots of different kinds of people, not just 12 different models. Is that right?


That planet is Earth? We’re not going to find out, “Oh, there’s this other Earth over here…” This is the only Earth we’ll see?

They have found Earth. This is the Earth that the 13th Colony discovered, they christened it Earth. They found Earth.

While Moore verifies the planet is Earth he did not outright rule out the possibility that it  is not the only Earth. In the original series, the fleet went to Terra Prime initially believing it was Earth, and later discovered otherwise. If things which happened before are to happen again in Moore’s Battlestar Galactica universe, could a tribe leave to settle a planet named Earth more than once?

Two weeks ago I posted information on the rumored final scene of Battlestar Galactica. Assuming this is true, there are questions as to how this fits in with what we learned in this week’s episode. Does the final scene with Six take place two thousand years ago before the destruction of Earth, in a future when things will repeat themselves and Earth civilization as we know it comes into existence, or on another planet also known as Earth? The final episodes should be interesting as we learn what all this means.

(The return of Battlestar Galactica deserved a post of its own. Part II and Part III of SciFi Weekend will be posted later this weekend with information on shows including Lost, Doctor Who, Torchwood, 24, and Jericho.)

The Costs of The War on Drugs

Culture 11 had a series of arguments yesterday on the drug war. Radley Balko wrote about the collateral damage of the war on drugs. While he dealt with damage in many areas, the one which concerns me the most is the effect on medical treatment:

One final and emerging class of drug war collateral damage is medical treatment. As the drug war has become increasingly federalized, the federal government has at the same time increasingly nosed in on the relationship between doctor and patient.

The most obvious example is medical marijuana, where the federal government has not only told doctors what they can and can’t prescribe to their patients, it has barred research into the possible medical benefits of marijuana (it then dishonestly claims there is no research providing evidence of said benefits), and asserted the supremacy of federal law when it comes to marijuana-related medical policy—a field of policy America has traditionally (and wisely) left to the states…

One more recent area where the drug war is corrupting medical treatment is in the treatment of pain—specifically, chronic pain. By some estimates, as many as 30 million Americans suffer from untreated chronic pain. That number is only likely to rise as the country continues to age. A promising new treatment called “high-dose opiate therapy” has proven successful at keeping chronic pain at bay in many patients. The problem is that as patients build up a resistance, doctors must titrate up their dosages, to the point where some patients can take 40 or more pills per day. These patients don’t get high, and they don’t suffer any ill effects. They aren’t addicted, they’re merely dependent. Take the medication away, and the pain comes back.

Unfortunately, because some addicts use opiate painkillers to get high, the Drug Enforcement Administration has decided to play doctor, determining that no patient should ever need medication at dosages that high, and that any doctor prescribing drugs in those quantities must be dealing (or “diverting,” as it’s called in the white collar world). While it’s certainly possible that some doctors who prescribe pain medication are unethical, the DEA’s aggressive, un-nuanced pursuit of pain doctors has put the fear of prosecution into nearly all doctors who specialize in pain treatment (and scared young doctors from entering the field). Driven by politicians spooked by a spate of irresponsible press reports warning of an OxyContin fad sweeping the country, the DEA’s high-profile pursuit of pain specialists has poisoned the relationship between pain doctors and their patients, and left the country with a dire shortage of physicians willing to prescribe pain medication at the dosages many patients need.

We have drug cops dictating medical policy, and it’s leading to all sorts of unnecessary suffering. Some patients have lost one doctor to a DEA prosecution, spent weeks to find another who will treat them, sometimes miles away, only to have that doctor come under investigation, too. More than a few pain patients have attempted suicide after being unable to find a doctor to treat them.

All just collateral damage. The DEA’s mission is to prevent people from getting high. If it takes an overly broad, overly aggressive, chilling campaign against doctors to do that, leaving millions of people in needless, sometimes debilitating pain, so be it.

Anita Bartholomew had an article on the cost of prohibition and speculated about how Obama will respond to a government program which clearly does not work:

We can’t know yet where an Obama administration will take us but, Candidate Obama gave a few clues about how President Obama may look upon the war on weed. Obama and his spokespeople have said that he would respect the medical marijuana laws passed by local and state governments and end the Clinton and Bush era DEA raids on medical marijuana providers.

It’s less clear how receptive he’ll be to either legalization or decriminalization. Although he backtracked once he became a presidential candidate, Obama agreed with decriminalization in 2004. And, like the majority of Americans polled by Zogby, Obama has called the drug war an utter failure.

It’s a start. Alcohol Prohibition didn’t end all at once. At the dawn of Prohibition, doctors lobbied to retain the ability to prescribe liquor for medicinal purposes. Toward the end, low alcohol content beer was re-introduced. And with economic collapse and bootleg alcohol gang violence out of control, the U.S. reached a tipping point; the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.

It’s time to reassess marijuana prohibition with clear minds, the way that our ancestors eventually viewed repeal of alcohol Prohibition, to get past the fear-based and moralistic misinformation. Do we really want to keep spending insane amounts of our dwindling government funds on tracking down, arresting and imprisoning the hundreds of thousands of hapless Harolds and Kumars who then can no longer contribute to our faltering economy by overeating at White Castle? Is this where we want to focus our law enforcement resources when we’re entering a deep recession that’s likely to produce an increase in property crime?

Going back to President-elect Obama’s promise to “eliminate spending for programs that don’t work,” it’s clear that the war on marijuana users hasn’t worked. It’s not just a failure, it’s a disgrace, on every level, and it’s time to end it. Not only to save money or to stop punishing non-criminals, but to fulfill a promise made long ago, about inalienable American rights to liberty, the most basic of which is, quite obviously, the freedom to do what you choose with your own body in the privacy of your own home.

David Freddoso presented the counter arguments, supporting prohibition. Ralko and Freddoso also debated their positions on Blogginheads TV (video below):