Drug policy

This is your country

This is Trump

This is your country on Trump

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

14 thoughts on “Drug policy”

  1. I blame the new Chief of Staff.

    I mean, you hire John Kelly to get your White House squared away and what do you get? The two worst weeks of your presidency, that’s what.

    This is all Kelly’s fault. He is not doing his damn job. Fire his ass. Then he will have lots of time for LOSING WARS again.

    1. Agree with your second paragraph, disagree with your first and third. It would be Kelly's fault if he put Trump up to it. He didn't. I agree that Kelly has been unable to control Trump. If he had replaced a Chief-of-Staff who was able to control Trump, then I'd be more critical of Kelly. I don't expect him to stay much longer, but no one can control Trump, starting with Trump himself.

      I'm not sure how much I agree with what I'm about to say, but I'm grateful for Trump's outburst, and I would hate it if he got a C-o-S who kept the ugliness under wraps. Trump has less support from his party, the conservative "intelligentsia" and voters than any president in history at this point in his term. The one thing that might save him is a belief that he is not who he has shown himself to be, that he's finally turned presidential. I would hate to see that happen.

      1. Are you implying that something is Trump's fault? Where have you been living? NOTHING is ever Trump's fault. Therefore, the wheels coming off the truck are the fault of someone else. It appears to me that Kelly is the obvious cause of Trump's recent woes, but if you can nominate another villain, I am all ears.

        1. Well, okay. I nominate Trump's parents, who should have known better than to bring him into the world. I might note that they did this dastardly thing without Trump's knowledge or consent. "My parents? I've heard of them, but really don't know them. I met them a couple of times, I think, but they didn't help me win the biggest victory the world has ever seen. Ever seen, believe me. Anyone can have a baby, you know? Anyone. Some people, and you won't hear this in the lying press, get pregnant by accident. How could I be responsible for someone else's accident? By the way, I'm beginning to think that Don Jr. was an accident — how the hell does he get away with using my name without paying for it? He's my son? Fake news, and what has he ever done for me? I've got people — the best people, believe me — looking into it and you wouldn't believe what they're finding. You're going to be very surprised when I release all the information next week. Or the week after."

  2. I know it's a side-issue, but why is anti-Semitism so prominent? One of the chants in Charlottesville was "Jews will not replace us". Taken literally, this makes no sense. Jews are small and not rapidly growing component of the American population. White male fear of becoming a demographic and non-dominant minority depends on the influx of Hispanics and growing assertiveness by blacks and women. But since the Jews control the media, the banks, the universities, etc, they could be masterminding these wider shifts, no? Enlightenment please.

  3. I know it's a side-issue, but why is anti-Semitism so prominent? One of the chants in Charlottesville was "Jews will not replace us". Taken literally, this makes no sense. Jews are a small and not rapidly growing component of the American population. White male fear of becoming a demographic and non-dominant minority depends on the influx of Hispanics and growing assertiveness by blacks and women. But since the Jews control the media, the banks, the universities, etc, they could be masterminding these wider shifts, no? Enlightenment please.

    1. The most one can honestly say is that as a group, we are represented in the professions in numbers out of proportion to our share of the population. One might notice that the same is true of Asian-Americans. But in either case, we're looking at a tiny sliver of the population, and over-representation doesn't translate into being in control. As for it being a sign of privilege, this privilege being dispensed by the Indo-Europeans teaching our classes and hiring us for reasons that would certainly be unknown to us, having worked as a TA, I can give you one reason for that: attitudes toward study.

      In my first year as a grad student, when I gave out my first quiz ever, on grading it, I got a nasty surprise. Handing a Chinese student his paper, I said "you got 60% on this quiz – congratulations, that was the high grade" in a tone of weary resignation, thinking that this was going to be a very long year. The Chinese student got this sheepish look on his face, promised to work harder and HE DID. His grades improved. But the poor, oppressed white kids, for the most part, would come down to my desk, screaming and sometimes waving their hands around like they were crazy people, trying to bully me into changing honestly given grades. When that didn't work, they went to the department and tried to get me fired. I began to really get the joke a second year student had asked about whether or not we'd be allowed to use corporal punishment in our classes that year.

      In case you were wondering, we weren't, but the idea certainly would have been tempting. To adopt attitudes like that toward one's studies and then not do as well as others doesn't make one the victim of anything other than one's own bad attitudes. What I'm asked to accept, as a Jew, is that because fewer of us act like that (with the result that disproportionately many of us go on to graduate and professional school), that we're supposed to take the blame when some of the frat boys (the people who were screaming after being given well deserved low grades) abuse their power, in jobs they got through the Old Boys' Club, aka "networking."

