Outtakes from the War on Drugs. This article from Reason magazine's online edition features a walk-down-memory-lane refresher course for us boomers of the best (i.e., most absurd) anti-drug commercials of the past several decades, including chucklers like these:
• Pee-Wee Herman Says No to Crack--and Jail Time. "Everyone wants to be cool," the uber-ironic Saturday morning children's show host admits in this ad made as part of a sentencing deal after Pee-Wee's 1991 arrest for masturbating in a Florida movie theater. "But doing it with crack isn't just wrong. It could be dead wrong."
Videos and everything. Sit back and watch as the waves of nostalgia come rolling in.
What Bill of Rights? After a while, you just have to wonder. First there's this story out of Prince William County in Virginia:
Prince William County is moving to enact what legal specialists say are some of the toughest measures in the nation targeting illegal immigrants, including a provision that would direct police to check the residency status of anyone detained for breaking the law -- whether shoplifting, speeding or riding a bicycle without a helmet.
Okay, maybe I can see that. Immigration's a problem in certain areas of the country. Sure, there's a Supreme Court case from back in 1983, Kolender v. Lawson, which struck down a California law requiring a person to provide "credible and reliable identification" if he was stopped by police, but that was based on the vagueness of the law -- it didn't define what "credible and reliable identification" was, and maybe the law in Prince William is a little clearer. Still, it strikes me as a bit too akin to the "let me see your papers, please" request more commonly expected when crossing the border into Iron Curtain countries twenty-some years back.
But then I get to this:
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier announced a military-style checkpoint yesterday to stop cars this weekend in a Northeast Washington neighborhood inundated by gun violence, saying it will help keep criminals out of the area.
Starting on Saturday, officers will check drivers' identification and ask whether they have a "legitimate purpose" to be in the Trinidad area, such as going to a doctor or church or visiting friends or relatives. If not, the drivers will be turned away.
Now, understand something. As you've probably figured out if you read my stuff with any regularity, I'm a pretty liberal guy, and on the continuum between rights and order, you'll find me fairly far over toward the "rights" side. Still, it is a continuum; there may be situations where you have to nudge the slider a little bit further toward the "order" side.
But how could anybody believe that "military-style checkpoints" in civilian areas are consistent with any concept of individual liberty, and how did a person who does believe that get to be a chief of police of a major American city?
Breaking the rules. Yeah, I know, the three rules here are (1) no politics, (2) civility, and (3) no politics, but this one was too good to pass by: