Drug Policy

Obama Picks A Drug Czar Who May Not Oppose His Mildly Reformist Impulses.Yay?

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The Seattle Times reports that Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske has accepted President Obama's offer to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Here is the Drug Policy Alliance's take:

We're cautiously optimistic that Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske will support Obama's drug policy reform agenda.

What gives us hope is the fact that Seattle has been at the cutting edge of harm reduction and other drug policy reform developments in the United States over the last decade. The city's needle exchange programs are well established and harm reduction is well integrated in Seattle's approach to local drug problems.  Marijuana has been legal for medical purposes for a decade. In 2003, Seattle voters passed a ballot initiative making marijuana arrests the lowest law enforcement priority. And the King County Bar Association has demonstrated national leadership in exploring alternatives to current prohibitionist policies. 

While Gil Kerlikowske has not spoken out in favor of any of these reforms, he is clearly familiar with them and has not been a forceful opponent.  Given the high regard in which he is held by other police chiefs around the country, Mr. Kerlikowske has the potential to provide much needed national leadership in implementing the commitments that Barack Obama made during the campaign.

As a presidential candidate, Senator Obama said the "war on drugs is an utter failure" and that he believes in "shifting the paradigm, shifting the model, so that focus more on a public health approach." He also called for eliminating the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, repealing the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs to reduce HIV/AIDS, and stopping the U.S. Justice Department from undermining state medical marijuana laws.

That's not exactly a rousing endorsement, but not speaking out against drug policy reforms makes Kerlikowske superior to former Minnesota congressman Jim Ramstad, the main drug czar candidate to receive attention until today.

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  1. Yay indeed.

    For the first time, “Hope and Change” seems like more than an empty slogan.

    But has he paid his taxes?

  2. This looks promising.

    It will be interesting to see how the War on Drugs Human Nature assholes behave during confirmation hearings.

    Until actual policy changes occur I’ll remain skeptical. I’m like that.

  3. Wait, you don’t believe its actually Change We Can Believe In just because Obama said so J sub D?

  4. For the first time, “Hope and Change” seems like more than an empty slogan.

    Ah horseshit.
    Unless I hear the following words from the new drug czar, I’ll just assume he’s another fuck who salivates at the sight of SWAT teams.
    “As your new drug czar, my first recommendation is that we eliminate my position.”

  5. This looks promising.
    I wouldn’t go that far. I’d say it looks less horrible than expected.

  6. While Gil Kerlikowske has not spoken out in favor of any of these reforms, he is clearly familiar with them and has not been a forceful opponent.

    Whew, if that’s the best you can say about him, that’s pretty weak. In my mind this raises more doubts than are put to rest by his passivity on Seattle’s “harm reduction” programs:

    Given the high regard in which he is held by other police chiefs around the country

    Still no change in “wait and see” on the drug war.

  7. Is soft or hard authoritarianism worse?

  8. Gil Kerlikowske isn’t a fire-breathing prohibitionist, but if he’s in favor of ending the drug war, he keeps those opinions to himself as well. He’s a blank slate.

  9. We are going to need all of those drugs after what they are doing to do to our economy.

  10. Is soft or hard authoritarianism worse?

    Hard slams your asshole and tears it up into a bloody mess, but soft lasts a long time and will drive you psychologically crazy, sorta like Chinese Cock Torture.

  11. I will reserve the blank slate as it is. He comes from a semi-englightened area, so there is a bit of hope, but we will just have to watch and see

  12. he might be a blank slate, but on the 2nd he is pretty clear since he supported Hizzoner Nickels public property gun ban.

  13. Wow maybe he pass out hypos and free drugs to satisfy the druggies here.

    What better way to improve the quality of life than recreating Seattle’s druggie havens throughout the land. What better way to build better citizens and better people.

    I love druggies. Always offering to clean your windshield or commit an intimate sexual act for ten bucks. We need more drugs.

    Obama, hope, change, and drugs!

  14. Re: Curious George | February 11, 2009, 5:15pm

    Just lame. You have a future in third grade.

  15. “Hard slams your asshole and tears it up into a bloody mess, but soft lasts a long time and will drive you psychologically crazy, sorta like Chinese Cock Torture.”

    Your metaphors are most revealing…

  16. “I love druggies. Always offering to clean your windshield or commit an intimate sexual act for ten bucks. We need more drugs.”

    Wow! You sure are ignorant.

  17. Chief K has at least shown that he’s capable of following orders where drug policy is concerned, by not kicking against the polcies of his city. I presume this impressed President Obama.

    Of course, there’s always the danger Chief K could go native and take the side of the bureaucrats in his agency.

