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As word of Barack Obama’s vice presidential pick got out, the media, in lockstep, seized upon Senator Joseph Biden’s legislative experience and his knowledge of the inner workings of Washington. And it’s true that Senator Joe is a skillful legislator, especially at the earmark game: for 2008, Biden secured
$108,997,205 in pork (according to Taxpayers for Common Sense) for everyone from defense contractors to police departments.
One particularly curious earmark request Biden made, in tandem with now-indicted Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Chuck Grassley, was $450,000 for DARE America. The request failed, which is surprising given the pull of its sponsors. But maybe it’s because DARE, once the bread-and-butter of drug prevention programs in American schools, has been thoroughly discredited. The Surgeon General in 2001 said DARE “does not work”, and the program has also been criticized by the GAO in a 2003 report. It is listed among “potentially harmful therapies” in a 2007 article from the Association for Psychological Science’s journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Why would Biden saddle up with Stevens and Grassley to support DARE? As mentioned by Glenn Greenwald, Biden “has long been the leading advocate of the harshest and most aggressive drug criminalization laws and general “anti-crime” measures.” And there’s this: DARE’s long-time lobbyist Scott Green once worked under Biden on the Senate Judiciary committee. Green also donated $2,300 to Biden last year.
We contacted Green to ask about DARE and the earmark request. If we hear back, we’ll update this story immediately.
More from Sebastian Jones:
Washington Babylon — August 20, 2008, 12:52 pm
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”