Ashcroft’s Army

You don’t expect a folk-song of protest to be fair or balanced, which is just as well, because John McCutcheon’s attack on the TIPS program, “Ashcroft’s Army,” certainly isn’t. It’s available on his website as a free MP3 download. Both as a songwriter and a performer, McCutcheon reminds me of Tom Paxton: pointedly funny lyrics, hummable tunes, nice instrumental style, and a pleasant voice whose owner knows its limits.

Here’s a sample stanza. (“I wanna be a spy” is the chorus.)

I wanna be in Ashcroft’s Army

I wanna be a G-man.

He used to be a Senator

but now he is a free man.

He’s Attorney General instead

’cause the people of Missouri said,

We’d sooner vote for a guy that’s dead!

I wanna be a spy!

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com