Twofer Monday: Liner Notes

I have two columns up at The Federalist today, “In The Next Debates, Democrats Need To Explain Themselves On Decriminalizing The Border,” and “Media Reports Arizona Governor Supports Legalizing Weed. He Doesn’t.” I’m mildly surprised both ran today, but I’m not complaining.

The first piece was inspired by the fact that “The View” is one of the few outlets questioning Democratic candidates about Trump’s biggest issue, i.e., how seriously we are going to treat having borders — and that candidates were having trouble answering. I recalled the hand-raising question from the second debate night in June, but could not recall how it was handled the first night. Once I saw how much everyone but Julian Castro was dodging when not forced to raise hands, I knew I had to write about it.

As for the second column, an associate alerted me to this incident of media bias. I generally try to avoid writing straight media bias critiques, as longer-term readers know. But I became intrigued by the idea of highlighting it in the context of a political stance which, while still popular with Arizona Republicans, is becoming less popular in real time. I probably should have included the example of Chesterton’s fence.

I have to cut this entry a bit short, as a new assignment has already arrived with the morning news.

Update: Since publication, a journalist has inquired about the claim that “marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 48 percent in Colorado after the state legalized recreational use of the drug. ” The source is a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, which is cited in the Washington Post story in the immediately preceding sentence of my column.

The same journalist also included a link to a 2018 story from Colorado’s Gazette, noting ” traffic fatalities in which drivers had enough marijuana in their bloodstream to be deemed legally impaired dropped sharply, from 52 in 2016 to 35 last year.” The story also reports ” the number of fatalities involving positive tests for marijuana has nearly doubled since recreational legalization in 2014, from 75 that year to 125 in 2016 and 139 last year,” and “deaths where drivers tested positive for cannabis, any alcohol and other drugs tripled — from eight in 2016 to 25 last year.”

I am not surprised the Colorado Department of Transportation chooses to focus on deaths involving the legal standard for intoxication. However, I am also old enough to recall that the legal standards for drunk driving were tightened years ago because traffic deaths were considered too high. These standards are matters of political judgment of the costs of legal intoxicants, as noted in the column.

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