  18. I’m just thrilled that his gun-controlling, the-police-will-protect-you, pay-no-attention-to-the-man-being-beaten-to-death-at-my-feet ass will no longer be exclusively my problem.

  19. Also, you guys notice that Norm Stamper, the previous Seattle Police Chief who’s on record as being a drug war opponent was not picked to be Drug Czar.

  20. Yes, Curious George. All people who use drugs are homeless losers. It’s sure a good thing that three of them have found their way into the White House in recent years. Otherwise, they probably be sleeping on the streets and giving stump speeches for nickels.

  21. Is soft or hard authoritarianism worse?

    Yes.

  22. We’re cautiously optimistic

    Repeating a bunch of campaign lies isn’t “cautiously” anything.

    And this is two days in a row now that you’ve foisted these lying assholes on us. Has the Drug Policy Alliance been officially chosen to fill the shilling hole that Weigel’s departure has left, or is it just working out that way?

    Because they don’t do anything else.

  23. Huh? No Juanita posts yet?

  24. Taken on his own merits, not that great. But as compared to his predecessors and others that might have a realistic chance at the job…decent.

    It’s like being dragged to a chick flick that has a few funny moments. You’d rather not be there, but you’ll take what you can get out of it.

  25. when people talk about eliminating the crack/cocaine dispartiy…. what do they mean? because there are very un-libertarian ways to deal with the disparity. i hope not.

  26. when people talk about eliminating the crack/cocaine dispartiy…. what do they mean?

    Increasing the sentences for people caught with powdered cocaine.

    But seriously…didn’t shorter crack sentences already take effect?

  27. what if krispy kreme appointed someone’s asshole to put shit in donuts? would they then also be cautiously optimistic?

    based on a decent-sized copyleft readership, i’m gonna assume i don’t need to reference my source for that one.

  28. While a “softer” authoritarianism might well be preferable to current policies there is nothing “more libertarian” about it.

  29. It’s like being dragged to a chick flick that has a few funny moments. You’d rather not be there, but you’ll take what you can get out of it.

    Forget the weak laughs, the chance of getting a blowjob on the drive home is what you’re getting out of it.

  30. I’m really worried about the tax situation and what other skeletons could come out.

    Anyone who seriously wants to pause the War On Drugs for a few seconds of rational thought steps on a lot of toes, with only we few libertarians as friends.

  31. Ska | February 11, 2009, 7:29pm | #
    It’s like being dragged to a chick flick that has a few funny moments. You’d rather not be there, but you’ll take what you can get out of it.

    Forget the weak laughs, the chance of getting a blowjob on the drive home is what you’re getting out of it.

    aaaarrrrgggh! This guy is a maybe, sort of, could be, probably is, well who knows, soft reformist on drugs, but big on gun controls.

    Ain’t that a liberal/progressive position not a libertarian one? Is there actually a blow job in there somewhere?

    I’m goin’ crazy here!

  32. aaaarrrrgggh! This guy is a maybe, sort of, could be, probably is, well who knows, soft reformist on drugs, but big on gun controls.

    I’d kinda care about that if he were to become “the gun czar”. Other than that, why on earth is his position on gun control relevant?

  33. I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, that big steaming pile under the Christmas tree more closely resembles horseshit than it does a pony.

  34. He’s probably the best case scenario we can hope for.

    I still say he should have picked Marion Barry, both on competence and ideological grounds!

  35. The bitch set me up!!!

  36. Elemenope | February 11, 2009, 8:52pm | #
    aaaarrrrgggh! This guy is a maybe, sort of, could be, probably is, well who knows, soft reformist on drugs, but big on gun controls.

    I’d kinda care about that if he were to become “the gun czar”. Other than that, why on earth is his position on gun control relevant?

    LMN etc.
    I guessed I missed the notice that H&R postings must be relevant… I’m simply exercising my freedom to aaaaaarrrrgh

    It would be nice (a fantasy I admit, but nice) if there was some consistency in our ‘betters’ regarding the freedom of individuals to attend to their own lives whether it be in the area of dope smoking or gun owning…

    I say again…. aaaaaaarrrrrgh!

  37. National Talk like a Pirate Day is in November.

  38. KfP,

    ‘aaaaaaarrrrrgh!’ is not a pirate term.

    The preferred terminology is ‘arrrh!’

  39. I guessed I missed the notice that H&R postings must be relevant… I’m simply exercising my freedom to aaaaaarrrrgh

    Nothing says you must be consistent. However, it does make it easier to make fun when you’re not.

