Political Animal


March 02, 2013 5:39 PM Saturday Evening Reads

By Samuel Knight

*In an interview with Spiegel Online, a pro-legalization Harvard economist insisted that the equivalent to the opening round of sequestration cuts could be saved on an annual basis if the United States would simply end the War on Drugs. “The prohibition of drugs is the worst solution for preventing abuse,” said Professor Jeffrey Miron. “Firstly, it brings about a black market that is corrupt and costs human lives. Secondly, it constrains people who wouldn’t abuse drugs. Thirdly, prohibiting drugs is expensive.”

*The New York Times reported today that Chinese anti-aircraft missiles were seized from an Iranian ship off the coast of Yemen in January. American and Yemeni theorized that the arms were headed to Houthi rebels in the country’s northwest - a force accused by the U.S. of receiving support from Iran. Meanwhile, in another story the Times neglected to mention, security forces opened fire on separatist demonstrators in Aden - the port city in the south of the country. One person was killed and four were wounded, according to Reuters. The incident comes just nine days after the city played host to another fatal attack by security forces, when four demonstrators were fatally shot.

*The almost-State Department-approved Keystone Pipeline might be a holy vessel to the neo Flat-Earther global warming deniers who scoff at the notion of government support for green technology. But China - the country expected to consume a sizable amount of the oil that passes through it - isn’t taking the development of green energy lightly. According to report published by the Earth Policy Institute a few weeks ago, electricity from wind energy surpassed that produced by nuclear energy in China in 2012.

*In other energy related news, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to wait for a report on fracking before ruling on the practice thanks to the lobbying efforts of his former brother-in-law, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.. According to the AP, Cuomo was swayed after “a series of phone calls with Kennedy. The two discussed a new health study on the hydraulic fracturing drilling method that could be thorough enough to trump all others in a debate that has split New York for five years.”

*The squeeze might soon be on in Florida. The projected output of the state’s $9 billion citrus industry is expected to fall by 10 percent this year. According to the AP, the predicted decline - the result of a “greening disease” called HLB - has the state’s agricultural commissioner, Adam Putnam, wringing his hands. “‘The USDA has reduced the estimate three times in one season,” Putnam said. “For a non-freeze, non-hurricane year, that’s extraordinary. I’m very concerned.”’ The drop isn’t expected to affect consumers, however, because of a surplus last year. But the AP noted that prices could rise in the future.

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.


  • jjm on March 02, 2013 6:03 PM:

    Oranges keep for over a year? Who knew?

  • Tigershark on March 02, 2013 7:14 PM:

    Fresh oranges don't keep for a year. Think juice....

    "The Dukes, the Dukes...."

  • emjayay on March 02, 2013 10:25 PM:

    Everyone used to buy frozen concentrated orange juice, which obviously keeps a long time both for convenience and because it's several times cheaper than fresh squeezed or sqeezing your own oranges. Then most people switched over to the stuff now in the refrigerator section, which doesn't have the slightly cooked taste of frozen concentrate but is about as cheap. But that stuff is stored for a year or more at close to freezing, blended, the flavor parts extracted from other oranges added, etc. So anyway the orange juice inventory can still last a really long time even if it's "fresh".

    I buy the frozen organic stuff from Trader Joe's myself. I can add my own filtered water and have it on hand whenever I want it, and not lug all those pounds of orange juice water home from the store. And buy all that plastic.

  • HBinBoston on March 03, 2013 10:30 AM:

    Jeffrey Miron's solution for EVERYTHING is to let markets take over.