These Are Your Offenders On Drugs. Any Questions?

The California Research Policy Center has just published the executive summary of a study of drug testing in three California probation departments. (Full text should be available in a week or so.) If you find it depressing reading, I can assure you that writing it was even worse.

Most probationers weren’t being drug-tested at all, and about a third of those called for testing either failed to show up at all or tested “dirty” for one or more drugs, partly because the system was not set up to deliver predictable consequences for breaking the rules. The only bright side of the picture is that Propostion 36 (California’s treatment-not-prison-for-drug-offenders initiative) couldn’t really make things any worse; this is how things looked before the new law went in effect.

Poetry

A TOPICAL HAIKU:

(Click the link and scroll down to see the picture.)

| Drifting toward the earth

| Like cherry blossom in Spring,

| Bush’s numbers fall.

(With thanks to Mike O’Hare for advice on natural history and scansion.)

Posse Comitatus

MAGNA CARTA, IT AIN’T: The Administration’s effort to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act in order to get the military more fully involved in homeland security seems to have hit a brick wall. Maybe that’s a good outcome. But let’s not get too misty-eyed about the Posse Comitatus Act as some sort of sacred tradition: that was the law that ended Reconstruction and ushered in the era of Jim Crow.