  40. Max


    ‘aaaaaaarrrrrgh!’ is not a pirate term.

    The preferred terminology is ‘arrrh!’

    Sorry, my mistake I mis-spelled it. I meant “aaugh” the Charlie Brown, alternate, non-preferred terminology of a frustrated hope addict. Hey! Can we get another czar to deal with the epidemic of hope (and change) addiction.

    LMN etc

    Nothing says you must be consistent. However, it does make it easier to make fun when you’re not.

    My pleasure to serve… stay tuned for more.

  41. The bitch set me up!!!

    Such a better excuse for a politician than “mistakes were made”. Although it was totally eclipsed in coolness by the one offered by a spokesman/lawyer for my former county CEO,Vernon Jones after he was accused of rape:

    “It wasn’t rape, it was three-way sex gone bad!”

    Vernon beat the rap and almost won the Democratic US Senate primary last election.

  42. My pleasure to serve… stay tuned for more.

    Awesome.

  43. SpongePaul | February 11, 2009, 5:09pm | #
    I will reserve the blank slate as it is. He comes from a semi-englightened area, so there is a bit of hope, but we will just have to watch and see

    Enlightened? Well, tell Enlightened he sure could you a thorough hot shower next time you are up that way.

  44. bleh,

    Enlightened? Well, tell Enlightened he sure could use a hot shower next time you are up that way.

    When you cut, always try to leave nothing behind.

  45. JsubD;

    Try telling your sock puppet Cream of Wheat gal about your huge brain there druggie.

    By the way don’t mess up my windshield and tell your sock puppet no I wouldn’t take the ten bucks if she did blow me. So just put the needle in your arm and tell us about that huge brain of yours again and how you are a nursery school graduate.

    Druggies make the best Obamabots!

    Hope, change,, drugs!

  46. and tell your sock puppet no I wouldn’t take the ten bucks if she did blow me.

    Yes, how silly of her(?) to suggest(?) that. It’s pretty well established that your types prefer to give a complimentary blumpkin to the guy in the next stall, as it is just part of your giving nature.

  47. Genius:

    Yes, obviously, if someone opposes banning an activity that’s a sure sign they engage in it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to all of the thousands of things I don’t want banned.

  48. @Curious George

    Being in favor of drug law reform is not the same as enjoying the company of heroin addicts.

    Drug laws do nothing to curb drug use; you have the heroin addicts either way. You might as well try to reduce the negative effects the drug use has on the public at large.

    I just don’t see what’s wrong with trying to stop the spread of AIDS or avoiding the creation of thousands of new criminals per year. That’s just me though I guess.

  49. Curious George is just mad ’cause last time he got a crack whore to blow him she used teeth.

  50. Xeones,

    I find curious your assertion that crack whores have teeth. It’s always been the assertion of the scientific community at large that crack whores utilize baleen plates to engage in filter feeding.

  51. I didn’t say they were her teeth.

  52. Ah, good. I didn’t want you going against scientific consensus.

  53. Heaven forfend anyone should buck consensus.

  54. Well, look at how it turned out for that idiot Galileo or that wet-brain Einstein.

  55. I’d kinda care about that if he were to become “the gun czar”. Other than that, why on earth is his position on gun control relevant?

    Because he holds a major policy position on law enforcement.

    Because the drug war is one of the drivers of gun control these days. “If we let guns on the street, drug dealers will be more heavily armed than the police” or some such argle-bargle.

  56. Hah yeah, don’t you love that rationale?

    I’m sure all major city drug crews are going through perfectly legal channels to obtain their weapons.

  57. Generally speaking, such games are legal so long as the host doesn’t take a cut of the prize money. Police and prosecutors determined that Chimento’s collection for pizza and beer qualified as a “rake,” making the game illegal.
    Prosecutor: the defendant weighs 439 pounds – and we will prove that 372 of the pounds are due to the ill gotten pizza and beer.

  58. Didn’t eveyone get Obama’s memo? Remember that besides the fact he has zero experience overall he will be selecting only those best suited to handle all of our governmental depts aka overloards. Now forget that these are mostly retreads and nothing NEW about them. Since, he will be telling them the paths which they are to take going forward. Since he knows nothing and is selecting only the best to run the departments. End Memo

    Make sense of that, it’s basically what we have been told. Sure the Pres knows nothing but he will get the best don’t you worry and then to make sure all that change comes about he will tell them all what to do. Don’t you see that is why he brought in all the smart people with experience so he can lead them with none. LMAO And I am sure all those people are just dying to run things just like Obama has planned. Change we can’t believe in. Or as we say, when I see it I will believe it.

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