Will the war on drugs ever end? Not if you ask for the drug squad’s advice …

Recently our delightfully resourceful government has been blaring hard-core anti-marijuana ads on prime-time that seem at odds with the average person’s understanding, perception and intent when it comes to smoking pot.  It is quite clear that the ads are not aimed at the youth they claim to be concerned with and my youngest child and I were wondering, essentially, wtf?  Why are these suddenly on television, how much did they cost, and why are they suddenly on television?

Canada’s largest mental health organization recently came out very clearly on the let’s legalize the stuff and deal with addiction problems correctly, and not be so drug specific about them, and stop imprisoning people with health problems.  Many states are loosing the hatches, and we have yet to see piles of stoners, unable to wash or feed, on the lawns of the neighbours.  And the main opponent to the Prime Minister in the next elections has declared that he will legalize marijuana ….

Ah, that explains the timing. Nothing like running your campaign with government funds, and of course both sides do it when in power. But this time it seems particularly ugly, with the ad showing a brain full of neon tubes hissing and steaming.  Remember those ads showing your brain and your brain on drugs, with an egg on one side and it sizzling in a pan on the other?  Those led to a great line of t-shirts showing a grey brain on one side and a rainbow brain sitting in a deck chair on the other with lines like This is Your Brain in St Lucia.  Almost an ad for drugs as it turned out.  Hard to know how to mock this one.

So I decided to try to find out when this ad campaign had been launched, and while I didn’t get that far I did get closer to the genesis for this latest round of drug-related mayhem and disaster, a “strategy” launched as the result of a campaign commitment to screw things up for youth in particular and everyone else in general by protecting us by throwing us in jail.  And before I fell asleep amidst the self-justifying introduction where it was explained that it was all based on documents and files … yes, it even mentioned documents and files [lions and tigers and bears, oh my!] specifically, bothering to explain that the

methodology employed to evaluate the Strategy made extensive use of performance data, evaluations, documents, files and other data compiled on the various components and action plans.

I.e., they used the information they collected to write the evaluation.  What else were they going to do?  Pull it out of their … hats?  Well, actually, in a sense yes.  Because I finally found the key sentence that explains the whole catastrophe.  They forgot to ask the citizens of the country what they wanted, and asked those with a vested interest in keeping the war on drugs going instead.  And guess what we need?  Gentle swat teams.

There was consensus amongst evaluation interviewees that there is a continuing need for programming that contributes to a reduction in demand for illicit drugs and disruption of illicit drug operations in a safe manner while targeting criminal organizations at the national and international levels.

If that isn’t fascism Canadian-style I will eat my toque!  But what it also so clearly reveals is this nauseating idea of “capture”, where people turn to the experts to seek advice and get the advice that they need more experts, just like them.  Amazingly,

Almost all (98%; n=50) departmental representatives confirmed that the objectives of the Strategy are consistent with the strategic outcomes and priorities of the Government of Canada.

All those bureaucrats supporting a strategy coming from the Minister who controls their hiring and firing … odd.  Like Putin capturing 99% of a vote.  My suspicions about this arose when I found that the loathsome strategy had originated, apparently, with the Ministry of Justice, who of course want more justice, even if they have to create an illegal product so they can have a war against it.

Torch me!

[This clip is neither work nor child-safe.]

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Sometimes the nice guy does win!

A little while back attentive readers will remember that I put an election sign on my lawn for the first time in my life because of the excellent candidate for City Councillor we had running in our ward against a person whom all and sundry, it would appear, had found arrogant and hostile and astonishingly fond of developers and development.  While the damage of the last four years cannot be undone, and while we are the target of a city intensification plan that I approve of in theory but not in practice, an astonishing thing took place on Monday night. In an election that was predicted to be a squeaker, our fellow, Jeff Leiper, won by more than 3000 votes, and our ward, Kitchissippi, had the highest voter turnout in all of greater Ottawa.

Upset in Ottawa’s Kitchissippi Ward: Jeff Leiper defeats Katherine Hobbs

jeff leiper won the kitchissippi ward and celebrate with sup11 600x450  Sometimes the nice guy does win!

Mr Leiper Goes to City Hall! Bonne chance mon ami!

Posted in RANTS | 26 Comments

World’s Worst Novel: Chapter Twenty-Two

Download the PDF file .

Posted in WORLD'S WORST NOVEL | 48 Comments

Here she goes again, going to bat for Adam Smith …

Well, not exactly. But teeing up Russ Roberts, in a mixed metaphor podcast repodcasting, in which he goes to bat for Adam Smith, and then discusses how academics are captured by their audience and how economists are no more free from bias than a nicely cut dress.  I found the podcast about Adam Smith charming … and the conclusion that you should try to be not just loving but lovely is not what one might expect.  And the second podcast is, while somewhat obvious, not considered nearly enough.  We say what we think people want to hear … but of course we do and the question is how to avoid crippling public policy as a result.

