Editor’s Introduction: Because we here at Points believe that an understanding of the past is best supplemented with an eye toward the present (and future), we’ve decided to offer up a weekly selection of long-form pieces relating to recent drug- and alcohol-related news stories currently being discussed in the public arena.
The past week has seen a barrage of reporting from major outlets on the Mexican drug war on the heels of the government’s recent admission that drug-related organized crime took nearly 13,000 lives between January and September of last year. The war has gone so badly of late that President Felipe Calderon is stepping down from office, finding that his policies have only escalated national violence. This week, both the New York Times and CNN.com offer lengthy reports on the current state of that country’s drug war.
In Britain, Scottish poet John Burnside has received much fanfare for his collection Black Cat Bone, for which he was awarded the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize. As Nick Clark of The Independent notes, Burnside – a 2001 recipient of the Whitbread Award – is also a recovered alcohol and drug addict. The Guardian offers a fine interview with Burnside, and the poet reads five of his own works, on the Guardian books podcast this week.
On NPR, Michelle Alexander talks about her important new monograph The New Jim Crow, in which the Ohio State law professor contends that drug laws serve as de facto racial segregation policies. The 40 minute interview on Fresh Air is a fascinating look into both Alexander’s research and her role in the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Lastly, in light of Points‘ ongoing series on the Republican Presidential nominees’ drug policies, we offer you Scott Morgan’s repudiation of Manon McKinnon’s American Spectator article about drug legalization.