    2. As a Jew, I will answer such a demand with a loud, resounding "NO!" as I should be and respond with a little anger of my own, and a warning. The 21st century is not the Middle Ages. Medieval Europeans states would expel their Jews and then, having lost many productive people, suffer. But they could always count on the Jews coming back, erasing many of the consequences of their earlier folly because there would always be another country doing the same stupid thing. But now, there is a state of Israel. Brutalize and drive us forth, and we're not coming back for more. Why would we? Like the Russian Jews did before us, if we are driven out, we're not headed toward London or Paris, as American Jews we'll be headed toward Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, never to return. Large fractions of America's scientific and engineering communities will be lost to it, forever.

      By the way – racial mixing among the intelligentsia is much more the rule than the exception, so if your thought was that America would be able to retain its loyal "White" STEM people after everybody else left, surprise – that's going to be a very limited group. The scientist with the Asian wife or girlfriend has become a cliche for a reason, so if the racial purity pushers do prevail in America, America is going to become a backward country in more ways than one, not because of any evil Zionist conspiracies but because, once again, some racist white people did something childishly stupid and got themselves hurt.

      If so, oh well. Not our problem.

    3. For the second time, I am reposting my initial reply, which has been blocked from view: "But since the Jews control the media, the banks, the universities, etc, they could be masterminding these wider shifts, no? "

      No. I don't know how serious you're being when you say that, because we've never encountered each other before (as far as I can recall), leaving me with little context, but no, we don't control any of those things. A lot of anti-Semitic people will claim that we do and that is, indeed, the excuse for a lot of the scapegoating we get, but this notion that "the Jews" control the institutions that govern society is a fantasy.

      As a Jew, I get greeted by a world in which my "privilege" can be found in the fact that a dean's list average, a master's degree complete and ABD status for a PhD in Mathematics won't even get me an entry level job until I succeed at the chronically impossible task of getting 2-5 years work experience before I get my first job. I make what money I can as a tutor, where I routinely get to meet functionally illiterate former frat boys with names like "Smith" and "Jones" working in corner offices. I'll tutor them in something as basic as high school algebra, and then, at the end of the work day, as they get in their own personal limousines, I'll get to walk home because the El is a luxury I can no longer afford. Much like meat, cheese, going to the movies more than twice per year …

      Does this sound like the life of a member of a privileged class or maybe, does it sound more like the life of a member of a despised minority who can only say one positive thing about his society's treatment of people like him: "at least they're not as bad as the Arabs or the Europeans"? Americans will say "we're better than the Nazis", except when they are (ahem) Nazis, and that will be undeniably true, but there is such a thing as damning oneself with faint praise.

      As a Jew, what can I say? I'm sorry that Westerners are in the habit of doing such horrible things to each other and I wish they'd stop, but to try to pass the blame for the failings of one's own culture onto a relatively defenseless minority because to do so is easier than asking hard questions about the motivations and character of one's own leadership (and often, of one's own people) is cowardly, despicable behavior. I won't say that it's time that stopped, because that should have stopped 2000 years ago. The Caesars should have been around for the end of ant-Semitism, but instead, we get to see a lot of Europeans and their overseas relatives going into paranoid hysterics because we won't agree that Jesus was a deity or eat bacon.

      Is there some sort of medication that could be prescribed to help these people?

      1. "The Caesars should have been around for the end of ant-Semitism"

        read: "The Caesars should have been around for the end of anti-Semitism"

        I'd use the edit feature to correct that typo, but I find that when I use that feature, my comments are put into moderation. I guess maybe a developer at IntenseDebate got the idea that spammers were likelier to edit their remarks? If so, how bizarre – a spammer is just going to cut and paste pre-written ad copy or, more likely still, have a bot do so. Correcting one's small errors is a sign that one is less likely to be a spammer, not more likely.

        Guessing is all I can do, because nobody at Automattic will ever answer any questions about why their system works in the bizarre and dysfunctional ways that it does. Welcome to the magical world of IT, where people aren't trying to be reasonable. Ever. Obviously, typos should be corrected, but having offered an edit feature, the team at IntenseDebate is going to go on deterring people from using it. Crazy.

  4. OK, censorship seems to be happening on this blog. My comment had to be posted in pieces and the first comment has already been blocked from view, removing what I posted later removed from its original context.

    I don't know who did that, but I just thought I ought to say something. By the way, I'll be setting up a blog for the posting of blocked comments, so whoever did this – while you can keep my comments from appearing on this blog, you can't keep them from appearing on my profile. Since you are engaging in censorship on behalf of bigotry, this is not going to make you look good.

    1. My best guess is that the problem is with a bright idea somebody at Automattic (the parent company for IntenseDebate) thought he had. The posts vanished from public view after I edited them. Maybe I tripped across yet another poorly conceived automated "canned ham" filter?

      AI seems to be more snake oil than science these days, an awkward fact that developers don't seem to like seeing users discuss. Just naming the brand of "canned ham" to which allude is enough to get a comment "caspered" (as a friend says), and you'd better be careful not to use the word "caspered" is a stand-in for, or that comment will vanish too.

      What's that word? Finish this expression "Casper, the friendly …" and it will come to you, I'm sure. I do so love having to talk in circles because IT people keep playing games. Ain't laissez-faire grand?

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