The halls of academia are somewhat dusty, but these are the schools that train the policy makers and I hail the polite but insistent criticism that Russ Roberts levels at the decision makers.  And Adam Smith wasn’t the monster he is portrayed as … like Keynes he has been used as a battering ram in a polarized world.  For one, he was so prolific that he is quite inconsistent, as P.J. O’Rourke delightfully examines in The Wealth of Nations, which he reads for one, because “[r]ecognized almost instantly upon its publication in 1776 as the fundamental work of economics, The Wealth of Nations was also recognized as really long ….”  What’s more, Mike Munger, an all-star Econtalk guest, interviews Professor Roberts in a nice twist on an old friendship when discussing Robert’s latest book:

EconTalk host Russ Roberts is interviewed by long-time EconTalk guest Michael Munger about Russ’s new book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. Topics discussed include how economists view human motivation and consumer behavior, the role of conscience and self-interest in acts of kindness, and the costs and benefits of judging others. The conversation closes with a discussion of how Smith can help us understand villains in movies.

Russ Roberts and Mike Munger on How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life 

Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Zingales’s essay, “Preventing Economists’ Capture.” Zingales argues that just as regulators become swayed by the implicit incentives of dealing with industry executives, so too with economists who study business: supporting business interests can be financially and professionally rewarding. Zingales outlines the different ways that economists benefit from supporting business interests and ways that economists might work to prevent that influence or at lease be aware of it.

Luigi Zingales on Incentives and the Potential Capture of Economists by Special Interests

It is amazing how I can already feel defensive, posting something positive about Adam Smith.  It is a sad thought that he has been used to defend naked greed.  It is also a sad thought that Alan Greenspan and Ayn Rand were friends.  At least I think I heard that horrifying fact here, and now you can too.

Where is Thor’s hammer when you need it?

Posted in ECONOMICS | 5 Comments

It was a dark and stormy afternoon …

IMG 5698 600x399  It was a dark and stormy afternoon …

when the boat set out to the bay

IMG 5699 600x399  It was a dark and stormy afternoon …

and the crew said to the mate, “Mate, I’m really wet and I didn’t eat the doughnuts.”

IMG 5704 600x600  It was a dark and stormy afternoon …

and mushrooms liked it (because they are fungi’s):

IMG 5706 600x450  It was a dark and stormy afternoon …

and were patriotic:

IMG 5708 600x450  It was a dark and stormy afternoon …

and it was occasionally very beautiful:

IMG 5712 600x450  It was a dark and stormy afternoon …

and a couple of Timbits dropped out of the box on the way up the hill to the cottage, just by accident.

Posted in LIFE, PHOTOS | 21 Comments

Weather or naut …

The weather is playing tricks on us, and we are hesitating to set out into a blow accompanied by a misty, blinding fog. So it is time to kick back and relax, even though we were that close …

I fear [alone, ed.] that the next instalment of the World’s Worst Novel might get interrupted by our northern venture, and wanted to play some tunes, rather than force my hand. Almost all the characters have made it to the island, and that had to happen first. Now I have to unravel the tangled web I have been weaving.

But when I look out my window, it is

 

Posted in LIFE, RANDOM | 18 Comments

Happy [nice and early] Canadian Thanksgiving …

have a wonderful day, holiday or otherwise, and always buckle up your baby.

IMG_5660

Mmmm, babies ….

Posted in LIFE, RANDOM | 3 Comments

World’s Worst Novel: Chapter Twenty-One

Download the PDF file .

Posted in WORLD'S WORST NOVEL | 33 Comments

It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside …

but I am not so happy with my camera or the lens, camera malfunctioning and lens not getting the crispness of focus I would expect. Happy busy feeding my father-in-law and the wood stove, and now watching a terrific blow outside from the sanctity of the upper boathouse, and wanted to share this golden moment.:

IMG 7760 600x400  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside … IMG 7761 600x400  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside … IMG 7762 600x400  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside … IMG 7763 600x400  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside … IMG 7764 600x449  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside … IMG 7773 600x400  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside … IMG 7776 600x400  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside …
I know schadenfreude is a bad thing but the big machine is back next door because nature does not take kindly to structures built in water and his berm is falling in, his boathouse is too low now the water is up, and this is my favourite part, he is putting in a swimming pool, having taken out the one the last rich people put in.

Life is much simpler and still very complicated without having to make a massive footprint wherever you go.  A paw print will do just fine.

IMG 7768 600x400  It was so orange [at dawn, edit to add, ed.] I had to run outside …

Posted in LIFE | 21 Comments

World’s Worst Novel: Chapter Twenty

Download the PDF file .

Posted in WORLD'S WORST NOVEL | 18 Comments