From the monthly archives: "April 2013"

potConservatives are not just hypocrites about immigration or war, they also ignore the brutal effect that the drug war has on families. Today the internet offered up not one, but two of my favorite writers telling drug war horror stories. Let’s play the bleakest game ever and decide which one is worse!

First, Mike Riggs of Reason on some desperate-sounding parents “stealing” back their own children:

Joshua Michael Hakken and his wife Sharyn Hakken are on the run in Florida after kidnapping their own two children from Sharyn’s mother this morning. Patricia Hauser has had legal custody of her grandchildren, four-year-old Cole and two-year-old Chase, since 2012, when Joshua and Sharyn lost custody for displaying pot in front of their sons at an “anti-government rally” in Louisiana.

And Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic on a father facing 25 years in prison for selling a few pain pills to an undercover cop:

James Horner, a 46-year-old fast-food restaurant worker, lost his eye in a 2000 accident and was prescribed painkillers. Years later, he met and befriended a guy who seemed to be in pain himself. His new friend asked if he could buy some of Horner’s pain pills. Naturally, the friend was a police informant.

It helps to be reminded, when things lately seem so promising in terms of drug war progress, that this sort of lunacy is happening all the time in the country that professes to be the land of the free. So no, Ann Coulter, I am not going to focus on privatizing garbage collectors now, and the drug war once we’ve solved every single fiscal problem (the drug war being one of those as well, come to think of it). If you care about people, about families, and about choice, you care about the drug war. If you do not, even if you think it’s something to get to “later” you’re a cold,partisan hack, or a at least a very unserious thinker.

Yesterday, the Associated Press declared that the phrase illegal immigrant was no longer kosher, which is a big deal, since when the AP changes its style guide, newspapers around the country go along with it. Naturally, many people (mostly conservatives) responded to the tiny tweak with howls—and tweets—of derision.

The AP’s reasoning for this fairly mild mandate is that illegal shouldn’t be a descriptor for a person; indeed, “No person is illegal” is a common pro-immigration slogan. “Illegal should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally,” Kathleen Carroll, a senior vice president and executive editor at the AP, wrote to explain the decision. So you can say, “Chen illegally overstayed his visa and lived illegally in the United States,” but Chen himself is not an illegal immigrant. Nor is he an undocumented worker, or an illegal alien, terms which have already fallen out of AP favor.

Though there are meaty—if often abstract and geeky—debates to be had over language, from the legacy of theN word to rigidly enforced political correctness on college campuses. So far, this war of words has been filled with self-righteous, obnoxious carping about terminology, which is far less helpful than discussing whether it’s wrong for poor people to cross an imaginary line in search of better lives. But at the same time, this conscious word-choice change points at the bigger issue of why 11 million people who live and work in the US are treated as an invading army by so many of their fellows.

The rest here